Our third adventure!
If of course begins at the crack of dawn, getting up at 5:30 to have breakfast, set up the roomba, and get to the commuter lot by 6:30 and then wait (not 30 but) an hour for the bus to show.
There are no pictures of the bus, because the people at 7:00 in the morning had already brought their own alcohol and were drinking on the way to NYC. Like, seriously. That's not okay. But the bus had two rounds of Deal or No Deal, music trivia, and snacks to help pass the three hour drive.
We were dropped off at a particularly famous place: Rockerfeller Plaza. This will start a trend of: we never understood the big deal until we actually went there. Pictures and video don't really give a sense of scale. The tree is MASSIVE and the entire plaza was filled with the scent of pine - the plaza itself was ludicrously austentatious, as was the interior of the building. It all screamed, "Yeah, we got money, we're not ashamed of it. We flaunt it." It was equal parts breathtaking and arrogant-twitching. But:
There were carolers. They were very good and made us smile. No one else was listening but we applauded and tried to sing along (the tempo was so different...). We ate lunch below ground at a place called Au Bon Pain (and with such a blatantly french name we had to check it out) that had DELICOUS bread and, more importantly, we took a certain elevator up.
We went to the Top of the Rock. Again - it means nothing until you're actually there. We can't get over how far out you can see. The above pictures are facing north and according to the brochure we could see as far as Harlem and beyond. Like, we couldn't conceive of how much we could see.
Facing south we have the Empire State Building - that place we went to last time but never got to see anything because of the weather. Beyond you can see the skyscrapers of the Financial District (we're learning!) and... wait... what's that on the right? Let me zoom in...
Lady Liberty! We'll see you in person someday...
But after Top of the Rock was the Christmas/Birthday/Everything present to ourselves:
We saw Phantom of the Opera. Majestc Theater, according to the playbill, has been open since 1887 and there are like a zillion architectural details that you just don't see anymore as a result:
It was truly a sight to behold, and that's before even seeing the show. Like, we've known the soundtrack since middle school and have seen some okay movie adaptations, but NONE of that compares to seeing it in the theater. The two of us cried several times over the show, the music and the acting and the showmanship kept moving us. If we ever see this again we're going to watch from the orchestra so we can watch the chandelier drop from below. It was AMAZING.
The evening didn't go as well as the morning/afternoon did, though. We tried to go to Stagecoach Tavern to have their apple pie again but there was a 20 min wait to eat, and it was late enough in the evening that we didn't feel comfortable waiting, eating, and getting to the bus pickup - so we tried something new:
We hired a rickshaw.
NEVER AGAIN. That was TERRIFYING. The bike-driver swung in and out of trafficing without a care - we threaded those two buses with something like three inches breathing room on either side. I was just about having a ful blown anxiety attack before we were finally dropped off.
For supper we tried to eat at a street vendor, we ordered a pair of hot dogs and were eating when we hit another problem: money. Like, both times we've done to NYC we made a point of bringing no money - just our driver's licenses and one credit card so there wouldn't be a risk of anything. But the street vendor said he would only take cash. We couldn't pay him. He tried to say where an ATM was but we couldn't understand him. We were forced to leave without paying - that's theft! We're going to look up to see if there's some kind of association for street vendors or something to send the money with a letter of apology. Uuuuuugh, that stresses me out just thinking about it.
Our final stop was Bryant Park. The internet told us there would be a winter village for craft shopping. "Winter village" made us think ambiance and atmosphere. No, it was just a micro-mall. There must have been a ZILLION people there, it was so packed the two of us had to hold on to each other's coats so we didn't get separated. Everything was over-priced (though we did find an ornament gift for a friend), and we had to wait TWENTY MINUTES just to go to the bathroom. It was insane.
The bus was where they said it was, and even that was a turn - because two members of the party didn't show up. The police were threatening the bus driver with a 250$ ticket, so he had to leave. We'd waited over half an hour!
Despite the sour end of the day, Phantom alone was worth the price of the day, and it was a wonderful way to spend a Saturday.