I woke up in Newark, which is close to the city that doesn't sleep....
YESSSSSSSSSSSSSSS. Thanksgiving weekend was a blast! Thanks to gerg for showing me a great time in NYC and thanks to Brian and Suzy for their hospitality.
I hit 4 new states this past holiday: New Jersey, New York, Massachusetts, and Vermont.
We took off from the Minneapolis airport at about 6:30am on Wednesday, which meant an EARLY morning for us, we left the house around 4am-ish. Landed in Newark, New Jersey at the International Airport at about 10:30 and boarded the AirTrain to Penn Station. Penn Station was pretty cool, but we needed to head to Grand Central Station where we were going to leave our backpacks during the day while we toured. MISTAKE! Since 9/11, you can't leave bags anywhere in NYC, so we ended up toting our backpacks around the city as we toured. A little pain in the shoulders at first, but nothing a few Tylenol couldn't cure. Grand Central Station is gorgeous. I loved it, and could have spent more time investigating its nooks and crannies.
We departed Grand Central station and hopped a cab to the Empire State Building, which was gerg's pick for the day. The line was about 45 minutes long (time-wise). I spied on the couple in front of us with LV bags and ridiculous mink coats. They looked surprisingly unhappy, despite their lavish lifestyle. Continuing, we finally reached the observation deck, and oh how we observed, despite the wind. NYC is great from below (I love the subways (yes it was my FIRST subway experience - in MPLS we have a lightrail)), but it's also spectacular from above. As you can see, I got to see my favorite lady sculpture from afar. A cool chic snapped a photo of gerg and I from the observation deck. If you look closely, you can see the Chrysler building between us. NICE. It was insanely windy up there, and our hair took a beating. Mine got all whirled into a frenzy. gerg's got poofy-feathered, like 80s hair.
Headed out for lunch after the Empire State Building tour, and selected NY style pizza. It was my first piece of NY style pizza ever and I loved it! The joint we hit was called Pizza Pete's. Nothing fancy about this joint, but it was close and seemed like the real deal. Gerg had pepperoni and sausage, I enjoyed spinach, mushroom, and garlic.
314 Fifth Avenue
Grabbed a coffee at one of the 8 million Starbuck's in NYC, and headed out to find a subway station. Along the way, we passed Macy's, and the hub-bub was pretty brilliant. Macy's Day Parade preparation was underway and we even caught a glimpse of Snoopy!
Caught the subway to down to Battery Park, where we caught great views and photos of me with the girl of my dreams, the Staten Island Ferry, and the salvaged Sphere sculpture from the World Trade Centers. Apparently, this sculpture was salvaged during recovery operations and placed in the park as a memorial. A never-ending flame burns at the base.
It started to drizzle, so we hot-footed it to the nearest local establishment, The Blarney Stone. Helped ourselves to a Stella Artois and a Guinness for gerg. Of course, shots of Jameson were imminent. Feeling rested and noting the rain stoppage, we headed out again to take the subway to Grand Central Station. Exited the train to catch our next train and stumbled upon Ground Zero.
The Ground Zero memorial currently in place is well done, IMO. No politics there, no talk of terrorists, fear, hate, revenge...Spectacular photos and a timeline commemorate the tragedy without sentimentalizing it. A polite sign reminded visitors to not cheapen the area by buying crap from people. I thought that was a good point, and really, we were only approached by one man selling photographs. We declined. We took a few photos through the fence of the area.
Realizing the urgent need to use the bathroom, and the lack of public bathrooms in NYC, we found another pizza joint, nibbled some breadsticks, and used the facilities. Buon Appetito! This joint was just up the street from St. Paul's Chapel. The cemetery of the Chapel seemed in shocking disrepair until I realized how OLD the place is....Washington visited the chapel after his inauguration in 1789!!
We had hoped to meet up with some friends for dinner at Grand Central Station, so we headed back in that direction via the subway. Grabbed a glass of Pitron at Tequilaville and accidentally left the earrings I bought at Grand Central on the bar. BOO!!! That was the only souvenir we purchased, so I brought nothing home except photos, which are rad. The restaurant kind of reminded me of a Mexican style TGI Fridays, but we had a nice spot at the bar and a great view of a fire on Vanderbilt (not that we saw flames or anything...just fire trucks and NYFD!).
12-14 Vanderbilt Avenue bet. 42nd & 43rd St.
New York, NY
Ran out to check out the NYFD, who were heroic and handsome as usual. Walked around to look for a dinner spot. Our friends never made it for dinner, but we still enjoyed a fabulous dinner a Ammos, a Mediterranean restaurant. We enjoyed veggies in a dazzling vinaigrette and some snappy snapper with capers. Also a broccoli dish with garlic and feta was delish. We were very happy with this joint just around the corner from Grand Central Station.
52 Vanderbilt Ave
New York, NY 10017
Our hope was to meet up with Dave and Dre at Grand Central Station to take the train to Massachusetts. They were delayed and missed the train, so we departed without them. Grabbed some Holla bread from Zaro's Bread Basket at Grand Central, and a couple Amstel Lights, and boarded our train. A two-hour ride took us to a parking lot in Wassaic, where Brian and Suzy left their Volvo wagon for us. We hopped in, put on our disguises (left in the car for us by Suzy), and took our 2 hour drive to North Adams, where friends and beer awaited us. Finally crashed at about 4am, so a 24 day started in MPLS and ended in North Adams by way of NYC.
Thanksgiving in North Adams!
Thursday was a whirlwind of people cooking and preparing tasty bits. Eric, Brian, and Tim worked on the turkey. Tiffany made rolls and a tofurkey, Ashley made a cornbread dressing, Katie made another type of bread n' onion dressing and cranberry sauce, IIII made smashed sweet potatoes, Eric made smashed potatoes with garlic and sharp cheddar cheese, gerg and Dre made apple crisp, Tim and Brian made turkey gravy, I made green bean casserole and brought the holla bread, and Ferris made a mess with sweet potatoes in his hair.
Dinner was consumed, dishes were scrubbed, and the drink began to flow. Not surprisingly a dance party followed. Also, a fuzzy game of Celebrity. I sukked at this game, honestly.
On Friday, gerg and I took a walk around North Adams and checked out some of the local architecture. New England knows how to build gigantic homes!! We really did love the buildings there. Stopped at the Cup and Saucer for sammiches and soda pops. The food was really tasty...lots of locally grown stuff and organic stuff. Definitely veggie friendly. The bagels looked dreamy. Walked over to the local bakery at the Big Y for some fresh bagels (the Cup and Saucer looked low on bagels), and headed back to Brian and Suzy's house.
Friday night was all about candlepin bowling and Coors Light at Valley Park Lanes! Such fun! There are only about a dozen candlepin bowling joints in the US, mostly in MA, truth be told. I even won the second round with a 94. Big ups to me. The Arcade was fun too! Brian and gerg played an amusing round of Dance Dance Revolution. With the tickets we won at the arcade, I got a sweet jelly bracelet and a temporary tattoo of a Archaeopteryx. SWEET.
The rest of the guests departed on Saturday after breakfast, so Brian, Suzy, Ferris, gerg and I spent time lounging and watching movies. Suzy and I took Ferris to the park for fun slide action, and gerg and Brian formed new band with Ferris. Suzy made pumpkin pie for dinner! What a great idea! So we ate pumpkin pie and watched LA Story. A great wrapup to a great trip.
Headed back EARLY Sunday morning to catch the 6:23 train from Wassaic to Grand Central Station. Took a cabride from Grand Central to Newark and flew home to MPLS. Landed around 2pm.
For a more comprehensive set of our photos, click here.
Once again, a BIG UP YOURSELF goes out to Sarah and Reed, Brad, and Paula for taking care of kota-dog while we travelled. *smooches*