Monday, December 2, 2013

New York! New York!

I'd like to think that most people have an ongoing list in their head of places they want to visit in their lifetime. It's good to have goals! Since some of these destinations could be ridiculous dreams that will never come to fruition, it's helpful to keep one list that's more realistic. My own is a list of U.S. cities. I love traveling and it's motivating to have some reasonable vacations in my future sights.

This time last year, I was able to check New York City off that list. We found out that my sister and I had the opportunity to meet up with my dad at the tail end of a business trip and quickly booked flights. Thrilled, pumped, ecstatic are just a few words that come to mind. I think you could spend years in NYC and not see it all!

We flew into NYC just after Thanksgiving and a few weeks before Christmas. The shops and office buildings were DECKED out in Christmas lights and holiday attire. I could not get my fill of lights, sparkles and twinkling. The city felt just magical.

                    Ten New York City Must Sees

Times Square
This is classic NYC, what you see in the movies and on TV and in books. Lights, endless noise, the never sleeping city. But again, its magical. You feel like a small, small person in a big world! It is fun people watching, shopping and we loved all the different characters walking around.

FAO Schwarz
Life sized toys and goodies as far as the eye can see. Every kid's dream!

Madison Square Garden
We took a trip to Madison Square Garden mainly because my sister wanted to see the One Direction pop up store. While my dad and I cringed a bit, this was the one thing she requested. The store itself was a sight... girls' signatures all over the walls, life sized images of the One Direction band members. Holy cow. The silver lining was that we were quickly ushered into the store because they were filming a movie outside. We were able to watch from the front windows as Vince Vaughn did two takes of a scene!

Top of the Rock - Rockefeller Plaza
Gorgeous view and definitely worth the $25 ticket to ride up to the top. There was a bit of cloud cover but again, it was worth seeing. The window displays in Rockefeller Plaza and the short holiday video on the side of the Saks building across the street were also incredible!

9-11 Tribute
This was the one activity that we had to stand in a long line for. I can't imagine what it might be like in the middle of summer! The memorial was somber and very beautiful. While there isn't a ton to look at, the memories of the things that passed there are enough to give you pause to be thankful for the people important to you.

Statue of Liberty
When we visited, Ellis Island was closed. However, we still made the trip to see Lady Liberty and ended up taking the free Stanton Island Ferry. The view was great and we didn't have to shell out gobs of money for it!

Madam Tussaud's Wax Museum
We loved this place. We took a ton of pictures next to historical figures, celebrities and professional athletes. Our two favorite moments? First, when us girls came back from the bathroom to find my dad sitting stone faced while two people sat next to him taking a picture. They got quite the scare when he started cracking up! The second was when we created a line, waiting for a photographer to finish taking a picture of the Spice Girls. Turns out the photographer was a wax figure too..

Central Park
We took a brisk walk around with one of our many cups of Starbucks and enjoyed some nature in the big city.

St. Patrick's Cathedral
My dad really wanted to hear Cardinal Doland say mass at this iconic church. Because of how large the parish is (New York is the second largest Catholic community and archdiocese behind LA), they don't advertise which priest is saying each mass. When the Cardinal was walking down, my dad whispered excitedly, "he's here! It's him!" The mass was wonderful!

Broadway (Lion King)
We wanted to do at least one Broadway show and this was one that all of us wanted to see! Lion King was a favorite childhood movie and the show just happened to be celebrating its anniversary. A day before our show, we got to walk through an exhibit that showed the different costumes and sets. It made it so cool to see the show and understand how the lion heads and other set pieces worked. The show itself was marvelous!!

One of many beautiful window displays              Times Square with some characters                             Rockefeller Plaza

                    J.T. at the Wax Museum                                                    One Direction Pop-up Store at Madison Square Garden

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