Eventually we walked over to Union Square, then back down to Stand Burger, another highly recommended food joint. We both are big fans of hamburgers, but this absolutely was the best burger either of us had ever had. It was fabulous. I've always thought a burger is a burger. Some are better than others. But nope. There are good burgers, and then there are Stand Burgers. The waitress also recommended G get a shake. She said they are famous for their marshmallow shakes, which didn't seem all that appealing to either of us. But G decided to go off her word. And WOW! Is all I have to say. We were annoyed we didn't get the big size.
The infamous marshmallow shake.
After lunch we walked over to Washington Square because G loves the movie August Rush. We watched some street performers for a little while. That's one thing that surprised us is how few street performers we saw and how few homeless we saw. We visited all sorts of neighborhoods and never saw anyone panhandling. Can someone from the East pipe up and explain that? Because in the West (Portland, Seattle, San Francisco, and even Honolulu) there are LOTS of panhandlers and street performers. Is it because the weather is more mild here on the west coast?
The arch in Washington Square.
Anyway, we then took a subway to Canal street. We picked up a few shirts for the boys, but otherwise we only wandered around for an hour. It was too crowded and I hate haggling. Not to mention, everything was overpriced junk and I wasn't in the mood to go into some dark alley with a thug to look at "Rolex, Louis Vatton, Coach" (said in deep whisper). I wanted to, but I get anxiety around people who don't make eye contact.
So we took a subway back up to Midtown and walked through FAO Schwartz. Unfortunatley, we just got a quick look at the famous piano because a private birthday party was starting and they were using the piano and they asked everyone else to vacate the area. Talk about lucky kids getting a party there!
We knew Buddy would be impressed by this Lego Chewbacca in FAO Schwartz.
After that we went and hung out on a park bench in Central Park for about thirty minutes watching people/trying to get a good picture of ourselves. It was fascinating people watching! We couldn't believe how many people pay a lot of money to get their faces drawn or even their caricatures done. So crazy! We were dog-tired by then. It was only about 6:30, but we had been walking the entire vacation and our feet litarally were so sore by that day we were taking advil to ease the pain. For a split second we considered heading back to the hotel to rest, but it was our last day and we are party animals, so we gird up our loins and started walking. We walked all through the park, stopping to take lot of pictures, stopping to check out the front of the Met, and stopping to rest our feet every 30 minutes or so.
G and M in Central Park. What a beautiful place!
We spent about 20 minutes trying to get a "good" shot of the two of us. We got some hilarious ones in the meantime, but this one turned out fairly good. Considering the subjects.
We spent a few hours wandering around the park and emerged well after dark. We walked over to see the Mahattan LDS Temple, which was gorgeous. It was really impressive to see such a holy building and Angel Moroni right in the middle of all the skyscrapers.
The Manhattan Temple after dark. Gorgeous!
We needed one last slice of cheesecake and more pizza, so we made another quick pit stop at the Carnegie Deli for cheesecake and pickles, then took the subway back and had our last NY slice of pizza at the pizza shop by the hotel.
On the way to our room we went to the top floor of the hotel to look around. Fortunately, we got a really interesting view of the World Trade Center site. Seeing it from above put into perspective how big the area is and how much work is yet to be done to rebuild. We got back to our room relatively early -- around 11:00 PM. We made some phone calls, read through the 9/11 book we bought, made a plan to ride the subway to the airport, packed our stuff and hit the sack at 1:45 AM.
The view from our hotel room. We enjoyed watching the boats out in the Hudson River.
Two short hours later we were out of the sack. We came to our senses and realized that taking a subway and transfering subway lines with luggage in the dark at that hour was probably unsafe. By 4:00 AM we were in a cab on the way to JFK.
Neither of us are morning people and there is NOTHING worse than going home from vacation at that hour. Talk about a real downer of a day.
We got to JFK and G tried to swipe our credit card to pay for the cab fare. The driver got out of the car and said the meter and credit card machine were broken. We were unsure what to do, so we pulled a wad of cash out and paid him that way. After we walked away, it quickly dawned on us that he had pulled a fast one and would most definitely be pocketing that cash. Yeah right both the meter and credit card machine were broken.
We had stuffed all our luggage into two carry-ons each so we wouldn't have to pay to check our bags. One of our bags was a bit overfull, so an airline employee hassled us until we removed a pair of shoes. As soon as we were out of his sight, we put the shoes back in the bag, by the way. Give me a break! I'm not going to be bullied by some De.lta employee! So then while we were in line at security, the TSA screeners let two ladies through with boarding passes from the previous day. A few people she was traveling with FREAKED when they didn't get to go through with their old boarding passes. The screener was maybe 19 years old and a total idiot. Seriously, I could not believe incompetent she was. It's hard to believe she's the first line of defense at one of the most vulnerable airports in the world. Yikes. Makes you feel real safe flying. So we got through security and then continued to get hassled by two other airline employees who were really worried about me carrying one of G's bags. You can only have two carry-ons and I was holding three (he had the biggest one) and that was just too much for them to handle, apparently.
When we got on the plane, we stowed our luggage, then had a seat. A small 20-something girl was trying to lift her bag into the overhead compartment, but was having some trouble, so I nudged G and suggested he get up and help. He did, and as he gave the suitcase a shove to get it in, it dislodged a rollcart in the bin. The rollcart came tumbling out and hit another middle-aged lady in the face. That lady freaked out when she realized she was bleeding. She started to cry, threw a little fit, sat down in someone else's seat -- all so she could get more attention, I'm assuming. Everyone around her felt bad -- especially G and the younger girl, but honestly, her reaction was a little excessive. The flight attendant rushed to get her ice, meanwhile the injured lady kept asking everyone if she was going to need stitches. She was cut and probably bruised, no doubt, but her paper towel had a few drops of blood. Hardly any reason to rush out and get stitches.
Apparently we aren't the only cranky folks at that hour because pretty much every single employee and flight attendant and passenger was in a foul mood all the way until our layover in SLC. Then everyone's moods started to improve. Luckily!
Although our vacation was amazingly fun, we were so happy to be home to see our boys! We would like to personally thank everyone for taking care of our boys so we could have an amazing vacation. Friends and family are the best.