Monday, November 30, 2009

How We Prepared for NYC

I try to prepare for our vacations by reading information about places we might see and visit. I should have posted this a long time ago, but here are some of the resources we used while getting ready for NYC:
I'm busy planning for a trip or two this spring. I'll let you know soon where we're going!

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

NYC: 5th Avenue

On Sunday afternoon, we walked to 5th Avenue. We were staying on 7th Avenue. In case you aren't familiar with NYC, the small number streets (like 5th & 7th) are LONG blocks apart while the higher number streets (in our area, at least), like 51st & 52nd are SHORT blocks. Anyway, we walked 2 long blocks to 7th Avenue to do a little shopping. Alex had spent all of her birthday money at American Girl Place, but we wanted to treat her to something at FAO Schwarz. What a huge toy store!

I don't know what building this is, but it had various animal photos in each window. Of course, I loved it and had to have a photo!

We walked back to Rockefeller Center, this time with hubby along. Alex and my husband watched the skaters while I did some quick shopping at The Met store nearby. We also went into the NBC store.

Rockefeller Center is actually set back from 5th Avenue - kind of between 5th & 6th, but you can see it from 5th. I love all of the flags around the sunken skating rink.

For lunch, my husband and I got hot dogs at a food cart. I figured I had to have at least one while I was in NYC! Alex doesn't care much for hot dogs, so we stopped and got her some KFC. (Alex took this photo - she did a great job, didn't she?)

After our walk, we rested for awhile and then Alex and I went off by ourselves...

Next up: MoMA (Museum of Modern Art)

Sunday, November 8, 2009

NYC: The Met

After walking through Central Park, we went to The Met which is on the edge of the park. Alex and I were excited about seeing many of the famouse pieces we've studied.

Unfortunately, although photography is allowed in the museum, you are not allowed to publish the photos. So, I don't have any photos to show from inside the museum. I will list some of the artists and highlights of what we saw (in order):

  • art by Miro

  • art by Mondrian

  • art by Georgia O'Keefe

  • The Midnight Ride of Paul Revere by Grant Wood

  • Town Meeting, one of the 4 "Freedom" paintings, by Norman Rockwell - one of my favorite artists

  • The Figure 5 in Gold by Charles Demuth

  • Degas' Little Dancer sculpture... what a thrill! Until preparing for this visit, I wasn't aware that there are quite a few of these sculptures

  • Olive Orchard by Van Gogh

  • art by Monet

  • The Repast of the Lion by Rousseau

  • Self Portrait with a Straw Hat by Van Gogh

  • Irises by Van Gogh (wow!)

  • Madame Georges Charpentier and Her Children by Renoir (you'd probably recognize it if you've studied the Impressionists and saw a photo of it)

Alex and I enjoyed seeing the Vermeer exhibit that included The Milkmaid. We read Chasing Vermeer (actually, we listened to the audio book) and looked at several books while preparing to see this exhibit. You can see the pieces of art we saw at The Met's site.

For lunch, we left the museum and went out to the food carts. There are quite a few of them sitting near the large steps of the museum. Alex had a wonderful cheeseburger with drippy cheese; my husband had a hot dog; and I had a wonderful chicken wrap. I highly recommend doing this for lunch if you are in NYC. The food is really good and it's a great price.

I'm disappointed that I couldn't share the photos of the artwork, but you can check out the art at The Met's site. After walking through Central Park and The Met, we were tired! We took a cab ride back and it was a little over 3 miles!!! So, I'm not sure how far we walked that day, but it was good to get back to the hotel and rest for awhile.

Next up: 5th Ave.

NYC: Central Park

On Saturday (Halloween), we walked to Central Park. As we entered the park, we saw a long line of these horses & carriages for hire.

The park was gorgeous! There were a lot of leaves on the ground already, but many colored leaves in the trees, too! And, the temperature this day was around 70!

Here's a photo of Alex and her dad in front of one of the many bridges. There are a lot of bridges in Central Park and they are all different.


I hope you can see the beautiful colors on the trunk of this tree! There were a lot of these and I've been tryint to identify them online, but haven't had any success yet.

Alex and I rode on the carousel. The carousel actually goes a lot faster than most and lasts 3.5 minutes!

This beautiful part of the park is called The Mall. It is lined by American Elm. There were several musicians sitting on the benches along The Mall playing for tips.


Most of the photos I took of Alex, I tried to get the background. I was glad I took this close up shot as I really liked how it turne out.

Another shot of the beautiful fall colors near a pond.

I was excited to take Alex to The Conservatory Water. My husband and I were in NYC about 11 years ago and had watched people sail model boats on this pond. I was planning on renting a boat for us to sail! (This is where Stuard Little sailed on his boat.) Unfortunately, as you can see, the pond was already drained for the winter!!!

There are a lot of sculptures in Central Park. We had to basically wait in line for Alex to climb onto the Alice in Wonderland sculpture for a quick photo. And, it had been sprinkling and was pretty slippery, but Alex make it without a mishap.

Another beautiful tree I'd love to identify. I guess this small photo doesn't do it justice. It had large pine cones and I loved how the needles were hanging.

Next up: The Met

Saturday, November 7, 2009

NYC: World Trade Center Site, our afternoon, & The Lion King

After visiting the Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island, we spent some time walking around Battery Park. We saw this sculpture, The Sphere, which is damaged on the left side in this photo.

The statue was damaged in the attack on the World Trade Center. The plaque in front of "The Sphere" says: For three decades, this scuplture stood in the plaza of the World Trade Center. Entitled "The Sphere", it was conceived by artist Fritz Koenig as a symbol of world peace. It was damaged during the tragic events of September 11, 2001, but endures as an icon of hope and the indestructible spirit of this country. The Sphere was placed here March 11, 2002 as a temporary memorial to all who lost their lives in the terroist attacks at the World Trade Center.

This eternal flame (not shown in photo) was ignited here on September 11, 2002, in honor of all those who were lost. Their spirit and sacrifice will never be forgotten."

We didn't stop, but as we rode in a cab both to and from Battery Park, we passed the tragic site of the World Trade Center. Basically, you can see a lot of workers and equipment in this area.

They have a fence built around the site and most of it is covered by a blue tarp. (By the way, I was impressed that my camera took these photos while the cab was moving!)

I'd never seen one of these tv screens in a cab before. You could adjust it different ways, but in this photo you can see a map on the left (with a green dot showing where you are located) and a TV showing news & commercials on the right.

Friday afternoon, Alex and I went walking around near our hotel. We stopped at this nut stand and bought some nuts. I love how the have food carts everywhere. The smells are delicious and we really enjoyed these nuts.

Just a few blocks from our hotel was Rockefeller Center. (Alex is holding the small bag of nuts - great deal at only $2.50! The food carts have very reasonably priced foods.)

The ice skating rink at Rockefeller Center is 'sunken' in this spot. At the time, the ice was being cleared.

Our next stop was the American Girl place. Alex recently had her 9th birthday (wow!) and most of our family gave her money to spend in NYC. She took the money and bought... a new AG doll! She bought a "just like me" doll she's been wanting for several years. This is her 3rd doll - the other 2 are historical dolls.

There was a crowd in front of this store - they were watching these live manequins! They had contacts in their eyes that made them look very strange and one of the men had fangs. Very spooky on this night before Halloween!

Friday night, we went to see The Lion King! (It was wonderful.) Alex decided we should pose as lions.

This Broaday theatre overlooks Times Square. We spent about 15 minutes just watching the activity on the streets below.

After the show, Alex's feet were sore (like I said, we walked a LOT on this trip - and this night she was wearing new shoes), so Daddy got us a bike taxi to ride back to the hotel in! (This is my attempt at a self-portrait and I love how it turned out! The 3 of us were squished in this bike taxi, but it was a comfortable ride.)

And, here's our bike taxi driver. There's another bike taxi right in front of us. They actually line up in front of the theaters when the shows get out - just hoping to get some business. We were really thankful for this ride, and it was a neat experience. I did feel guilty just setting there, though, while this guy worked hard pedalling us around!

Next up: Central Park

Friday, November 6, 2009

NYC: Statue of Liberty & Ellis Island

On Friday, we took a ferry ride out to see the State of Liberty and Ellis Island. This is a photo looking back towards NYC. On the right, you can see Brooklyn Bridge.

Here's a photo of Alex and me in front of the Statue of Liberty. You have to buy tickets quite a bit in advance to go inside of the statue, and we decided we didn't want to do that. I really didn't want to be stuck to a "schedule." Anyway, we really enjoyed walking around Liberty Island.

The ferry ride out to the island was pretty nice. They really pack you on! I believe I heard them say there were 400 people on board at one point... and they were still loading more people! It was also a shock when I realized I wasn't hearing ANY English being spoken! I quietly listened, and it was true... we were hearing many different languages, but not any English! (Later, we did hear a few people speaking English.)

 When we planned our trip, we didn't realize we were going to NYC the same weekend as the NYC marathon! During our trip, we kept seeing people from all over the world... many in matching jackets like this one from France. Even in our hotel, we'd see the runners getting ready to go run in the mornings.

When you're done seeing the Statue of Liberty, you get back on the ferry and you can get off on Ellis Island. Ellis Island is where they processed immigrants for many years.

This is a photo of the Registry Room on Ellis Island. This is what a sign said: Nearly every day, for over two decades (1900-1924), the Registry Room was filled with new arrivals waiting to be inspected and registered by Immigration Service officers. On many days, over 5,000 people would file through the space. For most immigrants, this great hall epitomized Ellis Island. Here they encountered the complex demands of the immigration laws and an American bureaucracy that could either grant or withhold permission to land in the United States.


Besides the Registry Room, you can tour the rest of the building which is set up like a museum. One of the most interesting things I saw was a room filled with beds. Most people didn't spend the night at Ellis Island. They timed the last boat of the day so that they could process everyone and have them off the island by night. But, those who were being held over sometimes did spend the night. (There were also hospitals on the island.) Anyway, in this room, they had "bunk beds" (on chains) that could be let down from the ceiling. They were 4 beds high!!! Then, during the day, the beds could be raised so they could use the room for processing, etc. (I'd given my husband the camera at the time so I didn't get a photo.)

Because this island was the place where immigrants could either start a new life or be sent home with crushed dreams, it was called the "Island of Hope, Island of Tears." On the island, we watched the above 30 minute movie that told more about Ellis Island.

Leaving Ellis Island.

And, here's a photo from when we got back. This is in Battery Park, which is where you get on the ferry. If you can see, there are 4 men (why not women???) dressed up as the Statue of Liberty! You can pay to pose with them and have your photo taken! (No, we didn't get our photo taken.) We also saw one of these "statues" on Broadway.

Next up: site of the World Trade Center and The Lion King

Thursday, November 5, 2009

NYC: Limo, Times Square, and M&Ms

We are back from our short, lovely trip to NYC.

Alex was thrilled to have her first limo ride - from the airport to our hotel. I was THRILLED to see beautiful fall leaves still on the trees! I was afraid the leaves would all be gone.

We checked into our hotel and then headed out for dinner. We found a diner and then walked down Broadway Street and around Times Square. We did a LOT of walking on this trip!

We also stopped at the M&M store this first night. It is 4 stories tall!!! Alex enjoyed picking out her favorite colors of M&Ms. They also gave us each a sample box of the new premium M&Ms.... they are INCREDIBLE!!!