Our New York City Vacation

View the entire photo album on Flickr

A rundown of our activities and a few photo highlights from my first ever trip to NYC:

Thursday night: Upon arrival in New York, we made our way by cab to Matt & Cami’s place, grabbed a piece of New York style pizza from up the block, then headed downtown for a Hold Steady show. The concert was at the Old Emigrant Savings Bank. (I didn’t get pics, but you can see a little here and here) Matt hooked us with free entrance and VIP passes which meant that our line for the free Grey Goose vodka drinks was shorter than everyone elses. The venue was an interesting one, since it was an old bank — they served the drinks out of the teller windows, which was cool. Unfortunately, there’s probably a reason they don’t play more concerts there — the sound sucked! Still… it was great to include an Indie Rock concert in my NYC experience.

Friday

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We kicked off Friday with a walk across the Brooklyn Bridge. It was a beautiful day and this was a very cool way to kick off our mega-walking tour day.

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On the Manhattan side of the bridge, we came upon City Hall Park, where a German band was just getting organized in preparation for a bit of a Bavarian festival in the park.

We continued along a walking tour in our Lonely Planet guide, which brought us past the World Trade Center site. The site itself is a different experience than it has been in the last 6 years since they are finally moving forward with construction there. The nearby memorial was a sobering moment, spoiled only by the numerous street vendors hawking photo albums and other junk.

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Wall Street was still doing ok the weekend we were in New York. This area is quite closed off now, so we were only able to visit nearby Federal Hall, the site of George Washington’s inauguration and the first Congress of the United States. They had an interesting Associated Press exhibit dealing with the Press’ treatment of Presidents.

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We enjoyed a little downtime in Battery Park, where we observed Lady Liberty from afar. There were also a number of military-style helicopters circling the area. Kelley insisted it was the President. In retrospect, it was most likely either a Coast Guard exercise or a tour for some of the foreign dignitaries in town for the UN General Assembly.

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After snacking on some margaritas and chips in the South Seaport area, we took the subway up to the Lower East Side area. We chose to follow another walking tour from the Lonely Planet guide — which was basically a food and pub crawl. Unfortunately, 3/4 of the places on the tour list were still closed (it was before 5 pm), but we still got to stop at the famous Jonah Schimmel Knishery, where we split a potato knish. TASTY!

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Ads for the Spore video game were everywhere.

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We had a spectacular dinner at Freemans, a place I would recommend to anyone visiting New York, and then wrapped up our day with some Boggle back at Matt and Cami’s.

Saturday

We went to Broadway! After all the picture-taking of Friday, we totally ignored the camera in Times Square. Why? No clue. Anyway, we went to see Avenue Q — and it was HILARIOUS. Swearing muppets, puppet sex, un-PC songs… Just a great show (just don’t bring your kids, please).

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Then, we made a visit to the “Top of the Rock” — the observation areas atop Rockefeller Plaza (which you may recognize as the address of NBC Studios). We really enjoyed the birds eye views of the city and (again) the beautiful weather. From there, we headed to dinner at a great Italian place, then fell asleep in front of SNL.

Sunday

Sunday was a low-key day, which was great since we had already walked plenty. Matt and Cami hosted a cookout in their backyard, which also included Kelley’s Uncle Bob and a friend of Matt and Cami’s from up the street in Brooklyn. After sneaking some views of football action throughout the day, we then…

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…went to a Packer bar!!! This was inside Kettle of Fish, a Packer bar in Greenwich village that was profiled in an NPR story earlier this year. It was a great atmosphere to watch part of the Packer-Cowboy game.

Monday

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On Monday, we headed to Central Park for more walking enjoyment.

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This fountain was featured in Angels in America.

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Our final non-airport meal in New York City was here, at Loeb Boathouse in Central Park. It was… ok. Not at all great, definitely pricey.

Then came our final excitement of the trip: After a super-quick rush hour ride to the airport (car services are awesome, we ended up at the airport at 5:10 for our 7:40 flight. As we casually wandered toward our gate in search of some food and a comfy spot to pass the time, we notice a Midwest flight to Milwaukee that says “on time for 5:25”. Well, it’s 5:20 at this point and the plane isn’t even at the gate yet, so we stop to see if we can switch to this flight. “I can’t seat you next to each other” says the gate agent. Of course, we didn’t really care. So, we switch to that flight. We finally board around 6:00, with warnings that due to air traffic control being overwhelmed, we should expect to taxi for quite a long time. We hear 20-40 minutes as an estimate. It’s all fine with us since we’re still getting home earlier than the originally scheduled time of 9:06 for our original flight. Once we’re on the plane, the pilot fills us in on the reason for the delay. It’s Air Force One. So, we taxi for a long time, admiring the long line of planes, and actually circling Air Force One as it sits on the tarmac (there was a United Nations General Assembly meeting the next day). We finally take off at like 7:15, arriving back in MKE around 8:30. Our original flight? Scheduled arrival time changed to 9:56 pm. We were quite happy to be home given our general state of exhaustion.