January 14

Day 11 – Our (Kenne)bunkbed

O.M.G.  We slept!  Oh how we slept last night/this morning!  Without the constant sirens/construction/garbage trucks/taxi drivers/foghorns/airline pilot announcements/bomb blasts/loud noises, with just the faint sound of the ocean lapping against the beach (we’re pretty sure it’s out there in the fog somewhere)… we slept.  We think it’s the first full night of restful sleep we’ve had since we started this honeymoon.  (I know.. you feel really bad for us right now)

We got up (eventually) and went down to Marnick’s, the diner in the hotel, for our continental breakfast.  There were maybe a couple of other people there… which is freaking us out a little after a week in NYC where you aren’t alone… ever… even in your own thoughts. 0_o  After the toast & jam, we loaded up the Cagney & Lacy cruiser and hit the road again.  There’s not much to say (like Dee ever has not much to say) about today, because it was mostly on the road, but we’ll give it the ol’ college try, mkay?

The town (Stratford) is home-town-USA… we found so many gorgeous houses and several town squares, and we were pretty sure it was Star’s Hollow (don’t be lazy; follow the link!)

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Our goal tonight was Portland, Maine.  Just cuz we thought we’d spend this part of the adventure doing some coastal driving; ya know.. lighthouses and rocky beaches and open spaces and stuff.  We forgot to mention that last night while driving through the fog on our way to the hotel in CT, we passed the turnoff to Sleepy Hollow.  That was kinda cool, but it was just too spooky with the fog to go check out.  Maybe next trip.  (but probly not).

2013-01-14_16-18-12_610So… anywhere… on the path to Maine we crossed many cool bridges and saw some beautiful countryside.  We know that this part of the country is gorgeous in the summer/fall/spring, and we’d love to come back to see it in its blooming glory, but there’s a certain beauty to seeing the countryside in winter.  We’d hoped for snow (and still hope), but we realized while driving that we get to see so much more than the summer tourist/honeymooners do, because we can see what’s beyond the trees on the side of the road.  With that being said, we’re already making plans to come back when its a bit greener.

While navigating our way to Portland, Cindy found a nice restaurant off the beaten path (who beats paths anymore, anyway? That’s just cruel.) so we headed into the wilds of Maine.  Guess what we found?  Nope!  We found said restaurant…. and we found it to be closed. 🙁  Evidently the weekend here is not Saturday and Sunday, but actually Monday and Tuesday, cuz that’s when everything here is closed.  Well, most things here are closed all winter, but the things that are open aren’t open when we’re here (still feeling pretty bad for us, aren’t you???)

Just where is here, you ask?  Well stop interrupting and we’ll tell you!

2013-01-14_17-19-51_268Since it was getting dark, we decided to skip the trip to Portland for today and just settle in here (we can do that; we’re on our honeymoon!).  We found a hotel just down the street from the closed restaurant and O.M.G. (yes, that again) it is SO perfect!  The King’s Port Inn in Kennebunkport, Maine is just the most adorable place ever!  There were 2 other cars in the parking lot, and the dude behind the counter commented on how busy they were for a Monday night.  (say what?) The whole town is straight out of a postcard.  We thought we’d found Star’s Hollow last night, but Kennebunk/Kennebunkport has that beat hands down!  We only caught a glimpse of it tonight, as it was getting dark when we settled in, but our short walk to “Federal Jack’s” for dinner (one of the few places open in the off season) gave us high hopes for tomorrow.

After a most fun-filled and fillingly-fun dinner, we’re back in our luxurious room with our 4 poster bed (it does not suck to be Dee and Cindy Hathaway!), and we’re ready to call it a night.  See you tomorrow!

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No calories in honeymoon dessert, right? RIGHT????
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so meaty!

 

January 13

Day 10 – Farewell to Thee, NYC

2013-01-13_11-28-35_912Sunday morning dawned foggy and fantastic…except for the fact that today we had to leave our beloved Manhattan.  🙁  We awoke with the hopes of hightailing it to the top of Rockefeller Center…a.k.a. Top o’ the Rock.  The fog, however, quickly dashed those hopes.  So we made the best of a dreary situation…turned on the lamps (Cindy loves Lamp!) tore open the window and threw up the sash (screen, whatever; took us a week to realize we were able to see our view without a screen in the way) and  took some daytime “Foggy Manhattan” photos.  Dee got rather brave and poked his head out the window (17th floor, not fond of heights, you figure it out) to find that we could see the Hudson River from our room. WHAT????  The day we’re leaving and we finally hang out the window to realize the awesome view we have?

With checkout time still a couple hours away we headed out for breakfast at Patzeria Family and Friends.   We’re regulars there now and wanted to have our last breakfast with our first NY friends.  After lots of tear-filled goodbyes (that was Cindy, btw) we headed down the street to pick up a few souvenirs. Since Manhattan is nothing more than an outdoor mall, the shopping possibilities were endless.

Once Cindy finally decided which “I Heart New York” shirt she wanted, we made the short journey back to our room to check out and get started on the next part of our adventure.

2013-01-13_11-58-03_756Back at the room we gathered our luggage and choked back tears (Cindy again) as we took our last ride down the creaky elevator to meet our driver. That’s right…our driver. Dee arranged to have a car pick us up and drive us to the airport, which is where we had a rental car reserved.  The driver was very polite, he never once asked us to sit back in our seats and stop crying.  We tried to let him know that we weren’t actually flying away just yet, but going to a rental car station  but that just got him really confused and he kept asking which airline, so we just asked him to drop us at the terminal, knowing we would take a shuttle to the rental car facility from there ..no problem. HAH!!!  Lots of problems, JFK Airport is the size of a not-so-small city. We finally found an information desk (only one, thank goodness) and were told to go across the street to the Air Train and take it to Federal Circle. Oh…sure…we can handle that.  Again. Hah!!! First of all…what the heck is an Air Train???? …Anyhoo….we spotted the sign for the Air Train…yay!!!  Off we go….we were met by a nice man with a luggage cart, an official-looking jacket and a good eye for tourists who tip well (aka, Us!).  He quickly loaded our luggage onto the cart and led us toward the air train after asking if we were from London.  Wait… what?  London?  Really???  Earlier we were accused of being from California when Dee said “No Worries” to someone in the elevator.  Apparently that’s a west coast phrase.  Hmmmm….we have learned so much in the past week.  🙂  Ok…lets get back on track…an air track apparently. 😉   As we made our way toward the Air Train station our friendly luggage cart driver suddenly shouted…”That’s our Train!!!”  And off he went (with our luggage and at breakneck speed). Did I mention that he was about 7 feet tall and had legs longer than all 4 of ours combined? We made it onto the train just as the voice over the speaker warned of the doors closing, Whew!  The Air Train is a lot like the Tram at Disneyland…minus Mickey Mouse and Friends, oh…and it’s free.  (yay free!)

Let me sidetrack for just a minute to tell you about a movie we happened to watch on TV in our room last night…Unknown…with Liam Neesan. In case you haven’t seen it, I’ll give you a short synopsis.  Husband and Wife are out of town….Husband loses briefcase with Passports inside….leaves Wife to go find it….gets in accident…wakes up 4 days later….with no ID….finds Wife….she doesn’t know who he is….blah…blah…blah.  Long story short….Cindy insisted that Dee carry the laptop case (with all the ID inside) strapped to his body at all times…and Cindy didn’t let him out of her sight.  Excellent plan, but makes for a boring story.  We’re OK with that.  🙂

2013-01-13_20-11-05_460Back to the Air Train….apparently Federal Circle is in another zip code from JFK airport but we finally made it there, which is where we caught the shuttle which would take us to the rental car facility.  Good grief, traveling is exhausting…so is writing about it…I’ve just relived it and may need a nap.

Thrifty Rental Car…Yay!!!   We got the premium car….apparently in New York that translates to a white Crown Victoria….we dubbed it the Cagney & Lacey Cruiser, cuz we feel like we’re driving a cop car, without the fun lights.  :-/   We know it’s not really a cop car cuz there are no sirens to have siren competitions with.  Crap!!!

With our luggage packed in the trunk we headed off on the next chapter of our journey…’Dee Drives a Car in New York’.

It was a pretty short chapter.  🙂  It was cool to take our very own (rental) car across the bridges that we had seen on some of our many tours, and it was a good idea to do the New York stay before setting off in the car; we have a much better idea of where everything is now (and it was good to find out that New England drives on the right side of the road).

Our first stop was in Morris Plains, New Jersey.  Why Morris Plains, you ask???

We’re so glad you asked!

It’s just one of those places that seems to be popping up in our lives a lot lately, so we thought we’d go check it out.  It wasn’t really very check-outable, cuz the fog was so heavy we couldn’t see much.  It’s a good thing we drive really close to the road; if we were any farther away from it we wouldn’t have been able to see where we were going.  🙂  But we did check it out a little bit, and it made us feel a little more like we were still in America, with its Wendy’s and Kohl’s and buildings that weren’t all 56 stories high and connected to each other.  And not even once did anyone try to get us on a bus tour!

Our stop for the night was in Stratford, CT at the Rodeway Inn.  It’s a cute little place on the beach and has a really great history.   It had decent reviews on all the appropriate web sites (the geekness doesn’t stop just because we’re on our honeymoon) and Dee thought a night on the beach would be romantic, so we gave it a shot.  It’s been way too foggy (see last paragraph), so we picked the cheaper room without a view of the fog covered water.  We got close to the room and each got that “ick!  someone is smoking” look on our faces… and opened the room to find a definite smoker stench.  (blech!!)

One thing we definitely won’t miss about New England is the cigarette smell.  Smokers are everywhere, and when they do go outside to smoke, they’re right by the door.  We slowed our pass/crossed the street several times in NYC to avoid the stench.

2013-01-13_19-00-32_112We went back to the lobby and told the nice lady behind the glass that the room just wasn’t going to work.  She said that was the only King non-smoking room without an ocean view they had, and we assured her it was not a non-smoking room.  So she gave us a free upgrade to the King non-smoking room with an ocean view.  Pretty sure the view is the same no matter what window you look out cuz you can see about 10 feet until it all just gets foggy right now.  But the room is much bigger and has a deck and if the sun actually makes an appearance, it should be a good view in the morning.

We had a quick dinner in the diner (cuz they close early… this definitely isn’t New York!) and are ready to hit the sack.  But maybe we’ll just go to bed instead.  We have a lot of ground to cover on day 11!  See you tomorrow!!

 

January 12

Day 9 – Last Day in Town

So guess what we did first thing this morning…

If you guessed Good Morning America, you are So wrong!  There was no GMA today (did you even read yesterday’s post?), so we caught up on some much needed sleeping in.  So much so that we missed out on breakfast and had to go to Dean & Deluca for some quiche and a muffin.  How is it that the city that never sleeps doesn’t serve breakfast after 11???

2013-01-12_12-14-04_976Our first stop for the day (after breakfast) was the NBC studios tour. We’d love to show you some pictures, but you can’t take pictures, video, weapons or ABC fans into the tour (Cindy sneaked in anyway).  We got to see the Dr Oz studio, the NBC control room and the Saturday Night Live studio.  During the tour you get to see a set of waterpipes (woohoo?).  In the 60s Jim Henson and Frank Oz were in the studio and, while they were waiting to be on TV, painted a bunch of the water pipes in a closet to look like muppet characters.  Too cute!  Here are a few shots from Rockefeller Center, just by the NBC studios.
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The plan was to go to Top of the Rock to check out the city from the top floor, but it was really foggy and overcast, so we thought we’d go do some ice skating and come back in the afternoon after the sky had cleared.  It never cleared.

And we never ice skated.  The rink was rented out for a private event.  We were thinking about calling Mr Rockefeller to complain, but the rink was rented out for a proposal, so we let it slide (ha!  ice rink… slide) this time.

We headed off to visit Central Park again; it’s hard to believe it’s been a whole week since we first visited there.  It’s gone by WAY too fast!  Along the way we stopped at St Patrick’s Cathedral and got our share of “way too much” for the day.

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Then we headed up 5th avenue and got even more “way too much”.

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2013-01-12_16-00-59_954We took the horse-drawn carriage around Central Park and our horse Rudy did a very fantastic job!      The driver was ok.  🙂

 

 

 

 

 

 

We stopped on the way back to catch a few pictures of the skyline in the fog.

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We’re planning on heading back to Top of the Rock in the morning and are hoping for clear(er) skies, so we did laundry and packed and pouted at having to leave so soon!  This week has been so fun and romantic and exciting and perfect and a great start for our life together!  And it’s been great to be able to share it with you, and to get your feedback and input on our adventures here.  After tonight we’re off to explore more of New England, and we hope you’ll keep checking in to be with us.  See you tomorrow!!!

January 11

Day 8 – It’s Like Grand Central Station in Here

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We’re here again?!? 🙂

Here we are at the end of another day – and you know what that means.  That’s right!  It’s time for all the Firemen and Policemen to play with their sirens!  You know how in the movies everybody in New York is honking their horns and taxi drivers are yelling at other drivers? Well it’s just like that in real life.  The part you don’t see in the movies is the public safety vehicles having siren contests half the night.  Evidently they can’t blast their sirens during the day cuz people have to concentrate on their jobs selling bus tours and stuff.  Then at night Manhattan is one big siren party until about 2 in the morning. It would be different if they were on their way to an emergency, but they just sit down there on the street… sirening at each other. Next time we’re bringing our own siren so we can join in the fun.  (But only at night; we don’t want to seem touristy)

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As has become routine, we were at Good Morning America again this morning (I know, right?!)  The cast and crew couldn’t believe it either… evidently they have employees who are at the show less than we are.  🙂  George and Eddie welcomed us back, and we got to go in the studio again (well of course we did).  Here’s a GMA tip for you; don’t call Lara “Laura”… one of the people who were there just to get on TV (our relationship with GMA is much deeper than that) called her “Laura” and Lara hates that!

It’s been a fun run at GMA, and being recognized as a regular is a bit thrilling.  These are some really busy people who must meet thousands of fans a day.  We were told by one of the security peeps (well, Cindy was told) “You know we’re closed tomorrow…”.  🙂  We’re still amazed at everything going on behind the scenes and today was particularly ridiculous.  So many people standing around doing nothing that it was hard to see the show.  It’s a tough life.  🙂

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After a much needed nap (GMA starts way early), we headed for the subway once again.  Our destination; Grand Central Station!  We’re not sure we’re doing the subway thing entirely right, cuz we had to walk WAY too far underground to finally get onto a train.  Cindy thought we were just going to walk the whole way there.

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subways go by almost as fast as our time here has!

Sidetrack!  One thing we didn’t know, and you might not too, is that NYC is just a great big outdoor mall.  There’s nothing here but stores with a hotel or theater thrown in once in a while.  And a lot of the bigger subway stations are just like that except underground.

OK, we’re back.  We were happy to be underground for a while, cuz it was raining out in the open. (finally some weather!) Something else you see on TV is the performers on the trains and in the subways; well those exist IRL too.  We’ve seen singers and accordion players and an awesome guitarist.  We even sat by a crazy, foul-mouthed nose-picker (don’t think he was in it for the money, but there were tips involved; fingertips.  Ewwww!!!).  We got off at the first available stop and took a different train after a couple minutes of that performance.

GCT (6)We got the self-guided audio tour at Grand Central… it’s supposed to take about an hour to get through, but there was a food-court and pictures to be taken, so we took a couple hours to get through.  We’ll say it again; this is another place that pictures can’t relay the grandiosity and feeling of the place.  We learned fun facts like the difference between a terminal and a station (look it up!  we can’t do all the work for you!), that Jackie Onassis saved the terminal from being torn down, that exposed light bulbs were once considered a sign of wealth (I love lamp!) and that cheesecake from Juniors is just as good as the tour guides say it is.

We were there for the afternoon after-work rush… SO MANY PEOPLE!

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We decided to take the bus back to 42nd street from whence we came (we’re all about the fancy talk since we saw Phantom) to continue doing the visitor type stuff we came here for.  (well what did you think we were going to do while we were here???)  It was still raining but we only had to wait a little while for a bus.  The transportation system here really is quite amazing and it’s blowing Dee’s mind just to think about the technology involved in keeping all the Metrocard interfaces connected throughout the whole city.

The last attraction of the day was dinner. Another travel tip; unless you’re a big eater (and I mean big), just order a meal to share.  The prices here seem (and are) really high, but almost everything we’ve had for dinner in this town has been big enough to share and still have leftovers.

The second to the last attraction was Madam Tussauds Wax Museum.  If you’ve ever thought yourself to be a big deal (like us) but aren’t (not like us), then this is the place for you to get your picture taken with some big names.  And some wax figures too!

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GMA would be so jealous…
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the Fab Five
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just a couple of script changes…

 

 

 

 

 

 

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bringing sexy back

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

It was still raining when we got back to the room, and the fog started moving in so we figured out how to open the windows and screens to get a better view out the window.  And what a view it is!  It even snowed a little bit for a while…. so pretty!  We’ll leave you with the night sky as we see it from our room.  See you tomorrow!!!

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the creeper outside our window… you try to sleep knowing that’s watching you!!

 

 

 

January 10

Day 7 – A Morning at the Oscars

Just sit right back and you’ll hear a tale
A tale of a honeymoon
2 passengers set sale that day
And you’ll read about it soon… (you’ll read about it soon)


profileBut first, let us tell you about our morning!  We stayed up late last night catching up on the blogging (cuz the pressure is on now that some of you are actually reading this!) and trying to figure out what to do for a sign for our Oscar Party with Good Morning America.  Yes, we went to GMA again this morning. (don’t judge us!!!)

As instructed (we do occasionally follow the rules) we showed up on time and dressed up, figuring we were a shoe-in for an Oscar nomination.  Joining us at the studio, however, were part of a group of 500 Theta-Beta-Carotene sorority members celebrating their 100th anniversary.  How they got that many 100 year old women together in one place, we just can’t figure out.  Mad planning skilz, yo.

2013-01-10_09-09-23_427Since we had our Cordial Invitation (see yesterday’s post.. I’m too lazy to post a link to it), we were invited in to the studio audience.  And since we were playing the part of a studio audience (we’re so versatile!), we weren’t allowed to hold up the sign.  🙁  The talent (ie George and Lara and co) and staff (ie Eddie) remembered us anyway.  🙂  We’re “the Newlyweds”… they might need some creative help with their nickname skilz.

Rob Lowe was in the studio today!  We got to see him walk from his car to the building, so….. there’s that. Let’s just move on, mkay?

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Cindy in the Subway

After the show we hopped on the R subway to the southern-most part of the island (we’re such seasoned subway surfers now!) to catch the Staten Island Ferry.  This is, oddly enough, a ferry that goes to Staten Island.  The ferry is free, and gives you a half-hour ride across the river, going right by the Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island.  This is another one of those ‘must-do’ things if you’re visiting here, mostly cuz it’s FREE and it gets you to Lady Liberty.  Traveler tip o’ the day… you can’t just sit on the ferry over to the island and back; everybody gets off the boat and comes back on a different one.

2013-01-10_11-41-33_81After the ferry ride, we hopped back on the R train to 50th street and transferred to the 50 bus to the 42nd street peer.  (Dang we’re getting good at this!!) If I could type that with a New York accent you’d swear we were natives!  New York natives, that is.  Not like Native American natives; you’ll need to talk with Spenser for that accent.

Our water cruise for the afternoon was a 3 hour tour (a 3 hour tour) around the island (Manhattan island, for those of you just joining in) on the Circle Line.  Like many of the tours we’ve been on, it’s hard to decide which is better; the historical information or the view.  It’s a lot easier to post the view, so as we close out for the night, we’ll leave you with some pictures from the cruise.  See you tomorrow!

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Empire State Building from the East River
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Gimme some sugar
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United Nations… it’s not American soil
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psychiatric hospital on its own island

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January 9

Day 6 – The View from Here

I can see my house from here!

This has been our most favoritest day here so far!  We’re not saying we’d like to live here full time, but if we could just vacation here full time, that would be great.  🙂

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in front of the wheel of food

We started out early again (Dee thinks he won’t get to sleep in again until we get back home) so we could go to Good Morning America.  We made a sign to ensure our success at getting some much deserved screen time.  It turned out to be a really good idea (As I said on Day 1, always tell all the people when you’re honeymooning!) because it got the attention of the staff AND the talent, and a whole bunch of the peeps next to us.  We got congrats from George and Lara and Josh and (as they say in Gilligan’s Island) the rest.  🙂

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they must have seen us on the jumbotron

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While we were standing around looking important and waiting for stuff to happen (there’s a lot of that in the TV biz) we got our cordial invitation to the GMA Oscars show tomorrow.  We were told to “dress to impress”… not sure what that says about the outfits we chose today.  :-/

GMA (7)Today there was a cooking game in the main studio; Josh Elliot was the host and Rachael Ray and Guy Fieri were the contestants.  When you’re in the crowd (or in the in-crowd, as we are), you have to clap and cheer and stand all packed together in just the right spot and not bother the hosts or guests.  But you do get to take lots of pictures and,  if you have a really good sign (and really good hair) they might come over and talk to you, which is allowed (seems rather one-sided).  It’s amazing to see how many people are behind the scenes making this show happen.  The game show part was a tie (rigged!!), but after it was over Guy and Rachael came over to tell us congrats on our wedding and they signed our poster!!!  Then Guy threw some tortillas at us.  Tortillas of love.  (well, they were flours)

Josh got in on the action and gave us a little love too.  (dang he’s tall and hugs with authority!)  We didn’t get a lot of facetime on the show today, but we’re all over the GMA Live… check it out.

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signed, sealed, delivered!
well it’s signed, anyway

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After a quick stop at the room to store our newly signed memorabilia  we were off to catch our water taxi.  That’s a boat that makes several different stops on its route so you can get off and walk around and catch the next one coming through.  It’s actually more like a water bus, doncha think?  They really should consult us before they start naming these things.  🙂  We were kind of wishing we’d gotten a regular taxi to take us to the water taxi, not because the walk was very far, but because the neighborhood was rather… well it was sketchy, compared to what lies the other way.  The hotel is in a nice part of Hell’s Kitchen (seems like an oxymoron, doesn’t it?), but it goes downhill from here to the Hudson (and aren’t we glad it does, cuz we’d be in the river if it didn’t!).

treeAnyhoo, we weren’t even scared.  Hell’s Kitchen is actually a decent part of town; they even knit their trees cute little sweaters to keep them warm.  And it’s so different to see how everyone lives so close together.  I imagine they’d freak out if they came to our Town.

“Dang tourist!” I could fit 27 units between your house and the neighbor’s!”

The water taxi took us down the Hudson River and just a tiny bit into the East River (cuz that’s a different tour) and we got to see the place where the ferry wrecked (not the one we were on, btw).  There were still cop boats and news helicoptors all over the place.  We didn’t get off at any of the stops (we’re on a very tight schedule here!) but we did get some really awesome views of the Brooklyn Bridge, Ellis Island and the Statue of Liberty.  The last two are closed indefinitely because of the damage caused by Sandy (the storm, not our dog), but it’s still breathtaking to see.  Like most of the things here, the pics are fantastic but it’s nothing like seeing it in person.  And here are a few of the aforementioned pics…

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After the water taxi we really needed to pee (well, we did!) and it was WAY too cold for the port-a-potties so we stopped in to see the Intrepid Sea, Air and Space Museum.  The Intrepid is a retired aircraft carrier, and along with all the stuff you’d find on an active aircraft carrier, like anti-aircraft guns and a galley and a gift-shop, they also had some aircraft (makes sense), a space shuttle, a concord jet and a submarine.

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Two 350 HP engines START this jet!
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Big guns
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Splashdown!!
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the pooped deck
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missile bay
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Iceberg dead ahead!
(wait… wrong ship)

 

 

 

 

 

Then it was time for the long, cold walk back.  Not our best idea ever, but fortunately there was a nice warm tub waiting at the hotel.  🙂

Once we were warmed up, it was time to head out into the city once again (did we mention the tight schedule we’re on?)  Tonight we had our first experience with the subway system.  Dee has been studying it for months, planning and preparing, and we were all set to go.  We bought our MetroCards and headed into the station for our trip South to the Empire State Building.  Unfortunately it was the North-bound station.  (ooopsy)  Fortunately the Sultan of the Subway (Dee’s new nickname for his humble self) figured it out before we boarded the train for Harlem and what we were sure would be our ultimate doom.

Remember our gentle complaining about the security setup from the 9/11 memorial (this post)?  Well security at the Empire State Building (ESB) is a whole lot like that, you just have to walk a lot more.  Here’s a travel tip for you… don’t take a tripod to the ESB; you’ll have to leave it at security and it ain’t fun getting it back!  We couldn’t figure out the security risk of a tripod, so we figure it’d let you take really good pictures and then you wouldn’t want to buy the calendar from the gift shop so they take it from you.  🙂

There’s about 4 miles of movie theater rope to get through before you actually find an elevator, and we were SO glad that we were able to walk right through rather than having to wait in line.  Another travel tip… visit between 6-9 weeknights to avoid the longest lines.

We went to the 86th floor, but you have the option to “upgrade” to the 102nd floor.  Dee said he did better with the height than at the elevators the day before.  The freakiest part was the wind.  We were so blown away!!  On one side of the tower there was almost no wind, but on the other side we had to lean into it… crazy!  We can’t even imagine being a construction worker up there in that wind walking on a metal beam with no safety line (OK, we can imagine… and it makes us a little queasy, so we’re gonna move on now.) This is definitely a must-see for anyone visiting here.  The views are stunning!  We’ll be visiting another skyscraper in a couple of days and should have some daylight shots for you, but these nighttime pics (be patient, they’re coming up at the end) show you a little bit about how spectacular the view is at any time.

As we say goodnight, here are some views of Manhattan at night.  See you tomorrow!

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January 8

Day 5 – On Broadway

Today started like much like any other day.  Well, any other day that happens to start when you’re on your honeymoon in NYC!  Understanding that you might not be on your honeymoon in NYC, we’re giving you the chance to follow along with us and pretend that you are.  🙂  A little late to be explaining what’s going on, I guess.  Oh well.  Deal with it!  (That’s our new NYC attitude)

The first appointment of the day was our Inside Broadway Tour, which oddly enough was almost entirely outside.  (that’s show biz for ya) The tour offers to let you “find out what it’s like to be a Broadway actor” but what they don’t tell you is that a starving actor (that’s redundant) gives the tour, and that’s as close as you get to a Broadway actor.  (that’s show biz for ya… oh wait… that’s redundant.  And so is that!!)
2013-01-08_13-18-50_102We showed up at the prearranged meeting place and found ourselves alone.  Well, not really alone considering you can never have alone time here, but we certainly weren’t with our tour.  So off we trudged to find out where we were supposed to meet.  The NYPD guy there referred us to the Times Square Visitor Center and Mini-museum to get some information so away we went!  We tried to stop by there over the weekend, but they were closed over the weekend.  But that’s not important right now.

We went inside and were greeted by the… usher? guard? Walmart greeter?… who told us to go to the desk “right over there” for information.  We were quickly told “next desk” and guess what we were told at the next desk.  Go ahead; guess.  Nope!  We were told “next desk”!  It’s easy to see why New Yorkers are considered cranky… it’s cuz they have to go to 3 different desks any time they want to get any information!!!  Fortunately there were no more desks to be referred to (although we were expecting to be sent into another room which could have been filled with desks) and the last desk actually had an answer.  We were under the wrong statue “or at least that’s what I understand; we don’t deal with that company in here”.

Well of course you don’t.   :-/

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Cindy and Tom both looking very New Yorkish

We met our actor waiter guide, Tom Comerford, under the correct statue (the correct statue is always the one under which your guide is standing.  little NY tip for you there), but he was on the phone calling all the other people who were supposed to attend the tour with us to find out where they were.  We’re betting they were under the wrong statue too.  While we waited, Dee went to the street vendor to get some breakfast.  (yay breakfast)

The tour was really good.  Tom was fun and knew quite a bit about the history of the area and had visual presentations (old photos) and a cute little loudspeaker around his neck.  We walked through the theater district and learned all kinds of things like:

  • Before the depression, there were twice as many theaters as there are now.
  • Many theaters here are considered real pieces of Krapp.  Herbert J Krapp was a theater architect and builder responsible for several theaters here, including the Majestic, which you’ll read about later (now you have to keep reading!)
  • Broadway vs Off-broadway is determined by the size of the theater, not the location.  Off-broadway is a theater that seats 99-499 people.  500 or more seats is considered Broadway.  0-99 seats is considered a bus.
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at least the fries were good…

On the tour, Tom recommended several places to eat (hmmm… I was just kidding about the waiter thing, but maybe there’s something to that) so we decided to try the Cafe Edison.  Our first not-good dining experience here.  Cranky staff, bland food, cash only, etc, etc.  I especially loved how, during our ‘lunch’, the waitress came through our part of the room and started putting little hand-made signs on the table reading “minimum $7 per person per table”.  Like you can get food here for less than $7…

And here are a couple more tour photos…

 

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one of the first teams for 9/11
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another Krapp theater

 

 

 

 

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inside of this theater
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was the stage from an old theater

 

 

 

 

 

After the foodage fiasco, we decided to give Tom the tourman’s tips another try and went for a little elevator ride; up to the top floor of a hotel with a massive atrium and elevators on the outside.  Dee was mostly plastered to the inside wall of the elevator.  Cuz of this…

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the view from the bottom
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and the view from the top

 

 

 

 

 

 

After such an ordeal, it was time for some chocolate.  🙂

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The final act for the night (you were expecting theater talk, weren’t you?) was seeing Phantom of the Opera at that Krapp theater, the Majestic (we told you we’d come back to that!!).  OMG!!! Such an amazing show!  We had 3rd row center seats, and could feel the wind from the chandelier and smell the gunpowder and feel the spit from the actors’ssss (can never remember what to do with plural s’ss… see?) lips.  OK, so nobody spit on us, but we were close enough they could have if they wanted to!

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2 tickets to Phantom-dise
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wonder what’s under there…

 

 

 

 

 

At the end of another very successful honeymoonday, we must bid you all farewell for the night.  We have to be up early in the morning to be at the studio in time to see Lara and George and the gang at GMA.  And we still haven’t made a sign!!!  (cue gasp)  See you tomorrow!

 

January 7

Day 4 – A Day at the Museum

Cindy got us out of bed early this morning (so early that most of you had just gone to bed, I think) so we could go see GMA (Good Morning America).  The hotel is just a couple of blocks down the street from the studio, which was really lucky planning for us cuz you gotta be at the studio early if you want to make it in the biz (the ‘being on TV as part of the random crowd’ biz in this case).

58222_10151339510014176_1297268028_nWe got to the studios about 6:30 and thought maybe we were in the wrong place, cuz there weren’t very many people there.  Evidently Monday mornings are rough on everybody everywhere.  Some guy with a headset eventually came out to tell all the cute teenage girls in line what was going on… fortunately we were standing close to some of them so we got to hear too.  Turns out we were all going inside cuz there were some Victoria’s Secret models doing some secret Victorian modeling there and we were going to go in the studio to watch them.  That was when Cindy tried to send Dee back to the hotel room to get a pen (nice try, Cindy).

The security guys came through the line to tell us that we couldn’t go in if we had a pocket-knife or mace (evidently mace is a big thing in NYC… I was wishing I had some to fend off the bus-porn guys) and we went into the studio about 7:15 (show started at 7).

2013-01-07_07-47-26_682We got into an elevator bigger than our hotel room with a couple dozen other people and then got to go to the green room on whatever floor it was the elevator stopped.  The green room was actually a tiny spot behind the curtain in a studio and they packed us all in there like tightly packed things and had us strip down (ok, just the coats and scarves and gloves and moon boots), but they had food and beverages, so we were all good.

2013-01-07_08-51-37_57Our stage manager Eddie got us all seated around the GMA runway and told us when we’d be applauding and what was going to happen when.  It was way cool to see all the lights and cameras and people and all the things that go on behind the scenes to make such a show happen.  We even got to be on TV! (you gotta look fast, but we’re there!).  Eventually they brought out the runway models and had them do their thing on the catwalk.  (Dee was almost too sexy for his shirt, but Cindy put a stop to that real quick.  Oh come on.  You don’t know who Right Said Fred is??? I’m Too Sexy??? Fine. Here’s the link.)  Then they brought out the VS models and had them do their thing, which was just standing by the stage.  But they were really good at it.  🙂

2013-01-07_08-29-17_700There was lots of applauding and cheering while we were on camera and it really was a lot of fun.  After a while the ‘crew’ came up to interview the ‘talent’ (we’re so hip with the show-biz lingo), and then they quickly disappeared back to the newsroom again.  Truly nice, fun people.  Even George.

 

 

 

2013-01-07_08-44-14_394-1In between the spots, when the cameras weren’t rolling, the crew invited the peeps in the crowd (ie Us) to have our pictures taken in front of the runway.  We got photobombed by Eddie the stage manager.  🙂  Oh Eddie.  Such a prankster.

After the show ended, we got to go down into the real studio on the first floor to be part of “GMA Live!”.  Got a lot of camera exposure there and expect the offers to start rolling in any minute now…  You can see that here on GMA Live.

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Strawberry Fields – where John Lennon was shot

After the show, we hopped on the tour bus and headed out for the American Museum of Natural History.  On the way we drove by a whole bunch of New Yorky stuff (it’s tough to not do that here) including some of the apartments of some pretty big stars… paying some pretty big money to live with a view of central park.  Hard to believe that people would pay millions for a 2 bedroom apartment, especially while there are people sleeping under newspapers on benches in that very park.

Anyhoo, we did make it to the museum and it.is.massive!  4 floors of exhibits and history and learning and lions and tigers and bears (oh my!).  Fortunately we didn’t see any of the cast from “A Night at the Museum”.  You know if you keep going to see Ben Stiller’s movies he’s just gonna keep making them!

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If we had a couple more weeks here, we might be able to see everything in this museum, but we had to keep it to the highlights.  The coolest thing was in the ocean-life part of the building… a life-size model of a hump-back whale.  HUGE!  At one point Cindy wandered off and got all comfy with one of the regulars there.  Dee was gonna take him down, but that guy has an iron jaw!

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And we saw this.  It’s about 5 feet across.
That’ll keep you out of the water for a while!!

 

 

After we had lunch (our obligatory $50 bag of museum M&Ms and a $12 bottle of water) we headed for the next stop; The Cathedral of Saint John the Divine.  We can’t even describe the vastness of this place.  You could literally fit 2 football fields inside, and the Statue of Liberty would fit under the dome.  Evidently we were feeling a bit socially aware (what with the 56 million dollar apartments we drove by earlier) cuz we couldn’t help but think about how many hungry people could have been fed and how many people could have been helped with the money that has been poured into this cathedral.  Beautiful?  Definitely.  Necessary?  Not even a little.  🙂  Here’s some pics to give you some idea what it was like.

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We were pretty much overly-whelmed by opulence at that point; the quick fix for that was to get back on the bus and continue the tour.  Next stop-Harlem!  Big difference from the first part of the day.  We didn’t stop.  :-/  Go figure.

By the time we got to the end of the tour it was late and we were frozen, so we just headed back to the room to get warm.  And then we went to Brazil Brazil for dinner.  YUM!!!

Here’s a few things we saw along the tour.  Thanks for tuning in and we’ll see you tomorrow!!

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The Hudson River
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East Central Park

 

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Apartments at South Central Park

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

January 6

Day 3 – No Sleep ’til Brooklyn

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Another awesome view out the window this morning… It was supposed to snow overnight, so when we woke up we tore open the shutters and threw up… no wait.  We actually layed in bed for a few minutes, nothing got torn up and nobody threw up.  Also, nothing got snowed on.  🙁  But it was kinda foggy and made for another awesome view from the room.

So we got up early and went to church…  No really!  I have pictures to prove it!

2013-01-06_09-14-10_238But first we we had breakfast at this cute/awesome little restaurant just down from the hotel; Patzeria Family & Friends.  The food and prices were really good (and that’s hard to find here, so we’re finding), but the thing that really sets this place apart is the service.  It didn’t hurt that we had the place mostly to ourselves, but even when other people were there the owner was making the rounds, being all friendly and talkative and personable and stuff (I liked it anyway).  And our waitress had moved here to be on Broadway… how cool is that?!?  We even had our own personal after-dinner (well, after-breakfast) show.  Thanks Natasha!

We wandered around Times Square again to see how hoppin’ (don’t mock my hip lingo) it was on a Sunday morning; not an Elmo in site!  We did, however, see a bunch of maintenance workers in red uniforms which I almost mistook for Elmos.

One thing we discovered really fast here in Manhatten is Bus Porn.  (just keep reading)  If you’ve ever been to the strip in Vegas, you’ve no doubt seen the creeps handing out those little collector-cards for different “adult” experiences to be had in Vegas.  It’s just like that here except they’re trying to get you to buy tickets on the bus tours; only 2 different bus lines, but 6 people on every corner trying to shove tour schedules into your hand.  Crazy.  We didn’t want people to see us buying it on the street, so we purchased our bus tours online all respectable-like.

After breakfast we picked up our travel passes and hopped on the bus tour (shhh!) to go… downtown (you know you’re singing the song in your head right now).  We had to make a quick stop at Adorama to pick up a nifty lens for Cindy’s camera.  We wandered around the store for a while and then found out that we weren’t even in the right building.  We were in the right store… just not the right building. Ya.  It’s like that.  They don’t have stores here, they have STORES!!!  The rental part of the store was in the building next door on the sixth floor.

Lens in hand, we got back on the bus and headed to the 9/11 memorial.  Anybody who thinks we live in a free country has never been to an airport or the 9/11 memorial.  Security personnel outnumber people 2-1 and there are more cameras there than the aforementioned Adorama building(s).  Like at the airport, it’s a hurry and strip-down, everything in a bin, walk here, stand there, hurry up and move along experience.

No matter how you feel about it, the 9/11 memorial is a… reverent place.  Like so many places where tragedy has occurred  you can feel something in the atmosphere.  They’ve really done a good job with the memorials, and what they are building there now is amazing.  I’ll let the pictures tell the story.

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Hey!!!  Remember when we said we went to church?  Here it is.  After the memorial we walked through this old, old, old church and checked out all the way old headstones in the cemetery.  The church was a place of refuge (in this case refuge = nap) for emergency workers after 9/11.  Now it’s mostly a memorial.  And still an old, old, old cemetery.

 

 

We decided that rather than walk back to the last bus stop, we’d just walk to the next one down by Battery Park to catch the tour bus to Brooklyn.  Surprise!  Since Sandy rolled through they run the Brooklyn tour from the last bus stop.
“Oh, you mean the bus stop we just walked here from????”
“Yes, silly tourist.  You can’t get there from here since the storm, even though when you’re done with the tour we’re gonna drive the bus right back down here anyway.  Welcome to New York and enjoy your walk back!!”

(We might have been a little frustrated about that)

So we honeymoon-hiked (that’s when you have to walk but really don’t care cuz you’re walking together) back to the bus stop and waited for 30 minutes to find out that we actually needed to be at the bus stop across the park.  And when we got there we found that the last Brooklyn tour left about 30 minutes prior.  Dee was ready to start using some of the more colorful vernacular we’ve heard here in NYC, but there were far more forceful/vocal people than us there who convinced the tour company that they needed to run the tour since they were all told to be there at that time.

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fuhgedaboudit!!

Our man Thomaso was a life-long Brooklyn resident and I don’t see how we could have had a better guide.  He was fun and colorful and full of stories (and I think maybe just a little bit full of something else) and it was an incredible visit.

By the time we got back into Manhatten, the sun was mostly down and we were mostly frozen and our bladders were mostly full.  In that situation, you have to take care of the more urgent matters first, so we went off in search of the facilities.  Would you believe there is not a single public facility in the financial district?!?!?  We finally found one in a nice warm basement room in the back of the last building on a distant block.  Cindy wanted to just live there where it was warm and there was a potty.

We found our way back onto the bus and shivered our way back to the room, where we are now huddled under some nice warm blankets with the temperature set to “Phoenix”.

Thanks for sharing our day with us!  We had SO much fun and hope you did too!!  See you tomorrow!

January 5

Day 2 – All ‘motional

We started out the day nice and early… about 9:00.  Hey at least it was in the AM!  Not that we need an excuse, but there were sirens like crazy about half the night, and our room is on the top floor, so we get the spotlights on the window.  It would have been oh-so-very nice to sleep with the view of the city (we wouldn’t have been able to see it anyway with our eyes closed, right???), but ended up closing the blinds.  Even at 9, the sun wasn’t shining in the window cuz of all the unbelievably tall buildings here (so awesome!)  Besides.. 9 here is 7 back home, so just be quiet and keep reading.

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Cindy loves her life right now

We made it to breakfast a little bit before noon, which is really rough on some people who are on a 3 hour feeding schedule and can’t get started without breakfast.  Fortunately, CaffeBene serves breakfast late, so after a quick egg sammich we were on our way!  To where, you ask?  (go ahead, ask… I’ll wait)

I’m so glad you asked!  The first stop was back in Times Square to see if it’s as awesome in the daylight as it was last night; it is.  Cindy helped a bunch of people get their pictures taken (she’s so nice) while Dee stood there thinking how stupid it was that anybody would hand their camera over to a stranger.

No worries, there were a couple of other things we wanted to do 😉 so we went in search of Dean & Deluca.

On the way we passed (well, okay… so we stopped at) a couple of really cool cathedrals and a bunch of little shops.  Since D&D was by Rockefeller Center, we stopped in to see a few things, like a gigantic tree.2013-01-05_13-33-52_632

and along the way even found a building celebrating our wedding day. (so nice of them to remember!)

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12/21 – the beginning of a new era

2013-01-05_13-30-11_154We stopped to see the people skating in the park, and a dude holding up the world.

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We could have saved some time by just going to the Lego store.2013-01-05_13-42-25_8412013-01-05_13-40-39_793

 

 

 

 

 

We finally made it to Dean & Deluca… Cindy was all ‘motional.

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so ‘motional!

 

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Saturday in the park!

We strolled up 5th Avenue past a bunch of shops that we really couldn’t even afford to walk past, stopped for an overpriced hotdog from a street vendor, did a little window shopping (didn’t buy any, though) and made it to Central Park.  So awesome!  We are definitely going back!

We had dinner at the Brooklyn Diner, which seemed like a nice little out of way diner, but was definitely not priced like it!  The food and service were really good though.

Figuring that was enough for our first day out and about, we made a quick stop to get some supplies and headed back to the room to plan for tomorrow.  It’s so much fun here and we’re only a little worried about the pets (I’m sure they’re being well taken care of) and what’s going on back home… not enough that we’re gonna hop on a plane anytime soon though!

See you tomorrow!