Tuesday, March 25, 2014

NYC--Spring Break.

So. This year was my last spring break so I decided I just HAD to do something. Got invited to go to Hawaii.... couldn't get that much work off. (unfortunately) Was gonna go to San Fran.... but then my friend Dayna texted me and said she found flights to New York for $290 round trip! And then she proceeds to tell me that her mom has a connection with this lady who has an apartment in downtown Manhattan and she was letting us stay there! So.... bam. Flight purchased for New York.

The beginning of spring break began with boredom, cleaning, working, rinse, repeat. From Saturday - Tuesday that's all I did. Basically.

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

I left good ol' Logan, UT at 6pm and drove to Salt Lake. I met up with Nikki and went to dinner at Zupas and was able to catch up with her! It was a blast! She is hilarious. After dinner, she drove me to the airport and then all I could do was sit. And wait. For my 11:55pm flight.

So. Flight boarded eventually and then I watched Walter Mitty while flying from one end of the country to the other.

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

When you arrive in New York City JFK at 6:12am, it is dark... and sketchy as crap. It also didn't help that I looked like I was about to hike every mountain in the world and I was wearing a bright orange vest. *The people of New York ONLY wear the color black. When you wear any bright colors, you WILL get stared at.*

Dayna had told me to take the Air Train to the Jamaica Station so after walking 43 miles across the JFK airport to baggage claim and picking up my bag, I eventually found the Air Train after being bombarded by 5 taxi drivers. "Ma'am you need a ride?" "Ma'am are you lost?" "Ma'am do you need a taxi??" NO GUYS. I'M FINE. I KNOW EXACTLY WHAT I'M DOING...... kinda.

Once I arrived at the Air Train, Dayna texted me and said to not get on until she told me to. So I sat by the Air Train entrance and looked like a hobo. Ya know, trying to blend in.

I was asked many questions while sitting there. "What time is it?" "lskjsfjkss;asjsf" (this was when the foreigners tried to ask me something) you get the jist.

Eventually, Dayna told me to board the train. So I did. Very promptly. After arriving at the Jamaica station, I had to pay $6.00 just for taking that stupid train. Little did I know, that was only the beginning of paying for everything I did. Anyway, after getting off I started wandering, just looking for Dayna. I called her and she didn't answer so I just kept wandering, trying to look like I knew what I was doing. Dayna called me back and asked me where I was and I told her I was at the Jamaica Station, just like she said. Then she proceeds to tell me that that wasn't where she was.... so then she says let me figure this out and hangs up on me. So there I was... in New York City, surrounded, and I mean SURROUNDED, by homeless people. I decided to send Dayna a picture of where I was. This was the picture:

Helpful right? Funny enough, she found me. The picture helped, she said.

Once she found me, we had to buy a Metro card in order to get on the subway. One ride on the subway was $2.50 a time. A 7-day pass was $30. We got the pass. Best purchase of the trip. We were on the subway constantly.

After boarding the subway, immediately I knew people watching would be prime on the subway. There was this lady who got on immediately after we did and she started screaming about Satan and sin and this and that and we couldn't understand a word of what she was saying.

When the subway stopped, this Bible lady looked at me and said, Follow me. And then just walked off. I didn't follow her, don't worry. Thought about it.... but didn't. After arriving at our stop we got off and came up from the depths of the subway and walked to our apartment.

We were staying right across the street from the NYC LDS temple!! I immediately felt safer. We were also next to Juilliard! Our apartment was INCREDIBLE. We had a doorman let us in. Yeah, classy.

After dropping off all of our stuff, it was only 8am! So we went to breakfast at West Side restaurant. A very diner-esque place. We sat right by the window and people watched our entire meal. I ordered french toast on Challah bread. Pronounced HALL-UH bread. I looked like a fool when I ordered. Noob. After inhaling my french toast, I asked for the menu again. Our waiter wasn't amused. After inhaling my cheese omelette with toast, we left.

We headed directly to Central Park. We were staying a block away! Upon arrival, I set up my hammock and enjoyed life for about 3 minutes until the rangers showed up. But those 3 minutes were incredible. Foreigners asked me where I got my hammock and I said Al's Sporting Goods, Logan, Utah.... they knew exactly where that was....

After hammocking, we went to the Chess House, the ice skating rink, the Balto statue, and just wandering around Central Park.

That was when Wes called me and said he was in New York as well and said he wanted to meet up at the museum! Lucky for him, that was where we were headed! So we arrived at the Metropolitan Museum of Art and sat on the steps and watched some street performers for a bit.

Once inside, we went over to where you pay and I showed them Dayna's student ID (didn't have mine) because there was a student discount for $12, as opposed to $25! I had a twenty and two one dollar bills in my hand and I was trying to get the twenty out, when the lady snatched the two one dollar bills from my hand and said "This'll do." After seeing the look of confusion on my face, she says, "it's pay what you want. Here." and hands me my ticket. This was when I learned that New York -ians aren't like Utahns. At all.

**Also, we were very close to where the explosions happened. We saw a ton of helicopters and fire trucks and police cars. Apparently it was a gas explosion and six people died.** Welcome to New York I guess.

Wes called me once we started wandering through the museum and told me his location in the museum and so I tried to go find him. Yeah... come to find out after a 5 minute phone call, we were in different museums. Whoops.

After gazing upon art and anything and everything in between for about 2 1/2 hours, we left, hopped on the subway, and headed to Little Italy.

We walked the Little Italy streets for a while and eventually ended up in the Public House (a Little Italy brewery).

**This trip was based around the location of breweries due to the interest of Dayna and her mother, Michelle. I had no control. I ordered water. Every time. Except for the time I ordered Ginger Ale, but that was it.**

Anyway, the Public House had amazing water. I told the waiter I would recommend it to anyone. Wes then called and wanted to meet us in Little Italy, and we were hungry, so we met him at Lombardi's Pizza.

Lombardi's has AMAZING pizza. It was divine.

After learning where our Russian waiter grew up because he drew it out on a napkin for us, we left Lombardi's. We walked outside to POURING rain. Literally pouring. It was definitely a downpour. And we loved it. We were soaking wet! But so happy. And this would signify the last time that we were warm the whole trip.

We headed to the subway so we could get to Times Square by dark.

Times Square is COOL. It's just like Vegas but cleaner (surprisingly) and pornography free! It was way cool to walk the streets of Times Square and see the ball and the 2014 (which is way smaller than I thought...). We went to the Hershey factory and a whole bunch of stores. There were also a million fire trucks and police cars... we still aren't sure why they were there. Probably a murder or something.

After Times Square, we met up with Wes's friend Garrett and headed to the Staten Island Ferry. On the way to the Staten Island Ferry, on the subway of course, we were sitting there and this white kid about 20 years old gets on and it was us, him, this girl, and another white guy. (race is crucial in New York...) anyway, the kid gets on and starts rapping out loud. Way loud... then he looks at the girl on the subway and says HEY MA'AM. TEACH ME THE MERINGUE. and she won't look at him so he starts cussing at her and so she moves to come and sit by us. Then he starts BARKING at her. And punching his fist into his hand. Then he comes over and plops it down next to me. The girl said he had been following her for the last hour. It was soooooo sketchy! But it was incredible because it was awesome to see how defensive Garrett, Wes, and the other white guy got. They all stood up and surrounded the girl. When it got to the last stop, the men blocked the kid while the girl escaped. They blocked him the entire way to the ferry and then they told the officers on duty to keep an eye on him and she made it safely away. I don't even want to know what would've happened to her had those men not been there. Anyway, we went on the Staten Island Ferry, where we saw the Statue of Liberty and the Manhattan line :) amazing. It was so cool. And SO COLD.

Then, we headed home and I PASSED OUT. Red eye flights... no naps... takes a toll on ya, ya know??

Thursday, March 13, 2014

Thursday morning we woke up to it being 19 degrees outside. After Michelle making us a delicious breakfast with her professional chef skills and after putting on every piece of clothing that we brought, we headed out for the day. First stop, Statue of Liberty. We took the ferry over to the Statue of Liberty and then took a million pictures of Manhattan and then we headed in to the Statue. This was where we encountered our first security check of the day. We walked up all 147 steps to get to the pedestal of the Statue of Liberty and stepped outside and we were about blown away. The wind was so strong I thought it would knock Lady Liberty over. And it was FRIGID wind. We stepped outside and had to run to the side that was blocked by the wind so we could stand. We took pictures right below her and Michelle lovingly says, "I got a picture up her skirt!" Hilarious. Then we went back down the stairs because it was so windy and cold. We went out in front of the Statue of Liberty and took some pictures there and then couldn't stand it anymore so we headed back to the ferry and it took us to Ellis Island.

At Ellis Island, most of the museum was shut off. We got to see the Registry Room where the immigrants had to go and fill out the paperwork to enter the country. It was pretty cool! Then we went to the computers and tried to look up ancestors. It was hard. So we pretended we found some, cheered, then left.

After Ellis Island, we headed to the 9/11 Memorial. This was amazing. I got the chills the whole time we were there. This was our second run in with security checks. Taking every layer off and putting it back on was getting tiring. After going through security, one of the guards thought it would be funny to tell Dayna he needed to confiscate her camera because he saw her taking pictures inside security. He looked dead serious. She got VERY defensive. He laughs and says, just kidding. She was pissed. ha After security we walked out and they turned the twin towers into fountains with the names of the individuals who died written around the fountain. Every time there is a birthday, they put a white rose on the victim's name. There was also a tree that survived the attack. They call it the Survivor Tree and it stands as a symbol of hope. It was insane. It was being held up with ropes and you could see the burnt bark on it from the devastation still and it was 12, almost 13, years ago! The museum wasn't finished yet unfortunately so we headed to the "gift" shop where they had a video playing of interviews of survivors and family members and it was so sad. There was a timeline of the day that it all happened. It was incredible to see how fast everything happened. Also, for the rest of the trip, I couldn't help but think everywhere we went, what it would've been like to be there when the planes crashed into the towers. I couldn't even imagine. Pure terror.

After the 9/11 Memorial, we headed to Times Square where we ate at the Shake Shack. Sooooo good! And people watching was prime, as usual. New York-ians looooove fur coats. HUGE fur coats. Funny.

Once we were completely stuffed, we went back to the apartment and the lady who owns the apartment has a ton of fur coats in the closet so we all chose our favorite one and wore it :) we got our fur on and headed to see WICKED :) Holy crap. So amazing.

On our way to Wicked, I started seeing stars. We headed to the theater brewery and I ordered a ginger ale to try and fight the migraine I could feel creeping its way into my life. The ginger ale came in this way cool cup on a positive note! We got to our seats and the migraine smacked me across the face like a pound of bricks. I couldn't see straight. Luckily we made friends with a lady who had Advil. Thank goodness for her. The Advil held strong throughout the performance and for that, I was immensely grateful. I still had a searing headache but I was able to see and thoroughly enjoy the Wicked performance. It was AMAZING. The singing, the acting, I laughed, I almost cried. AHHH it was so good!!!!!!!!!!!!!

We had planned to go to the Empire State Building after the show but I was slowly dying and I was probably going to spew at any second, so we headed home. I got a cold cloth on my forehead, downed about a gallon of water, and hit the sack.

Friday, March 14, 2014

I woke up Friday morning with only a slight headache and for that, I was happy. I decided to drink a million gallons of water this day. We headed to the Brooklyn Bridge and on the way, we ran into a street show. I started dancing. Because I felt the groove. Obviously. And the street performers loved it! They grabbed me arms and shoved me into the square and made me dance. I killed it.

Then their show began. And after dancing and doing some crazy cool moves, they grabbed 5 women, a little girl, and a tall white guy (because as they said, no show is complete without a tall white guy). They lined us up, swindled everyone of their money, and then one of the guys did a flip over all of us. It was pretty ok I guess... I mean, I didn't see anything happen because I was bent over but I heard it was pretty cool! And the video was cool!

Then we walked the Brooklyn Bridge. Way neat. Super pretty. Still cold.

After the Brooklyn Bridge we went to Coney Island. Which was completely deserted. And slightly eery. Imagine an abandoned carnival.... well you just imagined Coney Island to a tee. It was cool to go there though!

We wandered around Brooklyn for a while and then got on the subway and ended up in Chinatown! Crazy place.

We ended up at this Chinese restaurant because the web said they had good dumplings. 

We sat down and the little Chinese waitress scurried over to us and gave us our menus. We all chose an appetizer to share and then we chose another item on the menu to share. I decided on steamed pork dumplings and chicken lo mien. The waitress came over and I ordered first. 

Me: "I would like the steamed pork dumplings please."
Waitress: "No no. You no want dumplings. You want buns."
Me: "No I'll stick with the dumplings...."
Waitress: "No no. I get you buns."
Me: "Yeah, alright."

So that's how that went. They eventually brought us our food and it was SO GOOD. The buns were weird because they were basically pot stickers filled with liquid. But they weren't bad... ha 

After we left, we stopped at an adorable little bakery and I got a bubble drink. A bubble drink is a fruit smoothie that is super liquid-y and it has tapioca balls in it. It was weird. But good. It was a weird sensation having tapioca balls come up the straw but still pretty good :) 

We just walked around Chinatown for a bit, people watching. Michelle got roped into buying 5 cashmere scarves for $20. 

After Chinatown, we went to the Empire State Building. 

We strategically went there at this time so we could get there in the day time, be there at sunset, and see the city lights at night. It was perfect. And cold. But so gorgeous! On our way to the ESB, we ran into this man who offered us VIP passes into the ESB. We went with it to "avoid lines". We still aren't sure if it was worth it or not but we had to go through security AGAIN and then we went to the sky ride. 

Not worth it. 

We then took 126 stairs to the top of the ESB and we got pictures from all sorts of angles! Even got a picture with one of the guards! 

While we were leaving we saw this room full of pictures of famous people who had been at the ESB and the door was unlocked but it was blocked off. So Michelle carefully moved the blockage and we went it. When we snuck out, people followed our lead and went in as well. I still to this day wonder if anyone got in trouble for being in that room... 

After the ESB, we went to a brewery at the bottom. Saw a creepy lady. 

Went to the Gourmet Garage (a grocery store of way nice food by our apartment) to pick up some treats. Headed home, ate ice cream, went to sleep :) 

Saturday, March 15, 2014

On Saturday, we woke up and went to the Farmer's Market at Union Square. Everyone there had their dogs and they looked JUST like their dogs. It was insane. So much fun to see ha Michelle went crazy buying all sorts of foods at the Farmer's Market. 

Wes and Garrett joined us and we were walking through the market and found a tent of ostrich jerky and bones and such and so we went over there to check it out and they had samples out. Wes took one, without thinking, and popped it into his mouth and started chewing. I look over at him and he was just so content. So then I said, "you realize you just ate a dog treat, right?" 

The tent was ostrich jerky for people, ostrich dog treats, and bones for dogs as well. Hilarious. Wes was extremely embarrassed hahaha 

We left the Farmer's Market and headed to the subway, where me, Wes, and Garrett got on one subway and left Dayna and Michelle. I decided to go with Wes that day because Dayna and Michelle had friends to see and visit with and I wanted to see New York culture :) so Wes took me to see some of the families from his mission! 

First we went and saw Jesus and Maria. We chatted with them for a while and then we went and got some pizza. It was DELICIOUS. mmmmm. New York has some incredible pizza. 

We then went and saw the Pinewood Derby race at the church to visit some families there. 

Then we headed to Staten Island, where we met the Singleton's. They were my personal favorites. They are this adorable black family. Everything about them was adorable. Their kids, their house, everything. I loved them so much. I felt so welcome there :) I shared my ice cream cone with little Edris :) he was SO CUTE. His mom made him mad, so he came running to me, crying, and gave me the biggest hug ever. Ahhhh he stole my heart. The Singleton's taught me a lot that day. I learned that everyone has their own trials, some harder than others, but you can always come out on the other side a stronger person if you hold strong to the gospel. They are the perfect example of that. They are working on getting their family sealed in the temple and I pray they get there :) they've come so far! 

After visiting the Singleton's, we went back to the apartment we were staying at and Dayna and Michelle were making us dinner! Chicken enchiladas... Divine. 

Michelle told me to find a cute centerpiece. So I put the toilet paper basket in the middle of the table :) she made me change it... 

Such a good meal. 

Dayna had been drinking a lot that day. They had gone to breweries all day and she came home and started drinking wine glass after wine glass. So she was in a GREAT mood. So we had a dance party :) 

Then Wes and Garrett left. And we went to bed :) 

Sunday, March 16, 2014

I slept in until like 11:30. Whoops. While I was sleeping, Dayna and Michelle went for a run in Central Park. I don't regret sleeping in. It was magical. 

We got our stuff all packed up and headed to the Manhattan Diner for breakfast. The wait was long but we finally got our food and inhaled it. 

Dayna struggled.

Once we were stuffed, we went back to the apartment, got our stuff, and headed to Grand Central Station. 

It was incredible. SO BIG. And beautiful! 

We saw people getting married there! 

Then we had to go :( so we hopped on the train that costs $12.50 to ride and headed to the Newark, NJ airport. There is no free way to the airport. We thought we could use our Metro Pass but no. Dumb! 

We eventually got to the airport after like 3 different train rides. Upon arrival we gave our Metro Passes to some Sweden men and they were very grateful! Then we stopped at the bar in the airport and ordered cheesecake. It was the best cheesecake I think I've ever had. 

Then we parted from Michelle :( 

Dayna and I headed to security and the lady stopped us and said our bags were too big. So we stepped to the side and I put on every piece of clothing I possibly could. I stuffed my pockets, I rearranged things, and FINALLY my bag fit in the measuring compartment! Dayna gave up early on and just checked her bag. 

I ended up waiting in the security line for at least 45 minutes. and I was DYING of heat. I was going to pass out. They had one security guard checking us all in. It was ridiculous! I finally made it through and I about missed my flight. I was the last person to board. 

There was this kid in front of me that had been on my flight to New York that I recognized and so I started talking to him. But he never told me his name. On the flight, we sat next to this Indian guy and he split our apple in half for us. He was very proud of himself. 

Then we had a layover in Detroit so when the plane landed, the kid walked passed me and I just said the first name that came to my head. "Brandon!" He turns towards me. I was like, "is that seriously your name?" He goes, "yeah hahaha". I couldn't believe I just threw a name out there and it was his! ha It was unbelievable. ha so during our layover, we talked to Brandon. 

Finally we boarded, after our flight was delayed, and eventually got to Salt Lake, where Josh (Dayna's friend) picked us up. He took us back to Dayna's house and then I had to get right in my car and head to Logan. It was 12:45am at this point and I was still on New York time, which was 2:45am. I was TIRED to say the least. 

So I said a prayer, and headed out. Luckily I have a great friend named Jeff who happened to be snap chatting me at the moment and he said I could call him if I needed to stay awake. So I called him and we had a hilarious hour and a half conversation while I drove home. 

Overall... I don't think I'll ever go back to New York. I'm not a city person. But I learned SO MUCH and it was SO FUN!!! I'm definitely glad I had the experience :) and it was definitely an adventure :) 

So here's to suckin' New York City. Out.