Saturday, October 23, 2010

A Big Time in the Big Apple

What an amazingly fabulous five days I had!
All made possible because the bestest hubby ever let me escape the always adventurous daily life of two little Lewallen tots. That's right. Kyle was willing to be single Daddy for a few days so that I could make a trip to New York City to hang out with my Sis and my Bib. A trip we've been planning for about a year now. First girl trip I've made since Kade was a baby. (Mom, Monk, Mrs. remember that trip to Eureka Springs?) It was so refreshing.
How bout a day by day look?


I could hardly wait to get on the plane early Saturday morning. Even if it was an entire day of airplanes and airports. It was a day of flying without a lap child. Which means a day of naps, and reading, and having a soda when the flight attendant offered. And it certainly didn't hurt that it was a beautiful day...

Flying out of Seattle
Southwest was taking me Northeast!

My layover in Chicago was long enough that I got to have a lunch at the place Kyle recommended.

I also had time to do a little book reading.
Something that very rarely fits into my schedule. I have to admit I wasn't quite sure how to behave not constantly having to keep an eye on two little boys. But I also have to admit that I enjoyed every minute of it.
The next plane took me to New York!
And look who had been doing a little book reading of her own as she waited for me at the airport....

This is her very first taxi ride!
It was a successful taxi ride. Dropped us off at our apartment where our friend Billye was waiting for us. Now just check out the location of our apartment.
This is what we could see out of our window....

And if you are a Late Show fan you will appreciate this...

We entered our apartment right next door to Hello Deli.
(it's the entryway to the far right in the picture)
Inside was quite nice...

Even if we had already thrown our stuff all around.
We didn't hang out in the apartment long before we set out to explore.
Just a couple blocks away, look what we found....

Times Square!!!
So we took some pics of Monk's first night in New York City...

Me and my sweet Sis

We considered Billye to be our "free" tour guide. She loves the city so much she goes every chance she gets. Like several times a year. I probably wouldn't even consider her a tourist there anymore. Ha!

Looks like we are ready to have fun, huh?

This is a giant screen in Times Square. We made it to the big screen. Look closely we are in the bottom right hand corner all huddled up together. Oh, never mind, just take my word for it. I can see us.
We also spotted this...

Mmmm, the Hershey's store.
Made us realize we were ready for some supper before calling it a night.
Just grabbed some pizza, strombolli, and salad before grabbing some zzz's to get ready for our first big day in the Big Apple.


Up and at em'!
Planned on doing the double-
decker tour bus first thing so we headed to pick up our tickets.
Look what we found at the ticket getting place...

The New Year's Crystal Ball

And there was our bus waiting for us to hop on..

Monk got out her map...

And checked to see just where we would be headed.

We three girls were perched up on top of that bus ready to see it all!
We just had to remember not to get too excited.
It was very important that we keep our seats...

Or get knocked out by one of these guys.

Or maybe even taken out by one of these.
This shot makes it quite obvious just how dangerous standing on the top of the bus could be.

Here are a few of the things we saw as we started our bus tour...

We didn't stop to shop this time around. But don't worry we planned on making it back to the magical land of Macy's (or as one of our tour guides said, "the tourist trap rip-off. Just by a washcloth and get the Macy's bag then go across the street and shop at Daffy's or Conway")

Empire State Building
No King Kong sightings.

Flat Iron Building

Macy's original location. The tall building on the left.

Rode to Chinatown and hopped off to do some shopping.

Bib checking out some purses.

Monk trying out some awesome glasses.

Went here next...

To eat, of course!
Chicken Parmigiana to die for!!

After lunch we headed toward Ground Zero.

This is the church behind Ground Zero that served as relief headquarters during rescue efforts.
Inside St. Paul's was amazing.

Memorials to people who lost their lives in 9/11.

When they eventually cleaned up the church they decided not to refinish the pews. They were incredibly scratched up and marred by the rescue workers napping on them without taking the time to remove their belts full of equipment because they needed to be ready to go back out in a moment's notice.

Patches from Fire and Police Departments from all over the U.S. and even some foreign countries who either helped in the rescue efforts and cleanup or just came later to pay their respects to those rescue workers who lost their lives.

There were lots of other very neat displays telling the stories of what happened in the aftermath of September 11th. Can't even express all the feelings and thoughts that I had as I was reminded of what happened in our country nearly ten years ago. I could remember it all as though it were yesterday.
And this is what St. Paul's was most famous for before Sept. 11th...

This is George Washington's pew. Yes, THE George Washington.
He worshipped at St. Paul's Chapel on his Inauguration Day, on April 30, 1789. Washington also attended services at St. Paul's during the two years New York City was the country's capital.
Two pretty amazing parts of our history in one building.

From the back of St. Paul's this is what we could see...

Construction at Ground Zero.

Next on the tour for day one, Staten Island Ferry.

Monk and Bib just resting while we wait for the ferry.

Monk taking in the view from the ferry.
View of what?
Glad you asked.

Look in the background behind the two very happy ladies.

Lady Liberty!
The free Staten Island Ferry took us right by the Statue of Liberty.

The view from the ferry was great no matter which way you looked. It was also a nice break for our feet. With feet rested we exited the ferry when we got back and walked around Battery Park.

This globe came out of the World Trade Center and now serves as a sculpture in Battery Park. There is an eternal flame that is lit beside the sculpture. We will never forget.

Strolled out of Battery Park and just down the street to get a pic of this guy...

You wouldn't believe how many people were standing around waiting for their turn to get their picture taken with this bull. Supposedly it's good luck to rub this bull. I don't think any of the three of us even touched it. Ha! Just took a pic and moved on.
Back to the tour bus to see a few more things.

The famous Waldorf-Astoria hotel.
Apparently you have to be the somebody of somebodies to stay here.

We got to Rockefeller Plaza and decided it was time to get off and explore a bit.

NBC studios!

NBC symbol in M&M's

And look at this....They were really trying to sell me a souvenir for my hubby.
I just took a pic and left the coffee cup on the shelf since I wouldn't consider NBC one of Kyle's favorite things in life. (Found a Yankees mug for him later!)

Ice skating already!

We didn't take time to ice skate. Settled for a picture of us with the ice skaters.

Went into the Lego store and saw some pretty amazing things made out of Legos.

How about this replica of Rockefeller Plaza made entirely out of Legos? I was impressed.

And it was a good thing that I was flying back to Washington or I might have been tempted to purchase the big pirate ship Lego set to take back to two pirate loving little boys.

St. Patrick's Cathedral wasn't far from us so we wanted go ahead and see it.

We went inside...

And they were having mass.
Crazy to me that tourists were just in and out while mass was going on. We just stood at the back for a few minutes before leaving. Went back the next day and got to really see the cathedral. Amazingly beautiful.

Saw Atlas after we left the church and I felt like he was just asking to have his picture taken.
You might can tell by the picture of Atlas that night was falling.
Time for our night tour on the bus through Manhattan and into Brooklyn.

Sporting our Chinatown hat purchases and the blanket Billye was smart enough to bring, we were ready for the cool night air and the night views of the city.

The Chrysler Building.
My personal favorite.

New York Public Library

Empire State Building

Can you see the long line of people? Apparently they are waiting for pizza at the best pizza place in Brooklyn. Must be some good pizza!

Manhattan skyline from Brooklyn

Radio City Music Hall
As we pulled back in to Times Square I spotted this huge billboard...

Made me laugh because several people were concerned about our going to the city while they were supposedly having quite the outbreak of bedbugs.

After our night tour we found a really cool spot to eat...

It was actually the lounge of a hotel near us that Monk had purchased a certificate for. (Big, huge fans of because they have helped us try out many cool new places to eat.) Isn't the atmosphere really cool?

The food was actually quite yummy as well. I took a picture mostly because of the cute little ketchup bottles that Monk and Bib had. I thought my boys would think that was neat.

By the time we finished dinner we were beat and had to hit the hay if we were going to make it happen on day three.


Breakfast at McDonald's!
I know we could eat McDonald's anywhere. But we had two reasons for stopping there.
1. It was quick and easy.

2. Check out the cool chairs they had.
With tummies full of Mickey D's we were ready for our first adventure.
A pretty exciting adventure because it was something that Billye hadn't done before.
Top of the Rock!

We went to the observation deck of 30 Rock in Rockefeller plaza.
Look at that view of Central Park.

And a beautiful look at the Empire State Building.

Can you tell we were loving it?
Definitely one of my favorite parts of the trip.

Then we went even higher and WOW we could see forever.

Can you even imagine how many people live and work in Manhattan?

We spotted the "ball drop" in Times Square.

The only thing that I was even a little disappointed in...

There wasn't a clear view of the Chrysler building.
Silly MetLife building just wouldn't get out of the way.

Looking down from the upper deck. You can see just how high we were.
We spent a good bit of time taking in the view from Top of the Rock but eventually decided we had better not spend the whole day there. So much was waiting for us to come see it.

Honestly can't remember which cathedral this is. But it sure is pretty, isn't it?

Swung into Trump Tower to take a look around.

Checked out the jewels at Tiffany's.
Didn't buy anything even though we did go to the "stationery" level to look at getting something cheap just for the blue box. Can you believe we saw a lady in Tiffany with her dog? What was she thinking? One wrong wag of the tail could cost her a fortune, literally.

Checked out the new 24 hour Apple store.
This is just the entry. You have to go in and down a glass elevator or down these....

Glass stairs.
Once in the store it was just a madhouse and not really all that impressive to me.
Technology isn't really my thing though. We didn't stay long.
Moved on to the legendary toy store FAO Swartz.

Stuffed animals that sold for hundreds of dollars.
Too bad I hadn't bought an extra ticket to fly one of those guys back home with me for the boys. Yeah right.

Found the piano that Tom Hanks played in the movie "Big" and Monk gave it a try.
I did buy a couple of things for the boys there.

With Monks little ditty all played we took a stroll through Central Park....

We didn't spend much time there. Central Park is humongous and our time was limited.
It was mostly a stroll through just to say we were there. We took a couple of pics to prove it.

Found a delicious burger spot for lunch, another thank you to
After lunch, Monk and I hopped on the tour bus to take a look uptown while Bib headed to check out the United Nations building. It was a fun tour of uptown. We didn't get off the bus anywhere just enjoyed the ride and the sights. Our tour guide sounded just like Regis we just pretended he was.
Here are a few of the things we saw...

One of the original subway stations from 1904. I had no idea the subway system was that old. Pretty impressive, I'd say.

Can't remember the name of this building, but I liked it.

The Dakota
Famous because of this spot...

The entrance to the Dakota is where John Lennon was shot.
Yoko Ono still lives there today. We did not see her.

A few more cool churches and buildings we saw....

Museum of Natural History
I want to go inside next time I get to go to the city.

And to give you a break from the buildings...

Monk and me!
Okay back to the buildings...

Oh, and a sculpture as well.

Isn't the architecture amazing?
So many of the buildings just captivated me by how intricate the designs were.
Then we spotted this...

My favorite tree...the ginko....and it was turning beautiful yellow.

Got to cruise through Harlem.

Saw the Apollo.
And learned that Harlem is really doing well. Education has just been flourishing and Harlem now has a 93% graduation rate. I was impressed!
Another cool building...

Took this picture for my boys...

The New York Fire Department in action.
It was a nice tour of uptown. We saw lots of museums and hospitals and churches that I either didn't take pictures of or just chose not to submit your eyes to even more building pictures. In Harlem we saw where Bill Clinton has his offices but I didn't take pictures of that either.

Got a shot of this for Kyle...

The Yankees store!
All three of my boys scored new Yankees hats from the trip.
The Yanks were actually playing the Rangers in NY that night. Arkansas boy Cliff Lee was pitching for the Rangers and Billye being the huge Yankee fan that she is headed to the game!
I just couldn't do a Yankee's game without Kyle. Even though he totally gave me the go-ahead it just wouldn't have felt right. Besides, we already had plans for that night.
My lil' sis from college was coming to town!!!

Jenny and I got to see each other for the first time in ten years!!
She and her hubby and their two sweet kiddos live about an hour outside the city on Long Island. Her husband watched the kids and let her come to the city for a girls' night out.
It was SO good to see Jenny.
Girl, we cannot let it be another ten years before we see each other again!

Dinner at Ruby Foo's!

I found out that my kid sister really likes sushi.
I was impressed.

And the girls found out that I am decent with chopsticks. Ate my entire meal with them. Yes, you do see a fork laying on my plate but I never even used it. Promise! Had it there for backup, just in case. Ha! Ruby Foo's was totally yumalicious! I would definitely go back there.
After dinner us girls just hung out in Times Square a did a bit of looking and shopping.

Hit up M&M World
There were M&M's for days!

Took this pic of the Yankee's mix for Kyle. Now that I think about it, I'm not sure why I just took a picture and didn't bring him some back. Maybe that 12.99 per pound sticker in the corner steered me away?
One of my favorite M's in the place...

Lady Liberty

I can never see M&Ms without thinking of our Mrs. Nancy. She loves them.

We took this pic just for you, Mrs. Nancy!

The three of us in Times Square having lots of fun.
What could make it more fun?
How bout a trip into the world's largest Toys R Us store...

That's it on the corner.
Just how big is it?

Well, it has a ferris wheel inside.
Got a shot of the Toy Story car for the boys.
And a couple of pictures for my super hero loving Kade...

Oh, seeing Spider Man I have to tell you this. Kade doesn't really know much about the super heroes. Pretty much he just recognizes the kind of costume a super hero wears and gets excited that it is a super hero. He honestly thinks that Spider Man is a super hero because he kills spiders and rescues people from their webs. Don't you just love the creativity of a three-year-old's mind? Besides, killing spiders and rescuing people from webs would constitute super hero status to me any day.

Took this pic for myself...

Lego Chrysler building. Remember it is my favorite. And also remember that from Top of the Rock the MetLife building was blocking my view of it. Well, this was an unobstructed view and I took advantage of the photo op. Ha!

Monk and I couldn't help but have our picture with this guy...

I think we just called him the Candy Man because he was in the candy section of the store. Jolly ole soul isn't he?
Time ran out on us and we had to walk Jenny back to Penn Station to catch her train home. So glad that she got to join us for an evening.
Monk and I got back to the apartment in time to watch the Yankees lose the ballgame and waited for Bib to make it back. Pretty busy day, huh? Two more to go. You hanging in there?


Billye had to leave us and head for Washington, D.C. for work. Monk and I were on our own in the city for our last day. There were only a couple of things left on Monk's New York City "to do" list. One of those was to buy something to eat from a street vendor. We grabbed breakfast from a vendor and it was way cheaper than McDonald's. Gave us just the bit of energy we needed to do a bit more souvenir shopping in Times Square and take our goods back to the apartment.
The other thing still on her list was to ride the subway.
So, that's what we did....

Subway station right across the street from our apartment.

Monk waiting on the D train.
Where did we go?

To Macy's!
Did just a little bit of shopping there and headed back toward our place for a break.
Stopped here...

And got this...

to take back to our apartment.
Cheesecake from heaven!!!
We couldn't even eat all of it in one sitting it was so incredibly good.
We enjoyed our cheesecake and took a little break before dinner.
We had planned on going to a show but when we checked ticket availability and prices the best we could do was $114 ticket to Lion King. No thanks. So we settled for this...

The Stardust Diner, where the wait staff is trying hard to get their turn on Broadway.

Monk all ready for some dinner entertainment.

I was just happy with my diet coke and another chance to hang out with my kid sister.
But we did have some nice entertainment...

Believe it or not, they were really good. And cheesy as it may seem, we were entertained. Even bigger deal, tickets didn't cost $114!
After dinner we made one last stroll through Times Square...

What a place!
So happy that I got to share it with two of my most favorite girls in all the world.
But all good things must come to an end.
Packed up and went to bed.


Hailed our taxi cab early in the morning and headed to the airport. LaGuardia is not an impressive airport by any means but Southwest was doing their best to liven things up...

And we had prepared to liven our morning up a bit by bringing these for breakfast...

There was a bakery called "Crumbs" that we passed every time we left our apartment and each time we looked in we really wanted one of those cupcakes. So we stopped the day before and got a couple to go. They were scrumptious!!! Better than any airport breakfast we could have found.
After breakfast we boarded a Chicago! We figured out that it was the first time that the two of us had ever flown together. Now that is just crazy as much as we have both flown. Gotta make sure that we don't wait another 29 years for that to happen again.

Here we are in Chicago before parting ways.
THANKS SO MUCH MONK for letting me accompany you to NYC!!!
I had the BEST time with you!! A girl couldn't ask for a better sister in all the world!!
My next plane took me home to Washington.

Another beautiful day to fly. Just look at those mountains.
Had a few boys whom I think were glad to see me back in the state.
The two little ones just needed me back because they were out of chocolate chip waffles. The biggest boy of mine was just needing a break from the ever adventurous Lewallen tots! I totally understand that.
But look, they were all in one piece and totally able to enjoy their NYC prizes....

Home Sweet Home!

1 comment:

ashleydiggs said...

Thank you so much for sharing! I personally liked all the pics of the buildings! Now I really want to go to NYC!