02 March 2007

nyc

Kim is among my oldest and dearest friends in all the world. She met me at a time in my life when I was suffering from unusual health problems and a lot of insecurity that was fed by that. And yet, those things did not deter her from becoming my friend. She even tutored me through some classes that were difficult for me thanks to the hovering health stuff. Those were the days of learning to drive, big, big crushes, and all the other “fun” things that go with your teen years.

We were part of an experimental “team” in English and American History our Junior year. While our half took English, the other half took History, then we switched. On occasion, we’d get two grades for one assignment, which could be good or bad depending on how you look at it. This team of two classes often had large projects and other joint efforts (from a Thanksgiving Feast set in Colonial times to a 1920’s Vaudeville show to name a couple). Somehow, Kim and I managed to wind up the managers, directors and overseers of such events. Something we found we really did well at. We planned, stewed, decided, and adjusted as needed without ever missing a beat (no one else needed to see any supplemental stress).

And so you see (a highly condensed version of) the early days of my friendship with Kim. Truly, it was sealed by the hand of God and here we are 15 years later, closer, stronger, sometimes just as silly, and having planned the best event yet: our trip to New York City. We had a wonderful time, loaded with walking and talking and visiting and eating and . . . you get the idea. We left on Thursday the 8th and got home on Sunday the 11th. I will try not to bore you with too many details of our girly-trip, but I cannot go without talking about it some.

We spent three nights at the Portland Square Hotel in an itty bitty room; it held two twin beds, a small desk and small “closet”, had a window and just enough space for the hall and bathroom doors to open inward. Outside our window was a “courtyard” filled with blank windows and fire escapes. A very "New York" feel for sure.


Thursday
8 February
I met Kim at the airport (she flew in from a few states over) and we lunched while our flight was delayed. Seeing as this was a “birthday trip” (mostly for her, but I snuck in my share of it), the first order of business was presents. I gave her a journal and hand-crafted bracelet (made by a friend) in honor our birthdays and the trip. She gave me the bestest, warmest scarf which she crocheted herself, and was my survival in the bitter cold of our trip!

Our flight was filled with our chatter and tourist books, our plans generally set but always flexible. We rode a shuttle to the hotel, and between the delayed flight and being the first ones on the shuttle, and the last ones off, it was later than we’d planned when we finally “arrived”. And so, we adjusted our meal plans and ate at Carmine's, a fabulous family-style Italian restaurant walking distance from where we stayed right off Times Square (it came highly recommended, and now we know why).

Next, we had pre-purchased tickets for the Empire State Building,
and walked there as well, though at 11:30 pm, we opted to catch a cab home—a first for me, “hailing” a cab. The view was incredible, truly a city of lights, but it was gusty and cold and one side you could barely walk on because the wind was coming at you so strong. I had been afraid I’d feel a sense of it being too high, but there was none of that, and it was a great beginning to a great trip.

Friday
9 February
We drug our sorry selves out of bed later than we’d planned, and moved ever so slowly since we’d stayed awake chatting (did we really expect less of ourselves?) and the insolent radiator banged and clanged all night long. At last we caught the metro to downtown (the easiest one our whole trip), breakfast and long-awaited coffee in hand. Off at the last stop, we somehow found our way, sans-signs, to the ferry for the Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island. We got there very early, and though we were the first in line, we were told that in summer there would have been a line around the building already (we timed our arrival by what their website read, not by being overzealous). We had the equivalent of airport security (maybe a bit tighter since the airport really didn’t make me remove belts and jewelry) to get on the ferry. It was a very long, cold ride (I was already cold in my jeans plus two layers, down coat, heavy scarf and double socks).

Kim will tell on me if I don’t do it here, so I’ll admit: my toes were cold. No, not cold—my toes were numb. I could barely stand it and was contemplating many ways to warm them, which included but were not limited to buying a hot drink to set upon the little icebergs. At last, I settled for putting my heavy mittens on my feet, and the warmth was instant. Kim took a picture; the ladies beside us all laughed; and the couple on the other side not only took pictures but a video as well. What’s a trip without laughter, right?

Truly, I was in awe of the Statue of Liberty. There was a second round of much tighter security (in lieu of a metal detector, you stood still with puffs of air blowing at you from random directions and their x-ray people were a lot more intent on the contents of your bag than the airport is!) in order to see the inside of the pedestal and small museum. The history and sheer size of her were astounding and far exceeded my expectations. Inside the museum we saw exact replicas of her face and foot, as well as the original torch she carried.

Ellis Island was little more than a museum, but it was the original building that both our ancestors had come through, and it held a charm of it's own. If we had more time, we'd have spent it looking at the many pictures on display--they were absolutely beautiful.



Afterward, we meandered toward Ground Zero, Trinity Church, and finally Greenwhich Village where we ate at a tiny, wonderful place called A Salt & Battery. I’ll admit it. I didn’t get the name until I actually said it aloud (go ahead, say it if you don’t get it yet). It served incredible fish and chips, and since we were super late eating lunch, it probably tasted twice as good.

Our next stop was our hotel where we lounged, got online and chilled (or warmed up as the case may be, given the below freezing temps) until it was time to leave for our Broadway show, Hairspray. It was a first for me, and very fun. We had a late, light supper next door at Victor’s CafĂ© and found ourselves crawling into bed wearily at 1am again.

Saturday
10 February
On this morning, we “slept in” (‘til just after 8am) and then headed to Central Park where we took a free tour (that mostly talked about the park’s history of sports), then checked out the gift shop. It would probably be better in the spring or summer, but it was still immense, and we saw a “Winter Jam” complete with artificial snow for competitions. For a person who rarely feels “lost”, and easily found her way around NYC, I was completely turned around in the small part of Central Park that we ventured into!



After battling headaches likely due to the funky eating hours, we had a too-late lunch/early supper of Ray’s Pizza and did some souvenir shopping (I heart NYC tees). The amazing Grand Central Terminal was on the way to our next stop—a decadent chocolate shop in the Upper East Side, La Maison du Chocolat. (What is a girl trip without good chocolate?) We walked the few blocks to the Metropolitan Museum of Art where we skimmed through to taste the many types of art on display. My favorite was probably a tie between some of the Egyptian displays and the Chinese.



Lindy’s Cheesecake was our last stop of the evening, resulting in the most incredible cheesecake (that Kim dubbed a great birthday cake) and some bottomless (decaf for me) coffee along with more of our endless talking—we have never run out of things to say in the 15 years of friendship we’ve shared; this trip was no exception.




Thanks to the soda I had (with some meds) late in the evening to rid myself of my migraine, I was wired until long after 1am on this last night while we packed our bags and tried to get ourselves ready for our last hurrah in the morning.

Sunday
11 February
Making sure our suitcases were almost completely ready for the shuttle, we rushed out the door for the slowest arriving train we caught the entire trip, almost causing us to be late for our 10am reservations at Tavern on the Green. I have to confess, I was a bit disappointed in the service while we waited to place our orders for close to 20 minutes—time was a precious commodity on the last morning since our shuttle to the airport was coming before noon! However, it was a fine experience in and of itself, one that was well worth going for. We even got our very expensive souvenir pictures there, which we had not yet done anyplace else.

Then, it was a cab back to the hotel for our rush to check out and catch our shuttle. We made it in good time (considering we waited for the shuttle versus missing it). And then did a lot of waiting at the airport for our flights home, killing time with a light snack and an overpriced manicure that peeled off the next day. But, that wasn’t the point. The point was fun and girl time and relaxation (in spite of the busyness of our weekend!).

Indeed, our trip was perfect.

2 comments:

Mommy-loguer said...

I'm so glad you wrote about your trip! I've been waiting to read all about it (: Cute photos too! (is that the red scarf your friend made you that you have on?)

I hope you are feeling/doing better (from your previous post). I've thought of you often throughout the week and have lifted you up in prayer.

Have a blessed wkend!

Carbon said...

Wow, it sure looks like you did lots! I'm jealous that you got to see a broadway play. Me and the hubby didn't get a chance to when we visited. Nice pics :)