Friday, April 27, 2012

Last Day In New York (Thank You YMCIA!)

Allen and I woke up early Thursday morning with many plans to take full advantage of our last day in this crazy, busy city that never sleeps.  We jumped on the tour bus and took it to the South Street Seaport to buy tickets for Dialog in the Dark.  We had some time to kill before our scheduled tour, so we bought fruit smoothies from a street vendor (so tasty!) and walked down Wall Street through the financial district, saw the New York Stock Exchange and explored the beautiful Trinity Church.

I was amazed at the details in the intricately carved front doors.

I was fascinated by the cemetery and the beautiful script on some of the ancient headstones.

We did not get tickets to enter Ground Zero but loved seeing the Freedom Tower growing closer to its eventual height of 1,776 feet.

Then it came time for our eye-opening (no pun intended) tour of Dialog in the Dark.  The exhibition took us on a walking tour of a simulated New York City (we went through Central Park, to a grocery store, hopped on a subway, strolled down and crossed a busy street and found seats at a restaurant) but, as the title infers, it all happened in complete blackness.  We had our visually-impaired guide, our canes, and our senses to lead us through the dark city.  It made me think about things I hadn't before (how does someone who can't see go grocery shopping?) and gain a greater appreciation for how blessed I am to have the gift of sight.

Our next stop was John's Pizzeria on Bleecker Street to feast on some real New York style pizza for lunch.  

 It really is as delicious as everyone says.

Just a few blocks away was the Magnolia Bakery where Allen and I each got a piece of thick, rich caramel cheesecake (and a few other treats to tide us over until dinner).

We strolled through Washington Square Park

where there were all sorts of things to feast our eyes upon.  Chess matches, various performers, a play area packed chock full of kids, students studying on a patch of lawn.  We found a bench and sat there to enjoy our cheesecake as well as the various sights.
It was now about time for us to get back to the hotel so we could catch one last bus tour before seeing Wicked that evening. We hurried to the subway, actually had a stranger strike up a conversation with us on our ride (this was rare - most of the time no one even looks at you) then found our tour bus.  However, we had missed the last bus run for the day by minutes.  We decided to just walk to Central Park instead.

Let's play a little name-that-movie game, shall we?

What movie features this bridge/tunnel in Central Park? (Or one like it.  There were a few of them.)

In fact, it could have been this bridge/tunnel. 

But either way, can you name the movie?

How about this view of the Plaza Hotel from Central Park?

Our kids got both of them right off.  But no pressure.

One thing we did not do in New York was ride in a taxi.  Mostly because the cabbies drove like lunatics and seemed really angry.  I was amazed we hadn't seen any taxi accidents - and then we witnessed one.

It was very validating.

We found a bunch of other fun, well-known places as well - but I'll let a friend of mine tell you all about them next week.

Before we knew it, the time had come for a Wicked-ly good time.

I had seen Wicked once before and was excited to see how this show compared to my previous experience.

I was definitely not disappointed.  What an awesome performance!  It was fun to see how different actresses can portray a role in a way that brings out new facets of their characters' personality.  It was Allen's first time seeing it, which was the most exciting part for me.  Kind of like going to Disneyland with someone who had never been there before.  (He loved it, of course!)

Once the show was over we headed for Rockefeller Center to catch a view of the city at night from the Top of the Rock.  Unfortunately, we had missed the last elevator up.  Instead, we went to the Stanton Island Ferry terminal and caught one last glimpse of the Statue of Liberty off in the distance

before calling it a night.

The next morning we packed our bags, and my favorite YMCIA agent and I

headed back to the best destination of all - home, sweet home.


Rory, Chocolate Hair/Vanilla Care said...

love john's pizza! although ray's was good, too. and most recently i remember seeing that central park tunnel in THE BRAVE ONE. ;-)

Gerb said...

Rory- I'm sure that tunnel is probably in a lot of movies, so I'm sure you're right, but the one I'm thinking of is more kid-friendly. :)

Rebecca said...

I didn't cry reading parts 1-5, but I did cry about going home! What a fantastic adventure. How/when did you do all your research? I mean, beyond the obvious, how did you know where to go and what to do?

Gerb said...

Bec- These YMCIA guys take their jobs pretty seriously. Allen had been planning and researching everything long before I got my first letter. Once we got there he asked what I wanted to do and then used the information he had from his research to add some suggestions and come up with a daily agenda.

Rachel said...

This is amazing. I'm so glad you posted this. What a neat gift your boyfriend put together for you.

I told The SM that he needs to read your blog and sign me up for the YMCA intervention program. :D

Larry said...

Are you thinking of Enchanted because I am. That was the only one I came up with. I am so happy you finally got to enjoy NYC. -Nancy

K said...

Oh! Bleecker Street. Holy cats—I'd forgotten all about Bleecker Street. One hot place in 1968. The heart central of all things groovy. Did I ever go there? I can't remember. NY pizza. I close my eyes and remember. The bridge is in Enchanted, yes? But also, I can think of one or two other movies it might have been in.

Wicked is on very well put together production. I found the social comment part pretty week - about the professor. And the second half got a little whiny for me. But the sets are fab and the opportunity for the actors to deliver in the music and dance - really, really fine.

Wow. You really took me back. Don't know if I'll ever go there again.

My real question is: are those kids really all yours? You look way too young for that many pregnancies. But what a gorgeous group!

Gerb said...

Rachel- Thanks! It was seriously a dream come true. And you know, the SM could already be a YMCIA agent. I had no idea Allen was involved...

Nancy- That is the one I was thinking of for the tunnel. But then I went and watched it and I got the wrong spot! So, you win for reading my mind. :) And Rory wins for really knowing a movie that uses that tunnel. How about the view of the Plaza Hotel?

Gerb said...

K- Enchanted is exactly what I was thinking of. That whole song and dance they do in the park is one of my favorites. And I think I'm going to have to try to reproduce NY pizza - minus the 800+ degree brick oven to bake it in. Good stuff.

As for Wicked, there is one song/scene that makes me feel a little awkward every time, but as you said, the sets, costumes and voices are just fabulous.

And yes, I birthed every one of those gorgeous kidlets! Thanks for your sweet words. And for taking the time to comment.

Coolister said...

Home Alone 2!!!

Kara said...

What a fun bunch of posts! We loved reading of your trip and so glad you got to fulfill so many dreams.

Petersons Blog Spot said...

The tunnel reminded me of The Nanny Diaries.

When you get the homemade NY pizza figured out please share your secrets with us!

So nice to hear about your exciting trip!

Steph said...

Gerb, I am so thrilled for you. I can only imagine the excitement you felt, and how loved you must have felt by your family for putting that all together for you. How fabulous. I loved reading these posts. :)

La Yen said...

I am so incredibly jealous I can't even stand it! I love that you had such an amazing experience--and your poor girls' future husbands! They are NEVER going to measure up to their dad. (Bwa Ha Ha!)

Teachinfourth said...

Gerb, these places are great! I will have to try out John's Pizza. I ended up going to the one over the Brooklyn Street Bridge - Grimaldi's. It was awesome.

Connie said...

I finally got caught up! What a fabulous trip you had! The pizza looks delicious. We saw Wicked in NYC a few years ago. I loved it!
Glad you made it home safe and sound.

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