What a wonderful trip David and I had. Thanks so much for your prayers for our safety as we traveled to NYC recently for an early wedding anniversary celebration. We were only in the city for a total of 45 hours, so it was definitely a whirlwind of a couple of days, but we wouldn’t trade our time for anything!

Friday
We left our apartment and were greeted by a -2F wind chill. It should be illegal to be that cold. That said, though, it was -14F outside this morning (2/11). My blood isn’t thick enough for this! Whew.

Anyhow, we stopped by Panera to get some super hot drinks, and they did the trick. At the airport, the security guard at the metal detector gave me a hard time. I went to walk through the detector, and the guard stopped me to insist that I take off my shoes. They were off. He insisted another time, so I reached to take off my socks, then he just laughed. “I give everyone from South Carolina a hard time!” He had seen my ID. It’s funny now, but then, I was flustered to say the least.

We flew to NYC via JetBlue and highly recommend it. A one-way ticket to NYC was only $49, and JetBlue not only has the most leg room in coach of any other airline, but each passenger has a personal TV with 36 channels to watch. How fun! I mainly watched channel 13 – the live map showing where the plane was, how fast we were going, etc. So I like maps, ok?

Once in JFK, we took a death shuttle–I mean a shuttle–into the city. What a crazy ride! I had ridden in taxis before, but I really didn’t think the driver of our 10-passenger van would drive the same way. He did. Possibly even more erratic. It was an exciting introduction to the city for David, though.

We got to our hotel, the Marriott Marquis (in Times Square) early afternoon, and after dropping off our bags, we headed out on a foot tour of the Times Square area. After checking out the largest Toys R Us I’d ever seen (it had a Ferris wheel inside), M&M world, the Hershey store, a NYC gift shop and after buying tickets to “Top of the Rock” (Rockefeller Center), we got ready for our evening.

First up, dinner at City Lobster & Crab Company. It was restaurant week in NYC, so a lot of the pricey restaurants put together their own fixed-price menus. After tantalizing our senses with delicious wine, lobster bisque and shrimp ravioli, David–clad in a fantastic lobster bib–started in on a 1.25# Maine lobster with mussels and scallops. I enjoyed my fair share of jumbo lump crab cakes, and we finished off the meal with a slice of chocolate decadence.

You know how the movies show people whistling to hail a taxi? Well, it doesn’t really work that way unless you’re on a main street or something. Even then, you have to wave like mad or stand in the road to get them to pull over. We were freezing, so after several failed attempts to get a taxi, we opted to book it on foot to the Nederlander Theater to see RENT.

RENT is actually leaving Broadway in June, so if you’ve wanted to see it in NYC, the time is now! You know you’re in a classy Broadway show when a drunk audience member and his date are thrown out at the beginning of the show. Ha. The music in RENT was really great, but the content was a little tough for us. A lot of people love it, though; it’s been running for 12 years!

The show ended around 11:15pm, and we had to be back to the Rockefeller Center by 11:30pm to be able to go out on the roof and see the city. Failed to get a cab again, so we walked really briskly. Keep in mind that we’re dressed up at this point, so I was booking it in knee-high stiletto boots. Not smart. I almost fell once, but David kept me off the ground. Whew. We finally got to the Rockefeller Center and took the glass-topped elevator (very weird to fly up 67 floors and be able to see the elevator shaft and cables above) to the top of the building. The view was breathtaking–as was the wind. We snapped several photos before heading back down and successfully getting a cab. Hallelujah!

Saturday
Tourist day. We got started at 9:00am by taking the subway down to lower Manhattan. We grabbed a quick breakfast and coffee at one of the 147 Starbucks locations in Manhattan. Yes, 147 locations. For a Starbucks lover like myself, it was fantastic!

We walked down to the former site of the World Trade towers (Ground Zero), and it was pretty intense. The last time I was in NYC was two months before the 9/11 attacks, and I was in the top of one of the towers looking out over the city. We went into the Tribute Center (temporary memorial and museum until the actual memorial is constructed) and signed up for a tour. In the time before our tour, we ran down to Wall Street to see the NYSE, the bull and the “Wall Street” sign, of course.

Our noon tour was really sobering. Each of the tour guides that volunteers at the Tribute Center had some sort of personal experience with the events of 9/11. Our particular tour guide worked on the 82nd floor of the north tower–the first to be hit. The plane hit on the 92nd floor, and our tour guide immediately left his office to head down and got out four minutes before the building collapsed. He pleaded with coworkers to leave with him when he went to leave his office, but several hesitated and didn’t make it. Unreal. The tour took us around the outside of Ground Zero and into several of the neighboring buildings. The tour only cost $10 and was incredible. The events of 9/11 are part of our history; it’s so vivid in our memory. If you get the chance to go to NYC, be sure to take a tour. It makes everything that much more real.

After the tour, we walked through the gallery/museum. Also an intense experience. Hundreds of “missing persons” posters collected from around the city were on the walls along with quotes from phone calls made from the airplanes to family members…and phone calls from those trapped in the towers. I’m so glad we went.

We headed from there to Battery Park to take the Staten Island ferry across the river so that we could get a better view of the Statue of Liberty. It was a relaxing ride, and I actually napped on the way back. We headed back to the subway and rode up to Central Park with intentions of ice skating at Wollman Rink (outdoor). We quickly changed our minds because of the cold, but we still walked through the park for a little while. To warm up, we got hot dogs from a street vendor–delicious!

By this point, it was around 6:15pm. We headed back to the hotel and passed The Lion King‘s theater on the way (it’s right by the hotel). On a whim, David said, “Let’s see if we can get tickets for tonight’s show!” Keep in mind, this is less than two hours before the show. I was sort of convinced that they wouldn’t have any tickets available that were worth buying. Boy was I wrong. We got fourth-row, center section tickets to a sold out show! Apparently someone didn’t pick up their tickets or something. Incredible!

In the little bit of time we had left before the doors opened, we ran to Tuscany Cafe for some Manhattan slice pizza. Absolutely delicious! And gigantic. I’m a gal who can eat four slices of pizza easily, but I could only down one that night. It was as big as my head. Whew.

The Lion King was phenomenal. I had seen it when I was 16, but I couldn’t remember all the details. David and I really enjoyed it–from the music, to the costumes, to the acting…extraordinary! So moving. It ended around 11:30pm, and we headed up to The View restaurant at the top of our hotel for dessert and drinks. The dessert buffet was to die for, and the view over the city was amazing. The restaurant rotated a full 360 degrees so that if you stayed an hour, you’d see the whole city. We did just that.

Sunday
We only had until 11:00am this day before our shuttle picked us up to whisk us back to the airport, so we opted to go on another walking tour. This time, we headed up 5th avenue. Even though most of the stores were closed (i.e. Tiffany’s, D&G, Armani, etc), it was fun to window shop a bit. We grabbed some brunch before heading back to the hotel to catch our shuttle.

All in all, we had a fantastic time. It was great to spend so much uninterrupted time together, and it was really neat to experience NYC with David who had never been before. Can’t wait for the next trip!

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