Quinn attended a training in New York City in May, and I used the opportunity to tag along. We spent a week in Manhattan near the Lincoln Tunnel, and each day Quinn went to training and I explored the city. We were on the 24th floor of a high rise building with floor to ceiling windows and views of the amazing traffic jams that are NYC. It has often been the case on these annual work trips that I was able to convince a friend to join me. My girlfriend, Andrea flew out from Denver just as she did to Seattle a couple of years ago. YAY! She is awesome. We had such a fun time touring the city and we also got to hang out with our men in the evening for group dinners and a few drinks.
First I rented one of the little Citi bikes that allow people to commute around the city on short trips. There is a greenway that goes around Manhattan and is completely protected from cars. I rode that down and around to Battery park and up to Wall Street for my free walking tour. I took a free walking tour of midtown Manhattan which included Wall St, a bit of the 911 memorial, China town, Little Italy, and SoHo. My guide was a former history teacher for NY public schools for 30 years. He was very entertaining and included just the right amount of history, quirky stories and personal experience to make the 3 hour walking tour entertaining. It was interesting to hear the history of the Dutch and English in New York. I also spent about an hour staring out of the window watching the scenes below our apartment. Our room was on the 24th floor of an all glass building. We had floor to ceiling windows which afforded about 240 degree views of the city skyline. I met Quinn and his coworker Ryan and his classmate Bon for dinner. Bon took us along Highline park and into the meatpacking district for dinner. We opted for fish instead of packed meat. It was a fun evening and ended with Margaritas and a brisk walk back to our apartment. Love city living!\
From Highline park, not the best pictures but it's what I have
The pics below are from the 9/11 memorial, One World Trade Center, and the Oculous. Quinn had a private tour as part of his conference by one of the landscape architects in charge of the memorial.
Andrea and I set out to explore. We walked about 8 miles and saw Times Square, the Empire State building, the Chrysler building, Radio City music hall, and Central Park. It was a beautiful sunny day and Andrea was our official photographer. It was fun to have a double date with with Andrea and Ralph. We all went out for dinner at a swanky little restaurant and I already have forgotten the name. NYC prices are quite high for not only housing but food as well.
Rain, rain go away. There were flash flood warnings all morning so we hit up the Natural History Museum. I really enjoyed the exhibits with the extinct animals but not so much the stuffed animals. That was a little creepy. We called it an early night and all ordered in Thai food to our place. First time in a while that we have had Thai food delivered. What a treat!
We spent the morning at Ellis Island and the Statue of Liberty. I really enjoyed the exhibits about the folks who landed in the early 1900s. The exhibits walks you through the process that each immigrant went through and there are images showing the dress and belonging that people carried on their journeys. I highly recommend visiting the museum. The audio tour of the Statue of Liberty was also interesting and contained some fun facts about the history and construction of the statue. We had beautiful weather and were able to snap some good pictures.
Hmmmm....current event or from the past?
Andrea's pics from Ellis Island
Quinn's classmate Bon met up with us to show us his stomping grounds of Jersey city and also to take us on a great bike ride along the shoreline and also to a little creepy master planned community for the ultra rich on the Jersey side of the river. I really enjoyed the bike ride and the history of the area. That park and bike trail are a great city amenity. We also went on a pub crawl to all of Bon's favorite places in his hood. I really liked Jersey city and could definitely see myself living there and riding the subway into Manhattan. Now to find jobs and cheap rent! Ha good luck.
I was back on my own this day and I went on a walking tour that included the Brooklyn Bridge, Brooklyn Heights and "DUMBO" which is an acronym for down under the Manhattan Bridge Overpass. The tour guide was a retired defense attorney who claimed to have been paid mostly by drug dealers in cash but tired of this job after 12 years and now gives walking tours of Brooklyn. He was equipped with a Brooklyn accent as thick as they come and the regular dash of Brooklynease and bluntness characteristic of the area. I REALLY enjoyed his tour and he was full of information about the history of Brooklyn and also sprinklings of pop culture about the area. He also explained the history of Jehovah's Witnesses in the area of Brookyln which I found fascinating. After the tour, I took a ferry over to what is now considered hipsterville, Williamsburg. This is an area known for both its Hasidic Jewish population as well as its newfound residents, hipsters. It was a fun juxtaposition and made for a great afternoon of walking. I finally took the subway home and then it was off to dinner with a friend of Quinn's named Aaron. He is also Quinn's doppelganger. We went out for dinner and some drinks and enjoyed another fun evening in the city.
I rented a Citi bike again and rode through Central Park and up into Harlem. It was a nice ride and I was able to see even more of Manhattan. I really enjoy seeing a city by bicycle. Unfortunately, I did not carry the camera because it was just too big to lug around on the bicycle. In the afternoon we meet with Quinn's former co-worker from Japan, Yamanaka-San and his wife. We had such a fun time catching up with them and feeling like we were back in Japan for an evening. I spent most of the evening with a smile ear to ear listening to them speak in Japanese and chat with us about Japan all while enjoying some delicious Gin and Tonics.
Europe or NYC?
Day 7: Poor Quinn was working almost the whole trip so he didn't get to see many of the city icons. So I took him on a whirlwind trip around to the biggest stops.
Then we boarded a train for upstate New York/Vermont. We were greeted at the station by Quinn's cousin Ben and his wife Jaya. They have come to visit us at most of our stops and we were happy to finally get to come and visit them.
Day 8: On the first day, Jaya showed us around Vermont while Ben worked. We explored Lake George, Saratoga Springs, and a farmer's market. I feel embarrassed how little remembered about the French and Indian war. There were plenty of monuments and signs to remind us but I feel like I need to brush up on my history some.
Day 9: Quinn and I dropped Ben off at work and got a tour of his campus. It was fun to see him in his element and see where the magic happens.
Then we set off to hike up a mountain. With a few stops along the way including a few country stores we finally made it up. I am a huge fan of the country store. They usually include a sandwich shop, cake shop, random home items, homemade jams and such, and more. It is a really fun concept and they are all unique. It would be fun to make a website with a directory about each country store in the area.
Country stores pics
Day 10: Ben and Jaya were off of work and we all set off to check out a Zen Garden/State park. It was a private estate that allowed visitors up until a few years ago when the owner passed and donated the land to the state. It has a few trails through the property and a very large Zen garden that we couldn't access on our visit due to "mud season." They are not lying about mud season. You could very easily get your car or leg stuck in the mountains of mud. It was a really fun day to hang around with them and then enjoy a soft serve ice cream. Upstate New York is full of soft serve and we took full advantage.
Ben and Jaya have an amazing magical window from their sitting room that looks out onto their yard full of of colorful birds, turkeys, fox, and deer. It was so enjoyable to watch nature from the comfort of their couch. I really enjoyed cooking with them in the evening and having a relaxing night by the fire followed by animal watching in the morning. It was great spending time with them.
Day 11: back to Germany. Ben was kind enough to drive us to the airport and we headed off for another trip over the Atlantic. You would think that we were pros at this now but it seems long every time. It was great catching up with friends and visiting one of the most iconic cities in America.