Friday, August 31, 2012

My Summer Vacation / New York City Day 7

Days 7, 8 and 9 were what the whole trip started with. It was supposed to be a short cousins reunion before the family reunion. Vickie and I just endend up turning it into something a "little" more. We slept in very late, like afternoon late. We really needed it though. We knew the next few days would be jam packed. We really had no idea.

These are the cousins. Victor, Sally Anne, Michelle, Vickie and Lucy. Victor didn't hang out with us a whole bunch. Just a dinner or two really. We were actually on pur way for something to eat at Pio Pio before we girls jumped on the train.
You know, of course, that we took them to Times Square. Just a quick visit. We were going to be back later in the evening.

We went to China Town. That was fun. It is amazing how those people will barter and how many of them want you to come in their back rooms for the really good deals.

I loved how everything was chinese, but American!

We walked all over and headed to SoHo which is right next door. There are no bargains in SoHo. I can promise you that.

Once we finished shopping, we headed back to Times Square and the surrounding area. NYC is beautiful at night. Take a peak.

It was getting late and we needed to get home. It was close to midnight. We stopped at the all night Rite Aid and got a box to make our sign. We were going to the Today Show.

Here is Michelle working very hard on a sign that we would wind up not even using. More on that tomorrow. Below you will find a video from Ellen's Stardust Diner. Remember I told you about it the other day? We went there for dinner tonight and I remembered to take a little video. It's not great, but you'll see how awesome the talent is. Tomorrow is a day you aren't going to want to miss. It was so long and so wonderful and about 21 hours long!

Thursday, August 30, 2012

My Summer Vacation / New York City Day 6

Day 6 was deemed our day to lay low and rest up for the cousins to come the next day. That was before we left on our trip and were still at home. We were low key for us this day, but we still had some fun.

We went on the NBC tour. The sad part of the tour was that I was not allowed to take one stinkin picture. What's up with that? I was not happy, but it was still fun. We got to see some of the studios for some shows. Saturday Night Live, Dr. Oz and the Nightly News were a few we saw. When we were going from one set to another, we saw Teresa Guidice from the Housewives of New Jersey show. She was our first star sighting.

This is a mosaic that was in one of the hallways when we were leaving. I took a picture of it. That was my one picture from the tour.

We went back a did a little more shopping at Macy's. You have to know my Vickie to know that shopping is a must for any trip. The girl loves to shop, especially for shoes.
We made our daily stop in Times Square. They have these huge screens around the square. Sometimes they scan the crowd. This day, we were lucky enough to not only be on screen, but to see ourselves and take a picture. That's us right in front with me taking the picture.

We headed back to Queens and met Victor for an early dinner and were home by 7:00. We watched a little tv and fell asleep early. The cousins were coming the next day and it was going to be nonstop for the next three days. We needed to rest up.

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

My Summer Vacation / New York City Day 5

Day 5 was fun, hot, long, informative and frightening!

We started the day with breakfast at Ellen's Stardust Diner. It was where we were to catch our bus for the movie and tv tour. What a fun place it turned out to be. The entire wait staff are aspiring actors and actresses for Broadway and they perform the entire time. Talk about some amazing voices. It was really fun and we knew we had to bring the cousins back there when they got to town. Breakfast was over and it was time to board the bus.

The tour was fun. The first four rows on each side of the bus were VIP seating. You paid an extra $40. for those seats. Two people never showed up. Garry (our tour guide) offered them up to whoever wanted them. When nobody else jumped up and grabbed them, we did. Why not! We learned a lot of movie and tv trivia. Did you know that the Tom Cruise part in Top Gun was first offered to Scott Baio? Or that Harrison Ford and Robert DeNiro were both offered the Tom Hanks role in Big? Below are a few of the sites we saw.
The archway where Harry and Sally parted ways after their cross country trip.

The triangle building that is in all kinds of movies.

The firehouse from Ghostbusters.

Vickie and I in front of the Friends apartment building/Central Perk.

Four hours later, the tour was over and we were starving. Bubba Gump it was! After we refueled, we were ready for some shopping and headed over to Macy's. Did you know that they have nine floors? I had no idea. We had fun and even found a few things to buy. We got a call from Victor who said he had a surprise for us and to meet him at the little park across the street from Macy's. We finished up our shopping and headed out to meet him. We got to sit at a table and do a little people watching while we waited. Always fun in New York. It wasn't long before he came and said we were going to the Empire State Building. It was just a few blocks away. What we didn't know was that we were going to have a very special escort. Victor's friend has a best friend who is a New York City policeman. His beat happens to be the Empire State Building. We met him and he took us under his wing. We got to bypass security, ride in our own private elevator and not wait in any lines. It was awesome. I have a picture of him with us, but I don't know if I should post it, so I'm not. Let's just say it was awesome!

Here's just a couple pictures from on top.

Next, we headed out to South Street Sea Port. It was really pretty out there. Beautiful views of the river. There are lots of restaraunts with outdoor seating and lots of vendors. I bought the grandkids some t shirts there. Victor got a call and his friend that set us up for the Empire State Building was coming down to meet us for dinner.

After dinner, Al took us on a walking tour of the area around the sea port. He worked there and knew a lot about it.

These are the steps where Tom Hanks and his buddy sat and talked in Big.

Next thing I knew, we were walking back by the water and all of a sudden we are walking up to this big building that says Staten Island Ferry! Here's where it got scary. Holy Mother of God, what is he thinking? Well.....I find out that we are getting on the freakin Staten Island Ferry. Obviously, nobody has clued Al in on the fact that I am scared to death of deep water and it is really dark outside now. It's about 10:00. Double whammy...deep and dark. I have two choices that I can think of quickly. I can throw a fit and say I'm not going, no way, no how or I can put on my big girl panties, get on the damn boat and deal with it. Believe it or not, I chose option number two. I thought I was going to hyperventilate. I didn't though. I got out the camera and started snapping to get my mind on anything but what we were doing. The good news is that I got some really great pictures. Here's just a few.

Here's the proof that I was actually on that boat with The lady in the background.

Fifteen hours after we had left the house that morning, we got back home. Exhausted and hot, but man we had a great time and I stepped out of my box big time.

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

My Summer Vacation / New York City Day 4

Day 4 was a Sunday and Victor was working another double. We decided to head into the city and go to mass at Saint Patrick Cathedral. It was a beautiful service in an amazingly beautiful church.
We got out of mass just in time to head down the street to Radio City Music Hall to see Cirque De Soleil Zarkana. I had never seen anything like it before. I loved it.

Obviously, we were there a little early. The funniest thing happened. The people sitting next to us were the same people who sat in front of us at mass. We took their picture and they took ours. Unfortunately, ours turned out blurry. They kept announcing that there was to be no flash phototgraphy during the show. I went and talked to our usher and asked if you were allowed to take pictures if you didn't use a flash. She was pretty funny. She said she wouldn't say that I could take non flash pictures. She also said she wouldn't say that I couldn't. She asked where I was sitting and I showed her and she smiled. I asked if she would stop me if I just took a few pictures. She didn't answer and smiled. I knew what she was saying.

Here is a shot of a few of the characters before the show really got started. Once the show really got going, I was so enthralled, I forgot to take any more pictures. The show was that good. It was like nothing I had ever seen before.

Saturday when we bought our NBC tour tickets, they included a pass for Top of the Rock. We decided this was the perfect day to use them, so headed across the street.

Up we go!

How is that for a great view of the city?

And another.

Looking down from the top deck.

You know where we ended up. Times Square, of course. This older gentleman was doing his own take on Naked Cowboy. At least that is what he thought. He was getting a little angry because people didn't want to have their picture taken with him.

After only having a hot dog at Radio City, we were starving by now. We decided to go to Hard Rock Cafe. It was a fun place with good food.

These are the suits that the Beatles wore on the Ed Sullivan Show.

This thing was huge and a little goofy.

So...this ends Day 4. Day 5 was about 15 hours long, so be ready to spend a little time.

Monday, August 27, 2012

My Summer Vacation / New York City Day 3

Right off the bat, I have no idea why everything is underlined. The underline button is not clicked. Sorry, but I'm not going to take the time to figure it out. Blogger hates me lately.

Day 3, Saturday July 7 and we are really on our own today. Victor had to go back to work at the hospital and he is working a double. If we really needed him, we could call, but our goal was to not have to. Goal accomplished!

Check out the sign that we saw every day when we went to the train station. Scare tactics work though. We never once crossed against the light there. Other places yes, but definitely not here.

Once again, we made our way back to Times Square and Woody was waiting for us. I took lots of character pictures to take home for the grandkids. They loved them.

We went to the NBC building to take their tour. They were sold out, so we got tickets for later in the week. We decided to take the tour at Radio City Music Hall instead. We really did enjoy it. We learned a lot about how it was restored to its original beauty. We enjoyed the tour so much that when it was over, we bought tickets for Cirque De Soleil Zarkana for the next day.

Hey, I just realized things are no longer underlined. Go figure!

This is looking down on the lobby from upstairs. Isn't it pretty?

This is the Ladies Lounge just outside the ladies bathroom.

This is Vickie and Erin the Rockette. Poor Vickie got her bubble burst when she found out you had to be at least 5'7" to be a Rockette.

These are some of the beautiful costumes the Rockettes have used.

This the guest book. There are some pretty cool signatures in there.

This was the day we encountered our only rude New Yorker. He happened to be our waiter at the restaurant we chose. The food wasn't great and the service was worse. If I remembered the name of the place, I would tell you.

After we ate, we went to Madame Tussand's Wax Museum. This was so much fun. I could do a post on just that. We even went to their 4D Super Heroes movie. Our feet hurt and we wanted to sit down where it was cool. It actually wasn't half bad.

Here are a few of our favorites.

Johnny Depp

Whoopie Goldberg


(I took this for my girls)

Tina Turner

Because Rhonda asked so nicely, here I am behind the Central Park backdrop.

Another great day under our belts and we hailed a cab and headed for home.

Sunday, August 26, 2012

My Summer Vacation / New York City Day 2

We started out Day 2 all by ourselves. We caught the train and made it to Times Square with no problems. Times Square would become our go to place at some point in every day. There was never a lack of characters to get your picture taken with. Here is Vickie with Puss in Boots. It was in the upper 90's the entire time we were in New York. I can't imagine how hot it was inside those costumes.

We made our way to Rockefeller Center. It was on our "to do" list and it was easy to find.

Look at the size of that planter. They were everywhere and so pretty.

We were getting hungry and decided to eat at the Rockefeller Cafe. What a good choice. We were going to eat outside, but once we got down under those umbrellas, it was way too hot. We were also kind of creeped out by the pigeons everywhere eating all the food scraps off the ground. No thanks, we'll just eat inside.

We had the absolute best shrimp chopped salad ever. It was so good, we came back another day and had it again.

After we ate, we made our way down the street to Saint Patrick Catherdal. What a beautiful place this is. It is in the middle of a renovation. That is why there is scaffolding everywhere. Below are some pictures of the inside.

Next, we headed a little further down the street and found Sax Fifth Avenue. Vickie was in her glory in the shoe department. If you know Vickie, you know that shoes are her thing. That is why her suitcase was overweight at the airport. She had packed too many shoes.

By the time we finished shopping, Victor was ready to join us. We met him at FAO Schwartz. This is one of the times I had wished the grandkids were with me. What an amazing place that is. A true childrens dream.

This is the piano from the Tom Hanks movie "Big". The kids were having a ball making music. We thought about trying it, but decided to leave that up to the kids.

Here is Vickie with a huge Batman made entirely from Legos.

We had an almost 20 hour day on Day 1 and we were getting tired. We decided to take a walk in Central Park before we left for home. It is such a calm and peaceful place.

This is the bridge that you see in so many movies. It is really pretty in person. Central Park is another great place to people watch. There are families playing and people sleeping. People everywhere, but it is still a pretty quiet place. I loved it. We finally left for home. This was the night we took the bus. We had our navigator with us to be sure we got on the right one.

Soon, we were home and it only took a few minutes to fall asleep that night. We had to get some rest to be ready for Day 3.