Tuesday, December 9, 2008

New York Part I

Finally I'm done with my first post!
What a fantastic trip! It’s hard to know where to begin, so I'm starting at the very beginning.
I won't bore you with the stressing out on what to wear the week before, my quest for a warm wool coat in mild weather Washington, and the packing, editing, repacking, editing my suitcase again and ending up with not the right clothes. We're past all that.

I suggest you get a cup of coffee, tea, a Diet Coke, or whatever it is you like to enjoy while reading blogs.
This sucker is a long one!

The airport at JFK
Welcome to New York Ladies!

We were excited beyond belief. Where we going to be ready for New York? Michelle and Laura had been once before when they were kids, Genine had never been and I had been a couple years ago with The Hubs.

We arrived in New York in the early evening but with rush hour we didn't get to our hotel until around 7 ish. It was so weird arriving some place where it was dark again already. We had left at 5 am to get to the airport,in plenty of time to check through security. It was still dark when we got there, sun coming up when we left but, by the time we arrived in New York it was sunset again.
We got all checked in to the hotel. We stayed at the Broadway Plaza Hotel. It was very nice, everyone on the staff was super nice and very helpful. The hotel was situated in not such a great block of Manhattan but it was still safe and close to Time Square and the Mother Ship…. Macy’s. That was the most important. We needed to be close to the hub of tourism in New York and that is Time Square.

This was the view out our hotel windows. The Empire State Building. Which was lit up every night in red for the holidays. Beautiful!

The girls already messin around. We haven't even been there 15 minutes and they were causing trouble. Our hotel room.

It was big and very comfortable. It took us 4 ladies about 2.5 seconds to make this room look like a bomb went off.

We were all checked in, freshened up, and dressed a little warmer. Did I mention it was cold??? We decided getting something to eat was in order. So off we went, giddy with excitement. One of the things I found out about New York is that there are so many restaurants in this town that its’ hard to choose. There is also a HUGE opportunity for error, that the odds of picking someplace horrible is much greater. This was something I learned last time (The Hubs and I had not one great meal while in NY when we went. It was so disappointing) I was in New York and this time I was determined to have some of the NY fabulous food you always hear about. So we stuck with asking the locals where they ate. It worked out fantastic.
We started with asking the bellman Tony. He directed us to Ottimo's just around the corner.


The Italian food was fantastic, the service was great, and best of all we had a wonderful chat with the Italian Chef Salvatore with the help of his trusty interpreter Anna who was also our waitress. She was so funny, and we enjoyed meeting both of them so much. The whole experience was excellent and I recommend it to anyone who is staying in Midtown, who wants to have something fabulous, not fast food, close to their hotel and reasonably priced. All these qualities are hard to find in the Time Square area.
The Staff and Chef
Group photo with The Chef

After stuffing ourselves silly at Ottimo's it was off to explore the city a little. We weren't ready for bed yet so we started walking, and walking, and walking. We walked through Macy's, Time Square, then to Rockefeller Center stopping along the way to take in the beautiful city.
Laura and Genine in Time Square

Our first New York Starbucks. We found it in Macy's and we also found that the crew working that night were the nicest, most helpful and just down right friendly of all the 22 Starbucks we stopped at in New York.
Yes, folks in my week of being in New York I was in more Starbucks then I have ever been in my entire life. I'm not a coffee drinker, I enjoy a cup of tea once in a while from (I'm a tea snob and they don't have great tea) Starbucks, and rarely I'll partake in a hot chocolate. I do however LOVE LOVE a Starbucks baked goods treat. Big fan of the muffins, scones, and breads.

******NOTE TO HOWARD********* If you were to start providing Diet Coke (fountain not out of a gun) I would be all over your shit on a daily basis! You said on TV your company was struggling. This would add a whole new caffeine addict...ooops......I mean ....new customer.

There are 31 Starbucks Stores in the Manhattan area. It's also the unofficial public restroom of New York City. Most are very clean, some where a little to be desired and a couple.............No Public Restrooms. REALLY? How is that?

We amused ourselves by telling New York City Starbucks employees that we were from Corporate when they asked where we were from. Some thought that was the funniest thing they had heard and immediately knew we were from Seattle and were excited to chat with us. Others............totally pissed off.

I wonder if they get pissed off when Howard tells them he's from Corporate?
Time Square crystal ball. It was gooooorgeous! It looks so much bigger on TV.

Fun table set up in the Cellar at Macy's.
They had all kinds of table displays set up for the holidays. They were so beautiful. If you love Martha Stewart
(I secretly admire her and love her merchandise) this is the store for you. She has the most stuff I have ever seen in a Macy's store in this store. This Macy's is the Mother Ship of all Macy's.
It was mind boggling.

The girls (Laura and Michelle) taking a self portrait while they were waiting for me to finish looking at everything. Don't they look all cute and innocent??
THEY AREN'T INNOCENT AT ALL! Cute yes, innocent no!
I love this about Macy's! The wood escalators. These just give me a thrill. I'm not sure why. I think it's because it's a piece of history.

I have always heard that New York was beautiful at Christmas time. I never could have imagined how beautiful it really was. It’s like something I have never seen or experienced before. The weather was clear, crisp, cold and the city was beautiful.

A few of Michelle's fabulous pictures from our first walk through town.

It was getting late and we needed to get up at 5 am again the next morning (4 women in the same hotel room, getting ready in the morning takes some planning and time) so we decided we should start walking back.
Then……………..We ran in to the famous Rainbow Room.
How could we pass this up? We needed to stop and at least have a cocktail. Up we went! Of course not dressed appropriately but we didn’t care…………It was the Rainbow Room and by God we were having a drink! They let us in, sat us clear in the back of the bar in a corner. Apparently we looked like poorly dressed tourists that were going to cause some trouble. Again……………we didn’t care! We were at the Rainbow Room, sitting along the big windows enjoying the most spectacular view of downtown all lit up for Christmas. The very handsome waiter in his super starched all white get up came over to take our order.
Me: I’ll a Bellini please
Michelle; I’ll have a Cosmopolitan please
Laura: I’ll have a Bellini also please
Genine: I’ll have a Sapphire Gin Martini, 3 olives, shaken please (a woman who knows what she wants)
Off the hot waiter goes………..5 minutes later……….DRINKS! WOW! That was quick!
We sat and laughed, enjoyed the view, people watched, toasted to being in NY a million times, and talked about how we WERE AT THE RAINBOW ROOM! We finished our drinks and no waiter. We waited, still no waiter, we waited, no waiter, about 15 or 20 minutes went by. Finally he came back and asked if we wanted another drink. We said no thank you, we were ready. Thinking this would direct him to bring our tab. WRONG! We waited, we waited, we waited, finally we grabbed another waiter and asked him to send our waiter over. We waited, we waited, and we waited. Finally he brought our tab. It was about an hour waiting for our tab.

So the tab comes, I grab it and open it up. We are thinking maybe $15 tops for these drinks. Oh, I forgot to mention they all came in the smallest version of martini glasses and Bellini glasses I have ever seen. I don’t even know where a person could get glasses that small. Munchinville Restaurant Supply???? I don't know?
Anyway I grab the bill…………….Open it up………..Gasp, and fall off my chair! $91 for the 4 of us to have ONE DRINK A PIECE! On top of that……….the waiter pointed out in no uncertain terms that he would like to be tipped as well as we needed to tip the Captain. He had highlighted these areas to write in a tip on the credit card receipt. ARE YOU F’IN KIDDIN ME?? Where was the damn Captain when we couldn't’t get our bill? Who was the Captain and why did I never see him. He didn’t seat us, he never came over, why in the hell should I tip him?
Upon reviewing the menu later it appears that our hot but super shitty waiter went a head and added his gratuity without telling us, then outlined where we could add an additional gratuity. Guess he wanted to make sure he got paid for NOT WAITING ON US!
The view was wonderful, the drink was OK, the service sucked but we got to go to The Rainbow Room. That’s what it was all about.
Bitching and laughing all 30 blocks back to our hotel we decided we better call it a day. The next day was going to be busy.
5 am came very early when we didn’t go to sleep until after 1 am. So puffy eyed and dressed in our Sunday best we made our way to the ABC Studios to see Regis and Kelly.
Laura had gotten tickets a month or so ago for the 3 of them to go. Since I was inviting myself at the last minute I didn’t have a ticket.
The plan was, we would get there early. I would get in standby and see if I could get a ticket. If not no big deal, I would just go do a little exploring on my own. Which I was totally fine with.
So we got there, the line wasn’t too bad. There were probably about 20 to 30 people in line. Then a large group of women came and got in line behind us and we started chatting with them. All from West Virginia (I think) and very delightful. It was fun to visit with them in line. Then it was time to separate ticket holders from non-ticket holders. I went one way , the girls went the other. Our new friends wanted to know where I was going. Genine, Laura and Michelle explained to them I didn’t have a ticket and had to wait in stand by. Guess what??? They had an extra ticket. How fabulous of them to offer that up to me. We couldn’t believe it. So to the other line I went!Our New BFF's from West Virgina. I hope I remembered their home state correctly. We chatted with so many women there it started getting very confusing. I know I should have remembered who gave us the tickets.............BUT I DIDN'T! Sorry ladies. It's the hormone thing..........I can barley remember what I'm talking about mid way through the sentance.

The girls (Genine and Michelle) messin around in line at The ABC studios. Notice Laura in the back ground is pretending to not know them.
In to the show we go!
The experience of seeing a television show taped that you watch daily (honestly I only tune in to Regis and Kelly once in a while) is so sireal. Everything is much smaller then you imagine, people look different, and there is a lot going on behind the scense that you can't see but imagine is going on but you don’t really know. It's a busy place.
Let me tell you how much work it is to be in a live studio audiacne. It’s exahusating! You are freakin clapping and hoopin and hollarin all the time, trying to keep quite when your suppose to, trying to take pictures but act like your not fresh off the farm and those on the show are'nt zoo animals. They cram you in the studio so tight you can’t move, it’s a bit chilly and well…………..it’s just a lot of work. Now don’t get me wrong. I just like to bitch! We had a fabulous time, it was super fun and I would totally do it again. In fact if I knew I was going to NY in 6 or 7 months I would be gettin online signing up for every show I could as many times as I could.
Everyone on the Regis and Kelly show were very nice. Here is my observation of the stars the day we were there. Because I know the dirt is really what you want.

I found Regis to be very gracious to everyone, funny, and just a genuine guy. When you see him get irritated about stuff on the show it seems that is for real. He just has a nack for playing it off as he is joking. It didn't appear he was really joking.

Kelly Rippa seemed a little phony to me, scripted, but yet she was very gracious to all the audience when on a break. Gilman.... He seemed a little arragont, annoyed that getting the audiance ready was his job, and well........I just found his body language, voice, and attitude annoying. I can see why Regis gets irritated with him.

Heidi Klum……more BEAUTIFUL in real life. She was funny, playful and just a very nice person. She truly was someone that you would say “hey we could hang out and be good friends” She was great. Barenaked Ladies………FREAKIN ROCKED! Terry Vader……Super funny and talented beyond belief. His act is more amazing in person.

After the show……………….

Off to Tavern On The Green
The Tavern on The Green is an absolutley lovely place, food sucked beyond belief but our waiter was a hoot. We had a lot of fun with him. Captian Tim you rock! Here is a little hint that we picked up on for those of you wanting to see the Tavern on The Green but don’t want to pay for over priced horrible food just to see the place. Go to the brunch buffet during the week, it was $20, the food was ok and just because they just started this...........nobody was there. We had the place to ourselves and wondered around and took pictures, chatted with the staff, used the clean bathrooms and had a wonderful time. By the time we left the place was filling up for lunch and it would have been impossible to get all the pictures we did. The hallway with the beautiful lights. There is a gift shop too. But you can't get the full effect by just going to the gift shop.
Tavern on the Green is a beautiful old institution in New York. The sad thing about it is that it needs to have some updating. It looks like it was last updated in the 80's so it's a little tacky. It would be nice to see it updated so that the original chandilers, hanging lights, and beautiful art work was the centerpiece. I heard Donald Trump purchased Tavern on The Green, I might e-mail him and give him my opinion. I'm sure he is waiting to hear about what I thought after my visit.
Worth the stop while visiting New York.
Next...........A little walk through Central Park
Between Michelle and I, we got a few great pictures while we walked throught Central Park

This really is a lovely park. Another must see while visiting New York.

I have a lot more pictures and stories to share with you but I'm going to have to do it in more postings. So stay tuned..................

I'm also getting ready for The House of B's 2nd Annual Ugly Christmas Sweater White Elephant Gift Exchange this Saturday.

Lots going on here which means for you.............Lots to share!


kal said...

Love, Love, Love the pictures!

Laurie Anne said...

Wow, sounds and looks like a fantastic trip :0)

Lisa said...

wow girl, looks like a bizzzzy fun time!
I would totally die and get up and DIE again, just to see tavern on the green, however ticky tacky eighties it might have been. Hell, thats my era anyway, I woulda been totally comfy there...
glad your back!
lets see the ugly sweater, darlin.

WSU Laura said...

Damn, we really did do a lot!!! Too much fun. I can't imagine a better group of women to travel with.

Tammy said...

Hi Timi, It looks like you ladies had a great time! I cannot believe that Rainbow room bill. Shwew! I have bene to NY a few times and just love the felling there. The people were always friendly. In a hurry but friendly. Looks like you all hit quite a few hot spots. I thought the Tavern on the Green was so cool with the huge stained glass chandeliers and the huge topiaries on the terrace.
Have a Merry Christmas!