The first time I went to New York City, I was just a kid. My pom pon team qualified for a national competition--which was out east--so the entire family packed their suitcases and we hopped on the road. We stopped in many states along the way, including New York.
Because I was so young, I only remember bits and pieces and, what memories still exist, are foggy and dreamlike. What I do remember, though, is how little I felt among the masses of buildings that seemed full of opportunity. I remember the feeling of excitement I experienced just by being in the streets of New York City.
Fast forward to 2014. Me. Married to a man who is obsessed with soccer, and, particularly--the Arsenal team. Thomas mentioned earlier this year that Arsenal was playing a "friendly" (that's a game that doesn't take place as part of a competition, such as a World Cup) in NYC. This was a big-deal game. Arsenal hadn't played in the United States in 25 years. I knew he wanted tickets. And I also knew this was the man who never asks for anything. Like, EVER. I had to pretend as though this was just "too much"in a year of so much going on because I knew if I didn't, he'd just buy the tickets himself. I didn't want to miss an opportunity to gift something to him that he would remember for a lifetime.
Conspiring with a group of ladies that are on my Facebook Moms group (for suggestions on where to buy these tickets that seemed completely elusive), my husband's boss, my boss and my family, I was able to get two tickets, time off of work for us and a sitter (thanks, mom!) for the baby. The family all chipped in with the cost and we presented a card with this drawing (I use the word "drawing" loosely) to Thomas for his birthday:
Thomas was beyond shocked and over-the-moon happy. In late July, amidst the chaos of our busy schedules, we packed our bags and headed for the airport.
We arrived safely in NYC. While in the city (I love saying that), we stayed at a boutique hotel, which turned out to be a fantastic idea. Boutique hotels--in my experience, anyway--tend to really put the customer first and make sure you have everything you need and are totally content. Plus, they are a little more unique than your big chain hotels. You know this girl loves that.
No matter what I do in life, I will always be the kid who grew up rich with love, but money poor. Couple that with my interest in design and aesthetics and you have an adult who will always be tickled and amazed with a cool hotel room. So, here are some pics.
All the artwork in the room was by local artists.
Loved the wingback chair and the wood floors.
Our window looked out on to Broadway Street. Seriously, how cool.
Even the "do not disturb" signs are cooler in NYC.
After we were settled into our hotel room, we were exhausted from running on about four hours of sleep and then traveling all morning. Thomas ran out and picked up some NYC pizza as I started in on schoolwork. Oh yes, even NYC couldn't keep me entirely away from that lovely homework of mine. *grumble*
After we were fed, my homework was done and we caught a nap, we headed down to Grand Central Station where there were Arsenal players having some sort of exhibition. The place was so crowded that we couldn't really see the players, but the energy of all the Arsenal fans in the building was still exciting. And the station itself was structurally beautiful.
Afterward, we headed to an athletic store where Thierry Henry (former Arsenal player) was scheduled to have a meet and greet event. When we got to the store, the line was down the sidewalk and around the corner. We were famished, so we decided to pop in to an Italian restaurant for a quick bite before getting in line. We were only in there about a half hour and when we came out, the line around the store was completely gone.
I knew there was no way all those people had met Thierry that quickly. I was feeling like an awful wife for not having suggested we stand in line first, so I asked one of the store employees if Thierry had actually met all the people in line. Apparently the event was cancelled at the last minute. The trip to the store wasn't totally a bust, though, as we picked up a few items.
We also met up with my old college friend, Maya, whom I haven't seen in fifteen years. Seriously, fifteen years. Oy, time flies. She was a sport and braved one of the crowded-with-Arsenal-fans bars to hang out and catch up with us. Sooo good to see her! We were so deliriously tired and the place was so crazy crowded that I didn't even snap a pic of us. An excuse to get back out there soon!
The next day--the big day--was GAME DAY. We started bright and early by catching...brunch. Yes, we slept in. Hey, with our crazy schedules, sleeping in was just what the doctor ordered!
Luckily, even the "drop by" places in NYC are fancy schmancy and totally delicious.
Might as well have a mimosa in Manhattan. Cin, cin!
My handsome husband in his Arsenal gear. :)
Getting to Newark--where the game was held--was a small journey. We walked. We took a subway. Or two or three. We took a train. We walked. We walked some more. It wasn't bad;it was fun, actually--just, a journey.
When we arrived and were seated, the heavens parted...
I like to imagine my husband thinking, at this moment, a thought similar to what the dad in "Rudy" said when, for the first time, he saw the inside of the Notre Dame stadium--"this is the most beautiful sight these eyes have ever seen".
It took a loooooong time to get back on the train after the game, but it was a little awesome in that we were surrounded by an arsenal of Arsenal fans. All singing, in dialects from across the globe, happy to have been a part of this day.
Saturday night, we hopped in a cab and went down to Times Square to just take in the wonderful circus that is Times Square.
Meanwhile, at an NYC grocery store....
Olives anyone? This girl's dream store.
While in NYC, we also took in a Broadway show....
....as well as a hop on, hop off tour. (Where we hopped off in China Town for shopping and Little Italy for lunch.)
I had to take this picture. (Sorry, not sorry.)
This one, too. Bling, bling.
(Later that evening) We had such a beautiful view from one of our hotel's terraces.
After a day of touring, going to a show and meeting up with Thomas' friend Wally for dinner at a French restaurant in Times Square (seriously, I think we have more friends in NYC as there wasn't even enough time to meet up with all of the people we knew), we kicked back in our hotel lobby Sunday evening.
And what a cool place to kick back in and have a drink. The following pictures were taken in the daytime. At night, though, the garage door that is in one of the pictures below is opened up to the street and a band plays right inside the garage. Very NYC.
Monday, before we headed back home, we walked around Manhattan snapping up some last minute souvenirs and grabbed breakfast.
I already miss the energy of NYC. The people walking by the restaurants. The brownstones. The feeling that you are in fact, in an international hub.
The last thing we did before we left was walk past Yoko Ono's apartment and take a moment to reflect on the death of John Lennon. This was a biggie for Thomas and I was more than happy to oblige. After we stood near the entrance to the apartment building for a few minutes, we headed down to Central Park and walked around for a long time, just taking in the beautiful scenes and savoring our last moments.
We have so much that we didn't get to while in NYC. Next time, my friend. Next time.