Zzzzzzz

That is the noise that must be going on, somewhere in my room or the house. Because there is a bug here, somewhere. I know this because it has brutally attacked me. Well… It bit me. Twice. Only on my right arm… Hmmm.

But seriously, what the hell, man?

Back to the grind

After a great weekend catching up with friends (and going to a party on the Esplanade – I saw Rob Thomas sing ‘Smooth’ live!!  Another experience off my list…) it’s back to the grind in a big way.  We have a deadline coming up, and the trees are turning.  That’s always the start of the craziness at work.

 

But it’s all part of the plan, the hunt for a new visa is progressing (complete with excessive lists of requests for further information), and in 9 weeks I get to hang out with family again!  Countdowns on all over the place!

Dumplings and Goodbyes

After a fantastic holiday in NYC, today was our last day in the city. We did some last bits of shopping, then took the subway down to Chinatown for both a last Starbucks lime cooler (the oddest addiction of the holiday) and some exploring (complete with people trying hard to sell us knock-off handbags at every turn…) and then lunch at the Manhattan location of Joe’s Shanghai, for more dumplings. Which were just as good as they were in Queens (with a side of rice which was similarly brilliant).

From there it was back to the hotel, and the long cab ride to the airport. But it’s only ten weeks (to the day!) until we are all together again in Florida – the countdown begins now!!

Ground Zero

Today was the day we headed to the southern part of Manhattan to visit the new One World Trade Centre (the Freedom Tower), 9/11 memorial and 9/11 museum. It was a bit of a mixed day…

We started off at the One World Observatory. Now, my photos are on my camera and won’t transfer, but here is the outside…

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Very tall. The views from the top were astonishing, and we were very lucky with the weather. There is a video show when you first get up there which reveals the view, and it really does take your breath away!

After the observatory it was off to Shake Shack for lunch (much drier than our last trio there…!), and then for a walk along the water and around the memorial before our timed entry to the museum.

Now, the museum is very moving. It’s set in the foundations of the old towers, so it’s very much a part of everything that happened. But it’s deep underground as a result and feels a touch like walking through a mausoleum. Particularly in the section which takes you through the timeline. The phone messages from the planes were playing over the speakers, which pretty much did for me. It was too powerful, and almost too sad. I understand they need to make the impact, but the choice to listen or not would have been good. I’ve been avoiding listening to those messages for years – they are too much for me.

It was a very powerful and moving experience. But not one I would take anyone under 12 to – some of the things there are quite horrifying (one of the mangled fire engines, for example).

After that we all needed a break, so we headed back up into the sunshine… Before getting back on the subway to head back to the hotel for a rest before dinner (which was at the Heartland Brewery at the Empire State Building – very nice!).

After 15,000 steps today, I’m off to bed. And unimpressed that tomorrow is our last day – it’s been magic!

In Summary…

… Another lovely day today. However it’s nearly 11.30pm and we are up early tomorrow, so here are the highlights:

– Trip to Macy’s (with traumatic “bashing into man who was not looking where he was going any more than i was who tried to shame me into feeling bad about it” incident…) for utilization of tourist discount (also available for out of State tourists – who knew??) followed by Sketchers.

– Walk along the High Line, with lunch at Chelsea Market – well, for one of us. Empanadas for the other two from a stand on the line, followed by ice cream (sandwiches or gelato).

– Walk through Greenwich Village to Washington Park, complete with man covered in pigeons.

– Mandatory Starbucks Refresher break… This time at Union Square.

– A visit to Dylan’s Candy Bar. No need to dwell on that…

– Significant time sitting, resting the feet. Nearly 25,000 steps today (again…).

– Taking the subway to the wrong end of the required street in Little Italy for dinner… But the exercise being quite helpful!

– A lovely dinner at Lombardi’s, followed by a wholly unexpected pudding at an all rice pudding restaurant. Amazing.

And now to bed…

Pedaling and Shopping

Yes, yes, this post is late. I fell asleep last night, forgetting both to blog and to email my lovely mother (sorry!), but yesterday was another lovely day (except the moment when we had to run into Macy’s to avoid getting drenched!!).

First it was off to Chocolate By The Bald Man for a SPECTACULAR brunch. Amazing omelettes and so,e of the best bacon on record. Yum yum yum.

Next we took the subway up to Central Park and rented bikes (from Bike and Roll, who were great – ignore all the people harassing on the street for bike rental – if they were close and good they wouldn’t need to use that tactic!). And we cycled all the way round the park. Which is a LONG way. With hills. And I kept pedaling the whole way! So proud…

From dropping the bikes off, it was time for a little walk up to the pond for some photos (plus a sit down in the shade…) and then onto 5th Avenue for a spot of shopping! With some Starbucks Cool Lime Refreshers (becoming something of an obsession on this trip) to keep us going, it was a very successful afternoon!

After a short break to share some banana pudding from the Magnolia Bakery (YUM!) it was back to the hotel to rest the feet, before heading for dinner at Ellen’s Stardust Diner, where the waitstaff are all trying to make it on Broadway, and sing show songs and tunes through your meal. Ours was Kristina, and very good, and snuck up beside Patrick to serenade him while all of us were tucking into our dinner. Hysterical!

Fighting our way back through Times Square wasn’t as much fun, but we got back in time to see the final moments of the US Open men’s final. And then to fall into bed. Another great, but tiring day!

My feet hurt…

… Today was a fantastic day! We walked the Brooklyn Bridge (amazing, but rather humid… Iced tea sorted us out, though, and we shared our cafe with three Disney princesses on their way to a children’s birthday party!), had a GORGEOUS lunch in The River Cafe (Google it, it’s fantastic), and took a boat ride across to 34th Street, before heading up to Abercrombie and Fitch for supplies, and back to the hotel for a break.

That was 20,000 steps… After a sit down, we headed to Shake Shack on Madison, which is the flagship location – naturally as we were halfway there, the heavens opened, so we ended up eating our food (the restaurant turned out to be in the open!! If only we’d known…) sheltering under some scaffolding on 23rd Street. From the sublime to the ridiculous!

And now, after 25,000 steps (about 10 miles, apparently…) I’m off to bed, with just one photo to show just how amazing the signature dessert was at lunchtime….

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Excuse the hair, it was a very sweaty day…

Game, Set, Match!

Today was a GOOD DAY. It deserved the caps. Seriously.

It started with a Dunks breakfast (in the hotel, to the soundtrack of car horns and sirens that you can always hear in NYC, even if you are on the 20th floor like we are), to get everyone awake and caffeinated. Then it was back to the Times Square subway station to take the 7 train back to Flushing Meadows and the rescheduled women’s semifinal of the US Open…

After 30 minutes spent queuing at the Emirates tent for a free seat cushion (absolutely worth it…) we made our way into the Arthur Ashe Stadium for some absolutely fantastic tennis:

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Both matches involved upsets, with the high seeded women being knocked out, but Vichi’s defeat of Serena Williams was something to behold – a fantastic match I’ll always remember being there for!

Then it was back to the hotel to cool down (there are some interesting tan/burn lines going on for all of us as it was sunny and thre is no roof on the stadium) before heading to Jazz Standard for some great BBQ food and a performance from a seriously good jazz group. Dad, you would have loved the bass player! And, naturally, my sister and I were trying to work out what the situation was at the next table…

As it is 9/11, we also saw the memorial lights from Midtown. They are more poignant than I expected, honestly. A powerful reminder of an awful thing.

And with that, I am shattered and going to bed (with my ear plugs – the sirens and car horns go on all night…!). Roll on tomorrow and the Brooklyn Bridge!

Hello New York!

A short post tonight, as I am, frankly, shattered. Not much sleep was had last night due to being absolutely over excited, and when it was time to get on the plane I was nearly asleep in the lounge (I love silver status…). But I made it on board, and negotiated the Air Train at JFK airport to meet J and P.

Next came one of the scariest taxi rides in history… Not only was the driver overtaking with inches to spare, but he was making his own lanes where there were none, and was one of the most miserable people I have ever come across. But we survived, and were able to check into our hotel three hours early!

Once we had freshened up a little, it was off on the Subway to Flushing Meadows, to watch some tennis at the US Open. Sadly on the way over we heard that the women’s semifinal we were due to watch had been postponed until tomorrow due to incoming storms, so with no rushing we headed to a place called Joe’s Shanghai – the food was spectacular, with the pork soup dumplings pretty much blowing us all away!

After a wonderful dinner (also including crab soup dumplings, beef with salted veg and jalepinos, sesame chicken and lovely rice, we headed to the Open to see if our tickets would transfer. Happily they will, so we will be heading back that way tomorrow morning. We were also allowed to enter the grounds for free and watch some matches which were happening in the gaps left by the postponement. We saw Martina Navratilova playing doubles… Well, we did for 30 seconds before rain stopped play. After 30 minutes sheltering under an awning, all play was cancelled and we squelched back to the Subway station to get an early night.

All in all a lovely day! Next stop back to Queens for the tennis! Cross everything for good weather…!

Fun, WORK and fun

That’s what the past week has been like. After the general awesomeness of my birthday, and the weekend after, it was straight into a peer inspection, where both an internal partner and an external partner (I.e. from another firm) come in and review our files. Naturally the file that was picked was the last one we would have wanted… Happily, after putting in a LOT of hours to get the questions answered, we got out relatively unscathed. Phew!

So it’s been a crazy week for work! However, it also involved an impromptu trip to L’Espalier (complete with 40 minute dash to get a dress posh enough to be let in – apparently there are shops where you can get a perfectly lovely yellow Calvin Klein dress for $20 – bargain!), a bonus visit from a lovely friend from home (complete with duck tour and trip to Legals Harborside) and a fabulous afternoon falling asleep on the couch.

And now I’m lying in my king size bed at the Logan Airport Hilton, waiting to fly down to NYC tomorrow to meet my lovely sister and brother-in-law. So excited!!