Friday, October 24, 2008

Navigating New York (part 2)

October 18, 2008
The next day started out bright and early as you can tell from the last post.

I think we ended up leaving the hotel around 10:00 to 10:30 I can’t quite remember when. Our sites were set on the Empire State Building. On our way to our hotel the day before looking to the south we could see it standing tall and proud so we just decided to walk. We headed west on 42nd turning south on 5th and navigating in and out of traffic towards our destination. The thing about New York pedestrians is that lights really don’t mean anything.

You can go when it says stop and quite frequently have to stop when it says go due to cars continuing to turn or go through even though the light has changed. They are kind of there as a guidance, but not really used. Anyway, continuing down fifth avenue we observed all the sites, sounds, and smells believe me there are smells both good and bad (Cigarette smoke being the worst. Everywhere you went people were smoking. I may even have come back with lung cancer JK).

Suddenly the buildings no longer obscure the view and ESB comes in to view. From a ways away, you can see all the way to the top but when you are right next to it, the top pretty much disappears.

We entered into the building believing because we had a pass, (this is what the book told us anyway) that we would be able to skip the lines and go up pretty quick. Don’t believe everything you read because we were told we were required to wait in line with the rest of them. Fun stuff.

The nice thing is they really do keep you going pretty good. It was probably one of the fastest lines I have ever been in. Security was first then we proceeded to another line to wait to get tickets. Then again another line to wait for the elevator. (If you don’t like lines or elevators, I probably would recommend you stay away from here). After arriving at the elevator we were then packed in like a can a sardines which did nothing for my claustrophobia though I must admit I handled it pretty well. The elevator takes you up to the 80th floor. They are doing all kinds of construction there. Then you get out walk a ways and get on another elevator 6 more floors to the 86th floor observation deck.

Walking outside the air was bitter cold on every side of the building except the south. It was really weird but the wind was kind of blocked on that side and the sun was there. We all split up and just enjoyed the view coming back together occasionally and then spliting apart again.

The view was amazing but whenever I took a picture with my phone I had a fear shoot through my entire body because I just kept imagining it falling out of my hands and crashing 86 floors to the ground possibly killing someone in the process so I kept a tight hold when I was reaching out.

Especially for this picture looking straight down.
When we decided to leave we took the stairs down 6 flights of stairs then had to take the elevator the rest of the 80 floors down to the bottom.
We next decided to go to the NBC studio tour. We took the subway up to the rockafella center exit and made our way to into the building having to ask directions to where we were suppose to meet.

This was around 2:00 and the next tour started at 2:30 so we were walking around looking and hadn’t eaten lunch so there was a little shop there that sold muffins, bagels, and gourmet popcorn. I got a bagel which was really good and a mixed bag of popcorn for later (it was very good later also. Mmm mmm good. Cheese and caramel the best combination.
This is where they put the Christmas tree at Rockafella Center every year.

We started the tour in the very thing I hate, more elevators. They crammed 32 people into 2 regular sized elevators (because the space in Manhattan is so limited, every thing is crammed into the smallest spaces possible to make room for more. Crazy) Anyway. We went up to where they shoot the news and then went back on the elevator and went to another floor where they shoot Saturday night live.

It was kind of fun because they took us to a room with windows overlooking the set and some of the cast and guest members were down there practicing for that night. We then got back on the elevators and went to another floor where Miranda and another girl in our group got to pretend to be a news anchor and a weather girl. It was really funny because she totally got into it and they said they were sending her tape over to SNL for her to take over Tina Fays job. It was very funny and we could have bought it but it was $30 for something that didn’t even last a minute so we didn’t. After the tour we went to the gift shop and found many fun things to do with different shows.

I had been searching for a note book and found a Dunder Mifflin one (The Office for those who don’t know). It was a little more than I would have like to pay but I figure it would be kind of fun to have. We then went to the Rockafella Center tour which was kind of interesting but not at all what I had expected. The lady just took us around to different architectural sites there. Really cool but not what I thought it would be.
We had decided to have one really nice meal while there and I had been told by someone from there that they had Broadway specials that if you went before 6:30 you could get a 3 course meal for around $25.00. We started walking towards Broadway thinking the street should be somewhere nearby. We never found it. We found 2 restaurants with a 3 course meal for $30.00, but nothing too appealing. Miranda’s called her friend who had lived there and she recommended the Republic.

It was so good. At least mine was. I would highly recommend it. I had sliced porkchops with curry rice. Mmmm so good. We also tried this non alcoholic drink that had coconut and pineapple and I can’t remember what else but it was very good.

After dinner we looked around at some of the street vendor stuff. We also did a little shopping around in a couple of stores in that area. Michelle found a good coat but no luck in the shoe department for me. We then went and looked around Grand Central station because it is huge.

There are some steps there that tell people not to sit on them but everytime we went by there, people were sitting on them it was quite funny. Michelle breaking rules.

We made it back to the hotel around 9:00 thinking how lame we were to be in our hotel on a Saturday night in New York City instead of out and about but all of us were just so worn out from the day we decided to take it easy. I went down to the lobby for a bit and just enjoyed the atmosphere.

Later we watched SNL to see the skit for real that we had watched being practiced. It was really kind of dumb and not really worth watching. In the middle of the show my body suddenly jumped and I realized I had fallen asleep. It was my cue that it was time for me to go to bed.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Navigating New York (part 1)

Our adventure started Thursday October 12, 2008 at around 11:30 am. Miranda who was nice enough to drive, picked Michelle and I up at our house. We drove to Las Vegas pretty uneventfully arriving a little before the scheduled time. We stopped at In and Out Burger for a quick bite to eat before continuing on to her brothers house. He drove us to the airport and dropped us off. We checked in and got rid of our bags, proceed through our first of many security lines, and met Christina at our gate. The airline we flew on was Jet Blue. This being my first experience on this airline, I was quite excited. We boarded the plane and took off up into the air. The plane ride was nice but long.

When we arrived at JFK we gathered our bags at baggage claim and began to walk to the airtrain which would take us to our final destination of Manhattan. A shuttle bus guy named John stopped us telling us it wasn't good to take the subway and he would take us on a tour on the way to our hotel. We asked how much and the price was named at $20. Miranda being the amazing person she is ended up negotiating the price down to $12. Considering the subway would have been $7 and we didn't know exactly where we were going we decided on that. The shuttle was a large van that had 3 bench seats and 2 buckets up front. 3 people were already inside. We jumped in stopped on other place checking for people needing rides, then stopped for gas which was kind of weird because he only put 5 gallons in and I would have thought he should have done it before. Anyway then began the adventure of New York traffic.
For those who have never had the experience, its pretty exhilarating and a little okay a lot scary. Every bump we went over also caused us to bounce up into the air, there were a lot of bumps. We ended up with some pretty good laughs. So New York Traffic. Even at 11:30 at night, Crazy. There was a few times when I didn't know if we would make it, but we survived arriving at our first destination the Big Apple Hostel.

We unloaded our bags and made our way inside. This place was nothing spectacular, but I wasn't expecting much just a place to sleep for a few hours. We checked in. Our room was on the 6th floor. The elevator opened being quite small. We decided to take turns Miranda and Christina going first.

They got in with their stuff and the elevator moved. I decided the stairs were my best choice. Turning around, Michelle and I hiked up the 6 flights of stairs carrying our bags. It was an interesting experience reminding me of England all over again.
Our room it turned out was a small space with 2 sets of bunk beds in it. By this time it was about 12:15 am and we were a block away from Time Square.

After the exhilarating ride from the airport I knew there was no way I was sleeping anytime soon. So Miranda wanted to go see Times Square and I was all for it because its the best at night when its all lit up.

So all 4 of us walked the block to Time Square. New York absolutely never sleeps at least not when I was there. There is always something going on and Times Square was no difference. We were out there for an hour or so taking pictures and just walking around. Very eye opening for this small town girl.
We returned to the hostel to get some sleep. Michelle and I were planning on going to the Today Show in the morning. We probably got to sleep around 3:00 am. I should say attempted to sleep. I have this problem if there is light, I pretty much can't sleep. The blinds on the window really didn't do their job and between the lights and the noise of people working on the street, there wasn't much of a chance for sleep. Finally at 5:30 I gave up trying and got up and got ready. I woke Michelle up at 6:00 and then we walked over to the Today Show. One of my favorite things about New York (and I loved this about London also) is the fact that you can navigate around so easy and walk or take the subway everywhere.

We got there and found a space in the crowd where we could be seen if the camera happened to come our way. It was kind of cold but fun just being there. About 45 mins into the show Al Roker came out and started shaking peoples hands. A little while later Meredith Vieira and Matt Lauer came out also.

Al Roker made it around to us about 8:00 and shook my hand. Its was pretty cool. Then he stopped a little away from Michelle and did the weather and you could see me for a second and Michelle almost the whole time. It was so fun. We stayed for a few minutes more and then went back to the hostel to meet up with Miranda and Christina. The Grand Hyatt where we were spending the rest of our trip told us that we could check around 9 and if a room was available we could check in and if not we could leave our luggage there. So we stopped by a little shop by our hostel and ate breakfast. I had egg and sausage on a croissant with orange juice. It was quite good. We then walked to the Hyatt.

Checking at the front desk we found a room to be available. We were told to take 1 of the 5 last elevators. There were a lot of elevators. By the end of the trip, I ended up not minding them quite a much as before because everything is so tall, you pretty much have to take the elevator some time.

We got to our room and appreciated it so much more after what we had before. We dropped off our luggage and decided to go to the Statue of Liberty.

Our hotel is hooked onto Grand Central Station so we found our way to the subway and bought week long metro tickets. I had been warned about the subways there but I found them quite easy to maneuver and didn't mind them at all. The tunnels were a little hot though but the ride itself not bad. When we got down to our exit we got out and found the sports museum where we were to pick up our New York passes we had already bought. We then proceeded to the ferry line. It was huge. We probably waited 45 mins to an hour just waiting inline to get in a building. There a lot of people on the streets either playing music, singing, selling, all kinds of things. Once we got in the building we had to go through security. Metal detectors and all that fun stuff. Again the first of many. The water looked really choppy because the wind was blowing. I was a little afraid of getting motion sickness so Michelle let me have a Bonnie which is the less drowsing version of dramamine. Well combining an already sleepless night and motion sickness medicine (even the none drowsy form) makes for a very tired Emily. I absolutely loved it though.

The whole ferry ride. Seeing the New York skyline and the Statue was amazing. I just kept thinking of all those who came before me looking for something good and a sense of freedom and the vision they must have had after a long time on the sea. When the statue first came into view.

Wow. We got off on Liberty Island and walked around for awhile taking picture and enjoying it.

We then stood inline to get back on the ferry which would take us over to Ellis Island.

It was a pretty humbling experience to be there also.

When we got back to the docks of Manhattan, we decided since we were this close to go see ground zero.
We walked up the street and it was weird because it seems familiar. Then I realized this was probably the same street and had seen footage so many times before from when 9 11 happened.

It was pretty crazy. The area is pretty closed off but across the street they have a place where you can look out and view what is going on. While we were up there, a tour was going on so we eavesdropped in on the conversation. From what I take it the people who give tours there volunteer as a remembrance to fallen family members who lost their life on 9 11. She said I think it was her brother had the day off and was on his way to the beach when he heard what had happened and rushed back to help. She said everyone who went into the building knew they probably wouldn't make it back out alive but they did it anyway. That is how they were. He died there. It was very touching.

Then downstairs is a memorial to the American Express workers who died there. Its got all their names in a circle and a little thing their families wrote about them and then there are drops of water coming from the ceiling that look like tear drops. Its really neat.
We then decided we should probably head back up to get ready for the play. We rode the subway to Grand Central then went up to our room. I changed clothes and then tried to take a quick nap before heading out again. We walked up to Broadway stopping for a piece of pizza on the way. We had bought tickets for The Little Mermaid before leaving and were picking them up at will call.

The play was so neat even if I kind of fell asleep a couple of times. Some of the effects were so cool. The part where Eric is drowning the Ariel saves him, I still can't figure out how they got back to the bottom. Amazing.
After the play we went back to the hotel. After everyone got ready for bed I showered and got ready and fell asleep and slept a nice long sleep until Miranda woke me up at 9. I couldn't believe I had slept so long.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008


Today I made another realization of a fear I knew I already had, but was manifested again profusely. I work on the third floor of a building. I take the stairs everyday and only in very rare occasions do I take the elevator such as to help a patient down to their car. In all actuality, there is also a basement level which I can never quite remember where the door is to get to it because I use it so rarely. It is a parking level. Well the Doctor had left something in his car and so I was going to go get it. I decided on the elevator down because again I don't remember where the door is for the basement level and the stairs are kind of creepy that far down. So I pushed the button for the elevator. People got off and I got on by myself. The doors closed and there I stood waiting for it to move feeling a cold panic begin to grow. I do not like closed in spaces I cannot escape from. I slowly began my decent (this elevator is not the most reliant) hearing creaks and noises the whole way down. At the bottom, the doors did open and I made it out okay, but took the stairs back up to the top. Not even considering chancing it.

Why am I writing about this you may ask? Well in a few days I will be in New York City. While in New York, I will be entering the largest and highest elevator I have and probably will ever ride. The Empire State building. Now I guess this little experience with the elevator hopefully won't be a sign of things to come in my reaction area. In the area of everything being okay I am sure it will be. I have been told by quite a few people that it goes extremely fast and you are at the top before you know it. Just the thought of it kind of scares me. I would consider the stairs, but thats a whole lot of stairs and we are on a limited time budget. Oh well wish me luck!!!

Sunday, October 12, 2008

New obsession

I have a new obsession and it is not one I thought I would ever have. Karaoke on playstation. For all that know me I am really quite quiet and shy not really the all out girl. Well as of saturday at Dougs party, I was persuaded with much encouragement (and after everyone else had done it), to sing a song on the American Idol playstation game. I stood in front of everyone with my hands shaking as the music began. As soon as the lyrics started, everyone began singing with me. It was amazing because even though I was still nervous, the support of all behind me and that I was okay, just made it easier. Not that I will start up solos anytime soon because I am far from that, but it was fun.

After that we all started singing duets. This part of the game became my obsession. Not only singing which was so fun, but also just watching, listening, and even joining occasionally. We played for a while until Michelle and I had to leave requesting they continue over at our house because Michelle had to make dinner. Carrie brought the game over later but we didn't play that night.

The next night however, Kami wanted to sing so we all took turns singing solo and then began the night of duets. The thing about the game is I really don't know why it is such a addiction, but for some reason you just want to keeps singing and see if you can get better. Anyway. Just a little post for those of you who thought you would never see me kareoke, it may just happen.

Thursday, October 9, 2008

Things I have done

My sister-in law Lindsay just posted this to her blog and I thought it was fun. Plus most of it is not my writing which is good because I am not sure about this but I thought it might be fun for a start. The ones in bold are the things I have done. I have also discovered through this list that I have many things that I want to do. Some I put were in the plan and some I kept to myself. :)

1. Started your own blog
2. Slept under the stars
3. Played in a band
4. Visited Hawaii
5. Watched a meteor shower
6. Given more than you can afford to charity
7. Been to Disneyland
8. Climbed a mountain
9. Held a praying mantis
10. Sang a solo

11. Bungee jumped
12. Visited Paris (Its in the plan)
13. Watched a lightning storm at sea
14. Taught yourself an art from scratch
15. Adopted a child
16. Had food poisoning
17. Walked to the top of the Statue of Liberty (no but if they will let me next weekend I will.)
18. Grown your own vegetables
19. Seen the Mona Lisa in France (Again plan to)
20. Slept on an overnight train
21. Had a pillow fight
22. Hitch hiked
23. Taken a sick day when you’re not ill
24. Built a snow fort
25. Held a lamb

26. Gone skinny dipping
27. Run a Marathon
28. Ridden in a gondola in Venice (Plan)
29. Seen a total eclipse
30. Watched a sunrise or sunset

31. Hit a home run
32. Been on a cruise
33. Seen Niagara Falls in person
34. Visited the birthplace of your ancestors
35. Seen an Amish community

36. Taught yourself a new language
37. Had enough money to be truly satisfied
38. Seen the Leaning Tower of Pisa in person (Plan)
39. Gone rock climbing
40. Seen Michelangelo’s David
41. Sung karaoke
42. Seen Old Faithful geyser erupt
43. Bought a stranger a meal at a restaurant
44. Visited Africa (plan)
45. Walked on a beach by moonlight (no but I would like to)
46. Been transported in an ambulance
47. Had your portrait painted
48. Gone deep sea fishing
49. Seen the Sistine Chapel in person (plan)
50. Been to the top of the Eiffel Tower in Paris (plan)
51. Gone scuba diving or snorkeling
52. Kissed in the rain
53. Played in the mud
54. Gone to a drive-in theater
55. Been in a movie
56. Visited the Great Wall of China (would like to)
57. Started a business
58. Taken a martial arts class
59. Visited Russia
60. Served at a soup kitchen
61. Sold Girl Scout Cookies
62. Gone whale watching
63. Got flowers for no reason
64. Donated blood, platelets or plasma
65. Gone sky diving (would like to)
66. Visited a Nazi Concentration Camp
67. Bounced a check
68. Flown in a helicopter

69. Saved a favorite childhood toy
70. Visited the Lincoln Memorial
71. Eaten Caviar
72. Pieced a quilt
73. Stood in Times Square (I will have after next weekend)
74. Toured the Everglades
75. Been fired from a job
76. Seen the Changing of the Guards in London
77. Broken a bone
78. Been on a speeding motorcycle
79. Seen the Grand Canyon in person
80. Published a book
81. Visited the Vatican (I would like to)
82. Bought a brand new car
83. Walked in Jerusalem (I would love to)
84. Had your picture in the newspaper
85. Read the entire Bible
86. Visited the White House
87. Killed and prepared an animal for eating
88. Had chickenpox
89. Saved someone’s life
90. Sat on a jury
91. Met someone famous
92. Joined a book club
93. Lost a loved one
94. Had a baby
95. Seen the Alamo in person
96. Swam in the Great Salt Lake
97. Been involved in a law suit
98. Owned a cell phone
99. Been stung by a bee