alice's intinerary most resembled the one that we envisioned for ourselves. so, if you're still interested in your souvenir, alice, it's waiting for you. however, if alice doesn't contact me by friday, i'm offering it up to samokdaddy, whose itinerary was a very close second.
anyhoo, two random thoughts about the trip before it even started:
* if you have to fly out of midway airport and your gate is A4A - prepare yourself for what may be the l o n g e s t f'ing walk of your life, my friend... get your magazine/potbelly/ben & jerry's fix BEFORE you go to your gate.
* the worst place to have a deja vu is while flying in a plane. from then on, the WHOLE time i'm in the air i'm thinking... does that mean i'm going to die on this flight? as in crash and burn? or are my gourmet pretzels laced with rat poison?
* adults travelling without children have it SOOOOOO good. they should NEVER complain about travelling EVER. DON'T. EVEN. GO. THERE.
so, after an uneventful (albeit delayed) stopover in atlanta, we arrived at la guardia around 11:30 p.m. (friday night). i called a friend of ours who's band was playing in chinatown and let him know that we wouldn't be able to make it. if you live in/visit nyc, make arrangements to check out our friend, george gee, and his band(s), you won't regret it! :)
early the next morning, around the kids normal waking time, i woke up and sat bolt upright realizing that i had forgotten to pack the stroller. (am i whipped or WHAT?) after a minute or two of hearing my eyes blink in the dark, i fell back asleep. i had these delusions of grandeur that we'd be up at the crack of dawn and out the door to devour manhattan. yeah. not so much... we just barely got out of the mansfield around 10am.
although i had asked all y'alls for a "manhattan itinerary" and sought some sage nyc tourist advice & foodie recs from metrodad, we woke up the next morning not really sure what to do or where to go first. there were a handful of things that both of us really wanted to see so we just decided to wing it.
after breakfast, we both liked the idea of getting on a boat and getting a better perspective of the city from the water. we walked to times square to find a subway stop and caught a train downtown.
we decided to stop off near ground zero and take a reluctant look. i was very disappointed to find street vendors hawking 9/11 souvenirs on our short walk there and then, there's this ENORMOUS clearance sign plastered in front of century 21, facing the construction site. honestly, there wasn't much to see, which was kind of a relief, i was really not looking forward to our visit. we walked toward battery park to catch a glimpse of the statue of liberty, ellis island, maybe catch a boat.... we happened to pass by trinity church on our way -
although, the thin man was looking at it for its rich historical background (especially the resting place of alexander hamilton) and it's ageless beauty. i can appreciate those things too. it was really quite peaceful and humbling there. the gravestones were really stunning in their simplicity and honesty about their owners' lives and deaths. but, i have to admit that i was looking at it also for it's cameo in that silly nicholas cage movie, national treasure. (and i was also hoping it had a restroom.)
when we got to battery park, the boat lines looked long and then, we weren't sure how long the boat rides were going to be. so, we just sat there and pigeon/people/nyc landmark watched for a while.
then, we perused our map and started making our way towards chinatown and little italy by way of south street seaport. i got a glance of beautiful brooklyn bridge too. i regret that we didn't have the time to walk across it.
by the time we reached chinatown/little italy it was around 1 p.m. surprisingly, neither of us were really hungry though so we opted for drinks to whet our appetites. i got a delish boba tea from ten ren on mott st. (the only metrodad foodie tip that we got to taste) i just found out we have one here in chicago too! SCORE!
i talked to a friend of mine who was cleaning her newly minted nyc apartment and made tenative plans to meet at the metropolitan in roughly an hour and change. after walking around chinatown, oogling all the bunches of fresh lychee and the fish ball kebobs, we got a pink parasol for the paloma and made our way to little italy where the thin man got a fresh fruit smoothie from a vendor.
we walked thru soho to find a subway back uptown so that we could meet my friend. at this point i realized, i hadn't seen any celebrities yet and then, i noticed a random, double parked, hazards flashing, dark tint windowed, black SUV and then a young thin blonde woman getting into it with a baseball cap and sunglasses. i still don't know who she was but then i realized she and all the other (2) people in soho with caps and sunglasses were probably celebrities too. seriously, do famous people surrender their brains upon instant stardom? i hope they get some kind of brain claim tag and get them back eventually.
and off we zoomed to central park... where we proceeded to get lost. please note that we still had not eaten yet - it's was 2/2:30-ish. we thought we were going in a straight line across the park and then, there was a restroom pit stop... some cool busker music, a crazy old man with dubious directions, sunbathers lying down willy nilly in our path.... it was mayhem! ok, no. not really.
so, i kinda knew that the metropolitan would be immense and impossible to see much of anything in the few hours left that it was open. so, i suggested we try doing something else like the guggenheim, the whitney, the neue gallerie. but, the thin man was determined to enter the metropolitan. so, we split up. he went in there and i met my friend at her apt, which was only two blocks away, and we went to the guggenheim. she just had visitors in town and had visited all the other galleries just a day or two before.
as soon as we got to the guggenheim, i was a little disappointed since there was scaffolding all over it. while we walked up the spiral, i wasn't that excited by what was on exhibit. i think i must have missed a room or something because i didn't see any of the chagalls, degas, picassos. i think i saw one kandinsky. however, there was a GREAT exhibit of italian divisionists called arcadia & anarchy. the "social problems" grouping was especially interesting because of how beautiful the paintings were depicting such sad and depressing subjects like death or urban menial labor. i think i'm so used to "pretty" impressionism at the art institute that it was jarring to see death and suffering in intimate strokes of lavender and pink....
stay tuned for pt. 2 - it gets slightly more interesting. :)