Tuesday, December 31, 2013

New Years Eve n New York City Day 5

Its a long one, but SOO worth the read!!!!

The big day is finally here, the whole reason we came to NYC. To go to Time Square to watch the ball drop at the stroke of Midnight ringing in the New Year. We took the morning to sleep in and relax a bit since we knew we had a LONG day and night ahead of us. Mid morning we got ready and headed down to Time Square for a early lunch before the waiting game began. While walking through Time Square we came across the CakeBoss Cafe and of course had to stop in for a treat.
 From there we search out for a place to eat lunch and ended up at Juniors. We’d never eaten there before but the menu had a wide variety of items and cheese cake. We were worried about the wait because I wanted to be in our spot waiting by Noon. Reading online the viewing area’s filled up quickly and the streets closed at 3pm. If I wouldn’t see the ball drop I was going to be devastated. Lunch was absolutely fabulous, I had a open face Brisket Sandwich and the hubbs had a Turkey one. I love brisket so much and was a bit hesitant getting it at a place in New York but it was great. We of course had to try some of their famous Cheese Cake and while I’ve defiantly had better it wasn’t to bad at all. I had the original with strawberry on top and the hubbs had red velvet. 

After lunch we made our way to the viewing area and of course the streets were already packed. I was trying not to panic as we were turned away and told to go down a couple blocks and then enter again. Once back in we noticed a large open area were people were waiting. Ok I though now how do I get in there. Everything was blocked off and then finally I saw it....the ENTRANCE. There was NYPD doing security checks on everyone as you entered the area which they called “pens”. Other wise known as the corral or holding area. I did a lot of research before hand on line about being in TS to watch the ball drop which paid off for us. No bags were allowed in the viewing area’s, I packed light, just my phone, camera and debit card all on the inside pockets of my coat. I wanted to be hands free and not have to worry about anything. As we entered our pen and I was being search with the lovely metal detector I had tears in my eyes with joy and excitement. This was a day I’d dreamed about for ever and finally that dream was coming true. Once in you can not get out, well you can but if you do you can’t get back in. As the pen’s fill up quickly and become extremely packed making it very hard to move around let alone at all. We made it in just after 12pm and were between 46th and 47th St. right in the middle of TS. We had a PERFECT view of Time Square One, were the ball would drop down from. We quickly made friends with a few of the people around us. Thankfully they were all pretty normal so it made for good conversation. Would have been pretty crappy standing there for 12 hours if they weren’t. Don’t get me wrong there were defiantly some odd balls around us and I tried my best containing my aggravation. Like the group of 6 teenagers in front of me that had to stand in a circle and kept bumping into me and acting like complete idiots. Or the couple beside them that could not stop making out the entire time. Don’t get me wrong it wouldn’t of been so bad if they weren’t completely and utterly awful to look at. At one point the back of the guys head was literally centimeters away from my face. Ok I understand in this type of environment that you are going to be come extremely close to come people you’d rather not but sometimes there’s a little to close for comfort. Every so often we moved a little closer to the left (which made for a even better view of the ball) which made me happy because it was further from this couple. Never the less they always ended up RIGHT back in front of me. Through the evening, I mean the day, you know the 12 hour wait we counted at least 12 people leave the pen who just couldn’t handle it and wait it out. Included the group of 6 teenagers. Hello!!! Thank You, you were annoying the CRAP out of me. Starting at 5pm there was a count down for every hour. The clock struck the next hour and we counted down the last 15 seconds on the TS clock. At 6pm the opening ceremonies started and the ball was raised to the Top of Time Square One. From were we were standing we had a pretty decent view of the stage but not great. I wasn’t to worried I didn’t come for the performers. The first 2 hours the different artists came out and did a rehearsal of whatever it was they were going to be singing once the evening went live. Meaning we heard each performance twice. Wasn’t to made for some but for others it was gut wrenching. At the start of every new hour there was a couple of the wishes read allowed from one of the co-host. It was neat to hear what people wished for, for 2014 or what their dreams were. Did I mention there was NO BATHROOMS for you to use while you waited. That’s right you read that correctly NO PUBLIC BATHROOMS. You either sucked it up and held it and waited or you left. Thankfully I didn’t have to much to drink during lunch so I was completely fine the entire time and didn’t have to go at all. Although I was seriously dying of thirst and had nothing with me to drink. I guess it was a good thing because if I did I’d probably have to have peed like crazy. Maybe people left because they had to use the restroom, no way. Even if I did I’d suck it up. The hubbs made a comment about a 10:30pm that he had to go but could wait till it was over. THANK FREAKING GOODNESS. No way we were leaving. If you got hungry you could buy a Pie of Pizza from Domino's for $20 each. You didn’t get a choice on what it was either. They just had delivery guys out with bags full of them working the crowds selling. We were two people over from being next to the railing were all the new reports were walking back and forth crew were. I made some small talk with a few but didn’t really try to get on camera with them. They were all random TV stations so we knew no one we knew would see us so it wouldn’t be worth it. Nivea was a big sponsor for the event and the passed out large Top Hat to everyone with lip balm attached inside. Sideman was another big sponsor and they passed out gloves to everyone. Perfect free souvenirs if you ask me. Right around 11pm we only had 1 hour to go and I was getting really tired. My back was starting to hurt from standing for so long. You wouldn’t even consider sitting because the streets were so dirty from all the trash not to mention you really had NO room to sit down. The performers were great once they really got out and did their thing and it was a rehearsal. We saw / heard Ryan one time after that it was a someone else. (I forget her name) The whole evening is completely different in person vs. on TV. It was great don’t get me wrong but the performers and the hosts are all there for the viewers back home watching from the comfort of their couch. 45 minutes to go, 30 minutes left, 15 minutes OMG I though we are almost done. This is going to be the longest 15 minutes of my life. The whole day / evening went by pretty quickly looking back on things once the sunset and it got dark. Finally we were down to the last 3 minutes, I couldn’t believe it. And then the last 60 second of 2013. The crowd went crazy (even more than they already were) we counted down as the ball slowly made the drop to the bottom. It was such a magical moment, one I’ll never forget. Confetti fell from the windows of the buildings above, fire works went off and it was officially 2014. The hubbs and I had our New Years kiss as we rang in the New Year. 

 I had so much fun, I'm so glad I was able to be in TS for such a big day. Many people like me dream of being here one day and its so exciting to say they’ve done it. I’ve been there in the middle of Time Square on New Years Eve. We waited around for just a bit taking a few pictures and saying bye to our “friends” we made during our wait before fighting the crowds to get out. 
That’s a completely different story and adventure in its self. You have over a MILLION people gated in several different gates / pens in a small block radios that are all trying to get out at the SAME time. Talk about complete fear and disaster. We made our way out of our pen only to get stuck in another one. Once we realized we weren’t getting any were there we veered far left. Were I got a hand in my face from a NYPD officer telling me we couldn’t enter that area unless we had a hotel key. Seriously dude its a alley way, whatever. Mean while the whole time Gabe had a death grip on my wrist because if we got separated even by one person we were done for and would not be able to find each other. I was in complete panic mode and just wanted out. There was so many people, many were nice because they wanted the same thing just to get to a open area. But others not so much as they just were flat out rude. Finally we made out way out of the madness and in to open streets. The subway entrances were over flowing with people. We new we’d be taking our life in our own hands by trying to get on and take it back to the B&B. We opted for a Taxi ride after a much needed stop at Dunkin Donuts for drinks. My dear husband bless his heart, he looked at me and said “so how do we get a taxi, how do we make them stop?” I stepped out on the street and stuck my head out and said like this, now we wait. Finally after about 5 minutes I hailed my first NYC taxi. Call me crazy but I was kinda proud. We get in and tell the driver were we needed to go. My husband proceeds to carry on a conversation with the driver as we are on my way. I couldn’t help but laugh, he’s a true Southern boy born in Germany. Just after 1:00am we made our way back to were we were staying and it only cost $17.00. I just knew it was going to be so much more than that. 

It was a great evening, one I will never forget and always remember. One that I’ll never do again but glad that I did it. Finally able to mark if off my 30b430 list. A dream come true and the best part about it was I got to share this moment with my best friend. I couldn’t have asked for a better way to end 2013. 

Monday, December 30, 2013

New York City Day 4

This morning was def, our earliest morning of them all. We actually set a alarm for today. Something your not suppose to do on Vacation right. We had a full day ahead of us and so we wanted to make sure we got a early start. Being at the Empire state building when they opened at 8:00AM to beat some of the crowds and long lines. There was already people in line and making their way inside when we arrived at 8am sharp. Thankfully there really wasn't any waiting of lang time. We headed straight in and up the stairs through security and up the elevator to the 86th floor. We opted not to go to the 102nd floor. I went to the very top last November when I was there and well honestly its really not much of a difference in the view if you ask me. So we decided we'd say the extra $$$$ and stay down low. 
See I'm telling you the views are fantastic, its such a beautiful place. A city of buildings that never sleeps. 
No place I'd rather be. I had this magical moment planned out in my head for while we were on top of the Empire State building with my hubbs. However with the FREEZING temperatures all of those thoughts and ideas completely slipped my mind. We took in the view, tried not to get wind blown around. I swear once we went back inside I looked like Rudolph my nose was so red. I couldn't feel my fingers. And you know what at the end of our trip there none of that matter. The only thing that did was  that we were able to experience it together for the first time. Magical view curled up in his arms no place I'd rather be, freezing and all. 
One of my favorite cities in the world. 
We walked back down a couple blocks passing the New York City Library…..
….to Grand Central Station. Another city inside its self. One of the most beautifully built buildings in the city. 
Every time I'm here I feel like I'm in a movie myself. There's 100's if not 1000's of people going every direction. Both local and tourist. 
Its like your ticket to any were you want to go…..your way out….your escape from the world. 
Back out on the streets we headed up a few blocks to Bryant Park. I love the red, white & blue Christmas tree. So pretty. The different shops and cafe's to check out make this little walk through area / park a must go to during the winter months. Last minute gift shopping…..they've got it. And when your done doing your shopping take a spin around the Citibank Ice Rink. Christmas music playing, gets you in the spirit even being after Christmas. 

From there we headed to Time Square. They were already setting up for tomorrow evenings grand events. The ever so amazing Ball Drop at Midnight. We stopped in the Visitors center (which mind you I didn't know they had prior to a little research before our trip.) We both wrote on a piece of the official Time Square confetti paper our wishes for 2014. They were then placed in a bucket and dumped on the city of New York as the clock struck Midnight Ring in the New Year. We saw all the different characters dressed up and the little kids going crazy wanting to have their pictures with them and wanting to meet them. I love Mickey and Minnie Mouse, I've always been a fan ever since I was a little tiny person. 
Hopes and Dreams wall in the Visitors Center. 
From there we went to Bond 45 to have a late lunch before getting on the longest subway ride of our trip. We were headed to the city of Queens to meet up with A again. This time he was going to show us around the area he lived and more than just the tourist parts of NYC. We got of the subway and walked  up and I completely felt so out of place. I couldn't read any of the street signs let alone understand what anyone was saying. I made sure to stay close to the hubbs. Once we met up with A we headed down the highway. 
Our first stop was the World Largest Globe and the sight were the space shuttle took off from in the movie Men In Black. This was also the observation tower for the World Fair that was held in NYC in 1964. Both located in Flushing Meadow Corona Park, Queens NY. Kinda cool, got a little history lesson while we were out. 
From there we drove around some more and A showed us around. It was really neat to see such a different part of the city that I'd never seen before. The best part was hearing the hubbs and A talk and go back and forth on their stories and do the whole Remember When…. Thing. I sat in the back seat minding my own but it was one of the best days we had while we were there. It's so fun meeting up with friends when your on vacation. It made it feel more like we were home hanging out vs. on a vacation. We headed to lunch shortly after, being in Queens your options are well slim kinda. I knew we'd eat something that was well OUT of the BOX if you'll say. I'm can be a picky eater so I tried to keep a open mind. We went to this Vietnamese place A just raved and raved about I was so nervous I'd never had Vietnamese food before. We each got these sandwiches and fries with this sauce on top and let me tell you it was to die for. I couldn't get enough and was so stuffed be time we left. The hubbs and I may have been the only white people in the place and the hubbs may have made a huge scene hitting his head on the light fixture because he's so tall. Still it did not disappoint. I wish we had a place like that here in the South. 
We left there and headed over to Brooklyn. I was talking to A about how I'd never been and he was telling us about how different it was and offered to drive over and show us around. You can go from being in a really nice area to in a completely crappy area in less than a full block. Def. not some were I'd go and venture out on my own since I don't really know the area or culture. We made our way to Ft. Hamilton Military Base, its seriously the smallest Army post I've ever been on. Its small than the size of a postage stamp but still offered everything a normal post does. We stopped by and checked out the Officers Club which had amazing views of the Bay. It actually worked out because A was able to get some wedding information for his upcoming Ceremony in September. Wedding planning on vacay, don't mind if we do. This bridge that connected two of the burrows was located right next to Ft. Hamilton. A told me the name of it but I completely forgot. 

After playing tourist a little more and listening to the never ending stories which I loved it was time to say our "see you soons". I wanted to walk across the Brooklyn Bridge while we were in NYC and well it seemed perfect to do it this evening since we were right there in Brooklyn. This was another thing I'd never done before. After a little convincing on my end, (it was pretty cold outside) A dropped us off just right out side the entrance of the walk way to the bridge. We made our way across the one mile bridge through the crowds and bikers. It had some beautiful views, I only wish we would have waited and done it during the day. We got there right at dusk. Pictures and the views were great but would have been so much better. I was adamant about doing it though because I just knew we wouldn't be back down in that area. You can't win them all though right. Still we had a great time and I can say I've walked across the Brooklyn Bridge into Manhattan. How many people can say they've done that.?!?!?

Kisses on the Brooklyn Bridge. 

I really can't get enough of him. He's not a big city kinda guy so him coming to the big city with me is such a big deal. He's given up so much for me and done so much for me in the last 7 years we've been together I couldn't imagine sharing these moments with any once else. We had such a great day today, like I said probably one of the best days while we were in the city. 
Since we got back to Manhattan so late we were wiped out. Went back to the B&B after stopping by Dunkin Donuts for Coffee and Hot Chocolate. We need up not going back out for dinner and just munching on some left overs we had from a couple nights before. Curled up in bed watching a little TV was the best way to end out evening. 

Sunday, December 29, 2013

New York City Day 3

Sunday morning we work up a bit early and headed out to the Museum of Natural History. We were meeting up with one if the Hubbs friends that we were stationed with in Hawaii. He's now a recruiter and lives in Queens, NY. He'd never been to the museum himself so it worked out perfect. 
We were to lucky to have a subway station right out side our B&B it's worked out so well. Especially coming back late at night when we are completely exhausted. 
We arrived right on time but of course the Subway and Traffic stalled A from getting there when we did. It's ok we enjoyed some Starbucks and did a little people watching while we waited.
Dinosaurs remind me of my Spouse, aka Sarah. She loves them, she's a true kid at heart still. 
 Hubbs and A hadn't seen each other since they both left back in 2011 but you never would have known that. They picked up right were they left off as if they had talked every day over the last two year. It was so great to hear them share stories and do the whole "Remember…." We had a great time and the museum it self was huge. Military got in free so that saved us a total of $44 dollars. We seriously could have been in there for days and still not have seen everything there was to see. 

Below is a view from out of one of the window on a upper level. I though it was really neat, it was a gloomy day but so pretty at the same time. When we got to the museum we really didn't have to wait at all to get in, thankfully because the line to simply get into the building was wrapping around the block. Talk about crazy. 
After the museum A had to head back home. So the hubbs and I went to lunch across the street at a place called Cafe Frida. It was a little mexican joint and well we all know you can't go wrong with mexican food. Fabulous!!! Although hubbs made a comment that this was the first mexican restaurant that we'd been into that didn't serve chips and salsa. FAIL!!! 

After lunch we stopped by a few local stores to do a little window shopping and then to a local pharmacy because well I still wasn't feeling myself. I knew I had to break down and finally get some meds. in my system if I was gonna beat this crud. I stocked up on day and nightquil along with some throat lozengers. We headed back to the B&B to relax a bit, it kinda worked out perfect because it was pretty rainy and nasty out so we really didn't want to walk around in that. 
After a much needed nap I woke up feeling so much better. I even had my appetite back, which was great seeings I hadn't eaten a whole lot in the past 2 days. We freshened up and headed out to dinner. 
We went to a little Italian place called Trattoria Pesce Pasta. I went with the Chicken Parm and let me tell you it was the size of my plate. It was HUGE. I didn't get any pictures of it but it was pretty fabulous, I had a side of steamed broccoli which is one of my favorite veggies and it was so good. The hubbs had been talking about Tiramisu all evening and how he wanted some. Me never have had any before didn't really care one way or the other. We caved and gave in and I have to say it was pretty tasty. It was a wonderful evening out. Thankfully it had stopped raining and the sky's had cleared up from earlier in the day.