7.16.2010

New York City - Sunday

We woke up on Sunday (May 30th) bright and early! After getting ready at the hotel, we began walking east on 54th until we reached the infamous 5th Avenue. Some of the most known stores are located up and down this street: Fendi, Juicy Couture, Versace, Tiffany & Co., etc. Did I go shopping in any of those stores? Not a chance! I am an "experience" girl - not a material girl. I'd much rather do something fun than own something fun. We walked right on by those stores!

During our walk, we came upon St. Patrick's Cathedral. It was absolutely beautiful! Can you believe these bronze doors weigh 20,000 lbs.?


We kept walking down 5th Avenue and cut acoss on 42nd Street in order to reach Grand Central Station. We had been looking for a little place to grab some quick bagels, and just inside the doors at GCS, we found the perfect little hole-in-the-wall place. We walked over to the main concourse and immediately felt like we were in a movie. I wonder how many movies have shot scenes in that concourse. We sat on some steps, watched the hustle and bustle of the morning, and enjoyed our bagels. I am convinced that I had the best pumpernickel bagel in the entire world that morning!






We left Grand Central Station after buying our $20 Metro Passes, which ended up being just enough to ride the subway during the duration of our trip. My phone has a great application that we used nonstop during our time in NYC. The GPS would identify our location, and then I would put in a landmark or address for where we were trying to go. The app would then tell us how to get there in detail, giving us the exact subway lines to take and the estimated times for everything. It was awesome!! Anyway, we were trying to get to Union Square in order to meet up with the people from Slice of Pizza Brooklyn Tour. Well, the subway station was closed for some reason, and we were already running a little behind. Ryan hailed a taxi (our only taxi ride during the trip), and we quickly reached Union Square.


Soon after we arrived, our tour bus pulled up to the sidewalk. Out walked Paula (below), our 20-something tour guide! I know what you're thinking - of course her name was Paula - it's a tour of Brooklyn! This tour was recommended by my friend, Kim, and I'm so glad we went. Throughout the tour, we got to see movie clips, and then Paula would show us the exact place where that part of the movie was filmed. It was pretty neat!


The tour lasted 4 1/2 hours, and we were able to see so many different areas of Brooklyn. We started out in an area called Down Under the Manhattan Bridge Overpass (DUMBO). Paula told us that she tried to get a one bedroom apartment in DUMBO - nothing fancy - and it cost $800,000. Can you even imagine?? We got to walk around the Brooklyn Bridge Park. It had such a beautiful view of Manhattan!





After we left DUMBO, we drove to an area to eat pizza at Grimaldi's. One of the reasons this pizza is so delicious and special is that they use coal ovens to make it! I know, coal isn't good for the environment, but you know what, you forget all of that when you have a bite of their delicious pizza! A line begins to form in front of Grimaldi's a hour and a half before it opens. That is how good their pizza tastes! Because we got the hook-up on our tour, we got to walk past all of the dozens upon dozens of people standing in line and walk right in. Yeah, that pretty much rocked! Grimaldi's is just a little tiny pizzeria, so our tour group took up half of the tables in the restaurant. After we ordered our cream sodas, we waited patiently for our Margarita Pizza. I'm sorry that I didn't take pictures of the beautiful splendor that was Grimaldi's pizza, but we ate 4 pieces so quickly that I didn't snap one in time. This thin, NY-style pizza was AH-mazing with fresh mozzarella and basil. My mouth is watering just thinking about it.



Next we drove to an area to see some of Brooklyn's multi-million dollar homes and some other neighborhoods. After driving for awhile, we reached L&B Spumoni Gardens where they make Sicilian-style pizza. We sat at long tables and before we knew it, they were bringing out these HUGE pies - and by pie I mean thick crust, square cut, delicious goodness! The trademark for Sicilian pizza is that they bake the crust with mozzarella cheese directly on top and then add the sauce on top of the cheese. You pour parmasean cheese on top, and you've got one freaking delicious pie! FUHGGEDDABOUTIT!!! Once again I forgot to take a picture of the pizza before I ate it, but this is what was left of my second slice. I really wanted to shove the rest of it in my mouth, but I just couldn't do it. I had already eaten 3 1/2 pieces of pizza, and I thought I was going to explode! Oh wait - after finishing our pies we sampled some spumoni. It was delightful!





Next we drove through some different neighborhoods until we reached Coney Island. I have always wanted to visit Coney Island, so I was really excited when we pulled up. It was opening weekend, so the place was PACKED!!! It was like Times Square all over again. We walked around Coney Island, seeing the historic landmarks, restaurants, and people sunbathing. Again, I felt like we were in a movie!



At this point of the tour, we got back on the bus and started our drive back to Manhattan. Ryan and I were EXHAUSTED, but we really wanted to walk across the Brooklyn Bridge. It's one of the only free activities in NYC; plus, it's just beautiful, so we wanted to take advantage. We We enjoyed our stroll across the bridge, taking pictures along the way while trying to steer clear of the people cycling. We really enjoyed our walk, and by the time we reached Manhattan, we were ready for a nap.




We jumped on the first subway (below) headed back north to head to Central Park. It was probably close to 5:30 p.m. by the time we got there, so unfortunately, a lot of the attractions were closed. We ended up sitting down in the grass at The Dairy, too exhausted to walk anymore. Ultimately, we decided to leave Central Park to try to catch another Broadway show.




After making a quick stop at the hotel to freshen up and change clothes, we walked to Times Square to visit the TKTS booth again. Unfortunately, because it was Memorial Day weekend, many of the theatres had let the actors have the night off. BUMMER! We had so much fun the night before at Rock of Ages that we were really hoping to see one more show. Oh well - maybe next time!

We decided to go see Sex in the City II at a theatre in Times Square instead. I'm not sure there is a better place to see anything Sex in the City related other than NYC.  :) We enjoyed being able to sit down in air conditioning and just relax during the movie! Afterward, we jumped on the subway to go have a very late dinner at Serendipity (from the movie). While waiting for the train to arrive, this huge, belligerant man starting yelling and cussing out a group of people. He was either intoxicated, mentally ill, or both - I don't know. All I know is that I was edge for the rest of the evening. So far our time in NYC had been very casual, laid back, and relaxing, and being near someone so impulsive made me nervous!


Once we reached Serendipity, we waited about 30 minutes outside for our table. The decor inside was really cute, and we've heard it's even cuter during Christmas. We both enjoyed our meals but our favorite was the Frozen Hot Chocolate!!! It was so good, I ended up buying myself some of the mix to bring home, which has been perfect during this especially hot summer. We walked from Serendipity back to our hotel, which was probably not the smartest idea. It was a much further walk than we realized, and it was almost 1 a.m. Regardless, we did make it back safe and sound! When we were back in our hotel room, we were beyond tired. BUT, we hadn't fully planned out our Memorial Day activities! We stayed up until at least 2:30 a.m. before falling asleep.



Four short hours later, the alarm woke us up. Our third day in NYC began...

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