The Alvrez's debut on American Television!!

Trip Start Nov 06, 2009
Trip End Nov 30, 2009

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Flag of United States  , New York
Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Up at the crack of dawn today...5.45am, while it was still dark. Managed to drag the kids out of bed and get them dressed with intentions of getting breakfast in town before going to be in the audience of The Early Show. We'd been told to arrive at 7am for the show, so aimed for that time. Well! We got there at about 6.50 so no time to grab anything to eat, and to find that the show is actually done outside where it was less than 10 degrees and with a colder wind! Well, parts of it are done outside – the few seconds they wanted the audience for. We thought since we had gotten up so early that we would brave the freezing cold anyway – after finding out from a crew member that we didn't need to be there until 8.30am! Went and got breakfast at a nice and cheap diner, then waited in the Apple Mac store - which, amazingly for New York where everything seems to open at 10am – was open at 7am, and was toasty and warm inside (and full or customers too).

At 8.30 we wandered back to the tv set just in time to be on USA national television, as the tv cameras were aimed at the two presenters, and we were just behind them. I think our bright red sweatshirts helped us stand out. :) There were only about 10 people there in the audience and there was really no need for a 'ticket' as anyone could just wander up and be in the audience. After our 30 seconds of fame, we were told to be back there at 9am for a tour of the studio, and being nosy types we decided we would return, so back to the Apple Mac store to keep warm and play games. The TV studio tour was a bit of a let down, only about 10 minutes long and we had to wait outside in the freezing cold until it
was time to go in. At least we got a good family photo of the four of us with an NYPD policeman while we waited and as a bonus Elvis Costello walked right past us – he had been inside for an
interview. (Tracey adds that she wouldn't know Elvis Costello if she fell over him, but Fred was impressed!)

Got to say there are policeman simply everywhere in NY city, every corner of every street seems to have one or more of them, every train station is packed with policemen and women too. Love the mounted police too – feel sorry for the poor horses living in NYC with no grass & fields to run around on.

We then got the subway back to Times Square to try and find Kate a jacket, as it was really cold today and she had only a sweatshirt. While we were there we noted that on the enormous (enormous!) neon sign across from McD's there was a guy who we presumed was working on it, but the photo really gives you an idea just how big the sign is.

Another annoying NY thing (and especially in Times Square) are the 'bus tour guys' who are trying to get tourists to go on their bus tours. They are simply everywhere – every corner of the street, almost yelling at you to go on their tour, and then again on the next corner, then the next get the idea. There's only so many times you can say 'no thanks' without it getting tedious!

We finally found one for her at K'Mart (which meant catching yet another train) so then caught the subway to Washington Square Park in Greenwich Village, where we had some really foul pretzels – cold and tasteless. We had had one earlier in the day in mid-town and it was  excellent but not these four. But we did see some squirrels there, including a black one that we had not seen before in that colour. (Tracey adds that this area was totally different in atmosphere to 'uptown' areas like Times Square, this is where NYC university is and has lots of apartment blocks and little 'mom & pop' stores.)

From there we thought we'd go to Chinatown and Little Italy, just to have a look. Chinatown was extremely busy and reminded us of Tijuana where every shop has someone outside trying to force you to go in and buy their stuff. I took Josh into the McDs there so he could use the toilet, but the usual “customers only restroom” sign was there. So I bought coffees while he went to the toilet. The girl behind the counter could not stop laughing at me ordering a “small black and small white coffee”. She thought I said light coffee and I had to describe to her what a white coffee was. The joke went on and on with the staff there while I waited for Josh to come back from the toilet. (Tracey adds that while I was in one of those tacky souvenir shops getting ripped off, Fred gave away my MacDonald's coffee to a homeless man – hope he enjoyed.)

While on the way to Chinatown we went into a pet shop, because I just knew there would be snakes for sale...and guess what? There were. Only small ones – which I am sure grow into huge man-eating ones – and so cheap at $99. Not even tempted, although Josh did decide it was quite plausible for us to buy him a frog to take on the remainder of our trip. Yeah, right.

We then walked through more of Chinatown and on to Little Italy, which border each other. Little
Italy is a very pretty part of town, with lots of Italian restaurants (each with a guy out the front trying to force you inside, but not with as much vigor as Chinatown and with more wit and style) and older style architecture.

By this time we were all pretty much stuffed, our feet and calf muscles were screaming out, so we caught the subway back to our hotel. We only just managed to drag our weary bodies inside at a much more reasonable 4pm – after last night's late night it was funny to be arriving back in daylight.

None of us could manage walking to get dinner so we ordered in Chinese. You would think we would have learnt from the last time we got Chinese food and would have ordered less, but no, we got the 'large' servings. We didn't even get through half our order and it was less than $30, including fortune cookies (Josh's said “learn Chinese”!) free drinks and lots of other goodies. And
the food came in those cool little boxes you see on Seinfeld.
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