Friday morning of our trip to New York City came early. Mom wanted to go to The Today Show (which I never watch) and I wanted to go to Good Morning, America! (which she never watches). I think I could have talked her into going to GMA if the weather had been bad, because GMA's studios were right near us in Times Square and visitors stand inside. But I am a fan of Meredith Viera and Matt Lauer is just...well...hot.
So we got up very early and walked down to Rockefeller Plaza, where several people were already lined up to be let in around The Today Show corral. We went through a light security check (we had to open our bags) and then lined up around the gates. There were those that had been there before and told us that usually the group came out a few times, on the half hour. But not today.
Because of the situation in Haiti, NBC didn't want to have too much cheering and hollering during the show, so they decided to come out only once, in spite of the unseasonably warm weather - at least 10° above normal.
Once again, we were right in front, but the crowd they showed was to our left and to our right. But we got to see Meredith and Matt, as well as Al Roker and Natalie Morales - all beautiful people.
We then walked to The Ed Sullivan Theater to see where The Late Show with David Letterman is taped. We considered trying to get stand-by tickets, but we had too many other things we wanted to do to take a chance of standing in line and not getting in.
Just up the street was Central Park, so we walked there and spent a few wonderful hours on a beautiful day that the news people were calling "almost spring-like." The temperature reached a high of 51° and the sun came out eventually, so Mom and I were thanking God for the blessing of such wonderful weather. January in New York City has the potential to be nasty, but we weren't having any of that.
We had a nice chat with James the Doorman at the Trump International Hotel and Tower, located at the southwest corner of Central Park, and he promised us a free room "next time" we were in NYC. I asked him if we couldn't have a free room that night and he said, "Next time." At $500-$3000 a night, I thought he was quite generous, don't you?
As we entered Central Park at Columbus Circle, we were approached by a young man selling rickshaw tours of the park. We were a bit hesitant to take him up on what seemed to be a good offer, but decided to take the chance, and we were so glad we did. Central Park takes up 863 acres, or 6% of the island of Manhattan, and there was no way our legs were going to cover as much ground as a rickshaw ride.
Peter, our tour guide, was a native New Yorker and as he rode us all around the southern part of Central Park, he shared wonderful historical information about the park and pointed out the highlights both in the park and the buildings visible around its perimeter. At $60 for the two of us, the hour tour was well worth every penny and then some.
We recognized several features in the park that had been in movies and television shows. The bird lady scene from Home Alone 2: Lost in New York was filmed here:
The Angel of the Waters fountain at Bethesda Terrace has been seen in many TV shows and films, such as Ransom, Elf, Gossip Girls, Enchanted, Grand Theft Auto IV, Lipstick Jungle, and The Amazing Race.
Bow Bridge has also been seen many times on screen, in Autumn in New York, Uptown Girls, and You've Got Mail.
Peter dropped us off at one end of Strawberry Fields, the teardrop-shaped garden that Yoko Ono commissioned in memory of her husband, John Lennon.
As we began our walk, out of the corner of my eye I saw something I couldn't believe - snowdrops! Central Park lies in USDA Zone 6b, which is a full zone warmer than ours, but snowdrops in January??
We met up again with Peter and he took us back to where we'd started. Mom and I then walked back into the park to the Carousel.
We continued walking, over to Madison Avenue, where we got on the bus north, getting off at 89th Street, near the Guggenheim Museum. Both Mom and I are Frank Lloyd Wright Fans so we wanted to see the eclectic building he designed and it definitely stands out.
It was here that I felt truly out of place. Strutting their stuff along this avenue, going in and out of the high fashion stores were The Beautiful People. And many of them truly were physically beautiful. Hanging on their bodies were several thousands of dollars worth of clothing and perhaps millions worth of jewelry. Even their makeup probably cost more than I make in a week.
As we made our way south along Fifth Avenue, we came upon St. Patrick's Cathedral and decided to go in. What a beautiful church!
Across the street from St. Patrick's is Atlas, by sculptor Lee Lawrie.
At the ticket kiosk, the young woman who sold us our ticket asked if we were having a good time in New York and if people were being nice to us. We assured her we were having a great time and that people had been very nice to us, to which she replied, "Well, you must have met the right people then, because usually they're not." I asked her why she would say that and she said, "I'm a native New Yorker and it's true. We're not usually very friendly." Hmmm.
We took the elevator up to the 70th floor and spent a fair amount of time oohing and aahing at the view from all four sides. I enjoyed seeing Central Park to the north most of all.
Putting our feet in some cold water refreshed us a little bit, but the hot shower was a little harder to come by. We'd had problems getting hot water since we'd arrived and we had to call the front desk about it for the third time. Another engineer came up and worked on it again and we finally had hot water. Mom had a discussion with the front desk about the issue and they gave us a free breakfast buffet for the next morning. (Almost worth the trouble of having no hot water! Yummy!)
There you have it. Just a typical tourist's day in New York City. What did you do last Friday?