Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Empire State of Mind

In New York, concrete jungle where dreams are made of,There's nothing you can't do, now you're in New YorkThese streets will make you feel brand newBig lights will inspire you, let's hear it for New York-Jay-Z

At the end of May we got to take a spontaneous trip to New York City to celebrate our second wedding anniversary. I received a full scholarship (flight, room, and food stipend) to attend NCORE 2012, the National Conference on Race and Ethnicity in higher education, through my Gates Millenium Scholarship community. There will be a later post on my experiences at this conference. With my travel taken care of, we changed our anniversary and summer vacation plans and off we went to the Big Apple. 

We arrived on a Thursday night and Friday was jammed packed. We were staying with my best friend and maid of honor in our wedding, Catherine, for two nights. She lives on the boarder of the East  Village and Noho, so we decided to do all the downtown stuff on Friday morning. This included ground zero- just looking at the new construction- wall street, and Staten Island ferry. On our way to the ferry we found a little alley with restaurants and pubs and had to stop to get a flight of beer. 
Handsome Man

Beer Flight
On the Staten Island Ferry
The reason we took the ferry...free view!

Once in Staten Island we got hot dogs and hopped on the next ferry back to Manhattan. We took the subway up to the NYC Modern Musuem of ARt, affectionately called the MOMA. Every Frifay there is free admission, so it was packed! We did a quick two hour walk through of the six floors. Next, we headed to the Empire State Builbiding and waited in this line....

Line at Empire State Building
...For about an hour and then were told that we would have about another hour to two hour wait and there was no visibility at the top. We decided to cut our losses and come back early another day. We headed to Korean BBQ and then called it a night.

Korean BBQ
Empire State lit up for Memorial Day
 Saturday was Brooklyn day! We LOVED Brooklyn! It felt like San Francisco with the farmers market, people with canvas bags, and bikes everywhere. We ate pizza, strolled the streets, and got our discount Broadway tickets. Walking back across the Brooklyn bridge provided some amazing views and opportunities to avoid tourist on bikes. Once back in the city we went back to Ground Zero to see the memorial. It is a very humbling place to vist. That night we went to the Broadway play, The Columnist. We did not know anything about this play and were by far the youngest people in the audience, but it was a great performance and loved "taking in" a play in New York.

Manhattan Bridge

Danny and the Brooklyn Bridge

Brooklyn Bridge
The City

The Surviving Tree at Ground Zero
Ready to see The Columnist

By 8 am the next day we were at the Empire State Building and at the top in less than an hour. Best way to do it! After taking in the views we headed over to Macy's to see the wooden escalators. Then we headed back to our hotel for some down time before heading out to celebrate our second wedding anniversary. We went to a matinee of the new Broadway musical Memphis. The music was breathtaking and had lots of dancing. We both left with stars in our eyes. For dinner, we headed down to little Italy and had an amazing meal and stroll around the street fair that was taking place. It was a romantic evening with my love.

So excited there is no line!
Us at the top

View to Downtown from the top. The tallest building is the new building at the World Trade Center that is almost complete. 

Wooden escalators at Macy's, the largest store in the world!
After the Show
Where we had dinner. (Would recommend!)

Party in Little Italy

Our last day, Monday, was an all day bike ride around central park. My friend Catherine joined us and we may have converted another person to become a city bike rider! It was a great way to see the park. For lunch we headed up to the West Side, by Columbia University, to find the restaurant fasade used in Seinfeld television series. It is called Joe's Restaurant and is an excellent New York dinner experience. That evening, I started my conference and brought our adventure together to an end. Well, so we thought. We had a nice anniversary surprise when Danny's Tuesday afternoon flight was canceled. While it is never fun to have a cancelled flight, which messed up Danny's work schedule, it was nice to be able to go out for a glass of sparkling wine after my conference that night.

Catherine and Danny at Bethesda Fountain

Danny at Seinfeld Restaurant
Us with the view of the city

We are very grateful to have been able to take this trip and experience this city together. New York's lights did inspire us as Jay-Z promised, but it wasn't to live in New York. Rather, New York made us more remember the sparkling lights on the other coast. It made us long for our dreams in the city we experience and love everyday: San Francisco, our home. 

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