Tuesday, November 17, 2015

The Big Apple

Sunday at church there are a couple of guys who like Johnny Manziel.  A few of them are in my class.  I showed them a picture of Manziel at A&M recently.  I'm so thankful I have people here that love my school. 
At church we have been talking about the Old Testament for about the past 5 weeks.  Jenn asked someone to explain the story she has been explaining.  We have a couple of boys that goof off a lot and one of them told the story and did a great job!  It was almost like he was doing a rap with his hand movements.  I was so proud!

We were planning our Christmas party after church.  We had sandwiches, not grinders this time, sandwiches and planned.  I think it will be a great party! 

Kelly and I took our freshman girls to see the Peanuts movie.   I thought it was a good movie but kind of slow at times.  We went on opening weekend so the theater was filled with kids. 

I went to Target for the first time in 3 months!  It is about 20 minutes away.  I never pass it.  I have to go out of my way to get there.  I think that is the longest I have been without going to Target.  My dad wanted me to get a good snow scraper.  The other day when I was with Meghan I thought I saw a good snow shovel to keep in my car but she said it wasn't good and it would break easily.  So, I asked a guy about my age at Target which shovel to get.  He gave me some good recommendations.  He warned me that the winter will be bad. 

Later that evening I meet Mike at J. Timothy's.  They have the nations second best wings and Connecticut's best.  They were good wings.  I cut the meat off of the bone.  I should have done that all along.  I think that comes from my political background. 

After dinner we saw Spectre at AMC.  I had never been to this AMC before.  They had a huge lobby. The movie was pretty good.  We saw it in IMAX. 

Pat had a party for one of her co workers.  It reminds me of when my mom has parties.  It was nice to come home and have the left overs.  That is always the best part of a party, I think. 

Kelly and I meet Monday morning at Starbucks.  We have a great game plan for our freshman girls.  There are a lot of exciting things coming up at church.

Grandma tells me that wherever she has her candle sticks that is home.  I was thinking about what makes a place home for me.  I think it is knowing people at Starbucks.  That takes time and effort.  I now know several workers and many regulars. 

Monday evening I had tentative plans but fell through so I texted Uncle Paul to see what he was doing.  That man is crazy!  He does so much!  He told me he was going shopping and so I asked if I could join him. 
I meet him at his house. 
We went to this nice outdoor shopping area about 15 minutes away from his house.  Paul said he is starting over with his wardrobe.  I helped him pick out a few things. 
We went into Anthropologie.  I'm thankful he waited with me while I made a return. 
In the shopping are they had a L.L. Bean store.  I had never seen a L.L. Bean store before! 
After shopping we went to Ted Montana's for dinner.  Paul is on a strict diet so he had a salmon salad.  I had a bison cheeseburger.  It was lovely to have dinner with my favorite uncle. 
I love seeing Paul interact with people.  His friendliness reminds me of my College Station dad. 
We got to Pauls house around 10.  We chatted with Laurie for about 2 hours.  They are helping me solve all of my problems.  We had a good talk!  I am thankful for those two. 

Tuesday, I had lunch with my wonderful older sister, Megan.  We went to George's.  George's is very close to Megan's doctor office where she works so she goes their often.  We got a Mexican Taco pizza. It was so good! 

Thursday morning was the day we had been planning for a long time!  Thursday was the day I was meeting Kimberly and the Harpers in the big apple!  Todd and Pat went out of town to Williamsburg so it worked out well that I left that weekend too.  I got up at 6, left at 7, and got into the city at 10.  It took longer than expected with morning traffic.  I arrived at the London NYC and left my bags.  It was a very nice hotel.  The Harpers stay there ever time.  

I asked the concierge what the best way to get to the Natural American History Museum was.  He said the subway.  The concierge gave me clear directions and it was so simple even a Texas Aggie could do it!  The subway was about a block from the hotel.  Easy walk!  While I was waiting for the subway I saw a homeless man with a very torn up jacket and looking through the trash!  So sad!  Living in America with so much wealth there is still so much poverty.  The subway led me to a back entrance of the American History Museum.  The security guard there was very careful that nobody got past and everyone got in line.  The Harpers got us the New York City pass.  That was perfect!  We got into just about everything free.  The Harpers shipped me the pass so I could began using it.  The Natural History Museum was great to see.  That was where they filmed the movie Night at the Museum. It was a huge museum.  It looked very old.  They should probably remodel.  It was very confusing to walk around.  I don’t think it was designed very well.  I think it should be designed more like Disney World in a circle.  Not in all of these crazy sections.  They had sections from all around the world which I loved.  Neat music to match each section.  The gift shop had some international things which was fun.  They had a Hawian section which reminded me of the gift shop at the  Polynesian hotel at Disney World.  The museum had several gift shops and cafes.  

After leaving the National History Museum it was raining and I walked through Central Park to get to the Metropolitian Museum.  I asked a lady at a hot dog stand how to get there and she was very helpful.  The Metropolitian was a nice museum.  Upon arriving I went to the cafe with a large glass window over looking Central Park to get a Coke and to rest.  The museum also had several restaurants for members only.  The Metropolitian had a lot. I think museums with room displays are more popular here than in Texas.  Maybe it is larger museums.  I’m not sure.  I was exhausted from walking both museums so I walked quickly through the Metropolitian.  

I took a taxi to Time Square.  I went to M&M world.  They had two floors like the one in Vegas.  I was kind of hungry so was excited that Hershey’s was across the street and I was going to get a cupcake.  I was so excited until I walked inside and it was very small.  Smaller than the one in Chicago and NO cupcakes!  No baked goods.  It was very disappointing.  I collect mugs and was going to get a mug but all of the mugs had candy in them and I don’t need any candy.  I went to the Disney store.  It was two stories.  They said have a magical day.  It was nice to hear since the last time I heard that was at Disneyland.  

From Time Square I walked quickly back to the hotel, faster than a New Yorker.  The only bad thing is that there is always lights so you walk so quickly then get stopped by a light and the slow people catch up with me.  It was great to see Kimberly, Clint, her brother was there and his friend Matt.  We dropped our stuff of in the boys room because our room wasn’t ready.  They have us their key so we could get in after our room was ready.  Kimberly and I walked around Time Square.  Our hotel is in a great spot!  About 7 minutes from Time Square, 7 minutes from Rockefeller Center, and 7 minutes from Central Park!  So perfect!  We came back to the hotel got our stuff from the guys room and went to our room.  Our room was the same as the boys.  Large area with a desk, and comfy couch.  Two swinging doors that lead into the bedroom. The room had a very large very nice bathroom .  The bathroom had a shower with the water coming from directly above and a tub.  The tile was a nice white which I liked. It looked very clean.  

Kimberly and I went to the Marriott in Time Square for dinner.  They have a revolving restaurant like Dallas.  They had a buffett.  If you eat at the restaurant there is a required $8 admission fee plus a one drink minimum.  I thought that was interesting.  The buffet was wonderful.  They had good beef, kind of spicy pasta, and many other things.  For dessert they had a chocolate fountain plus many small desserts.  Kimberly and I split many small desserts so we could try them.  

After dinner we saw the Lion King.  We had great seats.  I got a coke and it came in a nice take home cup.  Every play we saw had nice take home cups.  The man who took our tickets told us to look back at the beginning of the play.  Thought the play they had people dancing and using in the aisles.   It was great!  Originally we planned on going to the Top of the Rock but decided we were to tired.  We went back to the hotel and slept!

Friday morning Kimberly and I woke up early and went to the Today show.  We stopped by a Starbucks along the way for breakfast and a hot chocolate to keep us warm.  At the Today show Security was quick to make sure you didn’t hang out by the main window.  We had to go through this main entrance.   We got there about 8 and everything was packed.  There wasn’t a ton of space but we couldn’t really see anything.  

We walked around Rockefeller Center because we had extra time before our tour of NBC.  We saw the tree!  It was hard to see because it was covered and there were poles and things in the way.  They really do a lot to the tree.  No shops were open because it was so early!  As we were walking around we saw a crowd.  We came over and Al Rocker was coming back from his trip around America.  There was a man that was dressed like the statue of liberty in the middle of the road waiting for Al.  He was standing in the middle of a busy road.  He was right in between cars.  Looked dangerous.  As we were waiting I ran over and took a picture with him.  Some people chuckled.  We saw Al and Matt and a band behind them and many camera men.  It was really cool!  After the Today show was over we walked back through the Rockefeller area and it was so much different than the morning.  It looked like nothing was ever there.  If you didn’t know that is where they film the Today show you probably would have never known by its appearance in the evening.  

Kimberly and I went on a tour of NBC.  The tour was great!  The pages were nice and personable.  The tour started with a history of NBC video.  We got to see where Saturday Night Live is filmed!  There were people in there painting and getting the set ready.  We also saw the Jimmy Falon set.  They covered everything, the seats, Jimmys chair, the band instruments.  I asked why everything is covered since they use it often.  Our page said with HD cameras they want everything to look perfect.  We made our own late night show.  Some people on the tour were the band, others were in the control room, I was a camera lady, there was a host, guest, and announcer.  It was fun.  

Upon leaving we went to the Plaza Hotel for high tea!  We were early for tea.  We were early for about everything.  I was so proud of us. They wouldn’t let us in until right at noon when our reservation was.  High tea was wonderful!  They brought out everything at once.   We had many desserts.  We were also given two types of scones, plain and with cranberries.  I got the most popular tea.  It was a nice black tea with rose petals and a few other things.  

After tea we went to the Apple store right across the street from the Plaza.  It was packed!  We immediately left.  

Next, we went to the Central Park zoo.  It was a nice but small zoo.  They had bears,  red pandas, birds, penguins, seals and more.  The seals had feeding time while we were there so we got there to watch.  Before feeding time one seal was doing lots of jumps.  It was the most active I ever saw a seal.  Another seal was just leaning over the edge.  I think it may have been sleeping.  the trainers during feeding time did tricks with them.  They told us one seal was my age and another was about 5.  We figured the younger one was the one doing tricks.  The zoo had a children's section about a minute walk away.  We got into ti with our ticket.  Someone said it was worth going to but it was more like a petting zoo.  

Next, we went to Macy’s.  It was huge!  I think 9 stories complete with a nice Italian restaurant, an Au Bon Pair, Starbucks, Godiva, and food court.  They had a great  kitchen section.  I saw some glasses with New York things on them.  I asked the lady checking me out if they had any other things unique to New York.  She said they have  a food items and soap.  I said I don’t use soap.  A minute later I realized what I said and explained that I don’t use that sort of soap.  Thankfully she knew what I meant.  
At Macy’s I asked if they have any things unique to New York.  They have this section down stairs with lots of New York Macy’s things.  I got a cool mug with parade things on it.  I also have a Macy’s parade mug from Orlando.  This will be better though since its the real thing.  

We walked quickly to Time Square where we were going on a broadway tour.  Our New York City pass covered that too.  It  was so nice earlier that day I didn’t bring my jacket.  First mistake.  It got very windy.  The tour was an hour and a half.  We didn’t get to go inside any buildings but we walked to several theaters and out guide gave us information about each.  We did get to go inside twice during the tour which helped.  Our guide is an actress.  The other guide was from Austin.  They told us that the extras in a broadway play get $1,800 a week.  We figured that was $72,000 a year.   We didn’t think they could afford to live in the city with that.  It helps for shows to have celebrities.  When Julia Roberts was in a play she got $36,000 a week!  Alexander Hamilton is playing and Obama came to see it recently.  I heard it is sold out until August and tickets are very pricey.  We had to leave a little early to meet everyone for dinner.  

Kimberly and I meet her parents, aunt and uncle and friend for dinner across the street from the hotel.  I was going to get tea but Alan, Kimberly’s dad said it was terrible.  I and many other people got chicken pot pie for dinner.  

After dinner we walked to Radio City Music Hall to see the Rockett’s Christmas Spectacular!  It was spectacular!  Probably the best show I have seen.  We were from and center.  Perfect seats!  I got hot chocolate and got a neat Radio City music hall mug it came in.  The show had a section that we had to wear 3 D glasses for.  They had a great manger scene with a live camel.  The show had unbelievable graphics and a spinning and moving stage.  Fantastic!  The show started at 7:30 and got out at 9.  

I saw probably 10 police officers standing in the subway.  I asked Kimberly to take a picture for me.  Originally I was going to pretend like I was writing things like the officers were.  The police officer I asked to take a picture with played a long and made it fun.  The other officers chuckled.  

Since we got out early we decided to go to Top of the Rock which was right there.  There was no line.  It was windy on top.  Incredible view!  I couldn’t help but think of ALL of the people in the huge city and how much the Lord loves those people.  So many people and so much love!  

The night was still young and we were planning on going to the Empire State building in the morning but we decided to go that night thinking the line would be shorter.  There was a huge que line.  We didn’t have to wait in any of it.  We got to the top in no time!  It was neat to see the city.  Again I was reminded of the Lords great love for His people.  We took a taxi home.  It was hard to get one but we got it.  

After getting to the hotel I was hungry and tired!  We ordered room service.  I got a good penne pasta with maharani and alfredo sauce.  I was going to get a chocolate molten cake but they said they didn’t have it!  So disappointing!  You can’t do that to a girl!  But, the pasta was great!  

Saturday morning Kimberly and I woke up early.  We ate at the hotel.  I had mint tea and the kitchen was able to make me a chocolate chip pancake.  It wouldn’t be a good trip to a hotel without a chocolate chip pancake!

We rode the subway to the 9/11 memorial.  We saw where the towers once were.  There was a nice memorial.  It was hard to see.  The memorial was in between both towers.  We got there about 20 minutes before the memorial opened.  There was a large security process to go through.  It was like going to the airport.  I knew it would be hard for me to see so I walked through quickly.  The hardest part was seeing a fire truck that was mostly burnt.  

Kimberly and I were going to go to the top One World tower but decided not to.  

We headed back and went to Radio City music Hall.  We got tickets for a backstage tour.  The tour was going on during the show.  The tour was wonderful!  We got to see suites, passed by: the work out room, practice studios, and the wardrobe room.  They said there are professional dressers that help the girls change in 80 seconds.  We each got to take a picture with a rocket.  We were able to ask questions.  We found out that each rocket has to re apply after every season.  I asked what the age range was.  The rocket only said that people have to be 18.  She didn’t say what the max age was.  

Kimberly and I wanted to get some New York pizza.  We were tired from yesterday and our early start that morning.  We were also very hungry.  We were looking for pizza but couldn’t find any and didn’t feel like looking hard.  We went to an Italian restaurant in Rockefeller center.  We could see the ice skating rink from lunch.  I got a mediocre burger. 

We were going to go on a tour of the Rockefeller building but were exhausted and decided not to.  We walked back to the hotel and took a two hour nap.  We got ready for our play that evening and walked around and got Kimberly some last minute things.  We stopped at a diner for some okay potato skins.  

We meet Clint and his two friends, Katie and her husband Michael, the aunt and uncle and parents for dinner at the hotel.  We had a lovely dinner!  I sat across from Clints friends Max and next to Matt.  I think Clint likes his friends to have ‘m’ names. We talked a lot about A&M.  Max puled up an A&M quiz for me to take.  My Aggie dad had been preparing me for moments like that.  Matt and Max are really cool guys.  The food was taking a while so they brought two rather small fruit plates for our table of 11.  So, everyone got about one or two pieces of fruit.  I got melon and the boys analyzed me melon choice, telling me that it was junk fruit.  We talked about all of our favorites: favorite movie, book, music, ect.  I told them my favorite movie was “It’s a Wonderful Life.”  Matt did a good Clarence impression.  We got one of each dessert on the menu: cheesecake, carrot cake, and a chocolate molten cake.  They also brought Michael a dessert because it was his birthday weekend.  Later I found out Alan kept trying to hurry up the dinner so we wouldn’t be late for our plays.  He told the waiter we had a surprise party for someone.  Then the waiter brought the desserts.  Each person got a bite of each dessert.  We think the waitor brought the dessert so we could do our surprise party there and could be on time for the play.  

We all left dinner and went to our separate plays.  The boys saw Le Miserables, we were surprised by their choice.   Kimberly and I saw Aladin and everyone else saw Lion King.  Walking to the play in Time Square on a Saturday night was a little more hectic than usual.  Kimberly and I barely got to the play on time but had fantastic seats for the show.  On our broadway tour our guide said she thinks that theater is the prettiest.  I haven’t seen many theaters but it was very pretty!  Our tour guide also told us the theater was abandoned for several years and there was a tree growing in the orchestra pit.  The show was fabulous!  I have seen Aladdin at Disneyland several times so at times was expecting the same thing from Disneyland to happen.  The Genie was very funny just like Disneyland.  

We walked back to the hotel and meet everyone in Alan and Patti’s room.  We celebrated Michael, Katie's husbands, 30th birthday!  They had red and black balloons, a cake, cookies, and nuts.  We all talked about our weeks.  We talked about these high school girls that we would see at all hours sitting outside of our hotel.  Katie was telling us that she asked what the girls were there for.  The girls said they were there to see a girl band.  Katie asked which band, they said Fifth Harmony.  Later someone asked the hotel what the girls were out there waiting for.  The hotel said a girl band.  After asking which one they said Fifth Harmony.  Someone said we should follow the guys and ask to take pictures with them to see if the girls think they are famous.  We talked about how at the hotel a couple of people saw some famous people.  The other day in Rockefeller Center I saw Will from the Today Show, Kimberly saw someone from Saturday Night Live, and everyone else saw someone famous I believe.  Alan said the closest he got to seeing someone famous was his page from the NBC tour saw Lester Holt on the elevator.  I thought that was funny!  We sang happy birthday to Michael.  Patti, Clint, and aunt served us cake.  The cake was much better than I expected!  It was a completely chocolate cake.  Very good!  It looked like there were chocolate crumbs on it too.  Not your completely average chocolate cake.  We took pictures and Alan was trying to pose everyone for the pictures.  

Majority of our groups plane was leaving at 8:30 Sunday morning.  Max got in later Thursday and had a later flight Sunday.  Katie and Michael weren't leaving until Sunday afternoon.  Max and I were going to hang out Sunday.  Katie and Michael talked about going to the statue of liberty.  I had always wanted to go so we decided to all go together.  Max wanted to sleep in but Michael and I said that was lame and so Max came. 

We first had to get some breakfast.  We stopped by a diner but decided to keep walking.  Michael found a bagel place.  It wasn't as good as one I went to in New York, in my opinion.  However, they did have many choices and they made more bagel sandwiches.  They didn't have strawberry cream cheese which I wish they did.  They were very busy!  At first Katie and I thought we got a table inside but someone else snatched it!  So we ate outside.  

Next, we were trying to find the subway to get to Battery City Park.  It was difficult to find.  We got on the subway and I had a good conversation with Michael.  He's a cool guy.  I babysat the kids during his and Katie's wedding. It was kind of fun because he fell over on the subway.  

After getting to Battery City Park we looked at the statue and Michael and Katie decided to go to Brooklyn to get baby clothes for their baby coming in April! 

Max and I got on a large white boat with three levels complete with cokes, sandwiches, pretzels and candy.  It was very windy being on the top deck.  When we were docked the boat was SO rocky!  It was about a 10 minute boat ride to the statue.  Max and I had a good chat about religion.  It was cold being on the top so we moved lower and saw an even better view of the city.  

We walked around the statue.  There was a large pretty American flag.  Max look dup facts about the statue.  We asked someone to take our picture and they didn't get the statue in!  So, we had to ask someone else.  We had to go back to check out of Max's room.  We got on the boat and I didn't realize that boat was taking us to Ellis Island.  Max asked me if I thought we would have enough time.  We had about 2 hours before check out by then.  I thought we would enough time.  The boat ride was about 10 minutes arrived on the Island Max asked when the next boat would be coming.  They said in 20 minutes.  We walked around and saw a museum and the original immigration office.  There were neat exhibits.  There was a map that had where different groups of people were from.  Max and I made it to the boat right as it was pulling up.   Perfect timing!  At first the boat looked like it was going back towards the statue!  That would not have been good!  We thought about calling Michael and Katie to get Max's stuff.  Thankfully the boat was just backing up and we were heading towards Battery City Park.  It was about another 10 minute boat ride their.  Max and I stood at the bottom of the boat near the exit so we would be ready to go.  We found the subway but that subway wasn't going.  Max found the other subway we should go on.  I asked Max if he was certain that was our subway.  In the past the boys didn't have the best success with subways.  He said he wasn't sure but we got on it and it was the right one.  On the subway ride I told Max that I didn't think we would make it back to the hotel in time.  He seemed certain we would make it!  When we got to our subway stop we walked quickly back to our hotel, packed up Max's stuff and had 10 minutes to spare!  Close call but it worked!  

Max and I walked to Time Square and ate at Guy Ferelli's restaurant.  I was going to get brisket sliders.  Our waitress said we have everything but brisket sliders!  So, I got pork sliders.  They were very good!  The restaurant was very big and had a neat trendy design.  

Next door was the DC cupcake store.  It was inside another building and kind of hard to find.  Max and I split a cupcake since we were both full from lunch.  We each narrowed down cupcakes we didn't like until we decided on birthday cake - chocolate cake with vanilla frosting.  The cupcake was very good!  Better than I expected.  They weren't very crowded.  I think its because of their location.  

Next, Max and I got on a subway and headed to Chinatown.  Once we arrived Chinese ladies were targeting me and saying: purse, wallet, watch, purse, wallet, watch.  Max would respond and say no.  I asked him how they accept his answer when people seem to keep bugging me like in Time Square.  Max said you have to say no, make no eye contact, and keep your stride.  He said if you slow down they will think they have you.  That may be my problem, the eye contact and slowing down slightly.  We walked around and saw a petty church and went in.   Max doesn’t love that sort of thing but was nice to wait on me.  

Then, we went to Little Italy.  The towns are back to back and almost combine.  There is not a clear but line between the two. We went into a pasta shop.   I wanted to get a canoli.  I looked up the best ones and we found a good place to go.  They had a huge caoli out front and had a sign saying something about best canolis.  Since I bought the cupcake Max bought the canoli.  We split a plain one with chocolate chips.  It was the best canoli I have had!  Seemed like a lot of cinnamon in there.  It was very good!  We continued to walk through little Italy.  I saw a fire hydrant that was Italian colors.  Max and I noticed these girls with a camera.  Max decided to ask them what they were filming.  The girls said they are students at NYU.  They are filming a story of murals around the city and were wondering if we wanted to say something about the mural behind us.  It was Audrey Hepburn with a very modern spin.  Max went first for his interview.  I went second.  The camera was in the street a bit and people were trying to park so it was kind of hectic.  Thankfully we were in front of the fire hydrant that caught our attention at first where people can’t par.  The girls asked if I thought the mural made sense to be in Little Italy.  Max thought it was a good spot.  I didn’t think this super trendy/modern painting of Audrey Hepburn made sense to be in Little Italy.  One man was taking our picture.  He must have thought we were famous!  

Max and I kept walking and kept walking and decided to just walk back to our hotel.  I checked how far we were from Time Square.  My GPS said 30 minutes about 10 minutes later I checked to see how far we were and it said we were 30 more minutes away.  Max and I had some really good conversations about some controversial issues like gay marriage, Starbucks and Christmas.  
We went into Chelsea Market.  Max knew there was a well and a pretty light display there. 

As we continued to walk we saw a festival.  Someone told me there are always festivals going on.  There was a good live band at this one.  Max loves live music so we stopped to listen.  

I called the hotel when we were in Time Square for the valley to pull my car up.  They said it would take about 30 minutes.  Max and I stopped to get some pizza for me to eat on the way home.  When we got to the hotel we didn't see my car.  I asked someone about it.  They said they didn't get a phone call.  The man said I hope we still have it!  Max and I gave each other a worried look!  The man called someone and asked if they still had the car.  Again, looked at Max with a concerned look.  Thankfully they did have my car and would bring it.  Max waited with me while I waited for my car.  Max headed on to the train station to go back home.  

It was very simple for me to get out of the city.  It took me 2 hours and 15 minutes to get back!  How awesome that such a great city is so close!  People around here don't take advantage of that.  I didn't have any cash and I saw a toll.  I went to the lane as if you had a pass.  I think back in Texas if I did that without having a pass they would take a picture of my license plates and send me a bill.  Well, that did not happen.  I was stuck.  Eventually a police officer came to my car.  The officer said ma'am you have committed a federal crime.  He said he would give me a warning.  The officer saw my pizza and jokingly asked if I saved him a slice.  After a few minutes he gave me a $8 ticket to go online and pay the toll.  I thanked him and he said to have pizza next time.  

It was a fantastic trip!  So thankful for good friends, good food and a fun city!  

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