A Bite of the Big Apple

 

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I have been fortunate enough to have traveled to NYC a time or two. Actually, Clark and I go there whenever our schedules permit. We both absolutely love that city.  It’s big and bustling and has an energy like no other place I know of.  I have wanted to take my sister there for a long time.   I’ve brought up the topic to her more than once.  I would beg and plead. “It will be fun!” “You’ll love it!!” Then one day, just like that, she agreed! Whoa! I was shocked! My heart flipped over! I could feel my NYC Tourist adrenaline start to surge through my veins. She agreed!! Hallelujah!!!

So after months of planning and what would become daily emails and phone calls, off we went. We were New York Bound! Big Apple, here we come!

We stepped off the plane in NYC – with suitcases in tow, we grabbed the first cab we could. Hurray! We were on our way to our fancy Big Apple Hotel!! The cab driver was like an Indy car racer! How exciting!! Swerving in and out of heavy traffic. Honking his horn at anyone who got in his way. I LOVED it! My sister, mouth gaping open, was holding on for dear life. I assured her we were safe and that after a few days, she’d get used to the fast pace of the big city. Did I mention that she is from a small town in Indiana?

When we got to our hotel, we were excited that our room was ready for us. (We took the first plane out and arrived at 8am – didn’t want to waste a single New York Minute!) We headed straight up to drop off our luggage.  We had decided to book a suite. And boy was it ever sweet! It was fabulous and big and the definition of luxury! It was situated in a corner room on a high floor. It was probably bigger than most NYC apartments. We had a great view of the city. And skyline. This was living!! It had 2 bathrooms and plush bathrobes and an amazing mini bar (with equally amazing prices!!) We reluctantly made a pact not to touch anything in it regardless of how tempted we got.  That was settled!  We changed and off we went. The Big Apple!!

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And so it went – Our days were packed. We got up at the crack of dawn and would fall in bed exhausted well after midnight each day. I took her everywhere a first time New York Visitor would want to go. We stood atop of the Empire State Building and went to the Top of the Rock. We visited the 911 Memorial & Museum and took the ferry out to Ellis Island and the Statue of Liberty. We went to the ABC & NBC studios and made our way through mobs of people in Times Square. We visited The Ed Sullivan Theater where David Letterman tapes his show. Every day, we walked past Radio City Music Hall and Carnegie Hall which our hotel was situated between.  We explored Central Park and the Upper West Side (My Fav!) – as well as Midtown and Downtown. We traveled by subway everywhere we went. Or walked. And walked. And walked. We went to Grand Central Station and shopped on 5th Avenue. We went to Plays and had late night dinners. We spent Friday night in Little Italy and Soho.

The day before we left, we decided to walk the Brooklyn Bridge. Oh Yay!! So exciting!! And Fun!! This historic bridge was massive. And Beautiful. And the doorway onto the island of Manhattan from Brooklyn. And it was crowded. Yikes! ridiculously so.

We found our way to the foot of the bridge and started to embark up the ancient, wooden slats that made up the narrow walking path used to cross the bridge.  It was probably about 10 – 15 feet wide. There was a white stripe (or was it yellow?) painted down the center of it which made it even narrower. We were surrounded by thousands of people who also were walking the bridge. And, riding there bikes over it. WHAT?? Whoa!. Half of it was for walking and we shared the other half with bikers who were riding over it at dangerous, high speeds. At first I was a bit uneasy with the way the bikes would so closely whizz past us. But then, you forgot about them as you got caught up in the most beautiful scenery you have ever seen. You were walking across this amazing structure and you could see views of the NYC skyline that you’d only seen before in books or on television. It was magnificent! And breathtaking.

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I had my camera and was taking 100’s of pictures. I spotted a group of guys doing maintenance on the Bridge. They had climbed up the thick, metal wires that helped to suspend the structure. They were up several hundred feet over the water. There were lots of people taking pictures of these guys. The photographer in me wanted to get that shot!  I turned to focus on one of the men and BAM! Before I knew it, I was knocked off my feet and laying face down on the Brooklyn Bridge.

‘OMG..what just happened?’

I was a bit dazed. I looked up and saw my sister standing over me. Mouth gaping open. With a stunned look on her face. And then I heard a loud, snarly voice swearing at me. “What the F***…this is the bike lane you idiot”

Hmmph. How Rude!! I looked around and got up quickly. I could see a bike laying on its side. It’s rude rider knocked off to the ground. (Dear God, had I caused that?) In my excitement to get a good shot, my foot had accidentally crossed over the white line and caused a collision. (The rude bike rider was not very forgiving.)  I stood there in my touristy red shirt, camera hanging crookedly around my neck and scuffed up knee and kept apologizing over and over again. She just kept rudely snarling at me. It was one of those humiliating times where you hope nobody noticed. But you know they all did.

The embarrassing moment passed and we parted ways, I kept telling my sister how terrible I felt. She kept saying.. “Oh, nobody was paying attn.” I knew she was lying but somehow her words made me feel better.

I never did get the shot. But I did get this shot….

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How can you write about a ‘FAB! NYC Vacation’ in one itty-bitty blog post? It’s an impossible task!

My sister and I had the time of our life! We ate. We drank. We went without sleep. We walked all over that huge, beautiful city with that touristy, deer in the headlight look. And, loved every minute of it!! More than once, I caught my sister out of the corner of my eye with her mouth gaping open. Just staring in wonderment and awe.

Like all vacations, it went too fast.  But we have such GREAT memories!

Take a look….

 

 

 

Audrey

When movies were movies…..

For attractive lips,
Speak words of kindness.
For lovely eyes,
Seek out the good in people.
For a slim figure,
Share your food with the hungry.
For beautiful hair,
Let a child run his/her fingers through it once a day.
For poise,
Walk with the knowledge that you never walk alone.
People, even more than things,
Have to be restored, renewed, revived, reclaimed,
And redeemed; never throw out anyone.
Remember, if you ever need a helping hand,
You will find one at the end of each of your arms.
As you grow older, you will discover that you have two hands;
One for helping yourself, and the other for helping others. 

–Audrey Hepburn

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What’s that you said?

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Clark and I were out for dinner with some good friends this week at a wonderfully quaint Italian restaurant in the city.  We had never been there before.  Our friends had and it was one of their favorites.  With good reason.  It was charming and the food was amazing.

It was located on a street lined with hip bars, mom and pop stores and other trendy eateries.   It was in a section of the city that had a specific neighborhood feel to it.  The bars were filled with young patrons.   The trendy restaurants were packed with hungry diners.

We pulled up to our destination.  I loved the looks of it!  We handed the valet our keys and headed into the restaurant.

As we rushed out of the cold and in through a large door to the warmth, we were hit with the wonderful aroma that is so common to many Italian restaurants.  The smell of garlic, freshly baked bread and Italian food wafted through the air.  The sounds of ol’ Blue Eyes or some other familiar crooner could be faintly heard over discreetly hidden speakers.  It mingled with the loud voices and conversations that filled the room.  The place was packed.  Pretty much every table was filled and there were people waiting for their names to be called for their reservations.

Viaggio9As the guys walked in behind us, my girlfriend and I were already busy checking out the room for the best possible table to sit at.  She and I have been known to point out a table to the maître d’ that we’d like to dine at.  Our hubbies (and kids) have gotten used to this.  They know that we are  particular about where we want to sit.

We followed the hostess to a lovely table that was in the middle of the room.  As we got closer, I realized that my girlfriend and I were going to have to squeeze ourselves between the chairs of the surrounding tables to get to our seats.  This concerned me.  I was wearing my new cape-like poncho!  It was fur-trimmed.  The fur added so much to it ~ but it also made it bulky.  Especially for squeezing in between chairs of busy restaurants.

The hostess politely offered to take our wraps and hang them up for us.  How sweet! Tragedy avoided!  I handed my fancy new cape to her and did my best not to bump anyone’s chair surrounding me as I slipped into my seat.  It was easy to get around Clark’s seat because he was not in it yet.  He was already in the bathroom for what would be his first of many trips there.

I was so pleased as I looked over the great menu.  So many great choices.  I looked around the room.  I loved this place!  It was crowded.  It was bustling!! It was hip and cozy.

whisperingIt was also very loud. I looked up and noticed that Clark thought it was loud, too.  So did our friends.  I could tell by the way everyone craned their necks in and turned their ear towards the conversation.   Didn’t our parents do this?  Wasn’t this a sign that your hearing was not as sharp as it once was?  I tried not to think about that.  I just craned my neck in the direction of whoever was talking and tried to catch a word here and there.

The busy server made his way to the table.  I craned my ear up towards him as he quickly went over the specials. What was that?  What did he say?  I smiled and nodded and decided just to order off the menu instead. I had asked him a few questions, tried my best to lip read his answers and made my selection.

We ordered some wine and settled into the rhythm of the place.  I liked it here!

A little while later I could see our food coming.  We were getting hungry!   Our waiter set the tray down next to our table.  He started passing out the dishes.  He put mine in front of me.  Looking down at it, my eyebrows furrowed together.   Good grief, what was that?   It was huge! My girlfriend said it resembled a family size meatloaf.  Right there on my plate sat dinner for six.

Our waiter then put her meal in front of her.  It was gargantuan, as well.  I pointed my ear towards her as she explained to him that he had made a mistake.  She told him she did not order that.  He assured her that she did.

Clark’s meal was next.  Why, his meal was nothing like ours!  It was not supersized.  His meal was the size of a hockey puck. It was small and compact.  He looked at me from across the table and said something.  I craned my ear towards him.  I thought I heard the word tasty.  I smiled and nodded at him.

There was lots of laughter at our table during the meal.  There were lengthy, animated conversations.  Some of it I caught.  Some, I did not.  It made me think of dinners out with Clark’s parents before they surrendered to hearing aids.   You just knew they did not know what was being said because they just sat there and nodded.  Now I was the one nodding.  And Clark was nodding.

When did restaurants get so loud?  Do the modern design trends and open layouts amplify the noise?  Are there any restaurants out there anymore where you can have a conversation without being forced to shout? Do Restauranteurs intentionally create an atmosphere that is “high energy”  and loud because it lends a certain appeal and brings in more traffic?

Or, is it simply that we are aging.  We are becoming our parents.  What once used to be a commentary from the older generation about how loud “this or that” restaurant is, is now becoming my generation’s mantra.

After we were done with our meals,  we sat and enjoyed each others company in the overly loud, wonderful space.   It was good to be out with these dear friends.  Nodding and grinning.  And if I was honest,  I’d have to admit that the loud atmosphere did add to the spirited energy level of the evening.

What a great night!

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