So this summer, my family and I are going to New York City again, and a few other places. I say again because we previously went there in June/July 2010, but I never blogged about it. I was still pretty messed up healthwise then — and even worse, I didn’t realize how bad it actually was. I’m now going to try to reconstruct my memories from about a thousand photos and a point-form text file.
June 30, 2010
Well, I guess we left June 30, 2010. Our hotel was in New Jersey, and we would take a shuttle through the tunnel each day. I’m pretty sure I went through the tunnel when I went to NYC on a school trip, but this time, I was nervous. It took so long. Anyway, I can remember it still being light out when we got to the hotel.
The shuttle dropped us off at the big Port Authority building or whatevers it’s called. We went to Times Square, and I led the way, saying I knew where everything was. Well, I *was* the only one who had been there before, and the city is laid out pretty logically. Plus, I had done tons of research before going there, and made maps of which streets bounded each neighbourhood.
So, we walked around Times Square, I think we went into like Hershey’s store or the M&M’s store and some other knick-knacky touristy rock and roll stores. Forever 21 had a big video screen that showed the street, and everybody was looking up at themselves on the screen.
That night, we went to see a Broadway musical: Rock of Ages. I think we must have came in like minutes before the show started. The show was pretty good. The lead guy was on American Idol, Constantine Maroulis. Oh yeah, and he totally looked right at me a couple of times. I honestly can’t remember that much about the show except that during the intermission, my dad turned to me and said:
“I didn’t realize this was going to be so gay.”
That was like the best moment of my life ever. Needless to say, we will not be seeing any more fruity musicals this time. At least not with my dad.
July 1, 2010
Next day was Canada Day. We weren’t in Canada on Canada Day, and we were even in the States on July 4th, so we didn’t get to celebrate anything.
Back to Times Square. One of the CitySights tour bus guys found us, and we bought tickets for the red and blue buses, which had stops all over Manhattan that let you get on or off wherever you wanted. We also got tickets for another Brooklyn bus, a night tour bus, and a speed boat ride.
We got on a bus in Times Square went up town. I’m pretty sure the first tour guide we had sucked. We rode on the top of the bus; I have a few pictures of close-ups of street lights; we probably had to duck a few times.
There were some statues on the top of several buildings; it looked like people who were going to jump off, but it was actually some sort of art thing. There are tons of interesting buildings in New York; most of this part of the trip was just taking pictures of all the buildings. We went past the Dakota; we’d stop there later. We stopped near a church for a long time. I remember this, and I also took lots of pictures of this church. Saw the Apollo Theater, the Guggenheim. At some point on one of the tour buses, a guy on the street came up to the bus and started yelling about 9/11.
We got out I think by the Metropolitain Museum, then we walked through Central Park thinking we would cut across and see The Dakota, but we got a bit lost on the way. I think someone stopped to help us get in the right direction.
We went to see Belvedere Castle in Central Park. It was a little disappointing because I thought there would be a little more there. It was just a nice old building in Central Park with a nice lookout. Also saw the Spiderman bridge, and this big ole obliesk thing called Cleopatra’s Needle.
Next we stopped at Strawberry Fields. No flowers or anything there that day. Then was the Dakota. I think when I went to New York on a school trip, we just walked by on the other side of the street, and it was rainy that day. But this day, it was very nice out, and we went right up to it. There were two guards at the gate, so you couldn’t go in, but you could see right where John Lennon died. I got a bit choked up, and I think my mom did too.
We hadn’t had anything to eat since breakfast, and it was nearly 2 pm now. There was a hot dog vendor nearby, so we got hot dogs. I took a picture of my hot dog so I would remember that we got hot dogs, and the hot dog guy was very amused by this. My mom took a picture of me taking a picture of the hot dog, and you can see the guy laughing. There was also a “Curb your dog” sign nearby, which I thought was rather funny.
Then there’s a gap of two hours. I’m thinking this might have been when we went to Hooters for lunch, since my mom doesn’t like hot dogs. We spent a long time walking around looking for a good restaurant. I understand those sentences made no sense. Looking for a good restaurant in New York and we picked Hooters?! Well, good restaurant to my family basically means fast food that we have had before. I don’t think any of us actually *like* Hooters food (does anyone?), but we knew at least it was cheap and we could get something to eat there. I remember feeling uncomfortable sitting there with my brother waiting for my parents who had gone to the bathroom, and then the waitress comes over and gives us a napkin with her name and a little heart on it and asked us if we were ready to order our drinks.
Anyway, after that, we went back through Central Park to catch a bus on the other side, where we had gotten off the bus, which took a long time. We could have caught another bus by the Dakota, but then we would have seen everything we had just seen (all of uptown) again.
Back on the bus, we were soon in Times Square again (on the other side this time), where we saw Elmo and Mickey and Minnie Mouse. The lines at the TKTS booth, where you buy tickets for Broadway, were insane. When we went the night before, there was hardly anyone there. I have a picture in Times Square of a bunch of people on a sidewalk looking up; I’m tihinking they must be looking at the Forever 21 video screen.
Driving along, we see the Empire State Building and Macy’s and soon the Flatiron Building, which is probably one of the coolest buildings in New York.
There was one street that the tour guide told us they had to turn off their loudspeaker when they went down it, because the residents complained that it was too noisy. I’m thinking this was around Bleecker Street and/or Greenwich.
I think it was also around this street that there seemed to be some filming going on. We saw a trailer that said “Curb Your Enthusiasm Inc” on it, but we thought it was the name of a production company and not the actual show. I googled around later and found that it probably was the show. I have a picture of a bunch of cables and long coloured sticks and bags that say Paramount, and also possibly some smelly grip’s butt.
I took a picture of an Emigrant Savings Bank, because I knew the place where Fillmore East used to be is one of those now. Pretty sure it wasn’t the right one though. I also took a picture of a store named Papyrus, which seems to be a custom print shop. It’s looks like the logo is in Neutraface.
Next we were in the financial district, and we passed by the Wall Street Bull. I seem to remember a very old Asian man taking a picture with the bull’s balls.
We stopped somewhere in the financial district for a long time. I took lots of pictures of a guy selling fruits and some birds on a streetlamp. Soon after, I think we walked around South Street Seaport a bit, then went to China Town for some shopping.
In one store in Chinatown, there was someone talking over a speaker system throughout the store. I wasn’t paying attention to them until they said something like “Can I have your attention? Can I really have your attention?” and I’m like, um, okay. Then they proceed to talk about things they have on sale in the store. They kept doing this the whole time we were in the store.
It was getting cool out, so my mom and I bought New York sweaters at a street stand. Back on the bus again, we went by the Trump World Tower and the Waldorf Astoria, which I believe is the hotel the Monkees stayed at in New York. Soon, we were back in Times Square.
Then we either walked or (more likely) got another bus back to take the Staten Island Ferry (for free!). We got on at about 7 pm. It was a nice sunset; not all pink and purple and orange, but nice. I’m thinking it was kind of cold on there too. I can also remember lots of little kids. We saw the Statue of Liberty, and there was also a cool looking pirate-y ship.
It was a ten minute ride across, and then it seemed to be about a forty minute or so wait before we got the ferry back to Manhattan, but it was good because the sky was more orange and the city lights were starting to come on, so I got some nice night pictures.
From the tip of Manhattan back to the Port Authority building is a long walk, so we took the subway. I think my dad and maybe the rest of my family was nervous about it, because scary, New York subways, but I felt safe in New York City. We had a bit of trouble getting the tickets, and then no one even checked if we had any. I wasn’t scared at all about scary people on the subway, but I was a bit worried that we took the wrong one and we were going through Brooklyn and all around. I was also a little anxious, the being underground and all. It felt like a really long ride.
We went back to the hotel and had Outback, which was very close by, for dinner. It was really late when we got back.
July 2, 2010
The next day, we got on the shuttle, crossed the tunnel, and ended up back at the Port Authority building. From there, we walked westward to catch the speed boat tour. I’m pretty sure we couldn’t have taken the tour buses, because they go in a circle, and don’t go to the outer streets. When we got there after a long walk, we found we didn’t have the tickets, just the receipt. That put everyone in a bad mood. I also got a very nasty sunburn on my shoulders that day.
Then we walked back to 5th Avenue (so basically, we had just walked from 12th to 5th, and these are the long blocks). We saw the Trump Tower (the one on The Apprentice) and I somehow convinced my brother (who had extremely short hair then!) to stand in front of a sign that said Playboy Enterprises.
Next, we stopped by Abercrombie and Fitch. We didn’t intend to shop there; just to get my brother to take a picture with the model. He oblidged, and then took his own shirt off to reveal his very hair chest. He was clearly planning to do this, because he had a little lotion/oil bottle that he rubbed on his chest too. The model laughed, and so did other people who saw him. The model also posed for some pictures with my brother, and there was even someone who worked for the store who gave us a little Polaroid of my brother and the model.
I then somehow convinced my brother to stand in front of Carnegie Hall, and I’m sure he did a John Entwistle impression. I don’t know why my brother was being so cool with having his picture being taken.
We also stopped at F.A.O. Schwartz at some point. I made it out to my family to be a gigantic toy store, and it was, but not as much as I remembered. They had a make-your-own-Muppet area (for lots of $$$ I’m sure). The Barbie section was very small. I couldn’t find the old fashioned toy section, which used to be the back corner on the first floor when I went there before. It might have been significantly shrunk down, unfortunately.
Somewhere around here, we also went to the World Trade Center, umm, area. I had told my parents there was really nothing to see; there had been no memorial or really anything when I had been there before. There wasn’t one there then either; I think there might be one now. My parents still wanted to go anyway, but I think they were disappointed and or confused that there was really nothing there.
At some point, I think we went to McDonald’s for lunch. Not too exciting. It was probably around Chinatown. They had a bathroom where there’s only one toilet, and it kept being full.
Back on a tour bus. This was soccer World Cup time, and our tour guide was a Dutch girl; the Dutch team ended up going to the playoffs (or whatever they call those in soccer) that year. There was a game that day, so the tour guide was excited. She might have had an orange scarf or something. We passed by a restaurant or bar or something in Times Square and there was a sea of people in orange shirts celebrating. I think she yelled on the loudspeaker asking for the score. This tour guide was very enthusiastic and fun, and she called our bus the “party bus” or the “Holland party bus”. At one point, we passed by another tour bus, and she wanted us to yell hello to them or something.
Anyway, we took the bus back down past the giant button, Macy’s, the Flatiron Building, and the Wall Street Bull. There was a place where the ground was concrete and was marked off in rectangles with duct tape and cardboard. I had no idea what was going on at the time; I think now they may have been doing painting? I also took some more pictures of the guy who sold fruit. My dad copied me and took pictures too.
I think we were told by someone from the Manhattan tour bus that the last Brooklyn bus was just about to leave, so we hurried over to South Street Seaport. I think when we got there, I think we were told it had already left, and then that it was coming, and then it had left, and I dunno. We waited around for awhile, not sure if we were going to catch the bus or not, but eventually, it came, and we went over the Brooklyn Bridge to Brooklyn.
The Brooklyn tour guide was awesome; I’m pretty sure his name was Darryl. He kept saying, “Remember, Brooklyn is real people!” or “Remember, real people live in Brooklyn!” or something like that. Brooklyn was really neat, lots of character; I especially liked all the brownstone houses.
We passed by a pizza place, and the tour guide said it was the best pizza in Brooklyn (or maybe New York). I don’t remember if there was a huge line-up of people at that time, but he said people would line up around several blocks to get a slice of pizza there. He asked us if anyone wanted to get off and wait for some pizza.
We passed by some kids playing on a basketball court, and he asked if anyone wanted to get off and play them. He asked us several times, if anyone wanted to get off and do something; we couldn’t actually, unless we took the subway back, because that was the last Brooklyn bus of the day.
The tour guide also told us about an area of Brooklyn called Flatbush, which he said we might remember from a Tina Turner song called “Flatbush City Limits” (which is actually “Nutbush City Limits”).
We also must have went by Prospect Place, because I think my mom and I turned to each other and said “Prospect Place Willie?”.
One of the best places we saw in Brooklyn was a place called Junior’s Restaurant. The tour guide said they had the best cheesecake in New York City, and there was another Junior’s in Manhattan. Well, we knew where we were going for supper/dessert!
Then, back over the bridge and back to Manhattan. We passed by an area at Rockefeller Plaza and W. 48th where there was a stage with lots of American flags on it. Not sure if there was filming going on or what.
Then for supper, of course, we went to Junior’s in Times Square. The food was okay; the cheesecake was brilliant and yes, probably the best cheesecake I have ever had.