I need a vacation from my vacation. I love traveling, squeezing every possible second out of a trip that I can, but geez. Can someone please get this girl a pillow and a nice comfortable mattress? Wake me up in a few days when I’m well rested. Only then will I be beneficial to any of you. Yeah I’m talking to you! All four of you.
Martin Luther King pulled through again this year (I bet his dream never included a federal holiday named after him), and we took full advantage. With a sister (in-law) in Brooklyn, a three day weekend, and money burning a hole in our pockets, we went right to the trusty old web and booked ourselves flights and a hotel. We could do this on the cheap, right?
Well…we forgot that we are go-getters. We aren’t just going to sit around in the hotel! We are going to explore. We are explorers. Just call me Columbus.
Our cross-country red-eye landed before 7am on Saturday morning. With seats right next to the bathrooms, we spent more time listening to people’s conversations (and smells!), than sleeping. So what we anticipated being a full day on Saturday was a little deterred. We took the subway into Times Square, where we walked to our hotel. Booking the hotel online, and let’s face it, trying to find the best deal possible, I wasn’t sure what to expect. We arrived at The Row NYC (booked on Hotels.com) around 8:30am. Everyone knows even an “early” check-in usually isn’t until 1:00pm, so we were keeping our fingers crossed. The front desk experience could not have gone any better. Our host let us check in at 8:30am, at no extra cost. Oh boy did we need it. I think we got to our room and were both sleeping less than two minutes later.
When we woke, I knew exactly where we were going. I’ve been waiting my entire adult life (okay…maybe just a year or two) to try the cheeseburgers at Shake Shack. Seriously. Who hasn’t heard of the hype going around about good ol’ Shake Shack. This was the top of my NYC travel list. I was doing it immediately. Lucky for me (fate?), there was a Shake Shack directly across from our hotel. I mean, come on. The Gods were shining down on me that day. I won’t go into complete detail here about my experience, but if you’re interested (and I know you are), read my Yelp! review.
After Shake Shack we did what ever other typical NYC tourist does. We explored. We went up into Central Park, attempting to make it to the Belvedere Castle…quickly giving that up. Actually, not so quickly. We walked. And we walked. And then we walked some more. And we still weren’t even halfway there. We gave up. After all, there is so much to see in the city, we weren’t giving it all up for a measly castle. I mean, you’ve seen one, you’ve seen them all. Even though I’ve never even seen one.
We spent the rest of the day walking around, taking random photos (hence Zoolander below), and eating. Seriously. I have never been more excited to get back to the gym in my life. Between the daily pizza slices (his goal was 7 for the entire trip), the cheeseburgers, and the booze? Ugh. It was rough.
We walked by Radio City Music Hall, went into St. Patrick’s Cathedral, saw the ice skating rink at Rockefeller Center, and did a little shopping at the NHL store near Times Square. He would have spent our life savings if I hadn’t dragged him out of there. Seriously? A $3000 bubble hockey game? No. Absolutely not. I had already gotten him away from the $300 pair of shoes, the bubble game was not beating me.
While the top of my travel list may have been Shake Shack, for my husband it was most definitely seeing an Islanders hockey game. On Sunday, his wish came true when we went to Barclay’s in Brooklyn to see them play the Canucks. While it wasn’t the ending he was hoping for, it was a really fun experience. Anytime I find a full bar at an arena is A-Okay with me. I wish the San Jose Sharks would get on board here. Is it too much to ask for? Just a little vodka would suffice.
On Monday we had tickets to the 9/11 Memorial Museum. Wow. It was heartbreaking but magnificent at the same time. I don’t think I’ve ever seen such an amazing display at any museum I’ve been to. I think all Americans should visit, it’s definitely a must-see. If you don’t walk out of there feeling happy to be an American, I don’t know what else will do it for you. I have never felt more honored to call myself an American.
We had originally decided to take a ferry out to Lady Liberty afterwards…but that was quickly nixed due to the 9 degree weather and something like 50mph winds. I mean seriously. I thought a tornado was taking me away. Nevertheless, I still dragged my husband (he’s such a good sport) to the shoreline to take a few photos (and nearly died of hypothermia). Before you say it…Yes. I know I was underdressed. Do you think I have a winter coat? I live in California for Heaven’s sake.
Some of the other highlights of our trip: It snowed!! And not any of that “five feet of snow” crap. I’m talking the perfect light snow. A gentle sprinkle, covering all the surfaces, making everything beautiful. We had a few snowball “fights.” My husband lost. Look, I’m from Wisconsin. I can’t let him beat me at a snowball fight.
Our sister mapped out some of the coolest bars/taverns that we had to see, and we spent Monday afternoon checking them all out. We stopped in at Fraunces Tavern for a drink, George Washington’s famed hangout. We walked through Greenwich Village and popped into a few bars along the way. I mean, come on. It wasn’t just cold outside. It was zero degrees. We needed to keep ourselves warm. The drinking was simply a survival mechanism.
And the best for last. I have a friend from high school that also lives in Brooklyn. We have seen each other only once in ten years, but it’s just one of those friendships. We picked up exactly where we left off, and it felt like nothing had changed. Even though everything had changed. And one of the best changes? Her babies. This photo was captured while I was getting to know her son for the first time. I think it caught the best moment of the trip.