After listening to my carefully selected NYC playlist (yes there was a lot of Frank Sinatra), we arrived at O'hare Airport. Where we flew standby at the graciously reduced rate due to our wonderful friend John DiPrima... (thanks John! ps-I still have a bottle of wine for you).
We waited for our first possible departure, on which we unfortunately did not get a seat. But, it was a mere 90 minutes until the next flight which we easily were able to board.
The plane ride was mostly uneventful with the exception of one woman. This woman was quite a piece of work. To paint a picture, I kept thinking we were flying to New York until I saw her, she reminded me that our destination was New Jersey because she looked like a "Real House Wife of New Jersey" or a cast member on "Jersey Shore." She was almost like Snooki meets Joan Cusack in "Working Girl," only with bigger hair.
I've always seen that part in the movies where someone thinks they can get their oversized bag in the overhead bin, but I've never seen it first hand. This logic was even worse after being kindly informed that there was no more room in the over head compartment for her massive bag (which likely wouldn't have fit anyway, she insisted that it would fit under the seat in front of her. Well, there she was going on the plane with her massive carry-on and massive purse, and here she came right back out again only moments later when it didn't fit under her seat.
Then she took five minutes to get settled, only to leave and ask if they had any seats in first class, no I can't make this stuff up. It was a funny thing though, it caused all of us to bond in our mutual hatred of this woman. I'm sure it's unChristian of me to be speaking of this woman in this way, but I can honestly say the only thing I liked about this woman is that she gave me a Working Girl reference to use in this blog post.
Anyway, enough about her.
We arrived in New Jersey about 12pm EST and got an AirTran van ride to our hotel. It was most awkward sharing such close quarters with complete strangers and the Lincoln Tunnel was hard for me to breathe my way through. But, the awesome 80s tunes that the driver had on were a helpful distraction.
We finally arrived at the Hotel Excelsior. Where I quickly realized I was going to love NYC because there was a farmer's market just across the street.
We spent our first day in New York in the typical tourist way. We tried a new restaurant, strolled in Central Park, walked to Times Square, and saw the Broadway. I only wish we could have made it to a show... next time.
Central Park is the most beautiful park I've ever been to, there were so many different kinds of people and so many different activities happening, it was like walking through a dream. I understand now what made George Seurat so enamored with people spending a summer afternoon in the park. I feel like if I were a painter I could have easily spent the entire day there just people-watching and painting the sights I saw, as it was I was trying to snap pictures furiously and still take it all in well enough to describe.
Perhaps the strangest thing I saw that day was a man walking his dog. He was coming around the bend toward the main road that my mother and I were walking along. His black beautiful poodle was clearly hot from the walk, as was he. He spotted a drinking fountain, he found the spout handle, as soon as there was a a steady stream of water I expected him to lean over and drink from it, instead what I saw astounded me. The poodle reached up it's two front paws and pulled itself up for a refreshing drink. A strange sight, to say the least, but what was even more odd was the gaggle of girls that followed behind waiting for their turn at the bubbler seemed completely unmoved, like this was a perfectly normal event in central park.
We exited the park at Columbus Circle, and continued our walk down Broadway to Times Square.
(a paragraph from my journal entry 8-23)
You can barely stand it. Noise, exhilaration, and lights! Lights, lights, and more lights! There is so much going on your mind truly can't process it all. The beauty of Times Square is that for all the over-stimulations from electronics there are just as many restaurants, theatres, and people. It is certainly a sight worth seeing.
We ate dinner at the famous Junior's. The food was over-priced but tasty, the true treat was the New York Cheesecake (which I fruitlessly searched for some cognac to enjoy along with it). We walked to M&M World and past Radio City Music Hall, and ended our evening back in the hotel room to enjoy our cheesecake. The perfect end to the nearly perfect NYC day!