Cassie Shepherd

October 1, 2010

NYC Part I - Day One

The city of contrast. That is what my sister once told me about New York. I now understand it.

The first time I saw New York was four years ago. I went there for my senior trip. This time around the trip meant a lot more to me. Not only because I was sharing it with Mitch, but mostly because I appreciated gaining an understanding about the world I live in. Don't get me wrong, I loved the first time that I went. However, I observed more meaningful sights and truly saw parts that I couldn't have seen last time. Not because of what we did, but because of what I've learned over the past couple of years. I know this time more about who I am and what I want my life and future to be like. I discovered I am not a city girl.

I loved visiting. I loved the hussle and bussle. I loved the new restaurants. I loved not being able to see over anything - I literally was in a concrete jungle. I loved seeing the touristy sights; the Statue of Liberty, Wall Street, Cathedrals, Times Square, Fifth Avenue, Central Park, and especially the World Trade Center sight. I'll discuss more in detail about each place over each of my blogs though.

While I loved it all, I'm so thankful to live in Utah. Utah really can serve as bubble from the outside world and I'm alright with that. New York is probably isn't an average example of living out of state, but for many people New York is their home. I better appreciate many things. I appreciate having my own car. I appreciate being close to my family. I appreciate not waiting in lines for everything all the time. I appreciate the convenience of my area. I appreciate modesty. I appreciate more respectful actions and language. I appreciate moderate and provident living. I appreciate working hard. I appreciate those who have raised me and influenced me. I appreciate having a husband who will always be there for me and I know will do his best to always come home to be with his family. I appreciate the gospel and the LDS culture that I live in.

Overall, the trip was fantastic. It had its ups and downs. Sometimes Mitch and I didn't get along. Sometimes we were on cloud 9. We still have a lot to learn about each other. Having Tyler along was fun and he made for a great picture taker! :) Besides that, I loved having his company! He is so easy to get along with and such a great guy. I'm sure going to miss him when we move to Georgia and he leaves on his mission.

Now, on with the details!

Tyler left a day earlier than us because he was flying stand by. He stayed in a nice hotel by the airport and waited for us to come in. He didn't venture out to the city. Instead, he said he slept most of the day. I quote his Facebook status, "sitting here in the hotel cafe by myself... it suck's!! i feel bad for all the business people that do this regularly!" 

Mitch and I were scheduled to leave for an 11:30 PM flight on Wednesday. This was our first time flying together. Ever! Mitch and I took a Tylenol PM about 11:00 so we could hopefully sleep on the plane. Our flight got delayed two hours. As you can imagine, by 11:45 we were getting sleepy. I found a place next to a sign and went in and out of sleep until it was time to board. I also suddenly realized while I was at the airport that our plane would land in New York around 3:45 AM Utah time. For some reason when I planned the flight and planned everything I was thinking we would arrive 8:45 AM Utah time. I went two hours ahead of the scheduled land time, however, it was already in Eastern time. Duh! Needless to say, we were VERY tired (probably thanks to the Tylenol PM as well) when we arrived at 7:30 AM. 

Tyler met us at the airport. Originally, before the delay, I had planned to be back into New York City from our hotel in New Jersey by 9:00. Yeah, right. That was totally unrealistic. It took three hours to get to our hotel. We took the air train which was having "work train maintenance issues." Then hoped on the subway. I don't think we took the express one going upstate to Penn Station. It took forever. Then, once at Penn we barely missed our bus out to our hotel, Hilton Garden Inn, so we waited around for another one to come. We finally got to the hotel.

Note: make sure you tell the hotel staff EXACTLY how many people will be in your hotel room. I didn't really think it was that big of deal. Apparently it is. In retrospect I see how there were numerous misunderstandings and we could've avoided a chain of bad events. However, it didn't quite go that way. We were sharing a hotel room with one of my best friends and her roommate. We, ironically, scheduled the exact same vacation to NYC and DC the same dates as them. So, it turned out great because we could split hotel costs. We asked them to leave our key at the front desk because they arrived earlier than us. I talked to the hotel staff about this weeks before and she had discussed it the night before. Chelsie was to check in with my credit card (as we were directed to do by the hotel staff) and then they would give me an extra key upon arrival. Yeah, right. When three more of us showed up they made it clear that it was against their policy to do both of those things. They wanted to charge us an extra $40 a night for the miscommunication. Fortunately, they accommodated to us and only charged $10 a night. They ended up being very helpful. However, this made it so we would have to change rooms. Another hour delay.

Besides the part when the bus that took us back into Manhattan was being driven by a new bus driver (who was slooooow), a man getting on the wrong bus so we had to accommodate to taking him to the right place, and getting on the subway which had to change routes because of a "police investigation" we barely made it to our 2:00 ferry ride out to the Statue of Liberty. 

After a little rough morning, things went smoothly. Besides being really tired that is. We went through the pedestal of the Statue of Liberty and checked out an observation deck of Manhattan and Newark. Before we left, Mitch and I watched a documentary of the Statue of Liberty so we were prepared by knowing how it was made and all of the different problems they encountered. It made the trip out to see her more appreciated. 

After the Statue of Liberty we went through Battery Park and up through Wall Street. It was weird to think that some of the most richest people in the United States went there every day for work.

Federal Hall where George Washington was inaugurated

Up the street from Wall Street is the Trinity Cathedral. Queen Elizabeth II attended church there.

We headed over to the sight of the WTC after Wall Street but didn't get any pictures because we planned on coming back the next day for the tour. We got a map and thought that Canal Street with China Town and Little Italy didn't look too far away. We were way off. After walking for what seemed like forever we took a break and decided to catch a bus. Luckily it took us right to Canal Street which was still forever away from where we had walked. 

We decided to grab a snack in Chinatown to try some Chinese desserts. I didn't like them one bit. I ate it anyway. 

Little Italy was my favorite place! They had a festival going on while we were there so it was even bigger then we remember. Tyler spent $20 on a game trying to win an I-Pad. That didn't go so well. The game had to have been rigged, but he said it was worth the try. I ate a shish-ka-bob and my first vanilla Cannoli.  We were there until it got dark walking through all the different booths.

We hopped on the subway and headed home but not before we made a stop at Times Square. "Wow" was about all Mitch could say.

New Year's Ball

By the end of the night we were SO tired and our feet hurt from walking so much. We sat down any chance we got. Our last stop was Papaya Dog for some yummy hot dogs! Then, it was back to Penn station. We didn't have any trouble sleeping that night. That is for sure!

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