In case I have failed to mention this in any of my previous blog entries, NYC is my very favorite place in America. (Specifically the West Village, which is my sweet little utopia). NYC only comes second to Paris, worldwide, in my book. And, really, it could be a tie. We had a friend from Germany coming to stay with us for a few days, and he had never been to NYC. He asked if we could go on up there while he was here, and, of course, we agreed. (Twist my arm.) My husband likes the City well enough, but what he loves about it is being with me in the City. I know our favorite places to visit, and I always find fun new things to do. It's always a good time (even when I pick the wrong shoes and my feet are bleeding and begging for mercy, it manages to still be wonderful). So, I was left to plan our trip to include a great overview of the city, including many of the tourist favorites (and my husband asked me to skip The Village *grrrrrrrr* because he is insane), in a very short weekend. Plan a good visit for a NYC virgin whom does not know when he will get back there? Challenge accepted.
We planned to stay at the Waldorf Astoria on Park Avenue. (My husband calls me his Park Avenue Princess)
After the fun-filled ride discussing my insistence on tipping appropriately (see Ou est les toilettes? ), "street meat" and why we don't eat it, the movie "Coming to America" (which was how our guest knew the Waldorf), arguing over which highways to take, endless conversations in German (which I don't speak much of, so that was "fun"), and then freaking out over the terrible GPS directions once we got into the city, and had to get the car to the hotel... we were there!
The hotel let us check in a bit early, and we got to our room. Our friend noticed the floor was wet in our entryway, but we couldn't find any other problems around there, so we figured they had just cleaned a spot on the carpet. Everything else was beautiful, and we were all in love with the view from our windows. (We also had a corner suite, so we had views in 2 different directions, which was a big treat).
It was off to lunch at Pret A Manger, which is our very favorite "quick lunch" location in the city, and super close to our hotel and Rockefeller Center. Then onto Rockefeller, 5th Avenue (which meant the boys were coming into Bergdorf Goodman with me, regardless of their feelings about that), and Central Park.
Rockefeller is always an awesome site to see, and this time we went into the Lego store. Every nerd's retail store dream. It made me miss our boys, who would have loved it. :) We loved it for them. We also hung out at Atlas, and saw St. Patrick's , although the restoration really blocks the view of the outside of the beautiful building, so I felt bad our friend really couldn't enjoy that as it should be enjoyed.
Let's go back to Bergdorf Goodman, for a moment. I always go shoe shopping here, when in NYC. ALWAYS. I do not even think it is possible for me to walk past the doors without going inside, quite frankly. (It's that entire "there is no such thing as free will" theory... I MUST go inside, because I am who I am.) The shoe salon was HOPPING! I guess I don't usually go on a Friday, so maybe that was the difference, but I don't usually have to do much sharing of the shoes. I was like a jealous girlfriend in there, but I made my way through, and got to fondle all the shoes that I wanted very much to take home. And then HE opened his big fat mouth. I was gushing over the SUPER CUTE new Manolo Blahnik suede "driver" , when my husband says "Hmmm, I didn't know Manolo made slippers." Dagger eyes. I shot him dagger eyes, as I picked up the shoes, held them, rocked them, and made sure their self esteem was still intact. Then, I had to usher him quickly out of the store before he did any more damage.
It was then off to Central Park, where we saw The Hartland "glacier" (the large rocks near the zoo entrance, left over from looooooong ago, when glaciers were present here). I had never climbed this formation before, so we did that, took a stroll over the footbridge nearby, and then briefly relaxed on some park benches. Did I mention the weather was perfect? It really was. We took so many beautiful pictures.
We walked around, just enjoying the sites, toy shopping at FAO Schwarz, and then went back to our hotel to clean up, and make a decision on dinner.
Here is where I pitched The Village. My husband rolled his eyes. "It's not exciting enough for a first time tourist. There is nothing to see." WTH is this kind of talk?! Aaaaaah! He was just being straight up blasphemous. I argue that The Village is where the life of the City is. It's eclectic, lined with gorgeous brownstones, filled with vibrant people to watch, and has an incredible vibe that you just cannot duplicate anywhere else. My husband had seemed to forget that. I explained that we wanted to take our guest to Times Square at night, as that is how one should enjoy Times Square and all it's amazing lights, but the food there was going to be more along the lines of TGIFridays and such. My suggestion was hit up Greenwich Village, walk to The West Village, find a great place to have dinner outdoors to watch the city around us, and then make our way to the Square. Finally, my husband agreed this made sense, our friend was already on board with anything I suggested (because he is a very smart man), and we were heading out to the subway.
Me Um, wait, Honey? Why do you have a thermos of water? This is Manhattan, not Six Flags.
Seriously fashion-challenged husband I might get thirsty.
Me New York has drinks.
Him Well I want water.
Me New York has water. As a matter of fact, that's why New York Cheesecake is supposedly so wonderful, the water here.
Him I hate cheese.
Me The cheesecake isn't IN the water. Look, we are going to dinner, where they will certainly have, at the very least, water. You do not need to BYOW.
Him But I must.
See what I have to deal with?
We made it to the West Village, where we ate outside at Olio e Piu *side note, they had water, which they immediately served us*. Dinner was delicious, our waitress was wonderful. Go there. Eat, drink, be happy. It was a gorgeous evening, perfect for eating outside, and the people watching was no let down. It was very relaxing and fun. When you go to NYC, you must do this. Trust me.
We went on to Times Square, where my husband panicked because he "lost" me, because I walked ahead of them as crowds were gathering around the "naked cowboy" and "naked Indian" who were in the middle of some naked turf dispute. Now, gentlemen, I should remind you that you are in very tiny, pretty feminine, underwear... panties essentially... and your anger towards each other's proximity is hard to take seriously. For real, yo.
After a little shopping, some Starbucks, and some more naked people doing ridiculous things to earn a few bucks (but enough about Miley Cyrus), we were done for the night.
The next morning we woke up in what seemed like a different part of New York... Niagara Falls. However, upon clearing the sleep from our eyes, we realized the falls had come to us. Our suite was raining. Not raining, really.... pouring water. Yes, pouring water down on our entry way, in our closet, the foyer, the doorway, the hallway outside.... Pouring, as if someone was dumping an endless bucket of water. It smelled terrible, and we now knew why the floor had been wet.
|Note the puddles of water, water running down the walls, soaked paper... you get the picture|
I called down, and told the desk it was raining water into the room, and not a little, but a ton, and they needed to send someone immediately to check on our situation. We were getting showered and dressed and packed at lightning speed, not so sure if the ceiling wasn't about to come down on us, as more and more leaks appeared. In one video I took, you can actually see one pop up and it look like someone has just thrown a bucket of water my direction. Yet, no one came. My husband went down to the desk, told them down there, and they said they'd send someone. Still, no one came. The neighboring guest stopped over, informed us she had already reported that room and had been moved to her current room, due to the leak. So, now I know they put us in a room they KNEW had a major problem. So, I called again.
Me I'm not so sure you understand the severity of the situation. This is the 3rd time we have reported this, and we are well aware that another guest had reported this issue to you 2 days ago. It is monsoon season in our suite. Your room is already pretty destroyed in the foyer and closet, and soon the living room and furniture are going to be a mess, as well. Oh yeah, your hallway is a pond. I'm going to have to walk through that mess, with my luggage and cute shoes. Someone needs to get here right now. Immediately. Tout de suite. Also, we are coming down because we have no choice but to check out earlier than we intended. I'll be bringing our soaking wet bill with us, and will be discussing THAT with you.
Then, I grabbed my giant suitcase (I was going for 2 days, so, naturally, I packed an enormous suitcase full of clothes and shoes for any circumstance that may arise), and jumped over as much of the "pond" as I could, trying to get rained on as little as possible, and came splashing down in the hallway. My bag was like 70 lbs, so this was not my favorite thing, especially paired with the soggy landing. I made it to the front desk, plopped the sopping wet bill down with a splash, and said "Here's the bill, which I assume this total is what the Waldorf Astoria wants to pay ME for sleeping in that smelly, wet room."
I will say that they did comp 50% of the room fee, and give us a free future upgrade, however, they should have made $0.00 on that room, as it should have been out of service and under repair. So, they still made money off of a room that they were fully aware should not have been occupied for what really was a safety reason. Not awesome, Waldorf, not awesome. This is not at all what I have come to expect from a place I love so much. That bummed me out, but I guess we have a wild story out of the mess. And as my friends were quick to point out, I'm probably the only person this would ever even happen to.
The hotel kindly (or under threat from my "Crazy Eyed Angry Face") held our luggage as we headed off to The UN (which, was closed for the general assembly this week, total bummer), Wall Street, Brooklyn Bridge, Battery Park, and then we took the subway back uptown in search of Dylan's Candy Bar. As we got off the subway, in the station there was a door to a store, which I quickly realized was Bloomingdales. I went in, and the shopping began. Halfway between men's and the shoe department, my husband declared "At first I thought, 'Oh she found a little store to duck into.', and now it's turning into a nightmare. It's a Blooming-nightmare." He bought me a gorgeous new Michael Kors purse, anyway. And, eventually, he came to appreciate the experience and said "Well, this may actually be the best high end store you have taken me in. I personally think it's better than Bergdorf's or Saks." I, personally, think he doesn't really know what he's talking about, but, either way, Bloomingdales should take it as a high compliment coming from him.
We headed out the front door, ooohed and aaaaahed over Magnolia's cupcakes, and stocked up on copious amounts of candy from Dylan's. We ate a quick lunch outside, and we were on our way to pick up our luggage and head home. On the way home, our guest told me his favorite part of the trip was dinner in The Village. Yes, I felt very smug.
It was an incredibly fast, and completely wonderful weekend. Yes, aside from the flood, and my feet really were bleeding halfway through the first day (should have brought some type of socks for those shoes...), but that cannot come close to making a smudge on my time spent with my beloved city. She always treats me good. She is exciting, provocative, intelligent, beautiful and a little bit loud. If you can't see why I love her, that's okay, because I already share her with enough people.