For those of you who are acquainted with me, you know that I'm a homebody and I don't really venture too far from the old homestead. I don't like crowds; I don't like to go shopping; and my idea of a night of fun is curling up in my pj's with a good book to read or a classic movie to watch.
So why in heaven's name did I decide take a New York vacation? Well, my son lives there, and it was past time that we went to visit him. I had never really thought about going to NYC, but once we made up our minds and set the date, I got with the program. We were slated to be there for four full days and two half travel days.
I didn't want to plan too many things because I didn't want to feel rushed and stressed out about keeping to a schedule. So I only booked three activities: a Manhattan bus tour, catching the Broadway show The Phantom of the Opera and doing lunch with my producer and narrators from Brick Shop Audiobooks. We "winged" the rest of the visit.
We decided to splurge and stay in a hotel in the middle of Manhattan. We stayed at the Hotel Elysee which is a small elegant hotel right there on 54th Street between Madison and Park Avenues. I wanted the "New York Experience," and I certainly got it. The hotel is tastefully furnished in antiques and it became our quiet haven in the midst of the hustle and bustle of NYC. There's a Club Room on the second floor where they serve scrumptious Continental breakfasts every morning and wine and cheese in the evenings. Awesome!!!
We took the six-hour bus tour the first day and rode all over Manhattan, ate in Little Italy, saw the World Trade Center Memorial, Grant's Tomb, Harlem, a couple of famous churches, and we walked in Central Park in the rain. We also took a ferry ride to see Ellis Island and the Statue of Liberty. As I stood on deck, I imagined what my ancestors must have felt like immigrating from the Old Country seeking freedom and better lives in America. I felt very patriotic.
It was a perfect activity for a rainy day and we got acclimated to the city somewhat. It was quite a culture shock to someone who has lived in Texas her whole life. The density of the population is mind-boggling.
On Saturday, we saw The Phantom of the Opera at the Majestic Theater. I was afraid my husband wasn't going to like it very much, but he thoroughly enjoyed it. It was phenomenal!!!
Every day, we ate at great restaurants my son recommended. Such delicious food. We had steak a couple of nights cooked to perfection. I ate Thai food one day, tried escargot (not a fan) and raw oysters which were surprisingly good. And desserts! I love sweets.
Sunday, we spent a leisurely morning at the hotel, then toured the Empire State Building. I'm so glad we visited it. I love An Affair to Remember and Sleepless in Seattle, both of which have those famous scenes on top of the Empire State Building.
After that, we went to Macy's on 34th Street. Macy's was fun with the old-fashioned wooden escalators, crowded but fun.
Times Square was next. Boy, it was so crowded and noisy!!! Lots of tourists!!! We actually got to see the Naked Cowboy. Sorry, no pictures.
Monday was very special. We had lunch with my very talented producer, Christopher Lee and my two narrators from Brick Shop Audiobooks. Jennifer O'Donnell and Erin Mallon are doing a great job narrating my Contemporary Western Series: Return to Stone Creek and The Diamondback Ranch Series. We all hit it off and spent a very enjoyable hour or so eating pizza and giving each other high-fives and kudos.
The rest of the trip was done on the fly, not really planned; we just winged it. We toured St. Patrick's Cathedral, ate hotdogs at Gray's Papaya and visited the Museum of Natural History. We rode the subway everywhere and walked miles and miles. We saw Grand Central Station and passed by NBC, CBS and ABC. And of course, I had to window shop at Tiffany's.
We had a very late flight, so we had time to tour Dumbo, see the BQE and walk along the Promenade and the Brooklyn Bridge. We saw parts of downtown Brooklyn, too.
Needless to say, my feet were killing me by this time. But I soldiered on and Gene called a car service to pick us up and take us to JFK Airport. The flight home was very nice. It had been many years since I'd flown at night. A totally different experience than daytime flight.
All in all, the trip to NYC was fabulous. You always hear about how rude people are in NY, but everyone James and I encountered were very friendly and helpful. I truly was sorry to leave. But it's always nice to come home. Although I have to admit, it was kind of a culture shock in reverse returning to Houston.
Anne Marie :)