Thursday, May 14, 2015

New York City

If you've been keeping up, you know that I traveled from Melbourne last week to New York City to surprise my sweet mother-in-law for her 60th birthday. If you have no idea what I'm talking about, you can check out my previous post by clicking here.

We had a crazy great time. It was one of those crazy great times that you can only have with a group of girls that are anxious to explore a new place and drink a bottle or two of really good wine at each meal.
Breakfast may or may not have been included in this generalization.

Our first full day was on Sunday, May 3th, and we started the day with a walk towards Macy's - The World's Largest Store. We walked most of the way along Broadway, admiring the buzz and vibrancy which is everything that you might imagine that it would be, only more.

We stood outside of Macy's for a few moments before making the turn towards the Empire State Building. (That's right... We didn't even make it inside of Macy's - The World's Largest Store, people. We had bigger buildings to see.) The lines at the Empire State Building were short so early on a Sunday morning, and we were on the elevator going up before we knew it.

 We purchased the cheesy tourist photo because it is fabulous! 
(I mean who wouldn't pay $30 for this jewel?)
The views were, of course, awesome.
Can you see the teeny, tiny, Statue of Liberty?

After the Empire State Building and then lunch (fried mozzarella!), we went to go see Les Miserables, and it was so wonderful, so perfect that I sang the songs for the next week. I couldn't get them out of my head! 
It was definitely my favorite show out of the three that we saw!

We finished the day with dinner at Nocello Italian Restaurant (penne pasta with pink sauce!) and then walked the few short blocks to take a late night carriage ride through Central Park. 

 Our group split into two groups that took two carriages. 
I'm not going to mention that the two carriages spent a part of the time "racing". 
I also won't mention that the other carriage was significantly rowdier than our carriage...

On Monday, May 4th, our second full day in the Big Apple, we hailed a couple of cabs and spent the morning at the 9/11 Memorial Museum. The museum was perfect in every sense. There wasn't a single detail that was overlooked, and I am in complete awe of every aspect from the presentation of information, the respectful way the people who lost their lives that day were remembered and honored, and the peaceful air that settled where such a horrible event had occurred almost 14 years ago.

My favorite part of the museum was an art piece that took up the wall that connects the north side and the south side of the museum.The artist painted individual squares the color that he remembers the sky being on the morning of September 11th, 2001. Every square turned into a different shade of blue with each attempt. Every square represents one person who perished that day at the Twin Towers and during the 1993 World Trade Center bombing. There are 2,983 squares for the 2,983 people. In the middle of the squares was a quote. "No day shall erase you from the memory of time."  It was a beautiful piece. I love all that is symbolized. 
You can see and read more about that particular piece here.

I was blown away by how much I learned, how much I didn't know, and how horrible that day really was.
I think that maybe you can never truly understand the horror of such an event until you experience it or something like it yourself. Being in the museum, in the location where everything happened, however, puts you in a new position to try to wrap your head around that day. 
9/11 was a tragedy beyond comprehension. 

After the museum, lunch, and the Disney Store where I purchased the promised "surprises" for Samantha and Easton, the group changed clothes and headed to see "Mamma Mia". It was fun, light-hearted, and had a bunch of guys running around in little Speedos. It was a win-win-win! 

"Mamma Mia" !

After the play we stopped at a little place to eat near our hotels and shared a few appetizers (cheese, fruit, and crackers!) while we laughed and talked through a few glasses of wine and martinis.

On our final full day in the city, Tuesday, May 5th, it was Mrs. Kathy's 60th birthday, so we woke up extra early and arrived outside Rockefeller Center with hopes of being on The Today Show. Everyone wore their bright green "60 is the New 30" shirts (except for me since I was a last minute surprise, and all), and we held up our signs until we finally caught the eye of the camera crew.  As you might have seen... We made it on air!

I was on national television! Woo hoo!

Here's a picture of us on my friend, Shannon's, television!

We were pretty excited when notifications from Facebook and text messages started coming in from friends and family who had seen us on television. We were also pumped to see all The Today Show anchors* and even Wrangler, the dog. 
*Except for Savannah, who was ironically in Australia.

We wandered away once the show started to focus on a singer that we didn't know anything about. 

   Here we all are! 
(Everyone in their green shirts and me with my crazy clever sign...)

After leaving the plaza, we had a great breakfast (American bacon!) and then we headed to 5th Avenue for a little shopping.

Would you believe that the only thing I bought was for the newest, littlest, unborn member of our family?... 
(Erica and Jonathan's baby. Not mine. Just wanted to clear up any confusion there.)

After shopping, we stopped by Mrs. Kathy's favorite little pub in the city (club sandwich!), sang "Happy Birthday", curbed Mrs. Kathy's needed for the french onion soup, ate some huge cupcakes, all before heading back to our hotels to shower and change before our final night. 
To cap off Mrs. Kathy's birthday we went to see "The Phantom of the Opera" and had dinner at Carmine's. 

 "The Phantom of the Opera"!

I have to admit that the final dinner of our trip was probably my favorite. The atmosphere was fun and loud, which was really appropriate for our group. 

All of the other restaurants that we had gone to were really nice, but we were always the loudest.
Who am I kidding?
We were still the loudest at Carmine's, just maybe not the ONLY loud group.

We had spaghetti (with extra sauce per Mrs. Kathy) and too many drinks to count ... 
We took a cab back to the hotel. No worries.
... And we were ultimately kicked out long after the restaurant had closed their front doors. However, we didn't leave before toasting to Mrs. Kathy, singing another round of "Happy Birthday", and toasting to Mary when midnight (and thus her birthday, the day after Mrs. Kathy's birthday) arrived.

The final morning, as we all packed up our bags to go home, we reflected on how fabulous our time together truly had been. 

My father-in-law, Mr. Rick, did a wonderful job on proposing the idea for this trip so long ago and making the arrangements for it to come together. (And for watching Lincoln, Bailey and Whiskey even though the cat was mad at you for having to share your attention.) And, Blake, thank you for watching the kids while I flew from one side of the world to the other and back again. 

We had a blast! 

*Extra Note: Oh, Lord. There were so many things said and done that were hilariously embarrassing for all those in our party, including myself. We adopted the Las Vegas mantra "What happens in Vegas, stays in Vegas", but, of course, with the location changed to New York. 

I am true to my word so I won't embarrass anyone on the blog, but if you see me and ask, I will happily tell you a story or two. I might share with you the one where we were all walking along 7th Avenue and Mrs. Kathy couldn't get a response from her iPhone ("Siri. Siri. Why isn't Siri working?!") Or maybe I could tell you about Heather and the horrible red straws in her cocktails... (She can drink like a big girl, y'all.) Or maybe I could share Mary's favorite parts of "Mamma Mia". (Hint: They were hidden beneath red spandex.) 

I could go on and on... But I won't. 
For now. Dun dun duhhhhh...

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