On the morning of the 11th, we got up and ran into Ken and Becky and their families in the lobby and stopped to chat with them before we went to breakfast with Brian at Luiza's Diner, right across from ESPN in Bristol. After eating breakfast, we drove down to New York.
Arriving in New York, we were staying at the Millenium UN Plaza Hotel. We ended up driving around the hotel 3 times before we could figure out how to get in and we stopped and dropped off our bags since the room wasn't ready yet. We then went and dropped off our car, and caught the subway back to the hotel.
Once we checked in and got our bags, we went and met my sister at the Marriott Marquis in Times Square to go get tickets for a Broadway show at the TKTS booth. We ended up getting tickets to go see "The Drowsy Chaperone." We then went to dinner at a restaurant that Heather recommended called Mars 2112. The restaurant was Casa Bonita with a Mars theme. It was a completely cheesy tourist attraction with ok, but completely overpriced food.
After dinner we went and browsed through M&M World in Times Square before heading back to the Marriott for "The Drowsy Chaperone." The Drowsy Chaperone was completely hilarious. The premise was that an older musical fan was sitting in living room, sharing his favorite musical record with the audience. This is a great show and definitely worth seeing.
After the show, we walked around looking for dessert and ended up stopping at The Bread Factory Cafe on 7th Ave. Heather then went and caught the train back to New Jersey and we caught the subway back to the hotel and called it a night.
On Sunday the 12th, Andrea and I decided that we were going to try and have another theater day. We went back to the TKTS booth in Times Square and got tickets to see "Mamma Mia!" We then went up to Central Park to see if we could get tickets to the free Shakespeare in the Park that evening. Unfortunately people had clearly been waiting in line for hours for these tickets at this point and the line was so long as to be hopeless, so we wandered around Central Park for a while before catching the subway back to see Mamma Mia.
We had a quick lunch at Famous Famiglia Pizza and then went over to the Winter Garden Theater to see Mamma Mia. Mamma Mia was another great show and we both really enjoyed it.
After the show, we took the subway down to lower Manhattan, intending to take a look at the construction at the World Trade Center site, but the E line was closed for construction. This ended up being a good thing as we ended up getting off at the Brooklyn Bridge/City Hall station and decided to walk up on the Brooklyn Bridge. We the walked back down to the WTC site and saw the new 7 World Trade Center building and the beginnings of the construction on the Freedom Tower.
After the World Trade Center, we went over to Little Italy for dinner. We walked around Little Italy examining all of the restaurants before deciding to have dinner at La Nonna. The food was ok, but in retrospect, I imagine we could have done better in Little Italy. After dinner we went and caught the subway back to the hotel.
On the Monday the 13th, we got up early and went over to the Today Show taping at the Rockefeller Center. We were both surprised that there weren't very many people there since it looks like so much more on TV. They actually didn't have much going on for the live audience except for when one of the cast members was doing an outside segment. After about an hour and a half, we decided that it was pretty boring and left to tour Rockefeller Center.
We went into the NBC Studio Store and got a Rock Pass for a tour of the NBC Studios, Radio City Music Hall, and the Top of the Rock. We then went outside and did half of the self guided walking tour of Rockefeller Center while we were waiting for our Radio City tour. We then went and toured Radio City Music Hall, which is a gem of art deco design. The hall feels much more intimate than a number of theaters that I've been in with less than half of the 6000 seats in Radio City. We even got our picture taken with a Rockette during the tour.
We then went and had lunch at Hale and Hearty Soup in 30 Rockefeller Center before heading upstairs to our NBC Studio Tour. During our tour, we saw the sets of Late Night with Conan O'Brien and Saturday Night Live. We also saw the control room that sends the various feeds out over the satellites to affiliates and a small studio where they demonstrated how many of the technologies involved in producing a newscast work.
We then walked back outside and toured through St. Patrick's Cathedral before finishing our walking tour of Rockefeller Center. We then walked down to the Circle Line pier on the west side where we took a three hour harbor cruise. The cruise completely circumnavigated the island of Manhattan, starting down the Hudson to the Statue of Liberty and then going back up the East River and then through the Harlem River back to the Hudson River. In addition to the Statue of Liberty, some of the highlights of the cruise were sailing under and through all of the various bridges, including getting to watch the Spuyten Duyvil Railroad Bridge open and close in front of us, sailing by Yankee Stadium, and seeing the tomb of President U.S. Grant.
After the harbor tour, we caught the bus back up to 6th Ave where we walked up to the Jekyll and Hyde Club, which came highly recommended by Heather. We decided that Heather must really like theme restaurants, because this one struck me as Casa Bonita with a Jekyll and Hyde/Mad Scientist theme. The food was again, ok, but also considerably overpriced. After dinner we headed back to the hotel and went to bed.
On the 14th, we got up and went and had breakfast at the Comfort Diner on the recommendation of the hotel concierge. The Comfort Diner was a good, classic greasy spoon breakfast that got us set for the rest of the day. We then walked down 5th Ave and looked at a number of bead shops and then went and walked through Macy's Herald Square. After Macy's we walked back through the Garment District on our way to Rockefeller Center to see the Top of the Rock.
The newly reopened Top of the Rock is very well done. The transparent elevator roof gives you a great view of how fast the elevator is ascending. At the top, the view is definitely a great view of New York City. We then went back down and headed over to 5th Ave.
On 5th Ave, we went into Tiffany & Co. where we looked around and then I bought Andrea a silver bracelet for our anniversary. We then walked up to FAO Schwartz where we were disappointed to learn that their bear statue out front had not been returned by the building management following the construction of the new Apple store. We then walked back to the room to deposit our purchases before heading up to Yankee Stadium for the Yankees - Orioles game which I will detail in the subsequent entry. We had dinner at Fabio Piccolo Colore on 44th between 2nd and 3rd Ave which was a wonderful dinner before the game.