Bam! The next morning we walked around the corner to a delicious little bodega called Cafe Nova for a NYC bagel breakfast. By the time we came back to the hotel, Sarah was there, fresh off her red-eye flight and soon we were all ready to head out for the city. Our girls trip was complete!
Sarah encouraged us to get a MetroCard so that we could hop on and off the subway at will. It worked perfectly, and after about 20 rides, I felt like I was finally getting the hang of it. Sarah would tell us which train to get on and then I would follow them. The subway is not my favorite thing - I kept begging for taxis and was promptly refused. I just find it so icky and claustrophobic and weird. Some subways were nicer than others, something Liz confirmed ("You rode the 1??".) Even if I just wanted to claw my way to the surface, with it's clean-ish air and sky, it's good to have friends that
shove you through a turnsile lovingly encourage you to do the things that are outside of your comfort zone, even if you do have to do them again and again.
To be honest we did so many things that day that remembering all of them is almost impossible. Everywhere we turned, there was something to see. Upper East Side to Downtown, there is no place in the city that doesn't have a staggering view of what truly may be the center of the universe.
First we started out waiting for a cupcake walking tour that we had bought over Groupon that ended up being cancelled and no one told us. So that was stupid. Luckily, there was a pretty farmers market going on in Union Square, so we took that in and moved on, after cursing our lost cupcake tour and buying some stuff at Forever21, which we totally have in Colorado.
From there we decided from there to head over to Rockefeller Center, which has the world's largest subway entrance, approximately the size of a Colorado mall. I love 30Rock, both the location and the show. I was crossing my fingers that I would run into Liz Lemon and we would become forever best friends, but it didn't happen. I could have watched the ice skaters falling down all day, but from there we had another destination - St. Patrick's Cathedral, right across the street.
Unfortunately, it's under construction, so a lot of it's magnificent beauty was covered by scaffolding. Still, the awe and size of it wasn't lost on us, and I lit a candle in the sanctuary to thank God for all our incredible blessings this year, mostly for one little guy who I was already missing. There were hymns being played on the gigantic organ and we all hummed right along.
A little bit of spirit, right there in the city. I loved it.
After that we had a sad, expensive lunch at a depressing restaurant that was across the street from the Carnegie Deli, which had a tremendous line. Silly Midwest girls fell right into that trap and paid the price for it - 20 bucks for a miserable turkey sandwich. After that, we headed to Grand Central Station, which is always guarnteed to take your breath away and unlike our lunch, didn't disappoint.
The statue on top of Grand Central is my favorite. It's so iconic.
Also, I may have dropped it on my sleeve, so it didn't look very appealing for the picture. Bleh.
From there, it was on to the NYC Public Library, one my favorite places in NYC, complete with a Guttenberg Bible! (Ryan would have lost his mind.)
The ceiling there is divine - books and biblical art, all in one place? I'll stay forever.
Outside of Grand Central - did I mention we did A LOT?
After the library, we decided to head back downtown to get ready for our Broadway show, which was Aladdin. We put on our NYC dresses and headed out: mine was a thrift store find for five bucks, a first for me. Katie did my hair in a cute up-do and we headed out for our girls night on the town.
(This picture was taken in our hotel elevator, which was cotton candy pink, constantly pumping with house music and smelled like a Victoria's Secret exploded.)
I've now seen three Disney Broadway musicals and I can say that they rank in this order: The Little Mermaid, Aladdin and then the Lion King. They were all spectacular. Aladdin was exactly like the movie: big, cheesy, beautiful and exploding with color and sparkles. I can't even convey the sparkle factor of this musical. It's like a Swarovski crystal threw up on the stage for every single costume and musical number. "A Whole New World" was absolutely dazzling, with a magic carpet ride against a sea of stars and a big white moon. I didn't take this picture, but shows you how beautiful the scenery was. Every scene in the palace had these gorgeous lattice backgrounds that just took my breath away.
The man who played the genie was incredible, and his insatiable energy took the show to new heights. On the other hand, when he was gone from the stage, the show seemed to deflate a bit. Jasmine on the other hand, well, at least she was pretty. After the show, we headed out into Times Square which was bursting at the seams with tourists. This, more than anything other than Ground Zero, had changed the most since I had seen it last. It's bigger, it's brighter and it's actually cleaner than I remembered it. It was also totally nuts.
I took this picture of Katie taking it all in - her face conveys the wonder and the insanity of it all. However, the best part of this picture, unnoticed by me until Karen pointed it out is the TOTALLY RANDOM MARIO in the background.
Why is he there? What is he doing? I love that he's just chilling.
That sums up Times Square pretty well.
We ended the night at Junior's, known for the best cheesecake in New York (as I am reading this, I see that a lot of this blog has been pastry related. Lest you judge, may I tell you that we walked like 20 miles a day and that should even things out. Hopefully.). The sign didn't lie. I'm not a cheesecake person and even I could taste that it was the BEST EVER.
And that wrapped up our New York night. I've never been happier to fall into a bed.