We spent about 50 hours total in New York, and walked over 25 miles! Our feet and legs were so sore by the end (we joked that people need to train before visiting NYC :D). We took an embarrassing number of selfies because everyone seems to be rushing and busy all the time so we didn't want to ask people to take our pictures. Luckily, the weather was beautiful while we were there. We couldn't have asked for a more perfect trip! Here's a huge photo dump of the things we did:
9/11 Memorial and Museum. It was beautifully done and took you through the entire day. It was unique to have a museum about a day in history we actually remembered. It was very sobering and emotional to hear actual recordings of firefighters, survivors, and even phone calls made by the passengers on the downed airplanes.
Charging Bull Statue (which was swamped with tourists), Wall Street, Stock Exchange, walked by Trinity Church
It started raining, so we waited it out at TGI Friday's where the food was 2x the price and the quality was probably half as good. haha But it was the only thing we ate all day since we were always on the move, and the restaurant was right down the street from the theater, so we were just happy to have a place to eat! That night we went and saw Wicked!!! It was my second time seeing it, and Russ's first time. It's awesome. We loved it!
The show got over at about 11, and we decided to walk back to our hotel. It was a pretty long walk, but we went right through Times Square. It was neat to see all the billboards at night, but the craziest part was that there were still so many people out and about (especially kids) and all the stores were still open! Our cell phone pictures don't do it justice, but here's an idea:
On Saturday morning we went to the Manhattan Temple. It was beautiful and so peaceful inside. We almost didn't go we could fit in more touring, but I figured since we already had a babysitter - we may as well take the chance to go! And we are both so, so glad we did! Then I had my first New York hot dog at Gray's Papaya, and we wandered around Central Park. We got lost a few times, but it was a really pretty fall day so we didn't mind. (Sidenote: we used the GPS non-stop to find our way around. Luckily it's pretty easy to navigate the areas we went, but the walking directions have to be pretty accurate since you're moving so slowly, and I think because of all the buildings around, the GPS had a really hard time working.) We saw the fountain Giselle dances around in Enchanted and a little castle. It's kind of crazy to see all the people walking their dogs or pushing strollers in the middle of such a big, busy city!
Our hotel was just a few blocks north of the Empire State Building, and our room was on the 17th floor. We couldn't even see the ground, but we could hear the constant traffic. This city really doesn't ever sleep! It's crazy! Here's the view from our window - first looking up, then looking down.
If we'd been there longer or on a weekday, I would've gone to the plaza and tried to get on the background of the Today Show, but we still walked around the Rockafeller Center to see scenes we've seen on the Today Show, Jimmy Fallon, 30 Rock...and probably more.
Next we tried to get dessert at Serendipity (furthering our quest to visit as many movie places as we could think of), but ended up not being up to a 1.5 hour wait. We did, however, end up finding a shop with some of the best cupcakes I've ever had, so it was okay. :) Then we walked to Grand Central Station (and had to take a picture of the clock inside to show Sophia the clock on Madagascar) and to the Empire State Building, where we went up to the 86th floor. It was awesome to see the city at night, and we took a ton of pictures. Russ, loyal Cougar fan he is, was watching the football game on his phone during our wait.
|I think our hotel may be down there somewhere|
|can't see anything, but I still think this picture turned out cool!|
|Times Square area - all lit up|
|the One World Trade Center, traffic, and a tiny, fuzzy Statue of Liberty out in the water|
On Sunday morning, we rode the Staten Island Ferry to see the Statue of Liberty. Then we walked across the Brooklyn Bridge to eat New York Pizza at Grimaldi's in Brooklyn. It. was. delicious. We are lunch with a family we serendipitously ran into THREE times on our trip. We first met them while waiting for the bus in Virginia where they recognized Russ's BYU hat. We saw them later that night on the subway, completely randomly. Then on Sunday, we happened to pop up on a small entrance to the Brooklyn Bridge RIGHT as they were walking past. We took the hint and figured we were meant to meet them for some reason. So we had lunch with them and talked about Utah, BYU, our little girls, and lots of other things before heading back to pick up souvenirs and catch our bus back to Virginia.
My mom sent us lots of picture texts of the girls while we were gone, and we sure enjoyed seeing those! My brother Garrett was also visiting with his family at the same time, so I think having cousins around to play with helped both Sophia and Grace not miss us so much.
|My mom texted...and I quote..."Gracie is like, I ain't need no mommy to be happy."|
|the Grandparents even braved Church with the girls, and Grace fell asleep in Mom's arms! I am pretty jealous of those skills!|
|all the visiting grandkids!|
|taking the shuttle to the airport|
The day before we left for New York (and our first day in Virginia), we all went up to Washington DC to walk around a few of the memorials and go to the top of the Washington Monument. It was really cool to see everything from up high. Sophia was especially excited to see the White House because Doc McStuffins visited the White House in a recent episode. ;)
We got back from New York late Sunday night, so on Monday, we celebrated Sophia's birthday! We successfully tricked our daughter into believing her birthday was on Monday instead of Saturday since we were gone on her actual birthday. Luckily she's only 4. That probably wouldn't have worked if she was older! She had a pretty perfect birthday, though! She really likes pandas, so we went to the National Zoo and saw the pandas! Then we drove to the Washington DC Temple to look at the grounds and visitor's center. Grandma also made the meals Sophia requested and a pink birthday cake.
|Sophia + south end of north-going panda :D|
|Checking out the new baby panda|
|I offered to buy her a stuffed panda, but all she wanted was to get a panda penny in the penny press machine. I was just fine with that! :)|
|Uncle Garrett bought some popcorn and the kids swarmed him like birds swarm prices of bead!|
I love Grace in this candid shot, and I'm so glad she's finally warmed up to Grandma!
Sophia and Grandma with the church bag she sewed for Sophia (and Grace totally photobombed this picture. Cute stinker!)
|...and the pictures deteriorated as time went on :)|
As you can see, we had a really great time in both Virginia and New York! Thank you SO MUCH Mom and Dad for watching our little girls! :D