Thursday, January 22, 2009

Bonnie's Big Trip - Day 1

I recently went on a big trip to visit Matt, Heather and their kids and to experience life in New England. I solemnly swear to give a full narrative that may bore you to tears. If that's the case, just look at the pictures as they will give you some idea of where I went. In order to keep it shorter, I'm breaking it up into days. (Author's Note: Day 1 was a LONG day, so beware...)

Day 1 - December 31, 2008
The cheapest flight that I could find was the redeye from SLC to JFK in New York. Shannon very willingly gave me a ride to the airport very late at night and the plane left at 12:05 a.m. The flight only had 3 or 4 empty seats. Luckily, one of those empty ones was right next to me.

I attempted to sleep but with little success. So, when I arrived in NY at 6:30 a.m., I was tired and didn't have a clue what to do with myself until my good friend Marlene arrived in the afternoon. A nice New Yorker in a red jacket at the airport kindly told me my options to get to Manhatten. I chose to ride the air train and then the subway. I purchased tickets for both and was on my way with all my luggage. Luckily, I didn't bring much.

The Subway wasn't very crowded at 7:00 a.m.

I admit that I just rode around on the subway for a while getting on and off different trains just to understand the system...and because I was tired. Most people are very nice on the subway, but no one visits with strangers... I followed suit. When in Rome...

My first stop was the Manhattan temple. I called the temple and asked which subway line I should take and the nice sister gave me directions. I wondered then how I would find the temple. I walked out of the station, looked around and lo! there it was right in front of me. It was so exciting - that there was something to tie me to this strange city!

At one point, I decided to get off and just walk around the city. Interestingly enough, I got off at the bus station. I couldn't find my way out, so I stopped and bought breakfast and gave my change to a man asking for money. Other stops included Battery Park with a great view of the Statue of Liberty, Wall Street and Trinity Church, and the Brooklyn Bridge.

Any picture that I am in was taken by someone who didn't speak much English.

Wall Street and Broadway

My first view of the Brooklyn Bridge

It was cold, so I tried to stay indoors as much as possible. On my way to the Brooklyn Bridge, I stopped and purchased a sandwich at a deli. I asked the man behind the counter if there were any specials and he replied with an accent "I make you whatever you want. What I make for you?" I bought a diet coke to go with my sandwich to see if it would help me stay awake on the subway. I got bored of riding around by myself and figured that Marlene ought to be arriving soon. I called her phone and told her which air train to take and that I'd meet her at the end of the line. When I got to the Howard Beach Station I realized I only had one glove. I lost one on the subway... Sad.

Marlene finally arrived! It is so interesting to see a familiar face in a strange place. It's awesome! We took the subway to Brooklyn and walked to our hotel. Marlene's friend was also staying in NYC that night and we shared a room with her and Krysten had told Marlene that she'd leave a key for her at the front desk. We talked with the desk clerk for quite a while trying to explain our situation. She finally did give us the room number and we went there hoping that Krysten was in the room. She wasn't. Marlene called and left a message with Krysten telling her that we couldn't get into the room. I finished my diet coke while we waited for Krysten to call back. She did and again said that she left a key at the front desk for us. We talked with the same lady at the desk and behold! there was a key there for us. Amazing. We dropped off our bags and went to tour the town!

First stop: Parisian cafe where no one spoke English. Only Spanish. Lucky I know a few words huh?

Second stop: Rockefeller Center. I wanted to see the famous tree! It wasn't as big as I thought, but it sure had a lot of lights. I jumped up and down like a little kid when I saw it! True story, just ask Marlene. She was probably embarrassed to be seen with me.

We decided that since we were so close and because it WAS New Year's Eve, that we at least ought to go to Times Square and have a look at the 'ball'. We tried to make our way there, but the roads were all being blocked off for the big event. I saw a really tall building that was lit up with red and green at the top and asked Marlene if that was the Empire State Building. We decided to walk that direction to find out. A couple of blocks before we got there, we arrived at a different building which I decided must really be the Empire State Building. I took a picture.

Not the Empire State Building - I think it might have been the Public Library...
We headed on our Times Square voyage once again, finally bought a map to assist us, and after attempting several times to head the right direction and realizing that it was going to take about an hour to get to the entrance, and that we might freeze to death before then, we changed our plans.

We did find the 'real' Empire State Building (It was the one with the red and green after all) and headed to Ground Zero just to have a look.
Good thing I brought along my violin to get money for subway fare huh?
Marlene waiting for the Subway
All we could really see through the construction was the foundation of one of the towers. We went again to Battery Park to see the Statue of Liberty at night. It was awesome! I think we were the only people there. Krysten had told Marlene that they had fireworks there, but we sure didn't see any people. My hand was frozen as were my legs, so we went back to our hotel in Brooklyn to watch the New Year's Eve party on TV. I know boring huh? We got there at about 11:30 p.m. and I jumped in the shower since I'd been in the same clothes for 2 days straight. I opened the door just in time to hear the countdown.