Swafford Vacation 2014 – NY

Draft copy… will edit and add pictures later…

Day 0: Travel day. Traffic was bad from the start. It started to pick up around Fredericksburg VA and never really let up. Driving through NYC was a bit traumatic. Somehow we (and the car) made it unscathed. At least we think so. Who knows what the valet did after we gave the keys over. The view from the hotel is beautiful. It’s a corner room overlooking 3rd Ave. Lots of tall buildings and sky scrapers all around, including a limited view of the Chrysler building. The window opens about four inches out, which is surprising. Amy likes leaving it open and listening to the blaring of the horns and all the traffic down below.

Day 1: We ate breakfast at the hotel, thinking we would save time, but it didn’t really. The main item on the agenda today was a boat tour around Manhattan island. The tour started at 12:30. We took a subway and got there early enough to wander around a bit. We saw the USS Intrepid – what a beautiful ship! After walking around a while we got in line for the tour and boarded our ship. The tour guide was really good but needed to lay off the hand holding a little bit (he kept going on about strength in diversity and all that). We saw a lot of amazing sites, including a great view of the Statue of Liberty. We went under the Brooklyn Bridge, saw Yankee Stadium, Grant’s Tomb, and several other sites. Following the boat ride we ate at a cool Irish Pub on 46th and 11th called the Landmark Tavern. Then we took the subway down to Central Park and took a walk around. Finally we came back to the hotel for a rest, then went back out for ice cream. Great day.

Day 2: Got onto a subway and headed to Grand Central Station (Grand Central Terminal). What an amazing place. It’s a beautiful old building. I think Jamie liked it a lot. We boarded another subway and headed to the Financial District and then walked to the World Trade Center Site. You really don’t appreciate how tall the Freedom Tower is until you’re beside it. The memorial is fitting. We then walked about a mile down to China Town, where we ate at a Chinese Restaurant. We sat at this large round table in a corner that seated maybe 12 people. There was a French family, and a few Chinese guys, and us. That was different! I chickened out and had the Sesame Chicken. It was good. Afterward we went to FAO Schwarz, one of the largest toy stories in the world – but the don’t have Pokemon! Everyone was a little tired at this point so we went back to the hotel for a while before trekking back out for supper at Buca Di Beppo’s at Time Square. (We’ve eaten a few of those now, in Chicago, San Francisco, San Diego… always good). On the walk back we went through St. Patrick’s Cathedral. It is being rennovated but is still an amazing site.

Day 3: Breakfast line was crazy at the hotel so we went to a place called Bread Crums right up the street for muffins and coffee. We went to the Central Park Zoo and ate some hotdogs at the park for lunch ($32 for five hotdogs and four drinks!). Amy wanted to see Belvedere Castle so we did some hiking through the park. It was hot but well worth it. The park is beautiful. Later we went to see the NY Yankees play the Tampa Bay Rays at Yankee Stadium. The subway was so packed – it was like those films of the Japanese guys shoving people into the cars to get the doors closed. Poor Ailsa and Jamie couldn’t see anything, they were just packed in like Sardines. The stadium was awesome and seeing the Yankees play was something I’ll never forget. Ailsa thought it was pretty cool to see Derek Jeter. He tied Lou Gehrig’s club record that night for doubles. There was a heckler not too far from us.. he was hilarious. I was a little worried he was going to use foul language but he kept it “clean.”

Day 4: We went to the Empire State Building and did the NY Skyline Tour. Lunch at a nice place just outside of ESB, then onto the Imperial Theater on Broadway to see Les Miserables, which was amazing. After the show it was back to the hotel for a short break and then on to supper at an old Italian Restaurant. That night we got an spectacular lightning show from the hotel room. We have a corner room on the 31st floor. The lightning was spider webbing all across the sky and hit the World Trade Center Freedom Tower several times. Amy got a recording of it.

Day 5: A little sad, checking out of the hotel today and leaving NYC, driving 250 miles upstate. Looking forward to seeing some family though.

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