4.23.2017

Bsoton bound...

Saturday, we woke up and put on our running shoes. We grabbed another round of bagels and headed to High Line Park - an old elevated rail line that they turned into a mile long park. We got there early enough to run through it but had we been an hour later it would have been too congested.

We headed back to the hotel, got cleaned up, took a parting shot out of the window of our view, and checked out.

I started calling Blake "Map" because he was so good at not getting us lost. If I was alone, I would still be wandering around the Big Apple looking for Penn Station.

Besides walking, our #1 mode of transportation - the subway.

And on this final day, we had our true New York experience of being herd-pushed into an already full train.

We went to Brooklyn and headed across it's famous bridge.

It was packed!

Kate and Leopold is the one romantic comedy I could watch of repeat. "My word - it still stands!" Shout out to Roebling.

We headed back to Manhattan and got some lunch at Cosi in honor of our Cosie.

We grabbed our luggage that the hotel was holding for us then headed to find the Amtrak station. After going down and up half a dozen wrong subway entrances, we found the right place. It was a wild experience. They post which track the train arrives on minutes before you are expected to be on it then it is a mad rush of people to get on board before the train pulls away. The thing is we paid good money for these tickets so I thought the check-in would be more on the caliber of an airport. But oh no, it was very much a free for all.

I missed the great shot of the beach and the Atlantic Ocean due to my camera being properly stowed and by the time I pulled it out all I got was this. But if you squint far enough you can see it in the distance.

We arrived in Boston at nightfall and checked into our 100-year-old apartment in the South End.

We headed into Back Bay where the finish of the marathon takes place and where I made Blake stop to take pictures at every sign that said "Boston" on it.

Then we were properly introduced to Shake Shack and it was love at first bite. I have one regret from this trip and that is not going back for another round the next night and the night after that.

Cool signage for the race.

I forced Blake to sign it.

Blake humoring me by lunging across the FINISH line before heading back to the apartment and meeting up with Blake's parents who arrived for the big event.

It was at this point that Blake realized all the touring was taking a toll on his legs and began to worry about his race. I kept joking I would find a wheelchair to push him around in to save his legs and in hindsight it probably would have been a good idea.

4.22.2017

NYC #2...

Friday we awoke at 8am and were quite proud of ourselves for "sleeping in." We got ready for another day of walking and headed out in hunt for some bagels. Best Bagels and Coffee was the spot - for us and about 50 commuters. The place was packed but worth the wait.

We hopped the Subway over to Ground Zero.

An unforgettable experience.

One World Trade Center - fourth tallest building in the world. The architecture makes it appear to become a pyramid at the top when looking from the bottom.

 Blake outsmarted the long wait of lines for the museum by buying tickets on his phone and we walked right in.

The museum was the highlight of our trip to New York. The experience felt sacred as we went through the timeline of 9/11. The devastation of that day was tangible and the respect of the visitors towards this could be felt.
 

My favorite installment called, Trying to Remember the Color of the Sky, about 3000 watercolors of varying shades of blue.
"NO DAY SHALL ERASE YOU FROM THE MEMORY OF TIME." - Virgil

I held it together through the majority of the museum until we got to the display on the "jumpers." They estimate between 50 to 200 people chose falling over the flames when it came to ending their life. Those viewing this horrific scene felt compelled to watch. As one person was quoted, "We felt like we needed to give them this one last acknowledgment - I can not save you but I will see you through the end." I can think of nothing more tragic.

 If you go to New York, take the time to visit this museum. It was incredible - the term "beautiful heartbreak" kept coming to my mind. People found a way to make the worst day of worst days into something beautiful and worth pausing over - a task that would seem impossible in the undertaking.

The Survivor Tree ready to burst with it's Spring blossoms with One World Trade Center in the background.
 

After Ground Zero, we walked on through Wall Street and Trinity Church (think National Treasure).

Tomb of Alexander Hamilton which reminded us how sad we were when we found out tickets to Hamilton were $850 for the worst seat in the house... a New York experience we had to miss out on.

 We made our way down to the water where we took the Stanton Island Ferry for a joy ride.

Manhattan skyline from the ferry.

New Jersey skyline from the ferry.

Lady Liberty and Ellis Island from the ferry.

 Stanton Island was a bust. We were on the wrong side of town or something but there wasn't much to see or do there (unlike what my tour book had told me). We grabbed some mediocre NY-style pizza around the corner then headed back. But it was nice to rest our legs and see the sights from the ferry.

We headed back to the hotel... took a nap and threw on some church clothes.

We went to the Manhattan temple which caught me off guard because it was just squeezed in on a corner between skyscrapers and looked so untemple like. The session was a nice break from the hustle and bustle of the big city.
 

After the temple, we were hungry and headed to the tourist-trap Serendipity. It was late and the wait was 45 minutes. So we took in Dylan's Candy shop next door while we waited.

Back at the restaurant, we were famished and got an entrĂ©e to split and their world famous frozen hot chocolate. The desserts there are worth the price - the food there was not. If I did it again - I would still go but only after I had eaten dinner somewhere else. We paid $25 for a piece of toast with a few chicken slices on it and a salad (aka a bowl of lettuce) that we had to fight the waiter for. And the place was painful because every other person in the restaurant was getting these amazing looking desserts, eating like 5 bites of it and leaving. Blake and I were dying to rescue all the poor abandoned sundaes... don't these people know how to eat ice cream?!? And that they just paid $15 for that ice cream?!?

After we extracted ourselves from the sad gaze of the orphaned ice creams, we headed to Rockefeller Center.

Unfortunately, the Lego store was closed. The one store that we probably would have went into in all of New York.
 Mini-figs standing on a platform in single colors... very cool.

 We finally found some nature! This arrangement was beautiful for Easter.

Twirling moss bunny balancing a floral egg.

The lillys were exquisite.

Once I finally talked Blake into not heading back to Junior's for second dessert, we headed back to our hotel wiped from another day.

4.21.2017

NEW YORK CITY!!!

Blake and I took the trip of a lifetime this past week... it all started because he qualified to run the Boston Marathon and if there is any lesson I have learned from my father it is this, "If you qualify to run Boston - you run Boston!" So we made it a tourism trip just for the two of us - First stop New York City!!!

Well, actually... first stop was Vancouver, WA to drop off the kiddos with my sister-of-the-year, Kara, where they stayed for a week. We left Tuesday after school and drove to Vancouver. Wednesday, we got the kids settled in and Kara's fridge stocked then took off from the Portland airport at about 7:30pm. We had a brief layover in Seattle where the fact that I was abandoning my children really set in.

Blake about to board our red-eye... or as I like to call it, "The flight that never ends!" We flew out of Seattle around 10:30 Pacific time.

We landed in New York at 6:30 am Eastern time. We had our first adventure on the Subway, dropped off our luggage at our hotel, and started our hunt for breakfast. Our first plan to head up to the top the Empire State Building to check out the skyline was quickly foiled by our cheapness - $35/a person to ride an elevator - no thank you.

So then we just started walking... EVERYWHERE. Blake was great at working the Subway but even so - we walked and walked and walked some more. We went by the New York Public Library (that wasn't open yet).

Headed to Central Park where we quickly learned that people in New York use their parks quite different than people in Idaho. I think I saw one patch of grass where it was acceptable to actually walk on it. There was an awesome castle that gave us a good view of the city.

From Central Park, we headed to The Met... also known as "The museum that never ends." It was cool...

but after a few exhibits

our jet-lag began

to really

set-in.

We speed walked the last couple of exhibits before we decided we were no longer gaining anything from our visit. We wanted to go by TKTS to get tickets for a show so we headed that direction (completely opposite direction of our hotel mind you) and found a great salad place that gave us a much needed boost. After scoring some tickets to STOMP, we crawled our way back to the hotel where we showered off the road-trip feeling and crashed for an hour.

After naptime, we cleaned ourselves up and headed back out. We followed our first Jim Gaffigan recommendation for dinner at Tacombi at Fonda Nolita. It was fantastic and out of everywhere we ate (and boy did we eat!) the one place I would force all my friends to go to if I ever dragged them to New York with me.

It is pure tacos and they were heavenly and the atmosphere was fun. A total hole-in-the-wall that pulls it off in style. Oh and can I just say - the weather!!! We had the best weather for this trip and it made the experience so much more enjoyable.

We kept walking, only to stop for every building that would make me pause and say, "Look at that CHURCH!" The east coast knows how to do churches and I could make a calendar with all the pictures that I took of different houses of worship.

We also had to make a pit stop at McDonald's so I could use a bathroom. Trying to find a place for the pregnant lady to pee in New York deserve a blog post all on it's own... but I will probably never get around to it. I will suffice it to say that buying a $1 ice cream at McDonalds to get the key only to unlock the door to find yourself in the creepiest restaurant alley known to man then entering the bathroom where you are afraid to wash your hands because touching more surfaces than absolutely necessary is a bad idea, is a once in a lifetime experience all in it self.

We made our way to STOMP - you know the guys who make music with brooms and garbage cans - it was so much more than that and phenomenal.

They don't allow pictures during the show but here is a stage shot. Music with pure junk - these are my kind of people!

After STOMP, we headed to Times Square.

And finished the night with cheesecake from Junior's because my dad told me to and I am an obedient daughter. Chocolate mousse for me and red velvet for Blake... delicious!

We made it back to our hotel about 1am, laughed at our ridiculously high step-count on Blake's Garmin, and crashed hard!