Monday, August 15, 2011

New York, New York!

When I was younger, I dreamed of going to New York City. Now, I've been not once, but twice. I was still in awe this time around. I think that goes away only if you live there (and maybe not even then). Ashley and I were there from Friday to Sunday and we had an INCREDIBLE time.

On Friday, we flew out of RDU airport. Before we even got on the plane, I had already left my bag on the bus from the parking lot AND dropped my license on the floor while we were checking in. I just hoped I wouldn't be this scatter-brained for the rest of the weekend. Our flight was not as smooth as I would have liked it to be and I'm not even sure why there was so much turbulence because the weather was absolutely beautiful when we landed at LaGuardia Airport, greeted by the Welcome to New York sign. After picking up our luggage, we took my first ever New York taxi ride to the hotel. Our taxi driver (well, all taxi drivers in NY, really) drove like a crazy maniac but he was friendly and conversational. We were dropped off at Yotel (our hotel) which was a cross between an Apple product and something straight out of the Jetson's. We checked ourselves in at a computer in the lobby, or I should said we tried to because, as it turned out, the hotel still showed a $350 balance for us (!!!). Fortunately, we were able to get that all sorted out (talk about a heart attack though). Our cabin was incredibly tiny but so cool. There was a flat screen TV, a "couch" that stretched into a bed at the touch of a button, purple mood lighting, and the list of neat little gadgets goes on. It didn't even matter to us that it was small and, even better, the bed was really comfy (cleanliness and a comfy bed are what I care most about). We had a quick lunch at Yotel's Green Lounge. The plates of what we ordered (I had a pulled chicken salad) were tiny but delicious (and sort of expensive!). It was all that we needed though because, for dinner, we were dining at Cafe Un Deux Trois, a French restaurant (in case you couldn't tell by the name). Our waiter was fabulous and so funny. He couldn't believe we were 25 and, after we assured him that we were, asked what moisturizer we use :). The food was AH-MAZING. We ordered escargot as an appetizer (yes, that would be snails...with butter and garlic, in fact...don't knock it 'til you've tried it), pasta with a gorgonzola sauce, and the most delectable crepe with bananas, chocolate, and a scoop of coconut ice cream and coconut flakes on top. I was so stuffed! Also, the waiter accidentally poured water into my glass of white wine so I got another for free! Afterward, we headed toward the Al Hirschfeld Theatre to see How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying, starring DANIEL RADCLIFFE. There are truly no words for how wonderful this show was...the singing, dancing, and acting were all phenomenal. And D. Rad can do all three! Though we were all the way in the back of the theatre, the moment was no less magical. After all, it was my very first Broadway show. When the show was over, we made our way to the stage door but it was pure insanity. Unfortunately, I didn't even get a glimpse of Daniel. But I did get the see the top of John Laroquette's head (whoopie). It was disappointing but certainly not unexpected. My feelings at the end of the night were a mixture of exhaustion and contentment.

Saturday was also beautiful. We grabbed breakfast at the hotel and were out before 10am. At the airport, we'd come across the brochure for a Harry Potter Exhibition in the city. Well, of course, we knew we couldn't pass it up. So, on Saturday morning, that was our plan. The exhibition was completely worth the time and money. It was filled with costumes, props, and set pieces. We were able to pull up mandrakes, sit in Hagrid's chair, and play Quidditch. Ashley even touched Ron's bed! When we arrived in the gift shop, we realized it was going to be nothing but trouble and, yes, we did end up spending a ridiculous amount of money (again, totally worth it). Next, we headed to a Broadway-themed gift shop and back to the theatre to pick up How to Succeed... t-shirts. We had lunch at Roxy's (both Ashley and I opted for the foot-long hot GOOD) and met a really nice family from Minnesota (mom strikingly resembled a blonde Sarah Palin). We highly recommended they see How to Succeed... at some point during their trip. By 2pm, we were ready to head back to the hotel to rest and get ready for the remainder of the evening. That night, we met up with Ashley's friends, Laura and Ashley, and my friend from grad school, Jodi, for dinner at Trattoria Trecolori. It was so good to see Jodi and the food was delicious. I had gnocchi with eggplant and mozzerela and ate every last bit (prompting me to feel like I needed some sort of food detox when the trip was over from eating so many rich dishes). After dinner, Ashley and I sprinted (literally) to the theatre for Anything Goes. I was especially excited to see this one since my high school did it in 2004 (way back when!). We were in the SECOND row and it was AWESOME. It was another beautiful performance and so much fun. I was even able to remember some of the words to the songs. Before the curtain call, we rushed off to the stage door and were the first ones there...just to find out that the cast wasn't coming out because there was some sort of party that night. I was disappointed but Ashley was even more so. Sutton Foster (who played Reno Sweeney) is her hero and she was hoping to meet her for a second time. Regardless, I still considered my second Broadway show to be a success. Back at the hotel, we met up with Ashley again for a couple drinks and a late-night snack. Since the hotel restaurant closed at 12am, we wound up at a place called Shorty's for some deliciously greasy bar food (what else can you find to eat at 12am?). The walk back to the hotel was a wet one as it had started raining...

...and it was still raining when we work up, still raining on the way to the airport, and still raining when we took off for Raleigh. The taxi ride to the airport was miserable...we were jostled all over the place and it made me queasy. Ashley woke up with an unhappy stomach so, at this point, we were just ready to get home. The flight was much smoother than the first (our tummies appreciated that) and we arrived safe and sound in Raleigh a little after 5pm.

On the plane ride home, Ashley and I decided that we're going to take a trip every year. Next stop... Harry Potter world in Orlando!