The Big Apple

Honking horns, squealing tires, screaming sirens and screeching Subway trains echo and mush into one. Like the Make New Friends round we sang at Girl Scouts. Humid-sticky steam, twinkling lights and florescent flashing signs mingle with thousands upon thousands of foreign smiling faces and tight lipped New Yorkers. Bright camera's leave great white dots every time you blink, and mouth watering scents of cannoli's and pretzels and crispy cheesy pizza moisten your tongue. The constant buzz of people and cars and trains and planes hum in your ears until eventually you're desensitized and no longer find yourself searching for that siren or angry driver. Canary yellow taxis flecked with black checks dodge in and out of lanes like your little sister on Mario Kart. Confused tourists spring up like gophers from green musty Subway holes. And nutbags who sing to themselves and fight with imaginary friends are around every single block.

The Big Apple

Like a moth to a flame I am drawn. Always. My most favorite city on Earth. Where a part of my heart lives.
Our girly-merry-Christmas-present-from-my-sweet-sister getaway to NYC this past weekend was truly unforgettable. On the way to Albany's Rensselaer Station (within 20 minutes of leaving our house) Mom got pulled over for speeding. My seat for Phantom of the Opera was directly behind two oinky-puppy-lovey-dovey twonks who made out the entire time, chugged wine, and waved their arms. In an attempt to find a restaurant we followed Google Maps 'vehicle' directions instead of 'pedestrian' directions (which took us in a big ass circle because of all the one-ways) for a total of 6 USELESS blocks. And last but not least (of course I've saved the best for last) while in the hotel unpacking our bags my sister realized that she'd accidentally packed my husbands pants instead of her own...and then proceeded to run and jump on the bed, only to be sprung off a good 2 feet, and helplessly flail toward the ground. Couldn't make that shit up, now could you?

But aside from the cops, and drunk morons, and one ways, and pants fiasco - we enjoyed a truly amazing time in the City that never sleeps. Between our time on Broadway, and in Starbucks, and at the top of Rockefeller, and riding the Staten Island Ferry, and munching yum yums in Little Italy and the Magnolia Bakery - we returned home feeling utterly stuffed, exhausted, fulfilled, happy, appreciative, thankful, excited and beyond blessed to have had the opportunity to enjoy and create precious memories together in the Big Apple. Just us girls. As a family.

In just one word, my friends:

And although we all know that I could sit here and bore you with a 2,000 word essay filled to the brim with ranting and raving about what we saw and what we ate and where we went...I'm not going to do that. Not this time. I shall refrain. Instead, I'm choosing to bombard this post with pictures. My precious collection of Kodak moments I captured throughout our visit. Pictures I want to add here not only to share with you, but to save in eternity on this blog so that I know they're never lost. Here they shall remain for my family and I to look at and admire years down the road. At times when we need a pick me up, or feel nostalgic and want to reminisce and remember and laugh. A place I don't have to worry will crash when my kind-of-trustworthy Dell does.

Here. On my blog. Carefully glued in my digital scrap book.

Put your feet up ladies and gents, and live our experience with us.
"Next stop, Poughkeepsie!"
Life Essentials: You've Got Mail, coffee, fruit.
On our way!
The Hudson
Soon after our arrival we did as women do. We shopped.
I drooled over my fav Frye boots
While Sonya purchased a new pair!
I also drooled over all things Michael Kors...Including but not limited to these shoes and his gorgeous rose gold watch that's been saved on my wish list for MONTHS.
Mom posed with Lady Liberty.
I posed with Boo and Philippe the travelling Starbucks Gingerbread.
After some shopping, we meandered around Times Square 
And oogled over the opportunity to see the actual New Years Ball! (ringing in the New Year in Times Square is high on my bucket list so this was a pee-your-pants-with-excitement moment for Amanda).
We posed for pictures.
And waved in the Forever 21 Jumbotron (my turquoise skinnies were like freakin' highlighters against all the black). 

After admiring some of the sites, we headed to line up for our Broadway show.
The Phantom of the Opera.
It was the 3rd Broadway show I've ever seen and it was by far my favorite. Although I'd seen the movie MULTIPLE times, the play was spectacular. I got goosebumps, I cried and I didn't want it to end. It was a one in a life time fantastic experience. I felt like Julia Roberts in Pretty Woman. Only without the fancy binoculars.  
In addition, the theater was unbelievably gorgeous. 
Philippe the travelling Starbucks gingerbread also enjoyed his Broadway experience. 
After our play we freshened up and headed to Little Italy for some delicious Italian yum-yums. 
We were sweet talked by an adorable Italian man decided on Cafe Napoli.
Among the homemade Sangria...
They offered complimentary focaccia bread, as well as fresh made pasta (I ordered Penne alla Vodka) and an unbelievably delicious tiramisu. Every single thing we ordered was fantastic (the best Italian I've ever had in fact) and I've taken the time to stash their card away in my purse for future reference. Friends - promise me you'll visit this restaurant if ever you're in Little Italy. I pinky swear won't be disappointed.

After stuffing our bellies with wine and delicious food, we made our way rolled back to our hotel room (which ended up getting upgraded to a bigger room for free. Must have been our Vermont charm. Ha!) and settled in for the night. This was our fantastic 15th floor view of Madison Square Garden.
It was also at this time that, from across the hotel room, I heard Sonya bellow "Oh man!!! These aren't mine, they're your goddamn husbands!!" 
Mom and I practically pissed our pants.
In the morning we woke and discovered the air was warm and the sky was foggy.  Unperturbed by the creeping fog, we ventured up 5th avenue toward Rockefeller Plaza for a Starbucks date and trip to the Top of the Rock for a nostalgic photo shoot.

Once we arrived at the top of all 70 floors we were greeted by a thick white blanket of fog that draped over the entire city. Deciding to make cloudy, foggy, lemonade with our sour lemons, we remained optimistic and smiled at how Sonya and I were still able to recreate the same - albeit foggy - picture that we took over 8 years ago. 

It's amazing to see how grown up we are now.
And because there wasn't really much else to do (we were the only ones up there)...we made friends with two of the security guards and proceeded to embark on a dorktastic photo-shoot of our own.

But somewhere between the thumbs down and ninja-kicks, God decided to grace us with a brief break in the fog and we were able to (with a little imagination and eye squinting) spot Central Park in the far distance.

After our Rockefeller fun, we caught the D train downtown and headed to our favorite NY Pizza joint, Joe's Pizza in Greenwich Village.

It was just as delicious as the last couple of times I'd been, and it made the perfect salty nibble before our venture down Bleecker Street to the famous Magnolia Bakery.

After galavanting around Greenwich Village, we headed down Manhattan toward Ground Zero.
I hate to say it but this ended up being the most disappointing part of our trip. I've been to visit Ground Zero at 2 different points previous to this past weekend, and both times was able to pay my respects by visiting the site where they had a platform/viewing area set up for those who were visiting. Both times I had been able to see/grieve/read about/pray and contemplate the deep sadness by looking into the site where the twin towers once stood. Visitors had the opportunity to, for FREE, be a part of sharing love and hope with those who were lost. It was emotional and raw and prominent. This time, 12 years after the attacks, I was looking forward to being able to view the beautiful waterfall memorials they'd built as a sign of respect for the fallen hero's and innocent men, women and children. I was looking forward to being able to breathe it all in and say prayers, and thank God for all that I have, and look into something that signified respect and appreciation. I was looking forward to seeing beauty where before I had only seen destruction. When we first arrived I noticed how the entire site of the twin towers is now a construction site where they're in the process of rebuilding 4 new Twin Tower buildings. Because of this there's an industrial fence surrounding it. Totally understandable. But It was this next discovered that upset me. There are no longer those viewing platforms with plaques or names or pictures or flowers. Instead, you have to follow a path to find the ticket vendor - where you must then PURCHASE a ticket/or tour/ or information pamphlet before you're able to see the memorial. After taking a minute to contemplate the significance of what happened where I was standing, and say a silent prayer, and snap a picture of the beautiful new Tower 1, I walked away. I walked away and contemplated how disgusting and disappointing it is that something so tragic, something that is such a huge part of our countries history, our countries unity, all of our lives - has been commercialized. Like paying to enter Disney World you must now pay to see the 911 Memorial. How very, very sad.
After  visiting Ground Zero, we strolled towards Battery Park and quickly hopped on the State Island Ferry. This was our final hurrah before boarding our train back to Albany that evening. And although I've been on the ferry multiple times, I still can't help but look forward to the simplicity and overwhelming beauty it offers. 
Of course a birds eye view of The Big Apple is spectacular, no one would deny that. But for me, there's just something magnificent about looking at somewhere so special from afar. Somehow it seems smaller. Reminding me of a cityscape in one of my childhood pop up books. Out there on the Staten Island Ferry, from far away in the distance, I can hold the whole city in my hand. Just like a big red apple. I can't wait to take a bite. It's good for my heart.


  1. It looks like you had a fantastic trip! I love the Phantom!

  2. currently catching up on your blog while I sip wine and am green with envy over your NYC trip! Looks like you had tons of fun!! :)

  3. Looks like you girlies had an AMAZING trip!!!! All the pictures of food have my stomach growling tonight!!! I hope we can visit NYC together someday Twinnie!!


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