Saturday, December 10, 2016

New York 2015: New York 2015: Exploring NYC, The Plaza Hotel

NYC/Queen Mary 2/Oxford/Paris 2015 Travel Highlight Blog
New York 2015: Exploring NYC, The Plaza Hotel
July 11-14, 2015

Welcome to the first of a series of upcoming "Travel Highlight Blog" posts. I didn't take super extensive journal notes on this trip as I sometimes have, focusing instead to enjoy the experiences in full and post about it later as I am doing now (almost a year and a half later?!) So, as such, these blog posts will be a little bit more of a "highlight" rather than an explicit day-by-day recounting of all the little details and events. I'll try to cover a more broad "feel" for what we did on the trip rather than all the specifics like I have in some previous blogs. Enjoy!

Our trip to New York City in July 2015 was the kickoff point for the 8 day Cunard Queen Mary 2 cruise from New York to Southampton, England on which my sister was having her wedding ceremony! To start the trip we arrived in NYC a few days early to explore. We started with some tasty breakfast and wandering around. MAN NYC is HOT in the summer. Whew! I have generally only been in NYC in the winter (when it is SUPER COLD). So it was surprising to be here when it was toasty. Whew!




As seems to be my M.O., we started off the trip with luck on our side. We joined the massive crowds of hopefuls for the Wicked broadway show "lottery"... and we WON! It was awesome. We lined up and just hoped for the best. They only chose 8 or so winning couples and so this was insanely lucky. Fun! 






Traveling to NYC requires a lot of eating, obvs. We signed up for Postmates, or some other delivery service, and managed to get a few free bike-messenger deliveries of New York Bagles to the hotel. Man, this is the life.

I believe this was an Ess-a-Bagel -- one of my favourites

The famed Magnolia Bakery


Brooklyn Bagel and Coffee Company bagel. This was some sort of Apple Cinnamon cream cheese, I believe.
Like, a tub's worth.
C'mon, you can't leave out the pizza!

We're on this screen somewhere!
So this was all great times. My parents arrived in the evening and headed off to a Chicago broadway show, while we got BOTH Magnolia cupcakes AND Momofuku Milk Bar cookies and ice cream. You know, to go with all the bagels and pizza. All this walking in the heat, you gotta keep those carbs up!

Mom & Dad at the Chicago Broadway show
Gotta ride the ferris wheel at Toys R Us!




Either laughing in the joy and excitement of the day, or holding my belly after eating everything possible in NYC.

Another day, another Bagel. This time at the excellent Murray's Bagels ("We don't toast!"), on our way towards exploring the High Line -- a former above-ground railway, and now fancy and hip area of town.






I have been to New York City a few times before this but never managed to see the Ghostbusters Fire Station -- the famous one from one of my favourite childhood movies, and also the same model use for the Ghostbusters Fire Station toy playset that I still have to this day in my office at ILM :) It was an absolute pleasure to see this place, I was like a little kid there. It was AMAZING. And, we even saw a fire truck back into the station and got to peek inside!! Ahhh!!! This was truly awesome.









Michal's college friend Michal recently opened up a Facial shop called "Heydey" and we went to go support his new business and I got my first-ever facial. I had no idea what it was, but it was kindof like a face scrub/head massage! I came away from it feeling like my pores had gotten a good cleaning and I'd gotten rid of some of the grime and oil that builds up on your face (especially with traveling!) Fun chill music and good chill times, like when you go somewhere for a massage. They said I have "very good skin" and "I take care of it" -- sweet!! I guess the pretty occasional men's face lotion I put on if the weather is really dry must go a long way.

We also enjoyed the special outdoor event "Bryant Movies in the Park" -- this was SO cool! You get there early with a blanket and wait at the sidelines... and then they call "GO!" and everyone RUNS full-tilt into the center of the grass to get a nice seat to watch a movie in the park. Super fun and a great time to enjoy NYC in a nice summer evening. It was fun to see everyone just chillin' out and watching a movie together in a neighbourhoody-fashion, just like it was Delores Park in SF! I was kindof surprised, to be honest, that NYC had such a chill event as it seems so "go go go" all the time. This was great and relaxing, and we got a Postmates delivery of a Katz's Deli pastrami sandwich and cheesecake to the side of the park, which was nuts!





Soon it was time to wrap up our pre-trip in NYC and board the Queen Mary 2 ferry to head onwards to England. But first, we explored a few more things. Dad and I went to B&H Camera-Photo-Video, the best-ever camera store and it was amazing. Michal and I checked out the Big Piano at the famous NYC Toy Store, FAO Schwartz, which incidentally was closing a week or so after our visit! :( So it was lucky to get to go visit there one more time.






One more important tidbit about the trip in New York City is that we stayed at the Fairmont -- and you know what the Fairmont NYC is?? Why, the famous Plaza Hotel!!!!!!!! So this was a real treat and a wonder to stay at such a famous landmark and legendary location. The rooms and the decor were super fancy. Even the faucet in the bathroom is gold!













So that was an awesome first few days in NYC before heading to the Queen Mary 2. Next blog in this series will be about the first few days on the Queen Mary 2 and the stop in Halifax!