Thursday, October 20, 2011

NYC: Day 1

We arrived in New York early in the morning and went straight for our B&B on the upper east side. We didn't have anything to do until the Colbert Report later in the evening, so we decided to start off our trip with a stroll through Central Park!

The above photo is at the Jackie Onassis Reservoir, which is very close to our B&B. We meandered through various trails and eventually found what I was looking for - the Mall!

Yeah, not that kind of mall - it's the tree-lined pedestrian avenue that Frederick Law Olmstead designed to wow visitors. It was still amazingly green during our visit.

After leaving Central Park near the Plaza Hotel, we hit lunch at Sarabeth's, a restaurant that had been recommended to me. I had crab cakes, fries, and a salad, and Dave had a vegetable fritatta.

We decided to walk down Fifth Avenue and see if we could check some sights off of our list. First, we did some shopping at UNIQLO, a Japanese retailer with several locations in Manhattan. The lines were hugely long, but I did get some shirts and heat tights.

Next we saw St. Patrick's Cathedral, which reminded me a bit of cathedrals I've seen in Europe. It was strange to be in a huge gothic cathedral in the middle of Fifth Avenue.

We also got a glimpse of the Rockefeller complex and the Chrysler Building, which is my favorite piece of architecture in Manhattan!

We also made a stop at the New York Public Library, which has a beautiful facade and a lovely reading room with vaulted ceilings and fresco paintings. Outside the library, we ran into former mayor Daley, who is now employed at a law firm in Chicago. It was so strange to run into him in the streets of New York when I've never seen him in Chicago!

Next was Times Square, where we saw a disoriented topless woman walking around, as well as numerous people dressed up in Sesame Street character costumes. (The two sets of people were not mingling.)

The Times Square New Year's Eve ball was on display, which was cool to see. But there were just so many people there, we had to get away.

We still had tons of time before Colbert, so we decided to try to redeem our Top of the Rock tickets early. We were treated to beautiful views of the harbor, Empire State Building, the business district, and Central Park.

Unfortunately, we got no photos with Stephen Colbert, but the show taping was amazing. We got great seats thanks to Dave's coworker, and we got to watch Stephen answer questions out of character before the show. The guest was Coldplay, who played two songs from their new album.

After the show, we asked a native where we could get some great pizza, and they pointed us to a great little spot in Hell's Kitchen, Justino's, which was a few blocks north of the show location. We caught a cab and ate our slices in the room. I think most people limit themselves to one slice of New York-style pizza, being that they are huge slices, but we had walked a ton all day and decided to treat ourselves. It was a great day!

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