Tag Archives: city

NYC5 – That day……

When my hubby asked me if I wanted to go to NYC for our anniversary, “yes, please,” was all I could muster before I pushed my sweet children out of the way and rushed off to pack my bag. I had been to NYC but it’d been so many years that I didn’t remember anything much about the place.

We decided to drive because we could spend more quality time together I absolutely hate flying. One of the many reasons I don’t like to fly is because about 11 1/2 years ago planes fell out of the sky.

We all remember our own details of that day. I was pregnant with my youngest. When I heard the news, I filled my car with gas, got money out of the bank, and rushed to the store to buy Krispy Kreme donuts and milk. Apparently my prenatal self thought donuts could ward of evil. It didn’t work. Evil still exists. Luckily, donuts do too.

Before we set one foot in the direction of NYC, I had my post about the 9/11 memorial half-written. I was mad and shaking my finger at the computer screen, “How could they do that? Why would they do that?” I planned to spew anger at seeing the devastation first hand, and, dear readers, I was ready to walk you down my own spiral staircase of loathing to rant against those who could devise and then carry out such a plan.

My neighbor tried to settle me down by telling me how calming the memorial was. She promised, “it’s really peaceful. You might be surprised.”

But not I. The pen is mightier than the plane and I was fully prepared.

Until we got there.

Our first view of the site was from a helicopter.

I was in awe. The holes in the space were gaping, impossible to miss. But something strange happened. I wasn’t furious. I didn’t wave my fist in the air. I just stared. It was horrific and serene.

The next morning we went for our tour at the memorial. It turns out you need tickets/visitor passes – they are free – but you have to register for them in advance. You can do that here.

We signed up for the 10am slot and lined up at 9:30am. As we were waiting, we heard the people around us telling their stories. It seemed like everyone knew someone who didn’t make it out. Just a few knew of someone who did.

One woman solemnly said, “It is only right that they memorialize those who lost their lives. I am glad they didn’t rebuild office space on the site.”

The man she was with quietly answered, “Please remember, they did not simply lose their lives, they were murdered.” His friend, a firefighter, died that day. Agony.

Those words choked my heart. I had to swallow to jump start it. I started talking to my husband because I just couldn’t take any more stories.

Finally, we presented our tickets and went through security and somehow were second in line for the grand gate opening.

When the gates opened, the first thing I saw was these men.

These men who stand watch over a monument dedicated in part to those uniformed men and women who rushed into buildings that were falling down for no other reason than to save lives. Other people’s lives. Agony.

And then we saw this.

Tranquility. Beauty. Rebuilding.

(If you can get there early, do. We only got to see this view because we got there early. Within minutes, seconds really, hundreds of people were milling about and it felt very different. More urgent.)

I walked around the entire park. The only way I knew to honor the memory of those who died on September 11th was to try to read every name. It quickly got too crowded in the park for me to read all the names, but I did try.

Some of the names looked familiar to me because I love people who share those names. It didn’t, it won’t make any sense that people could hate other people so desperately. People they have never met. That anyone would give up his own life to destroy the life of another. It didn’t, it won’t make sense who was chosen. I wondered, “why them?”

“Why did that Ellen die and not me.” I selfishly thanked God but wondered why again and again as I connected with name after name.

And then I saw this.

And her unborn child.”

Debilitating agony.

Throughout the morning, I read that phrase six more times. There may have been more but parts of the wall were crowded and it was hard to see around the people.

Overwhelming sadness gripped me. No anger. Just devastating sadness because of such unnecessary loss. The promise of so much obliterated by unearned hatred. It made it hard for me to hate back. I was just so very, very sad.

I will never find the exact poetic words to tell you how beautiful this memorial place is. I just love that they built waterfalls flowing from near ground level into the holes the collapsed buildings created. The designers captured the devastation and America’s defiance of that ridiculous hate magically. The running water is calming. The sky is wide open. It feels like God is watching us shine.

NYC3 – One cupcake at a time………..

You might remember that I recently went to New York City with my hubby. We were celebrating our anniversary.

Neither one of us can completely believe that someone else has put up with either one of us for two decades. So, we decided to celebrate – and celebrations require cake. No, really, it’s written on page 1 of the celebration bible. – right after “find a reason to celebrate”. Next, “find cake”.

Sweets aren’t really my thing and I have not gotten caught up in the whole cupcake craze – at least not until I found out there were carrot cake cupcakes being made in the cupcake wars. I love me some carrot cake. But, can everyone please stop putting raisins in them? Walnuts, yes please. Raisins, oh hell no. Not even the cute little white ones.

Anycake, we didn’t really seek any places out. We just stopped along our way at any place that had a picture of icing on its sign.

The first place was Melissa’s. She apparently can’t be bothered with an entire cupcake and just sells you bites of cupcakes with a tinee, tiny little dab of icing. And she, my cupcake-loving friends, is brilliant. They are delish….

They are so good, in fact, that if you drop one on the street, you seriously might be tempted to pick it up. Not that I would recommend that – but some people might do it. Not me. Other people.

I highly recommend the chocolate chip cookie dough and cinnamon varieties. Melissa’s is near Times Square. Lots of people were buzzing in and out with pre-orders. Large pre-orders. That tells me something. The natives even like them.

The next place was the Magnolia Bakery. It’s around the corner from the Today Show studio and Rockefeller Center. Please don’t ask me which corner – it’s just around the corner. Walk a block each way and you’ll (eventually) find it. Promise.

Their cupcakes look like this….

They are very pretty but this one was a wee bit dry. The shop is adorable and the staff is lovely, so that’s good. But, uhm, it is all about the cupcake.

Then we stopped at Juniors. It’s near the Marriott Marquis in Times Square. I loved the name and the feel of the place. These are the vanilla and reeses cupcakes. They were not so good. Sorry Junior, but the competition is stiff. You gotta step it up. I didn’t like these because they were just so dense and the icing was crisco-y. Not fluffy. I discovered I prefer fluffy. In fact, I roll best with cream cheese fluffiness.

Apparently, Juniors is famous for it’s cheesecake so it might not have been entirely fair to hold them to such a high cupcake standard.

And, just in case, you have never been schooled in the proper way to eat a cupcake. Take notes. Break it in half in the middle and stick the bottom on the top – like a sandwich. Then you can call it lunch. ๐Ÿ˜‰ You will thank me later.

Next was Crumbs. Drum roll please. It’s the the creme-DE-la-creme of cupcakes. Angels might have been singing when we walked in. Maybe it was my stomach growling. I am not entirely sure. But there was line – that’s aย  good sign, right?

And those wicked smarties had carrot cake cupcakes. Finally. And YUM!

Okay, these guys rocked the cupcake competition. They are fabulouso and awesomesauce. Each one was better than the next. Well, except for the mocha caramel one – I don’t do coffee, so mocha anything is a no-go for me. But the rest were so yummy. These were vanilla with chocolate icing, mocha caramel, carrot cake (the grand supreme winner of all things cupcake in New York City), coconut, vanilla with vanilla, and chocolate chip cookie dough.

Even the elevator guy at the hotel recommended Crumbs. And, thank God, they had an elevator operator at our hotel because pushing my own elevator buttons might just have put me over the edge. Seriously, that is a lot of work. ๐Ÿ˜‰

Now I understand that you might be concerned that we ate cupcakes for breakfast, lunch, and dinner, and that cupcakes might not have been the healthiest of choices for all three meals. But have no fear, we ate real meals – the cupcakes were snacks. Tee hee.

If you go to NYC and have a hankering for a cupcake, go to Crumbs or Melissa’s. And if you want to bring back a little something for the blogger who pointed you in the right cupcake direction, carrot cake please.Oh, and, if you don’t mind, ask them to hold the raisins. Thanks.

NYC2 – The people that you meet…..

Yesterday, I began the story about my trip to NYC. If you want to catch up, you can do that here. And I am back today with more. ๐Ÿ˜‰

When I was blogging about India, I wrote a post about some of the people I would see on the street. I also saw lots of fun/interesting people in NYC so I thought I would revisit that little diddy today.

First, let me say that if you are a complete whackadoo and want to find a place to fit in, NYC is the place for you. I am not going to post any pictures of the absolute nutcases I saw because I don’t want to make fun of anyone, but I’m just sayin’ there are some crazies in the big apple! Happy and comfortable, but craZy!

The numero uno whackadoo hubby I spent my weekend with was this guy. He does not like his picture being taken so this was the best I could do. And by the by, if you are thinking about going on a getaway with a special someone, consider driving. You can have wonderful conversations without interruptions and you only have to take your shoes off if you want to. No long security lines to wait in. No children crying. No crappy snacks that cost $15. No middle seat next to someone who doesn’t quite fit in his/her coveted aisle seat. Think about it.

The play Wicked was on Broadway, so I guess this guy thought he could capitalize on the show being in town. I don’t know if he is an actor in the actual production, but my guess would be probably absolutely not. ๐Ÿ™‚ And, although the real tin man would talk, this guy was apparently a mime tin man. Taking the role to a whole new level, I reckon.

Okay, I lied. I am going to share one picture of a person that I thought was a little not so fabulous. But only to save young (and not so young) ladies from themselves. Ladies, this is what this skirt looks like from the back. It is too short. I know it looks great from the front. And this chickadee is adorable. But she is showing off too many of her assets. Tee hee. Get it? Ass-ets.

I do have to say I was very surprised at the footwear in NYC. Most of the women I saw were wearing practical, comfortable (albeit very cute) shoes. I would like to thank them all for that. It made me feel a little less country mouse-ish. Especially since the last thing my daughter said to me before we left was “nice shoes” and not in a OMG-those-are-the-most-amazing-shoes-ever-and-I-am totally-borrowing-those kind of way.

It would be so fun to be able to tell you that this is a picture of my new BFF. But, since I only “met” him through the glass window of the studio, I guess I can’t declare BFF status. He is just as cute in person as through the eyes of the camera. Introducing George Stephanopoulos… And, yes, I do think he looks like he is trying to figure out how to get out of the interview so he can come outside and meet us.

I got a tad closer to these beautimous people.They send their best wishes. ๐Ÿ˜‰ I love me some Today Show with Matt Lauer, Al Roker, Natalie Morales, and Savannah Guthrie. I am not sure where Ann Curry was.

These are some of the policeman who stand watch over the 9/11 Memorial. I cannot imagine doing this everyday.

This guy walks around with a cat on his head and his hand out. I asked him if I could take a picture and he answered, “if you could help me out with my endeavor to find food.” And then he said, “thank you for giving me the courtesy of asking first. That was nice of you.” Okay, then. You are most certainly welcome.

What this guy doesn’t know is that my daughter walks around like this…

Who knew the competition for walking around with your cat on your head would be so tough. That guy better watch out – he has given Angel something to aspire to.

These folks didn’t talk either. #Mime must be trending in NYC. So they could neither confirm nor deny their role in a Broadway production. I did find out later that they are part of an a capella group called Voca People.

My hubby shies away from bothering celebrities. Unless, of course, it is Mike Shanahan – the Washington Redskins head coach. This guy was absolutely delightful. Asked me my name, promised me a better season, and let us take pictures. Love him even more now.

And if you were a teenager in the 80’s, you know this guy as Bueller. Ferris Bueller. Love him too. We took this picture because after the first picture, he said, “I don’t think we got it. You might have turned your head too early.”

And he was right. If Matthew Broderick wasn’t such a sweety, this is the picture I would have been left with. Yikes. Thank you! And if you get the chance to see Nice Work If You Can Get It, it’s supposed to be fabulouso.

These guys made me promise not to tell anyone they let me pet their horses. I told them I had a blog and they said, “of course you do Oh, that’s fine.”

My hubby swore I was Livin’ La Vida Loca when I waited over half an hour to get this photo of Ricky Martin who was starring in Evita.

And for the grand finale……..dum ta da dum…..The Naked Cowboy. Thank God he is not actually naked. Brace yourself, this is not for the faint of heart.

It was tons ‘o fun just walking down the street!

Country Mouse in the Big Apple……

This weekend, Number One Hubby and I snuck away to NYC. We scrunched a lot ofย  stuff into a little bit of time but it was awesome.

Of course, I started out by making some new friends. New York City’s finest really are the finest. The police presence is everywhere and they are delightful.

We walked several blocks and then decided to hop on the subway (when we realized we had about 6 miles to go). The stations are a bit grimy but I was surprised that the trains weren’t super crowded. Hubby didn’t really want me taking pictures on the train and drawing attention to us for being tourists, but I don’t always listen so well. ๐Ÿ˜‰

And, besides, I am not exactly sure what it is about this look that screams, “tourist”.

I don’t like to fly and I am not a fan of crowded spaces, so the idea of a helicopter ride wasn’t exactly appealing to me. Hubby really wanted to do it, so I put on my big girl life vest and climbed in.

What I learned about helicopters right away is that they tilt forward when they take off. It kind of feels like you are going to slide off your seat right in to the deep, cold, dark water below. Not fabulous.

But our sweet pilot straightened us out quickly and we flew past the Statue of Liberty first. She is just beautiful. In all her welcoming glory.

Amazing. Really. Amazing.

And then we flew over Ground Zero (which I will write more about in a later post) and over the skyline of the city. We saw the new building that will tower over the terror that struck two buildings down on 9/11. We saw the Yankees Stadium and Times Square and Central Park and Rikers Island and the Brooklyn Bridge.

I can’t believe I am saying this but I highly recommend the helicopter tour if you have time.

When we were leaving the heliport, we saw these guys dancing. Welcome to New York, baby. They were lots of fun.

We ended the night with dinner at The View restaurant – a rotating restaurant atop the Marriott Marquis Hotel in Times Square – and a show at Caroline’s Comedy Club.

Did I take a picture with the headliner John Witherspoon? Now, that is a silly question.

And please notice I am wearing cute tops the entire trip. I spared my poor hubby the sweat pants/white t-shirt fashion mishap I usually don. ๐Ÿ˜Ž

I have lots more to share and will write more tomorrow.

Fairfax City Craft Shows……..

Many of you might recall that I have a handmade stationery business called A Reason To Write and I used to participate in a ton of craft shows. But I remember way back in the beginning that it was overwhelming trying to figure out how to get in craft shows. It was hard to even find the listings of when/where they were.

So I wanted to share this link with anyone who might be crafty…..

http://www.fairfaxva.gov/SpecialEvents/VendorInformation.asp

This is the link for 3 shows that the City of Fairfax will host in 2012. The application process is outlined. These are fairly tough shows to get in because they are very well-attended and crafters travel from pretty far away to participate. So, take the application seriously. And make sure you have a picture of your display.

Make sure you pay attention to the application deadline – it is March 15th for all three shows.

I did not get in the first year I applied. I know, boo. But I am nothing if not persistent and so I tried again. The second time I included a letter in my application explaining why I had a unique handmade craft and why I should be included. ๐Ÿ˜Ž It worked.

And for those who just want to shop, the craft show dates are…..

July 4th at the Independence Day Parade (outside in downtown Fairfax)
October 13th for the Fall Festival (outside in downtown Fairfax)
November 17th/18th at Fairfax High School for the Holiday Craft Show (held inside the high school)

Happy crafting and good luck!