Friday, August 3, 2012

Day 5 - Hello, New York City - Part I

I've wanted to see New York City for forever, so when Emilee picked NYC as her pick for our summer trip, I was thrilled!  Scott had planned the trip for us to take Amtrak into the city, so we loaded up the van and we were off to find the train station.

Getting ready to board Amtrak to NYC

At Penn Station in NYC
After a quick and relaxing 90-minute train ride, we "landed" in NYC and headed above ground into the city streets.  There were people EVERYWHERE!  Emilee grabbed Daddy's hand and hung on for dear life!. 

Still hanging on to Daddy!

We have arrived!
Literally... people everywhere!

NYC Taxicabs

We were like ducks in a row following our leader to find our hotel.
Grand Central Station beside our hotel.

We stayed at the Hyatt Regency at Grand Central Station
We found our hotel and were able to check in early so we could drop off our backpacks and head back out to tour the city.  Emilee had a list of things she wanted to do, which included shopping, shopping, and more shopping.  Ashlee just wanted to see the sites.  I had a list of things that I wanted to see as well.  We had four days and a schedule to keep.  So once we unloaded, we were off and running!

We headed straight to find 5th Avenue for Emilee so she could do some "window" shopping.  Then she spotted the Sephora store and had to check it out. 

Found Sephora... I'm going in!

So much makeup... so little time!

Daddy found a window seat in Sephora!
We walked by St. Patrick's Cathedral, which was under construction, but we were still able to go inside.  It felt a bit strange being all touristy and taking pictures while people were inside praying, but the church was so pretty inside that I couldn't resist. 

Ashlee would love to get her fingers on this organ.

More shopping

Radio City Music Hall in the background


They were posting "with" the FDNY
(Fire Department New York)

Ash is reading Karen Kingsbury's Redemption Series, which talks
a lot about NY's Fire Dept, so Ash was a bit excited to see this.

And Em was a bit excited to see this! :-)
When one of my buddies found out I was headed to NYC, she said we must eat at Ellen's Stardust Diner for a genuine NYC experience.  Oh my goodness... was she ever right!  They had singing waiters/waitresses!  The story behind the restaurant is that aspiring Broadway actors/actresses work at Ellen's so they can afford to live in NYC and attend college, acting/dancing classes, etc. in hopes of getting "discovered" while they perform in between waiting on tables.  Our waitress told us that they lose 12-14 waiters/waitresses to Broadway every year.  Judging from some of the talent we heard at lunch, I can see why.  Although the food was underwhelming and overpriced, I thought it was well worth it for the entertainment and the experience!  It was so cool!

This particular couple was really, really good!

Standing on the half wall while performing for the restaurant.

My $14 cheeseburger & fries

Glad we weren't sitting by the half wall, a.k.a. the stage.
The guy to the left turned around and looked up
at one point when the singer was directly behind him.
He turned back around pretty fast. The surprised look on his
face made us realize he could see right up her tiny little skirt. :-0

"Mary Poppins" on Broadway. We had just seen
Broadway's "Wicked" at a theater in Raleigh, so we
didn't feel like we needed to see a play while we were in NYC.
But it was fun seeing all the advertisements for them.
Another thing on my list of must-see places was Times Square, so with our fearless leader in charge of the map, the ducks in a row followed along to our next destination.

Sitting on the bleachers in the middle of the street
looking out into Times Square. So cool!

In Times Square

There were tons of characters in Times Square who would pose with you for a picture... for tips.  I'm too cheap for that, so I tried to grab snapshots of them as we walked past. :-)

Papa Smurf! La-la-lala-lala la-lala-lala!
(Can't you just hear the Smurf theme song in your head?)

Mickey & Minnie!


Just like Philly, it was really, really hot here.  We hadn't wanted to take a cab yet to get to our destinations, so by this time we had done a ton of walking.  We were hot and sweaty and tired, so we decided to stroll back to our hotel to take a break and clean up a bit before heading back out for dinner.  We had wandered quite a ways from our hotel, and at this point in the afternoon, it was scorching hot, and we needed a place to cool down before the trek back.  Daddy found us a quiet spot in an air-conditioned building, and we took a load off! 

Stopped to take a rest here, but it wasn't cool enough!

Daddy spotted a building...

...looked public and air-conditioned, so we followed him in

Nice and quiet and cool!
After our quick cool-down, we started back to our hotel and spotted some more fun photo opps along the way.

I felt underdressed!

You should have seen Ashlee's face as she turned
around to look at us when this girl
walked past her. Looks like Julia Roberts
in "Pretty Woman." I'm thinking she was off
for a dance audition. :-)
Finally back at the hotel for some R&R before heading back out for dinner.

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