On my first trip to New York the "hands down best day" was when Lesley and I took a walking tour, guided by Ben, through The Village, Little Italy, China Town and then across the Brooklyn Bridge. I so wanted to do this with Aaron so on our last full day in Manhattan we set out to sort of re-enact the same tour. Aaron wanted to start further up at the 9/11 Memorial, then to Wall Street, across the Brooklyn Bridge and then end in Little Italy for lunch.
When I had last been to Ground Zero it was a big hole. A construction site. I had not planned on visiting it then but Les and I had been close and so felt we should go. Now there is almost a whole building erected. I don't know what it was about that but this time there was so much more emotional. As Aaron and I viewed the bronze wall mural across from the site, the tears started to well up. There were tourists in hard hats preparing for a tour of the Memorial site. Aaron checked the schedule to see if we could join a tour. While he checked I turned away from him so he could not see how hard I was crying. I did not want to keep him from doing anything on the trip that he had hoped to do. Thankfully the next tour was not until 11 and, since we hoped to be in Little Italy by lunch, we had to forgo it. As we walked away toward Wall Street I really started sobbing. We couldn't walk away fast enough for me. Ug. Maybe one day I'll be able to do a tour but... whatever it was. It just wasn't in me this go 'round.
An unfortunate thread that weaved through our trip was the stock market. What a mess it was last week! (This week isn't looking any better.) I wanted to unplug every single one of those ridiculous monitors back at the hotel because all it talked about was the stock market. Since this is a major part of my husband's job he could not help but pay attention and be effected by it. There was someone he left basic instructions with at work but when the Market was behaving like it was he had to make calls, texts and conferences to tend to them. At one point the battery on his cell phone was dying and he had a conference call. We dove into a T-Mobil where Aaron bought a charger and then asked the clerk if he could plug in here because the conference call was in one minute. I did some people watching while he took his call and then we resumed our tour.
Aaron felt awful but even though we are on vacation the world did not stop. He wished the Market had not been so darn dramatic on our trip but...so it was. Anywhoo, all of that to say Wall Street was all the more interesting that day due to the roller coaster it was on. CNN news was there as were other stations, reporting about the chaos on the floor from outside the stock exchange. There was an ambulance there.
"I wonder what happened..." I thought aloud. "Some poor guy probably had a heart attack," I said to Aaron.
"Or committed suicide," he said.
Onward we walked.
Crossing the Brooklyn Bridge you see some great views! It's also very hot. Whew! I thought this would be another great scene for a goofy picture but Aaron was not "in." We finally made it across and then took the subway back to Manhattan. We accidentally got a train going the wrong way though so we had that to finagle... Once on the right train we were serenaded by some old guys singing old Motown hits. This is another thing I love about this city! Yea! It's like in the movies!
We made it to our destination and walked through China Town to Little Italy. A friend of mine had recommended we eat at a place called Angelo's on Mulberry St. (Dr. Seuss!) Aaron and I stood at a corner on Mulberry St.
"Which way now?" Aaron asked.
"I don't actually know but I'm sure we could just ask someone." Of course Aaron does not want us to talk to the New Yorkers but I told him there is one thing New Yorkers love and that's giving directions.
"Excuse me," I asked the nearest gentleman next to me. "Do you know where Angelo's is?"
"Yeah. It's right theh," he answered in a perfect New York accent. I looked in the direction he gestured but didn't see it.
"Right theh! You tellin' me you don' see it?" I looked again.
"Oh! There it is! Wonderful! Thanks so much!"
"No problem." I wished I'd had a more challenging quest for him. Angelo's was across the street and three venues down. The food is great there BTW and so is the atmosphere with waiters passionately talking to one another in Italian. I reviewed our map of the city while we ate.
"Hey, The Empire State Building is a block from our hotel. Maybe that really is the Empire State Building outside our window."
"It just doesn't seem old enough," Aaron said. "Maybe it is..."
We walked home through what was supposed to be The Village but it was not the same as when Ben took me. He had showed me such a pretty area and had trivia to share. I had no idea where we were really and it just seemed like any other part of the city. The people watching was still rich! At one intersection we pedestrians had the "go" to cross but a bus decided it was going to go as well. The bus inched through the intersection trying to force it's passage but this one woman was not going to have it.
"What the hell do you think you are doing?!" she yelled up to the driver as she hit the grill of the bus with her shopping bag. "We're walking here!" she shouted.
Back home we showered and changed for a show. We had tickets to see Jersey Boys at 8 and had originally planned to go to dinner first. Since our lunch was later than we thought it would be neither of us were hungry. I also had two big blisters on the bottom of my feet.
"Why didn't you pack tennis shoes?" Aaron asked.
"I packed the same two pairs of shoes the last time I came here. We took the subway more though."
I had heels for the dress I was to wear that night. Aaron was worried about my feet and so we decided to grab a cab. To catch a cab on a Friday night in NYC is not easy. We still had walking to do. Looking fabulous, we walked in the general direction of the Theater District until Aaron was successful in hailing a cab.
"How are your feet?" he asked.
He directed the cab to a wine bar near the theater where we could have a light meal and cocktails. Since we had yet to get our silly NY pic for the day I thought we could do something in the taxi.
"Since it's just us in a cab you have to make a funny face," I instructed.
"That's you being silly?"
"Oh Baby!" I laughed at him. These things are good for him. I'm certain!
The wine bar we went to was called Casellula which means "little house" or something like that. We ordered a variety of cheeses. I can't recall now what kind of wine we had...some sort of white and then with dessert I had a Pinot Noir. It was just right and we were only a block from the theater so there was no problem with walking. Well...as no problem as you can get in heels with blisters.
Jersey Boys was super and our seats were great! I boo-hooed through the whole thing, as I always do when I watch people perform. I just wanted to run on stage and hug all of them and shout "I am so PROUD of you!!!!" They're doin' it!!!
Show over we headed back to the hotel. Funny thing about sore feet: You would think resting them would help but it only made each step more painful! I figured we would walk a bit until Aaron could hail another cab as we did on the way there.
"How are your feet?" Aaron asked.
"Um...I'm OK right now..." I winced. We walked on and quickly found ourselves in Times Square.
"This is out last chance to walk through Times Square," Aaron said.
"So it is," I sighed. It is fun to be there at night! I figured we would walk through and THEN he would get a taxi.
"You doing OK?" he asked as we came out the other side of it.
Not wanting to make him feel bad I said, "Yeah. I'll make it," still thinking we were getting a cab and meaning I'd make it until we got it. Aaron understood it to mean that I could keep going. With each step I was in more pain and getting more ticked off as I realized we were not getting a cab. Finally we were about 3 blocks from our hotel and Aaron asked about my feet again.
"They hurt. Badly." I snapped.
"Well, why didn't you tell me? You want me to get us a cab?"
"NOW? We are only 3 blocks away. I'm finishing it now."
Once back at Hotel Wacky I turned on Aaron. "Why were you concerned enough about me walking in heels TO the theater but not BACK?"
"I asked and you always said you were fine."
"I was fine knowing that a cab was soon to be in our future!"
"I'm sorry I had no idea that's what you meant. I still don't understand why you didn't bring tennis shoes."
"I told you these are the same shoes I wore last trip and my feet were fine. Of course we took the SUBWAY that trip!"
"Well this is not how I hoped our last night here would end."
We sat on the bed for a bit. I rubbed my sore feet and Aaron his sore ego.
"You screwed up and I screwed up," I told him. "It was not fair of me to assume you understood what I was thinking. Let's end the trip the way we started. Let's go back to Blaggers."
We changed clothes and headed back out.
"How are your feet now?"
"Brutal." I growled, still not done seething.
The bartender that was there the first night was there this night as well. He remembered us and asked what all we had done on our visit. Our anger dissolved after I had a Stella and Aaron a Guinness and after re-playing all the fun times we had together. Our Irish bar tender set up the shot glasses again.
"We are still celebrating a birthday," he said with his fabulous accent.
This time he set up four glasses as his other 'tender (from Dublin) was going to join us.
"Something sweet, right?"
The next morning Aaron and I set out to buy souvenirs for the boys and to solve the mystery about the Empire State Building once and for all. We found some books for the kids and NYPD ball caps then walked a block over to where our map marked the Empire State Building. It was indeed the same building we saw from our window. The one thing that was actually nice about that hotel was that we apparently had a great view the whole time but didn't even know it. Ha! Don't ask. We felt pretty lame.
We found ourselves exhausted and well spent on the whole scene and so called for Deano to pick us up an hour early.
"Yous enjoy your visit?" he asked.