A blog about my life, fitness and fun! (...and maybe a few cat pictures...)

A blog about my life, fitness and fun! (...and maybe a few cat pictures...)

Sunday, July 15, 2018

NYC Wrap Up

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One of the reasons I was so excited for this trip was because we were taking the train. I didn't have to drive!

We left Harrisburg in the morning and got to see my dad for a few minutes at the station. He's a car inspector for Amtrak. I feel pretty safe riding the train because I know my Daddio makes sure it's safe! 

The train ride flew by, which is always nice. I spent most of the time playing around on my phone and listening to podcasts. I also watched CNN on my phone because I was fascinated by the rescue of the Thai soccer team.

I'm going to complain a little here. I did not feel good at all for this whole trip. I had a very severe sore throat accompanied by a headache, fatigue, and the hot/cold flash thing going on. It was not fun. But I rallied and tried not to complain too much because I wanted Paul to enjoy the trip as well. As soon as I got home on Wednesday night, I went to Urgent Care and found out I had strep. No wonder I felt terrible! So just keep in mind... all this running around in NYC... I had strep the whole time!

When we arrived at Penn Station, we took the subway up to West 86th to check in at The Belnord Hotel. The more I go to NYC, the more comfortable I am with the subway. We love The Belnord and it is the only place we stay when we are in the city. It's clean, at a convenient location to the subway and Central Park, and it's in a very safe neighborhood. The only downside is that the rooms are very small, but I imagine that is the case for most hotels in the city, unless you spend an insane amount of money. Our Tuesday night stay was $199, which I don't think is bad at all.

After checking in, we got a quick snack and iced coffees at the Starbucks around the corner. 

Then we headed downtown to check out The High Line. I never heard of this place before, but it was recommended to me. According to Google, The High Line is “a 1.45 mile-long elevated linear park, greenway, and rail trail. It was created on a former New York City Central Railroad spur on the west side of Manhattan."

It was so interesting! There were trees, flowers, places to sit, views, and artwork. It was quite hot out but luckily there were many shaded parts.

While we were on The High Line, I ran into my friend Barb, who I used to work with. We could not believe the odds that we ran into each other!

After that, we walked in the direction of midtown, since that's where our events were that night. We found the perfect little place for dinner that wasn't busy at all. I couldn't wait to have a cool, refreshing drink. It felt so good on my throat! We both ordered crab cakes and garlic fries. The crab cake wasn't the best ever but everything was good.

Come on, we're from Pennsylvania. You don't have to put the ketchup in a dish!

After dinner, it was time to say goodbye, which was really weird! Paul was heading to Madison Square Garden to see Radiohead and I was heading to The Stephen Sondheim Theater to see Beautiful. 

Guys, let's just say I had THE BEST SEAT I EVER HAD FOR A BROADWAY SHOW! I knew the seat would be great, (I splurged and got 5th row on the aisle! I LOVE being up close.) but I didn't know just how great it would be. It just so happened, that in front of my row, there was an aisle! So I wasn't scrunched in the tiny theater seats, I could stretch and cross my legs! I was so thankful because most of the time after sitting in a cramped space for a show, my ITB or my hips are jacked up for a couple days. This row was for ATHLETES!


 Look at the poor guy in the row behind me. He's got those long legs and he's so scrunched!

I really had no clue what to expect from the show, but I knew I would like it because I like all Broadway shows! Carole King was played by Melissa Benoist, who has been on Glee and also stars as Super Girl on television. She was very good as the lead and even sounded like Carole King when she sang. While I'm sure some things in the show were over dramatized, I feel like I learned a lot about how Carole got started in her songwriting career. 

I also didn't realize how many popular songs she wrote! Here is a list or her popular ones... I'm sure you have heard of MANY!

I Feel The Earth Move
One Fine Day
The Loco-Motion
Take Good Care of My Baby
Up on the Roof
Will You Still Love Me Tomorrow
Go Away Little Girl
It Might As Well Rain Until September
(You Make Me Feel) Natural Woman
Pleasant Valley Sunday
You've Got A Friend
Some Kind of Wonderful
It's Too Late

My favorite parts of the show are when the four men playing The Drifters or the four women playing The Sharelles performed. Such tight harmonies and dancing! Seeing the show just made me so happy. It is uplifting to see a cast, crew, and orchestra come together to put on something amazing.

After the show, I got to walk through Times Square on my way to the subway station. It was PACKED.

Before going back to the hotel, I searched on Google Maps for an Urgent Care Center. My throat just hurt so bad. I was lucky that there was a center opened until midnight one block from my hotel. I was unlucky in that  I decided not to get treated because they checked my insurance, and since I was out of network, my insurance company required me to call first to get it approved. Well, it was 10:30 at night so obviously I couldn't call the insurance company! An exam would be $125 out of pocket plus whatever tests they did. I knew I would probably need a strep test, and who knows how much those cost... So I decided to suck it up and wait until I got home to see the doctor.

I went to bed feeling like death. It was hard to sleep due to the pain. I was still awake when Paul got home from his concert. He had an AWESOME time. He loves Radiohead so much! Here are some pictures from his night...

The next morning, I woke up at 6:30. I didn't feel as bad as the night before but I didn't feel good. You are going to think I'm crazy, but I went for my 6 mile run anyway. (Okay, I guess the runners who read this won't think I'm crazy.) I just didn't want to miss an opportunity to run in New York and I had an interesting route picked out!


First, I ran a couple blocks over to Central Park. West Drive was bustling with runners and cyclists. I ran North on West Drive for several blocks. Then I took an interesting little path that was an offshoot of West Drive. (I never ran anywhere but the main loop in Central Park because all my other runs were in the winter when it was dark out in the morning.)

Then I got back on West and ran until I got to the Northern tip of the park. I had to run a couple more blocks North in the city so I could reach my next destination: The iconic coffee shop from Seinfeld!

I also passed a pretty cathedral...

Then I ran a couple blocks West to Riverside Park and ran South from there. It was nice and shaded and at some parts I could see the Hudson. There was a path that went right along the Hudson but it was right out in the sun and my head head already was hot and cloudy.

Here is my route. I stopped my watch halfway through so that's why it's two different runs.

After my run, Paul and I went out for his Birthday Breakfast! That's right, today was his birthday! We went to a cute French cafe about a block away. I had salmon on a bagel with cream cheese, tomatoes, and capers. Paul had French toast, fresh fruit and VERMONT MAPLE SYRUP!

Then we checked out of our hotel and popped into Penn Station to store our bags before heading downtown to the financial district. We were toying around with going to the 9/11 Museum or just the memorial. We chose to do the memorial. I do want to go to the museum someday, but it's not the kind of thing Paul wanted to do on his birthday, and I don't blame him. It was sobering enough to be at the memorial.

One World Trade Center

 The North Reflecting Pool

These are the only two pictures I took at the memorial because I appreciate the fact that it is basically a cemetery. Thousands of Americans' remains are essentially buried there. I saw people posing for pictures and taking selfies. I thought that was very tacky.

I can't explain what it is like to be at the memorial. My first thought seeing it is that the flowing water reminded me of tears. It was also quite huge. Then I remembered that there were two pools. The huge open space where the towers stood really made you feel the sense of loss and absence. Not just of the buildings, but of the lives.

From 911memorial.org:

The National September 11 Memorial is a tribute of remembrance and honor to the 2,977 people killed in the terror attacks of September 11, 2001 at the World Trade Center site, near Shanksville, Pa., and at the Pentagon, as well as the six people killed in the World Trade Center bombing in February 1993.
The Memorial’s twin reflecting pools are each nearly an acre in size and feature the largest manmade waterfalls in North America. The pools sit within the footprints where the Twin Towers once stood. Architect Michael Arad and landscape architect Peter Walker created the Memorial design selected from a global design competition that included more than 5,200 entries from 63 nations.
The names of every person who died in the 2001 and 1993 attacks are inscribed into bronze panels edging the Memorial pools, a powerful reminder of the largest loss of life resulting from a foreign attack on American soil and the greatest single loss of rescue personnel in American history.

All the names of the innocent people who died on 9/11 were on the memorial. Paul and I made it a point to read the names of the people where we were standing. I picked out a woman's name and Googled her. Denise Marie Gregory. She was born in Jamaica and died in the North Tower at the age of 39. Her picture depicted a young woman with a huge smile.

When I got home I researched the memorial and I learned the reason the names were not listed alphabetically. The names were placed next to people they worked with or were friends with. They lived together and died together. 

Then Paul and I talked about where we were on 9/11. We didn't stay long, but we did make sure to do what you were supposed to do there: Reflect, remember, and honor the poor victims.

After such a heavy activity, we did something much lighter. We took the Staten Island Ferry. This activity was recommended to me because it is free and you get a good view of the city and the Statue of Liberty!

The ferry ride was fine but I got super annoyed. It was pretty crowded and people were NOT respecting personal space. One woman put her kid on her lap even though she was right next to me and by putting the kid on her lap, it made the kid's legs lean against mine. Then when Paul and I were standing at the railing looking at the water, a girl squeezed in next to me with her camera, trying to take pictures. I couldn't move or I would bump her expensive camera. The wind was blowing her hair in my face. I was so annoyed that I said to Paul loudly, "I'm really squished, I'm going to go sit down." 

One cool thing that happened on the way back to NYC was that a Coast Guard speed boat zipped passed us several times, making sharp turns and creating white waves in the water. The dude on the front of the boat had what looked like a machine gun or other automatic weapon propped on the front! It made me a little uncomfortable and I hoped the gun wasn't loaded!

After the ferry ride, we walked around Battery Park for a bit.

Then we walked along the river to South Street Seaport. We got the see The Brooklyn Bridge. We had considered walking across but I heard it gets really crowded, and by this point in the trip, I was SO. OVER. CROWDS.

Soon it was time to head back to the train station for our trip home. I was very ready to go back. I love NYC but I could never live there or visit there for long. I get to the point where the crowds and the noise is just too much. I'm happy to visit for an overnight once or twice a year, but that's enough for me. I'm not sure when our next trip will be but I do want to keep exploring the city and visit some of the other boroughs!

What are your favorite things to do in NYC?
Do you think you could live there?
Have you ever been to the 9/11 Museum or Memorial?


  1. What a fun trip! I think I would have loved that show you saw. I am sorry you got strep, though. You are such a trooper for sticking it out. I really don't think I could live in NY. I feel so spoiled in Colorado with the weather, the climate, the mountains and space to breath and be active! I think city life would be a challenge!

    1. NYC doesn't hold a candle to CO. You stay right where you are!

      Yes, you would LOVE Beautiful! If the national tour ever comes to Denver, you have to go see it. Hey, I just looked it up for you, it will be in Denver in Sept!!!


      There's tickets available for every night!

    2. OMG, I just got us tickets! Thank you -- we (well I) have already planned a full day for us in Denver! I can't wait to see it!

    3. Yessssss!!!!!!I am so Happy you are going to see it!!!

  2. Other than you being sick, this sounds like a great trip! I think I would love to live in NYCn(if I could afford it). I seriously don't know how some people do it!

    I will have to check out that hotel you mentioned. I am hoping to visit again perhaps in August.

    I will say that we stayed at a really nice hotel last time (the Hilton Millenium) and it too was a very tiny room. It was actually right across from the 911 memorial so we got to see that , and I will agree it was quite somber.

    That is so funny that you saw a friend/ex-coworker there. One year my mom and I were on a cruise (out of NYC) and shortly after boarding I heard this voice I recognized in the lobby and I turned around to see it was a teacher who teachers across the hall from me! We ended up hanging out with her and her husband (who also teaches at our school) during the cruise. And if you think that is ironic, back in 2015 I saw another co-worker as we were boarding another cruise ship and this one was in Virginia....What are the odds?

    1. I don't know how people afford it either. My guess is they're either really rich, they live in an outer borough, or they have like 5 roomies. I couldn't do it!

      That is so funny you saw the same couple twice! It is a coincidence, but maybe not if you guys scheduled your cruises around days you have off work?

  3. I can't believe you did all this while you were sick!! how did you deal with the pain? I hope you are feeling better.

    Happy Belated birthday to Paul!! You just had a birthday too, didn't you? Was this a trip to celebrate both of your birthdays?

    The Staten Island Ferry is pretty cool, we rode it a few years ago when we went for a concert. It's one of the best views of the statue of liberty.

    I get what you are saying about the 9/11 memorial. When we went to visit the Memorial in PA, I only took 1 picture, it felt disrespectful to take more picture of a place where so many were killed. It was a very somber experience.

    1. Well, I felt like I was swallowing glass shards no matter what. So, if I was laying in bed swallowing glass shards, I may as well be out running while swallowing shards. Or drinking sangria with shards. Or seeing a Broadway show with shards. We really just spent so much money on this trip I had to rally.

      Yes we both had birthdays and this was a birthday trip/vacation. No b-day presents this year. Our presents were going to the concert (paul) and broadway (me). My bday is the 8th and Paul the 11th.

      I would really like to see the memorial in PA. It's so freaking crazy, 9-11. It is just still so unimaginable.

    2. Also, I was at IUP on 9/11 which was 58 miles from the flight 93 crash sight. Isn't that crazy?

    3. That is crazy!! I was in Penn State, and somebody came into my Anthropology class and told us that the military was trying to shut down a plane that was flying over us at that current moment, we didn't believe him... but that was Flight 93!! it gives me chills to think about it.

  4. Wow, that's a cool trip! I have never been to NYC, but seeing your pics totally makes me want to go. Sometimes I see pictures and it's of things that really turn me off (crowds, cars, too much stuff everywhere) but it looks like you saw some really nice things. Kudos to you on making it so far feeling like crap. Strep is awful! I hope you are feeling a bit better now with some rest. I agree - I would have went out for a run too. Don't want to pass that opportunity up! :)

    1. We just spent too much money on the trip for me to bail on stuff due to being sick. I had to rally. And luckily, I am on summer break so I knew I could come home and just relax. I knew you would understand the running thing! You should totally go to NYC sometime if you can. Look, I found somewhere you can camp in Brookyln! https://www.recreation.gov/camping/camp-gateway-brooklyn-ny/r/campgroundDetails.do?contractCode=NRSO&parkId=72324

      Then take the subway in!

  5. WOW that train looks so nice! We don't really have trains here - well actually one just opened that goes between downtown Fort Lauderdale and downtown Miami. Soon it's going to extend to Orlando which will be nice I guess. I just want to ride it and see what it's like. That train you're on looks nicer than all the trains we rode in Europe, even when we upgraded to "first class" train tickets which just basically meant quiet cabins.

    "... it made the kid's legs lean against mine" OMG I'm so annoyed for you. I hate when strangers sit so close they are touching you. The hair thing is so annoying too. I would have said "excuse me I need to move because your hair is blowing in my face." I have long hair more often than short hair and I'm so conscious of my hair in wind because I know it can blow onto someone and that would drive ME crazy to have someone's hair blow onto me. So many people are oblivious though.

    You are such a trooper and a good wife! You did so much with strep and I know you felt like hell. Paul is blessed.

    1. Is it an Amtrak train that opened?

      Amtrak is very comfortable. The wifi on my phone worked great but my lap top it was terrible. That was one downside. But it's roomier than flying.

      I want to add that the kid was like 6. It wasn't a kid that NEEDED held, otherwise I would not complain about that. And the girl with the hair KNEW she was in my space. She just wanted her shots. Omg I am mad just thinking about it.

      I am the one that is blessed to have Paul. Just believe me, okay?

    2. Hmm the new train is a Brightline I think. The pictures make it look beautiful!

      You are lucky to have each other!

  6. I just realized: the last time I was in NYC was before 9/11, so I haven't seen the Memorial or anything .Time to go back.

    It's awesome that you were able to take the train into the city... but I am sorry you didn't feel quite right on this trip. That sucks. It looks like you made the best of it though.