Saturday, August 16

NYC travelog

A week late, but here it is.

After a whole week of sleeping in, the girls decided this would be the day they got up early. NYC excitement began at 6am.

Filled 2 bags with unhealthy snacks, and off we went .... then realized one of the girls would need ID to check into the hotel.

Buckled up for the 2nd time, and made it as far as our local gas station, where again Rachel and Laura were puzzled why someone other than me pumped gas into our car. This is America baby!

Hit the Mass Pike with Anne driving and my iPhone playing. This equates to a solid 70 mph coupled with some loosy-goosy tunes mixed in with pretentious head scratching cover versions.

In the middle of CT (surely the most pointless of the 50 states), we switched drivers and let the good times roll. I'd mentioned a few days earlier that I would prepare a game of "Guess the actors age". I'd pulled down 40 names from IMDB and loaded them onto my iPhone. As Anne asked the questions I was amazed at just how good Rachel and Laura were at guessing the ages of obscure European thespians. A quick look in my mirror revealed they had a list of 100+ actors which they had written down the night before. This was, and remains, 'bullshit'.

Hit the Bronx and hit the traffic. I whined greatly about the route the GPS had devised for us, but then suddenly and quite magnificently you see Manhattan.

Found parking in the city - the big "P" sign should actually have been an "R". 36 hours later I would be raped of $125 for the honor of parking down there.

Hotel action. Previous night we had snagged the 4 star Barclay on Priceline, and we dumped our bags with the funny sounding 'Bell Captain'. I might have freaked the girls out when I said "If we get lost or split up in the city ...", not the speech you want to hear when you are surrounded by the hustle and bustle of New York.

Waltzed down to the Empire State Building. Wrong! 18 mile line to get up the damn thing. Instead hopped in a cab and headed for Times Square, home of a billion places to buy T-Shirts with New York written on them. Not just T-Shirts either, magnets, guitars, towels, snow globes and dildoes too. Maybe not dildoes ... but you never know.

Stopped by a guy pitching a comedy show to us. Said "no" about 18 times. Still don't think he got the message.

If you only visit one chocolate themed attraction in Times Square I say go for the M&M one instead of the Hershey's. We went in both. Bought more stuff.

Next we walked to the Brooklyn Diner up on 57th. Laura sat in the same seat as Tyra Banks. She ably demonstrates this in the photo.

I had the always funny, Pigs in a Blanket, while Rachel fastidiously picked the mushrooms out of her minestrone soup. We all had the Diner's famous Milk Shakes ... just like Tyra ... probably.

Afterwards we ran down to 51st to the matinée performance of Wicked. Both of the hapless teenagers bought $20 programs. Anne and I didn't see the show, and spent the next 3 hours chilling out and lazing around in our hotel room, watching a piece on NBC about a black guy who swims in the US Olympic team. That's a stereotype I can cross off my list then.

Later, Anne and I walked over to the theater to be met by 2 sad faced teenagers. They needed to go to the bathroom, but the queue was too long. As it was everywhere. Finally used the impeccably filthy McDonalds facilities and headed off for Hooters ...

Both Rachel and Laura wanted Hooters T-Shirts as gifts, and it was left to Uncle R to buy them. I probably picked up clamidia just from touching the entrance door, but once inside Rachel and I were asked if we wanted a table for 2. "Yes, I'm taking my niece for shitty wings served by a ho in a shirt 3 sizes too small" was what I did NOT reply. Instead we shuffled over to the merch section and made our purchases. Good to see Hooters is an Equal Opps employer.

Next up we bought water from a convenience store and paid with $8 worth of change. Checkout chick thought we were bastards. Was correct.

Central Park. Softball game. Kids not impressed. Trudged on to Bloomingdales.

Rachel and Laura both wanted these. Plastic versions of the paper bags Bloomingdales use. Think there's a Friends connection, but I always thought the show sucked, and never watched it.

Plastic bags acquired we went over to Dylan's Candy**. Great store design. Shitty product. Although the teenagers tried a Charleston Chew for the first time. Hopped into a taxi and went back to the hotel.

** Love it when I learn the same fact from 2 different sources. Last week I had no idea that Dylan is Dylan Lauren, daughter of fashion designer Ralph Lauren. Learned the fact at work this week, and then just read about her in T&L Magazine last night. T&L is Travel & Leisure, not Tits & Legs, although I think Ralph hawks his over-priced chinos in both.

Dinner: Little Italy. Guy tried 4 times to light the candle. Failed. Seemed to be his only job too. Food was OK. Laura asked for no artichokes. Waiter said "No". That earned him a "Douche". Wanted to steal the Peroni beer glasses. Chickened out.

After dinner we walked down Mulberry St, laughed at a balloon sculptor and after hobbling thru' the cobblestones of SoHo, we cabbed it up to Times Sq. to see NYC in all its garish neon beauty. This gave the kids another T-Shirt opportunity. On our way back to the hotel we walked past a line of a 100 kids with their parents. They were queuing up to get the autographs of the (ahem) 'stars' of the Legally Blonde Broadway show.

Back at the hotel, and fell asleep immediately. Long yet great day.

Day 2 Breakfast. Bad Milk. No Home Fries. $65. Pah.

The Empire State Building is my US equivalent of the Tower of London. I've been to this fucker way too many times and I'm done. Thank You.

After a Starbucks rest-stop, and a heated discussion about "The Man", we took a bus tour. Except it took 20 minutes for the damn thing to set off. Also, it was Crazy Dominican Republic People Day™ on the streets and they waved like maniacal goofballs as we drove up 6th.

Photos, photos and more photos before we alighted (love that word) at Battery Park. No batteries and way too many people going to the Statue of Liberty.

Instead of watching Rachel get sea-sick we just took a picture of the Statue. This is a photo of me trying to look like a penis between two balls. Everyone agreed I did a good job.

After such a photo-op there was only one thing to do ... walk over to the Wolrd Trade Center hole and order a shitty sandwich. Anne's theory was that the real short order cooks only work during "Wall Street" hours. Probably had a point. My burrito was microwaved to imperfection.

Half-replenished we looked over the stalls outside. Yes they actually have 9/11 snowglobes. Take that terrorists, we're still capatalists.

Then we hit Sephora and saw this crazy bastard.

OK. Crappy film, but this mental was spraying all of the cologne samples onto his person, to the point that he was dripping!

Next stop. Lower East Side to Economy Candy. Driven by a God-loving African guy. He had the radio on 'Crazy Preacher FM'. Scary.

$45 worth of candy later we had just one thing to do before we went home. The kids wanted to buy shitty tic-tac. Only it turned out that they were discerning buyers of said tic-tac. Eight damn stores they wandered in and out of. Eight!

After a quick robbery at the hands of the Parking guy, we headed home. Rachel felt sick, but still battled on gamely, while Laura fed Anne and I with cookies and chips.

Excellent trip.

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