After leaving The Boy in the more than capable hands of Ninny and Baw (Granny and Pop – Jeff’s parents), we met Teresa and Ryan at XNA for our Friday morning flight. We were still cautiously optimistic about the weather, but our flight actually arrived at LaGuardia a little bit early and we had our bags before we knew it. So far. So good.
Bonus! As we stepped off the jet bridge and into the airport, we spotted a familiar face! A guy Teresa and I used to work with at Saatchi! The guys couldn’t quite believe we’d been in NY about four seconds – and managed to bump into someone we knew!
Taxi to the hotel was fairly uneventful – which is good. Still no rain. And after checking in and quickly freshening up – we headed straight back out into the city. In search of food.
You hear all these legends of fabulous, glorious food in big, sexy cities like New York. And I’m sure it’s out there. Somewhere. Probably being enjoyed by people who are in the city on their own dime and not there merely by dumb luck.
Nonetheless, we all had relatively high expectations regarding food. But we were hungry. And a little jet lagged. And the first thing we found was a little place called Getting Hungry. It looked good and (I may have mentioned this already but) we were hungry. Decision made. Decision confirmed once we stepped in the door and came face to face with a larger-than-life lion carved out of wood. Because why WOULDN’T you have a gigantic lion in the middle of your deli?
We browsed over the menu hanging behind the counter and stepped up to place our orders. Only to be met by an irritated-looking man who appeared to be in charge.
“I’m going to tell you something,” addressing all of us.
We all look at each other, a little nervous.
“We are closing early today. And everything is put away.” He motions to the bar of food in front of him, which I noticed had indeed been almost entirely packed away. “But I will do you a favor. I have turkey, ham and roast beef. And this cheese. I will make you a sandwich with what is here. But nothing fancy.”
Visions of The Soup Nazi flashed through my head.
We all nodded to each other and told him we would comply. Then one by one we placed orders for “whatever you have”.
What kind of bread do I want? Whatever you already have in your hand. Yep, that’s fine.
We shuffled along the counter, not making any sudden movements. Then we took our sandwiches, bagged chips and bottled drinks to a table near the lion. We knew we needed to hurry, but figured we had time to eat while they finished cleaning up and closing down the store.
About that time, a guy with mop and bucket appeared beside us as if to confirm what his boss had already told us. Closing time, folks.
We ate faster.
Then we noticed that the “background” music in the store had been turned up a notch. Then five more notches. As we continued shoving food into our mouths as fast as humanly possible, the oh so patient and hospitable employees of the deli made their point by blasting Eminem so loud we couldn’t even hear each other talk – not that we had time for chit chat anyway. All we could do was laugh. Welcome to New York.
Still no rain so we headed for the Empire State Building. We’re such good little tourists. I was secretly hoping that the foggy skies would mean a short line, as the cumulative attention span of our group is not impressive — but we completely lucked out. We didn’t wait in line AT ALL. We walked right in the door, bought our tickets, headed for the elevator and all the sudden we were 86 floors up.
There was a slight incident on the way up involving King Kong — what appeared to be a “stuffed” statue of King Kong in the elevator lobby turned out to be a guy with a twisted sense of humor who almost made us wet our pants when we walked by and touched him. He took off after Ryan while we stood and laughed. That’s what friends are for, right?
By the looks of the line, you’d think it was a crappy day to be on top — but that couldn’t be further from the truth. The sky and clouds were a little hazy, but we could still see for miles. The Statue of Liberty on one side. Central Park on the other. It was beautiful.
You’d think after the King Kong incident, Ryan would be on his best behavior. But since none of us were chasing 2 year olds for the weekend, he thought he’d step in and fill the void. By alerting Empire State Building security when he stuck his HEAD out of the fence around the observatory deck. Good grief!
“Sir. Sir! Need you to get your head back in!” We died. How many people do you know that take an elevator up 86 floors, walk to the edge of the deck, and feel the need to squeeze their head through a hole in the fence for a better look? Ryan, you’re the best.
Before we left the building, we made our first cheesy tourist purchase of the weekend.
It would be dark soon so we headed up Broadway to Times Square. I don’t remember this from the last couple of times I’ve been to NY, but there are sections of Broadway blocked off up and down Manhattan where they’ve placed patio tables and chairs in the middle of what would otherwise be a street. Times Square is one of these sections. And you can just hang out in the middle of the street. So we did. We took a load off right there in the middle of Times Square.
And then it was time for the first of what would be MANY Seinfeld references over the course of the weekend. Poor Ryan and Teresa. They’re still our friends after we made them spend a weekend with us in NYC finding a little piece of Seinfeld in E-V-E-R-Y-T-H-I-N-G we did. Oh look, it’s the New York Public Library. There was a Seinfeld about that. Riding the subway? There was a whole episode about that. Central Park? Seinfeld.
It’s a disease. And it never gets old for us. NYC is the epicenter of all things Seinfeld. And we did our best to make the most of it. Starting at Sardi’s.
We didn’t really plan on eating at Sardi’s — just planned on taking a photo and moving on. But it’s right there in Times Square so we went inside to use the bathroom and ended up staying for several hours in the upstairs bar — telling stories and having a drink and eating way too many stale bar pretzels.
After a quick trip back to see the lights of Times Square at night, the time and the exhaustion finally caught up with us and we decided to call it a night. So we headed for the subway.
And apparently I misread something somewhere because we got off about 16 blocks from the hotel… And we walked around aimlessly until someone finally suggested we get a cab back to the hotel so we could just go to bed already. We made it back to our neck of the woods, grabbed some midnight deli food and crashed after making plans to meet in the lobby bright and early for Day 2.
Note: I am in no way required by either The C.A.R.E. Initiative or Saatchi & Saatchi X to write this account of our trip. This blog has not been sponsored, compensated, or otherwise obligated by C.A.R.E. or SSX — we just had too much fun not to share! For more information about The C.A.R.E. Initiative check out their website or shoot me an email.