This weekend we met Sandy. And we wish we never had. Before she showed up, we were having a glorious time. But we are thankful for the days we had leading up to Sandy's arrival. We are incredibly grateful. We had so much fun. As my nephew said, "It was good and I liked New York. My favorite part was being in Times Square surrounded by the lights and all the awesome stores."
We were so blessed to have three days packed with nearly every tourist adventure imaginable. On the first day in Manhattan, we strolled to Rockefeller Plaza where we watched ice skaters in the rink and browsed through the Lego Store. We shopped in Times Square and spent a fortune at the M&M's store.
Then we hopped a bus to the 9-11 memorial site where we met Harry, a wonderful older man with a toothless grin who pulled us aside and shared the World Trade Center's history with us. He taught us about the seven buildings on the site which coincided with the seven points on the Statue of Liberty's crown which stood for the seven seas over which people traveled from the seven continents to find a freedom represented by a flag with seven red stripes. We explored the neighborhood around that site, visited wall street, took a photo with the bull and walked down to the harbor where we saw the Statue of Liberty in the distance. We resisted the temptation to buy Rolex watches and bags and sunglasses from men who sidled up beside us and whispered great deals in our direction.
Then we ended our day with dinner and drinks at the Hard Rock Cafe in Times Square where we waited an hour to destroy a platter of loaded nachos and where we left with souvenir glasses in tow.
On day two we slept late and it was good. Then we passed through Magnolia's bakery to pick up muffins and cupcakes and what is now Kirk's favorite milk before heading to NBC for a tour. We walked the halls of NBC like we owned the place. We made brief stops in the studios of Brian Williams and Dr. Oz and Jimmy Fallon before Kirk took a seat behind the news desk and shared the day's news with our tour group. He was a star!
Next we jumped in a pedicab for a tour of Central Park. Our driver, a young man who emigrated from Kazakhstan, peddled our rickshaw to various stops in the park like the Bethesda fountain and Strawberry fields. We watched a young couple get engaged near the John Lennon memorial and saw the building where Yoko Ono still lives.
Finally, we rode out to China Town where we walked through the markets and ended up in Little Italy where we ate the best pizza ever.
On the third day, we went to church at St. Patrick's Cathedral, at breakfast at the Majestic Delicatessen, ferried out to Lady Liberty, looked up our ancestors on Ellis Island and ended up at the Newsies, a Disney musical on Broadway. We finished up the day with burgers and salad at the most expensive Friday's on the face of the earth and a shopping spree at the grocery store in preparation for Sandy.
Even though the last couple of days have been stressful and trying, we are thankful. What an amazing trip this has been! That is what we will choose to remember.