Sunday, December 6, 2009

Macy's Parade, French Turkey and More

We caught some glimpses of the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade. The crowds were incredible! We got an appreciation for the reason for the giant balloons. That's all you can see when you're a couple of blocks away.

We were amused by what people would do to view the parade--stand in dumpsters or on homemade stilts. We followed the parade route to Times Square....

...and then made our way to Chelsea Piers and the Hudson River. We got a glimpse of the Statue of Liberty (on the left) and....

...saw the Empire State Building again.

We were so thankful for the companionship of Jini. Jacob was an incredible tour guide.

I was amazed to see blossoms on the trees. Apparently, the weather was unseasonably warm.

We were intrigued by the glass buildings (the one on the right reminded us of a ship) as we continued our journey to the High Line. The High Line is an old railroad line that has been developed into a park.

We got a little bit closer to the Statue of Liberty (in the distance on the right).

We enjoyed the views of the Hudson River, New Jersey across the river and the West side.

On the left is the pier where the Titanic was to have landed.

You could see the old train tracks in the midst of the foilage.

We passed cobblestone streets in the old meatpacking district turned fashionable hangout as we walked to Chelsea Market. We loved Chelsea Market, a quaint enclosed food court and shopping mall located in the old Nabisco factory. This was where the Oreo cookie was invented and produced. We sampled some delicious ice cream.

We wanted to spend more time exploring the market but it was time to head back to Harlem and Thanksgiving dinner! Lester, Jacob's friend and landlord, had made reservations at a French restaurant which was near the LDS church and the famous Apollo Theater, an almost exclusive African-American music hall. Our Thanksgiving dinner was definitely a unique experience. We loved the ambiance of the little restaurant, the slow pace of the meal allowing for lots of time to visit, and the delicious food.

After a much needed rest in the evening, we continued our explorations. We visited the Rockefeller Center. As we arrived, the building across the street put on a fabulous light display to Christmas music.

We rode the elevators to the top of the Rock and witnessed an ethereal view of the city. Back down on the ground, we soon found ourselves in Times Square again.

On Black Friday, Jacob took us through the impressive design shopping district, by Washington Square Park, and past New York University....

...and on to Broadway where we actually did some shopping! We were amazed at how quickly the people standing in lines were able to make their purchases.

My new hat from Uniglo and Jim's new down jacket kept us toasty warm for the rest of that bitter cold day.

We ambled through China Town and caught the subway to Brooklyn Bridge.

The buildings near the bridge were stunning.

It was cold and windy on the Brooklyn Bridge but we were impressed by the architecture....

...and the view of the East River. We found our way to City Hall Park with its gas lit lamps and surrounded by government buildings which date back to 1812. The park itself has been in use since colonial times.

We walked by St. Paul's Chapel which was built in 1766 and is Manhattan's oldest building still in use. George Washington attended services here. It is located across the street from the World Trade Center site. A large sycamore tree in the church yard was knocked over with the blast and protected the church and graveyard from destruction on Sept. 11. An artist made a cast of the tree's roots. The Trinity Root is now on display at the Trinity Church to commemorate Sept. 11.

The beautiful Trinity Church was constructed in 1846.

We continued our tour down Wall Street where we saw the site of the inaugaration of George Washington as president of the US and the US Stock Exchange.

Exhilarated by all that we had seen but hungry and tired after hours of walking, we turned to retrace our steps up Wall Street. The Trinity Church framed by the buildings on Wall Street gave us the perfect parting photograph to top off our New York adventure.

Thankfully, we found a cab that transported us to Jacob's favorite Indian restaurant. It was cozy, the service really good and the food was hot! Just what we needed on that cold and blustery evening. After dinner, we went back to Broadway to find another show. We saw "West Side Story". It was good but didn't quite move us like "Wicked" had. After three hours of little sleep, we arose to prepare for the journey home. Thank you, Jacob, for a memorable visit to New York City! We hope there are many more to come.