Well, we never got around to posting while in the big city, but only because we were too busy. All in all New York was really great and the girls did much better than expected. We saw the sights, we got in the Christmas spirit and had a great time with family. A few highlights:
The Top of The Rock - We opted for the top of the Rockefeller center over the Empire State Building only because we were already there and the lines were short. If you have never been, basically you go to a series of "top" levels before getting to the actual top of the building. The first "top" level is an enclosed room with almost floor to ceiling windows all the way around about 70 stories up.
Being the artists that we are, we decided that we should try to take a cool picture of the girls looking out the window at the city before heading up to the outside "top" level. We obviously assumed this was a safe thing to do as the window ledges were only about a foot off the floor and it was a major tourist destination. We were wrong...
So, we put the girls up on the window ledge to look out at the city view so we could take their picture. They immediately start banging on the window, having a good time and within seconds two guards ran towards us screaming to "get the girls off the ledge." A big scene ensued with Ellie hysterical because the "mean lady yelled" at her. Apparently, the glass in the windows is no thicker than single pane plate glass and this picture opportunity was quite dangerous.
I mean what the heck? Doesn't anyone in Rockefeller Center have the sense to put some of that real thick glass in the windows like they have in aquarium restaurants or airports or something? I am sure we were not the first people to do this but it was pretty ridiculous.
New York Subway - As a starting point, Leah and I felt pretty good about our subway savvy only because we use the Metro a lot in DC. But New York is different. For one thing, the subway in New York is beyond dirty, it is nasty. It really makes you appreciate the DC Metro for its cleanliness and ease of use.
Secondly, the lack of elevators. I mean how do handicapped on single people with children get around? We literally carried the stroller up two or three flights of stairs every time we exited a station. Come on NYC Transit Authority, let's clean the place up and get some 19th Century elevator technology!
The Staten Island Ferry Experience - While it is probably one of the most touristy things you can do in New York, it was my favorite part of the trip. For one thing it is a great free ride past the Statue of Liberty. Secondly, you get a feel for how real average Joes travel in and out of the city every day. One of those Joes was actually sprawled out next to me on the ferry ride with an early afternoon buzz. Part of the time he was dead asleep with his t-shirt riding up well past his belly and during the rest of the trip he was telling me about how curvy women have pretty babies. I think he was trying to make a pass at Leah but it was too comical to take offense at.
Just a regular Joe enjoying his commute on the ferry
The Ride Home - The ride up only took us 3.5 hours if you don't count the stop for lunch. We were amazed at the ease of our trip and regretted the fact that we have not taken more advantage of the big city since living in DC. However, we realized why that had not happened on the way back.
First, it took us an hour to get from midtown through the Lincoln Tunnel. Never mind that we thought we missed our first turn and essentially doubled our trip through the city, the traffic was still horrible. We then started going about 10 mph for literally two hours down the NJ Turnpike. Once we were out of gas, we pulled over into one of those horrible middle of the interstate exits for a "rest." After standing in line for a bad whopper, Leah getting ogled at close range by two large sweaty 10-year olds while she nursed Ansley and a 30 minutes gas line, we got back on the road. All in all, it took 7 hours to get home and we were worn out.
In conclusion, New York was a good time and we hope to spend more quality time there in the future. Thanks to Mom and Dad for a great trip and a wonderful Thanksgiving.