Saturday, June 12, 2010

I ♥ NY

We recently took a weekend trip to New York to visit Ryan's cousin Joseph and his wife Bianca. We love these two and had a great time visiting them in Virginia 2 years ago but they have since migrated north to the Bronx while working in Manhattan so of course we had to visit again! They were such gracious hosts as always and we had a fabulous time. Here goes!

After another early wake up call of 4am we boarded a 7am flight to NY (I'm really reconsidering these early flights). It was so fun to finally see Manhattan under us just before we landed.

Bianca was kind enough to come get us and then we experienced the reality of New York traffic....possibly worse than LA :) She and Joseph are pro's though!

She had to work so we took the train into the city. Little known fact but I love taking the train/subway in big cities so imagine my excitement when got off the train and walked into Grand Central Station!
It was so neat to see this building that I've only seen in movies. The ceiling and details were beautiful.
Another surreal moment came when we opened the door to exit the station and were all the sudden right smack in the middle of NYC and staring up to giant skyscrapers.

Next we met Joseph for a minute then did a little exploring on our own.

We stopped at Rockefeller Plaza where all the NBC stuff is
Then on to Central Park. We rented a rowboat and took it out on the lake. The weather was perfect and the scenery was beautiful. There were even little turtles swimming around the lake.
After the park we took the subway down to the bottom of Manhattan where we took the Staten Island Ferry past the Statue of Liberty. Tickets to go up to the crown were sold out until September so we settled with a boat ride past.It also provided a good view of the south end of the island

Afterwards we met up with Joseph and Bianca and attended the Manhattan Temple.
Another cool moment on our way to the temple was when we got off the subway and climbed the stairs up to the street. The first thing you see is the beautiful Angel Moroni atop the temple. Definitely an inspired location :)
Afterwards we enjoyed a yummy dinner from the popular Shake Shack and took a drive through Time Square.

The next day we slept in then the girls enjoyed a morning of pedicures while the boys bonded over a video game. Then the 4 of us headed back into the city. We had a fantastic lunch of pizza and wings at La Bella
then enjoyed an afternoon of sightseeing. We did a TON of walking and I think I've learned my lesson about not wearing flip flops on walking vacations :)

We stopped at Union Square where the farmers market and art vendors were out. This weird building was across the street and actually had smoke coming out of it...not sure why.

Another stop was at the site of the World Trade Center.
It was kind of disappointing because it's been 9 years and there is still just a fence and some signs, no memorial yet.

We got a laugh out of one of the solutions to lack of parking

After a walk by Ryan's favorite type of buildings

we took a walk across the Brooklyn Bridge.

View of the city skyline from the bridge

Joseph and Bianca had a reception to attend in Brooklyn so Ryan and I took the subway back to Time Square which was very cool. Another "surreal/from the movies" moment.
Afterward we met back at Grand Central and took the train home.

Sunday we attended church with them and experienced a whole new kind of diversity. And I thought Michigan was outside the "Utah norm". We must have been 4 of maybe 10 caucasian members. I thought it was great though. There were so many different nationalities and personalities it really added to the meeting. It's true though, although the members may look different, the church really is the same throughout the world. I'm a big fan of that :)

That evening we had a yummy group effort dinner and enjoyed a great night of chatting and board games. We were sad to see the weekend end so quickly but the next morning came and we had a plane to catch. The plus however was the airline moved us into their version of first class when Ryan asked for extra leg room...not too shabby :)

We had an awesome time and loved spending time with J&B. Can't wait to start planning our next adventure!