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Monday, September 26, 2011

Parents' Weekend

Since my life in New York is a bit like going back to college (new friends, new routines, living with a roommate), it was time for a fall campus tradition: Parents' Weekend!

Mom had her visit in June, but I suggested Dad and Laura wait and come up when the weather would be more pleasant.

They arrived on Thursday night, and after a yummy dinner at City Lobster, we strolled over to Times Square.
Leigh Ann came up for the weekend too; she and I got to stay at Nate and Neil's apartment while the boys were in the Hamptons.
Friday was a bit challenging...I had to work, so Leigh Ann played tour guide. But it was pouring. (The city had more than two inches of rain.)

They did some shopping at Bloomingdales, but lunch at the Carnegie Deli was a bust; the line was too long, so they ended up at a burger place nearby. After paying $50 for two hamburgers and a couple of sodas, they got drenched and headed back to the hotel for a break.

I met up with everyone around 3:30. By then, the rain had let up, so we took the subway to Chinatown to do a little junky shopping. The weather was still crappy, but we made the best of it, and Laura had fun negotiating with the vendors to get some bargains.

Dad was a very patient umbrella holder as the women went in just one more store.

For dinner, we walked down Mulberry Street in Little Italy, where they were having the festival of San Genaro. A friend had warned me the festival might not be a good idea if we wanted to avoid crowds. But I think most people were staying home because of the weather. The street was closed, and the  restaurants had all set up sidewalk cafes under awnings in the street. It was really pleasant to sit and watch the crowds walk by, and the red, white and green lights made it feel quite festive.

Leigh Ann and I split some gnocchi and an order of chicken parmesan. Dad and Laura were still full from the $50 hamburger lunch, so they had fried mozzarella and chicken fingers.

By Saturday morning, things started to perk up! We took a gamble on Friday and bought tickets for the 10 a.m. Water Taxi, with hopes that the weather would improve. The Water Taxi has a partnership with the 9/11 Memorial, and it's one of the only ways you can currently get inside the memorial, which is booked through November. Dad was very interested to see the Memorial, so I was really glad we stumbled across a way to make it happen.

We got to the pier early, picked up the Memorial tickets, and then boarded the boat at 9:30. We cruised along the Hudson River from 44th Street to Battery Park, as a guide pointed out landmarks along the way.

My favorite "point of interest" mentioned by the guide was Pier 54, which was the Titanic's destination. I'd jogged by the arch on the Hudson River Park several times but had never noticed it. The White Star and Cunard signage still remains, so I'll have to check it out next time I walk by. The guide also said Titanic crew members stayed at what is now the Jane Hotel, also in my neighborhood.
As we got close to Battery Park, we got a better view of World Trade Center One and the construction cranes on top. (The building was going to be called the Freedom Tower, and some people still call it that, but I think that name was ruled to be a bit too provocative.) I told Leigh Ann I thought the guide should have mentioned the tower will be 1,776 feet tall once it's finished...
We tried to get a shot of Dad and Laura with the Statue of Liberty in the background, but it wasn't really working...

From Battery Park, it was a short walk to the memorial site, where we had tickets to enter at 11:15.

One of the most touching places in the entire memorial site to me was right after we passed through security. They have a wall of photos of the memorial services and commemorations that were held around the world.

The picture above with the flag shows you the bottom of World Trade Center One, the building currently under construction. From the site, you can really see how much they've fortified the bottom of it.

One of the things you can really appreciate being inside the memorial is how massive the Ground Zero construction site still is and how it continues to impact development downtown. It's unfortunate it took ten years to open the memorial, but the upside is it's beautifully designed and really honors the memory of all those who lost their lives. So, maybe it was worth the wait.

From downtown, we took the subway back to midtown, where Dad and Laura had tickets for the Lion King matinee.
Leigh Ann and I checked out some of the latest fall trends at Zara and H&M. Between the leather leggings and hot pants were these...
Since we were right beside the iconic public library building on 5th Avenue, I decided to pop inside and get myself a card.

After the show, we took Dad and Laura to my neighborhood. (As we elbowed our way through the crowd in Times Square, Dad said, "7 million people in New York -- and all of them are in Times Square on Saturday afternoon.") Having spent too much time fighting the crowds in midtown, the serene West Village was a nice change!
 It was a lovely sunset over the Hudson River...

Next stop: Brooklyn, where we checked out the long line at Grimaldi's Pizza then walked around the corner to a less crowded restaurant called Pete's. It was actually really good! I had a very tasty pork chop stuffed with proscuitto and mozzarella. Dad and Laura had some really good stuffed chicken, and I think Leigh Ann had the eggplant.

Fortified by our meal, we set out to cross the Brooklyn Bridge. (Shout out to everyone for being such troopers...we'd had a long day, but since Friday was such a bust, we had to pack it in!)

It was a perfect night to cross the bridge, and the lights were lovely. We walked Dad and Laura back to their hotel, and everyone headed home on Sunday. Dad and Laura had a very long trip back, so I really appreciate everyone's time and effort to come and see me in my new home!

1 comment:

Dee Stephens said...

Talk about jam packed weekend!!! I heard the memorial was booked until November.
Oh.. Times Square.. that's the way I felt my first trip to the city, which was during Christmas. Love all the pictures!