As the idea of this trip was to get in some relaxation and fun, we decided we wouldn’t over schedule ourselves or make ourselves get up early. So when we parted ways Saturday night, we agreed that we would call when we woke up in the morning – whenever that might be.
Fast forward to 11 AM!
So… we slept in a little later than expected. But we didn’t care. It’s called V-A-C-A-T-I-O-N. And we had no real plans. Clearly.
After some Dunkin Donuts to start the day off right, we decided to jump start the day’s activities by side-stepping the subway and opting for a cab ride down to the Battery Park area to see about taking a tour of Liberty Island.
Other than the Yankees game, we’d been hitting nothing but duds as far as food was concerned so we had our hearts set on finding a great lunch before going to the Statue of Liberty. We climbed out of the cab and set off into the Financial District for some food. But it was a Sunday morning, which meant most restaurants were either serving a breakfast/brunch menu (read: expensive) or closed altogether. Finally, we turned a corner onto a side, side street and stumbled upon an entire alley filled with tables and chairs. All the restaurants on either side of the street had outside seating for the day and there was activity up and down the walkway. Finally! Food!
We chose a little Mexican place called Mad Dog & Beans. It was cute and the food smelled good and Jeff could get sweet tea (which for SOME reason, is not readily available outside the South). We settled in with our chips and salsa, and – like he often does – Jeff warned the waitress that it would be tough to keep up with his empty glass. “Keep ’em comin’.” And she did. She brought glass after glass of sweet tea for Jeff and Diet Pepsi (I found VERY few places in NYC that had Diet Coke rather than Pepsi. Not cool.) for me. We had our lunch while we talked about what we wanted to accomplish that day. Nothing eventful. Until the check arrived. Ryan about choked when he looked inside the folder. Then he looked at us and said, “umm. I don’t think you get free refills.” Nice. And three dollars a pop! Another fabulous NYC dining experience.
We grudgingly paid our lunch tab and headed back out to the street, toward the water. There didn’t really seem to be a mass movement of people in any one direction so we finally had to stop and ask someone how to get tickets for the ferry to Liberty Island. Thattaway!
The line for tickets looked a little long, but hey – it’s THE Statue of Liberty. So we jumped in line. And didn’t move. At all. For many, many minutes. So we sent Ryan to see what the deal was and it didn’t take him long to report back to the group.
“We have a decision to make. How important is the Statue of Liberty to you?”
“You see this line? Yeah. That’s the line for tickets. THEN! You get to stand in THAT line to get onto the ferry.” He motioned toward a line of what must have been over a thousand people. We hadn’t even noticed it when we walked up. It would take us HOURS to get there. If it even happened before dark.
Decision made! This group would be admiring Lady Liberty from afar!
Who can find the Statue of Liberty in this picture? No, really. I swear. We went to the Statue of Liberty.
THERE it is!
After (sort of) standing in line for the ferry, we were in need of a bathroom. Heck, we HAD just blown our savings on tea and pop during lunch. We asked three or four different people for the bathroom — all of whom sent us in slightly different directions — but we finally found it. And I wish I had taken a picture of THAT line. The little stone building housing the bathroom had one side for men and one side for women. No line for the men. Mile-long line for the women. Of course.
We parted ways and after two minutes the boys were done. And Teresa and I hadn’t moved. After another ten minutes. No movement. And having HAD it with the lines at this crazy place, we took matters into our own hands. We made Ryan escort us one by one into the men’s bathroom. It was not void of men. Let’s just say that. But we made it out alive. And on our way out of the park we waved to all the poor saps outside the women’s bathroom who might as well have been standing in line for Christmas.
The next several hours we wandered around the Financial District and at the corner of Wall Street and Broadway is a beautiful little spot. Really peaceful, right in the middle of downtown. The Trinity Church. I really love traditional, old churches after seeing more than my fair share of them in Italy and around Europe. They have a way of simultaneously making you feel small and insignificant, and peaceful. And the Trinity Church was beautiful. And the grounds of the church contain the only active cemetery in all of Manhattan, the final resting place of Alexander Hamilton, John Jacob Astor, and actor Jerry Orbach.
It’s amazing that this peaceful place can exist in the middle of one of the busiest areas of such a bustling city.
We continued our wander around the Financial District, stopping at the New York Stock Exchange and Federal Hall. And Ground Zero.
Then it was time to get serious. We’d already made poor Teresa and Ryan listen to Seinfeld quotes and inside jokes the entire trip. And we took them to Sardi’s. But now it was time for the real thing. We rode the subway all the way uptown and found this:
Knowing full well that the show was not actually filmed inside this coffeehouse, we had to check it out anyway. It might have been the smallest restaurant I’ve ever personally entered. I almost had to back out the way I came in. But I was there. I can’t BELIEVE that wasn’t on my Life List!
Subway back downtown.
Jeff and I have about decided that we just don’t feel like we’re on vacation unless we walk a few dozen miles. We’ve hoofed it around Vegas a few times and most recently dragged each other to the top of Mt. Whitney and back — so I guess it just felt natural to embark on a walking vacation of Manhattan.
Starting on 5th Avenue.
We stopped at another beautiful church – St. Patrick’s Cathedral.
And took a slight detour over to 6th Avenue for this fun little spot.
Central Park eventually came into view and we went exploring. I love that you can get the peaceful, green park in the same shot as a high-rise.
Ryan stayed busy finding families and couples that needed a photographer. He took his job as complimentary tourist photographer VERY seriously and could manage to stop traffic on the busy walking path in order to get the perfect shot. We told him he should accept tips!
It didn’t take long for us to find something dangerous to do. Climb a big rock!
Wouldn’t you know it – flip flops are not exactly effective climbing shoes.
After meandering through the park, we were seriously, honestly looking for good food. It has to be out there SOMEWHERE. So we turned to the nearest iPhone and discovered that Mickey Mantle’s Restaurant was less than a block away! One of our favorite Seinfeld episodes mentions Mickey Mantle’s Restaurant. And the show is riddled with references to him and the Yankees. Sold!
We plopped down in a booth, looked up and saw this:
How’s THAT for luck?
The whole restaurant is decorated in sports memorabilia — mostly Yankees and Mickey Mantle stuff, obviously, but plenty of others, too. Baseball, football, golf, basketball, tennis. I even saw a few pieces of music memorabilia from The Beatles and such.
Very cool place. And good food. Finally. I even ordered myself a real live piece of NY Cheesecake.
By this time, I’d gotten a handle on the subway and managed to get us ALL THE WAY home in one try.
If I can make it there
I’ll make it anywhere…
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.