Wednesday, September 30, 2009

How high is this?

OK, for someone afraid to ride the Farris Wheel at Disneyland this was a major step for me.

Whenever we are in N.Y.C. the weather always seems to be overcast and dreary. But not on this trip. We had gorgeous weather and clear sky's. So we took advantage of it and went to the top of the Empire State building. Just so we can say that we have been there and done that!
After you ride up a flight of escalator's you are steered into line like a heard of cattle. Then feed through a metal detector and your belongings scanned. And directed to the long line of tourist waiting to purchase tickets. From this point there is no going back. And after the sticker shock of $70.00 for two adults to ride the elevator. You begin to wonder just where the recession is affecting America!
The movies had my imagination going and I was excited to see what it was all about. To my surprise this is what two,of the 73, elevators look like. Small, gray, and SMALL!
Our first stop was the 86th floor where you are guided outside to the observation deck. And to my surprise I never felt it swaying ,1,000 feet off the ground.
I know this sign made me think, really do parents do that? Yes, really they do, as I observed a mother set her 8 year daughter on the ledge!!!! We walked all around taking in the amazing views for as far as our eyes could see. Off in the distance I saw this approaching us.

It grew closer and closer. And I realized that is was a NYPD helicopter.
I began saying short prayers about not being afraid to die but not wanting our children to grow up without mom and dad. After a few close "fly by's" they were off. I think they just wanted to see our frighted little faces. Then we got back on the elevator and continued up the needle to the102nd floor. On this elevator they stop counting floors and begin counting altitude! Yes, you're reading that correctly 1,250 feet off the ground. Lucky for me this floor is glassed in. And you are not able to perch your offspring onto any ledge.I can only imagine how those men felt in 1930 out on some beam welding this thing together. They worked fast because it only took 1 year and 45 days to complete the Empire State building.
Though we thought the price was step, as well as the 2.5 hours it took, we are so happy that we made the time to do it.And of course after that we were starving and made our way to the lower east side and the famous Katz's Deli.
The atmosphere in this 121 year deli is breathtaking! Looking around you can see how meat was preserved and prepared in 1888. WE have never eaten pastrami before but figured we had to here. Katz's is famous for their pastrami and the corned beef. Ryan and I split this amazing sandwich along with homemade pickles and french fries.
When arriving at the deli you are given a green ticket in which they keep track of your order. Then you just stop and pay on the way out.

Here I am all smiles after lunch. Setting where Meg Ryan sat while filming When Harry Meet Sally! If you are in the city for just a short time this is a must to eat at!

We made a quick stop at Russ & Daughters just a few doors down. Famous for their fish market and array of dried fruits. With the weather being so kind to us we headed over to SoHo, NoHo{ South of Houston and North of Houston- pronounced House-ton} and Greenwich village the following day. The old cobble stone streets got me to thinking how many horse drawn carriages and immigrants walked this very path. Now lined with designer shops and posh cafes.
We stopped for lunch on Bleeker street in Greenwich Village. At the only brick oven pizza joint that is still allowed to operate in Manhattan, John's Pizzeria.
Really going out on a limb here with a hand tossed, brick oven baked, pepperoni pizza and a pitcher of RC cola. All New Yorkers drink this stuff and I so longed for my Sonic Happy Hour Route 44 Dt. Dr. Pepper.{Yes, hand wipes are a must after any subway ride!}.
The pizza was fabulous and we left passing Murray's cheese and stopped a few doors down at Amy's Bread.
I have certified myself a cupcake connoisseur. We have tried, Magnolia Bakery, Buttercup Bakery, Crumbs and Eleni's and this place by far has the best cuppies in town! Amy's Bread is baked fresh twice a day and this gal knows how to bake! The Chinese say that Chinatown in N.Y.C. is the closet thing to home.
Even more so than Chinatown in San Fransisco.
Markets line the streets full of color and foods that my eyes have never seen.

I can only imagine what kind of pedicure you get here.

When you hear people talking about Chinatown and all the knock off items they sell this is where to go. As you pass people on the street that will whisper Coach, Prada, Gucci...follow me. And you follow them through small tiny passages all hidden up within these buildings. I did it on my first visit and was sure that I was going to be tied up and thrown on some boat to be shipped far, far away. But I lived!
Tomorrow I will share some sites from the new Yankee Stadium, 5th Ave, Bobby Flays Mesa Grill and Grand Central Station. And I promise not to turn this into a travel blog.

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

It's good to be home!

After returning home from my fourth week in N.Y.C. I like to think of it as if I have lived there for an entire month! And as much as I love absorbing all the different cultures and sites. It's always a joy to come back home.
I have so much to share and over 400 pictures! Crazy I know! So I have been working on a condensed post to share with you.

On our past visits we had taken in just about every tourist attraction the city had to offer. So I was excited this time to just get to hang out in the city rather than trying to make sure we see it all. We did visit two sites that we had not yet been to and I can't wait to share that with you.

With a little view of the Hudson River out our window. We have stayed in Times Square, Downtown on Madison Ave but this time we stayed in a wonderful place on the Upper West Side where You've Got Mail was filmed, and we loved it. The Lucerne is located at 79th and Amsterdam just a block from one of my personal favorites, Zabar's.It's a must every time we visit N.Y. And I was able to eat my favorite breakfast everyday I was there. I was one happy girl.
Nova cream cheese bagel and a apple juice. I LOVE this so much but it's hard to find it this fresh back home. Ryan tried it but gagged just one bit down and left the rest to me! This is the quintessential N.Y. grocery store. Having Opened in 1934 by Louis and Lillian Zabar.

They have more cheese than I have ever seen in one place.

Coffee from all over the world. And a fresh fish and meat market to die for. I have honestly bought food here to take home to have on Christmas Eve a few years back. Sad, I know.

First things first after arriving we had to get us something to eat. We walked a few blocks over to the Shake Shack.

I had seen a show on the Food Channel regarding this place and wanted to check it out.

The food was great and reminded me a lot of In and Out Burger on the West coast.

The Black and White hand dipped milkshakes are to die for. You can wait for a table or walk across the street and eat in the park at the Natural History Museum.

A MetroCard is a must when you are visiting this fast city. You are going to walk more than you ever have, all on concrete. So it's nice to just hop on the Subway and let it take you where you need to go. Did you know N.Y.C. public transportation is the largest in the world.After you adjust to the lack of fresh air you will enjoy and see more of the true side of New York.

We were in town to catch the Yankee's vs. Red Sox games so I had planned to visit a few things that I wanted to see. Our first stop was Chelsea Market. I was so excited to see where Rachel Ray, Paula Deen and the Food Channel shopped.

Chelsea Market houses several shops at street level while filming for the shows takes place upstairs.

We stopped by Eleni's...
She has lot's a beautiful cookies .

One fabulous fresh food market .

And I was so excited to visit Chelsea Market Baskets. I had read an entire story on them in a Paula Deen magazine.

But, this is what I saw when we arrived
Are you kidding me?However, Ryan was thrilled to learn that this is where MLB.Com offices are located.Who would have thought they would be in the meat packing district?

With the kiddos back home we were able to eat at a few places that only served either wine or water.
Our first night we chose authentic Italian food at Spiga.

We were so hungry that I plum forgot to take any pictures of our fabulous Cannelloni Di Mozzarella E Ricotta Di Bufala Con Passata Di Pomodoro { homemade buffalo mozzarella and ricotta cannelloni served in a light tomato sauce} Or as I explained to Ryan Cannelloni filled with cheese and spaghetti sauce!

With our happy stuffed little tummy's we were ready to call it a night. As we walked along Columbus Ave. and turned the corner to walk the block up to our hotel this is what I found just 4 tiny little doors down.
A Goodwill!
Can you believe it! Smack dab in one of the poshest area's in the city. I went in the narrow little store to find Prada, Gucci, Burrberry and girls these were not the knock off ones. They did not have many housewares at all. But I did stumble on an entire set of Ballard Design dinner plates, salad plates and bowls for just $1.99 each.Sadly, I could not justify carrying home 30 pounds of china so I had to settle on just two.
Can't wait to share with you our visit to SoHo, NoHo, Chinatown, Empire State building and Katz's Deli tomorrow.

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