Thursday, October 25, 2012

New York...Day 2

We set out on our trip determined to make the most of our 2 1/2 days in the city. As Brantley and I were flying towards New York we browsed through some of her tour guides she had from previous visits. One thing we read suggested a bus tour of the city. My best friend, Andrea, had recommended the same so we wanted to try to get on a tour Thursday afternoon to get an idea of where we wanted to head out for the remainder of the trip. The tour company we used had 3 routes; Uptown, Downtown, and Brooklyn. Fortunately for us the starting point for the Uptown and Downtown tour was just a few blocks from our hotel...unfortunately we couldn't get a tour in before dark...but fortunately they sold us a ticket for 2 1/2 days for the price of just 1 day! We decided to get up bright and early Friday morning to do the Downtown tour which included a stop at the World Trade Center Memorial.


(Me, Ashley & Brantley)

The bus tour was great and I, like Andrea, also highly recommend it. You sit on top of the bus so you can look up and around all during the can also get off at any stop and then hop on another bus following the same route when you are ready to finish the trip. I had my camera up and shooting for the majority of the ride...

Time Square


I didn't realize the ball stayed up all year long...but now I know...


The Garment District


Parson's was another highlight on my tour of all things "Project Runway"


These are the office buildings in the Garment District where, as our tour guide pointed out, shirts are designed and made for $5 and sold up the street for $100. If you look in the second to last window in the bottom left corner you can see one of those shirts hanging in the window.


More designer clothes hanging in office windows. This clothes eventually end up here...


Former co-owner, Isidor Straus, and his wife, Ida, both died in the sinking of the Titanic. This monument outside of Macy's is in their honor and the clock stays at the time the Titanic went down.


Macy's original founder, R.H. Macy, had a star tattoo from his previous employment on a whaling ship. The iconic Macy's star is from R.H. Macy's tattoo...


Try not to think about that the next time you see the Macy's a brief aside I just have to point out what a great example this is of free enterprise which our country was founded on...a former seaman on a whaling ship started Macy's department store! (I've watched my fair share of fishing shows thanks to my husband's love of reality TV so I know this was pretty hard work and also had to be very nasty job).

Here's the first location of Macy's in New York...there have been 7 locations...



I got pretty obsessed with taking pictures of the Empire State building. Did you know this building was at one point owned by a dog after the owner died leaving her entire estate to her dog?  Lawyers stepped in and that all changed, but it shows the super rich can be super crazy! However, being the iconic New York building that it is, I took tons of pictures...but I'll only post a few of my favorites.

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This the Flat Iron building...named because of the shape of the building if you were looking down at it from the the distance you can see the construction at Ground Zero.


Two buildings with gold plated tops...bucks deluxe...I think Donald Trump owns one of these buildings...

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As we rode through SOHO and NOHO we learned why these different areas of Manhattan were given these names. One of the major streets is Houston Street...not pronounced like the city in's a Dutch name, so the pronunciation is different. At one point SOHO (before it was given this name) was a run down and crime filled neighborhood...but there where lots of cheap lofts that artists began moving into because of the spacious high ceilings. Then the rich customers had to travel to these lofts and realtors saw an opportunity...but in order to get the rich to consider moving to this area they need to rename it...SOHO stands for SOuth of HOuston & NOHO stands for NOrth of HOuston...creative. Now celebs like Kelly Ripa & Jennifer Anniston call SOHO home...neither of which we saw on our ride through their hood! What we did see a lot of and what I was impressed with, was the the details in all the buildings. Some even had decorative iron facings...

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These buildings are so beautiful...and not like the boring building you see in downtown Columbia...craftsmen took time making these unique and took pride in making them timeless and beautiful.

We got off the tour at Ground Zero, which I want to do a separate post about, but while were were off the bus we wandered down to the ferry pick up for the Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island. We had hoped to do that tour on Friday, but we thought the line was too long on Friday...little did we know what the line was going to be like on Saturday...but we still took a few pictures with the crazy dressed up person out front. We learned a lesson, these pictures are NOT FREE! After you start taking pictures with them they whisper in your ear "These pictures are $5."...even though your taking the pictures with your own camera. Luckily, these pictures turned out great...and were worth the $5!


Then we hopped back on the bus to finish our tour of downtown. We drove by the Brooklyn bridge and got a great view of Brooklyn...


My maternal grandmother, Ruth...who Ruth Ann is named after, lived in Brooklyn. I don't remember her talking a lot about growing up here, I just remember knowing this was where she was from. I do know that my grandmother was a working woman before it was the popular thing for woman and I have some really great framed pictures of her in her best clothes ready to head into the city. She was the secretary for the Vice President of Chase Manhattan bank...and commuted from Brooklyn. My grandmother passed away 5 years ago and I miss her all the time...but never more so as I was looking across the river at the city where she lived and wishing I had made this trip with her so she could tell me about and show me her city. My mom and I are going back to NYC in the Spring and I plan on exploring Brooklyn with my mom and remembering the grandmother I love.

Here's the Manhattan Bridge...


And continuing my theme of reality TV hot spots, Zarin in Jill Zarin from the Real Housewives of NYC...


I would have loved to stop and shop here, but thanks to my speeding ticket on the way to the airport I had to be more fiscally responsible...which is never fun...


Then we got of the bus close to our hotel to explore Rockefeller Center...

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And inside the NBC store they had a whole section of tshirts with Friends quotes...this was my favorite...


Then we headed back to our hotel to get ready for dinner and show...we ate dinner at Sardis and then went to Mary Poppins...

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Such a fun day...and we still had one more day ahead of us!

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