We walked the streets of mid-town with the first stop at a corner stand for a swamp dog. The best hot dogs in the country can be found right on a New York City corner. "Four Please with the works!" Cheap too. Off to Rockefeller Plaza were they were changing the look of the set of the Today show. Out with the old and in with the new furniture right in the middle of the street
. We walked through the tower and considered having an NBC tour and decided the kids didn't know any of the shows they would be touring. The Today show, the Nightly News, SNL,and Conan O'Brien. We headed of towards the Neil Simon theater where our matinee show was. Once we had tickets in hand, we realized that we had just over an hour to kill. So off to Time Square where we wondered into a souvenir shop so Audrey could pick up her key chain. She had to spend 3 - 4 times as much here in the Big Apple to get her key chain and this became quiet a big deal. She tried to negotiate with her parents and did a pretty good job at it. The streets were packed with tourists and theater goers. It was an amazing sight with the lit buildings, signage, traffic full of yellow cabs and people, lots and lots of people. The energy was good and high, everyone in anticipation of something good. We decided we would make our way back to theater where we went to a matinee of Hairspray. It was the best theater Clark had ever seen and was enjoyed by all the Griswolds so much they wanted to see another show that night.....but didn't.
Finally, off to the Empire State Building for an hour on the observation deck, guided by Tony, via a hand held audio tour. It was somewhat of a cloudy day providing for limited viewing, but fortunately that meant there were no lines. Up top, Tony told us about buildings and neighborhoods such as Chelsea, shrinking Little Italy, and the ever growing Chinatown. He gave us perspective on West side verses East side and Uptown and Downtown (never North and South). Tony was a wealth of information and kept the kids engaged so that they learned a lot about this little island of Manhattan.
We slowly walked back to Grand Central Station where we picked up a famous dessert, Juniors Cheesecake, for our hosts, and boarded the express train back to Nyack. We found ourselves rolling into the neighbor's in the middle of the night in just over an hour from the time we left NYC. What a town! We thoroughly enjoyed our day in the city.
Our first day in New York started with a trip across the Hudson River on the Tappan Zee Bridge to White Plains where we dropped the car and boarded the commuter into the city. 50 minutes later we were in Grand Central Station. As we stepped onto the street and pulled out the map, just to get our barrings, a very friendly New Yorker stepped up and asked us where we were looking to go. This was reminiscent of the last visit we had here 10 years ago when Ellen was 8 months pregnant with Rusty. We've always thought the "rude" New Yorker's get a bad rap, and once again, we're proven right.