Sunday, October 09, 2005
New York State of Mind!
We had an eventful weekend, as Nancy and Samantha headed to NYC for the weekend. It had been raining at home in VA for a couple of days, and was still raining at 6am on Saturday morning when we drove to the Amtrak station in DC - boy that was a tough drive. We took the 7:35am train to Penn Station - Samantha had a good time and bugged me the entire time to go to the Cafe Car.
When we arrived in NYC, we immediately headed to Samantha's highlight of the trip - a day at the American Girl Place. This is an entire store dedicated to the American Girls. These are dolls that each have a story behind them set in a historical time of American History. Samantha's first doll, Samantha (given to her by her Great Aunt Linda when she was born), is based in 1904 North of NYC. Samantha now has her second doll - Felicity - who lived in Williamsburg, VA in 1774. The store was CRAZY but we had a great time. Samantha had her Samantha doll's hair styled into a fancy new doo, we saw a theater show put on by "the American Girls", and had lunch in the American Girl cafe, where Samantha and Felicity (the dolls) were able to join us at the table with little doll sized high chairs!! We also added a couple of "historically based" outfits to the wardrobe of both of the dolls!!
After spending most of the day at the American Girl cafe, we headed to the hotel. This was quite a challenge, as it was POURING down raining. So, not only were all of the tourists in the city using taxis (remember, it was Columbus day weekend), but so were the residents. And, trust me, a woman with a child, a suitcase, and a huge shopping bag were NOT an attractive fare to pick up. But finally, after getting completely DRENCHED, and about losing our shopping bag that was coming apart because it was soaked, we got a cab to our hotel, which was at 6th Ave and 57th street.
Our hotel was a converted studio apartment building. We had a nice room with a little kitchenette with a refrigerator. We checked in and then Samantha wanted to go to dinner, so we headed to the restaurant where I planned to eat dinner - the Jekyll and Hyde club. It ended up being right around the corner, basically part of the same huge building. It was a "haunted restaurant" where the entire restaurant is decorated like a big "Halloween" party. There were lots of kids there, so I figured I made a good choice. After dinner, we tried to go to the Empire State Building, but because of the rain and the clouds, we weren't able to see anything from the top of the building, so we didn't bother to go up. We then headed back to the hotel to get some sleep since we were up at 5:30am
On Sunday morning, we headed to Battery Park to take a Ferry ride to the Statue of Liberty. It was drizzly, wet, and cold. Didn't make for a great ferry ride, but Lady Liberty was as beautiful as I expected. We walked around the island for a while, and then headed back to the ferry for a trip to Ellis Island. The immigration building was quite interesting, and I tried to imagine what it was like to be one of those immigrants, standing in line with just the bags in my hands. After riding back to Battery Park, we got a cab back to the hotel. This cab driver was nice, and drove through the streets of town and pointed out many of the notable sights, including the WTC site. We had lunch at an Italian restaurant right up from the hotel that had GREAT pizza. Afterwards, we walked the 1 1/2 blocks north to Central Park and we took a horse-drawn carriage ride through Central Park. Afterwards, we walked around Midtown Manhattan, and just looked around at some of the buildings, including Carnegie Hall and Trump Tower.
Sunday evening included dinner at the new Hard Rock Cafe in Times Square. After dinner and looking around at all of the lights and sights of Times Square, we walked a few blocks up Broadway to see our Broadway play - Beauty and the Beast. It was GREAT!!
Monday morning was quiet, as we wanted to make sure we made the train on time. We ate breakfast at a little corner shop called Get a Bagel. Granny would have LOVED it. They had every possible thing you could imagine putting on a bagel, and then some you probably never imagined. Afterwards, we walked down to Rockefeller Center, saw the ice rink, and even saw where they were filming the Today Show. It was a bit crazy because there was a concert on Monday, but we got to peek through the screens in the building and saw the indoor set. Pretty cool.
We took a cab back down to Penn Station - what I thought would take longer only took about 15 minutes. We had some time to kill at Penn Station and spent it sitting in the large hall in front of the departures board. Penn Station is a little nuts. They don't post the track that you will be departing on until they are ready to board the train, so everyone stands in front of the departure board waiting to see the track number, and then there is a MAD DASH to the gate so everyone can board - all about 15 minutes before the train is due to depart.
After an uneventful train ride home, I was looking forward to driving home and relaxing, but to no avail. The car wouldn't start (a side effect of an elusive electrical short we have in the car that rears its head from time to time). I had trouble getting it jump-started because of a smart-mouthed Amtrak police officer who told me to "call AAA" because they would have to push the car out in order to jump it. Finally the Amtrak police came around and jump-started the car and we were FINALLY able to head home.
A quite exhausting but fun trip!