Monday, June 15, 2009

New York, New York

It's been one week since I got back from my weekend in New York. I am finally feeling like I am settling back into my own life, and wondering why the city discombobulated me that way.

It's taken a week to process even a fraction of the hundreds of photos I took there. Some turned out really great; some were passable. A lot stunk. Which is what happens when you take seven hundred photos. Frankly, I wouldn't want them all to be great because what would I do with seven hundred awesome photos??

I left on Friday with my sister on our first-ever sister outing, the first time I've gone away without my own husband and kids ...ever. We packed the car with tunes, food, camera equipment, Starbucks coffee, and more shoes than we could possibly wear in one weekend.

(This is us in Central Park, looking remarkably fresh considering... We didn't get a photo of us in the car, although we talked about doing it.)

Technically, the city is about five hours away, give or take depending on whether you're looking at the GPS or at MapQuest. Unfortunately for us, it was storming hard the entire way and it took well over seven hours. Fortunately, we had tunes, food, Starbucks, and a lot of catching up to do. I won't go into standing out in hurricane like weather trying to put gas in the car, and then having to stop on the NJ turnpike because I'd forgotten to put the gas cap back on in my hurry to get out of the rain. :)

But not even rain could deter us!

We arrived at Grand Central drenched, starved, and laughing like teenagers. We wanted to eat something authentically New York - at this point roasted peanuts from a vendor would have done - but at ten o'clock everything was suspiciously quiet. We walked to Times Square and ended up at the very chic and New York Hard Rock Cafe (that statement is dripping in sarcasm).

Even that was mostly empty. C'mon New Yorkers! Where is the night life?? Are you afraid of a little rain??

By the time we got the subway back to our hotel, the shuttle had stopped running and we had to walk the two miles - in the rain and our high heels - back to the hotel. This actually proved to be much funnier than you might have expected. Looking back, maybe it wasn't too smart or safe, but at the time, it was adventurous, and that was what the weekend was all about.

So Saturday dawned gorgeous, fully making up for the rain, and I traded my stilettos in for sneakers and denim, and headed in to Central Park to meet one of my most favorite non-related people.

This is Tom:

Tom is a friend from way back at Penn State - who taught me everything I know about theatre lighting (which is annoyingly a lot, if you ask my husband). He lives in New York when he's not on tour somewhere with someone famous, and agreed to show us around the city.

I have to say here that I completely warned him that we were armed with cameras and were prepared to use them, and yet he came anyway, which is just a testament to how amazingly patient he is.

So we started off in Central Park, where, despite several trips to the city, I have never been. It looks like this:

This is the first pond you come to. I think my sister and I spent 20 minutes right here taking photos of building and birds and flowers and the pond. Tom waited patiently and then nudged us forward, saying, "There are lots of other birds and flowers and building scenes further in which we are never going to get to if you don't keep moving!"

So we did. And he was right. There was lots more!!

This (below) is the amphiteater in the park. There was a crew loading in equipment for a show so the entire bottom of this picture, had I bothered to take the whole scene, would have been trucks and power cords and lighting and people. Tom gave us a good safety lesson in how to handle power cords that are sitting in rain puddles that might have been beneficial to the bozos loading the equipment.

There were also a ton of weddings everywhere we went. At least, wedding photographers. And brides. This was so gorgeous I couldn't help but take the shot myself. It is probably my favorite of everything I took that weekend.

We hadn't know Tom would be able to be our unofficial tour guide when we planned to spend the day in Central Park, but by the time we wound our way through, I was so glad he'd been there to not only show us the best places, but to get us out again.

Of course, here is how the conversation actually went:

Me: Thanks so much for taking us through the park!! We would have totally been lost without you!!

Tom: No you wouldn't have. You would never have gotten past 200 yards in!

Which is, so sadly, probably true.

We saw lots of other parts of the city, too, and I loved most the things I don't see where I live.

Like lots of taxis.

And lots of tall buildings. I love those tall buildings.

And the subways. I loved the subways. I totally felt like a local getting around on them, but like a geeky tourist taking photos of the stations!

But aren't these totally gorgeous!!?

Saturday night we went to Carnegie to see my mom sing. Mostly we saw the feet of the orchestra members. Did I mention we were in the front row?

Still, there were there, and when we saw my mom afterwards she was so high on the whole experience I might have suspected she was taking something illegal. Also, she stayed awake until one a.m. to do dinner at Tavern On The Green, which I think makes it definitely possible she was on something. :)

We traveled back to Times Square after Carnegie to take in the night lights and back to the hotel at the early time of 3a.m. Yes, we walked the two miles again. Barefoot. Man, those Carnegie heels were KILLING me!!

Sunday was the botanical gardens, which was AMAZING! I'll post those photos later as they deserve their own page!

And then our last stop before heading out:

The Brooklyn Bridge.

What an incredible day it was! The bridge was mobbed with people, but it turns out if you point the camera up, they don't show up in the photos!

And here is what I looked like most of the time:

Maybe I couldn't actually live there, but I definitely could have stayed longer.

Maybe next time.


  1. 1st - I'm totally jealous in a good way. I'd love to spend time in New York.

    2nd - AWESOME pics.

    3rd - I'm glad you had fun.

  2. Those are awesome photos. Makes me want to go there right now. Maybe me and my sister will have to take a road trip some time soon.

  3. Wonderful photos, Heidi! I particularly loved the pond with the heron/bird. Gorgeous!

    I'm really glad you had fun!

  4. Wow-- Kudos kiddo! I am uncharacteristically intimidated by New York and doubt I'll even go, but love your pics. Thanks for letting me travel vicariously.

  5. Great pictures and it sounds like a really fun time!

    Also, you mention Penn State. I know somebody who works there VERY WELL. In fact, I see this person in the mirror every day. :)

  6. Patti - You totally should take a sister vacation. I can't believe it took my sister and I so long to do it! We want to plan annual ones now.

    Jen and Brit - thanks for the compliments! Jen - I have tons of that bird and bridge! I'll have to show you some of the others some time!

    Sue - come with me some time! I'll hold your hand. :) It's not as scary as it looks.

    Paul: NO WAY!! You WORK at Penn State????? What campus? I am so jealous!! What do you do there? I went to University Park campus all four years, but I have lots of friends from other campuses too. I graduated in 91, and have only been back once, but I am blue and white through and through! :)

    Love meeting kindred spirits!

  7. That would be University Park. If you haven't been back in a while you would be surprised at the changes. For example, The Creamery is in a new building!

  8. The only time I've been back was when they were in the midst of moving it and I couldn't get my favorite ice cream: coconut chocolate chip. I was CRUSHED!!

    Sigh. I must really get back there. When I was trying to finish my last book I tossed around the idea of going up there for a few days to get away from everything and just write.

    I still think it's a good idea.

    If I do make it up there, we will have to meet. :)

  9. There you go. To be honest, though, I don't get much writing done here :)

    That could be because of me, though.

  10. Absolutely amazing pictures! I felt like I was in my favorite city. Thank you!

  11. What an awesome trip! I hope to make it to NY someday. You took more pictures of one city than I did of seven countries.

  12. I spent a lot of time at that first pond in Central Park too. At least you got some great pics - I don't think any of mine turned out that great.