Wednesday, November 10, 2010

"The city is not a concrete jungle, it is a human zoo." -- Desmond Morris

Warning: long post. What else did you expect?

Last week I was running around like a chicken with my head cut off (funny, I feel like that's how this week has been, too), but even that couldn't take away from my excitement about my trip to New York City. My blog friend Rosh won the trip and graciously asked if I wanted to join her, and I immediately jumped at the chance to go to one of my favorite places at a majorly discounted rate. Even if I'd never met the person I'd be vacationing with in person. And guess what? I had a GREAT time! We hit it off and, at least to me, there wasn't any awkwardness at all. We had a lot in common and the start of a good friendship was formed. The weekend was exactly what I needed and I seriously cannot thank Rosh enough for her kindness and generosity. The trip went far too quickly and we're already planning our next getaway :)

Your's truly and Rosh.

I'm going to break it up into two posts; Thursday/Friday & Saturday/Sunday. And then do a post about my love of NYC. And whatever photos I don't put up in those posts will show up eventually.

On Thursday, my flight was scheduled to leave Indianapolis at 7:15 p.m. I had a lot to do that day, but made sure I checked my flight status 901 times before I left because I was flying Continental, which is notorious for delays, and into Newark, which I just hate. When we left my house at 5, my flight was only delayed three minutes. When I arrived at the airport at 6, my flight was delayed three hours. And then, in the blink of an eye, it was delayed four hours. I was kind of ticked, but what are you gonna do about it? So I went to the counter and talked to the ticket lady and she told me that the 1:45 flight hadn't even left yet and there was low cloud coverage in the Newark area, which was delaying all flights (I still don't know if I believe this because the Delta flight to LaGuardia at 6:25 left on time, but whatever). She offered to put me on the 6:30 flight, which was delayed, but would get me out an hour earlier. I accepted the offer, checked my bag, and went to the atrium to relax for the evening.

I ended up calling everyone under the sun, which is proof as to how bored I was because I hate talking on the phone. Actually, I think I hate the idea of talking on the phone more than the actual act. Anyway, about an hour before I was scheduled to depart, I went through security, which took all of four seconds because my flight and my original flight were the only two left to depart from the entire airport. I got to my gate only to find out it had been delayed another 30 minutes (the departure time changed so many times in those 3-4 hours) and apparently air traffic control was trying to cancel the flight. A ticket agent told a guy that the pilots were arguing with ATC to let us leave because they wanted to get home-- apparently they won because at 1015, we boarded the plane. So, thank you Continental Pilots for telling ATC what's up.

Fortunately, we had planned to stay at an airport near the Newark Airport Thursday night. Rosh had driven in from DC earlier that day, so she was able to get us checked in and hang out before having to pick me up. By time we got to the hotel, it was after 1 am.

Insert opinion on the highway system in Newark. HO. LY. Crap. What in the heck were they smoking when they built the roads there? I've never seen anything so insane-- roads coming out of every which way, no lane markers, crazy signs I can't even describe... it was nuts. We were laughing so hard and I applaud Rosh for braving that kind of chaos, because we were just taking guesses as to which road to take. It probably didn't help that it was dark and raining and there were zero lights to speak of on said crap highways.

By time we went to sleep, it was around 2. I was exhausted and knew 6 hours wouldn't do much to rejuvenate me, but I didn't fly out there to sleep in a hotel in Newark, so we were up at 8:30 for free breakfast and then got ready slowly. We finally headed into the City around 11:45 and got to the hotel around 1.

Friday we checked into our hotel before hitting the town. We ended up getting one night free at the Marriott Marquis in Times Square and then split the cost of the other night (thank you, associate rate). We were on the 15th floor and our view was of Times Square and just PERFECT. I couldn't help but laugh when I walked in and saw how huge it was for two people. When I went to NYC fives years ago we stayed at The Hudson Hotel and our room was probably 70 sq. ft (not exaggerating) and only had a double bed. We crammed four people in there, the two adults on the bed and my friend and me on the wood floor. For five days. Definitely something I'd only do as a teen and on my first trip to NYC.

View from the room.

We literally threw our crap down and walked back out the door. We had originally planned to get up early that day and see a Broadway show matinee... but we hadn't originally planned on me getting in four hours late the night before, so that all went out the window. We postponed the show seeing until Saturday and hit Downtown on Friday. I am not kidding you when I say we hit almost every neighborhood on the island of Manhattan. I wish I had had my pedometer so I'd know how much we walked. But let's put it this way, we walked all of Uptown, Midtown, and Downtown and only took the Subway three times and never took a cab.

We decided to start at the bottom and work our way back up, so we got off at the World Trade Center stop (the map still called it this, which I thought was weird) and went from there. I was amazed how much had changed at Ground Zero and was really, really overwhelmed with emotion. Last time, you were able to walk on the sidewalk and peek through the fencing to see some of the beams still standing. This time, the sidewalk was blocked off and tons of construction was underway. This past Sept. 11, I watched Nat Geo nonstop and saw so much footage, so walking the very streets I'd seen on TV where people were literally running for their lives, I felt a sense of guilt. To be standing in a place of such tragedy where so many innocent people were killed was really hard for me to grasp. Honestly, the events of that day are still hard for me to comprehend; how thousands of lives were changed in minutes. I just can't wrap my brain around it.
Whew. OK, so from Ground Zero, we walked past City Hall where I was subsequently harassed by some drunk man who spotted me a mile away and was hell bent on making my acquaintance. This man literally bee-lined for me and zig-zagged through people to come to my side and claim, "You are So BOOOOOTIFUL!" I stopped for a hot second because he invaded my personal space and I was taken aback, but then when I realized what he was doing, I chuckled and kept going, but that didn't stop him from shouting at me as I walked away. Favorite quotes include, "Can we be friends?" "I just had to say hello." and "Why you no talk to me?" It was a riot.

We headed toward Canal Street (Chinatown) where some moron tried to sell me the worst knock-off bottle of Burberry perfume ever. When I called him out on it and listed all the flaws with the packaging alone, he said, "OK, 30 dolla." I handed it back and said thanks but no thanks, and walked away. He was adamant that it was legit, but shouting "10 dolla!" as I walked away confirmed it was anything but. Chinatown in NYC is notorious for selling designer knock-offs. I've never had so many Asians whisper in my ear, "Coach. Louis Vuitton. Prada. Chanel." OK, I've never had any Asians whisper in my ear, period, but you get the idea. Last time, I was all about buying the fake stuff... but now I'm a snob who'd rather buy the real Coach bag and didn't waste my time or money there. I ended up buying three Pashmina for 10 bucks and then we headed to Little Italy, where we were harassed again, but this time for declining eating a restaurant. This obnoxious man would not stop screaming at us and I was thisclose to turning around and saying, "Being an asshole isn't going to increase your chances of getting me to eat your food. And if you have to scream at people to eat at your restaurant, it's probably a pretty good indication of the kind of food you serve." But I didn't give in to his antics and kept walking away. Yay me. See, I told you, I think more bitchy than I speak :)

We walked and walked and walked some more in a short amount of time, hopped a subway and ended up back Midtown at Rockefeller Center. I was SO excited to exit and look left to see Radio City Music Hall decorated for Chirstmas! Y'all, since I was little I've wanted to go to NYC during Christmas, so this little bit of Christmas made me so happy. We also popped into Magnolia Bakery and were tempted to buy something (um, YUM red velvet cheesecake), but I wouldn't allow myself to buy some deliciousness. We then went back to our hotel where we collapsed for a couple hours. Rosh has a good friend who lives in Queens and he met us at our hotel and pried us out of bed and to a restaurant. We headed to Restaurant Row (which apparently is super touristy, but where we ate seemed more like a locals only place) and ate at a place called Pourhouse. Her friend paid for our dinner because apparently he has this rule that if he goes out with someone who doesn't have a full-time job, he pays. I'm thinking I need more people like him in my life. He was incredibly nice and easy to get along with and I hope I get to see him again someday. I was quite the fan.

After dinner, we headed back toward our hotel area and wandered a bit, but then my stomach started acting up so we just headed to the room and passed out. I'm sure that sounds super lame to some people, being that I'm 23 and should be out partying, but that's just not my cup of tea, and wasn't what Rosh wanted to do, either. Besides, drinks are stupidly expensive there and I just have a hard time justifying 16 bucks for a weak cocktail. So we were in bed by midnight and it felt great!

A, me, Rosh

The rest of the trip will be up later. Claps to you if you read that entire thing!

** All photos are mine taken in November 2010** Registered & Protected


Rosh said...

Yay for recaps - especially since yours will be so much better than mine....assuming I get them done at all.
I got tired just reading about all the walking we did! We really did cram a lot into a short couple of hours.

denise said...

Glad you had a great time. First, wow, I didn't realize you were so tall. Second - people bitch about how bad NY drivers are...NJ is way worse. I had the 'privlidge' of living there for a while, and they forget they are directing you with signs b/c they just disappear. There are tons of circles and roundabouts in the towns that people do not know how to use properly, etc. it is a MESS and I am sorry you had to witness that. Third- I flew out that day from LGA and was also delayed 2.5 hours but I was ON the plane :(

On to your recap. I am glad you walked a lot - it is the BEST way to see the city. I was shocked to see the holiday lights and decorations up on Monday. Looking forward to reading Saturday/Sunday.

Katherine said...

Great post! The World Trade Center part brought a few tears to my eyes.

Can't wait to read the next installment!

Studio 13 said...

My husband and I stayed at the Marriott in Times Square a few weeks ago... so fun to be in the middle of everything like that!

Jess said...

LOVE this........ makes me hate the truck even more.

I've stayed at pretty much every hotel in Times Square and the Marquis (three times stayed) is my favorite.

I want to go to NYC, again.

Big Fat Gini said...


So glad you posted about your trip, because I'm super duper jealous!

Also, I think you should have hooked up with Mr. You're So Booootiful. I'm just sayin'.

And now, this discussion is being "tabled." Bravo, Blogger. Bravo.

Adriane said...

Dude, you're TALL! Either that, or your travel companions are very short. :-)

I can't wait to read Part 2. Looks like y'all had a great time.

Helene said...

I've never been to envious that you got to go! Sounds like you had a great time!!!

purplume said...

We all need friends like that guy. Very nice. Thanks for reporting on the ground zero site. I haven't seen it since before 911.

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