8/06/2009

New York Trip

This is a little late, but better late than never!!


So the trip has come and gone to New York and Yankee Stadium and it was a lot of fun. New York is nice to visit, but glad I'm back here in Iowa. Dad loved Yankee Stadium, Empire State Building and Mimi's (he has his own table there now). 52nd and 2nd if you’re ever in NYC. Glad the Yankees won for him; if they would have lost I think the trip would have had a different tone for dad. But instead we had a great night and time together the 3 of us.


Day 1-Wednesday—The Arrival
After waking up early in Marshalltown, we got to Cedar Rapids at 4ish at the airport. After Dad getting wanded because of the aluminum foil on his gum, we got up to our terminal and sat there for about 90 minutes. Going to get on our American Airlines flight, I was lucky and got chosen for a random check. So I got wanded, and bag unpacked and that was fun.....not. The flight to Chicago was good and quick. After a 2 hour lay over in Chicago we flew about 2 hours to NYC La Guardia. We were a lil longer because we circled waiting for the clearance to land. So we land, and head to our hotel, the Waldorf=Astoria. Very impressive from the outside and the lobby and main level floors. We get to our room and I've stayed in a lot better rooms. The Drake Hotel in Chicago is a lot better. Our room was just an old hotel with some noticeable things that could have been done up a little better. We head out of the hotel and grab a NYC hot dog from a vendor. Very good dog, spicy mustard, and head toward the Chrysler Building. Didn't go up top, just through. We head out to go to the Empire State Building. On the way we hit Grand Central Terminal. Pretty cool place, could see how one could get lost there if you don't know your way around. Was looking for Cyclops, Toad and Sabertooth! They weren't there. Darn. Next we hit the Heartland Brewery on the basement of the ESB. Great beer. Chatted with a guy from Seattle in town for the Yanks-Sox and then I was lucky to get my ear chatted off by some crazy lady who was a professor of psychiatry at Columbia. Her dead husband was famous, she was world famous, and her kids were world famous. And repeated all of her stories like 3 times. Meet a guy there who was asst manager from Chicago, and I had my Bears shirt and Cubs hat on, and he said "HEY, Cubs and Bears fan? I don't know if I should buy ya one or two beers." At the time he didn't buy us any, but we'll come back to that. We head up to the 86th floor of the ESB with some Aussie's who flew 36 hours to get to NYC, cool people. I agree with Dad, it's amazing what people did in the 1930's to make that building. Great views from there, you could see Shea Stadium, the Statue of Liberty, Central park, Ground Zero, Yankee Stadium and anything else pretty much. Stayed up there for a good hour probably then headed back down to the Heartland Brewery for supper. Walk into our booth and the ass't manager says "Hey I didn't get you the beers” I said "No, not yet...." He responded he'll get them. We order our drinks, they come and the waitress says, "They are on the house” We got about 20 bucks of drinks free because I'm a Bears/Cubs fan. Sweet! Good food, had some Ravioli. We head back to the hotel and drop dad off there about 8pm. Mike and I head towards time square. We see St. Patrick’s Cathedral, Radio City Music Hall, Saks 5th Ave, Tiffany & Co, and Trump Tower. Stop at Mickey Mantle's Sports Bar just south of Central Park. Drink there for about 2 hours. The bar tender Tammy wasn't too impressed with Iowa folk it seemed. Meet a guy from KC who was arrested at the US Open for scalping an extra ticket for under face value. Poor dude has a court date in October. The rest of the night, Mike and I wandered down to Times Square at night and it looks like it does on TV. I did think it would be bigger, but still cool. Stopped ant M&M world, saw a few bright lights from the ESPN Zone and the Broadway shows, and bought Shawnna a purse from a NYC street vendor for 30 bucks. Great deal! And did find a Ray's Pizza! Mystery meat pizza is gooooood! Hit the Waldorf after midnight and crashed to get ready for the game on Thursday.




Day 2-Thursday—Yankees vs. Red Sox
Woke up and then got ready to go and hit a little place called Cafe Ruffles. Breakfast for 3 cost us 60 bucks. Told ya you could go broke eating in this town. After wards we went to get on a train to head up to the Bronx. On the way down the subway we heard a "Go Hawks” Dad was wearing his Hawkeye hat. We get down waiting for a train and find out that the guy who said it was behind us, and from Fort Dodge. We go to NYC and meet a guy who is an hour from Des Moines there for the same reason we are. We ride the trains which weren't bad, just hot as a sauna down in the subway. Empty out at the Bronx and walk out to see the New Yankee Stadium first. It looks amazing. Gonna be a really nice building. So we go into to the house that Babe built. When dad walks out of the tunnel to see the green grass, it was almost like he saw a shrine. Walked right out to right field, and saw the famous white facade with the All-Star game logo. Got pictures of the whole thing. We walked around to left field to get to Monument Park but they closed it 45 mins before the first pitch, so we missed out on that. So that sucked. We made our way up to our seats. Prob about 8 rows from the top under the awning, in the shade and right on top of home plate. Great seats for 129 bucks a pop. The game went on. Dad started chit chatting with some guys from Uruguay who live in Jersey and buy and mostly sell alcohol. Got a free pop from them. The game went on; the Yanks were down 2-0 in the 7th and looked like the Yanks would get swept. In came Jason Giamibi to pinch hit. ARod had just popped out and having a terrible series. Giambi saw the 1st pitch and launched it some 420 feet over the center field wall. The place went nuts. 2-2. No action till the 9th. Yanks loaded the bases. Up came ARod. He K'd. The crowd boo's again for the 4th time. In comes Jonathan Papplebon to face the Giambino. First pitch, strike 1. 2nd pitch a ball. Next pitch Giambi shoots a liner into center field and THE YANKEES WIN! Could see tears in Dad's eyes. Glad he got to see the Yanks win especially over the hated Red Sox. After time in the subway back to midtown we hit a little place called Mimi's. Get the corner table in the outside of the restaurant and there and windows all around so we can see into the city. Great seats. Dad get's CC on the rocks and Mike and I drink beers. Had some great veal pizzaiola. Great dish. Also had my first cannoli. Great food. We drank there for a lil longer. I think there was about 100 bucks of alcohol on the bill. Afterwards we head up to a little Irish pub called Naills. The bartender was a witch. Wouldn't play any of my country music on the juke box. Sucked. But did meet some Chinese volleyball players. One was born in South America, works on German cars, and drinks Irish beer. How's that for a combo? Drank there for a while, then walked by a place called Fukumatsu. That's just funny. We were all pretty lit by the time we crashed. Dad even drunk dialed mom. Probably one of the best nights of my life.



Day 3-Friday—Wall Street/Statue of Liberty
So Friday was a trip to downtown Manhattan. The day started with lunch from a vendor on the street. A few bucks got us a drink, 3 donuts and 3 bananas. Wish we could get that deal here in Des Moines. We then hit the subway down to the financial district. When we arrived we wanted to go to ground zero. We saw where the twin towers once stood. We think there was a place to look into the fenced in area but we couldn’t find it and didn’t want to stray too much to try to find it. Was kind of surreal though. Then we walked down to Wall Street. I noticed the church “At the Wall” (from National Treasure!) It was there. No Nicolas Cage though. So that was cool. Dad & I got pictures underneath the Wall Street street sign. On the block was the Stock Exchange. Where few ruin the financial futures of all. All around were Army men with automatic weapons. A far cry from what Times Square was like. Really serious and quiet. Across from the Stock Exchange was the building were George Washington was sworn in as the 1st President of the United States. Kind of cool. So we couldn’t get into the Stock Exchange, and we headed south. Saw the Gold Bull. Dad & I got a picture in front of the Bull, and then even got a shot of the back to make sure it was a Bull! It was. We ate lunch at Subway and then headed for the ferry to the Statue of Liberty. It was like herding cattle there. It seemed like all the people getting on were just there for the Statue and then back again to NYC. We got a great shot of the Lady. Also Ellis Island. It was really cool. I wonder what it would have been like back 70-100 years ago. Coming home from a war or an immigrant seeing it, Americans now are lucky we don’t have to be in those shoes and take it for granted. After the ferry dad was getting tired and we subwayed it back up to the Waldorf. Mike and I headed back to Times Square area to find the Ed Sullivan Theater and Hello Deli. After a few turns we found it. Got a picture with Rupert G and my first souvenir for myself, a Hello Deli t-shirt. Mike and I then went to the NBC studios, saw where the Today Show is filmed and then bought a few more souvenirs for Shawnna & the kids. Back to the Waldorf dad and I relaxed a bit before supper and Mike went down to the Bull & Bear bar to see a MSNBC show talk about the markets. Dad and I met him outside and we headed back to Mimi’s. We walked by a grocery store that had all the fruit outside, just like you see on TV, really cool. The smell of the fruit could stop you in your tracks. Back at Mimi’s we walked in and the bartender remembered us. CC on the rocks for dad and beers for Mike & I. Mike got supper that night. Got the piano man to play another round of “New York, New York” before we left. And Dad got his free t-shirt. After supper dad wanted to head back to the Waldorf instead of going out. Mike and I headed back to Naills for a few drinks. College football was on! Mike and I drank there and talked to a few lawyers who wandered in from their office. One of them played football at SMU. He was no bigger than Kyle. Tells you why SMU is TERRIBLE! We drank till about 11 or so, one of the lawyers bought us a shot of the smoothest tequila I’ve ever had. We started to wander up to the Waldorf again, but I had to get one more slice of NYC pizza before the night was over. Dad was calling us to make sure we knew we had a flight at 5 am the next day. Got back and crashed.


Saturday—Back to Iowa
As soon as the wake up call happened we were up. 15 minutes later our stay at the Waldorf-Astoria was over. We walked out the main entrance, the door man had a cab for us waiting and we climbed in, and headed back to LaGuardia in the rain. We got there early enough to grab a juice and breakfast and Mike napped a bit, then we boarded the plain to Chicago. Seeming to be quicker than the flight to NYC we were in O’Hare for our layover there. We sat waiting for our jumper to Cedar Rapids for about an hour. I spent it walking around O’Hare and texting and looking for anything on the Iowa football game. Once boarded, Mike had to check his bag, and in less than an hour we were at Cedar Rapids. We got Mike’s bag, walked to his truck and had Gary & Ed on to listen to on our way back to Marshalltown. I got home to the kids and Shawnna to great big hugs. I got out their souvenirs and started to unpack and tell stories. Addy got a pink “Big Apple” shirt, Brady a Derek Jeter #2 t-shirt jersey, and Shawnna a pink “New York” shirt and her purse. I got my Hello Deli shirt and a lot of memories.
Fast Forward to Father’s Day 2009, there’s no way to top the gift for dad that we got him in 2008, but the 2009 gift had a hint of 2008 in it. I got dad a framed picture of him, Mike & me at Yankee Stadium and Shawnna made him a Yankee blanket. He liked both a lot.
The trip was a lot of fun, and I hope it’s not the last like that, had a great time with Mike & Dad in that setting. New York was a fun place to visit, but glad I live in Iowa. I still want to take Shawnna there sometime! But no shopping for her!!! :P

Mike, I and Dad at Yankee Stadium after the Yankees beat Boston.


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