Tuesday, September 20, 2011

new york: from a to z

I'm back home, and I have so much to write about. I would have written sooner, but I brought the plague back from NYC with me and spent most of my time back in Orlando in bed or on the couch. No fun. But now that I'm finally recovered, it's time to start filling everyone in on the events of the last week and a half. Let's just start with the part that I know everyone is anxious to read about: the trip.

Day 1

The flight was at the ass crack of dawn on Saturday morning. This was my genius idea, which turned out to be not-so-genius considering I'd spent the night before drinking sangria on an empty stomach and crying heavily (yes - crying) at my boss's memorial. Separate post to come. I ended up getting about two hours of sleep before getting on a plane. Unfortunately, the flight attendants did NOT make it up on time from whatever they were up to the night before. We were 45 minutes late taking off.

We arrived at JFK pretty much on time, though, and we took the shuttle ride from hell to our hotel. I'd spent a lot of time watching hotel/flight package deal prices on Expedia during the months leading up to the trip, and I managed to get us an awesome deal at none other than the Waldorf.

We couldn't check in until 3, so we grabbed lunch and wandered down to 5th Avenue, where the FDNY was holding its 9/11 Memorial Mass at St. Patrick's Cathedral. After lots of pictures, a little bit of window shopping, and some actual shopping, we went back to the hotel, checked in, power napped, showered, and dressed in time to meet my aunt and uncle at the hotel bar for a drink. They took the train down from Connecticut to hang out with us for the evening, and I'm so glad they did. We had a great time catching up, watching football, and eating amazing food at Trattoria Trecolori near Times Square.

Needless to say, we slept VERY well on Saturday night after no sleep the night before and all of our traveling/walking.

Day 2

This was 9/11. We woke up early, grabbed some coffee, and took the train down to Wall Street. We weren't sure how close we could get to the memorial service, but we ended up going down to Battery Park and walking back up toward Ground Zero - getting close enough to hear the names of the victims read by their family members. It was a surreal experience. We passed so many members of the FDNY and other fire departments from around the world who were there to honor the dead. And we passed family members, too, holding up images of their loved ones. Heartbreaking.

We took the train back up to SoHo and walked around the shops before heading over to Brooklyn for lunch and a tour of the Brooklyn Brewery. We had an awesome brunch at The Counting Room, and made it over to the brewery in time to catch the 2 pm tour. The best part of the tour, of course, is the end where you can buy tokens and try some of their beers. If you've never tried Brooklyn beer, I highly recommend it. We had it for the first time last year while we were in New York, and we swore we'd go on the beer tour if we ever went back.

We cabbed it back to the hotel and took a quick nap before going back down to SoHo and meeting my college friend Allison for dinner at Dos Caminos. If you like guac and good margaritas, GO HERE. The meal was delicious, but I'll pretty much eat any kind of Mexican food you put in front of me. It was great catching up with Allison, and she walked down to Ground Zero with us after the meal, since we wanted to catch a glimpse of the new tower lit in red, white, and blue.

We took the train back up to Times Square and briefly contemplated shopping or maybe getting a drink. But it was late and the freaks were out (no joke), so we took a cab back to the hotel and called it a night.

Day 3

*cough cough*

Yes, this is what I woke up to on Monday morning. A sore throat. BUT, I wasn't going to let that stop me from exploring more of my favorite city.

We headed back down to 5th Avenue to do some shopping. And not like the Tiffany's and Cartier kind of shopping. More like the H&M and Gap sale racks kind of shopping. We ended up getting a ton of clothes (which barely fit in our suitcase when it was time to leave), including some stuff for winter. I know. I live in Florida. The odds of these sweaters sitting in the back of my closet for the next three months are high. But they were cute and cheap, so I couldn't resist! For lunch, we went back down to the Times Square area to check out this pizza place a few of my friends told me about. John's Pizzeria lived up to the hype. They make the pizza right in front of you, too, which made the experience that much better.

After lunch, we headed back to the hotel for spa treatments. Joey wanted a massage, and I got a mani and pedi for the awards. We were going to take showers and get freshened up for dinner after the spa, but - SURPRISE - the hotel had no hot water. Soooo, both of us went and had our dinner sweaty. Awesome, huh?

We chose Marc Forgione for dinner. We wanted somewhere that was reasonably priced but still well recognized for their menu. We picked the right spot. We started our meal with barbecue oysters and crab with watermelon and jalapeno (it sounds iffy, but I promise it was delicious). Then we split what was pretty much an entire chicken with roasted potatoes. Delish. Dessert was banana cream pie sundae.

I pretty much had to be rolled back to the hotel.

Day 4

Awards day! And still coughing.

My best friend took the bus down from Lake Placid to visit us in the city. She met us at the hotel, and we headed back down to the NYU area for lunch. I was craving a burger, and I am incredibly picky about the quality of hamburgers I eat. So I found us a place that had organic and all-natural burgers and sandwiches: Bareburger. I WISH we had one of these in Orlando. Or maybe I don't, since I'd be eating at least a hamburger a week. :) We walked off some of the food before heading back down to Ground Zero. Candice had never been down there, and she wanted to see it while she was in the city.

After Ground Zero, we took a cab back up to the hotel. I needed a nap before the Night of Hope after all that food and walking! We were dressed and ready to go by 4:45, and took some photos down in the lobby. Then, we grabbed a cab (hard to do at rush hour on a weekday) and went over to the venue, Guastavino's.

To be honest, the Night of Hope was a blur. I feel like the night was split into two halves. The first was pre-speech, where I was so nervous about getting up on stage that I could hardly focus on anything else that was happening. The second was post-speech, where I was so relieved that my speech was over, all I wanted to do was get into my PJs and crawl in bed.

It truly was a beautiful event. I'd guess there were about 250-300 people there. The food and service were both wonderful. Everyone from RESOLVE came up and congratulated me on the win, and it was nice to match names with familiar faces. The best part of the night was meeting up with Jen at This is More Personal and her husband. Talk about feeling like you've known someone your whole life. It was so great to have someone there who I "knew" and who shared my same sense of humor.

We sat with Sherri Shepherd and Alisyn Camerota at dinner, as well as other members of Alisyn's RESOLVE support group and Tertia Albertyn, winner of the award for Best Book. I didn't have much of a chance to speak with Tertia since we were sitting at opposite ends of the table, but I can tell you this: she has a beautiful accent. I could listen to her speak all day!

The speech went as well as it could, considering I'm probably one of the world's worst public speakers. I got shaky and emotional toward the end, but I managed to hold it together and not fall. Which, really, was what I was most worried about. I had pictures taken backstage with the award presenter, Doug Weiss from Attain Fertility, and went back to my seat. It was over in less than 5 minutes. And I could not have felt more relieved!

We left fairly early. I think I was the second or third awardee to take off. We went back to the hotel, changed into more comfortable clothes (hi, I live in jeans... heels and dresses are not my thing), and met Candice at a bar around the corner for a quick drink to "cheers" the night.

At this point? More like cheers to SLEEP.

Day 5

Here is where the sickness sets in. I arranged the flight so that we wouldn't need to leave for the airport until 2:30, but I woke up so incredibly sick that I had absolutely no desire to walk around the city. I spent most of the morning in bed until we had to check out of the hotel. Then we met Candice for lunch at a deli on 7th before she headed to the Museum of Natural History and we made our way back to the hotel - where I sipped a drink at the bar and tried desperately not to fall asleep before the shuttle arrived.

As much as I love the city, I was happy to be back home on Wednesday night. When you're sick, you want nothing more than to lay in your own bed. And that's what I did for pretty much the rest of the week/weekend.

If you've made it through all of this, congratulations. You're probably bored to tears, right? Don't worry - tomorrow will be Wordless Wednesday: photos of the trip.


Arlyne said...

So sorry you got sick on your trip :( Stress totally does that to me!

I'm jealous of all of your wonderful food experiences ( as you already know, we are foodies too!) I'm sure your speech was wonderful & you're still the best blogger I know! xo

Jem said...

Sounds like an awesome trip, minus the cold.

Marla said...

Wow! Sounds amazing (minus the sickness, of course)!

It Is What It Is said...

Great account of your trip. I'm jealous that you got to meet Tertia!

Dawn said...

Sounds like an awesome trip! I'm sorry you ended up with a cold though.

Congratulations again on a much deserved award!

someday-soon said...

I'm glad you got through most of your trip without the sickness. I love NYC too...such a cool city. Your speech was amazing I'm sure...so humble you are...always =)

Rita said...

It sounds like an amazing trip (except for the sick part)! Congratulations again on your award!!

AL said...

sounds like a fabulous trip! so sorry you got sick, though.

Proud of you and your awesome award! so well deserved.

Rebecca said...

Ok, it took me until today to finally read this. Excdpt for the sickeness (ick) sounds like a great trip! I'm so excited for you and your award!!!