Monday, 30 April 2012

New York - Day 2 Events

I already talked about Central Park on Day 2.  We had planned on that walk taking hours, but we were done by about 9:30.  So then we headed over to the American Museum of Natural History.  It was actually perfect timing because it started to rain and didn't really stop for the rest of the day. 

We saw some dinos at the museum.  This is Rex.  He was my buddy.

We found these in the gift shop.  They are Kitras vases, made close to home.  Who goes to the Museum of Natural History and buys a glass vase? I don't know. 
After the museum, we headed to Rockefeller Center to book our studio tour.  We could get in that same day so we just had a few hours to kill.  We rain walked it down to the New York Public Library.  It's a big building but I didn't really see too many books.  It is beautiful though. 
Then we headed over to Grand Central Station.  What a gorgeous building! It's called Grand Central for a reason.  Plus I saw Cynthia Nixon (aka Miranda from Sex and the City) while we were walking in.   


We still had some time to kill, and we found a Junior's in the cafeteria.  We had heard they had the best cheesecake in New York.  And it was pretty delicious.  You can tell by the look on my face.

Then we took the subway back to Rockefeller Center.  We were sick of the rain.  We weren't allowed to take pictures on the NBC studio tour because the stages are copyrighted.  But we got to see the Dr. Oz stage, Jimmy Fallon and Saturday Night Live.  

Fun Facts:
  • Each Saturday Night Live skit costs $250,000, if the actor misses the cue, they have to cut to commercial and that money is lost
  • Every Saturday night live actor (including hosts) have a mold of their head made so that makeup can be figured out without them being there.  In the words of our tour guide, 2 people have not had head molds - Betty White (because she is old) and Taylor Lautner (because he is clausterphobic, which is why he never wears a shirt in his movies)
  • A 5 pound weight fluctuation requires a new head mold
  • Dr. Oz isn't actually on NBC, he rents the studio and then sells the show out to whichever network purchases it, so he could be on different networks all over the country
  • Jimmy Fallon isn't live - He films at 5:30 each day (maybe other people know this, I just assumed the late night shows were actually filmed late at night)
  • Dr. Oz films 2 episodes 3 days a week, he still performs surgeries every Thursday
If you missed it, here is day 1 and Central Park.

Sunday, 29 April 2012

Top 10 New York City Tips

I thought I would just kind of summarize everything from my three trips to NYC (not that I'm by any means a pro). But here are my 10 tips for the average tourist:

1.  Get some kind of attraction pass - This time we got the Explorer pass and were able to add the attractions that we wanted onto it and get about a 22% discount over all.  Last time I went I got the New York Pass.  You can get it for 1, 2, 3 or 7 days and you just do as many of the attractions in those days as you can.  It's great if you have a lot that you want to get done. 
Our New York Pass included a tour of Madison Square Gardens
2.  Spend time in Central Park - It's free, beautiful and the best part (in my opinion) of the city.

3.  Go to a comedy show - Although we didn't go to one this time, I did the past two times.  They often sell tickets in Times Square and its a fun activity.  There is usually a 2 drink minimum or $20 once you get in, but it's well worth it. 

4.  Get an unlimited Metro pass - We got the 7 day unlimited metro pass.  I'm not sure that we saved too much money on it, but we never thought twice about jumping on the subway, so it was worth it for that reason alone. 

5.  Mix your day up with walking and non-walking activities - The walking is tiring.  So make sure that you have scheduled time and activities where you can sit down.

6.  Get cheap Broadway tickets - Again, we didn't do Broadway this time around, but if you are going to do it, there is no need to pay full price for tickets! The first time I went we stood in line at the TKTS booth in Times Square and they have discount tickets for the day of a performance.  Apparently there is also a booth at the South Street Seaport that isn't as busy.  Last time I found discounted Chicago tickets online and we bought them ahead.  Travelzoo.com seems to have a lot of discounted Broadway tickets.

7.  Don't eat at chains - Starbucks is my exception here.  Probably because it's a treat for me.  But other than that, New York is full of amazing restaurants and delis.  Take full advantage of trying something new.


8.  Wear comfortable shoes - I'm not sure how the real New Yorkers wear their flats or heels, maybe their feet are used to the walking.  Your feet will not be.  I recommend comfortable shoes that don't cause blisters.

9.  Don't feel like you have to do everything - after all, if you don't then you have an excuse to go back.

10.  Do what's right for you - If you like museums then spend hours in them, if you don't, then why waste the time or money?  If you want to go to New York and just wander around and experience the city then that's fine too.  Follow your own travel rules, not anybody elses.

Saturday, 28 April 2012

Playing in the Park! Central that is...

We did a whole lotta walking in Central Park on our trip to New York.  It is my favourite part of New York City.  I have been three times, and haven't seen anything that has beat it yet.  And the best part is, it's free!  Warning: This is a very picture heavy post. 

So Day 2 (Sunday) we woke up and got right to it.  We ate breakfast at a little place on our way to the Subway and then took the Subway up to the end of the park at 5th Avenue.  Last time I was there I did a movie tour of the park, which I highly recommend.  They showed us all of the important parts of the park and then tied different areas into movies.  We didn't do it this time because I had already done it and knew my way around the park somewhat and Ryan isn't really a movie buff.  Plus they mostly point out chick flick locations, so he would have gotten nothing out of that. 

So we wandered the park kind of zig zagging across it to see all the important areas. 


Despite what these pictures look like, the park was actually pretty full.  I guess they have an off leash rule down at the south end, because dogs were everywhere just running around, playing with each other.  There was also some marathon for the park going on, so it was crazy busy in some areas and there were tons of runners. 

This is Strawberry Fields with the John Lennon memorial.  This is also basically across the street from where he was shot. 
 Bethesda Terrace followed by Bethesda Fountain

The Boathouse across the lake.  I don't know whether we were just too early or if the boats weren't out yet for the season, but there were none out on the lake.

These stairs were going up to Belvedere Castle.  They appeared after walking through The Ramble, which is kind of a hilly, wild area of the park.  Very beautiful, not somewhere I would want to be at night.
 The view from Belvedere Castle.  That's the Great Lawn in the distance there.
Belvedere Castle.  You may recognize it from Stepmom, when Julia Roberts loses the little boy.

This was basically our final stop.  This is about halfway up the park.  Then we walked over to the west side where the American Museum of Natural History is.  

On our last day, we did another park walk.  Ryan wanted to be able to say we had walked the whole thing.  So we took the subway up to the very north end and walked down all the way to the other end of the park.

 Who knew you could find a waterfalls in Central Park!
The Reservoir, which is surrounded by a running track.  Ryan thinks running looks stupid.  I tend to agree.  If I was able to run through Central Park every day though I might be more inclined to take it up.
The Swedish Cottage - apparently actually built in Sweden and shipped to New York.  There are so many random things in this park that I didn't understand what purpose they served.  But it's kind of neat.


Those are our travels through the park. Central park goes from 59th Street up until 110th street.  So 51 blocks up and 3 big blocks wide (which are about 3 regular blocks).  20 regular blocks is equal to a mile.  So on the last day alone we walked at least 2 and a half miles down the park, plus we ended up in the far diagonal corner.  That's a bunch of walking!  Especially on our fourth day of walking around the city. I guess our legs were used to it by then.  But we can say we saw pretty much everything, so it was totally worth it!

Thursday, 26 April 2012

Concrete Jungle Where Dreams Are Made Of

Ryan and I got back on Tuesday from a four day trip to New York City.  It's not a trip for the lazy let me tell ya! We were tres tired when we got home. 

Day 1 - We arrived at around 11:30.  We took the subway into the city from the airport.  It took an hour, but probably saved us about $50 on a cab.  We dropped off our bags at the hotel and headed down to Katz's Deli on Houston.  This deli was on Man vs Food once, one of Ryan's favourite shows.  So we felt like we had to check it out.  The sandwiches weren't cheap, but they had so much meat on them that we could barely finish. 

After lunch, we walked to China town.  I had planned on doing some purse shopping, but once there wasn't really in the mood.  So I bought some sunglasses and then we moved on to Greenwich Village. 

There we saw this street.
But no wizards.

Greenwich was really neat.  That's where I would want to live if I lived in the city.  But I don't. 

After Greenwich, we met up with some old friends of mine.  This is Louise and her family.  I lived with them for 3 months in grade 11 when I did an exchange to France, and I haven't seen them since! Louise is in New York for an internship and her family was visiting and our trips overlapped.  We had drinks in our hotel bar and caught up. 

That night Ryan and I walked up 7th Avenue all the way to Columbus Circle, walked across to 5th Avenue and then back down to Times Square.  We saw all the sites in between: the big stores, The Plaza, Trump Tower.  We stopped at a pub on our way back for a small supper because we were still full from Katz's.  Those were some big sandwiches.   

 Our first day was full and tiring.  One down, three to go!


Sunday, 15 April 2012

Thank You, Thank You Very Much!

The last of them went out this weekend.  Most of our wedding thank you cards were out a month or so ago, but there were a few stragglers.  But now they are done and it's really nice to not have to worry about them anymore!

Other accomplishments this weekend:
  • Spending wedding money - well that was the plan.  I wanted to spend a whole bunch of the money that was burning a whole in my pocket, so I shopped for about 4 hours on Saturday.  All I did was use up some gift cards and buy a mop and picture hanging tools.  Unfortunately we also haven't gotten around to hanging those pictures.  Oh well, it's better than nothing.
  • Cleaned out my closet at my parents house - this sucked.  I had a full car load of stuff when I was done (and haven't even moved everything yet), and really I don't want most of it, because if I lived without it for the past 6 months, it isn't stuff that I use.  But it was all either things I feel I might use, books, or sentimental items that I have a tough time throwing out.  Now it's all just in a pile in my basement.  Maybe I can get rid of more my second time through
  • Ryan is currently building stairs in his (our) shop so that he (we) can store stuff in the wolf den (loft).
  • Finished the Hunger Games....so good!
  • I drank some wine, it was delish.

Wednesday, 11 April 2012

And the Floors Come Up

I have realised that I missed out on most of the in progress pictures, so we are going to share them in a few posts.  So this one is devoted to flooring.  I already covered the removal of the sun room carpet, but nothing on the rest of the carpet and the kitchen floors.

We actually removed the carpet about 4 days after we moved in.  I had a headache for those 4 days straight, and then we removed the carpet and it disappeared! We figured it was from all of the smoke that was stuck in it.  Once it was gone I was fine. 



We left the kitchen floor in for a bit longer, but then it had to be scraped off because of the glue.





We lived floorless for a long time.  About a month probably, because we wanted all of the paint to be done before we put the floors in.  It was dirty and unpleasant, and I have never been so happy to see real floors put down!

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