April 24, 2012

new york times.

     For such a short time in New York, it sure felt like we did a lot. We had somewhat of a rough start with claustrophobic, delayed Frontier Airline flights, but it was worth it once we were landing and looking down at the Empire State Building, Brooklyn Bridge, Chrysler Building, Yankee Stadium and the rest of the sparkling night life of New York City.
     From our bus ride to Port Authority, I started to become more nervous about New York City and if I was going to like it there. Even though it was late at night, there was still so much hustle and bustle – the city was filled with people, there were taxis everywhere (Buddy the Elf was right, the yellow ones don’t stop), there was garbage piled up on the streets, and people just completely ignored the cross walk signs – it just felt like a completely different culture. Meanwhile, Jason was super giddy and excited to be there. I have to admit, no matter how cliché this might be; driving past Times Square was very surreal. After another bus ride to Newark, New Jersey, we finally got to our hotel. Although it was well after midnight, we were starving and ordered pizza delivered to our room.
     For our first day in the city we wanted to partake in the Times Square experience. We loved being surrounded by the flashy billboards and the tall buildings. While wandering around we stopped at M&M World, which ironically was right across from the Hersey’s store. After leaving the chocolate behind, we went on a journey to find FAO Schwartz, the toy store. Walking block after block after block – Jason and I became very good at jaywalking just before the green man would appear or a taxi would zoom bye. The front of FAO Schwartz has a toy soldier guarding the door and walking inside was like re-entering childhood. The store had giant giraffe stuffed animals, every doll in the American Girl collection, LEGO replicas of Indiana Jones and Captain Jack Sparrow, and the famous, life-size piano from the movie Big. We waited in a short line for 15 minutes and it was just a lot of fun; I just wish they would give us more than two minutes to play. We also stopped at Toys “R” Us and the Disney Store. I guess when you feel like a small fish in a huge pond, you have to visit every toy store.
     When we finally convinced ourselves that we were not going to find a cheap place to eat in the city, we finally sat down at the Brooklyn Diner where Jason got Henry’s Fried Chicken and Waffles and I got Sally’s Baked Macaroni and Cheese (voted New York’s Best). I don’t know if Jason and I will ever grow out of our favorite foods. Jason loved his waffle, but thought differently of the fried chicken and my mac deserved the title of NY’s best, hands down. While doing a little more wandering, we happened to pass by the Naked Cowboy. Jason was so excited and – I felt a little uncomfortable. My discomfort grew when Jason made me get my picture with the cowboy and he picked me up in his arms. Jason was just laughing his head off while all I could think about was how the cowboy’s skin was so soft! Now all I’m wondering is what he uses to get his skin that smooth.
Don't worry, he has underwear on.
     After standing in a line in Duffy Square, we bought Broadway tickets to see How to Succeed in Business without really Trying. Since Wicked and Newsies were all sold out, this was Jason’s next choice (he had seen the movie before and really liked it). The musical was actually really good. There weren’t really any “stand out” songs, but we loved the set and the comedy about being promoted without really trying in a company. This particular show starred Nick Jonas. We were actually pleased with his performance and thought he did a great job playing the lead role.
     Wednesday was business day: we planned to meet with our realtor in Millburn, New Jersey where she set up an appointment with the manager of two different apartment complexes. We loved both of them, even though one was a Studio it was much bigger than the 1 bedroom apartment we’ve been living in Rexburg. Unfortunately, we wouldn’t have been able to reserve a place anyway since we wouldn’t be moving in until August (something we already knew in coming), but Jason and I still feel it was a huge success because our realtor got to know us much better personally and she came to understand what we were looking for more exactly. It’s wonderful to finally visualize the area where we will be living and where I will be doing my student teaching.
Waiting at the Train Station
      From there, I came up with the brilliant idea of visiting New York University’s campus. So we hopped on yet, another train to Penn Station. This campus is unlike any other campus that I have ever seen. All of the buildings were spread out around Washington Square as if there were just more parts of the buildings. After looking at multiple maps posted around town, we finally found Jason’s building that he will be spending all of his time in while at school: the historic Woolworth Building: NYU School of Continuing and Professional Studies. I think this made him even more excited to attend. Our favorite part of the campus was the actual Washington Square where the famous arch is found. This seemed to be the “hang-out spot” for musicians, artists, and NYU students. While crossing through, we stopped to listen to a band that consisted of drums and bagpipes. I know, it sounds really weird, but it was actually pretty awesome especially considering the band’s name is Scottish Octopus. I think this band kind of describes the kind of people that attend NYU; artsy. I suppose Jason would fit right in with his French and love of poetry. Maybe I could fit in if I showed off my doodles of flowers and stars . . . luckily I don’t plan on being around campus much.
     Our last day in New York, we wanted to do something really cool. So we went to the Rockefeller Center (or as Jason likes to call it, the Rock-a-fellah Center). Here we wandered around NBC studios until it was our turn to go up to “The Top-of-the-Rock”. The center was 70 stories high (68 by elevator and two by stairs). It was pretty much the coolest elevator ride I’ve been on. At the top, you can see everything. It was the perfect view of New York. On one side, you could see the Chrysler Building, the Empire State Building; if you looked through the binocular things, you could see the Brooklyn Bridge and the Statue of Liberty. On the other side of the building you could the 153 blocks of trees growing from Central Park. When we got back to ground-level, we went to see the ice rink where the gold statue of Prometheus is found and the statue of Atlas carrying Earth on his shoulders that is featured in the opening of 30 Rock.
     For our last big adventure of our trip we our walked through Central Park. We took pictures on the rocks and watched a league softball game to rest our ever-throbbing feet. Once rested, we walked around the park stopping to enjoy the cherry blossoms and watch the rowboats in the lake. We eventually found the John Lennon Memorial in a place called Strawberry Fields in the park that was just across the street from where John and Yoko’s apartment and where John Lennon was shot and killed. The actual memorial is a black and white mosaic with the single word: “Imagine”. It was beautiful sitting on a park bench and watching people pay their respects to a man they never actually met, but were touched by him through his music.
     Overall, our trip was amazing. We accomplished what we wanted to with our apartment hunt and visiting NYU, yet we still had time to explore New York City. We know it may not seem like we did a lot, but we thought it would be silly to ruin future dates if we tackled the entire city in just three days. Don’t worry, you’ll hear about all of our New York adventures in the future. There are only three and a half months until we move to New Jersey and we wish we were there now.

     During our trip back to Provo Airport, we had a 7-hour layover in Denver, Colorado. So naturally, we took advantage of this time and rented a car and went to Dinosaur Ridge in Morrison, Colorado. In this part of Colorado, many of the first pieces of evidence of Dinosaurs were found here, including the bones of the Stegosaurus. Jason and I both thought it was fascinating that in prehistoric times the Rocky Mountains were actually underwater. While on a 45-minute bus tour we saw bones, ripple marks from the old ocean floor, and hundreds of footprints from Iguanodons along the rocks. It was really neat to see all of it and a great transition in going back to Rexburg.
Our Tourguide
Footprints (they are colored in to see them more easily)

April 2, 2012

another year passes, another adventure begins.

     Thursday March 29th was Jason’s 25th Birthday. He wasn’t too thrilled with the idea that he could consider  his life being a quarter of the way over. You could say he was having a mini quarter-life-crisis. I told him he was silly and that New York doesn’t want boys there; it wants men. 

     Being that we are visiting New York in a week, we didn’t do anything extravagant for his special day this year (we’ll have a combined fun time in NY for both of our b-days). I did however create a theme with Jason’s gifts. What was the theme, you ask? New York, duh! I bought him a wallet made from a map of the bus lines in New York – it’s kind of cool, but I’m guessing it won’t last long since it’s made out of paper. I also got him a book 1,000 things to do in New York – this book isn’t like the other travel books; it includes ALL of the little things to do in New York, not just the typical touristy things. And finally, I got him a New York University T-shirt straight from the NYU bookstore. Yeah, he loved it. Oh, I also made an awesome card. I was pretty proud of my New York skyline pop-out card.
     The only way to convince Jason to go out to dinner was to go a restaurant that was showing the Lakers game; so we went to Buffalo Wild Wings – not my favorite place, but better than Applebee’s (our only option in town). Our waitress wouldn’t sing to Jason, but she was kind enough to bring him ice cream with caramel and chocolate (two spoons) and a balloon. 
     Side note: We were a few days late, but I made a cheesecake (box mix, people; who are we kidding) that Jason's mom sent for Jason's Birthday cake. He made my heart break a little bit when he said, "I didn't blow out any candles this year". Well, I wasn't going to let him down.