In the meantime, our departure time was getting closer and closer. I sent Todd to the gate to "hold the plane" (yeah, right!). At one point, one of the TSA people told us they had called down to the gate. That made me feel better. They finally brought the DVD player out of the x-ray and took more pictures. They also took my ID information (hmmm...).
Finally, Rebecka and I were free to go to the gate. At the gate, Todd was trying to cajole the gate agents into keeping the door open. It was not an easy task. Apparently, a call from TSA means nothing. Todd was waiting at the empty gate when we arrived. The gate agent sourly took our boarding passes and shut the door behind us. Phew!!!
The signature seats were nice and we had a pretty uneventful flight. We took a cab to the Comfort Inn Midtown (free with my 100,000 points) and were able to check in ahead of time (I love diamond elite status!). We were half a block from Time Square, so we decided to hang out there and find some lunch until David and Caroline arrived.
On the way from lunch to the Hershey's store, we bumped into Sponge Bob. He was friendly and more than willing to pose for a tip. The Hershey's store was cool, but the new M&M store was even cooler. And huge! And crowded!! We looked around, but didn't buy anything. We then proceeded to Rockefeller Square and perused the NBC Experience Store. Since I don't really watch TV anymore, I didn't really get half the merchandise, but that's OK.
We had gotten up early that morning, so we decided to go back to the hotel for a little rest time. After a while, David and Caroline showed up and surprised Rebecka with a birthday present. It was a cool, green purse. Caroline is the only person capable of picking out purses which meet Rebecka's approval.
At this point, we decided to head on back to Time Square for dinner at Mars 2112. We stopped by the M&M store (again) on the way and witnessed excessive "sampling" by teenagers and store associates blowing horns and screaming "No sampling!" It was a zoo. We managed to purchase some M&Ms and headed over to Mars. We got to ride in a spaceship to Mars and then were seated in the great dining hall. The food quality was what you would expect at a themed restaurant, but we all survived.
After dinner, we continued to the first must-have tourist attraction: The Empire State Building. Going through the line was like running a marathon in slow motion. However, once we got to the top, it was worth the wait. The view was spectacular. We went all around and enjoyed the sights until we got too cold. That was the end of our first day.
We woke up to a drizzly and cold Saturday morning. However, it did not derail us from our morning plan to take the ferry to see the Statue of Liberty. Our rationale was that the lines would probably be shorter due to the weather. This was later confirmed by a friendly street musician by the shore. The line was still long and it was raining. We finally made it onto the ferry and took the short ride over to Liberty Island. We got off the ferry and realized about 5 1/2 minutes later that we would be totally miserable if we stayed on the island in the cold rain. So we ran back to the ferry and made the last call.
During the ferry ride, I used my handy dandy phone to find a pizza place in Greenwich Village. Of course, I picked the first pizzeria in the country, Lombardi's Pizza, so there was a line outside (still raining). The pizzas looked really good though (from what we could tell from gazing in through the window), so we decided to wait. We played random games to pass the time. At one point, Todd and David got into a face-off during the name-a-country-as-fast-as-you-can game. It was pretty entertaining. When we finally made it inside, Rebecka picked up the hot plate to warm her chilled cheeks. The pizza was worth the wait and we took our time and enjoyed every bite.
Our next stop was the famous cupcake bakery, Magnolia. Todd and I got hot chocolate while the others ordered the cupcakes. We enjoyed our cupcakes out on the street (no more rain!) and gobbled them up in no time. Mine was dark chocolate with cream cheese frosting. Oh yum! After dessert, we made our way back to the hotel for nap time. It felt so good to lie down!
An hour later, it was time for Broadway! We had tickets for the 8 PM showing of Mary Poppins at the New Amsterdam Theater. On the way, we stopped at a Brazilian place for appetizers and drinks. I had an excellent Argentinian Cabernet Sauvignon. Todd had some scary sweet drink. Rebecka had Pepsi. Soon it was time to move on to the theater. We walked (or rather pushed ourselves) through the crowds in Time Square. It was pretty nuts. The New Amsterdam Theater is beautiful, but has very squished seating. Not too bad for me and Rebecka. Not great for the rest of the party. The show was extremely well done. My favorite scene, Step in Time, went off without a hitch. The cast was amazing. Yay! After the show we stumbled back through the crowds and into bed.
On Easter morning, I decided to snooze while the rest of the gang went to hang out on the set of The Today Show. They picked a good spot and got a lot of air time!! This was definitely Rebecka's favorite New York moment. I got to watch on TV! Todd had a short interchange with Jenna which he described on Facebook:
Todd was emasculated by Jenna during some off-camera banter. When Jenna saw Todd rubbing his hands together to stay warm, she remarked that she doesn't normally see guys doing that. Then she said, "You need to man up." Todd is still trying to think of the comeback he should have had waiting for her.
When the TV stars returned, we headed up to Central Park. Our favorite! We went for a buggy ride around the park and then posed for pictures. It was cold! We vowed that our next trip to New York would be warmer and that we would spend more time in the park. We headed over to Lexington Ave and found a nice little Asian place to satisfy my sushi cravings. On the way out, we stopped at the pet store next door and marveled over the cute little puppies. Rebecka decided that she is going to get her next dog at this store. We took the subway down to Macy's to find that it was closed for Easter. Oh well.
At this point, we were pretty exhausted, so we said sad goodbyes to Caroline and David who had to go catch their bus back to D.C. and headed over to Barnes & Noble for some old fashioned book "sampling" and hot chocolate. I found an interesting book called Wired to Care: How Companies Prosper When They Create Widespread Empathy. I have been thinking about blogging about this topic on PM Zen, so I was intrigued by the title. It was good! It is now on its way from an amazon warehouse to my office.
After B&N, we made our way back toward the hotel, paid one last visit to the M&M store (fresh M&Ms are way better than the stale ones you find everywhere else), and took farewell of Rockefeller Plaza. We found a taxi driver who thankfully did not drive like a maniac and made it safely to La Guardia. The check-in and security process was smooth and we spent our last hours in New York at gate B1. I finished reading Presentation Zen (book review to come) and Todd and Rebecka watched First Contact on above mentioned DVD player. We made it home safe and sound and had a lot of trouble waking up on Monday morning.
New York City rocks!