Tuesday, May 28, 2013

New York Trip 2013

Jeff and I left to New York right after making sure the boys were on their campouts and Ashley was settled in at home with the nanny for the week. Our flight was uneventful which is always nice and our room was ready for us at 5:30 when we got into town. After a couple hours of sleeping we were ready to hit the streets.
Our hotel was only a block and 1/2 from the New York Life building and a few blocks from the Flatiron building.
This was Jeff's only day to do what he wanted to so we strolled Time's Square and did some t-shirt shopping for the kids (This ends up being texting pictures to them to see if they like what we are proposing to buy)
On our way to Time's Square we checked out a little indoor collection of restaurants and shops called Eataly (Like Italy). There was grocery store items from Italy and also food you could buy already prepared. We bought a Panini

There was a lot of people in Times Square!
We were watching the live feed of police catching the Boston Marathon bombing suspects as we were in the airport flying out of LA. Later when we heard that their next stop was Times Square it made me shiver. While I was looking at all the people here I was thinking of what a nightmare a bombing would be :(


With lots of crowds comes lots of street performers. This guy is jumping over the volunteers after a big build up.

That night we had dinner with the New York Life AAC members that we would be spending the week with.

Glad to be in New York together.

The next day while Jeff was in meetings at the home office I got to go with the spouses and do a tour of Grand Central Station.
Our tour guide showed us a picture of the workers working on this statue on the front of the building. There was a guy laying on the outstretched arm of the guy on top. He only took up the length of the forearm. That's how big this statue is.

This famous ceiling in Grand Central station is painted with constellations backwards.
 One explanation was that it's seen from God view...the real one was the painter was looking at his constellation map upside down.

This clock in the middle of the station is oval which was reminiscent of an acorn which is the Vanderbilt's trademark. She said is was worth 13 million or something now days.

I never paid attention to these much on the outside of the building.

Look closer and they are rats climbing up the ropes!
A nod to the states history in shipping and the rats climbing up the ropes of the ship.

After our tour we ate lunch at the Waldorf.
Here is my Waldorf salad...at the place it was originally created.

On the way back to our hotel I went with a few of the wives to do a little sightseeing.
We went into this famous cathedral, the outside is covered in scaffolding...when we went inside we realized the inside was covered as well. Looks like they are doing a lot of renovating.

One of the ladies in our group wanted to go into Tiffany's. I've never been so I was interested. After we wandered around and looked at the showcases (with no price tags anywhere) some I was ready to go. Not so. I guess the store has 6 floors and if she had her way our group member would've loved to explore all of them. We ended up going to 4 or so of them.
The floor that had the jewelry from The Great Gatsby was my favorite.
The movie hadn't come out yet but since jewelry was made by Tiffany's they had a big display.

After Tiffany's we went next door to Trump tower. This was a wall of waterfalls.

The next day we went an a tour of the World Trade Center site along with the financial district.
I went on the tour last year but I still thing our guide was excellent.


My favorite is the survivor tree, which looks bigger and more beautiful than last year.

The thing that was still the same as last year was the closed visitor centers. (Here is a picture of me outside of it) I guess that delay has something to do with Hurricane Sandy.

Other things that were closed because of Sandy were Ellis island and the Statue of Liberty. I was glad that I've seen them in the past.
Lunch was excellent again and had a great view of the harbor.
That night Jeff and I went with the entire group on a harbor dinner cruise.


This year the weather was much better. It was cool but there wasn't any rain!

Eating again. Pretty much our whole trip was sightseeing interspersed with eating (except for Jeff who was working a lot)

 What a beautiful view of the Sunset!
And the Statue of Liberty.

The next day was a trip to the School of Culinary Arts. We learned to cook a great meal, trying our hand at a variety of things.



Here is the appetizer...

and the dessert. The dessert was strawberry rhubarb upside-down cake. It actually was the best. Moist, delicious cake and the rhubarb went perfectly with the strawberry.  Yum.

While I was waiting for Jeff to get done with meetings I would sit by the window of our room and people watch and read my book. Here is the view. There was a little park that had everything from people eating, socializing, smoking, and even changing out of nylons in public. I guess there isn't much privacy, especially if you're outside.

That night dinner started out on a rooftop restaurant with a great view of the New York Life Building.

It then was carried inside where we got to have one of the New York Life bigwigs at each table and get to know them better. It's nice to feel like we've been around enough to feel like we are reacquainting with old friends.

The next day was our tour of the home office.
There was a sign right in the lobby welcoming our group.

I've taken this tour about 6 or 7 times now and I've always had the same guide but he always seems to be able to tell a story I haven't heard before.

View from the top.

view of the gold dome roof. He showed us the other side and where there was some damage of the roof tiles from Hurricane Sandy.

These blocks were cut from the same quarry that the building was built from to try and replace the damaged limestone. Over time and erosion the limestone erodes from the inside out.
Here is the vault door showing the time when New York Life used to hold all it's own cash money.

and the place where they do all the promotional movies.

Afterwards a group of us went to Central Park.

This was like a bird watchtower place. Central Park is another place that I seem to discover new things every time I visit.

That night Jeff and I went to a Broadway show. Here is us in Times Square looking at ourselves on the jumbotron. We are standing near the top next to a couple of policemen.
We saw Rock of Ages. It was OK. Entertaining but not anything inspiring, moving or something I would want to see again.

The last day was our free day. I took a group of wives who wanted to explore on the Subway to do a bus tour.
Here is the subway performers. These guys were legit musicians. I guess musicians are featured in the Subway at different times. They were good.

What wasn't so good was our bus tour. It was the cheap one we bought tickets for on the street. We wanted a double decker bus tour of central park and northern Manhattan. They had to transfer us to the right bus from where we bought the tickets. It was not a double decker bus and our tour guide didn't have a microphone.
Me and my friend were fine because we were sitting right next to the tour guide, but most of the people on the bus couldn't hear the thing she was saying.

We went to parts of upper Manhattan and Harlem and to a cathedral that takes up a whole city block!

This thing was huge...

She said that the front doors were so heavy that they used to have to use horses to open them up on holidays.

We also did a pass around Grant's tomb which was patriotically decorated.
My new friend Brenda and I decided to walk back to the hotel. We passed by all the craziness for the Draft pick. All the streets were filled with cars from the draft.  

The night was our last night in town. Jeff got a thank you for serving on the executive committee this year. He was happy to serve but is also glad that his service is completed for now.

We made some great new friends and some great memories.