shnewyork Stuart & Heather Head to NYC!

3Dec/090

Start Spreading The News, We're Leaving Today!

We have hit the road again and this time we are headed towards the Big
Apple.  Stuart and I are really excited to go on this trip for two
reasons:  Stuart has never been to New York and I have not been back
to the Empire City since the epic cross country Tivoli trip of 1999.
Stuart is eager to fill up some memory cards and I am thrilled just to
revisit this Mecca of cities.  Our itinerary for this adventure is to
leave from Oakland tonight to arrive at JFK on Friday morning and take
the train to Brooklyn where we will be staying for the night with two
of Stuart’s friends he knew in Athens, Brian and Blair, and also
exploring Manhattan.  The next day we will explore more of Manhattan
and stay at a posh hotel called the Carlton on Madison Avenue.  Then
Sunday back to Brooklyn for some more exploring and  finally Monday
departing for Oakland from La Guardia.  I heard from my friend Mani
that it is supposed to snow on Saturday and I hope it does!

On the plane

Filed under: Uncategorized No Comments
4Dec/090

No Sleep Till Brooklyn

Well we made it!  We had a layover in Utah for a couple of hours and
finally boarded the plane around midnight mountain time.  It was
difficult to get a restful sleep on the flight.  The person who sat in
the window seat in our row moved to the seats behind us so he could
have the whole row to himself.  That left Stuart and I more room to
navigate our bodies into a comfortable position to sleep in as we used
each other as giant pillows periodically through out the night.  When
we arrived in JFK, the sun began to rise.  We took the tram to Jamaica
Station and purchased our tickets for the train to Flatbush.

The flight

Smile, it's 7am!

Cold. Early.

Headed to Brooklyn

Brain and Blair live in the Fort Greene neighborhood of Brooklyn; a
cute tree lined street neighborhood named after an American
Revolutionary era fort that was built in 1776 under General Nathanael
Greene
.  Once we made ourselves at home with the Blessinger/Koenig
residence, we grabbed a bite to eat at small cafe. Stu and I indulged
in eating lox and bagels for breakfast.  It was fantastic!  After
breakfast we took the subway into Manhattan.  Our gracious hosts
toured us around the South Street Seaport to catch a view of the
Brooklyn Bridge and the Financial District.

Fort Greene Park

Subway Travel

Golden rays in downtown New York City

South Seaport Christmas Tree

South Seaport

Brooklyn Bridge

Non-functioning calendar in Manhattan

Beer warms you up better than hot chocolate at Fraunces Tavern.

Over in Battery Park, we saw a glimpse of Lady Liberty herself and
palled around with New York’s own Sad Panda.

Battery Park and WTC memorial

Eternal Flame

Sad Panda

Not so sad after a dollar and a "pick me up" :)

Charging Bull

When we were finished playing around with Sad Panda, we paid our
respects to the victims of 9/11 by visiting ground zero and the 9/11
memorial at St. Paul’s Chapel.

World Trade Center memorial construction

WTC memorial at St. Pauls' Cathedral

Candles

Badges of all those that supported the relief effort on 9/11.

Heather & Blair

Brian and Blair took us for a trip over to the East Village for pork buns at Momo Fuku's. After our tour of lower Manhattan, we headed back to Brooklyn.  Blair
had reserved tickets for us to see a show at BAM (Brooklyn Academy of
Music
) called Terra Nova: Sinfonia Antarctica starring Paul D. Miller,
aka D.J. Spooky (keep in mind, I have never heard of him prior to this
trip).  BAM was a beautiful building and a great place to watch a
show.  I found the show to be quiet entertaining for the most part as
the artist attempted to tell the political, geological, and
mysterious sides of Antarctica.  The music that paired with images
evoked emotion and thought.  It even brought back memories of the 2nd
grade penguin unit and inspired ideas on how a piece like this could
be incorporated into that unit of study.  Although D.J. Spooky created
and composed this piece of art, I still questioned his actual
performance in this drama of multimedia art extravaganza because it
appeared to be lacking.  Unfortunately the rest of my party was not as
entertained with the performance like I was.  They too had the same
questions like me, but were more critical about the redundancy of the
music, the placement of the musicians, and the Russian propaganda
stock footage at the end and the images projected on the screens.  I
pondered on their valid points with respect to what Mister Paul D.
Miller wanted to portray and have come up with some conclusions, but I
am not going to post on this blog, if you are curious I will be more
than happy to tell you at a later time. (It sucked. –Stuart)

BAM

Anyway when the show was over, we cruised through a historic Hasidic Jewish and trendy hipster neighborhood, Williamsburg, to enjoy a wonderful dinner at a
tiny early 20th century décor inspired restaurant called Moto.  This
snug restaurant was dimly lit by old wirey light bulbs that hung very
low and accented by antiques on the wall and hanging from the bar.  In
one corner it had a 2 man jazz band, one man playing the guitar while
the other was playing a clarinet.  It even had a toilet with a pull
flush!

Dinner at Moto

Filed under: Uncategorized No Comments
5Dec/090

Better in Manhattan

Today started out overcast.  Stuart and I got up early to grab a bite
at a neighborhood bagel store called La Bagel Delight on Lafayette
Street.  The bagels were monstrous and smeared with homemade cream
cheese.  As the day moved forward the overcast weather soon turned
into rain.  We were glad that Brain and Blair had given us the
Manhattan Financial District tour the day before because it was
miserable outside.  It was one of those days where you just want to be
wrapped up in blanket all day and watch old movies on the couch.  Even
though it was one of those days, I could not be cooped up since there
was so much to see and we had so little time.  After we ate our
bagels, we met up with Brian and Blair and took a stroll to the local
farmer’s market in Fort Greene Park, so Blair could do her grocery
shopping.  It was a soggy adventure, but Stu and I did not mind
because we were absorbing very little speck of what life had to offer
in the borough of Brooklyn. After the farmer’s market, we all went out
to meet up with a friend of Blairn (Brian and Blair) to eat brunch at
place called Kif, a Moroccan style restaurant.  I LOVED it!  It was
grubbin’ and turned me into a fan of hummus.  I usually don’t like it,
but I tried here and my taste buds were going wild over it.  Now I
will be forever in search of that same type of style of hummus over in
California until I return back to Brooklyn.  So creamy, so good! Once
we filled up our tummies and had rested ourselves up a bit, Stu and I
headed back towards Manhattan to check into our hotel on Madison
Avenue
.

By the time we got into Manhattan, it was dark, but the rain had
turned into snow.  Although it wasn’t cold enough for the snow to
actually stick on the ground, it was very beautiful sight to see.
When we entered the Carlton, I was in awe of how classy the front
lobby looked.  After we checked in, we quickly dropped off our luggage
in our room and headed out to see more sites of the city.

Carlton on Madison Ave

We made our way to Grand Central Station where Stuart was floored at
the beauty and vastness of it marble interior.  We worked our way
weaving in and out people and umbrellas to Time Square where once
again Stuart amazed at what he saw.  Soaking wet from the snow, we
pushed on to Rockefeller Center to see the Christmas tree and ice
skaters skate around.  We witnesses a light show on the Sax Fifth
Avenue
building and decided it was time for dinner.  We dined at AJ
Maxwell’s Steakhouse
, which happens to be one of the top ten
steakhouses to eat at in the U.S.  We sat next to a couple who were
the stereotypical New York Italian mobster couple.  They were a riot!
Stuart and I could have just listened to them talk all day because we
loved their accent.  After dinner we wanted to have dessert at
Serendipity 3, the place where they have the worlds most expensive ice
cream sundae
(it costs $1000 btw), but when we got there it was an
hour wait, so we decided to go back to our hotel room, order room
service and cozy up for the rest of the evening.

Our Hotel Room

30 Rock Christmas Tree

Heather in Times Square

Stuart in Times Square

30 Rock!

30 Rock Tree

Way over priced room service at the Carlton

Filed under: Uncategorized No Comments
6Dec/090

Central Park West

This morning we woke up early to get a head start on the day.  The
snowstorm only lasted during the evening, but still had left its
frosty chill across the whole city.  We decided to eat breakfast
uptown at Tom’s Restaurant (the restaurant that constantly appears on
Seinfeld).  It was nothing special, just your local diner serving up
staple Americana foods.  It was the only place we went in that was
watching Good Morning America instead of the NY1.  After breakfast we
braved the cool winds and headed a few blocks down and across to take
a morning walk through Central Park. The park was still and peaceful
except for the 10k runners making there way towards the finish line
and the occasional dog walkers navigating five to six dogs at a time.

Heather my Baby!

Tom's Restaurant north of Central Park

Morning Coffee

Central Park

Stuart in Central Park

Central Park

Central Park

Central Park

One of my fondest memories of my Grandma, Juanita Duperroir, was when
she would sit in the kitchen talking to my mom about how she put her
underwear on inside out the other day and something good happened to
her sometime during the day or week.  She loved spinning ol’
housewives’ tales about how if you put an article of clothing on
backwards or inside out that something good will happen to you or if
you drop a knife on the floor a man is going to visit you or if you
drop a fork a woman will visit you .  I never figured out what happens
if you drop a spoon though.  Anyway, this happen to be one of those
weeks where I just kept putting clothes on backwards or inside out and
then carry out the rest of the day without figuring it out until
later.  Every time that this happens I can’t help but think of Grandma
Dup and in the back of my mind, I kept looking for that good thing
that was supposed to accompany this silly myth.  It just so happens
that had my thermal shirt on backwards for the entire day.  Was my
grandma trying to communicate something to me because what happened
next during our stroll through Central Park completely took me off
guard.

As we made our way through the park taking snap shots of the park and
talking about how the trip was going, I asked Stuart if he got to do
everything he wanted to do and see while we were here and his response
was “not really”.  Being curious, I questioned him on what else he
wanted do.  Just as we were making our way up a path on a small
incline, he humbly said if I was not planning on doing anything for
the rest of my life, would I be interested in marrying him.  I was
speechless and found myself in a surreal moment.  He continued to find
words to fill the silence, he said “I am asking you to marry me” with
a gentle smile as he opened the box that held the ring.  At that point
we both looked at each other burst out in laughter because we are just
horrible at being romantic.  I kept saying “Shut the freaking front
door! Are you serious?!” and when the initial shock of it all calmed
down I said “Of course I will”.  He pulled of my glove and put the
ring on my numb hand where it fit perfectly.  Right there in Central
Park in a New York minute, we got engaged.  Rest of our walk we didn’t
say a word, but our faces expressed the joy that was felt in our
hearts.

The Ring!

The Placement!

After Stuart purposed to me, we spent the rest of the morning mulling
around Manhattan.  We ventured to the Chelsea Market, stumbled upon
the High Line and Madison Square Garden, and hiked towards the Empire
State Building before checking out at the Carlton.  We observed the
morning in bliss, contentment and contemplation on how to tell the
exciting news to our families, until I received a text message from my
Aunt Jana.  Right then and there on Madison Avenue, I decided to use
some of my quick wit to break the news.  The text is as follows…

Ice Forming

Empire State Building

Chelsea Market

Chelsea Market

Madison Square Garden

The Highline

Keep It Wild!

trashy

Once we got back to the hotel, Stuart and I both called our moms to
spread the word of our engagement.  We checked out of our hotel
promptly at noon and headed towards Brooklyn, but we had to make a pit
stop at Grand Central for a quick photo pop.

Grand Central

Classic Grand Central Tilt/Shift

Toast

Cheers!

Good choice

festive

Setting up the Christmas tree with Brian

Moto Santa

Trimming

Done!

Filed under: Uncategorized No Comments
7Dec/090

I Left My Heart in San Francisco

Today we left New York City.  As we boarded the plane my heart grew
sad that our mini vacation was at its ending, but at the same time I
was giddy because a new chapter in life was just beginning and waiting
for us in the city by the bay…and Chester, too!

NY Treasures

2010! See you on Oct 16th!

While waiting for our plane in Detroit, I managed to pick up a
magazine at the news stand.  I could not resist purchasing it.  Not
only was it a bridal magazine, it had Christina Hendricks, the woman
who plays Joan Holloway in AMC’s hit show Mad Men on the cover.
Vavavavoom! I absolutely adore her and her character on Man Men. If this is how 2009 is going to end, I wonder what 2010 has in store for us!

Weddings!

Until the next journey, it's time for a nap...

Back at home!

Filed under: Uncategorized No Comments