We only live a couple hours away from NY, so driving was no big deal, and since we had so much fun on our Philadelphia trip a few years ago just ditching the car at the beginning and hoofing it all weekend we just did that again. It was even easier in NYC with a metrocard, though. On Friday February 21st we left in the morning and drove to Newark, NJ and left the car in a parking garage. It's much cheaper to park in NJ than NY. It's also easier to drive in NJ than NY ha ha. Then we took the train from Newark Penn Station to NY Penn Station. Normally we go to the WTC, but it was still closed because of falling ice from that super cold snap the east coast had in February. It worked out well, though, because we were planning to do the touristy Liberty Island and Ellis Island ferry that day, but on the drive up decided to go to the Met that day instead. So we got some lunch and ate on a (wet) bench in Central Park and watched kids play in the snow, and then spent the rest of the day at the Met. I have been there a few times now, but Kelly has never been. I had been telling him to choose what he really wanted to see and we'd do that first because it is so huge you'd have to live inside the Met for a few months (à la From the Mixed Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler) to see everything. I don't think he believed me until we got there. I guess it is maybe something you have to see to believe. We ended up starting with one of the temporary exhibits on Fabergé eggs, then hit the Arms and Armor, made our way to 19th Century European Art, meandered through the Medieval Art, and ended up in the Egyptian Exhibit. We also forked over $8 for two root beers in the American Wing Cafe because all that walking-around-looking-at-stuff had me and Baby T thirsty and wanting to sit down for a bit. And Kelly wanted one too because he's a soda addict. If you go, I would suggest sticking with the drinking fountains if at all possible. We also purchased a Met magnet to add to our souvenir collection on the refrigerator.
|Kelly and some flashy armor|
|Me and Baby T having a chubby party with Henry VIII's armor from his fat phase. At least he probably bought a coat that could button over his belly.|
|Degas (one of his paintings from his mild ballet days, as opposed to his many weirdly-posed-naked-female paintings)|
|Painting by Picasso... bet you didn't guess that!|
|One of Van Gogh's self portraits|
|Kelly doing his best Egyptian impression. Not.|
That evening we took the train back to Newark, picked up the car and checked into our hotel, located within walking distance from Newark Penn Station. We were able to leave our car in the hotel parking lot for free for the rest of the trip. That was part of the reason we decided to get a hotel in NJ instead of in Manhattan. Most hotels in NYC make you pay an additional daily rate for parking, which can add up fast.
The next morning we took the train back to NY and got breakfast at a doughnut place in the Lower East Side called Doughnut Plant because Kelly is a foodie and looked up a few places he wanted to eat at, and apparently this was his top pick. I must admit the crème brûlée doughnut I had was worth the subway fare and the 5 block walk. After breakfast we jumped back on the subway and took it down to Battery Park and got tickets for the ferry to the Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island.
|On the ferry|
This was another thing I had done a couple of times already, but Kelly hadn't. It was really fun just wandering around Liberty Island with Kelly, and we eventually got an Argentinian guy to take a picture of us after we took one for him. I didn't understand anything, since he and Kelly chatted in Spanish, until he handed me his very nice camera and posed. I only forgot one thing on this trip: my camera charger (for my awesome camera I got for Christmas! Fail!), so he had to take our picture with Kelly's phone. It turned out pretty good for a phone pic, though.
|We went for a less-crowded side-view, rather than jostling for a photo op from the front because we're chill like that|
|Though I did manage to grab a quick picture from the front when we were walking around that way.|
Then we went to Ellis Island, but didn't stay very long because all the exhibits were closed because of Superstorm Sandy last year. That was something I should have looked into beforehand, but didn't even think about. It's a beautiful building, architecturally, though, so still worth the trip. Plus we got another magnet for our collection.
|Crappy phone pic of inside the building on Ellis Island|
|Hey! I can see New York from here!|
|Me and Kelly chillin' on Ellis Island|
|I snapped this while we were waiting to get back on the ferry|
After catching the ferry back to Battery Park we headed to Little Italy for lunch. We were planning to try a different restaurant than our old tradition, da Nico's, but Baby T was grumpy, hungry, and tired (okay, I was, but it's nice to blame him since it was my big ol' belly causing most of the orneriness) so I was fed up with looking at menus on the street and we ended up just going to da Nico's anyway. I have to admit, I was disappointed. If we go back for a meal in Little Italy, it won't be at our old standby. I hate to say it, but I've had tastier food at Olive Garden, and I'm not a fan of Olive Garden at all. I guess having our own Little Italy in Baltimore has made it less impressive elsewhere? I don't know. Disappointment notwithstanding, I had food in my tum and got to rest my feet and baby belly for a bit, so I was good.
We had time to kill, so we wandered around 5th Avenue, and went to the New York Public Library, and of course found some books to buy. We kept it to a minimum, though, since we knew we had to carry them around for the rest of the day. Kelly also took us to a comic book store in Times Square he had to see. It was huge and pretty fantastic. (Albeit in a why-can't-there-be-ANY-chairs-here!? kind of way for me.) Times Square on a Saturday night was a mistake I should have seen coming, though. It's the crowded, insane part of NYC the locals avoid, and that people from elsewhere probably think all of New York is like until they actually visit. Actually walking around Manhattan, especially in the tourist off-season like February, is great and not crazy-busy. But Times Square is. However, we were going there anyway, because we had tickets to a Broadway show that night. So after Kelly's nerd-dream-come-true we went a few blocks over from Times Square where it was calmer and grabbed some shakes at McDonald's to hold us over, since we were both still pretty full from our late lunch, and then dove back through Times Square to get to the Shubert Theater were we saw Matilda. It was so amazing! I loved the music, the sets, and the actors. It was creative, and funny, and different, and wonderful. I think it was really in keeping with Roald Dahl's book. A child cast actually did a large part of the show, and those kids were incredible! Sometimes teaching teenagers in Baltimore makes me forget that children can be well-behaved, and disciplined enough to freaking act on Broadway. We had a great time, and I think Matilda was the highlight of the trip for me, only a tiny step below my all-time favorite Broadway experience of Thoroughly Modern Millie which would be completely impossible to ever be beaten.
|I kind of quit taking pictures by this point. Here's a quick picture snapped in Times Square before Matilda. Of course with the phone. Curse my forgetfulness!|
After the show we caught a late train back to NJ and slept like rocks at our hotel. My baby-carrying stomach muscles were screaming at me a little, and my feet and calves perhaps a little more (especially in the middle of the night when I inevitably got those stupid charlie horses), but we had so much fun! The next morning we drove home and then relaxed the rest of Sunday so we could be ready for the week of work ahead (spoiler alert: we weren't, of course, because even when we veg on the couch all weekend we never are quite ready for another week of work, but made it through anyway.) Overall, we had a really fun trip, and we were glad we kept it pretty relaxed. Since we had both already been to Rockerfeller Square, Wall Street, St. Patrick's Cathedral, Trinity Church, and a bunch of other places, we were able limit it to the couple of things we really wanted to do and not feel like we needed to squeeze everything quintessentially Manhattan-y into our little weekend jaunt.
|Four new magnets for our collection: The Met, Statue of Liberty, Ellis Island, and Matilda|
I think I want at least one more weekend trip before the baby comes...but perhaps somewhere that would require a little less walking...