THURSDAY, MARCH 12
I spent Wednesday night at my parents house so my dad could drop me off at the Salt Lake airport and we left really early Thursday morning. My flight left at about 8:30am and I had a layover in Minneapolis before heading to New York City. The flights weren't bad at all and we even landed a little early at JFK (which is not my favorite airport in the world, so I was happy to be there early). One at JFK, I got my bags and headed to the train. I had a hotel booked for that night in downtown Manhattan and I took the train and subway to get there. I was pretty proud of myself for getting there all by myself with public transportation! I've just taken a taxi into the city before, so it was an adventure, but it was fun. I checked into my hotel, took a nice long shower (I always feel so gross after flying all day) and ordered room service. I really didn't want to go out and do anything because I was so tired so I just veged in my hotel room and enjoyed it.
My hotel room at the Millenium Hilton...it was so nice.And it had a pretty awesome view! My room looked directly over Ground Zero and accross to the World Financial Center and toward the Statue of Liberty.
I'm not sure that I have ever ordered room service before. I felt like such a grown up.Yummy! (and this is just the start of the self-portraits :)
FRIDAY, MARCH 13
I spent Friday exploring and enjoying the city by myself. It was so fun to be abe to do whatever I wanted and see parts of the city that I never have before. The first thing I did was hop on the subway to go to the Manhattan temple. I got there in enough time to go to the Barnes & Noble across the street where I grabbed some breakfast and read a book while overlooking the bustling streets of New York. It felt like such a New York thing to do. I loved it!
The Manhattan temple is absolutely gorgeous! I went with my family a couple years ago, but I didn't just sit and enjoy it then as much as I was able to this time. I did an endowment session and me the sweetest little Filipina lady who helped me know where to go the whole time. She was so adorable and I was so grateful for her. I got to spend a good amount of time in the Celestial room which was amazing. It is beautiful and I really needed to feel the Spirit that was there. I didn't want to leave.
After the temple I walked around Julliard for a little bit (man I wish I was talented enough to study there!) and then headed down to Times Square. I went to Times Square to get tickets to a Broadway show for that night. I got there before TKTS opened (where you can get amazing, day of, 1/2 off tickets to a ton of Broadway shows...just a little tip for anyone traveling to NYC) so I walked around for a while, took lots of self-portraits, let a hysterical drunk lady take my picture for me, and then went to lunch where I sat at the bar with the drunk (maybe she was more like, tipsy...) lady and her husband. They were awesome and it was fun to talk to them. They were from Indiana and were in NYC for a quick trip. When I finished lunch, I went out and got in line for TKTS. The line was so long, but one the boxoffice opens, it goes pretty fast. I got a ticket to see Mary Poppins that night and then left Times Square, hopped on the subway and made my way to the East Side to go to the Metropolitan Museum of Art. I had never been there and it was incredible! I only got to spend about 3 hours there, but I seriously could have spent a couple days! It is HUGE and I ended up getting lost trying to find my way out. Haha. I definitely need to go there again!!This is the picture taken by the tipsy lady. Behind me are the Red Stairs and under them is the TKTS boxoffice. It's a fun little area to hang out.Looking north along 5th Ave, on the left is the MET. It was really fun to walk along 5th Avenue and also Park Avenue. So many big name stores! Great for window shopping!!
From the MET, it was back to to Times Square for dinner of a New York street hot dog and seeing Mary Poppins. The hot dog was actually quite delicious and the show was AMAZING! I wasn't sure what to expect, but it wasn't that. I was absolutely blown away. The music was fantastic, the set was incredible and the cast was so talented! I loved every moment of it!! And I got to enjoy it all from the 3rd row!
At the show I had a really cool experience. Before the show I got talking to a group of ladies who was sitting behind me. They were so sweet and asked me all about myself and wanted to know what I was doing in NYC. They were from Michigan and so fun to talk to. But the really cool thing was that at intermission I talked to the couple sitting next to me the whole time. They were awesome. The wife was from Colombia and they live in Queens. They of course asked where I was from and when I said Utah the husband threw out the inevitable question, "so are you Mormon?" He started telling me that he had been to Salt Lake to go skiing once and had gone to temple square. He said it was beautiful and he really enjoyed his trip there. Then he asked me if our missionaries still have to wear ties. Kind of a funny question! I told him yes and that I had just seen some of our missionaries in the city that morning. He said he didn't think there were any in Queens because he has never seen them there. He asked a lot of questions and was really curious and I loved answering his and his wife's questions. The 20 minute intermission flew by and I kind of wished that it was longer so that we could keep talking. It was a really cool experience and I hope he looks for the missionaries in Queens now!
So after the show I left the theater and caught the subway back downtown to my hotel. When I got to my room Sean called. He had been in Washington DC for business and had just gotten back to NYC. We ended up talking for quite a while and made plans for when/where we would meet up the next morning. It was so late when we hung up and I went to bed. It had been a long busy day and I was exhausted.
SATURDAY, MARCH 14
Saturday was such a fantastic day! I left my hotel and headed to Grand Central Station to meet Sean. He took the train into the city from Connecticut and we met in the terminal there. It was so good to see him there. The last time I saw him was when he was in Provo for about an hour the beginning of January and we went to lunch, but other than that, we really haven't spent any quality time together in about a year and a half. From Grand Central we went to the Empire State Building. Neither of us had ever been to the observation deck at the ESB so it was a fun thing to do together. We hit it at the perfect time also because we didn't have to wait at all. The view was incredible and we had fun finding specific buildings and observing all sides of NYC from the top. Sean and I at the top of the Empire State Building! Views of all sides of Manhattan
It took a couple minutes to ride the elevator back down to the street and we were being dumb. Pretty normal Sean and Jen... No offense Sean, but you kind of look high. ;)The lobby of the Empire State Building. A really nice lady took our picture. She was definitely a tourist. We could tell because she was smiling. Sean claims that no one in NYC smiles unless they are a tourist. It's kind of true...
After the ESB we went to Rockefeller Center. Kind of cool to see the NBC studios and the famous ice skating rink. I think my favorite part was all the flags of different countries that surround the rink. There was also a really awesome crystal sculpture hanging in Rockefeller. I should have gotten a picture of that...
We went to lunch at Junior's and then did probably my favorite thing to do in New York. I'm pretty sure it's Sean's favorite thing too...hanging out in Central Park!! We ended up spending a couple hours just walking around the park and talking. We saw some really cool roller skaters and lots of people playing lots of different sports. We really wished that we would have had a football with us to play catch! It was perfect weather and so nice to talk and enjoy each other's company in that amazing park!
From the park, we went downtown to get my stuff from my hotel and then back up to Grand Central to take the train to Connecticut. It was fun to ride the train. It's not something I've done often. Although when the conductor came around to collect tickets I couldn't find mine. I totally freaked out. I did end up finding it in a random pocket of my purse, but it's a good thing that Sean knows how to handle me in a moment like that. In our years of being friends we have dealt with a few stressful situations, so a lost train ticket was nothing. At least nothing compared to paper towels! (sorry to those of you who don't get this, but if you know Sean and I, you know this story and you are cracking up right now!)
Connecticut was so beautiful and picturesque. I loved it! When we got to Sean's house he said he had a surprise and told me to get in the car. He put something in the trunk and we took off. I obviously had no idea where we were going, but I got to see a bit of Norwalk before we pulled into a big park. It was right on the Norwalk Sound and it was absolutely a gorgeous sight as the sun was setting. Well, the surprise was a football! Again, I'm sorry to those of you who don't know Sean, but this is something that we used to do almost every day. We would take a football and homework up Provo Canyon and do our homework and play catch. It is something that we love doing together and it was so much fun to throw the football around again. This is a picture of us just before leaving the park. It was so much fun!!
On the way back to Sean's we stopped at the store and got take out sushi. Also something that we love!! It was such a great night. We watched a movie with his roommates and talked until really late. It was so much fun and the perfect ending to such a fantastic day. It felt just like the old days.
This is my favorite find of the day...Billy's Bakery on 9th Avenue between 21st and 22nd Street. The most amazing carrot cake I have ever tasted! And how cute is that little box and bag!! Next time you are in NYC, visit Billy's. You'll be glad you did! :)