Saturday, September 18, 2010

Company Round 2

My niece Marissa arrived about 36 hours after Ben and Christine left. Luckily I knew she would not care if the apartment was spotless - she would be happy with clean sheets and fresh towels.
When I lived in San Diego she used to spend a week with me each summer. I would take the week off of work and plan different activities every day. This is the first time we have spent time together since I moved to NYC. This was also her first visit to NYC and the first time on a plane by herself. It was a big trip and she was excited to see the city. Unfortunately she was in a car accident in June (not her fault, she suffered the worst injury a broken ankle -everyone else was OK) and she was in a boot and on crutches the entire trip. We ended up taking cabs most places as the bus and subways were just too hard to navigate on crutches. She was a trooper and never complained.

It was month end close so I had to work (boo). Luckily it worked out OK - she got to sleep in and then we went for a late lunch. After lunch we would head back to the apartment so she could rest her leg and I worked. We stayed out pretty late most nights.

Tuesday night we took the double decker bus tour. I thought it would be a good way for her to see the city and not have to walk too much. I forgot about the stairs to the top of the bus - we ended up sitting on the first floor of the bus and not only was it impossible to hear the tour guide we just couldn't see very much. The bus started at Times Sq. and headed downtown by the Empire State building, through Soho, the Financial District, Chinatown, through mid-town and the Chrysler Building. We exited the tour just before it ended at Rockefeller Center. From there we walked up Fifth Avenue and did some window shopping. We took a quick walk through the Plaza Hotel and then checked out the merchandise at the Apple Store.

Wednesday we had lunch at the newly opened Shake Shack in the Upper East Side. It has been a consistent wait since they opened, but the burger is really delicious and worth the wait. (And no, I can't say if it is better than In N Out - they are two different burgers, each one crave worthy in its own right. And for all of you vegetarians they have a portobello mushroom burger that is amazing - it's a portobello mushroom cap covered with cheese, battered, and deep fried. There is no way it's healthy but it is so delicious.)
Wednesday night Char No4 was having a special BBQ dinner - 3 meats, 2 sides, a beer, and a bourbon all for $24! (Michael and I drank her liquor.) I thought she would enjoy Brooklyn but I'm not sure it was a hit. The best part of the night was the ride home. We decided to take a taxi - the driver took us over the Brooklyn Bridge and then up the FDR. It was quick and easy, a really good decision. I have never been in a car over the Brooklyn Bridge before - with the swooping lights on the bridge and the dramatic backdrop of the city the ride was really beautiful.
Thursday Michael flew to Oregon to visit his parents, leaving just us girls for the weekend.
We headed to Rockefeller Center after I was done with work on Thursday. We had to check out the Lego store and it did not disappoint. The store has classic NYC scenes and architecture built entirely of Legos all around the store; the displays are both clever and creative.

After the Lego store it was time to head up to Top of the Rock. We stopped for any and all photo opportunities on the way up to the top.

First Marissa with Radio City Music Hall in the background.

Next at the official photo spot - it was cute so we bought it on the way out (the Empire State Building photo was not such a good shot of me, so guess what - we didn't buy it....I know, but really why should I pay for a picture of myself that is terrible?)

And of course pictures at the top observation deck - 71 floors above NYC with the Empire State Building in the background. It was a really nice night, we stayed up there chatting for over an hour. It has been so long since I have been able to really talk to Marissa, it was great to listen to her views on life and hear her plans for the future.

All of that sightseeing made us hungry. We headed to Times Sq. to see the lights and grab a traditional NYC deli meal at Junior's. Junior's is known for their sandwiches and their cheesecake. Marissa enjoyed her first chocolate egg cream, had half of a big turkey and pastrami sandwich, and then we shared a piece of classic New York cheesecake.

The waiter had a a great line to get chatting with her. Something along the lines of "I have to ask, how did you hurt your foot? I'm a film student at NYU and I'm doing a documentary on people in casts blah, blah, blah" It was pretty funny, in fact I almost laughed out loud when he was dropping NYU film student bit. We finished the night with a visit to the M&M store. Even though it was late, the store was packed. That darn store is ALWAYS crowded.

Friday I wanted a mellow night. I was tired and I knew we were going to a show and the Empire State Building Saturday night.

After work we wandered through the collections at the Met until they closed. Of course I took her up to the roof to see the huge and still growing bamboo sculpture.

She loved the Greek and Egyptian collections. She could have spent the entire day there. We didn't even get to anything on the second floor!

At this point of her visit is where I start having major camera issues. As previously mentioned I killed Michael's camera and the last photo I was able to take with it was at Top of the Rock. I tried to take photos at the Met and it was done. Also, the track ball on my phone has pretty much stopped working. When I try to scroll it does nothing so I can't even take a photo with the camera on my phone because I can't scroll to the camera icon to select the camera function. It is so frustrating (at this point I can barely toggle between my e-mail and text messages, I'm sure it won't be long before there is a blog post about how Blackberrys don't like to be thrown on the ground). The good news is now I have my trusty 'Super Cute' and I am snapping away with the digital camera. I don't know what to do about the phone. I need to look on the Internet and see if there are any 'fixes'. I have to keep the phone for another year or pay full price for a replacement (boo). I'm hoping there is some way to resolve the track ball malfunction!

I don't have any pictures from Saturday, but we had a great day. We got moving relatively early and started the day with bagels. From there we headed to the NYU area and walked through a fun art show. Next stop, shopping at Macy's. Marissa loved the new 'Material Girl' line from Madonna. She had a little shopping spree (spending her own money) and bought some great clothes (oh to be that tiny again). We left Macy's and went straight to the TKTS booth to get discount Broadway show tickets. The line was so long, worse than Splash Mountain in the heat of summer. It was 6 pm and I wasn't sure we would even get tickets before the shows started at 8pm. Well as it turns out, one of the TKTS employees saw Marissa with her crutches. He pulled us out of line (we had been waiting maybe 10 minutes at this point) and walked us right to the front! We bought tickets for 'Rock of Ages' and had time to go eat dinner before the show. The show was a blast. The performers were amazing, all of them so full of energy and so talented. The song list was all from the 80's, it was music I grew up with and it was great to hear it performed for a live audience. I would definitely go see it again. After the show we waited by the stage door to see the performers as they left. We got a few autographs and then headed to our final stop of the night, the Empire State Building. The sky was so clear Saturday night, we had perfect visibility. Unfortunately it was really, really windy and we didn't spend too much time on the outdoor observation deck.

Sunday was her last day here. We had a little time in the morning so we went to FAO Schwartz.

After that, we walked a little bit through Central Park and then went to get some thin-crust wood fired pizza (yes, at Nick's). After lunch it was time to head to the airport. It was sad to see her go. I really enjoyed having a shopping buddy and an enthusiastic tourist, but I was definitely tired. I went to bed pretty early Sunday night. Michael didn't get home until Tuesday morning so I had a lovely Labor Day all to myself. (Wait until you see what I sewed that day....)

There is kind of a running joke in my family that I wear Marissa out when she comes to visit. This time she just about wore me out! The next time she comes to visit, I don't think I'll be able to keep up with her...but I'll love every minute trying.