So on to continue our trip.
While Jeff and his New York Life buddies are hanging out in the basement of the Home Office...
The spouses and I were out walking to our next event.
The flatiron building always gets me, it's probably the most photographed building in Manhattan but I couldn't resist.
We were having a morning of instruction at the culinary institute! But, when we first got there they weren't ready for us so we split up and checked out some places in the area. I went with a couple others to Eataly (Sounds like Eat and Italy) to see their authentic Italian market and eateries that are in an indoor mall.
Smells yummy and looked good but since I knew we were going to eat at the Culinary Institute we just looked.
OK now we're ready.
Our host was the guy kinda in the middle with the black tie. Later on in the morning he was sharing with us all the TV and movie things he's done. He's an actor that does this on the side when he's not working on something else because it's close to his home.
One of the guys in our group googled him and exclaimed "You're on 8 pages!!" He told us "Oh I never look at those things about myself". He was pretty nice and fun to meet him...just like me I don't remember his name though.
We all hung out and drank cokes (and wine for the wine drinkers) while they set us up with our appropriate attire.
We're ready to learn some cooking stuff!!
These are two of the gals I enjoyed hanging out with during our week there. Erika and Tasha. I did a few outings with them, but I passed on their excursion to do the Today Show (I did it once before and standing for 3 hours in the cold and rain to hope to get on TV wasn't as exciting as I thought). I made sure to flip the TV on while I was getting ready though and sure enough these two were on the Today Show and got some great pictures of the hosts of the show :)
So I wanted to try my hand at making Ravioli's. They made it somewhat easy for us though because the dough and the filling was already made. I would've like to know how to make the pasta but when I asked our chef if she had any tips on making pasta she just told me "follow the directions on the recipe".
thats a big help
We had all sorts of stations with people making wrapped chicken, Kale and sauces, dessert and other things...all I saw was my ravioli station.
Our chef showed us once how to stretch the dough and assemble the ravioli's and then she was off to do other things. With the Kitchen-aide whirling the dough through it's rollers about 12 times I learned real quick that it wasn't so easy to keep everything straight and orderly...especially the longer the dough got. You also couldn't poke your fingers through it because then it would be ruined too.
I felt like I was on an I Love Lucy episode because I felt awkward and clumsy and our chef would just come back to tell us that we needed to make more ravioli....more ravioli ("thats all you've done!?" she would say). It didn't help that before we were done all the other people were done so they all came over to us to watch what we were doing and we felt more pressure!
So for the last batch I showed other ladies how to do it and let them try it.
Hmmm not the prettiest (it was much harder than you think to get all the air out of them and keep them looking pretty) but everyone agreed that they tasted great.
I think part of it had to do with the filling (that we didn't make) and the lemon butter sauce on top of them (that we didn't make). It did make me less shy to try pasta in the future.
After eating the wonderful fruits of our labors. I went with Tasha and Erica to Canal street to look for some bargains.
Canal street is pretty much Tijuana...with purses, perfume and watches and such instead of all the Mexican trinkets. Everyone trying to get you in their store, everyone selling the same stuff. I did buy a couple of scarfs at a price I liked but we were really interested in the knock off handbags that everyone told tales of from past excursions to Canal street.
It's illegal to sell the knock offs without a licence so there aren't any tables of them, they are in back rooms that you have to ask about or being hidden around corners by guys trying to lure you to their wares. Erica was interested in seeing them but she was too nervous to ask anyone and the pushy people that were trying to pull her off the street made her want to get away from them as fast as she could.
Finally when she realized the only way she was going to get a peak at a knock off bag was if she took someone up on their offer we agreed to accompany her behind the corner so the guy could show her the bag she was interested in. It wasn't good quality and he wanted $75 dollars for it so she passed, but at least her curiosity was quenched ;)
It always amazed me to see these buildings that are so sandwiched together and imagining the people living there....and if you lived there do people really use those fire escapes??
That night we went to dinner with the people that were in Jeff's group that he works with every day when he's in the home office. We went to a little Italian restaurant less than a block away from the hotel.
The food was great and the chef basically made whatever we wanted how we wanted, it felt like we were making our own menu.
The next day while the agents were working away we got a tour of the Home Office. I loved the room with some of the historical stuff and memorabilia including old policies, a box to collect coins and when it was full your premium for the year would be paid (they would need too big of a box nowadays) and this pamphlet for the wives of men looking to become New York Life agents.
The was produced after they found that lots of agents were getting divorced in the 40s and 50s. It talks about how to support your man as he's getting started in the business. I guess giving up a stable salary to start in a commission only career with long hours has been hard for wives since the beginning ;) The good thing is if you can stick through it, it gets better!
Since the roof was being worked on we couldn't go out and see the gold dome but we did get to go as high as we could.
And the view was pretty good!
Our guide was a security guard that had worked in the building for over 30 years. He could tell us all sorts of stories that were fascinating. From the tenants that used to bring dogs to work with them and the dog that got suck on the elevator to what happened when the towers went down on Sept 11th and they opened their doors to whoever needed a place to stay. He said when others were packing up and getting out of town, the CEO was telling him to open the doors and let people in. He said people that had not worked for the company for years were coming for refuge because they knew that they wouldn't close their doors on anyone!
This is the heavy, giant door of the vault. This one isn't in use any more but it used to have all the cash needed for payroll. They would run it like a bank and would even cash checked up to 99 dollars. The pay week was because it would take a week to hand deliver everyone's money to their desks. Makes you realize how nice it is to have electronic transfers these days.
This door is so heavy that they couldn't even move up to the main floor to display it because the beams of the building wouldn't be able to support it!
Funny story about these gates that were in the executive dining room. During the war people came around and wanted to melt these for the war effort. Before the guy could pick them up someone hid them and said they were already taken....and then nobody knew where they were hidden. Years and years later when they were doing renovations someone opened up the wall and there they were. So now they are in the executive dining room.
Jeff always likes to point out on this day that we are on the 13th floor being fed like the executives while they had their lunch in the cafeteria in the basement....I figure it's all part of the keeping the spouses happy so we support our agents....refer to the pamphlet honey ;)
On the way back some of us checked out Grand Central Station. Erica left her subway pass back at the room and had to buy one. She thought it was good for 2 hours, it was good for one use within two hours. The bum was more helpful explaining this to her than the Subway lady in the booth. Customer service and patience is not a virtue here obviously. So she had to buy another subway ticket after our peek into the station.
We enjoyed Central Park on a non-rainy day!
I love all the fountains, rocks and the plants and flowers were beautiful.
When we came up to this bridge we could see a couple taking wedding pictures.
How romantic...but then I looked again and saw her dress was dirty in the back she was wearing pants and fuzzy slippers underneath, maybe it was a photo shoot for something else?
We found the building that used to be the Tavern on the Green. I remember eating here the first time we were in New York!
Well this is what it looks like now and the rest of it is empty. No more restaurant. I asked the people working in the visitor's center about the history of the building because they didn't have it displayed anywhere. The didn't explain too much but said the lease was up and they didn't renew it and the park took the building over. Interesting, whatever the nostalgia the building might have held it seemed like it was lost on the new tenants.
Before we headed back we checked out FAO Schwartz. Wished the kids were with us because this place is always fun.
They had giant candy here... The kids like jaw breakers but I didn't want to spend $17 on a jaw breaker so I bought them rock candy instead. $3.50 for 4 of them...much better deal and they like rock candy too.
That night we started out having appetizers and drinks on the roof of a building near our hotel (see New York Life in the background).
Every night there were cocktail hours and a few nights after dinner a hospitality sweet with an open bar. It amazed me how many drinks could be enjoyed in a night by people especially when it was all free for them. Now nobody got sloppy drunk or out of control or anything but I guess I don't get it. I can drink a sprite, maybe two then I'm not thirsty any more. Standing around a bar getting sprite after sprite or coke after coke gets old after awhile. At least we're a cheap date at the bar ;)
When we came inside for dinner I recognized these ball things. They were on our invitations.
They were the chandeliers over our heads!
Dinner was great as always!!!
The next day we had a walking tour of the wall street area.
Our guide introduced us to the church where Alexander Hamilton was buried. His son died fighting in a duel so Alexander Hamilton helped enact a law banning it in New York.
How did he die?
Fighting a duel in New Jersey (they crossed the river to have it)
This building on the left caused the city to enact a law that limited the height a building could be built. I guess everyone complained that this building was too big and blocked the wind and cast shadows on everything.
So after this if someone wanted to build a building over a certain height they had to give back something to the city...like a park or a work of art or something. It was funny once I started looking around I realized why there were mini-parks around and....
this building has as it's contribution a work of art. Basically a cube. Hmmmm.
We passed by the stock exchange (not open for tours or to the public)
This was the building where George Washington had his inauguration when he was made president!
And as we were walking to the bus we passed by the park where Jeff and I had our philly cheese steak earlier in the week...looks like the occupy wall street people were back for a visit.
They were demonstrating right in the middle of the street and causing quite a ruckus.
I had to laugh when I saw their signs. "Tax Wall St. End Aids"
No one was explaining exactly how taxing Wall Street was supposed to end Aids though...
Again we visited the 9-11 memorial.
My favorite thing I missed the first time was the survivor tree.
This tree ended up surviving the towers falling, it was basically an 8 foot trunk when it was rescued and transplanted to a New York park. After a storm it was uprooted and still survived. They now planted it in the middle of the memorial park and stands for survival.
You could see where the new branches grew out of the old trunk.
Then I looked closer and people from all over were tossing money in the gravel around the tree.
This is as close as we got to the statue today. Its funny the first time I saw her I was surprised that she was facing the "wrong way" I thought I should be seeing her face on...then I realized that she is standing as a beacon for all those coming into the harbor. Funny I never thought about that before.
Lunch was right next to the water.
I could get used to this.
Afterwards a few of us walked over to Seaport village. We shopped in whatever store looked interesting...
and found the TKTS booth to buy Broadway tickets at 1/2 off.
I would definitely recommend the Seaport village TKTS there was nobody in line and the tickets were all the same as the ones down at Broadway!
Jersey Boys has some great music and it was nice to get another show in on our one free night.
We went with all of the people on Jeff's team again :)
Our dinner that night was street pizza (you can tell we're paying tonight ;)
We had a blast with our group....
and even more fun renting the stretch limo to get back to the hotel with.