Sunday, November 20, 2011

2 Year Anniversary Trip to NYC...

For our 2 Year Anniversary we decided to take a trip to NYC. We hadn't been for a few years, so we thought it would be fun. Since it was our third time going together, we decided that we would try and do things we had never done before and just relax and enjoy our time. Our Anniversary was on Oct 9 and we headed to NYC Oct 10-15. We stayed at the Grand Hyatt at Grand Central. This is our favorite hotel because it is right next to Grand Central and can just hop on the subway and go!! We got to NYC in the late afternoon on Columbus Day. We were pretty hungry, so we checked into our hotel and headed out to eat. We decided to go to The Shake Shack. We had never been before and one of my cousin's told me we had to go. We went to the one at Madison Park and I think all of New York was there as well. The line was enormous and it was like 9 at night!!! I kept thinking to myself that this better be worth the wait!! After being in line for an hour, we finally got to the front of the line. We each got a cheeseburger, fries and a shake. We also go some frozen custard since neither of us had tried it before. I thought the food was ok, but the frozen custard was amazing!!!!

Afterwards we hopped back on the subway and headed to the Apple Store. We were excited to go and see what the outside of the store would look like due to Steve Jobs just passing away. It was pretty cool!! There were tons of sticky notes left for Steve, tons of apples and even some apple boxes, old key boards, ipods, etc. It was by far the biggest memorial we had seen and we knew it would be because of the location of the store. The outside of the store was also all boarded up because they are in the process of remodeling it.

So here is the real story as to why we had to go to the Apple Store the first night...When we got to LAX to get on the plane, Joe was unloading our bags from the car and realized he had left his backpack at home. This probably sounds familiar as I did the same thing last year when going to SF, but because I was flying out of Orange County, Joe just went home, got it and brought it to me before my flight. There was no way this was going to happen this time because it takes at least an hour to get back home and another hour back to the airport and our flight was leaving in little over an hour. I called the airline to see about switching our flight but they said it would be at least $450 each and we wouldn't leave until the next day. Joe's backpack had our macbook, our hard drive with our pictures and all his work stuff like his blackberry and other stuff. (Secretly I was glad his work stuff was left at home....we were going on VACATION!!!!) After Joe calmed down...I have to admit I was a bit afraid of him because he was SOOOO mad about leaving it, we decided that if there was anything really important, my parents could ship it to us. We talked about maybe shipping the macbook but Joe was too afraid something would happen to it. Joe came up with the perfect plan of getting an iPad when we get to NY. We have been talking about getting one for a while, so now was the perfect time. The best part about the NY store is it is opened 24 hours, so we could go whenever we wanted. We got there probably around 10:00 pm and the place was still packed!! We got some help and in a matter of minutes, we were the proud new owners of the iPad2! We then headed back to our hotel for the night. ..In other words, headed back to play with our iPad!!!!

The next morning, the weather was gorgeous!! We could wear shorts it was that nice!! We headed out to the Jets team store in search for the Sanchez jersey I had been wanting. The store was Jets heaven!!! I was in heaven!! Of course they didn't have my size in the jersey, but that didn't stop me from getting a hat, license plate frame, drinking glass, magnet and a key chain!!! We then headed to grab some lunch at RARE. I had seen it on a TV show, so I wanted to go there. Joe had his first Bison burger and I had a cheeseburger. We also had sweet potato fries and Parmesan fries.

After that we hopped back on the subway and headed to Union Square to check out the new flagship Citibank branch. It was pretty cool. There were flat screen tv's all over the place that you could interact with and even had a customer service phone that you can actually see the person you were talking to on a screen. I think the security guy there was getting a little nervous about Joe and I just walking all over the bank, so he finally came up to me when I went in one of the back rooms and asked me if I needed some help. I told him that we both work for Citi and we were from CA and wanted to check out this new branch because we don't have anything like it in Ca. After that, we went next door to the biggest Best Buy we had ever been in. I think Joe was in heaven!! We picked up a cover for our iPad and then headed out. When we got out of the store, there were 4 firetrucks and a bunch of firemen all suited up. There was something going on down in the subway. As they headed down the stairway to the subway, I got a little teary eyed thinking that they were just going to do their job, just like those on 9/11. Such brave men!!!

We then headed to Times Square to go see Mary Poppins. I had gotten tickets for this months back and never told Joe. I didn't know how excited he would be to see Mary Poppins, but I know I had wanted to see it. I ended up telling him a couple of days before our trip and he didn't seem too thrilled. Oh well, I was excited!!! We had the best seats!! I was able to get the first row of the first mezzanine, right in the middle!! The show was really cute. I think I kept annoying Joe because it wasn't exactly like the movie and when something didn't happen that was supposed to happen, I would complain to Joe!! There were some really weird parts that I couldn't understand why they would come up with that, but overall it was great. The end was the BEST!! I won't give it away just in case you haven't seen it yet. It's a must see!!

We then headed to our favorite Times Square restaurant, Roxy!!! It has THE BEST CHEESECAKE EVER!!! The portions there are huge, so Joe and I split a sandwich. We then got a slice of the peanut butter cup cheesecake. It was soooo good!! We then headed to do a little shopping. Joe had given me a gift card on Valentine's Day that I hadn't used, so we went to the Quiksilver store to use it. While I was busy trying on clothes, Joe was walking around carrying a pair of slippers I wanted. He met one of the employees. She kept joking with him that the slippers he was holding were for himself. When she rang us up, she decided to decorate a box for him. It was pretty funny!! We also ended up signing my gift card and giving it to another employeel that worked there and she keeps it with her employee ID card!!! We had soo much fun joking our with them and now have two new FB friends!!! We were pretty sure that they had no clue how old we were and that Joe was old enough to be their dad!!!! We then headed to Forever 21. It had 4 levels!! It was huge!!!!! We then headed back to the subway and back to our hotel.

Wednesday was the day we had been waiting for. We had tickets to the 9/11 Memorial. It was raining, so we got bundled up and headed to the subway. When we got off the subway, we were at Wall Street and were greeted by a lovely live band...otherwise known as Occupy Wall Street!!! The people there were crazy!!! There were tents everywhere too. In the front of everyone was this freaky person dressed in a gas mask and a strange outfit, waving two huge flags. There were police all over the place just watching them. We watched for a while and then decided to leave. It was really weird!!!

On our way to the Memorial, we stopped at the Essex Cafe. This cafe is right across the street from the World Trade Center. When 9/11 happened, the cafe was turned into a medical facility to take care of people from the attack. They have some pictures and the original medical sign that they had made during 9/11 in the cafe.

We then got in line for the Memorial. Security is really tight there and you have to go through medal detectors before entering the Memorial Park. As we walked around the area, you could see where they are still working on the new transportation hub and the other buildings. It was weird, once we entered the Memorial grounds, it became silent. There was construction happening loudly all around the Park but for some reason you could tune that noise out. Seeing the pools in person is very powerful. To see the actual footprint from the buildings was humbling. I thought they did an amazing job with the pools. The rain stopped just as we got to the Memorial, which was nice. I had written some names down of people I wanted to find and pay my respects to at the Memorial. It was very emotional seeing the names of my good friend's family members and friend's. Every now and then you would find a flower or a flag by a name.

We were also able to find the Survivor's Tree. This tree is the actual tree that was pulled from Ground Zero. It was taken to a place where it was restored and taken care of to one day be replaced back to it's original home. This tree is different from all the other trees in the Memorial Park because you can see the slashes and marks from the destruction it went through on 9/11. It is also a very powerful thing to see still standing. Once we were done at the Memorial, we went to the 9/11 Memorial store. They had a ton of t-shirts, books and videos about 9/11. Joe and I both got a t-shirt and I got a bracelet that I have worn everyday now since I got it. They were also playing footage from 9/11 that had interviews with people who had lost family members. As you walked into that area, there was a feeling of sadness when you entered and saw that footage. It is true that it is a day we will never forget.

We then headed to Soho because Joe wanted to go to the Firemen store. We had to stop and grab a piece of pizza at Joe's pizza!! Next door to Joe's pizza was Popbar. They serve frozen gelato on a stick and then you dip it in chocolate and some toppings. It's similar to a Balboa Bar but believe it or not, SOO MUCH BETTER!!! It was sooo good!!!

Afterwards we went to Rockefeller Plaza, the Lego Store and the Nintendo Store. It was raining, so we tried to stay indoors as much as possible. We then went back to Times Square to go to our favorite Thai food restaurant. Of course I had to stop at the Disney Store! On our way back to the subway, we stopped at Roxy's again to get a slice of cheesecake to share. This time we got caramel, apple struessel......IT WAS AMAZING!!! We ate that slice sooo fast!!!!!!!

Thursday we were going to meet some co-worker's from Citi on Long Island City. Before we headed there, we went to the Doughnut Plant in China Town. It was pretty good!! We then headed to LIC. It was soo much fun meeting our friends. It was nice to put a face to a name!! The Citi building is soo tall and when we were up in their offices I could feel the building swaying back and forth from the wind because we were so high up!!! I had to bring them some gifts from California so I brought them a huge box of See's Candy and each of them a Mickey or Minnie Mouse hat with their names embroidered on them from Disneyland, of course!! I am wish I would have gotten a picture of them with their hats!!!!! We went to a yummy Italian restaurant for dinner and just chatted and got to know each other a little better. It was a great night!!!!

Friday we took a train to Hartford, Connecticut. We were going to visit the Baldwin's. They used to live across the street from me when I was in High School. We hadn't seen each other for like 15 years. Mike and Bettianne have three children-Little Michael, Brendan and Molly. Little Michael was probably 3 or 4 when they moved. He would be the only one who remembered us. I can remember going over the their house and watching little Michael while Brendan was born!!! Shauna and I went out to New Jersey after they moved back to the East Coast and went to Cape Cod with them. Bettianne met us at the train station. She still looked as cute as a button!!!! She took us to see Molly. This is the first time I remember meeting her. Bettianne said that I would have met her when she was a baby because she was born in CA, but I don't remember. I had never seen a "girl" Baldwin and she was the cutest!!!!!! She had the big Baldwin eyes and smile and looked like Bettianne!! Molly was hanging out with her Field Hockey team eating some lunch, getting ready for their game later that day. Bettianne then took us to see where the hurricane had hit some homes along the Long Island Sound. It was crazy seeing the destruction.

We then went to their house. I was greeted by "big" Mike and the first thing he said to me was "Nerdy, Nerdy"!!! I died laughing!! I hadn't heard that expression in 15 years. Little Michael used to say that to my dad all the time!! It was soo good to see him. I then got to see Brendan..he was soo big!!!! He was home for fall break. I told him how I was there when he was born and couldn't believe how big he was!! We chatted for a while and then headed out to see Molly's field hockey game. It was fun watching Molly even though none of us had any clue on what the rules were or why the ref kept blowing the whistle!!! Molly's team ended up winning in the end!! It was pretty awesome!! She is #2 in the white jersey and plays defense. It was soo cute hearing Bettianne cheering for her!!!!!

Brendan and Molly

We then went back to their house right when it started pouring rain!!! Brendan went to the train station to pick up little Michael. It was sooo great too see little Michael.....though he is no longer little!! He is over 6 ft tall!! We had a great dinner and then looked through some old pictures of their days in Ca. At one point little Michael mentioned that even though we hadn't seen each other for at least 15 years, it was neat that we pick right back up as though we had never been apart. That is what true friend's can do!!! It was awesome!! It was was like we had never been apart!! I didn't want to leave. It was so great being together again. We promised that we wouldn't let another 15 years go by and would try and maybe get together with everyone next summer at "The Cape"!! We took some pictures and then they drove us back to the train station. It was sad to say good-bye :( The Baldwin's have to be the nicest family I know. They are so sweet and their kids are amazing!!! Little Michael just graduated from Georgetown Univ and is working in NYC as an Investment Banker, Brendan is going to college in Massachusettes at Holy Cross and Molly will be turning 16 soon and is in HS in Fairfield, Connecticut.

Brendan, Michael, Molly, Me and Joe

Little Michael, Mike, Bettianne, Molly and Brendan

Michael, Molly and Brendan

Here are a couple of pictures we found from back in the day...

This is when Shauna and I went to visit them in New Jersey and went to Cape Cod. Look how little Brendan (in the stroller) and Michael (on my lap in the red shirt) are!!!

Little Michael was attached to my brother Matt!! Every where Matt would go, Michael would go. It was soo cute!! Now Michael is bigger then Matt!!!!!

Saturday our flight wasn't leaving until 8:00 pm, so we decided to pack in some last minute things. We took the subway to Roosevelt Island to go see John and Audrey Crisp. It was fun catching up with them and seeing Audrey ready to pop!! Their baby was due the next week!! Baby Weston came right on his due date and is soo cute!! We brought them a little NYFD onsie for Weston :) We took the airel tram back from Roosevelt Island. It was a really nice view with gorgeous weather!!!

We then headed back to the Apple store to get some pictures during the day. Afterwards we grabbed some lunch and went to Central Park to walk around and around along the streets. We then decided to head to Times Square one more time before we had to go. This ended up being a very bad we started getting closer to Times Square, there were police everywhere. All the streets were being barricaded. All the police had tons of those zip tie hand cuffs. As we got closer to the middle of Times Square, it got more and more crowded with more police and sirens. A huge crowd of people was was the Occupy Wall Street protesters!! They decided to move their way to Times Square. It was pretty scary and we luckily got out of there as fast as we could. We couldn't get to the subway because it was crazy, so we had a bit of a walk back to our hotel. We finally made it back to our hotel, hopped in a town car and were off to JFK airport.

Occupy Protesters in Times Square

We had a great time in NYC. Even though I still wasn't feeling my best, it was great to get away from everything and just spend time with each other. We had another week off when we got back from NYC. We pretty much spent that time relaxing at home. We did go to Disneyland one day to see all the Halloween decorations!!!

I can't believe two years have already gone by!!!!