Sunday, October 3, 2010

falling in love on the brooklyn bridge...

That's how many minutes I've been able to call you
mine. (I'm impressed by your math skills -Brett)

Spending a week in New York with you, having you all to myself, being free to do whatever we wanted, whenever we wanted, was an absolute dream!

It started out late on a Monday night, taking the Jet Blue redeye...

Then arriving early Tuesday morning to find our apartment was on the 15th floor of this awesome building. The fact that the apartment was actually somebody's home, and not just an investment property, was a bit of a surprise, and at first made me feel uneasy (you know how I am about changes to my "plans"). But then, when I felt sure it truly was clean, when we realized how conveniently located it was, and that it had THIS view:
(yep, that's the Empire State building right outside the bedroom window...lucky us!)
of course we decided this place was a great find!
If you could of seen the look on Hope's face when she saw Mr. Brian (our land lord) for the first time. He definitely was an interesting gentlemen to say the least. -Brett
We spent the first day walking around Battery Park (after deciding the eternal line to Ellis Island was better tackled first thing on a morning) and exploring the Financial District downtown.

Time to grab the bull by the horns?
Better that than at the other end where the other tourists were!
It was fun to wander around the old cemetery @ Trinity Church,
and we even sat in on part of a beautiful service.
It was amazing to see headstones from way back in the 1600's and then look across the street to find sky scrapers. It was truly like stepping back in time and there was a peaceful feeling on the church grounds. -Brett
I wouldn't mind spending more time here near the South Street Seaport & Fulton Street. Cute shops! Out of the picture and a little to the left of Brett is the Brooklyn Bridge (that's Brooklyn behind him), then further north you can see the Manhattan Bridge.
Here we are eating at Cabana, a delicious Cuban restaurant @ South Street. You wouldn't know it by how respectable he looks, but the man behind me was incapable of talking to his guest without using the F-word in every sentence.
After getting back to Chelsea, we dropped a bunch of our wrinkly clothes at the cleaners to be starched and pressed, then walked a few blocks to Pepe Giallo, which had been RAVED about by two New York bloggers. I had been looking forward to eating there, as their reviews had been so ga-ga, but frankly I was very disappointed. It was alright, I guess, but certainly nothing special and at times felt even a bit dingy and dumpy. Anyway, after dinner, we decided to take the rest of the evening easy since we'd been up nearly 24-hours. So we walked a few more blocks to a 6-story movie theatre to see this (well, I watched it...Brett just saw the back of his eyelids): Not sure why Hope expected anything different from me. Movies are the best sedative...
The next morning we walked to Greenwich Village via 11th Avenue, near Chelsea Piers. Along the way, we saw something interesting. For those of you who mistakenly thought the real "meat market" was located HERE:
it's actually found here:
We loved Greenwich Village and could have spent a couple days probably just walking around admiring the charm and architecture. Things like these beautiful tiles randomly placed on the side of a building...
and the detailing on the doorways...
Here's the building used as the apartment exterior for the TV Show "Friends" building (or so we're told)-
The narrowest house, which is so narrow it has a "1/2" address of 75 1/2 Bedford StreetIt actually once hosted poet Edna ST. Vincent Millay
Washington Square
These teenagers playing b-ball had quite the crowd watching them
At 11:00 we zipped over to the Lower East Side for a tour of an immigrant Tenement building - something we'd HIGHLY recommend. It was definitely one of the most interested things we did! Coincidentally, at the museum giftshop I overheard a woman saying she was from Utah. After talking to her, I found out she not only is from my same state, but also from our same NEIGHBORHOOD. CRAAAAZY! (of course I made her take a picture)
Here's a picture from inside the museum:
This is a photo of a owman who was a little girl in the exact museum we walked through. Her parents were Irish immigrants. Her mother did laundry for money and her father was a waiter. It was amazing to see what a hard life those people lived in back then. I'm not sure why anyone would want to live in the city at that time. It was so dirty and there was no way of removing the garbage in an efficient manner so it just piled up on the side of the road. -Brett Just around the corner from the museum is Katz Deli - their sandwiches (we got the brisket) were to die for. However, their restroom was the teeniest I've ever been in! My knees literally pressed up against the door when I sat on the toilet!
Mr. Katz himself. On the wall are probably hundreds of photos of him with celebrities who have eaten there. In this picture he's talking to the table next to us - I had to laugh because after eating about half my sandwich more like 1/4 -Brett I started to feel a bit queasy (not because of the good food, but I think more because of the heat) so I didn't finish my sandwich. When we walked away, the ladies at this table saw my half uneaten sandwich and went on and on whispering to each other (not very discreetly) about how shameful it was that I had left it and not eaten it -- wasteful! Yea because it was like a $15 sandwich! :) - Brett
Then it was off to see David Letterman interview Julia Roberts
Between the time of getting our tickets to Dave and the actual start of the taping, we had about 45 minutes to kill, so we walked along Time Square (not my favorite place; reminds me of Vegas) until we found a McDonald's where we cooled off. On the way there, we passed some "movie production trailers". We never saw any signs or people that clued us into what they were filming, but they had a couple interesting cars on the street. Maybe someday a movie will come out and we'll realized, "Hey! We were there for that!"
Had to take a pic of the cop on the horse for the kids to see!
'Wish we could have had the kids in the Toys R Us with us!
I wanted to get Halle this Statue of Liberty barbie, but it was $50!

This structure above was made entirely out of legos - probably at least 13 feet tall!
This place was so good I have actually dreamt about it TWICE since returning home. It's at 23rd and Madison and totally worth this long wait in line (an hour). We also enjoyed chatting with the woman behind us in line and ended up giving her a Book of Mormon (I brought 3 with a goal to give them each a way during the trip. And I did!).
Mmmm...Shake Shack...
Thursday morning we beat the crowd and made the first ferry out to Ellis Island, pssing Lady Liberty along the way. Boy, were we grateful when that group of obnoxious French teenagers got off at Liberty Island!
After heading back to the apartment to shower and change, we caught a ferry across the Hudson to Weehawken, New Jersey to spend the latter half of our day with dear friends, John & Linda Maczko. This is the view from their balcony, with the New York skyline behind us. Our time with them was a memorable highlight of our trip - something we'll always remember with a smile!
I love how eclectic their apartment is. They are very interesting people to talk to and are so warm, and kindhearted with a fun sense of humor! Linda's "Aunt Jamima" collection
What a fun coincidence that they have a fireplace mantel nearly identical with John & Dixie's I loved this mermaid on her dining table - later we saw a mermaid bottle opener at a shop in Brooklyn so of course we had to send it to her!
They showed us the sites in Hoboken - I don't watch the show, but if anyone is a fan of "Cake Boss" this storefront may look familiar to you They treated us to a delicious steak dinner
then drove us around Manhattan in their convertible with the top down (although it was up in Harlem...). Here we are crossing the George Washington Bridge.
John was so nice to take on a special "mission" - to find the little Red Lighthouse. While we were gone, we had given the kids small gifts to open, one for each night (if they were good for Grandma Dixie) and one was the sweetest children's book called
The Little Red Lighthouse & the Great Gray Bridge
We found it - and although I wish I could have gotten pictures of it in the daylight, it was exciting to see it in person.
Ever heard of the Apollo Theatre in Harlem? Yep, there it is.Metropolitan Museum of Art

Museum of Natural History
The Dakota building where John Lennon lived and was shot
Lincoln Center
Inside The Plaza - and no, those pink flowers aren't growing out of Brett's head...

The Plaza
Linda said to make "silly faces" so I did, and came off looking a little over-hyper
So wish there would have been time to have gone inside this store...
Times Square

Around 11:30 we drove to Little Italy for dessert. First we tried Ferrar's, but they had just closed up when we walked up to the door. So instead we ended up at...
Caffe Napoli, so quaint and charming and sweet!
To make it even better John told us that this is where they had their first date!
Before New York, I had researched and researched - everything I had read said NOT to bother with Little Italy or Chinatown, that they were not as authentic as everyone made them out to be and not worthwhile. I wish I hadn't listened - what little time we spent there was magical and so neat! I loved the lights strung across the streets and the very authentic Italian eateries. Anyone who knows me, knows I am not a night-owl. By 10:30 I'm well on my way to bed and ready for my head to hit the pillow. So we laughed to ourselves that John and Linda, a "middle-aged" couple (only in technical terms) had been the ones to keep us out all night long, until 2:00 in the morning! And just to prove it (or maybe to remind myself in the morning, that YES, I really had stayed up that late) I took a picture of my watch.

Dragging our tired selves up to the 15th floor at the end of a fabulous day...
The next morning was Yankee Day! I must admit I wasn't the best companion (sorry, honey) as I was kind of grumpy and cranky due to lack of sleep, but Brett put up with me (like he always does) and it turned out to be an awesome, awesome day despite his irritable wife. Would have been more magical if they had won :( -Brett
We signed up in advance to take the Stadium Tour, which was very interesting and worthwhile.
It was really cool to see a signed ball from Babe Ruth - wish that was in my collection. That would help us get out of debt in a hurry!
The Yankees have a goal of collecting a signed basedball from every player that has ever played for the team. I believe there are over 700 balls in this collection. It was cool to see all of the history there.
Below is a memorial for all of the men and women from 9-11. This is located out in center field in what is known as monument park.
I loved hearing these kids talk amongst themselves - they had strong Bronx accents, and argued like adults would over which Yankees players from history were the most influentual.
The stadium was amazing. Really a beautiful site to see! It was fun to be able to go down to field level and spend a few minutes in the dug out. While we were there it was employee appreciation day where a few dozen employees were able to spend an afternoon having a baseball game out on the field. That would be awesome!
After the tour we had about 3 hours to kill, so we toured a historical house in Harlem called the Morris-Jumel House. It's famous for once housing George Washington during the Battle of Brooklyn during the Revolutionary War
This is the desk General Washington would have sat at as he strategized and planned with his soldiers
The museum was very interesting, but it is unfortunate that it was not in better care. It was extremely dilapitated and far under its potential. At the beginning, before the self-guided tour, they had us watch a video giving a brief introduction to the history of the home. They showed it on this relic of a TV and VCR, which we joked may have been an original to the house!
The view in front of the houseStill with time to kill, and feeling nervous at our Harlem location (our appearance screamed "vulnerable tourist") we headed back to Manhattan to the temple.
We had a lovely chat with the ladies who work in Beehive Clothing
Beehive-adorned elevators
Torch-doorhandles, reminiscent of Lady Liberty
Strawberry Fields in Central Park, across the street from the Dakota building
After napping 20 minutes on the parkbench at Strawberry Fields, I was less cranky and ready for the game - go Yanks!
The first half of the game I was a huge Swisher fan, for two very solid reasons:
1 - he was close to us in the outfield and

2- he was so damn happy and personable
However, 90 minutes into the game I realized he was playing CRAPPY and my loyalty only goes so far. So I spent the remainder of the game screaming Teixeira's name for 2 very solid reasons:
1- it's a cool name to say
and 2- he played awesome!!!
The boys in blue keepin' peace between the Sox & Yanks fans
For Brett's birthday I had arranged a birthday greeting to appear on the scoreboard - when he saw it I wasn't ready with the camera (I was taking a picture of the board) so I made him re-enact his look of surprise. Close enough.
This was pretty cool. Very sweet of Hope to do that for me. Made my B-day feel really special. Thanks, Sweetheart!
Babe, I am your biggest fan.
P.S. to the gentlemen behind me, and to every other foul-mouthed person in the stadium, but particularly to my buddies one row back, whose vulgar-laden conversation went straight into my ears, thank you for making my Yankee Stadium experience so authentic. To show my appreication, I will be sending you a thesaurus in the hopes you will explore new words to use while describing your high-class need for beer and hot dogs.
Saturday morning we walked to the subway station to head over to Brooklyn for our Walking Tour. On the way, I couldn't resist taking this photo of a very "upscale-looking" Home Depot. They even have large, moving window know, like ZCMI used to have in the wintertime???
What do I love most about the Flat-Iron Building?
The fact that Shake Shack is right across the street.
Here we are in Brooklyn, with our tour guide, "Big Rick"
This is an old Bath House, which is now used as a Community Center.

If you've seen Julie & Julia (I haven't), this French restaurant may mean something to you?

Instead of a Yard Sale, this woman was advertising a "Stoop Sale"
Brett and I fell in love with the tree-lined Brownstone streets

It was fascinating to see the faces carved on the doorways of the buildings. Some were just faces of the husband and wife who built it (late 1800s, early 1900s)
and some were entire families (see the 4 faces on the side pillars
and the 5th face in the middle above the light?)

This is the mansion built by the inventor of Chiclets Gum
This is the facade of the Montauk Building, named for the Montauk Indians, which are depicted in the detailed carvings around all four sides of the building. Why are new buildings, the ones built with power tools, so much less interesting to look at than the old ones???
This is Brooklyn's version of the Arch de Triumph
Big Rick claims this is where gangster Al Capone spent his childhood

and that the top floor of this building is where Capone and his wife lived when they
were first married before moving to Chicago
We LOOOVVVED the walking tour - and would have liked to have spent more time in Brooklyn. Definitely sign up for one when you go to New York!


I had to take a picture of the subway tiles. Every station had something different, but it was neat that even as stinky and muggy and dingy as the subway stations were, you could still find art.
We got to be pros at the subway, only going the wrong direction once, which I think is mighty fine navigating considering it was our major mode of transportation all 6 days we were there! Poor Brett...his $25 Metro Card NEVER scanned right. He always had to scan it twice and it was very frustrating! (of course, I found the humor in it and thought it was totally funny, but we won't get into that...)
After Brooklyn we cleaned up at the apartment for a night out on the town! We ate a fantastic dinner at Trattoria (a MUST for anyone dining in Times Square).

Being with Brett makes me feel beautiful.

But can you blame me? Look at his handsome face. His eyes still melt my heart. Any woman would feel proud to hang on his arm! Here we are waiting in line for our broadway show,
"Lend Me a Tenor"
It was at the Music Box Theatre, which was tiny and cute!

The show itself was hysterical and full of celebrities (Tony Shalhoub, Anthony LaPlagia, and Justin Bartha).

I just had to snap a picture of this woman who was waiting in line nearby. What is this? I hate it, although Halle would say I'm totally "out of touch with fashion" and I know she would fall big time for the fringe-military-shoulder pads...
(inside the theatre)
Following the show, we really wanted to eat dessert on the 40-something-floor of the Marriott Times Square. John and Linda had told us how romantic and delicious it was (the room rotates high above the lights of Broadway), but the line was huge and the cost was even bigger... So we settled for Raspberry Cheesecake take-out from Olive Garden and enjoyed it back at the apartment.

Sunday was our last day and although we missed the kids and were anxious to get back, it was hard to see our memorable trip coming to an end. We went to church in Chelsea (here's the church) and I was disappointed to see a YUM.MY-looking Crepes restaurant just down the street that was closed on Sunday and knowing we'd run out of time and wouldn't be able to go Monday morning (anyone going, I'll get you the address--you'll have to try it for me and let me know if it was as good as the menu posted on the window made it sound!)
Church was awesome, especially since it turns out we ended up at the same meeting as my "associate" (?) Laurel. Laurel has a blog I've loved reading for a couple years called "The City Walkers" - I've left comments and she's even replied to a couple. I know it sounds creepy, but if you read someone's blog you feel as if you almost know them. So it was fun to meet in person and she was so warm and nice! She even indulged me for a photograph! I probably spooked her (it would me) but I really appreciate all the tips she gave us for our trip (best tip was the website ""'d I not know about this!!!!) and her kindness.
After church, we headed back to South Street Seaport because we wanted to pick up a Souvenir at a shop and on the way passed a street vendor selling ties. We got this one for Brett's dad to say THANKS for watching the kids. We thought we were pretty funny... Here's why:
"Hmm...which way should I go? This way?"
"That way?"
"Oh, wait! I can look at my Map-Tie!"
(nuk, nuk, nuk)
Trekking to the original Gray's Papaya location,
we picked up lunch and headed for the park.

I loved the signs that covered the walls inside

We found a quiet spot East of Bethesda Fountain,

enjoyed a picnic lunch,
and took a leisurely 2-hour nap (after walking all
over the city for 5 days at an unbelievable pace,
we were ready for a rest!)
we {heart} central park.
I'm clutching my wallet. - Brett

Near the Walk of the Poets, we came across some performers that were hilarious - AND super-good! It was fun to watch them and we ended up staying about 20 minutes! We videotaped some of the funny acts and things they said, but blogger won't let me post them on my blog. Bummer.
From there we decided we wanted to spend our last night in New York looking at it from the Brooklyn-side, so we hopped the Subway and made our way to the Brooklyn Ice Cream Factory. Before dessert, we snagged some dinner from vendors. Brett got a quesadilla and I chose this mouth-watering Lobster sandwich!
We could have stood here for hours watching the city enter twilight...
Someday, when we come back and we're RICH, we're going to eat dinner here,
at the River Cafe (the restaurant you can see across the way with the lights)
Here's the view behind us - the Ice Cream Factory

Ice Cream Delish.
Heading up to the bridge, getting ready to walk back over to Manhattan

Starting to walk across

I wish I could have gotten more pictures, and better ones, but of course my camera battery chose THIS time to fade away...
We could have crossed the bridge in about 15 minutes, but chose to hang out for an hour so we could see the view with the sun completely gone.
See the building on the left? Empire State.
See the tiny "Gold"-looking building you can barely see peeking over the bridge in the middle of the photograph? My absolute favorite building in New York: The Chrysler Building.

Zoomed in a bit.
You can see the Chrysler Building much better in this one on the right.

Same view, but at night.
Statue of Liberty
Same view, @ night - you can't really see anything though

Our first 5,256,000 minutes together have varied - from newlyweds, to new parents, to new homeowners, to new church callings, and more. The point is that with you, everything is NEW and there's no one else with whom I'd want to go on these adventures. We've had ups and downs and everything in between. You're my best friend - you're the person whose opinion matters most. You're my other half and the one I want to be with when minute # 210,240,000 rolls around (in 2050)...


You would be impressed I did my first blogging this evening! It was fun to relive such a memorable occasion! It was 10 years in the making, but more than worth the wait. Thanks for making the trip so memorable. There is no better trip planner than you. Without your navigation skills I wouold still be lost somewhere in the subway! You truly are my better half and I love you more each and every day. Can't wait until minute #210240,000. Let's pray you can put up with me that long. It has been quite the ride, you are my everything! It was so much fun to dress up and have you on my arm in the theatre. You truly looked marvelous that evening! I'm sorry I never blogged about the first trip to NYC. I guess I didn't have a beautiful woman by my side in those pics, so what was the point? Love ya! - Brett


Jen said...

Hope, this was seriously the PERFECT post! :) Your photos are amazing, and I'm not going to lie, I was definitely in tears several times--you guys are so sweet with each other! :) You ARE beautiful, and I'm so glad you had such a great trip. :) Happy Anniversary!

Jen said...

P.S. "Cake Boss" is a hilarious show--you should totally watch it. (I watch it on Netflix.)

Tif said...

I've been waiting for this post and have to admit I'd almost given up. Sounds like so much fun! I love all the details. What a great trip.

Heidi said...

What a fun trip! I'm so glad you were able to get away and have some time together! You saw so many awesome places!

"The democracy will cease to exist when you TAKE AWAY from those who are willing to work AND GIVE to those who would not."

Thomas Jefferson