Two of my longtime girlfriends and I took off on our first annual Girls Weekend last week. I am going to try to share the adventure to the best of my ability. However, due to my limited writing skills and the immense amount of time it would take to tell it all, I am not sure how this will turn out.
Taking A Bite Out Of The Big Apple
You would not believe the conversations that these t-shirts produced. We had a chat with a woman about Chinatown while in line for security; once on the plane we had a wonderful conversation with an older woman returning home to New York about what to expect and things to see while we were there; our flight attendants wanted to know if we were meeting ‘Grandma’ in New York and upon learning that we were the Grandmas, a discussion of what the grandchildren will call us ensued. Several others asked us about the trip and what we planned to do while we were away.
Upon arriving at LaGuardia, we were met by our driver, Tony. Tony was nice enough not to laugh as we ‘ooh’ed and ‘aah’ed our way from the airport to the hotel. I felt like someone needed to pinch me so that I would know whether or not this was for real. We saw high rises, taxis, apartments with stoops, signs with places like Queens & Brooklyn & Long Island…places I thought I would only see in the movies. He drove us down Park Avenue so that we could take in the sights a little longer before depositing us at the Affinia 50. (Even though we have lived in the fourth largest city in America, this still felt to me like country bumpkin goes to the big city...complete with the Green Acres theme song playing in my head.)
We reached the hotel before check-in, so after checking our luggage we headed down the street to find a place to eat. We settled on The Blarney Stone…for one reason, it was full! While waiting in line to order, I got to see a little old man get thrown out of the bar. It was bizarre, not only because it was only 11 AM, but also because the little bartender got just as loud as him once he started bickering with her for cutting him off for the day. It was a scene right out of a movie. We ordered our food upon receiving some recommendations from the locals and watched very carefully to try and figure out the proper protocol. The pressure to order reminded me of the Seinfeld episode about the ‘Soup Nazi’. Everyone seemed to have it down to a science, except us. Thankfully, the gentleman handling the orders was very helpful and even made some suggestions when he found out they were out of the cheese that was supposed to be on my buffalo chicken sandwich. I have to say, the food was good and reasonably priced. It was neat to experience NY like a local. We watched as a few guys from a nearby construction site sat and discussed the morning’s events and a group who evidently worked together somewhere nearby enjoyed a nice lunch while discussing their upcoming weekend plans.
We passed some time after lunch wandering down several streets near the pub. We found ourselves at the side entrance of Grand Central Station. The place was huge! There were shops for about anything that you can imagine. The main area was relatively empty at that time of day so we could view all of the beautiful architecture without getting run over. The windows were gleaming and if you look up at the ceiling, you see the constellations painted there. I tried to get a picture, but it just doesn't do it justice. After a short conversation with one of our active military, we walked back toward the entrance. We had to go into Central Market to look around before heading back out on the street, though. I cannot even begin to describe the myriads of food items that were available...from fresh (as in take it home and cook it yourself) to ready made gourmet. Now I better understand why New Yorkers prefer to bring home a small shopping bag daily instead of the weekly grocery mayhem we endure here in Texas. We did splurge on a few treats from the bakery to take back to the room for later.
After finally checking in at the hotel, we rested a few minutes before freshening up and heading out for dinner. We had diner reservations for Sardi’s. The doorman gave the driver the wrong address, so we were a few minutes late. As it turned out, our late arrival was no big deal since we were ahead of the dinner crowd. The food was ‘good’ but the place was a bit smaller than I had imagined. We took turns pointing out the caricatures on the walls that we recognized. We took our time at dinner as we had a few hours before the show started.
We walked down to the theatre but we were very early and there was not even a line yet. The three of us decided to walk on over to Times Square. It is truly a sight to behold. The lights were amazing…and there were so many people!! While we were taking pictures, I received a telephone call from Debbie with wonderful news about Casy’s latest test results. I stood there at Times Square and just cried with joy! The Lord is doing a miracle in my family right before my eyes…and His awesomeness overpowered even the hustle and bustle of Times Square.
We returned to the theatre just before the doors opened. If you have never seen Jersey Boys, I highly recommend it. Apart from some language, it is the wonderfully told story of Franki Valli and The Four Seasons. I did not realize how many of their songs I actually knew. It was totally different from Wicked (which the girls and I saw last year in Houston)…no glamorous stage with lots of ornate props and flashy costumes. It was pretty much just a simple set with a catwalk stretching across the stage and jutting toward the front of the stage on the left side. The costumes were not flashy at all. But the story!!! Oh, the story moved me to tears more than once. And one of my favorite songs –“December 1963 (Oh What a Night)” – it will never be the same for me again! The cast received a much deserved standing ovation.
I didn’t believe that I could handle much more excitement…but we high tailed it over to the Empire State Building before heading back to the room for the night. I say we high tailed it because we thought they closed the elevators to go up to the observation deck at 11:30 and it was already after 11. I don’t even want to remember how many blocks we walked! Let’s just say that it was A LOT! We FINALLY reached the Empire State Building at about 11:40 or 11:45 only to find out that the observation deck does not close until 2 AM. I am so glad we went that first night though. The view was spectacular! The night was so crisp and clear. The lights of the city shone so brightly that it almost didn’t look real. It was like millions of jewels scattered at my feet and back lit so that each one sparkled like it was the only one.
After seeing the view and taking dozens of pictures between the three of us, we perused the gift shop for souvenirs then began the very long trek back to the hotel. I thought my feet would fall off before we reached Third & 50th! I definitely did not wear the proper footwear for walking some twenty or more blocks. Sorry to tell you this ladies, but if you plan to visit NY and you are over the age of 40…footwear must be comfortable above being stylish! Either that…or get a cab!
As we approached our hotel, we began to see tiny snowflakes falling from the sky. The tiniest of flakes that were almost unperceivable to the naked eye except when the street lights caught them just right. It was snowing in NY City!
( Our balcony at approximately 2 AM)