Yes! You were right! Gordy and I planned a very spur-of-the-moment weekend trip to New York City - our absolute favorite city in the world. We left Friday afternoon, taking the Amtrak train down to Penn Station.
We always like to add a little drama into our travel plans (insert sarcastic look here, please), so on Friday morning, we very playfully typed, "Intercontinental Hotel NYC Bed bugs" into Google, and low and behold!, there was the shocking truth. The Intercontinental Hotel - our hotel of choice for the weekend - was riddled with bedbug sitings. I couldn't have been more horrified. I read the New York Times every day and I've read horror stories about getting bedbugs at hotels, unsuspectingly bringing them back to your house and then living through the trauma that accompanies trying to get rid of the infestation. Gordy probably would have just stayed at the Intercontinental and taken the risk, but I refused. After scrambling around, we relocated (for a price) to the Grand Hyatt in midtown. It had glowing anti-bed-bug reviews.
After a bed-bug free (we hope) night, we woke up and took the children to the Empire State Building so that they could see the entire city from the above, before we started sight-seeing on foot.
It was an unbelievably clear day and we could see for miles.
It was also an unbelievably windy day, and Josie almost got blown off the tower. We had to grip onto her coat and hope for the best.
Gordy lived in Manhattan for 5 years and I lived there for a little over 2 1/2, and we miss New York very much. When we left in 1997 - to move to Chicago where Gordy went to Business School - both Gordy and I assumed we'd be back after the two years were finished. It's funny how life can surprise you.
The Empire State Building was a huge hit. We were forced through the gift shop on the way back down, so the children took a minute to try on some kitschy souvenirs:
Next, we walked north towards the park, making stops at the New York Public Library:
And Rockefeller Center:
We stopped to watch the skaters for awhile, before moving on to the NHL store, Tiffany's and some window shopping at Saks Fifth Avenue. Saks (and Rockefeller Center) was across the street from my old office, and I was amazed at how little everything had changed in 13 years.
We didn't have too long to explore Central Park. Walking from 33rd Street, and stopping in all the stores had taken more time than we had thought, and we were scheduled to meet our favorite New York Aunt & Uncle for lunch.
We let the children play on some New York rocks for awhile, before we continued the long trek up the East Side, Land of Our Many Old Apartments.
Stop Number 1? 226 East 70th Street, home of Gordy & Aaron, the place where I re-met Gordy after moving to New York from Washington, DC:
We have many, many happy memories of this apartment building. I told the children about the first time I arrived at the door: I was meeting my friend (and roommate) Tara, at the apartment of her friend from high school, Gordy, and when I arrived at the door, I realized that I didn't have any idea what Gordy's last name was, a vital piece of information needed to ring a buzzer and announce my presence. I had to tell the kids that this was before people had cell phones, and so not knowing a last name meant more than just not being able to find his house buzzer on the box, but also it meant that I wouldn't be able to look up his phone number in the phonebook attached to the pay phone around the corner.
I stood at the buzzers and read each name, pairing it with Gordy, until I found the one that seemed the most familiar. Luckily for me, it worked!
The children were not terribly impressed with visiting our old apartments. 70th Street was the first one we visited, so there was some interest there, but by the time we passed our shared apartment on 78th Street and Tara & my apartment on 82nd Street, Henry had completely lost interest and Georgia and Josie were just faking it. I couldn't say I blame them.
We met Lois and Harvey for brunch exactly at twelve o'clock:
It was so wonderful to see them - it had been too long between visits! We had some good laughs, some great food and the children were able to experience a truly New York City experience: the crowded, Saturday brunch.
Refueled, we said good-bye to Lois and Harvey and continued our journey up the East Side of Manhattan.... where were we headed? Tune in tomorrow and find out!