Monday, December 31, 2012


These photos are in no particular order. It has taken me a while to get around to posting anything about my trip because I had so much to say about it and not enough time to do it in. So I finally decided you get what you get. Something is better than nothing. Here are some of my favorite photos. I really enjoyed New York a lot more than I expected. No, I loved it! 
An instagram photo of Dave and I on a Sunday stroll through Central Park. I think it is the largest Park in a metropolitan area within the United States. You know what the second largest park in a metro area is? Point Defiance. Yep, good ol' PD from my old stompin' grounds in Tacoma, WA. The park was beautiful despite it's lack of leaves. There was some damage to some of the areas from the recent storms but just minor here. Mostly things like branches down and trees askew. 

Another instagram. The iconic LOVE sculpture. Do you call this a sculpture? I'm not sure. Anyways. I thought it was funny that there were people everywhere, EVERYWHERE on the streets. But right around this piece of art it was cleared up and there was a nice little group of onlookers 20 feet away who were all taking turns taking pictures. Everyone was respectful and kind and even were helping each other, perfect strangers, take cut pictures like this in front of the LOVE. I expected NY to be full of hardened and rude people. I found the exact opposite.

Another instagram. This is the train we took from Grand Central Station out to Connecticut on Sunday evening. I was so excited to ride a New York train and to walk down some of the tunnels of Grand Central. I even spotted a few New York rats and they were as big as Dave Letterman claims. Out in Connecticut we were met by a very nice woman--a relative of the professor that was with us--who picked us up in a large van, took us to her house, fed us and then drove us over to the house of Dave Neeleman. for a fireside and to watch the Christmas Devotional in his theater room. Yes really! He is the founder of Jet Blue and Azul Airlines. Beautiful home and a really great guy. The train ride was cool too.

Instagram again of Dave and I at Rockefeller Center. We are right in front of the skate rink and that is the Rockefeller tree right behind us. There were so many people here. Again all were nice and taking turns and helping each other take pictures. It was a huge tree but for some reason it seemed smaller in person than I was expecting. I loved the decorations that were all throughout the plaza.

Instagram of the Statue of Liberty. On the advice of my cousin we took the Staten Island ferry to see the Statue. We got there just as the sun was going down--forgot that New York the sun goes down earlier than in Hawaii, 4:30pm. The ferry is a walk on ferry and is free. We rode the subway down, walked a block and right into the terminal. On the other side we had to get off but then we walked this big loop and got right back on again to come back to Manhattan.

Mr. Wasden, the professor that was with us and the students, surprised us all with tickets to the Radio City music hall Rockettes Christmas Celebration. It was a lot of fun to go to a show and do something so "New York" Not something I would have done on my own accord. Thank you M. Wasden!

There were Christmas decorations all over the place. It was incredible. These balls are probably 4 feet tall each and placed in the middle of this fountain and all the trees in this plaza are decorated and there are beautiful huge Christmas trees inside of every building lobby, all of them decorated and surrounded by piles of presents that say "Toys for Tots".  The song "Silver Bells" has so much more meaning to me than it ever did before; there is nothing like Christmas time in the City.

Looking towards Manhattan on our way back on the Staten Island Ferry. So beautiful and great picture by Dave.

It is really hard to get pictures of Times Square. Everything is so big and you are so close to everything and it is so bright, but I liked this picture from a little ways off. To the right you see the corner of the M&M's store. There you can find anything you ever wanted in M&M's. We couldn't help ourselves and splurged on some bulk Coconut M&M's. 

On Sunday we went to church here in Manhattan. This is the temple and the church building. It was very beautiful and surprising that you couldn't hear any of the street noise inside.

The beautiful rows of trees in Central park were stunning.

People play music everywhere in New York. This group was in a little underground area in Central Park where the acoustics were phenomenal. Their beautiful voices echoed out of the tunnel into the surrounding area and beckoned all to hear and see. We also spotted singers on the streets and in the subway tunnels and even on the subway cars. 

I went inside this beautiful Cathedral while waiting for the American Girl store to open on Monday morning. I think it was St. Patricks. I'm not Catholic but I certainly felt like it was a holy place. The sculptures and relief work and stained glass were incredible. I loved it.

Sunset from the Highline. I think this was the East River. The city was very interesting but I think I'd spend a lot of time on the Highline trying to get away from all the cement. It used to be a rail track but had to be shut down because of environmental concerns. It was supposed to be demolished but a group convinced the city to allow them to turn it into a walking path and gardens. A park. I enjoyed my walk along the highline with my cousin Austin and his lovely wife Jess.

waling along the highline I spotted this very cool building in the distance. I loved the mosaic look of the windows.

There's a lot of interesting things to see in New York. I thought this was way funny. A big billboard of Zebras right in the middle of the city.

Couldn't resist a picture of this piece of art.

On the floor of the stock exchange. We got a tour of the stock exchange. The students got to meet with some of the traders and I poked around a bit. It was a lot smaller than I had imagined and was separated into several rooms. It was really cool. Before going onto the floor we had lunch in the board room which was the fanciest room I have ever been in--and believe it or not I have been in some pretty fancy places. It was gorgeous. The table was huge and ornate. The chairs were heavy and beautifully upholstered. The walls had gorgeous moldings and gold inlays and the artwork was exquisite. The lunch they provided was also incredible but not over the top like the rest. However, they did serve the water in these beautiful corked glass bottles and the soda was in glass bottle shaped aluminum cans that were also corked. I had never seen anything like either of those before. I wish I would have grabbed a soda for the road.

The students that we took to NYC. They were there for exams and to meet with companies regarding internships and job positions.

The bull on Wall Street.

I think this is the Brooklyn Bridge but I'm not sure. It was a beautiful day out and I was getting bad reception so I walked a couple blocks over to this river side park so I could retrieve some emails. And to warm up because though it was sunny here at the riverwalk. . .

 . . .it was really cold inside all these buildings where the sun wasn't shining. This is down in the financial district.

We saw lots of beautiful architecture. Most of which was really hard to photograph because everything is so close.

Isn't the entryway to this cathedral amazing!

Like I said the Christmas decorations are amazing in NYC. They even wrap the buildings in bows.

Grand Central Station. A picture that doesn't do justice to this fabulous building. I loved the ceiling which was an aqua color and had constellations shining down from it. I could have spent a lot more time here. There was lots of shopping and a craft fair and restaurants and lots of tunnels and subway connections and train connections and passageways to different streets.

Some of the yummy food selections at the marketplace inside Grand Central Station. I suppose the prices there were very expensive but compared to Hawaii they seemed reasonable. If only the food could have survived the plane flight home.

I really thought this was a cool piece. This is a chandelier hanging in the entryway to the Marketplace at Times Square. Those crystals hanging from the huge branchy looking thing looked like icicles and sparkled so.

Dave took this picture of me while I was taking a picture of Lady Liberty. He liked the picture so I guess I'll include it.

Here's a picture of Dave hanging with Lady Liberty. It was a nice ride. The sun was going down. On the way back we saw NYC all lit up.

Like I said these pics are not in order. We went to the Statue of Liberty on like the 3rd day we were there. We were in New York for 6 days.

I'm really sad that I didn't get any pictures of myself with my cousins. I saw both my cousin Jon and my cousin Austin and his wife Jess while there. They are all very cool people. Jon is an interior designer and Austin is a stylist working for Aveda's flagship store.

The night we met Jon was right after going to the Statue of Liberty. It was our first night riding the subway (remember that was something that I really wanted to do while in NYC) and we took the subway from the Staten Island Ferry up to SoHo. Jon met us there and we took a nice walk through the area. We stopped in at a cute Craft fair. We walked through Little Italy where every restaurant had a greeter who tried to get us inside by shouting at us, "Hey, you wanna eat? We got some food for ya!" and when we passed they would huff loudly and jerk their heads backwards shrugging their shoulders, hands in the air.In Little Italy we were also accosted by a giant cannoli with a thick Italian American accent. We laughed about that all night. I will never look at another cannoli the same again.

After Jon's tour of SoHo we caught a taxi, my first ever taxi ride (such silly things to get excited about but I thought it was fun), to our restaurant. Jon said it was a fantastic Mexican restaurant. The best in New York. The taxi was clean, didn't stink, had a TV in it and you paid by swiping your card. Not what I expected. The restaurant was also not what I expected. Jon is a super swanky, hip, relatively famous designer so I wasn't sure where exactly we would end up. The taxi dropped us off in little China town on a curvy street that looked like a dark back alley. If Jon hadn't been with us I would have probably turned and run the other direction. There weren't any scary people though and it looked a lot like areas of Seattle, Fresno or Honolulu, I rationalized, so I stuck with Jon and trusted him.

We walked down the nearly abandoned street, looked into a few empty/shuttered windows and walked up 4 steps to a single door. I can't remember anything special about the door other than it was dirty and there weren't any lights or signs. Jon held the door and we stepped in, walked down a dark staircase, turned a corner and stopped at a dark red velvet curtain where we were greeted by a girl who looked at Jon and seemed to instantly recognize him.

The restaurant was pretty empty and she ushered us to our seats. The food was fabulous. We especially liked these tasty tuna tostada things that were a lot like our Hawaiian Poke but done Mexican style. The conversation was fabulous too. Jon is such an interesting person to visit with. His life is so different from anything I have ever experienced so I love to hear his perspective on life and career and friends and food and everything. I loved hearing about his little rise to fame this year and I am sure that he has some HUGE things coming his way shortly. Keep yours ears and eyes peeled for Mr.Call Designs. I'd love to tell you all about the conversation but I wouldn't want to divulge any of his trade secrets (wink, wink). I can tell you this though: I came home that night thinking a lot about "What does luxury means to me?" and "What are my everyday luxuries?" 

I came home from New York thinking about a lot of things. Like I said before New York was nothing like what I expected. I expected busy and noisy and dirty. I expected grumpy people. I expected bitter cold and lots of drab cement buildings. I expected to be overwhelmed and worn out and ready to go home.

I could have spent a lot longer there. People were nice and friendly and so, so, so well dressed and beautiful. The streets and buildings and even alleys were clean. Every morning there were guys out spraying and scrubbing sidewalks. Garbage bags were dumped on the sidewalks but were tied shut and placed in neat piles for the garbage men to pick up.

It was noisy but it was sounds of excitement and happiness for the most part. There was so much beautiful architecture. Many buildings had beautiful plazas out front or glass front foyers that were decorated for the holidays. There was artwork all over the place and parks tucked into little corners.

There were so many people. More than I ever imagined. We were walking on sidewalks with 3 people on each side of us and stuffed full from one streetlight corner clear to the next. You couldn't turn or stop or even glance sideways without having to excuse yourself. And then to see all the buildings that went on for as far as your eye could see in every direction and they went up so high I couldn't ever wish to climb the stairs. And then to realize that in each of those buildings on every floor of those buildings  perhaps in every room of those buildings, there were just as many people there as were walking with me on that 10 ft by 300 ft stretch of sidewalk. Mind blowing.

I wish I could keep rambling on and on about New York but my fingers are getting tired and it's New Years Eve. I've got some goodies to make for tonight's festivities and I need to rest my injured arm (a story for another day perhaps). I have left out stories about my visit to the garment district and so many fabric stores that I got sick of fabric (yes, really). I didn't tell you about the day I walked all day on a roundabout adventure from Central Park to Hudson Square and back (about 15 miles round trip) carrying two armfuls of packages. I didn't tell you about my near miss on the Subway, about the Neeleman's magnificent home, about Connecticut, about the student that got lost and ended up in Harlem, about how I almost missed the plane, about me being brave and eating off a street corner food cart. And I never told you about our final meal from Carnegie Deli: A sandwich the size of a basketball served with three enormous pickles and our $12 piece of Strawberry New York Cheesecake. It was delightful and I can't wait to go back for more.


  1. Bravo! Well done. After reading/seeing that, it may be the first time I have had a desire to visit NYC. You make it sound so much better than I would have expected. Thank you!

  2. what an amazing trip! sounds like christmas is the time to visit NYC. hope the Dooley's had a fabulous christmas. happy new year, dani!


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