Sunday, June 28, 2009

We're the party people, night and day

Here I am at 1:15am on Friday morning in Times Square. I know it's 1:15am because Melissa took a picture of the Times Square clock a few minutes later. I think I'm holding on to the newspaper rack out of necessity. But let's start at the beginning.
Here I am the previous Sunday arriving in NYC for the first time, coming out of Penn Station.
Penn Station is huge and connects with Amtrak and the New Jersey railroad and is very busy and confusing. It is how I imagined Grand Central Station would be instead. If at any time we would have screwed everything up, it would have been those first few minutes in Penn Station when we were trying to buy a Metro pass and could not figure it out. Luckily, a homeless guy came to our rescue and showed us how we were on the wrong floor led us to the right place and helped us buy our pass. At any other station we would have been fine, but Penn Station is nuts.
Sunday is a very good day to go to NYC for the first time. It is relatively quiet and empty, especially first thing in the morning. Once we had our subway pass, we headed downtown where there was no traffic at all.
This is St. Paul's Chapel, established in 1766. Though a large number of my ancestors are from New York, I did not really expect Manhattan to have any colonial buildings, so I was surprised to see it. George Washington was inaugurated in NYC, and visited this chapel on inauguration day.
From here we walked to Battery Park and took the ferry to Liberty Island.I like this picture that Melissa took.

From Liberty Island, we continued on to Ellis Island. Most of the buildings on Ellis Island are closed to the public. I think the one here is the hospital, but I'm not totally sure. I took this picture from inside the huge waiting/processing room. So far I have not found any of my own ancestors that came through Ellis Island, since most migrated long before it was open. But it was interesting.After the ferry returned us to Battery Park, we took the train to Grand Central Station, then got out and had some lunch. All the restaurants in NYC are Italian or Irish. We chose an Irish one.
Then went to SoHo and NoLita to buy perfume. Here is the perfumer mixing fresh juice for us.We were very impressed with the shopping in this part of town. I have never seen so many city blocks filled with beautiful things and yummy smelling food, all coming from independent stores. It would be very dangerous to live in this part of town.
It started raining, so we went back to New Jersey and got ready to go to work.
We returned to NYC on Thursday and got a hotel near Times Square. First thing we did was eat pizza.
We are at John's Pizza which is inside of what used to be a church. It's very cool and the pizza is yummy. Oh and I don't know if this is a New York thing or what, but everywhere we went, when you want your check you have to ask for it. They don't just bring it over. And they don't refill your drinks for free, either. You have to ask if you want a refill.
After eating our New York pizza we went over to the TKTS building in Times Square to get show tickets for the evening. We were hoping since it was a Thursday night that we would be able to see a Broadway show. We ruled out all Disney shows, Shrek, and shows where anyone dies. A lot of shows were sold out, but TKTS still had plenty of choices. Our first choice 9 to 5 sold out while we were waiting in line, so we chose Avenue Q instead. Here are some pictures I took of Times Square while we were waiting in line.

While standing in Times Square, we learned from the scrolling headlines on the CNN building that Farrah Fawcett had died, and I looked up the details on my iPhone. The iPhone came very much in handy while we were in NYC. The "GPS" feature works really good.

After we got our tickets, we took the train uptown to the very top of Central Park. The purpose of our trip was to find the Seinfeld restaurant. While we were walking there we accidentally came across the Cathedral of St John the Divine, which incidentally is the largest gothic cathedral in the entire world, according to my guidebook. We got there about 30 minutes before they closed the doors for the evening, which was so lucky. We spent the next half hour taking about hundred photos inside. I was completely amazed by this building. It was the most awesome building I've ever seen, including anything at Hearst Castle.
Finally made it to our destination, the Seinfeld restaurant.

Then we went back to our hotel to freshen up for the Avenue Q show. I think it was in the hotel lobby that we saw the headline that Michael Jackson had been hospitalized for cardiac arrest and had possibly died. We turned on the TV in our room and flipped the channels. Nothing had been confirmed yet. It took a few minutes to even find one of those "breaking news" interruptions and it only mentioned the hospitalization. By the time we changed our clothes and headed over to Broadway via Times Square to get to the theater, it had been confirmed. I knew it by the way people walking towards us suddenly stopped in their tracks, motionless, speechless, staring upward at the huge electronic displays overhead. People lifted up their cameras to take pictures. They were all focused on one thing. I turned around to see what everyone was looking at, though I already knew. The monitors were showing TV news with closed captions on so everyone could read that Michael Jackson was dead. It was strange to see everyone stop and read.
Avenue Q is a very funny show.
We went to dinner on Restaurant Row, then to a comedy club, which was really more of a comedy-craphole-basement. But the comedy was funny. When we got out, we walked past a subway station where a group of people were singing a Michael Jackson song and dancing. It was very festive. We headed back into Times Square to take some photos. There were still a lot of people, but it was definitely not as crowded as it had been around 7:30 when everyone is trying to get to the theater.

The NYPD location in Times Square is strangely neon.

Next door to our hotel was the wax museum. We had noticed on the way to Broadway that they had a Michael Jackson statue in the window. We thought it was very coincidental, but maybe they were just really on the spot and moved the doll 2 seconds after his hospitalization was announced. Anyway, that window became a hangout for news reporters and fans. The mood was celebratory, never like people were creating a shrine.

Here is a picture of Times Square at 1:15am. I think Melissa was taking a picture of the clock, but you can see a Michael Jackson headline scrolling on the left in blue.

1 comment:

Kellie said...

I was thinking of going again and taking Caitlin . . . limited vacation dollars, infinite vacation desires, all that. But I have a free airline ticket to use by March, and she's never been, so maybe in fall.


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