Saturday, we got up at a ‘regular’ time and had free breakfast at the hotel. It wasn’t the greatest, but it was free, so who am I to complain? After breakfast, we drove back down to the ocean. It was overcast and a bit cold, but still so relaxing. I rolled up my jeans and took off my shoes and walked through the sand, collecting shells, taking pictures, and breathing in the salty air. We only stayed at the beach for a little while before getting in the car and beginning our journey across New England in search of changing leaves.
After spending close to an hour in very slow traffic (3 lanes becoming 1 lane), we were moving again. Tim and Kurt were anxious to find a little hamlet in Massachusetts named “Sandwich.” It’s true; they were enthralled by the quest to find the “Sandwich Police.” When I get the picture from Kurt, I will be sure to post it for your enjoyment, as well.
Once the Sandwich quest was completed, we got back on the road and spent the rest of the day driving around the less-than-superhighway roads and looking at the trees as they began the slow process of changing from brilliant greens to vibrant oranges and reds. We were a little early to see the leaves in all of their splendor, but there were two great spots, one where the leaves had already turned bright red and another where we happened upon a rather large and fast-moving river out of nowhere.
After a day of driving, we found our way to the Quality Inn (I would highly suggest this hotel if you’re looking for one; it was great!) and rested.
Day one in New York.
We drove to Stamford, hopped back on the train, and arrived once again at Grand Central Station in New York City. Even for a Sunday morning, the hustle and bustle of the city was obvious. We walked around a bit, got our bearings, and began walking toward the Empire State Building. We got there and the sign said there was a 75-90 minute wait, which would put us close for meeting Tim’s friend Michael and his wife, Maartje (pronounced Marcha) for our picnic in Central Park.
So, we decided instead to get our subway metro card and head down to Washington Square, one place I wanted to see the first time I went to New York, but didn’t get around to seeing. It is right outside the NYU campus. We took pictures, and walked around SoHo a little bit before heading to Chinatown and Little Italy. J Canal Street, I’ll admit, was not as crazy as I remember it being. However, I think this was in part because I was not there with my very excited mom and aunt. My mom can haggle with the best of them.
Anyway, we walked around Chinatown (where we saw someone peddling bootlegged copies of movies quickly shut down their store when the cops appeared) and Little Italy (where some of the streets were shut down for some festival or other). Getting off of the subway and being the only three non-Chinese people as far as I could tell was a little strange, and the change from Chinatown to little Italy is just as strange. Suddenly the streets open up much more and the people are a little more…familiar?
Anyway, it was time to head uptown to meet Michael and Maartje –we met them at the Time Warner Building (I think) and went downstairs to NYC’s largest grocery store. Lunch was to be a picnic in Central Park, a VERY New York thing to do.
I loved meeting Michael and Maartje. They were really neat people who had been in New York for several years. He is a Dr/Medical Student; she is works for a pharmaceutical company in New Jersey and is from Holland. They got married at a boat house in Central Park on the 4th of July and had their wedding pictures taken all over the park. How awesome is that?!?!
After lunch, we walked around Central Park and then headed to Ground Zero. (Again, that is the next blog to write). After leaving Ground Zero, we walked around Battery Park and took the Staten Island Ferry, a free ride, to take pictures of the city and the Statue of Liberty. I will never understand why that statue looks so small in real life, but I’ve never been up close to her, either....
It was getting dark, so it was time to hit Times Square, which is just an assault on all of your senses. It’s lit up like it is the middle of the day still and there are lights everywhere. This is the heart of New York for me…the playbills and the advertisements, the larger than life television screens and the just plain amazing array of sights and sounds. It’s right in the middle of everything, and right in the middle of my heart. I love the theater, and even though we didn’t go see any shows, just seeing the billboards and knowing that people were doing what they loved and living out their dreams on those stages, wow…it is a place that is truly beautiful and truly alive.