I'm joining in with Mary-Lou with a Monday update. My blogging has certainly been erratic this summer, and when I look back at our schedules I can see why. I thought by the end of July things would calm down, but it just got more complicated. However, I'm here to share a lovely little interlude--although exhausting! In April, two of my friends announced we would celebrate my 70th birthday with a trip to New York City. It's been over 15 years since I've spend more than one day in the city, and I was as excited as they were to plan for it.
This is a long and photo-heavy post, but Lady Ella asked if I would get a post up. I still want to do one for our stop at the Hancock Shaker Village as well.
Last week the three of us left on the 5:19 am train from Rochester to Grand Central station, arriving in time for a late lunch. We stayed at the Hilton Times Square on 42nd St. The area is anything but luxurious--rather seedy and loaded with tourist attractions and shops selling NYC souvenirs. Stepping into the Hilton, however, is like finding an oasis in the desert. Lovely and calming. We had made advance plans for our full day in NY, but hadn't made any for Tuesday night. Luckily, it was a gorgeous evening and after an excellent dinner we were able to get tickets on the Circle Line's evening tour of the New York Harbor. It started at the pier on 42nd St. and was an easy walk from the restaurant and the hotel. The two hour tour went down the Hudson River, around the Battery, and up the East River as far as the United Nations. I took most of the following photos with my Olympus mirrorless camera until it got dark, and then relied on my iPhone because I'm just not sure how the Olympus would do with night photography. On my agenda is to watch some tutorials and learn more about the camera. On automatic, it takes wonderful photos that need almost no editing.
There are several (many?) photos of the Statue of Liberty because I couldn't choose a favorite!
The Brooklyn Bridge on our way back down the East River.
On Wednesday we had booked a double tour---first of the High Line, an elevated railway that has been turned into a mile+ park and walkway, followed by a food tour of the West Village. The tours are limited to 8, and we had just 7--the three of us and a lovely family from Texas. Our guide could not have been more knowledgeable or personable. It was very hot and humid, but no one was complaining because the forecast had been for thunderstorms, and we had none! Here are the three of us on the High Line.
As we walked, we learned lots about the surrounding area---its history, the architecture, and the art that has been installed along the trail.
This mural is another entry for A Trilogy of Three for the SPSH. And here is another entry---for Mellow Yellow:
One last photo from the High Line. At one point it was possible to line up the Empire State Building with the tower of an historic building near the Village. I couldn't pass up the opportunity.
When we left the High Line near the Chelsea Market, we began an incredible food tour. I was expecting small bites at the different establishments, but by the end of the tour almost none of us (with the exception of the two teenage boys) could eat the Italian sub we were offered. Between the different bakeries, confectioners, restaurants, and delis, we learned about the history of the West Village which was a rural area with homes originally built to escape the epidemics that afflicted the city which at that time was much further south centered on the Battery. It's almost impossible for me to imagine that NYC was once so small that the West Village was the "country."
Our first stop was at Aux Merveilleux where they create a century old, gluten fee, low calorie meringue pastry. They are beautiful to behold, and so delicious. This store is the only one of its kind in North America. It's hard to believe they are low calorie. We were treated to a mini which you can see in the lower right had corner of the photo.
The next stop was Li-Lac Chocolates. We were given a salted chocolate caramel, and a bag to take with us of chunks of both milk and dark chocolate. We purchased more at a small Grand Central shop on our way out of town. Delish!
Bleecker Street Pizza has won the first place award for pizza in the NYC area for three years in a row. This may not look exceptional, but it truly was the best pizza I've ever had. Usually I like some meat and/or veggies on my pizza. No need here---the homemade sauce, perfect crust, and fresh mozzarella is all you need.
I knew I shouldn't eat the whole thing, but I couldn't help myself. And I was right, there were still three stops to go. Next up, Bantam Bagels which makes mini bagel balls filled with cream cheese. They have a wide variety, but I went with the everything bagel filled with veggie cream cheese. Supposedly, every Starbuck's in the US carries these now, but I've yet to check it out.
Our next stop was an Italian deli where we were offered an arancini and then a small Italian sub. That is my favorite kind of sub but there was no way I could eat it. They wrapped them for us, but it was so hot and humid, we thought better of eating them after carrying them back to the hotel. What a disappointment! If I lived in the Village, I'd be buying sausages here as well as subs.
The last stop of the day was for a cold drink (or coffee) and an Italian cannoli. These cannoli were delicious---made with fresh ricotta---not too sweet. As full as I was, I managed to eat half of mine.
Needless to say, we did not need dinner. We had tickets to The Book of Mormon that night. It was pretty raunchy, but it certainly kept us awake.
Our train didn't leave until 2:15 on Thursday. Debbie had never been to NYC, so we walked through Times Square and up to Rockefeller Center.
And to the Lego Store where we saw an amazing replica of Rockefeller Center built from Legos. Check out the little girl in the lower righthand portion of the photo to get a sense of perspective. This was huge.
Right across the street is Saks Fifth Ave. In my high school and college days, it was an elegant, and somewhat affordable department store. No more. Nothing but very high end designer items, and a very modern interior. I was so disappointed to see what had become of it. Next door is St. Patrick's Cathedral which never disappoints.
We had just a bit of time left so rode the subway to Central Park so Debbie could get a sense of it. I didn't take any photos there. The train to NYC takes about 7 hours, and it is vastly improved since the days I rode it back and forth to Poughkeepsie to visit my dad. It's very comfortable, and on the way down, very prompt. On the way home, we were a bit over an hour late. We had a great time. It was our first "girls out" trip, and we've decided it must become an annual event. It certainly was the highlight of my way too significant birthday!