Erica and I spent the weekend in the Big Apple with some of our favorite people and had a great time. Here’s the rundown.
- enjoyed a turbo Dunkin Donuts Coffee and low fat muffin on our way into the city. Kandace and Erica watched Pride and Prejudice on the DVD player while Than and I listened to music and chatted about all things under the sun. Those DVD headphones work on kids and wives too! haha. i jest. it was a nide ride in though, and i got my first look at lady liberty.
- our hotel was, in a word, Amazing. The Millenium Hilton, right in the center of the financial district. The couple known as Thandace (our very own Brangelina…complete with news of a coming baby!) shared a room with Erica and I. We were on the 31st floor, with a corner room facing North and East into the city. The Herrs and Mellinger’s room was on the other side of the hotel looking directly down into the Ground Zero footprint which was across the street from us. It was definitely moving to be right there were so many innocent folks lost their lives 5 years and 1 week earlier.
(here’s the view from our room while Than and I pass time before the wedding watching football)
(warning: large nose ahead. here’s a pic i took of myself in front of our window. and honestly, this is direct from the camera, no photoshopping)
- We had dinner reservations at 8pm at Little Frankie’s just North of Houston Street. We left at 7:30pm, expecting to hail a cab and get there in time. We learned a hard lesson about trying to find a cab in NYC on a friday night. Instead of waiting in front of the hotel like we should have, we decided to walk and get one on the way. an hour later, we arrived at the restaurant having walked the entire way (probably a mile and a half). Not a big deal, you say? Well it wasn’t for the guys, but the ladies were all wearing shoes that weren’t exactly for walking. I think the final blister tally between the 4 of them was somewhere in the 10-12 range. But hey, we got a nice scenic tour of SoHo. Needless to say they weren’t amused. Oh and to top it off, they didnt hold our reservation because we were late and we sat outside the place for an hour and 10 minutes before we finally got seated (even thought they told us 15-30 minutes). Not a good start to the night. Once inside, though, the food was as great as the waiter was unintelligible.
(outside Little Frankie’s. Erica’s face sums up how our wives felt about us at that point)
(the idiots who couldn’t hail a cab. josh, me, matt, and Than)
- We made it to Grace, a small bar off of Church St. in the financial district by 11:45am, over 2 hours later than we had planned. oh well. Matt and Renee (the happy couple) were still there. We chilled there for a little over an hour. A few things i learned: 1) “Stella” is not a cute name for “Amstel”. They are vastly different beers. 2)Cosmos in the city can set you back $10, Long Island Iced Teas can set you back $12, and 3)Grouchy, unfriendly bartenders don’t like it when someone walks out with one of their candles.
- Before crashing back at the hotel at 3am we stopped in at the Groom-to-be’s new apartment on Murray St. It’s an incredible place at an incredible price. And by “incredible” i mean that the rent for their 2-bedroom apartment is 4 times my mortgage payment on a 4-bedroom house. location, location, location. great place though.
- rolled out of bed around 10am and found the nearest Dunkin Donuts. While the ladies did the pedicure thing, the four horsemen walked down to Battery Park. Looked at the Statue of Liberty from a distance. Looked at all the people waiting in line to go see the statue of Liberty. Headed back to the hotel to watch football.
- at 3:15pm we boarded a bus headed for the wedding. it should have taken us 20 minutes or so to get there, but we didnt make it to the church until 4:30pm. the wedding was supposed to start at 4pm, but since more than half the guests were on our bus, they waited. the bus driver missed a turn, got stuck in horrific traffic, tried to take a sharp corner and failed (taking out a rear view mirror), and barely got us there.
- The wedding was at a nice little church in Greenwich Village, everything went well. Back on the buses and over to the reception on the lower West Side. The reception hall was on the 10th floor of a warehouse with a nice balcony overlooking the city. The food was incredible. The place was incredible. The whole thing was top notch. We were there until about midnight when the party moved to a small bar called West a cab ride away.
(man and wife)
- Most of the wedding party (125 people) crammed into the small bar and tried to talk over loud music with no light. I enjoyed catching up with Matt’s dad for a while. He provided some of the best one-liners of the night. We found a cabby that squeezed 6 of us into his cab (the Herrs took off earlier because the loud music was “death on a stick” to Matty) and we dozed off around 3am again. (but not before i got a phone call from Matty’s cellphone which was apparently no longer on Matty but was stuck in a cab somewhere. remarkably it was returned to the hotel the next day).
- We drove uptown to see all we could see before heading back home. First stop was Greenwich Village to visit Magnolia Bakery (you might remember the name from the SNL short, Lazy Sunday). Their cupcakes were tasty, and we were all excited to walk by Anderson Cooper who was hanging around outside talking to some dude. I thought about getting a pic with him, but decided against it.
(The Magnolia Bakery)
(Waiting in line for a coffee and cupcakes at Magnolia)
(Chris Parnell with his Magnolia cupcake)
(Anderson Cooper, in case you were drawing a blank)
- We left Greenwich Village and parked up near Central Park. They seemed to be shooting a movie a block away so we went to check it out. We couldnt get close, but one of the crew members told us it was a Will Smith flick called “I am Legend”. (movie description: “The lone healthy survivor of a biological war faces off against a new breed of nocturnal mutants.” um… no thanks). We walked through Central Park, visited the new 5th Avenue Apple Store, walked to Rockefeller Center, and then into Times Square where we ate dinner at the Hard Rock.
(Erica at Rockefeller Center)
- We tried to leave NYC via the Lincoln Tunnel from 11th Ave around 7pm. Big Mistake. It took about an hour to go a mile or two, but it was the craziest traffic jam ever. Even though 11th ave is 2-way traffic, the cars headed south outnumbered the northbound cars to the point that the road became a one way. The people trying to go North were not amused. We were. We got back to lancaster county around 10:30pm and crashed as soon as possible.
The whole trip was a blast. Many more stories i could recount, but we’ll save that for the DVD Director’s Cut edition. Great friends, great wedding, and a great city. Might have to do that again sooner rather than later.