Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Empire State of Mind

In high school, Jackie and Kate were (and still are!) the jelly to my peanut butter. We did everything together. Even though now we're worlds apart with jobs and husbands/significants and everything else, we still somehow manage to keep up with one another and pick up right where we left off. 

We planned this New York trip almost 6 months in advance, which is probably the earliest I've ever personally planned a trip in my entire life. Little did I know at the time of planning it that I would A) get selected to run the Marathon the weekend before, and B) have a work trip the three days in between San Francisco and New York! It was a whirlwind week to say the least, so by the time we got to the airport I was more than ready to participate in mindless activities such as shopping, eating, and being tacky tourists.

Jackie was in town already so we flew up together, and she had scored some Sky Club passes. 
So we cocktailed. 

The plane got delayed, so we cocktailed more. 

Then we cocktailed on the plane. 

Then, since the Sky Club passes were only valid for one day, we cocktailed again at the lounge at La Guardia.

 The bartender poured us two each..... to go.

FYI, it's hard to double fist and carry luggage.

On the way to the hotel in the cab, Jackie makes it clear to the Pakistani driver that we are tourists and she then asked that he "tell us all about the city as we go along". She also looked up Empire State of Mind on her phone and played it on repeat about 4 times.

I immediately busted out my iPhone map and tracked where we were going to make sure we were going in the right direction and not down some back alley or taking a "shortcut" through Jersey to get to our hotel on Wall Street. 

 By the time we got to the hotel (safe and sound!), it was sleepy time for Mary. Kate met us at the hotel later that night, but I couldn't tell you when because I was passed out asleep.

 Our swanky digs

Since we stayed on Wall Street the first night, we got up the next morning and wandered around looking for the Bull.  

On our way, there was a guy selling hats for $2. It was chilly outside (perfect hat weather), and you can't beat that price with a stick.

We bought 5.

We eventually got to the bull, and even though it was surrounded by barricades due to protesting we still got close enough to take some pictures, don't you worry.

The best thing about us three is that while we have many common interests, we also have enough differentiating us to always keep it exciting. 

For example, Jackie and I approve of the Bull. Kate clearly does not.

Me, I'm the classy one.

Jackie enjoys self-portraits and has developed quite a remarkable talent in holding out her arm and making a picture look like someone else took it.

That's all her.

After our bull adventure and a little mosey around the 9/11 memorial we cabbed it up to Grand Central Station to check into the Grand Hyatt, where we'd call home the next few days. After a delicious hibiscus flower cocktail, we decided to walk the few blocks to Times Square and check out the TKTS line for discount show tickets. 
We were in a quandary deciding which one to see, and most were sold out by the time we got to the front of the line. We ended up scoring some to Avenue Q, which I had seen before but LOVED, and promised Jackie and Kate they'd love it too.

It was colder than any of us had anticipated, so shopping was in order before going out that night. $20 peacoats from a classy retailer called Strawberry (It's like a schlocky Forever21 with a twist of tween hipster) and $5 pashminas from the street vendor, and we were all set.

The plan was to take a cab from the hotel to the theater, but after some drama of getting cabs stolen from us from a nasty man with a horrible yankee accent, ended up walking halfway to the theater because we were running late.
Usually being a little behind schedule isn't a big deal, but for a show, they will close the doors and not let you in.

We made it by the skin of our teeth, and laughed till we cried at sure-to-be classic showtunes such as "If You Were Gay" and "Everyone's a Little Bit Racist". Seriously, go see this show.
Unless you get offended easily. Then maybe it's not for you.

Fabulous green couch at the show

The next day was the day we had all been waiting for - Chinatown.

We met up with our other high school BFF Jonathan, who now lives in Brooklyn, and he accompanied us through Canal Street.

Chinatown has changed a lot since I'd last been there. It used to be that you went into a back room for the good stuff. Modern day Chinatown, you wait for someone to whisper "Prada? Gucci?" and if you looked up and acknowledged it, you followed them down the block, around a corner, around another corner, and down another few blocks to a quiet street. 
From there, you get a plastic menu-type sheet to view images of the bags that are available.

I picked out a few off the "bag menu" and the little ladies dissipated around a corner. About 10 minutes later they were back with a solid black plastic bag, holding the goods. 

I bargained it down to a reasonable price, and bought two for almost the price of one.

After I bought those, I bargained some faux Tiffany rings. And a few bracelets. And earrings.

Apparently if you spend more than $100 in Chinatown, they congratulate the guy that initially brought you over because you're a high roller. I was certain that my mug shot would be posted for future reference so that I could be targeted.

Is it being a cheapskate to buy a knockoff? I prefer the term "frugal", but sure.I've also bought my fair share of the real deal, like my Prada bag that cost me more than I would ever admit to, which never sees the light of day because I'm afraid it's going to get dirty. 

We made our way out of Chinatown and started heading towards the East Village. We passed a darling store called C. Wonder that was having their grand opening. The lime green doors drew me in, I couldn't help myself! I was browsing the jewelry, looked up and Kelly Ripa was standing there.Yay for celebrity sightings!

We made our way to a sports bar, as Auburn was playing LSU (let's not talk about that game though) and Alabama was playing Tennessee. It was a good place to sit and catch up and take goofy photos.

Jackie wanted to go sing karaoke later on, so we walked down a few blocks to the nearest karaoke bar and warmed up our vocal chords. This little place was a ton of fun - everyone sang along with everyone else's songs. One of the regulars was Irish and sang "Molly Malone" but changed it to Mary. Very sweet of them. Little did I know that she died of a fever and no one could save her and that was the end of sweet Molly Mary Malone. Bummer.

Needless to say, the next morning came too quickly and it was time to hit the road for the airport back to our respective states.

These ladies know more about me than most anyone else. They understand where I've come from and what I've gone through and where I want to go. They're the people I count on to drive me home after too many margaritas, and my voice of reason for when things get a little out of hand.  They're my future bridesmaids. They're the aunties to my future children.
They're just ridiculously fabulous.

I love you both and can't wait for our next trip! 


  1. How freaking fun!!! Glad y'all had a blast!

  2. Sounds like you had a good time! What in the world is Jonathon Hood up to? I haven't heard anything about him since he went off to Yale.

  3. Thanks, it was so much fun! He is working at a prestigious private school in Brooklyn, and seems to really love it!