Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Last Year in New York

This trip was absolutely amazing, and even considering that neither of us were blogging regularly back then, I still can't believe it was never even MENTIONED. Seriously, it was a couple months later when I realized that, not only did we never post a recap about our trip -- that's not so unusual -- but we never even mentioned ahead of time that we were going! And we'd been planning it for months.

Anyway, since it was exactly a year ago that we were there, I figured what better time to write all about it. So here it is, the long-awaited New York post.

We flew out early on Thursday morning. It actually wasn't super early; our flight was at 7-something. But with the whole getting to the airport early, and us getting to the airport SUPER early since neither of us are regular flyers so we actually listen when they say "get there 2 hours before your flight," it ended up being a much earlier morning than either of us realized when we bought our tickets. But, whatever. I'd rather get to New York tired than get there late and have to pay extra fees on top of it all because we missed our flight because we didn't know what we were doing or where we were supposed to go.

(Oh, and can I just say that I love flying? I mean, the actual flying part of it is a little unnerving, but it's just so . . . I don't know. I guess I never got over the adventure of it from when you're a kid. I imagine if I ever actually traveled by train -- and I mean, like, REALLY traveled, not just commuting to the city -- I'd probably feel the same way.)

Thursday was a low-key day since that was our arrival day; other than a short walk over to Central Park (the friends we were staying with lived on the Upper East Side at the time, a few blocks east of the huge reservoir) and a little wandering there, we pretty much just hung out and caught up with Chris and Jeanette.

Friday was our big touristy day -- Statue of Liberty, Ellis Island, and the newly-opened 9/11 Memorial, which was an extremely humbling experience. Unfortunately, Friday also tired us both out, big time, so the next couple of days were back to being somewhat slower.

Saturday, we spent the morning and afternoon exploring the Met, and then stopped at an old-time soda shop for lunch (a good chunk of our to-do list involved various food places, and this one just looked so cool). Later that night we went to Times Square, didn't spend a whole lot of time there, but it was definitely cool to see. It reminded me of being on the Strip in Vegas.

Sunday, our friends took us to a bar where they watch the Chicago Bears games. From what I can remember, the game kinda sucked, not unlike our last one (I guess maybe Week 2 is just not our week) but at least we got free orange and blue jello shots at halftime. After that, Chris had to go play a gig (yeah, that's right, we're friends with a rock star), but the rest of us did some more exploring in and around Central Park, with Jeanette showing us a few of her favorite spots.

Monday was our oh-crap-we're-leaving-tomorrow-and-still-haven't-done-half-the-stuff-we-wanted-to-do day, so it was sort of a random mess, but still fun, especially since Chris joined us (one of the perks of being a self-employed musician). We went first to Serendipity (right, like I could ever go to New York and NOT go there), and then to Mark Burger, which our friends had wanted us to try and hadn't gotten around to it till then. Then we swung over to the West Village to see the building from Friends (yes, shut up), before making our way back "home."

For that evening we'd gotten tickets to see Avenue Q at one of the off-Broadway theatres. We were both somewhat familiar with the show, and knew some of the music from it, and it was just as good as we had heard. A great way to end our trip. And then Tuesday we flew home.

So, yeah, we kept ourselves pretty busy. But at the same time, I feel like we hardly saw anything. I did sort of expect us to do more . . . and yes, we probably could have squeezed in a couple other things on Saturday and Sunday, or done more "significant" things on Monday. But, even if we had scratched a couple bigger things off our list, I think I'd still have left with the feeling that we hardly saw anything. I mean, it's New York City! There's SO MUCH there, it's impossible to see it all. And on the one hand, it's like, when's the next time we're going to be in New York, we have to see ALL THE THINGS!!! But on the other hand, this is a vacation, we want to enjoy ourselves.

Obviously it wasn't a super long trip, really just an extended weekend, and I would love to go back. Even more than any specific thing we did, I just loved BEING there! The energy, the atmosphere, was just incredible. I would never be able to live there. At least, not now. Maybe when I was a little younger, in or just out of college, I could have spent a year there, like how some people do a year abroad. But it truly is an amazing place. And, while I have my doubts it will ever happen, I would love to go back for like a two- or three-week vacation someday . . . and I'm sure I'd still come away with the feeling that I didn't do nearly as many things as I'd planned on or thought I could fit in. But again, it's finding the balance. HAVING the experiences, but still being able to ENJOY the experiences. And, like I said, just being there was an experience.

The other thing this trip did was make me realize how much I squandered all those years living in the Chicago suburbs. Okay, yes, for most of that time I was a kid. And the year and a half I spent as an adult in the suburbs we were broke, and not really focused on weekend excursions to the city. But still . . . I feel like I don't know Chicago at all. I think I know Manhattan more than I know Chicago (of course I spent a LOT of time looking at maps in the weeks leading up to our trip), and that's just sad.


  1. FRIIIIIEEEENDSSSS! That building is definitely on my list of things to see when in NYC. Let's hope I find the money and time to go there in the not too distant future :-)

    1. Oh yes, didn't see the Empire State Building, but we made SURE to get to the Friends building. (Also, right by that burger place I mentioned is St. Mark's Comics, where Phoebe mugged Ross when they were kids.)

    2. Well, at least you had your priorities right ;-) Visiting the Friends building is more important than the Empire State Building anyways.