United States of America · 8 Days · 31 Moments · November 2016

James's voyage in New York, NY, United Sta...

29 November 2016

"The Ride," a live theatre tour of downtown Manhattan. With nearly each stop we were treated to a performance by an actor or dancer hidden amongst the crowd. A fun way to end our New York City experience.
Serendipity 3. Today's showers did us a solid, cutting the wait time down to nothing. We feasted on the frozen hot chocolate and a three-scoop, hot fudge sundae. Dessert for dinner.
Lunch at Tavern on the Green. No sign of the Key Master. Took a taxi back to the apartment because it is raining buckets.

28 November 2016

Sightseeing through uptown Manhattan. Grant Memorial, once the most visited stop in the city. The Dakota, Central Park and Harlem. Columbia College, the Guggenheim and St. John's Cathedral, among other buildings, museums & attractions. Did you know it costs six figures to fund a hot dog cart operation? Or that 1 of every 30 New York residents is a millionaire? Or that there are more than 1,000 Starbucks and Dunkin' Donuts in the city?
Done and done. Two happy boys over here. Jimmy and I toured new Yankee Stadium and shopped at Niketown. (The new Mercurial CR7s are gorgeous!) Jimmy and I still a have long ways to go, but we checked off the most distinguished box on our MLB stadium tour. So much history contained in that ballpark. Perhaps our greatest accomplishment, though, was navigating the subway system without the whiz, Jill Burns.
Jill and Karlie spent the morning and afternoon together. They took McKenzie, Karlie's doll, to the American Girl salon and cafe, and then went shopping at Macy's. They found outfits for Nutcracker.

27 November 2016

School of Rock, a Broadway musical.
All aboard! We took the Big Bus Tour around downtown Manhattan, and hopped off to walk across The Brooklyn Bridge and eat pizza in Chelsea. Great way to get around and learn a little more about the city. We saw the New York Times building, the Bull statue and Wall Street, the dock built for the Titanic and the haunted hotel that housed the survivors.

26 November 2016

The Empire State Building.
Ground Zero: Toured the 9/11 Memorial this afternoon. Jill and I were immediately returned to that fateful day when, in college thousands of miles away, we watched in stunned disbelief as four planes were hijacked and turned into weapons against our country. Today, we got to see the force with which those planes struck the Twin Towers, bending steel, exploding glass and ripping through six floors in the South Tower, but we also learned more about the force with which New Yorkers (and really, the entire country) swung back. If I've learned anything this week, it's this: New York City is defined by its resiliency and unwavering hope. These are tough but compassionate people. Truly feeling blessed to be here today with Jill and the kids. πŸ“Έ: The Last Column, which was signed by police and fire crews and families of lost loved ones, and the slurry wall; artwork, with letters made from rescued steel; and a 9/11 info board.
Took the Staten Island Ferry to steal a peek at lovely Lady Liberty. I think she winked at me. πŸ˜˜πŸ—½The statue is a stunning shade of emerald green; it glows in the daylight. For many immigrants and visitors, she is the first to welcome them to our shores. Talk about first impressions. Another observation: Our ferry was chaperoned by the Coast Guard with guns at the ready.

25 November 2016

These two beauties enjoyed an hour skate at Wollman Rink in Central Park, while the boys goofed around in the rain.
Poking around The Plaza and ice skating in Central Park. For the movie buffs, we blended scenes from Home Alone 2 and Serendipity, two flicks in our NYC starter kit.
A slice of the city ... with pepperoni. Saba's Pizza is a small pizzeria near Central Park, but what it lacks in size and seating, the staff more than makes up for with service and those slices. Delicious.
Hey, where's Ben Stiller!? Didn't spend a night at the museum, but took an afternoon trip to The American Museum of Natural History to feed our brains. The kids are missing school for this trip. However, they've been tasked, by their teachers and their parents, with a few assignments. Today, they were asked to pick four things of interest at the museum and collect enough info to write a little on each. They were amazed at how many creatures they know -- crocodiles, turtles, lizards and fish -- are descendants of dinosaurs.
Top of the Rock.
Took a 6-mile run through Central Park this morning. Over bridges. Up and down stairs. In packs and all alone. Along the ponds and lakes. Such a beautiful place for the soles.

24 November 2016

When the magnitude of the moment, like the falls below and the building above, are nearly too deep or too big to comprehend. We stopped by the 9/11 Memorial after dinner and the kids had so many questions about our past and future. They didn't understand why there were 3,000 names carved into the pools' coping, or why someone would commit such a horrible act against our country. To them, their world is safe -- and I hope it always stays that way. But they're curious and smart, so they need to know about the darkest day of our generation. We didn't make it into the museum tonight, but will be headed back in the next few days.
Thanksgiving Day dinner at Bubby's in Tribeca, near Wall Street and the waterfront. The restaurant was charming, but packed. A lot of "parties of 2" on the holiday, which makes me wonder if this is how the big city spends Thanksgiving. If New York City is the gateway to this country, are all of these "parties of 2" missing larger parties back home? We are. The dinner menu included: deviled eggs, salad, garden vegetables, turkey and ham, cornbread stuffing, green beans, mashed potatoes and gravy, and a sweet potato casserole.
Up early to watch the Macy's Thanksgiving Day parade. We found space near Radio City Music Hall and stood with some rabid Giants and Cowboys fans, which made for some excitement and laughs. We did the wave and begged every float to "bounce" and "360." Some volunteers were happy to accommodate us. We saw Angry Birds, Diary of a Wimpy Kid, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, country star Easton Corbin, and Trolls, among other floats and appearances.

23 November 2016

Took our first subway ride, venturing from Times Square to Central Park West to see the inflating of the Macy's Thanksgiving Day balloons. With a slick NY Giants lid and peacoat, Jimmy looks like a local. The line to see the floats was crazy, but we stuck it out for Jill. She has dreamed of this day for as long as I've known her. Can only imagine how crammed and busy these streets will be when Charlie Brown and Thomas the Train are allowed to travel.
"The Christmas Spectacular with the Rockettes," at Radio City Music Hall. Jimmy and I survived, but only because part of the show was in 3D.
Visited St. Patrick's Cathedral. Stunning, inside and out. Karlie lit a candle for our neighbors, who are dealing with the loss of a loved one, and Jimmy lit a candle for his grandfather and namesake. Feeling very grateful and blessed on a beautiful Wednesday morning.
Radio City Music Hall and a picture with a Rockette, and the Christmas tree in Rockefeller Center wrapped in scaffolding.
M&M World. Candies of every style and color. Three levels of sweet, sugary bliss. Karlie is in heaven. Love the Star Wars-themed t-shirt: "Melts in your mouth, not in your Han."
Apartment 4D, 250 W. 47th Street: small studio with single-pane windows and a quad-bursting climb. Times Square echoes throughout our building at all hours of the night, which didn't agree with Jill early. By Day 2, she was searching for hotels in the area. However, we settled in and chalked it up to the NYC experience.

22 November 2016

For years, Jill and I have dreamed of going to New York City in the fall. To see the Macy's Thanksgiving Day parade. To see a show. To walk Central Park and say "Hi" to Lady Liberty. On Tuesday, we realized that dream, sharing a Times Square moment with the kids. Felt a lot like Vegas with the lights, the street performers and the shopping. We spent money ... at Wal-Green's. Had to stock up on necessities for the apartment, which is literally feet from Times Square and a short walk to the Rockefeller Center.
Spider-Man and his pals. These characters work for tips, not justice and good times. Refuse them and you'll learn there is a dark side to these heroes ... and a dude dressed as Minnie.
Flew into La Guardia as the sun was setting. Talk about a weird day. Left Sacramento as the sun was rising and landed in New York City as it was setting. Made for a beautiful flight, though. Our apartment is steps from Times Square, which will be our second stop. First, we need some fuel. Suffice to say, everyone is ecstatic that there's a Buffalo Wild Wings directly across the street.
Krazy Kendama battle at gate B20 in Denver. Jimmy is out of his league against older kids on their way to Chicago. They're pulling off "Revolvers" and Around the Worlds" in a game of "H-O-R-S-E." Jimmy manages to pull off a couple big cup-to-little cup maneuvers, but is ultimately eliminated first. The older boys are good to him, though, sharing a few moves and best wishes. Travel-weary thought: With all this competition and goodwill, could Kendama find its way into the Olympics? πŸ€”
Wheels up! Leaving Sacramento and lost in the feels. Feeling devilish and hysterical at 5:30 in the morning.