Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Big Apple Adventures

I have missed NYC almost everyday that I haven't been there. Seriously the coolest city I have ever been to. And to be able to explore it with my best friend, I can't even explain the fun, the bonding, and the memories that we made.

 In November, the two of us were supposed to go to Seattle together to do an Acts 29 Boot Camp and Assessment to benefit the A29 Network, of which New Life is affiliated. We bought our tickets and hadn't yet reserved our hotel room. In September, the whole boot camp got cancelled. The NEXT day, we got an email saying that we needed to confirm our flights because the time changed by 10 minutes OR we could get a full refund if that didn't work out for us. Really? Wow, thanks God, for an out.

The only thing about it was that it was supposed to be in conjunction with my 30th birthday and we were extending the time to spend there. So...Allen mentioned maybe going to NYC instead since it has long been a dream of mine. I was off and running with the planning and we had a free weekend in January, which also coincided with Allen's 30th. What a fun commemoration of our birthdays together!

 Since several people were asking for the rundown, I am excited to share. I think we packed a lot into 3 days, but by God's grace, it did not seem rushed or hurried. We thoroughly enjoyed all of it!

We got there on Thursday night, dropped luggage at the hotel and rode the subway to Times Square. The way it all happened was so surreal. I walked up the steps from the subway (was looking down the whole time), noticed that the steps were glittery and the moment I looked up, I saw this. You look around and its crazy to see how bright it is at night. How it really is the "city that never sleeps." It can be 11 P.M. and there are still tons of kids, strollers, people, lights...it feels just like the afternoon there.

We ate at Junior's, which claims to have the world's best cheesecake. Funny thing is, we didn't order cheesecake, we got carrot cake, which was also very good. I am not a cheesecake girl. :(

The next day we woke up and headed to ABC Studios to be in the live studio audience at Live With Kelly (the former Live with Regis and Kelly, since he retired in November). The co-host on the day that we went was Apolo Ohno, the Olympian gold medalist. Here I am waiting in line to go inside.

Here are all the women waiting to go inside the studio. Allen was literally one of very few men there.

Kelly was so sweet and personable! She came down just to talk to the audience at every commercial break, with the producer literally pulling her back to her seat with seconds until she was back on air. She is so adorable!

Lana Parilla from Once Upon a Time was a guest on the show, as well as Common, for the musical guest. Common performed the song, Celebrate, and Allen downloaded it as his favorite souvenir of the trip (I should mention that he downloaded the "clean" version). It was so fun to be in the audience while he performed. Kelly danced all around the studio, claiming she was going to be his backup dancer.

After the show, we went to see the 9/11 Memorial, which just opened at the 10th Anniversary and was beautiful. The two "pools" were the North and South Pool, located just where the North and South Twin Towers were. All around the outside were names etched into the sides as a tribute.

We couldn't go without trying out some NY style pizza. 

 I opted for a broccoli and chicken version and Allen went all out with a Meat Lovers'. He was very hungry, I suppose. Either that, or he was just being himself ;)

After that, we headed to the Ferry to go on our Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island ride. It was the coldest and windiest day!

Here we are at Ellis Island at the Immigration Museum. It was so interesting to see the history here. We were also glad to get inside. My goodness it was like a typhoon out there.

We got some pretty pictures on the ride.

We met Erin and Kelli at Rubirosa, an amazing Italian restaurant in Little Italy. It was all family style, so we ordered salad, lasagna and tortellini. All of it was SO yummy! And so lovely to see some familiar faces in NYC!

After our dinner, we made our way to the Winter Garden Theater to see Mamma Mia. The show was so lively and fun! I think Allen would have preferred about 10 less songs (he's not a musical kind of guy), but he indulged me and I was a happy girl!

The next morning we had breakfast at Ellen's Stardust Diner, famous for the singing waiters and waitresses. Some say they are so good they could be on Broadway, a goal which most of them are working towards. We had Challah French Toast and it was amazing. 
I need to figure out how to make that!

Heading down towards Rockefeller Center, we stopped at Radio City Music Hall to take some pictures. For some reason, all I could think about was Lucille Ball and her adventures there from I Love Lucy.

Rockefeller Center...we decided against skating on this particular day, but it sure did look like fun!

Our NBC Studio Tour started here. 
It was truly interesting, but I'm not sure if we would do this tour again.

Next, we went to Top of the Rock Observation Deck. We had heard it was a better view than the Empire State Building so we did that instead. It's where this famous picture was taken while it was being built.

View of Central Park from the Top of the Rock

 I think this is the top of St. Peter's...

Out toward the Hudson Bay...

Toward  the Empire State Building and Ellis Island

Next up: Shopping on 5th and Madison Ave! (Maybe my favorite part of the trip!)

 Allen doing his best "You're fired!" in front of the Trump Tower

Then, off for a night at the Met...wish we could have spent more time in there. I think we saw *maybe* 1/4 of what it had to offer...

Last Day! We went straight to Redeemer to hear from Tim Keller and spent the rest of the morning walking (quickly, since it was so cold) around Central Park and then camping at the local Starbucks for a bit to read and talk. I also locked eyes with Elisabeth Hasselbeck and her precious kids. I have to be honest, I feel a connection with her now. We have kids the same ages/genders (girl, boy, boy) and she was sitting in church near me. I have been praying for her influence on The View ever since!

Yes, you read that right on that CNN sign! It was 15 degrees outside!

I couldn't have asked for a better trip! 
Thanks for caring enough to make it to the end of this super-long post! 

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