Little Family

Little Family

Thursday, January 5, 2012

The City That Never Sleeps

Travis, my brother, Javi, and I went to New York City to ring in the New Year. Travis and I had been talking about it since last year but didn't really get serious about going until a couple days before the new year. We wanted to go once in our life and figured now was as good a time as any. Javi was really excited to go so he and I talked Travis into it. We made a bucket list and got to everything we wanted to do; it was a great trip!! A friend of mine from JMU was also planning on going and we split a hotel room with her and one of her friends. We took a a Vamoose bus from DC to NYC, the fares were pretty reasonable. We took a ton of pictures- nearly all of them are on facebook but I've posted some here:
 Our bus took us to Penn Station, which is right by Madison Square Garden. We used to watch a video tape of an N'Sync concert in Madison Square Garden when we were younger so it was neat to actually go there.

 Getting hot dogs from a street vendor was on the top of our list. For $4 each they could have been better.
 We went to Applebees in Times Square- did you know they don't have the two-for-twenty deal?! I guess they can jack the prices up when they're located in Times Square. My sister said that's the most successful Applebees. It was 3 levels and had a great view.
 Radio City- home of the Rocketts and NFL draft
 Rockefeller Plaza

They still had the Christmas tree up at Rockefeller Plaza.
 The NBC store- the logo was filled with M&Ms. That's why Travis is smiling...
 Empire State Building at night
 Times Square on New Years Eve

 When we arrived at Times Square at noon we had spots between two stages where performances would happen. After about a half an hour of standing there we'd rather get lunch and check into our hotel and use the restroom one more time before midnight. After all, standing there for 12 hours on an empty stomach and full bladder didn't sound pleasant to anyone. So, we ate at Applebees, went to our hotel, The Carlton on Madison Avenue, and rested for a bit before heading back. We ended up a bit further away from the stages when we returned but we didn't mind. If you're claustrophobic I wouldn't advise making this trip! We waited six hours after returning to Times Square before midnight!! We were going crazy after a while but chatted and passed the time with games and hourly countdowns. It helped that every once in a while the police would open the gate that was in front of us and let us move up a street or so. (They kept the streets open until it got closer to midnight they they let people move up and fill in the streets.) That's when it got crazy! People were pushing and running. The guys held onto me so we could stay together as we were shoved along. Sometimes it was painful, like when my leg got stuck behind part of the gate and people kept shoving from behind. But it was exciting too! Midnight was full of noise and excitement. After the countdown and ball drop the city set off fireworks. Those 20 minutes after midnight made standing there worth the wait. Walking back to our hotel was pretty intense. The streets were filthy- mostly covered in the confetti that had blown off at midnight. I'd never been close to so many things I dislike: filth, fights, drunks, vomit, dark streets.... I knew I was safe though because I had Javi and Travis with me and there were cops everywhere. Regardless, it was a huge sigh of relief when we got back to the hotel. We considered ordering pizza since we hadn't eaten since lunch but we were exhausted. We had some snacks that we'd brought along and crashed.

The next day we slept in a little more than we had wanted but quickly got up and set out to see all the sights we'd planned to. Our hotel was a block away from the Empire State Building so that was our first stop.

 From there we walked to "Katz" and enjoyed the sights along the way. There were a ton of cool stores and places to eat. We also passed by NYU. Katz is famous for their pastrami sandwiches which were featured on the TV show, "Man vs. Food." It was very busy in there!!
 It was quite a walk from our hotel but the food was well worth it!

 We rode our first cab from Katz to Ground Zero
 They are very far along on the new Freedom Towers but with all the construction in that area things are still a mess. It was humbling and somber to be in the spot where so many innocent Americans lost their lives on 9/11 but it was great to see that we are rebuilding bigger and better.
This dog just stood there as people walked by and took pictures!
 Javi took us to Trinity Church on Wall Street and Broadway; where a scene in National Treasure takes place.

 New York Stock Exchange. Did you know wall street is just a walkway?- cars don't drive on it.
 The statue designates the place where George Washington was inaugurated.
 The Bull- meaning a "bull economy"
 We are at a park which is the location of a scene in Men in Black. (Having Javi with us helped us see a lot of places that are in movies which we wouldn't have noticed otherwise.)
 We saw the Statue of Liberty from Battery Park. One day we'll have to go back and ride the ferry to it.

We felt like foreigners in our own country. Hardly anyone spoke English. We got some British girl to take this picture for us.

 The city behind us is Brooklyn; I had wanted to see the Brooklyn Bridge. I'm a huge fan of the Newsies and after seeing the bridge couldn't get the songs out of my head!
 Inside Grand Central Station- another site of many scenes in movies.
 My friend, Cari suggested we go to this HUGE candy shop. We didn't buy anything- it was severely overpriced but it was a candy haven in there. (Sorry the picture is sideways, I have no idea why Blogger is doing that.) We also went to the Hershey store. Both places gave out free candy!

 We got pizza from a random hole-in-the-wall place right before getting on the bus to go home. I'll admit, it was the best pizza I've ever had.
We had a fantastic time. Although we enjoyed the trip we think it may be a few years before we return for the New Year celebration. Watch for videos of our trip to be posted later.

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