In October I spent five fun-filled days in my favorite city. The trip was originally planned around completing my 4th half marathon with Team in Training, but I was battling bronchitis and wasn't cleared by the doctor to complete the 13.1 miles; however, that didn't stop me from sightseeing and exploring!
Friday - Day 1
Friday started with Pearl (my travel buddy) and I grabbing coffee and a bagel and heading to Brooklyn Bridge Park where we could enjoy our breakfast with a view of the Brooklyn Bridge and Manhattan skyline. Since we were staying in Brooklyn this time, we decided to dedicate our day to exploring this great borough.
We walked the Brooklyn Bridge (my personal favorite), found delicious pizza for lunch, walked around Brooklyn Heights, and checked out some local street art. We also stopped by the Brooklyn Rock n' Roll marathon expo to get Pearl all checked in and ready for her event the next morning.
That evening we joined the rest of the team for the Inspiration Dinner and then headed back to Brooklyn to turn in early since we had to be up at 5 am the next day for the event.
Saturday - Day 2
Saturday started off with an early morning at Prospect Park for the Brooklyn Rock n' Roll half marathon. As I stated earlier, I wasn't cleared by doctor for the run, so I spent my time cheering on the sidelines. This was Pearl's first endurance event and I was so proud to be cheering her on! She rocked it!
After the event Pearl was (understandably) tired and needed to recuperate a bit, so I headed out to explore a bit of Manhattan on my own. I started in the South Street Seaport first, heading to TKTS to get tickets to a Broadway show for Sunday.
The view of One World Trade Center from the streets of the financial district never gets old. It's such a beautiful and prominent structure.
After securing tickets to Les Miz (hello bucketlist!) I spent a couple hours wandering the stacks of Strand Bookstore in Union Square. Whenever I travel my preferred souvenir is a book or two. It's a great way to spend money on something I would mostly likely spend it on anyway and it's fun to look at my bookcase and remember where I picked each title up.
After choosing two titles, I wandered a few blocks south to visit the Flatiron Building. The sun was just starting to set and the lighting was gorgeous! Next to the building is one of my favorite parks, Madison Square Park, and I sat on a bench people watching for a bit while a jazz band played in the distance. It was movie-quality perfect!
After wandering a bit more, I met up with Pearl to see a movie. We were hoping to see "Steve Jobs" since it was released early in NYC, but all the showings were sold out, so we opted for "Pan" instead. We were pleasantly surprised! The movie was great, and I'll definitely be seeing it again!
Sunday - Day 3
Sunday began as all Sundays should begin... with a mimosa brunch. When Hannah and I traveled to NYC last December/January we stumbled into a great little restaurant called The Harold. When Pearl and I found ourselves wandering 34th street and hungry, I knew we needed to head straight for The Harold, and we were not disappointed.
After pleasantly filling our bellies, Pearl headed for a local pub to watch the Seahawks play (her version of the perfect afternoon) and I headed for the Imperial Theater to see Les Miserables (my version of the perfect afternoon)!
I happened to snag GREAT seats in the third row and cried through the entire production. It was beautiful beyond belief, and honestly words do not do it justice. It is a show that must be seen and demands to be experienced.
After the show I called my best friend, Richard - the only person I know who would truly understand my reaction to Les Mis - and then wandered around Columbus Circle a bit. I was in a weird emotional state and was trying to figure out what I wanted to do next when an idea popped into my head - why not see a second show?!
I learned about Something Rotten when it was still in pre-production and instantly fell in love with the premise. It's an original musical set in the Renaissance with a modern twist. It's tongue-and-cheek about Shakespeare and this 'new' notion in the theater world of a 'musical.' It's pretty popular, so the chances of me scoring cheap tickets weren't super high, but I thought I'd give it a shot anyway.
So I headed to the theater, got in line, and scored tickets at 7:15 for the 7:30 showtime! My seats weren't great (I sat in the balcony behind a group of students who wouldn't sit still and talked throughout the whole thing) but it was amazing regardless! I laughed so hard and LOVED it. I actually downloaded the music as soon as the show was over and have been listening to it on repeat ever since.
Pearl was a great friend and waited patiently outside the theater with me to get my Playbill signed. All the actors were so friendly and some even did silly little impromptu song and dances for us. When the actor who played Shakespeare came out I may, or may not, have giggled like a school girl. I asked him if we could take a picture and he said, "hell yeah, selfie it up girl!" *Swoon
Monday - Day 4
Day 4 - otherwise know as THE DAY I SAW JIMMY FALLON!!!
Let me start by saying, yes, he is just as nice and handsome in person as he appears to be on TV. In fact, if it's possible, he's even more handsome in person.
We started the day wandering around Bryant Park a bit enjoying the fall colors. Full discretion (and a bit of TMI): being sick and on meds the entire time we were there was causing my system to be out of whack a bit and I found myself getting motion sick quite easily. After riding the subway for about an hour in from Brooklyn, I needed to find a spot to sit and let my stomach settle. After about 20 minutes I noticed my right thigh was itching, and within another 5 minutes both my right and left legs were quite itchy. I sought out a bathroom in a nearby coffee shop to see what was up with my legs. I was wearing a dress with tights and as I pulled them down I noticed HUGE red welts spanning both legs. My fear was that a bug or spider had bit me, so I shook out my tights (nothing there that I could see), put them back on, ran out to find Pearl, and told her we needed to find a CVS asap.
Long story short, I think the culprit was hives (don't have a clue as to why I had them) and the walking around looking for a CVS seemed to be long enough to have them start to subside. Pearl was so gracious and asked if I was more comfortable heading back to Brooklyn and missing Fallon, but I quickly responded with, "hell no, I'll sit through Fallon with itchy legs, nothing's keeping me from seeing this taping!"
About 30 minutes later the hives seemed to have cleared and it was time to check in for the taping. I was so excited to start the process that my mind was completely off the itching, thank God!
Once you check in there is absolutely NO photography allowed. There are interns and NBC employees walking around and answering questions and often reminding you to not take out your phones. Security is a serious subject in the studio. They were so nice and fun to chat with though, and the whole process was quite fascinating to me.
My favorite part of the whole experience was having the behind-the-scenes look at the taping of an episode. It's such a well-rehearsed, smooth process and watching the camera men, production crew, hair and makeup, etc. do their thing and rock it was so neat! I had a difficult time remembering to watch Jimmy and his guests because I was more interested in watching the production crew and camera men!
After the show ends they escort groups of 15 at a time out of the studio, down the elevators and through a back door entrance of the Experience NBC Store. They definitely have that "enjoy the show? Great spend money" process down.
After we each spent a
little lot of money in the store, Pearl and I wandered around Rockefeller Center a bit more. It's a beautiful building filled with all kinds of shops and studios.
After our exploring we grabbed an Uber and headed to our dinner reservations at The Writing Room.
My birthday was back in September, but between being ill, crazy busy at work, and making travel plans, I hadn't officially celebrated yet. Pearl and I decided to have my "birthday dinner" in NYC, and after much research I settled on The Writing Room in the Upper Eastside.
Oh man, this restaurant did not disappoint! If you ever find yourself in Manhattan and want a delicious meal with great ambiance and fun servers, check out The Writing Room!
Tuesday - Day 5
Our final day in NYC.
My friend Tam had joined us at our Airbnb the night before. It was fun to catch up with her and hear about her own adventures in the big city. When we woke in the morning the three of us headed to the cute little coffee shop around the corner and said our goodbyes to the city.
As we crossed over the street, I noticed a heart in the concrete that I hadn't seen before. I'm sure we walked passed it every day we were there, but noticing it on our last morning seemed like a sign to me. We took a picture of our feet with it, loaded up our luggage into the Uber car, and headed for JFK.
This second trip to NYC was a great one. It was a completely different experience from my first, and I can't wait to go back and have yet another new experience in what I've come to realize, is my favorite city in the world.