Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Home...for now

Well, we finally got home last night. We get to enjoy 2 days of sleeping in our own beds before it is back off on another trip tomorrow. I always have fun on our NYC trips, but I have to say, I think this was the best one yet. We got to our hotel in New Jersey around lunch time on Wednesday. After checking in to our room, we headed into the city and straight to the Bronx Zoo. On Wednesdays their admission is by donation instead of a set price (perfect for those of us on a budget!). Well, we got our tickets online because we thought everybody would still have to have a ticket. We were wrong; everybody just went right in and it was packed because people were getting in for free. Anyway, it was still great. I had no idea how big it would be. My favorite was the Madagascar exhibit. I love that movie and that is the reason I wanted to visit this zoo. It had everything from the movie: the lemurs, the foosa, etc. We had a lot of fun.
After the zoo, we went to Union Square (the best shopping place). We checked out the sales at Filene's Basement and DSW, got dinner at Chipotle Mexican Grill (a mistake for me...too spicy even though I like Mexican food!), and walked around. We went to Murray's Bagels to get some bagels for our breakfasts. Rachael Ray recommended this place because of the good bagels and they make them right there. Finally, we got to Babies 'R Us to set up our registry. That was a lot of fun. 3 floors of baby stuff!!!!! I was a little disappointed at the lack of purple and we had to put more pink than I wanted, but the stuff was still cute. They had a whole section of cute baby girl Yankees outfits (which are probably only available at that store so you probably won't be able to get those). We decided to skip Trader Joe's because we already had a lot to carry and knew we wouldn't really be needing any grocery items anyway. After a long day, we went back to the hotel where I crashed from all of the walking. On Thursday, we woke up early and went right in to the city to ride the Staten Island Ferry. There are 4 waterfalls around South Street Seaport that some artist did, plus the views from the ferry are nice to begin with. It was a very relaxing start to our day. We got to see all of the falls, the Statue of Liberty, Ellis Island, and even the Hyatt where we normally stay. We then thought we'd walk to South Street Seaport, not realizing it was quite a walk and really hot. After changing our minds, we went back to the subway to go to Little Italy. It was time for lunch at Lombardi's. I've been wanting to try good New York pizza for a long time and what a better place than Rachael Ray's recommended place that happens to be the first pizzeria in America? Dave got a calzone because he hates pizza and said it was really good. As far as the pizza, probably the best I've ever had!!!!! I loved it! I'm not usually a thin crust person, but the homemade sauce, fresh mozzarella, fresh basil, and crunchy pepperonis cooked in a coal oven just made it perfect. How do you finish off a good Italian lunch? With a good Italian dessert. We went to Ferrara's bakery and got cannolis, well I got a chocolate cannoli...yum! And after eating a delicious lunch, you have to follow up with shopping. Chelsea Market was pretty neat and we were wishing we had a place like that near us to buy all of the fresh produce at such good prices! We settled for a fresh, homemade strawberry lemonade and blueberry lemonade. Next, we went to Modell's (hoping to find the maternity shirt for me that says "Future Yankee Fan" with an arrow pointing down), but had no luck and we guess it is only available online. We looked at the Baby Depot right nearby and saw a lot of cute things there also. Then we went to the Manhattan Mall. We were a little disappointed as there wasn't much there, but I definitely will be visiting Steve and Barry's after the baby for a shopping spree. Everything in the store was $8.98! In case you haven't heard, that's the store that carries Sarah Jessica Parker's line of clothing, but I still wasn't expecting everything to be so cheap: shoes, dress pants, bags, accessories, EVERYTHING! It was finally time to go back to the hotel where we relaxed and enjoyed the pool for a bit.
Friday we slept in a little bit and went into the city around lunch. We ate at Big Nick's Burger and Pizza Joint (Food Network recommended). Dave tried their burgers and I tried their pizza (hey, I love pizza and Dave hates it, I have to enjoy it when I can). I was able to get my pizza on a whole wheat crust which I liked more than regular crust. The prices were reasonable too (my slice of pizza was about the price of Grotto's and my slice was about 3 times the size of theirs). The food was really good and we were not disappointed, but it just couldn't compare to Lombardi's. Since we usually aren't in the city over the summer, we went to do the rowboats in Central Park. That was fun and relaxing (for me, Dave did all the work). Central Park isn't far from 2nd Avenue, so we had to go put our name in for Serendipity3. It was only a 45-60 minute wait (by far the shortest wait we'd ever heard of...usually its 2-5 hours). During our 45 minutes we walked to Bloomingdale's and did some window shopping and got back to Serendipity 45 minutes later and our table was ready. Nothing beats their frrrrozen hot chocolate. This time Dave tried their strawberry (he usually gets their peanut butter) and said it was good too. Now, I have a special purse that I use when we go to the city because it is big enough to hold our camera and everything we need. This trip it was also holding a bottle of water and snacks for me. The problem is, it has round straps and after 3 days, I was developing a permanent bruise on my shoulder. Dave had gotten sneakers our first day, so I decided I wanted a new purse (now I was risking my life mentioning this to Dave because I am always saying I am in need of a new purse and he just doesn't understand...all you ladies that love shoes can relate, I'm just like that with purses instead of shoes), but I think he really knew it was hurting and didn't argue (he may have rolled his eyes lol). So we stop at a few guys selling purses on the street. One guy wanted $45 for a clearly fake Coach bag so we walked away. A few other guys had some that looked real, but wanted too much money. A Century 21 visit was in order. Outside of Century 21, we found a guy that went down to $35 for a real Coach bag (at least looked very real). Century 21 had a Nine West that was okay for $20, but I figured why pay that much and settle for something I wasn't crazy about. Back outside, in the rain, we got the one I wanted. I was finally happy so we could leave the city and enjoy the pool at our hotel again. Saturday was our lazy day. We slept in and relaxed until after lunch time. We then explored Secaucus, NJ, got lunch, went to their Baby Depot and set up a registry, then had an early dinner at Olive Garden. We went back to the hotel to change and get ready for the highlight of the trip: Grease on Broadway! It was a little different than the movie, which I was expecting because it was a musical before the movie, but it was AWESOME!!!! I think I looked like a dork with a big smile on my face the whole time. The actors were great singers and seeing Taylor Hicks was really cool too, especially when he pulled out his harmonica and played it at the end of a song. Even Dave said he had fun. The only bad thing is, now I'm going to want to go see shows like that all the time, but it's out of the budget lol.
Sunday meant the end of our vacation :( , but not before we went to Mo's New York Grill for lunch. If you aren't familiar with the Yankees, he is their star closing pitcher with an awesome restaurant. We were supposed to come home that evening, but had to go to upstate New York for a funeral, which explains why we didn't get home until last night. Tomorrow evening it's off to Atlanta to see Dave's brother and then to Florida until the end of the month so today is an unpacking, laundry, straightening up, errands, and re-packing day lol. Wow this is exhausting, but it's worth it!


Anonymous said...

WOW glad you had a good time glad all went well hope your feeling good have a gr8 time on your trip thanks for all the pics and info hope the weather is good this time too for you guys your friend brian

Mel @ A Box of Chocolates said...

I love NYC! We're going back in november. Can't say I have done half of the stuff you accomplished though. Glad you had fun.

Kate said...

I'm glad your trip went well! You guys saw a lot! Maybe one day, I'll convince Rob to see Grease and I'll tell him that Dave liked it so it must be good. :)