It was the start of a new decade for Marc this year -one of our best friends and next door neighbour for the past 8 years!!! Marc turned 40 and to celebrate we went to New York City with our best friends. We were scheduled to go at the beginning of October…everything was booked and bags were packed, but then Marc’s wife, Natalie got very sick with kidney stones and was stuck in the hospital. We weren’t sure what to do. We made some quick phone calls and were able to reschedule our whole trip for even a bit cheaper than when we had originally booked. It was a God thing! We had no cancellation insurance or anything! The timing ended up working way better for us with our work schedule – yay!
Matt and I had a wedding on the Saturday and as soon as we were done, drove through to Seattle until 2am to wake up at 5am for our flight!! There was definitely a “Sleep-lite” theme to this vacation. We arrived in the evening to our very cozy 3 bedroom apartment minutes from Time Square. It was so small that Matt & I couldn’t even fit out suitcase in our room. It was close to everything though and a great location for us!! That night we toured around Time Square….you almost felt like it was daytime with the bright lights! Take a look at our week through our “professional” iphones 🙂
DAY 1 – Monday
We started out our tour of NYC with our morning tradition of Starbucks to power us through the day. We then found Hello Deli around the corner from the Late Night Show and snapped a picture with Rupert.
Then we worked on our negotiating skills to rent some bikes to explore Central Park. I’m not good at a the negotiating cause I don’t like hurting the people’s feelings who we don’t choose. They look so sad. Central Park was amazing and the weather showed it off perfectly! We were THOSE tourists….Trying to read a map and ride a bike at the same time is no easy task. We saw the zoo, the Alice & Wonderland statues, amazing bridges, fountains, the list goes on!
Now we know why people were looking at us funny…..we got the wrong NY fountain!
After Central Park, we walked back through Manhattan and found Carnegie Hall, then went to Rockefeller Center to the “Top of the Rock”. We were told the best time is go in the late afternoon, so we could see everything in the daylight while watching the sunset and then see the night life of everything! It was stunning! We could see the Empire State Building, Central Park, beautiful churches, the World Trade Center and the hundreds of buildings that surrounded it.
We were looking for something to do that night and someone recommended this hole in the wall comedy club on the other side of town. Some of the comedians included a lady from the show Orange is the New Black and as well, Jimmy Fallon’s intern. It was hosted by a 15 year old….bless her heart! Let’s just say it was interesting experience and glad we only did that once.
DAY 2 – Tuesday
This was another “tourist” day and this time it was raining. The guys went to Madison Square Gardens to buy tickets to that night’s Ranger’s game, while the girls headed to China Town to get the real authentic New York experience from buying a purse from a sketchy purse dealer. We had heard of my mom and my aunt following someone down to a sketchy basement when they were there years ago. We found a purse lady on the side of the road and she got us to follow her. We followed her down the road inside McDonalds…..it was a weird place to buy purses we thought, but at least we were not in a sketchy place underground. We followed her to the upstairs of the McDonalds into the back. She handed us a brochure to look through until we found the purse we wanted. She brought us the knockoff name-brand purses we requested in a black plastic bag and we handed her cash. We came away from Chinatown with a fun experience and fancy look-alike purses! We then headed into a nicer part of town to do some more shopping.
The guys arrived, so we headed to the famous “Shake Shack” for lunch and then to the 9/11 Memorial Museum. It was a pretty incredible experience to see the impact that tragic event had and to see it play out in timelines, phone calls from the passengers, news casts, broken items that were on some of the bodies that were lost, and testimonies from those involved. It was a heavy and powerful few hours. The moment that brought tears to my eyes was hearing a phone call from a man that was on one of the planes telling his wife how much he loved her and encouraged her to live a great life. I’m really glad we went here. this is a photo of one of the firetrucks that came to rescue people from the building.
After that, we took the subway back. The guys headed to the hockey game and the girls got ready for a Broadway show. On our way back to our apartment, we saw the Broadway sign with Al Pacino’s name and that second, he got out of a black SUV and was hunched over running into the building. It took us a few seconds to comprehend that we really saw Al Pacino. We then headed to our show – Finding Neverland with Matthew Morrison (from Glee) as the lead character. It was a great show!! I got in trouble in the first 30 seconds of being there for having my phone out and for talking! Broadway is serious business. After the show, we saw a crowd gather outside and out walked Matthew Morrison to sign autographs.
Day 3 – Wednesday
This day started out VERY early!! The alarm started beeping at 3:30am. Who needs sleep anyway when you are on a holiday away from your kids (said no one ever)!! We put on as many layers as we could and headed for Rockefeller Center. We did our best the month before to score tickets online to Jimmy Fallon, but we had no luck, so had to take the colder, sleepless route for the chance of getting in stand-by. We were walking up to the Rockefeller entrance when a cab pulled up and a couple walked up to grab the first 2 spots in line. We were the next 6. We were told before that on average they take 10 stand-by people into the show. Sometimes it is only a few and sometimes it is more. Being out in the pouring rain with no cover at 4am is not really glamorous. We felt like we really experienced every aspect of New York now. My husband would be an all-star at survivor though….he found a wood-pile and cardboard nearby and made us a shelter. The 3 of us girls tried to sleep on a wooden crate with a blanket and the guys just covered us with cardboard and umbrellas. It was definitely a sight to see and we decided that we could never handle being on Survivor or living the homeless life. Soon having your hip dig into wood got old and we were told to put our fort away, so we tried to come up with games to pass the time.
Finally, we were 5 minutes until 9am…..YAY! Everyone started getting our their ID and then I panicked! “We need to show our ID now???” I had a quick realization that my drivers license wasn’t in it’s regular place in my purse, it was in my scanner at home as I needed to copy it for something the week before. The young red-headed lady with her clipboard came out and started passing out numbers and writing down names of those in line and then she got to me. I promised her that I had my passport back at our place and that I would bring it later. She didn’t care at all and said I had to have my ID right now. Waking up at 3:30am was about to all go down the drain! Thankfully she was willing to let us show her a copy of it. So in a panic I called my mom while she was sleeping and asked her to jump out of bed to send me a picture of my license. The text wasn’t coming through….the lady kept telling me she had to move on and then all of a sudden, it eventually it worked. She gave me my pass with the #8. I said a lot of “Thank you Jesus’” and “Praise the Lord”. Bless my mom’s heart who got woken up at 6am on a holiday! Love that lady!! We were told to come back at 3:30pm to see if we would be let in to the show.
Hubba Hubba!!! Don’t we look fabulous!!
There was no time to rest though…we had tickets for the View later that morning. We had actually got tickets to a few tapings that week and there weren’t really a lot of guests that stood out to us that week, but then it clicked. I had tickets to a Wednesday afternoon show and there was no taping on Friday. What if the Wednesday afternoon is the taping for Friday……Whoopi’s birthday celebration!??!! We decided to take the chance to do the Wednesday show and sure enough we had tickets to the show that everyone tries to get into every year. We took a shower after our all-nighter on the streets of New York and headed to the studio. We got there early, but apparently not early enough. There were a lot of other “priority” ticket holders already in line. What also surprised us is that it was like the line up for a sports team…..they went through the line up and picked through to get a diverse crowd. We were not guaranteed to get in. They gave out wristbands to most of the line up except for the last 12 in our line up, which included us. Because this was a popular show, it turned out that a lot of the staff invited their friends to come, so people would walk up and be let in right away. Every “friend” that was let in, took up a spot for one of us waiting in line. They allowed the group of 5 in front of us to come in, but we were left there standing and waiting. Then the guy came over shaking his head…..I can only take the next 3! That was us!! They hurried us in the building and directed us to front row seats on the side of the stage!
It was a great show to be at! Surprise guests included Robert DeNiro, Billy Crystal and the Supremes!! They did also give away a lot of gifts, including a brand new phone and other smaller items. With us not being residents we were only eligible for free books and a Chikafila lunch (which I was quite happy with as we were starving)….
(photo from The View website)
We ran out of there as fast as we could and waved down a taxi. On the way to the view, I made a comment “Watch us get stuck by a parade”…..sure enough on our way to Jimmy Fallon there was a parade!!! The traffic was not budging! Eventually we decided we could run faster, so that’s what we did with our big bag of books! Made it with 20 minutes to spare to wait in our next line for Jimmy Fallon!
They let the first 5 of the stand-bys in….which included 3 of our group. The guys moved on with the rest of the guests, while the girls waited and waited to see if we were going to be let in. Thankfully right before the show started, they let the next 5 in! We were so excited and we took our seats to hear The Roots jam before the show!! It even better listening to them live!! The show was amazing and it was definitely really fun to see the behind-the-scenes of the show! We were impressed with how little edits they did and how calculated everything was! Both the View and The Tonight Show studios were way smaller than they look on TV! Definitely one of our favorite experiences of New York and it made the early wake up call worth it!
Day 4 – Thursday
This was our last day in NYC and it was our day to see anything that we missed! First stop was Grand Central Station and it was GRAND!!
Then we took the Staton Island Ferry to check out the Statue of Liberty! After that, we walked all the way to and over the Brooklyn Bridge. We treated ourself to some famous Pizza from a restaurant that is apparently amazing, but I don’t know the name! After lunch, we separated and did some shopping!
In the evening, we had a great dinner at Ellen’s Stardust Diner!! The food was ok, but the entertainment was awesome!! All of the servers take turns singing around the restaurant and on the tables. It was no karoake! They did an amazing job!
Finally, Marc’s “to-do” was to watch The Bills! So we headed to a pub in Times Square to cheer them on and they won!
I feel like we did New York proud! We saw a lot in 5 days! We ate a lot and we walked more than I ever want to again. It is one of those holidays where you feel like you need another vacation afterwards to recover…….so on that note, we are going to Disneyland in a few weeks- haha!! We are going to be in great shape for Christmas!