And then there were 4...

And then there were 4...

Monday, January 21, 2013

Exploring the Concrete Jungle

Ever since I was a teenager I have dreamed of the day when I would get to go to New York City.  Not only to see the historical landmarks, but eat NYC hot dogs and pizza, see the Friends apartment building, and get the infamous picture in Times Square.  Luckily, to bring this dream to pass my favorite cousin Zach Allen and his beautiful wife Sara live in Manhattan making this trip not only possible, but insanely budget friendly. 

This past weekend was a long weekend with Monday being in observance of Martin Luther King Jr.  so TJ and I decided that it was a perfect time to buy some bus tickets and head to none other than NYC.  TJ had already been there, but it was a first time for me...needless to say that leading up to the weekend the anticipation nearly killed me. 

Dominik and I met TJ at work and we took the Metro to the Bethesda station where we hopped on our bus and took a 4 hour trip to the heart of NYC...Penn Station...just outside of Times Square.  Instead of calling it a night after a long day at the office, my wonderful cousins took us for a quick bite to eat and then right to Times Square.  I have to admit that at first I was a bit off balance with all the "crazies" I was surrounded with.  Thankfully I regained my balance and was overwhelmed with an unexplainable surreal feeling that I was back at home in my Sophomore year of high school watching TRL (Total Request Live) thinking to myself "I'm going to go to Times Square someday!"  I was actually there...witnessing the sights firsthand...with my family...best.day.ever!!! 








After Times Square we walked to Radio City, past the Today show set, around the Ice Skating Rink near the Christmas Tree, and then off to the Subway where we took the express train back to Zach and Sara's.  I do have to admit that my once apprehensive feelings towards the DC Metro were quickly put to shame when I first entered the NYC subway station...can we just call it...interesting (for lack of a better term). 




Saturday was a special day for sure!!!  We got a bit of a late start due to our midnight bedtime, but that didn't stop us from thoroughly exploring the city!  We first went to the 9/11 memorial...it was spectacular.  There was a special spirit there that was unlike anything I experienced in the city thus far.  Despite all the construction going on around the memorial itself, there was a bit of a safe haven feeling there that allowed the casual onlooker to really get a sense of the tragedy and heroism that occurred on that day not so long ago.  It is a beautiful memorial and I'm so thankful for the opportunity I had to go and visit it. 







After the memorial we went to the Staten Island Ferry to see the Statue of Liberty...can I just saw how surprised I was by the size of Lady Liberty...I thought she was WAY bigger!!! 








Once we ported back in Manhattan we went to the LDS temple (right smack dab in the middle of the city...crazy right!) and then got a bit to eat at Gray's Papaya (as featured in one of my favorite movies "Fools Rush In"). 






Due to the increased caloric intake at Gray's we decided a stroll through central park was much in order.  Granted it was a small stroll and in no way burned through all the calories consumed, it was a beautiful stroll where we got to see a lot of cool stuff...









On our way back to the apartment we stopped by 2 Bro's pizza for a dollar slice of cheese pizza, which was consumed in no time (thank goodness our whole day was spent walking!).  When we got back to the apartment everyone was still a bit hungry so we decided to order in Chinese...no NYC experience is complete without ordering in Chinese food and eating it straight from the container with chop sticks!  I'm so cliche!!! Thanks for putting up with me Zach and Sara!! 








Sunday was a bitter sweet day.  It was our last official day in New York :(  We spent the first bit of it at church, where TJ ran into a fellow OHSU graduate...small world right!  After church we had a few more things on the to do list and we wasted no time.


We headed straight to the Friends Apartment...not the actual apartment, just the one that is shown to depict the "actual" apartment.  It was totally legit too!  I really wanted to go to Central Perk too...but would you believe that it doesn't exist!!  I can not imagine why no one would jump on that!!!



This was the pizza joint that Peter Parker was fired from in the Spiderman 2 movie :)
 The last and final thing on our bucket list was to see the Brooklyn Bridge.  Our walk took a bit longer than expected and I'm so thankful that it did.  We were able to walk across right at sunset with the beautiful sunset right behind the skyline and Statue of Liberty.  It was absolutely incredible!!! This was hands down the coolest thing we did/saw the whole weekend!









On the subway ride home we did take one more detour to Grand Central Station.  I was amazed at how something so beautiful and architecturally amazing could be just a few steps away from something so dirty and dingy as the subway...it was as though you were portaled to a different building completely :)  Dominik loved seeing all the depictions of constellations on the ceiling!






The whole weekend was just phenomenal and I'm so grateful for the opportunity we had to share it with Zach and Sara; they are the bests hosts ever!  I was able to cross off so many items on my "bucket list" that I'm now needing to go back and add more things!