New York – Day 2

Now that it’s been almost a month since visiting New York I figured now would be a good time to finish up my post about it since it is so fresh in my memory.  That’s sarcasm, as in I should have done this the next day but I digress. 

As you may recall we spent our entire first day in New York seeing Conan O’Brien and then eating my birthday dinner in Times Square where we ate “The Best Burger in New York!”  On day two we discovered that everything is the best in New York.  Every menu we saw would have some items that claimed to be the best of New York because at some point some random guy reviewed and it claimed that it was in some obscure NY publication.  Though, to be fair, it was a darn good burger!  

After a long nights sleep in New Jersey we took the bus back across the river and headed for the subway.  There was a guy standing at the payment machine for the bus tickets with his credit card in his hand like he didn’t know what to do.  Since this was my second day in the city I expertly told him to “put your credit card in there” as I pointed at the slot he just put his ticket in.  He just turned and looked at me and said what me and Angi only understood as “I know!  I built this machine!”  To which I just walked away to find another payment machine.  Afterwards we tried to figure out why he had to pay for the bus at all if he built the machine that takes the money.  

Now, we have plenty of experience with subways from living near London so it wasn’t that hard to figure out.  The problem was in London you can buy a day pass and ride wherever you want all day within selected zones.  In NYC it’s a little different.  You pay per trip.  We had no idea how many times we were going to ride the subway so I bought us both the 4 trips for $7 deal.  I think it saved us a buck each but I’m still not sure.  It was so crazy in there we just wanted to get on our way.  I had an app for my iPhone that told us exactly where we needed to go and what transfers to make but even without it subway lines are still easy to figure out what with the color coding and all.  Still, it helped out.

We rode down to the Staten Island ferry where we could see the Statue of Liberty.  We had read that you needed to get tickets in advance to go inside of it and take the tour.  Because of this we decided to view it from where we were which was still pretty cool.  I took some good pictures of it but it is definitely something that is on our list for when we get back to NYC.

Near that area is the Wall Street Bull which had a bunch of people gathered around it.  I got some good pictures of Angi pointing at the bulls balls before working our way up to the front so I could take her picture with it.  The funny thing is I kept thinking people were telling me I was going to see a giant bowl.  I didn’t know what would be so interesting about a big bowl but I figured hey, why not.  Turns out when we got there everyone had actually been saying Bull.  I guess if you’ve ever seen the movie Hitch it was featured in that.

From there we walked towards Wall Street and stopped at Trinity Church.  There was this root structure looking thing just standing up in front of it that was huge.  It turns out it is the root structure for a tree that was knocked over when the towers collapsed.  They decided to have an artist save it and he had painted it an earthy red color.  It was a neat thing to run into and read about.  

This was right around the time of the big bank failure but on that Saturday there were still a metric ton of tourists eager to go see and take pictures in front of the giant flag on Wall Street.  It was fun to walk around and see all the landmarks that you’ve always associated with money and stock trading and wall street.  In that same area was the spot that George Washington accepted the presidency of the United States of America commemorated by a large stature of him.  I believe New York was the capitol of the US at that time which is why he would have been inaugurated on that spot.

We started our walk towards the spot the twin towers stood which was kind of weird.  Every turn we made I kept expecting to see an area of just nothingness.  So far every where we had been we were surrounded by huge skyscrapers on either side of us.  We got to a point where it looked like we might be there but instead it was a small park like area that was not far from the actual spot.  On our way we saw some fire trucks circling the block and talking to people which is when we stumbled upon the site.  It really just looks like a construction site now.  I don’t know exactly what I expected.  I knew there was nothing there but instead of feeling like what I thought I would have I felt about how I would going to any other construction site because you really can’t tell the difference.  What was moving was the FDNY number 10 house which is directly across the street.  A large crowd was gathered talking to the men, shaking their hands, thanking them and what not.

Just afterwards is the point we got lost.  We were wanting to find a nice little spot that had pizza but it also needed to be near the subway.  After getting some directions from a couple of New Yorkers with some heavy accents we found the subway and the pizza place.  The pizza looked just like it did everywhere else we had walked by which also happens to look exactly like Enzo’s Pizza.  That’s exactly what it tasted like too.  It was good, but I was expecting something great!

Since we didn’t get to do the NBC studio tour the night before we headed back to see if we could get in.  Unfortunately the tickets were sold out for the next several hours so instead we walked up fifth avenue.  You know, the one with all the fancy stores.  We saw Trump Tower and the Gucci store and all that.  It wasn’t long before we reached the Apple store.  I don’t think Angi was that excited about going there but once she realized she could sit down for 45 minutes or so I think she started to warm up to the idea.  I, of course, had to play with everything there but ended up only walking away with a new case for my iPhone.

Right behind the big glass cube Apple store is the famous toy store from the movie Big with Tom Hanks.  The one where they play the piano, you remember.  FAO Schwarz is the name of the store and we walked around that place for about an hour.  They have so many different toys in there it’s crazy.  I think my favorite section had to of been the lego part.  They had the characters from Harry Potter all did up in legos.  It was pretty neat and made me want to buy some legos.  I’m pretty sure I still have a gym bag full of them somewhere though.

We were right next to Central Park so we decided to go and check it out.  That’s when we noticed the horse and carriage rides through the park.  We got in line and quickly realized there was no line and people were jumping in front of other people.  There was a designated spot for them to stop but it was about four horse and carriage lengths long so we ended up standing around for about a half hour without a horse stopping in front of us.  Finally I told Angi to stand at the other end and right about that time a horse pulled up and I walked up to it and put my hand on the car so everyone else would know this one is mine.  This is when one of Angi’s favorite stories begin.  We get into the car and the guy is explaining pricing to us which prompts me to tap my butt as I do from time to  time to make sure my wallet is still there.  When I don’t feel my wallet I start to panic and say, “I’ve been picked!”  At first softly as if in disbelief and then angrily to the point of almost yelling.  After what seemed like several minutes but was in fact a few seconds I notice that I was carrying my wallet in my left hand.  How embarrassing.

So we took our 15 minute $50 ride through Central Park with the guy talking to us the whole time but it was still rather neat.  It was just starting to get a little dark so the lights were coming on but you could still see everything just fine.  We saw the building the original Ghost Busters was filmed in from a distance which was cool.  Of course there were lots of people just hanging out, talking, jogging, and riding bikes.  It was pretty much exactly like I expected it to be, really pretty and peaceful.

By the time we got done it was really starting to get dark and we were almost out of time as well as things to do.  We started in the direction of the Empire State building stopping only for some Starbucks.  As we were walking up the street we could see it right in front of us so I started snapping a few pictures.  That’s when I realized I should have charged my battery the night before since my camera died.  Once we got in the building though and waited in line the two hours it took before we could get on the elevator to the top I was able to get the camera on and snap off a few quick shots while we were up there.  It’s a lot of fun up there.  It was night time so it was hard to see exactly what we were looking at but major things like the GE building were easy to spot.  Still I’m looking forward to when we go back so I can go up in the day time.

That about wraps it up.  We had an awesome dinner and then headed back to the hotel for a good nights sleep before the long 12 hour drive the next day.  We had a blast and talked about how we look forward to going back.  It seemed like a lot of people thought we wouldn’t have a good time but it was a blast.  It was a lot like when we lived in England and would take weekend getaways to different spots sometimes just picking up on a Friday after I got off work and driving somewhere to stay for the weekend.  Of course we couldn’t find a hotel when we did that which is why we only took off without any planning that one time but still, it was a lot of fun.

New York part One – Conan

The wife and I visited New York for my birthday.  What led us there was Conan O’Brien.  I’ve always loved his show going all the way back to when I was in high school and would watch him late at night with Andy Richter.  Once I joined the Air Force I didn’t have the opportunity to watch him since I was in England for so long without regular T.V.  See all we had was the AFN (Armed Forces Network) and the six or so channels that came with it.  Every now and again I’d catch him on there since they did play regular shows after all but it was nothing like my regular watching of Conan in the past few years since I’ve been back.

I’ve been home for awhile now and realized that Late Night with Conan O’Brien is going off the air since he is taking Leno’s spot.  For my 29th birthday I wanted to go and see his show.  My wonderful wife called for about a week trying to get tickets when luckily she was able to pick up the last two tickets for the Friday night showing that just so happened to be on my birthday.  How awesome is that?

When we first got there we originally wanted to take a tour of NBC studios but realized that it would be cutting into the time we should line up to see Conan. It was about 2 or so and the line for Conan started at 3. The tour would take 1 hour and 10 minutes and it started at 2:30 so that wasn’t going to work at all.  So we waited and got our tickets and then waited some more to get in at around 4:30.

That’s when the real fun started to begin.  As they were ushering us into the studio someone was handing out hats from L.L. Cool J’s new fashion line (exclusively at Sears) and we were asked to wear them when he came on.  We sat on the right about 3 rows back and all the way up against the wall.  If you haven’t heard it before then let me tell you, that studio is Small with a capitol S.  I had heard it many times before but you actually have to check it out to appreciate just how small it is.  T.V. of course makes it look huge or at the very least much larger.

Once everyone was seated they played some highlights to warm up the audience.  It wasn’t exactly like the video I posted below but it has a lot of the same clips.  After the video one of the extras (and possibly a writer?) came out to do some additional warming up.  He introduced the band and Max and then Conan O’Brien.  He came out and got the crowd going even more which didn’t seem like it would have been possible but he did and everyone was super excited to be there.

I’ll make this brief as it’s more of a had to be there moment.  Conan came out and started dancing with a guy in the audience, we’ll call him Al since I don’t know his real name.  They were dancing for a minute when Al turns around and starts to “back that thing up” on Conan prompting a, “What the hell was that!”  Everyone laughed about it as Conan made a few jokes about the guy and then Conan had the Al stand back up so he could give him a hug.  Then told him to hug the guy behind him which they did.  Then Al was told to go hug Max ending in him getting a signed pair of drum sticks.  Al was only a few seats down from me which makes a me a bit jealous but it was really hilarious.

Then Conan came out and did the show.  What I like most about Conan are the sketches they do.  With L.L. Cool J and Oliver Stone they were short on time but it was still good.  Being able to just go there and see the show live was amazing for a fan like me and I loved it.  If there is a show out there that you love I’d definitely recommend going and seeing a taping of it, it’s an experience you won’t forget.  Check back soon for my post about the next day and the NYC sight seeing.  For now enjoys these videos!

 

Just as a special bonus here is another clip that I think is hands down the funniest segment from the past year.

Where have I been?

I’ve been all over and have been neglecting you all, my faithful and adoring fans.  Starting with the Cochran family reunion and finishing up this past weekend with a four day vacation that included a couple of night in New York I’ve been crazy busy traveling.  Throw in all my school work and it makes for one giant headache of a time.

To all you who forgot to tell me happy birthday on the 10th I’ll be writing down you names and making sure I don’t tell you happy birthday on whatever day it is for you that I don’t know anyway.  Which brings up an interesting point.  I know like 4 birthdays and one of them is mine.  I just don’t remember that sort of thing.  Heck, there are people I hang out with that I can’t remember their names half the time.  So I just call them some derogatory name and they usually answer.  I guess the point of this story is to say that it doesn’t bother me if you don’t know it’s my birthday because I don’t know when yours is.  If, by chance, you saw it was my birthday on some social site and took the time to say “Happy Birthday” then thank you very much.  If I don’t return the favor when it comes your time just know that you’re still awesome and maybe I’ll catch it next year.  It’s nothing personal though.  

So in the coming few days expect a post about the reunion and my trip to New York.  Until then for those of you wanting to get me a late birthday present I’ll take one of these: New Aluminum Macbook and one of these: 24-inch Cinema Display.  I’ll be sure to remember your birthday and give you a hearty For He’s a Jolly Good Fellow when it’s your turn.