Enjoy the little things for one day you may look back and realize they were the big things — Robert BraultPosts RSS Comments RSS

Archive for the Tag 'new york'

The Final Day

Yesterday was our last day in New York. We got up early for a tour of the NBC studios at Rockefeller Center. No pictures were allowed. NBC claims that everything in the building is under copyright. Okay…yeah…sure.

Anyway, it was a fun tour. We got to see the MSNBC studios during a live broadcast, and we visited the NBC Nightly News set. For me, the highlight of the tour was the Saturday Night Live studio. SNL isn’t taping during the summer, so the studio was temporarily being used for other purposes. However, you could still view the three SNL stages: (1) where musical guests perform, (2) the main stage where the opening monologue happens, and (3) a staging area for the more complicated or “messy” sketches.

After the SNL set tour, the group was ushered into a sound stage that looked like a newsroom. They asked for volunteers. I raised my hand and got to conduct the weather report for a fake newscast. Reading the teleprompter while trying to watch the monitor (which shows a flipped image) was difficult, but fun. I now have more respect for the weathermen — haha!

Following the NBC tour, we went to the “top of the Rock” to get a glimpse of New York city from 70 stories up. The top of the Rockefeller building gives you glorious 360 degree views of the city. It was gorgeous up there.

New York skyline and Empire State Building

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Central Park

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Gary pinching the top of the Empire State Building

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Rockefeller Plaza Area

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After leaving the Rockefeller Center area, we grabbed a late lunch at one of the local cafes, walked around Times Square and headed to the airport. It was a great day and a fun trip.   New pictures are available in the “photos” section of the blog.

On Monday, I was back at work. Gary had the day off so of course I was jealous. I really wished I could take another day off, but work is crazy right now. Two days of vacation was all I could take.

Anyway, I made it through the day without losing my “vacation aura”, then headed to the first rehearsal for SNL. I’m really happy with our cast and sketches for the show this year. I think it’s going to be great! Mark your calendars — October 3 and 4. You don’t want to miss it!

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Saturday in the City

One of the fabulous things about New York City is the shopping. If you can’t find it here, then it probably doesn’t exist. The selection and range of the stores in this city are outstanding (especially along 5th Avenue). I was telling Gary today that it would be fun to come back for a “shopping” tour of the city. Ah, I could do some serious damage in the stores here.

We visited the world’s largest store, Macy’s on 7th Avenue, this afternoon. It boasts one million square feet of shopping space — a girl’s dream! My main goal was to find some comfortable shoes that wouldn’t further irritate the blisters on my feet, and while I was there I couldn’t resist doing some additional shopping. Yeah, I’ll be bringing home some great “souvenirs” from Macy’s. ;)

Although shopping was fun, the real highlight of the day was our trip to Ground Zero. After exiting the Subway, it was obvious where we needed to go. A huge empty gap marked the space where the buildings once stood.

You can’t see much at this point. Ground Zero is a large hole that is slowly being filled in by new construction. Freedom Tower will replace the World Trade Center buildings that were destroyed on 911. Construction should be complete by 2012. The new tower will pay homage to the twin towers in several ways. The base of the Freedom Tower will be 200 feet square — the same dimensions as the original towers. The observation deck will be at 1,362 feet: the height of World Trade Center Tower Two. The glass parapet will be at 1,368 feet: the height of World Trade Center Tower One. Freedom Tower along with three other WTC towers, retail development and a performing arts center will occupy 8 of the 16 acres that previously held the collapsed World Trade Center buildings. An 8-acre landscaped Memorial Plaza also will be erected as a place for people to reflect on the events of 911.

As we walked around the site today, memories of that day flooded back into my mind. I know exactly where I was and what I was doing when it happened. I watched live on TV as the second building fell to the ground. It was one of the most horrific things I’ve witnessed. I can’t explain the feeling I had today as I walked around looking at what’s left of the site where so many people lost their lives. All I can say is that it was truly a moving experience.

Where the buildings used to stand…the sky seems empty without them:

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Ground Zero as it looks today:

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Bored in the subway:

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I’ll be loading more pictures onto the “photos” section in the next couple of days. A few from yesterday’s photo tour are up now, but I haven’t had time to upload all of them yet. Check back tomorrow for updates.

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Friday in The Big Apple

We got up early this morning for a walking tour with a private guide. This two-hour tour takes you through some of the most exciting scenic attractions in the city including Central Park, Times Square, the Brooklyn Bridge, SOHO, and Greenwich Village. It’s a good way to see New York, get restaurant tips, understand the subway systems, and learn the history of the city. The thing that makes this tour unique is that the guide happens to be a photographer. He takes snapshots during the tour so that you have lots of great pictures when you get home.

It was a fabulous tour, and we really enjoyed the experience. When I get the pictures tomorrow, I’ll add them to the photos section of the blog. If you’re planning a trip to New York, I highly recommend it: www.phototrektours.com.

After the tour, we ended up in Greenwich Village. It’s a lovely area in New York filled with older buildings, cafes, and trees (which seem to be rare outside of central park). We ate lunch and strolled around for a few hours. It was nice to experience a quieter, more laid back part of New York.

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After all the walking yesterday and today, I developed some bad blisters on my feet (the price you pay for wearing cute heels instead of tennis shoes). On the way back to the hotel, we decided to rest in a Mac store. We sat near this blonde guy who was focused on his “crack berry.” A store employee approached our neighbor and asked the standard question.

“Can I help you with anything?”

The guy responds with, “There’s a war in Iraq, can you fix that?”

They had a brief exchange, and I just dismissed this guy as being a bit odd. I was in pain from the blisters so I wasn’t really paying attention. However, Gary was. Our “weird” neighbor was Matthew Modine, the actor. What a crazy random happenstance, huh?

Anyway, we finally made it back to the hotel, grabbed dinner and ended the night with another Broadway performance, Hairspray. It wasn’t as good as Wicked, but it was entertaining and fun.

Tomorrow, we’re heading to Ground Zero…oh, and I’ll be searching for some comfortable shoes.

Have a great weekend everyone!

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New York City: Day Two

After eating lunch at the famous Stage Deli, we wandered around Central Park enjoying the sights and snapping a few fun pics.

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Eventually we worked our way to The Met. They have a great collection of 19th- and Early 20th-Century European Paintings including works from Vincent Van Gogh, Monet, Renoir, Cezanne, and Picasso. Normally, I’m a big fan of Monet, but my favorite work of art today was Wheat Fields with Cypresses by Van Gogh. It was painted in 1889. The colors and brush strokes are amazing.

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The Met also has an extensive Egyptian collection.  For those of you who know me well, you know that I’m fascinated with Egyptian culture.  Today was a treat for me.  I didn’t realize The Met’s collection was so large.  It may not be quite as good as the collection on display at the British Museum since it’s displaying lesser known works, but it’s still a good representation of the culture and history of Egypt.

After visiting The Met, we walked down 5th Avenue where the high end condos and shops are located. We didn’t have time to do any shopping since we had to get back in time for an evening show, but I do plan to go again later.

We stopped by our hotel for a quick change of clothes. Our bags had been moved to a new room while we were out. When we checked in last night, no King rooms were available, but they upgraded us today to a corner room with a King. The view is great! Check out the pics. here. The last two are the view from our room on the 48th floor.

This evening, we caught Wicked at the Gershwin Theatre on Broadway. Wow, the show is amazing! Wicked is the untold story of the witches from the Wizard of Oz. Based on reviews and recommendations from friends, I expected it to be good, but it was even better than I had hoped. If you get the chance to see it, don’t pass up the opportunity.

Well, that’s Day Two in the Big Apple. Stay tuned for more adventures tomorrow.

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New York in July

My bags were packed and the countdown to vacation had begun when I received an unpleasant call today. American Airlines had cancelled our flight. Of course, I should have known it was coming. Something always happens when I try to go to New York.

Apparently, there was a major snafu in the American Airlines terminal at JFK airport today. The software that controls the baggage sorting conveyor belt malfunctioned. This caused American to delay and cancel flights in and out of the airport. My flight was one of those cancelled.

American was nice enough to automatically rebook us on a flight the following morning with a layover in Orlando. Uh, not cool. First of all, I had already paid for our hotel accommodations on Wednesday night. Second, I don’t want a non-direct flight (in addition, Orlando flights are the worst — packed with annoying vacationers and lots of screaming children). Anyway, after a long time on the phone, Gary got us rebooked on an earlier flight going into the Newark airport.

Once at the airport, more delays ensued (gotta love air travel). However, I’m happy to report that we finally made it to the city. The W Hotel is in the middle of Times Square. It’s an amazing location. You step outside the door and are immediately immersed in the excitement of NYC.

We arrived late. I think it was somewhere around 11 pm, but the city was alive and we were hungry so we set out to see some of the sites (and grab some food).

Here are a few pictures from our first night. To view all pictures, check out the photos section of the blog. I’ll be uploading pictures daily.

W Hotel

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Times Square

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