February 25, 2013

an nyc visit from the cowles.

    Jason had spent weeks (probably months) planning his family’s trip to New York City. He loves making in depth itineraries and he was just as anxious as me to see his family’s reaction to their first real visit to the East Coast. Their adventure began in taking the Crestwood train to Grand Central and then crowding in the subway to head to downtown Manhattan. On this sunny day, we showed the Cowles around NYU campus, including Washington Square where we sat and listened to a student playing contemporary and classical music on an actual piano. I’ve seen NYU before, but it’s still so weird to me that the campus isn’t separate from New York City. It looks like any other parts of the city and you wouldn’t even know it was a university without the purple NYU flags hanging from its buildings. It was fun going into the university store and Mom buying NYU memorabilia and a sweatshirt for Jason. His parents are just as proud of him as me! 
NYU Campus at Washington Square with Jessica
Underneath the George Washington Arch
    We then headed further downtown to show off the Woolworth Building, where Jason actually attends his classes. Nearby, we visited the 9/11 Memorial Site. Jason and I had been saving the memorial for such a visit from family and were excited to finally check it off our list. After we made it through security checks, we were able to take in the incredible reality of that day in September. In place of each of the north and south towers, are two-tiered waterfalls that are the largest manmade waterfalls in North America. All of us shuffled through our stories of where we were and what we were doing when the towers fell. It was a surreal reminder of how tragic the event was and in walking the grounds I didn’t expect to get so emotional. In contrast, the nearby One World Trade Center or “Freedom Tower” is under construction, but will show America’s rebuilt strength as the tallest building in the Western Hemisphere and 3rd largest in the world. 
Reflecting at the 9/11 Memorial
I love this picture of all of us
Dad's dream motorcycle
    Later that evening, we took the Staten Island Ferry to take pictures of the Statue of Liberty. Liberty Island is currently closed from Hurricane Sandy, but Jason planned a great way to sneak a view of Lady Liberty and did I mention it was free? We looked like kids running onto the ferry when the doors opened—immediately looking for the best seats just ahead of a massive crowd taking the ride home. We were on the ferry at the perfect time because the sun was just starting to set and the view of the skyline was absolutely gorgeous. Jason and I have yet to visit the statue, so it was very exciting to be as close to it as we were. Jason says that New Yorkers view Staten Island as their redheaded stepsister, which use to claim the world’s largest landfill. Needless to say, we got right back on the ferry and started the journey home.
Bowling Green
Federal Hall
Viewing the skyline from the Staten Island Ferry
Jess is so adorable
Statue of Liberty at sunset
    Saturday we went to Times Square. We decided to walk from Grand Central instead of taking the subway because it’s always incredible turning the corner on Broadway and being hit with the lights and billboards all at once. It was definitely satisfying to see the surprised facial expression Jason’s family was wearing. We made our way to Duffy Square where Mom waited in line for discounted tickets and Dad sat down for a Diet Coke. After standing in line for another hour we finally got our tickets for an eight o’clock show.
Walking in Time Square
Can you spot Dad sipping on his Diet Coke?    
    We visited some of our favorite nearby stores we thought the family would enjoy. At the Disney Store, Jason and I bought our latest addition to our stuffed animal collection—“Bruce”, the shark from Finding Nemo. We also had fun at M&M World filling up our 1-pound bags of whatever assorted M&Ms we wanted. We also went into souvenir shops to find a spoon for Mom’s collection. On this 4 day weekend, Time Square was packed with tourists and finding a place to sit down for dinner looked impossible. Somehow Jason magically skipped the long wait at Red Lobster and we were seated immediately.
M&M World
Getting our M&Ms
Mom choosing her spoon
    After a great dinner, we headed to our show—we saw Chicago! It’s the longest running Broadway Musical. Jess and I have both seen the movie, so we were pretty excited to see it. Chicago had some really fun and catchy songs that were difficult not to sing along to like “Cell Block Tango” and “Mister Cellophane”. It’s definitely a girly musical, but Dad and Jason seemed to enjoy it as well.
It's always fun seeing a musical on Broadway
Waiting for Chicago to start
    The next day we went to the Upper East Side to eat lunch at Shake Shack or the east coast’s equivalent of In-N-Out. After devouring a delicious burger, fries, and shake, we went across the street to the American Museum of Natural History. This museum is huge! It has an enormous collection of taxidermy and probably contains every single animal you could ever think of, including Jason’s new favorite animal— the Elephant Seal. One of my favorite rooms had a giant replica of a Blue Whale. I especially loved the ocean animals, which is ironic since I’m terrified of just about every single one. Jess, of course, loved the giraffes. Jason really liked the Easter Island Moai that was featured in Night at the Museum. It’s his dream to travel to Chilean Polynesia to see them in real life. The collection of dinosaurs at the American Museum of Natural History was also huge and amazing. After a lot of walking, it was nice to rest our legs and look at the souvenirs in the gift shop.
I know where Jason gets his good looks
A few of our favorite things in the American Museum of Natural History
Gift shop fun
    We took a short stroll through Central Park. We stopped by the “Imagine” mosaic, which is a memorial to John Lennon. Adjacent to the memorial is the Dakota Building where John and Yoko lived and ultimately where John was shot and killed. We stopped at Bethesda Terrace to take pictures near the fountain and walked Central Park until we hit 5th Avenue. Sunday was freezing and overcast, but Central Park is always beautiful to see no matter what time of year it is.
A cold Central Park stroll
The "Imagine" memorial
Bethesda Terrace
Walking The Mall in Central Park
    Before Jason’s family headed home, Mom and Dad spoiled us and took us to Costco to go grocery shopping. It’s so exciting to have our freezer, fridge, and cupboards filled! We were so sad to watch Mom, Dad, and Jess go and we hope they will come back soon. We had such a fabulous time with them, but of course, I was very jealous that they were going home to warm, sunny California. 


Shake Shack said...

Danielle, thanks so much for taking the time to visit our Upper East Side Shake Shack. We're thrilled we could be a small part of your special weekend with family.

Our team can't wait to see you again soon at the Shack!

-Brandy, Shake Shack

Jill said...

I AM SO JEALOUS THAT YOU GOT TO SEE CHICAGO!!! Now I'm going to be singing "Pop! Six! Squish! Uh uh, Cicero, Lipschitz!" in my head all day!

Your in-laws look like Good People. What a fun visit!