21 July 2008

Weekend in The City

Friday night our weekend started with a Broadway play, The Country Girl, starring Morgan Freeman, Frances McDormand and Peter Gallagher. It wasn't so great - a boring story and barely interesting characters. BUT it was too cool to hear Morgan Freeman's voice live and in person. And at one point his hands ... the way he held them ... reminded me so much of Grandpa Max. It just flooded me with emotion. While we were leaving the theater we saw Stockard Channing. She was in the audience too! Funny.

On the way back to the subway we stopped at Duane Reed to get some water for the ride home. I was zooming along, and I stepped wrong in a crevice in the sidewalk. UGH. I fell straight forward and was pretty much 90 degrees out in the air. Because it's Times Square, there were loads and loads of people, and my head fell right into the backsides of girls walking in front of us. It was SO embarrassing, and my back, foot and head were killing me afterward.

Then as we went into Duane Reed there was something crazy going on with a couple people. I just ignored it ... and didn't really see what happened. Apparently there was a fight going on and a guy pushed a girl down the escalator. She was OK and then the police were there. We paid for our purchases and got on the hot oven of a subway. Blugh.

Owen stayed home with Uncle Shawn on Friday night and had a good time. We had bought Owen some puzzles - 3D toys made of wood that are in a million pieces that fit together without glue or nails. So they put together the train one... There's still the digger one to put together. They played some games and didn't watch any TV. Owen was asleep when we got home - what a sweet little boy.

Shawn left for Chicago on Saturday morning - REALLY early - but not before killing a roach and spilling some water all over my desk. Charming. :) We got up and were out the door by about 10:30 on our way to the City Sights NY tour. (HALF the price of the Grey Line and so much better, imho).

We exchanged our tickets for boarding passes and got on the bus for the downtown loop. We got off the bus at South Street Seaport, where we shopped at The Strand Outlet (which is closing and was having MAJAH sales). Then we ate lunch at the Heartland Brewery - easy, yummy and convenient. Also the place where Shawn and I ate with Susan, Lisa and their British family: Leila, Rick, Eleanor and Thomas. Then we hopped back on the bus and finished the downtown loop. Owen fell asleep on this part.

We got off the bus in Times Square and made a special stop at the largest Toys R Us in the world. We made a bee-line for the Thomas section of the store, and along the way came across some Thomas/NYC-themed clothing items. Owen got a new Thomas hat that has a "Big Apple" on it, so cute. Owen played and played on the amazing Thomas set up in the store. But finally it was time to get back on the bus. (There is a 60-foot Ferris wheel inside the store, and it's $4 each to ride it...plus a really long line, so we opted out of that fun thing.)

The stop for the uptown tour wasn't very far away, but by the time we got there (almost 5 pm) we had missed the last uptown bus. The guys said we could catch it on its loop up, about five blocks away. So off we went, trucking as fast as we could go. I threw Owen on my shoulders and took off at a VERY fast walk. Mama and Beth brought up the rear and were cracking up at how fast we were going. We JUST made the uptown tour bus, and we got to see Harlem, the Upper East and West sides, Central park edges, Columbus Circle and Museum Mile. Our tour guide was great - Leonardo. And had fun information for us.

Back in Times Square, we got in a "subway hole" and made our way back home. We had dinner at the apartment (bacon cheesy pasta delight for the girls and round meat (bologna) for Owen). As we're starting to take our baths to wash off the filth of the city, I realize no hot water ... as in, no water at all coming out of the hot tap. I'm so dirty I still take a shower in the freezing cold water, washing as best I can. I heated up some water on the stove to give Owen a bath. And then as soon as we were done the hot water comes back one - which was good for Mama and Beth! But weirdly the hot water in the kitchen came out brown - really looking like mud. That lasted through today (Monday) but eventually it seems to have cleared out the pipe. DIS-GUST-ING!

After a good rest, we got up and went to church on Sunday morning. This church isn't air conditioned, meaning you sweat through the service. ICKY STICKY. It was unbelievably hot (Shawn's explanation is that it is to give you a taste of hell so you'll straighten up and fly right...either way it's awful!), and Owen didn't really enjoy it. But he made it and so did we. After being stood up by Lisa for church and brunch, we decided to catch the 1 pm boat tour to the Statue of Liberty. (Good idea in theory but not so much for our food intake!)

We took the subway to Grand Central Station and grabbed an M42 bus to the 42nd Street Pier (#83), exchanged the tickets we had for the boat for boarding passes, stood in an interminable line and got on the boat FINALLY. The 75-minute cruise was pretty relaxing, for the most part, and fun. We got up close to the Statue of Liberty, and we saw the island of Manhattan from the south - a stunning view of the skyline.

After the boat, we hopped on the M42 going back toward midtown and got off at 5th Ave - to see the lions at the library. A few quick pictures (and Owen was sleeping again)...and then we headed in search of nutritional sustenance. What we found and settled on was Chipotle. Not exciting, but cheap, filling and semi-quick. I was also able to get wireless internet access on my iPod, so we checked the hours of the Central Park Zoo, our next stop.

A Happy Meal for Owen, another city bus ride (I think it was a Q3 or something) and we were on our way to the zoo. We had about an hour until closing, but that was plenty of time, since the animals were all hang-dog from the heat and not really exciting. We got to use a clean bathroom and see a "big, big bridge" (as per Owen) as well as a couple polar bears (!) playing in the water. I felt so sorry for them ... so out of their habitat. Ugh. We also bought a few things at the "Zootique" - some T-shirts and an animal train (very cool).

After a rest on a bench, we hopped in another "subway hole" to get back to Times Square. We stopped at the M&M store (where I thought of my friend Carolyn and her gifts to her brother-in-law), and Owen picked up some blue M&M's ... Beth said they have purple ones too, so maybe another trip to Times Square is in my future. We didn't think the night tour would leave until 7 pm (as per the website), but when we made it over to The Roxy deli, we were able to quickly get on a bus and get started.

Once we got out of midtown, the breezes were cooling and we were having a nice time (including going thorugh out neighborhood and seeing all of our local "haunts"). Once we got to the Bowery, just before the Manhattan Bridge, our bus broke down. It was about 7:25, and a replacement bus didn't show up until almost 8:30. An HOUR of sitting, looking at a grungy street. NO FUN. Finally we got onto a new bus and completed the tour. We were out of water though, Owen was thirsty and it was a hard time. There were gorgeous skyline views and it was pretty cool, temperature wise. We also learned a lot of fun historical facts about the city and had another great tour guide.

Finally, one more subway hole ride back to the apartment, showers (with hot water!) and bed. Exhausting. Whew!

Lisa is here now, and Owen will probably talk her into a trip to the playground at Washington Square Park ... he's also begging to go back to Toys R Us. What a silly goose.

More later, as well as photographs.

~Mari.

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