Tag Archives: New York

Celebrating in NYC

When my friend Maria let it slip that she was talking to her daughters about going to New York with me for my birthday, I was touched and beside myself with excitement. Since moving to Jersey I had been wanting to go to the city. After not making it there to celebrate Christmas, I resolved to spend my birthday there even if I had to do it alone.
My initial plans were to ride the train and sightsee, but those plans changed when my friend joined the celebratory adventure, which also included another one of my good friends, Paula. I met both of these women in the writing group that meets at the Hamilton Library and they’ve become near and dear to my heart.

Once again I was unsure of what to wear. I’m still adjusting to dressing for East Coast weather. I’ve learned that layering is the best option.  How many layers do I wear so that my insides don’t shake without feeling like I’m in a personal sauna once the day starts to warm up?

Once I settled on four light layers on top and two layers on bottom, I left the house before sunrise. Once I met up with my friends, which also included Maria’s daughter Diana, we headed to the train station in Hamilton.

While I’ve ridden trains in Europe, I had never travelled on one domestically, so I was excited that we were taking the train. I even started jumping up and down like I do when I get excited about seeing or doing something new. Can’t help myself. Much to my delight, Maria told me that her birthday gift to me was that I could jump up and down as much as I wanted and she wouldn’t get embarrassed.
Best gift ever!


Our first destination after arriving at Penn Station was the TKTS booth in Times Square to purchase discounted tickets for a Broadway show. I had hoped to see my all-time favorite musical “Phantom of the Opera,” but I was the only one that wanted to see it, so I decided to save that for another time. We narrowed it down to the top three that we could all decide on and from that list I chose “Kinky Boots.”



Being in Times Square, we (I) had to take some pictures before we ventured out into the city. After snapping a few photos, we stopped at Starbucks to get a quick caffeine boost.


Maria picked out a coffee cup with NYC skyline on it for my birthday while we waited in line. It was the longest line I’ve ever stood in at a Starbucks, but it was in Times Square.


Once we ordered I realized I no longer had my debit card, so Paula graciously bought both of our green tea lattes.

I searched through my bag and pockets to no avail. I jokingly told Diana that maybe we should have gotten tickets for “The Play That Goes Wrong” instead since it seemed things were already going wrong. After a quick laugh, I cancelled the card and we returned to Starbucks.

I realized it was going to be too noisy to Facetime with my sister and nephews, so we ducked into the M&M store. My nephews were far more impressed with the massive amount of M&M’s that they could choose from than they were of the view of the city that I showed them from the second floor.


With an hour and half before needing to be at the show, Maria, Paula and I jumped into a cab so we could go see the 9/11 Memorial site and the “Fearless Girl” statue. It was the perfect place to Facetime my parents and nieces.


I didn’t see the 9/11 Memorial Site, “Reflecting Absence” the last time I had been in NYC for my 39th birthday with my sister. It was absolutely surreal. Water continuously flowed into what seemed like an abyss. It was evocative of senseless and endless loss and grief. We paid our respects and headed to see “Fearless Girl.”


Along the way we stumbled upon a studio full of sculptures! It was the Carole Feuerman Sculpture Studio. Such a pleasant surprise since we weren’t going to have to go to a museum. Her work was centered around swimmers in various poses. Some of it was in the form of larger than life sculptures, while other pieces were pop artesque images. Needless to say, I loved it!


After our detour to appreciate art, we found the “Fearless Girl” statue and “Charging Bull”. There was quite a crowd there posing and taking photos. We jumped in and did the same.


Our ride back to Times Square via taxi was far more scenic. Even saw the Brooklyn Bridge as we rushed back to see “Kinky Boots.”


I was so excited to be seeing my first Broadway show AND on my birthday! While it wasn’t my first choice, I loved it! We laughed harder than I’ve laughed in a long time and teared up at some poignant moments. It was funny, but touched the heart in an unexpected way. And the boots were absolutely fabulous!


As the day was winding down, we still needed to eat. Of course I was craving Mexican food like I always am. We found one place in Hell’s Kitchen, but it wasn’t open yet. While we waited, we stopped at Mickey Spillane’s to get a margarita and snacked on chips and guacamole.

It was worth the wait to get into Ponche Taqueria. We all ordered something different. I had their chicken enchiladas with tomatillo sauce with the Coronas that Paula and I were sharing.

The last destination I had planned for the day was to go to Serendipity to have cheesecake like my sister and I had done during our trip. Given the time and delays on the subway, we decided we should hop back on the train to Hamilton.



What a day y’all! I couldn’t have asked for a better way to celebrate my birthday than to spend the day in NYC with my friends!


 

 

Exploring New York

As we drove north through Jersey en route to upstate New York, I started to see the urban industrial side of the state. Quite a contrast to the softer side of Jersey that I’ve been exposed to so far with the beaches and the country side that is almost an emerald green color and very plush.  
Crossing the NJ/NY state line was a first for me. We got on a stretch of highway called the New York State Thruway (which made me wonder why they didn’t just spell it out, perhaps it was a budget thing). Along the way we passed through the exit for Woodstock! Yes, that Woodstock! Peace, love & rock-n-roll! Made me want to throw up a peace sign. Thought that would be silly, so I checked in on FB and used the ✌️emoticon instead.  

Saw the Albany skyline as well! And passed over the Eerie Canal as we drove over the Thaddeus Kosciusko Bridge, which please don’t ask me to pronounce because I would have no clue how to say the last name that starts with a “K”.   
After about 4 hours of driving we made it to a mountainous region called the Adirondacks, which is yet another word I struggle with to pronounce for some reason, the same way I struggle with pronouncing the word “rural”. And I grew up in a rural area! I referred to it as the country just so I wouldn’t have to say the “r”

word.  
I may have oohed and awed more than I’d like to admit driving through the mountains. And I’m pretty sure I used “wow” countless times the entire weekend! 
But what caught my eye immediately as we approached it was the brightest blue (almost a cobalt blue) body of water I’ve ever seen, with the exception of the Mediterranean Sea. It was breathtaking and serene at the same time. It was a portion of the 32-mile long Lake George and it was intoxicating!
Of course we had to pull off to take a few pictures!
Once we arrived and settled into our room in Ticonderoga, we drove around to explore the town. Drove out to see Fort Ticonderoga, which was closed.  
As we drove back to our room, saw a waterfall nestled downhill in the Municipal Park that fed into the short La Chute River. Had to stop and walk around, climb up the rocks and explore the park, which also had a small monument honoring French explorer, Samuel de Champlain, who joined with the natives to fight the Battle of Ticonderoga 
The next morning, got up to take a trail ride through the mountains on horseback. Halfway there, got a flat tire. In the mountains! I’ve learned that’s a terribly inconvenient place for that to happen. No shoulder to pull off on and the area we were in had nothing but Private Roads, which is where we pulled off.    
I had a little experience changing a tire. Started to get to work and Lo and behold, the property owners pulled up. And we were blocking the driveway. I had already pulled out all of the tools and in the process of getting the spare off of the back. Fortunately the dad, his 2 college age sons & their friend were willing to lend a hand or hands in this case. Grateful they offered to help and were incredibly friendly and chatty while they worked.
Only took an extra hour to get to the stables, which I was hoping wouldn’t make us have to wait too long to ride. Luckily it didn’t. I was a little nervous. Haven’t rode a horse in about 20 years. So the young female guide gave me a horse for beginners and told me to step in the stirrup & throw my leg over like I would a bicycle (and I thought a really, really wide and hairy bicycle).  
The hour long trail ride wasn’t quite as scenic as the website led us to believe, but it was peaceful and quiet, except for the lady behind me that kept verbally scolding her horse for stopping and trying to plants and trees constantly.  
There was a few times that my horse slipped on rocks and gave me a queasy feeling. I pictured he horse collapsing like a one of those vintage, wooden collapsible horse toys that I had played with as a kid doll me scrambling to fall in a way that I wouldn’t get hurt. Started to wonder why horse shoes didn’t have rubber traction on them like tennis shoes. But I don’t know much about horse shoes or horses, so maybe that was normal.   
Once we took a touristy pic on the horse, dismounted and headed to Hague for a late lunch. Had wanted to do a little shopping for a souvenir there too, but discovered they only had two shops. And they were out of my price range, but I did buy 2 postcards to send to my nephews.  
After a few hours of rest, went to dinner at a local BBQ place in Ticonderoga. Disappointed in how slow the service was, but enjoyed the deli-thin slices of brisket. Had a nice flavor.  
Sunday we decided to head to Vermont, which I wrote about in a previous post.
Upon returning to Ticonderoga, we didn’t have time to tour the fort. Instead we checked out the Ticonderoga Fire Hall

of Flame Museum. It has quite an impressive collection, including a firetruck in the midst of a large room full of records, (including a ledger from the 1800’s), photographs, equipment & #gear that the volunteer firefighters there have worn over the years! ❤️🚒
Our last stop was Mount Defiance. Oh my goodness! What a view! You can see Vermont, Lake Champlain and Fort Ticonderoga, which must have been having a reenactment, because you could hear cannons being fired and see smoke.  
After climbing around the top of mountain and soaking it all in, we started making our way back to Jersey! 
 3 states in 3 days!   Whew!   What a weekend y’all!