Wednesday, March 14, 2007

New York City, March of 2007

I already posted my New York City travel log on The Photo Forum so I'm just going to copy and paste it into here....

Well, I'm home (and back at work :grumpy: ) from my first trip to NYC. From the beginning right to the very end it was a truly wonderful experience, despite getting into town several hours late, and not being able to find where we were going to park. (we left for NYC several hours late due to things beyond our control....and then Joe wrote down the address of where we were parking wrong. :P ) We were also accompanied by Joe's two roommates, Jon and Becca.

Our parking place was on the street of TPF's own very own Torus34, on Staten Island. Let me tell you, after 3 hours of driving, and at least a 1/2 hour of being lost, Jim was a welcome site. We were welcomed in by 3 generations of Jim's incredibly friendly and hospitable family. Before this trip, none of us really even knew anything about Jim himself, and instantly we each felt like one of the family.

And I want to take this time right now to say thank you again, to Jim, for going so far out of his way to make our journey a wonderful experience. He not only walked us to the train that took us to the Staten Island Ferry, but he also rode with us the whole 40 minutes there....AND the 25 minute ride across to Manhattan...and was fully prepared to make sure we made it all the way to our hotel, but since Sky was there to meet us on the other side of the Ferry, and he'd already been to our hotel, Jim parted ways with us for the first night then. So he basically went more than an hour out of his way, each way, just to make sure we made it ok. So, Jim...on behalf of all of us, I want to thank you for the generosity you showed us. Please know that it was not taken for granted by anyone.

The ferry ride was fun....Joe and I walked up and outside, and were both met with a sense of awe when we saw that gorgeous NYC skyline lighting up the horizon (it was 9ish by this time).

I've been to a lot of cities now....but nothing is like New York. The atmosphere is totally different, and it's a thick atmosphere...we could feel it change as we entered into it.

After parting ways with Jim, meeting up with Sky, and getting checked into our hotel, it was time to find somewhere to eat...we were famished. Our hotel was in Lower Manhattan, in the Financial District....not exactly anywhere to eat after 9pm in that we headed off, cameras in tow, to Times Square. Times Square....after 10 on a Friday So lively and exciting. We found a little Mexican Restaurant to have some dinner there...wasn't too bad, but not phenomenal....I don't think any of us cared though....I mean...we were in Times New York City! We finished eating around midnight or so, and decided it was time for night shooting! Not an easy thing to manage in Times Square! :lol: At this time Joe's roomies parted with us, as they aren't photographers and standing around looking through a viewfinder wasn't as appealing to them as it was to us. :P Somehow we managed to spend an hour and a half or so there (Sky already has some pictures up...they can be found [URL=""]HERE[/URL] ) We then headed back to our hotel (got there around 2 or so, I think) to go to sleep for the night. Oh wait...I meant goof around for another hour and a half watching You Tube videos. THEN it was bedtime.

....only to get up again around 8. :P

Saturday was the actual 'meetup' day. Joe's roommates were doing their own thing for most of the day while we did our thing. So Joe, Sky, and I grabbed a quick bagel at the place around the corner from our hotel and scarfed 'em down as we walked towards our meeting place near Ground Zero. There we met up with Jim again, along with Digital Flower and NYBrit. (Chris and Dave). I must say, we certainly did have a good little group....all of the above were great people, and I know that I enjoyed meeting them very much.

So, our starting point was the World Trade Center area...Ground Zero. From there we made our way to the South Seaport where we stalked seagulls for a while. Then we decided to make our way up to China Town, and passed through some of Tribeca on the way. It was my first time in any sort of Chinatown area, so I thought it was incredible. CROWDED...but incredible. At this point Jim had to leave us again....and let me tell you, it was incredibly difficult to find somewhere in Chinatown to take a group photo before he left! But...don't worry...we did it! :P I'll try to get it posted up tonight. :) So...after Jim made sure we knew where we were and how to get where we needed to be next, he left us.

Our group, minus Jim, decided it was time to head further North. We hopped on a Subway and went up near Central Park. We went into the park just a bit, but not much, as it's not really the time of year for good Central Park photos. And besides....we were starved. Our original plan was to find a Deli and eat there....I mean...after all...we were in New York City!!! You can't go to NYC and not eat at a Deli.

But somehow....we...couldn't...find one. :shock: So we ate at a nice Pizza place instead. Can't go to NYC without New York Pizza, either. :-P

After that it was off to Times Square again, to see it in the daylight. After a little time there, NYBrit/Dave said his goodbyes to us.

Dave, it was great meeting you! I'm looking forward to seeing your pictures! :D

And so we were down to four: Joe, Sky, Digital Flower/Chris, and me.

Digital Flower had to go soon, too, so we slowly meandered our way towards Grand Central Station. (for some reason I feel like I'm skipping something here, so meetup folks, let me know if I did). After taking some photos and resting a bit at Grand Central Station, Chris caught his train home, and we hopped on the subway to Calumet Photographic to return the lens Sky had rented.

And if you know us at know that the three of us can't go to a city and NOT search out a Gelato place. We'd done our research, too. Sky found what looked to be one of the best in the city. It's call the [URL=""]il laboratorio del gelato
[/URL] and it was AMAZING! It was certainly worth the walk to get there! I highly recommend it! But don't expect to sit down there and eat it, unless you're lucky enough that the bench against the window that seats three, is free. When we got there, the line was so long, it was out the door....which means there were about 6 people in front of us! :lol: It's very very small....but good things come in small packages, right? It's certainly true in this case!

By this time we needed to start heading back to our hotel to meet back up with Jon and Becca, and get ready to go to the Broadway Show we had tickets too. If you are ever in New York....and you aren't easily offended...and you have the time for it...DO NOT MISS 'AVENUE Q'!!!! I don't for one second question the 'Best Musical' Tony award that the show received a few years ago. I had to massage my cheeks afterwards, because they were so sore from laughing. That show is GENIUS!!!! :lol:

Once the show was over, we were pretty hungry, and it was starting to rain, so we ducked into a delicious Chinese place called Ollie's for some more Times Square nourishment. :-P

By this time, I had 3 blisters on one foot, and one on the other! :lol: Never have blisters been so worth it!

Back to the hotel on our second night...attempted to watch a movie but it didn't work out so well....1/4 of the way through it and all three of us were nodding off. Joe's roomies had the right idea by going to bed right away rather than trying to watch a movie. :lol:

Sunday we woke up to beautiful blue skies and fairly warm weather, but with a bit of a cold wind. Not that weather has ever stopped us before anyway (refer back to the original Big DC meetup).

Again, for a decent part of the day, we parted ways with Joe's roomies so we could be photo geeks. First stop: B&H Photo and Video!!!!! OH MY GAWD THAT PLACE IS AWESOME!!! I am totally in love. I'm still not sure how I got my fair share of oxygen, with it being so crowded in there, but I survived it. Joe bought a nice ball tripod head to attach to his new Gorillapod that he bought last week (works quite nicely, btw....we highly recommend the gorillapod/ball head combo). We walked around, played with cameras we can only dream of owning, and did our best not to empty our bank accounts right then and there.

By then it was time to meet back up with Joe's roomies again. We had planned to have a sushi lunch at [URL=""]Morimoto
[/URL]. Unfortunately, we were unaware that they only did lunch on weekdays, so when we got there they were closed.

However, not all was lost. We still had yet to eat at a deli. And what better NYC deli to fill our stomachs than the world famous Carnegie Deli!?

So, off we went in search of that. When we got there, and I ordered a turkey club sandwich that cost me $21....I was wondering what in the hell I'd gotten myself into. $21 for some meet and lettuce between some bread?

Then the sandwich came. If you can call that thing a sandwich. I'm pretty sure I could have fed a third world country for about a week with that thing. I couldn't even eat a FOURTH of it! It was cut in half and each half was around 6-7 inches tall. It was delicious, too! After eating all that, you'd think we'd never want to eat again, right? Wrong. We had to have dessert, of course! Joe and I both wanted to try a slice of New York Cheesecake....I was dumb enough to ask the waiter how big the slices were because I somehow wasn't sure weather or not it would be big enough that we should just split a piece. :er: Yes, I fully admit that I occasionally have periods of time in which my brain isn't exactly working correctly. The waiter said the slices are 'generous' in size. Hah! Generous! Generous is a size that makes you loosen your belt up slightly. Generous is just enough to make you feel like you got your money's worth. This was MASSIVE. If I'd have eaten that entire thing, even without eating the sandwich beforehand, I've have split open my stomach lining. Between the five of us, we ordered three things (all of equally ginormous size), and shared it between everyone. That cheesecake was phenomenal!!!! I will never EVER look at cheesecake the same way again, because nothing will ever measure up!!! And no, even with multiple people eating, we were not able to finish any of it. We may have missed out on Morimoto, but I don't think any of us were too upset after finding out what the Carnegie Deli had to offer.

Unfortunately, by this point, our time was getting short, and we didn't have much time left to do very much. Becca really wanted to go to the huge Toys 'R' Us in Times Square, so we headed back that way. It's not like any of us act our age anyway. :-P Oh, to be a kid again, and get the chance to wander around in a toy store like that! If I were about 12 years younger, I totally would have rode the ferris wheel they had. After a little while of walking around and admiring the giant Lego sculptures of the Statue of Liberty and the anatomically correct dog, it was unfortunately getting time for Sky to catch his train. Joe and I left his roomies at the store and headed back to the hotel with Sky to get his bags. We got there and Sky called Amtrak to buy a ticket, and hooray for us....his train didn't leave for a while, so we had a little over an hour more with him! :D We headed across the street over to the waterfront to get some pictures of the sun going down behind what I believe is Jersey City...took some pics of that, and I finagled my way into getting Sky to let me practice my portraiture on him a bit before he had to go.

By the time Sky needed to start heading to the Subway to get to Penn Station, Joe's roomies were back with us, and we started collecting our baggage to head home, as well. We all walked together until we got to Sky's subway stop, at which point we said goodbye....and I bawled for the approximately 8 blocks to our Subway stop...and for half of the subway ride. mean uh....I didn't cry. At all. I'm not an emotional girl, I swear!

( many of you buy that?)

So, Joe, Jon, Becca, and I started to make our way back to the Ferry, back to Staten Island, and back to Jim's house.

Jim had told us we could stop in if we wanted to on our way home....we were worried we'd be getting back to late, though, so he told us to knock so long as the porch light was on. It was around 10pm when we got off the train and walked up the street to Jim's house, and where our car was parked....boy were we glad to see that light still on! Jim and his lovely wife, yet again, welcomed us in to their home, offered us tea, coffee, and water, and some absolutely delicious cake. Jim made certain that we began our journey on a good foot, and that we ended it equally as good. I hope he enjoyed our company as much as we enjoyed his.

....and so began our 3 hour drive home.

Yes, I know this was a long post, with a lot of reading....but 'New York was amazing' just doesn't cut it.

Picture can be found HERE!

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