Tag Archive | tourist

New York, Day 6

Baby Juice GlassesFriday was our last day. Our plane left in late afternoon, and hotel checkout wasn’t required until noon, so we dilly-dallied around in the morning, taking a subway ride down to 72nd Street to (a) find an ATM for our bank and (b) find breakfast.

Breakfast was at Utopia Restaurant on Amsterdam. It was delicious.  Please notice the tiny baby juice glasses. We were served juice in these itty bitty plastic tumblers everywhere we went for breakfast. They’re just so cute!  Then we wandered up and down the street for a while in search of our bank.  Turns out the ATM wasn’t at a bank branch at all, but inside a Duane Reade store.

These stores are ubiquitous in Manhattan. I had never heard of them before we arrived, but it seemed like every time we turned around, we saw one. They were quite handy, though. I had accidentally left my reading glasses at home, so Day 1 found us inside the store across the street from our hotel buying new reading glasses and bottled water for our long walk down to Times Square.  And we were in and out of the store for in-room snacks and more bottled water throughout the week.  (That Google image above is interactive, by the way.  You can move it around to see the neighborhood surrounding our hotel.)

Dinos Pack Themselves 1In case you were wondering, we left the dinosaurs back in the hotel room for this little excursion. They did most of the packing while we were gone. Very efficient, those dinosaurs.  We finished up what was left, and called the bellman to come take our luggage downstairs.

Did I mention that our hotel didn’t have an elevator?  And we were on the fourth floor?  Yes, Virginia, that does mean that every single day, after wearing ourselves to the bone walking around playing tourist, we had to drag our tired carcasses up four flights of stairs to our room.  Four narrow flights of stairs, at that.  It also means that the bellman was allowed the privilege of carrying both suitcases, one of them massive, up and down those narrow flights of stairs.  Don’t worry, he was tipped well.

Since our flight didn’t leave until 6:00 PM, we were going to check out but leave the luggage at the hotel while we wandered around some more, and then take Uber to the airport in mid-afternoon, but the bellman told us we could catch a bus just a couple of blocks up the street that would take us directly to our terminal, and we could use our subway transit passes to pay for it.  He checked the schedule for us, and the next bus to LaGuardia left in about 30 minutes.  After a brief consult — “Do you want to see anything else?”  “No, not really, I’m kind of tired of walking around and looking at stuff.” — we decided we were really tired of Manhattan and were ready to get started on our outbound trip.  So we dragged our luggage up to 106th Street and caught the bus.

Said bus took us through Harlem, right past the Apollo and other landmarks.  I didn’t have my camera or my phone out, so we didn’t catch any photos as we drove through.  Here’s another interactive Google image, though.

We got to the airport about five hours ahead of our flight, so we wandered around, ate lunch, read, played on our phones, and killed time chitchatting while we waited for our plane to board. The flight back to Atlanta was uneventful, as was picking up our car from long-term parking and making the Back to the Jungle 2short drive home. One of the advantages of living in a major metro area like the ATL is we’re less than 20 minutes away from the airport. Still, we were exhausted when we arrived at the house and went straight to bed.

The next morning, while we picked up the critters from the kennel (that was a shock to the wallet), the dinosaurs headed back into the jungle, there to await their next trip. So long, dinos; we’ll see you again soon, I hope.

People have asked me what was the best part of this trip.  Naturally, seeing all the things in person that I had only ever seen in photographs or movies or TV ranks really high, but truly, the best part was spending an entire week doing stuff with my husband and remembering that, not only do I love him, I really truly do like him.  Here’s to many more anniversary trips, honey.  I love you bunches.

New York, Day 3

Today the dinosaurs wanted to go to the Natural History Museum.  Luckily, we were in agreement with this agenda.

Metro Ticket 1

The object of all this intrigue.

But first, the rest of the subway story…

After breakfast, we headed down into the 103rd & Broadway station to catch the train.  As we went through the turnstile, we noticed our “friend” from yesterday doing the same fast-talking hustle-’em-through-the turnstile act with another couple.  Spouse told the couple as we walked by, “It’s a scam.  Walk away.”

“What?” they said, because they didn’t hear him over TicketScammerGuy’s patter.  Spouse repeated himself, louder.  “Oh! Thanks!”  They glare at TicketScammerGuy and walk away. TicketScammerGuy calls after us and threatens to shove his fist into spouse’s face.  We ignore him and start down the stairs to the train platform; then suddenly spouse turns around and walks straight to the station agent’s booth.  She’s facing the other way — her window opens into the “lobby” area, before patrons go through the turnstile.  He taps on the window until he gets her attention, and points out TicketScammerGuy , who by this time had taken up his position next to the MetroPass vending machine to await his next victim.

Dinos in TR Park (2)“He’s running a scam.”  Station agent looks puzzled.  Spouse describes him:  “That guy over there in the striped shirt and ball cap; he’s running a scam.” She looks over her shoulder in the direction spouse is pointing and enlightenment dawns.  I think she’s familiar with him.

“Thank you,” she says, and she set her jaw with a determined expression.  “We’ll take care of this.”

We never saw TicketScammerGuy again.

*cue ominous music*

Now, in reality we expect TicketScammerGuy took his show down the road to another subway stop, but it’s tempting to indulge in those New York City transit system stereotypes (read: Teamsters/union thugs/organized crime) (yes, I’ve seen too damn many film noir flicks) and think he was “taken care of” in a more, um, permanent fashion. Regardless of the true circumstances of his sudden absence, he no longer disturbed the patrons of the 103rd and Broadway station.

Hunting for Relatives Address 2Our subway stop for the American Museum of Natural History was at 79th Street, and then we walked a few blocks east, toward Central Park. (Sadly, this is the closest we got to spending time in Central Park during the whole week.)  The museum is nestled at the edge of Central Park, and we went through Theodore Roosevelt Park to get to the entrance.

I’ve mentioned the weather was perfect this whole week, yes?  Oh my gosh.  Mid-70s, mostly, with a hint of a breeze, and blue blue skies every day.  Just amazingly beautiful.

Once in the museum, we wandered around the Hall of Northwest Coast Indians for a while — indigenous textiles fascinate me; the woven capes and clothing were incredible; I only wish I could have touched them — then made our way to the café for a snack and a chance to take a thorough look at the map of the museum.

The dinos, of course, were looking for their relatives’ house.  According to the map, their relatives lived on the fourth floor; we decided to start there and work our way down.

Pictures galore follow.

Found Em 2

May we come in?

Not Much Room for Brains

So, cousin, not much room for brains, huh?

Natural History 5

This guy.  Not a good guy.

Natural History 4

I enter the picture unexpectedly.

Might Be Mom

Mom, is that you?

Natural History 3

Did you know these skeletons are usually plaster casts of the actual bones?  Because the fossilized bones themselves would be much too heavy to articulate and display.

Natural History 2

These creatures amaze me.

Family Tree

Found the family tree.

Natural History 13

More amazement.

Might Be Dad

Dad?

We also went into the special “Dinosaurs Among Us” exhibit, which tells the story of the latest innovation in evolutionary thinking: how dinosaurs became birds. It’s fascinating.  Look at these three photos together.

A quick stop for refreshment:

Dinos Stop for Refreshment

And then we headed downstairs and cruised the other floors.  True confession:  I bypassed several of the halls on each floor because my ankles were starting to hurt.  By the time we got back to the first floor, I was dog tired and my ankles were in agony, so I crashed out on the floor next to an outlet in one of the halls to charge my phone while spouse cruised the North American Mammals exhibit.  A passing security guard just grinned at me as I huddled up in the corner on the floor with my charger.

We had theater tickets that evening.  After taking a brief nap at the hotel, we changed into our theatre duds and hit the town once more.

Book of Mormon

Oh. My. Gosh.  The Book of Mormon might be the funniest thing I’ve seen in my life.  Definitely not family friendly, but side-splittingly hilarious.  The Eugene O’Neill Theatre is gorgeous;

Eugene O'Neill Theatre 3

the set was amazing;

Eugene O'Neill Theatre 4

and our seats were perfect. (Yes, we splurged.  Yes, it was worth it.)

And yes, there’s still more to come.

New York, Day 2

Dinos Have CoffeeOur week in New York, continued….

We woke up fairly early — not surprising, considering we had crashed at 6:30 the previous evening — and got ready to head out on the town.  The Statue of Liberty was our destination and purpose on this day.  But our first adventure was discovering I did not pack a hairbrush with which to blow-dry my hair.  You’ll see the results of finger-combed blow-drying in the photos.  We walked a couple of blocks and found a different diner for breakfast.  This one was equally good, and we alternated between the two the rest of the week.  (Yesterday’s breakfast was at The Metro; today’s was at The Broadway.  Spouse recommends the corned beef hash at either.)

Dinos on the Subway 3Then it was time to tackle the subway.  And here’s where we confess we got hustled.  *hangs head in shame*  Spouse and I were standing in front of the ticket dispenser, reading the instructions and discussing whether we wanted to buy a multi-day pass rather than trips when some fast-talking guy jumps up and starts pushing buttons and the next thing we knew we were through the turnstile holding tickets in our hands and handing him $60 cash.  I mean it was literally nearly that fast.  (Yes, we should have known better, but just hold on, there’s more to this story.)

Despite our misgivings, we and the dinosaurs took the train to Battery Park, where we picked up our GoNewYorkCard tickets for the ferry to the Statue of Liberty.  While we were standing in line, I took a few photos of the skyline surrounding us.

It was a beautiful day.

Next we stood in line for the ferry.  Our dinosaurs are very good at standing in line.  And they were well-behaved while riding the ferry, as well.

The ride out was splendid.  We rode on top of the ferry so we could see everything.  We looked back toward the city:

On the Ferry

We looked ahead toward the Lady:

Approaching the Lady 1

The dinosaurs were especially excited to see her:

Dinos Looking for the Lady 3

After disembarking, we wandered all over Liberty Island.  Tickets to get into the pedestal or climb up to the lamp were sold out, so we stayed outside and took lots of photos.  Here are a few:

Me and The Lady 2

Remember what I said earlier about finger-combing and blow-drying?  Yeah.  This was taken while we were still on the ferry, so we’ve got windblown as well.  Not a good look.  Let’s look at something more beautiful instead.

The Lady 2

She’s gorgeous. And she moved me to tears.

Spouse and the Lady

Spouse and the Lady

Dinos View the Lady 1

Dinos and the Lady

Me and the Lady

Me and the Lady

The view toward the city was spectacular, too.

The City and Me 1

Even the dinosaurs loved it.

Dinos View the City 3

Somewhere, Ray Harryhausen is smiling.

Dinos Grab a SliceAfter a couple of hours on Liberty Island, we were whipped, sunburnt, and hungry, so we caught the ferry back. Neither spouse nor I were particularly interested in Ellis Island, so we skipped that part of the tour.  (I mentioned whipped, sunburnt, and hungry, right?)  At the Battery Park subway station, we tried to use our tickets again; and  we confirmed our suspicions that we had been taken earlier.  So we bought the multi-day passes we had originally intended to buy and caught the train back to Times Square where we grabbed a slice.

After taking the edge off our appetite, we went back to the hotel once more to get some rest before dinner; we had made arrangements for one of my internet friends who lives in New York to join us.  I was a little nervous about this because, although this woman and I had been internet buddies since 2002, and had even talked on the phone once or twice over the years, we had never met in person.  Ever.  I know that’s not unusual in the internet age, but it still feels strange to say that some of my best friends are people I’ve never actually met.

Mural in Penn Station (2)At the appointed hour, Annie arrived.  The restaurant near the hotel where we had thought to have dinner was unexpectedly closed, so we followed her lead on the subway and went on a little adventure.  We took a walk through Columbus Circle, wandered through Penn Station (where I shot this gorgeous Art Deco mural), caught this train and that train, and wound up in Korea Town somewhere around 37th Street.

Dinos Try OctopusI tried bibimbap for the first time. The dinos tried octopus. I think they liked the octopus better than I liked the bibimbap, but one must try new things or one’s horizons remain forever narrow.

Angela and Annie 2And, yes, spouse was kind enough to take a photo of Annie and me.

Isn’t she beautiful?  I love her.

After dinner, Annie got us headed back to the right train, and we called it a night.

Whew.  We, and the dinosaurs, were exhausted.  Once back at the hotel, we turned in and were quickly asleep.  Tomorrow would be another busy day!

Dinos Hit the Hay

Sweet dreams, little dinos.

Oh, by the way, we’re not done with the subway ticket story yet.  Stay tuned.

 

New York, Day 1

Dinos 5Spouse and I took the dinosaurs and went to New York for our anniversary.

“Wait,” you say, “took the dinosaurs?”

Yep.  Because dinosaurs need vacation too.

Okay, this all came about because I ran across a Facebook photo of two plastic dinosaurs looking out the window of an airplane, captioned: “Vacation is more fun with dinosaurs.”  Yes, thought I, vacation is more fun with dinosaurs.  So I called them out of the jungle that is our yard (you can see them here, climbing the steps into the house), threw them into my carry-on bag, and away we went.

They were such good dinosaurs, too.  They patiently waited in line for the security check-in.  They sat quietly in their seat for the plane ride.  They helped us get our luggage off the carousel once we arrived at La Guardia.  They suffered quietly in my handbag during the madcap taxi ride from the airport to the hotel.  (Everything they tell you about New York cab drivers is the absolute truth.)

Dinos 11Once we got to the hotel, the dinos inspected the lobby for us.  We arrived well ahead of check in time due to our 6 AM flight out of Atlanta, so the hotel kindly agreed to store our luggage for us until later in the day, and we set out to find some food.

About three blocks down the street from the hotel, we found a little diner and had ourselves a late breakfast.  Over our meal, we discussed what to do with the rest of the day.  We were booked on a bus tour at 4:00 that afternoon, and had nearly six hours to kill.  Out came the little map of Manhattan the hotel thoughtfully provided us.  The place where we needed to board the bus tour was at 43rd and Broadway.  We were currently at 103rd and Broadway.  “Hey,” we thought.  “We have so much time to kill; let’s just walk down there and see the city along the way!”

Native New Yorker

The native New Yorker, back in New York.

Famous. Last. Words.

Thirty blocks later, I was tired.  By the time we reached Times Square, I was dead tired.  After wandering around Times Square and the theatre district for several hours, I was ready to kill something. But I persevered, and more than once just insisted that I needed to sit down to rest, so we made it through until it was time for our tour.

The Tour was fun.  It led by a personable tour guide who told horrible cheesy jokes, and bantered back and forth with the bus.  Yes. The bus. It was a “talking bus”, meaning it had a couple of dozen canned responses that an operator pulled up in response to things the tour guide said. Hokey as it could possibly be, but enjoyable.  We toured mainly in lower Manhattan and had various sights pointed out to us, like St. Patrick’s Cathedral and the Empire State Building, Radio City Music Hall, Columbus Circle (which we had already walked through), and lots more.  It helped us figure out where things were that we wanted to see AND got us off our feet for a couple of hours.

Me and Daniel

Be still, my heart.

After the bus tour, we wandered around Times Square a little more, found some food, and ran into Daniel Craig outside the Wax Museum.  I had my picture taken with him.  I even held his hand.  (I can die happy now.)

By then, though, I was utterly worn out, and spouse said, “Why don’t we take the subway back?”

“Honey, I am way too exhausted to even think about learning to navigate the subway today.”

So we acted like we were guests of one of the hotels near Times Square and had a bellman hail us a cab.  Back we went to the Upper West Side and our real hotel, where we collected our luggage, checked in, and collapsed on the bed in our room at 6:30 PM and didn’t move until the next morning.  We didn’t even eat dinner.

 (More New York adventures and pictures to come.  Stay tuned!)