This was totally thanks to Robbie and Keena, who are awesome (borderline fanatical) about racking up their frequent flier miles. They "gifted" my mom on her birthday (which was the day after Christmas) with a NYC trip with her children. They are so generous to have given their time and miles to fly us ALL out East!
Carrie and I flew together to DC, where we hung out with Robbie and Hannah for the night, and then hopped a bus to NYC early the next morning.
Random moment: While
Turns out there is such a thing as Ms Plus America, and our friend Michelle Anderson had just relinquished her title to the 2012 winner. When I asked about her banner, she launched into a speech that I'm sure she has given countless times- she is the first openly HIV positive woman to ever run for and win a national pageant title. She was on her way to DC to speak on behalf of her cause.
Robbie picked us up from the airport in his classy suit and pocket square.
DC Hamill's adorable red house.
Sweet welcome note from Rob and Hannah.
I was a little bit of a creeper and took pictures of their house. What?
Robbie and Hannah took us to 2Amys for dinner, and we all ordered some form of their Margherita pizza. So good.
Met up with old Kwaj friend Danny Robey! (Lives/works in DC area, and expecting a baby girl with his wife, who was unable to join us- that update is for the 'rents.) We then convinced him to follow us to Serendipity 3 in Georgetown for some of their Frozen Hot Chocolate.
So, this was the craziest thing. (Random moment again)
I'm sure it's okay to have weird policies in your restaurant. I'm sure it's okay to plainly state it on your menu. But when you're full of super delicious pizza and you just want to split a freaking frozen hot chocolate to cap it off, I'd suggest skipping Serendipity. Because, as stated, a minimum of $10 was to be spent per person at the table, and not just a minimum of $10 per order, as I thought it meant. I.E. we had 5 people, and although only a few of us were planning on eating anything, because our butts were in those seats, we had to spend a minimum of $50 at that restaurant.
At the time, I had a few things to say about that, but now they've left me. We went, we spent, we ate. (As much as we could.) If you want more opinions, I'm sure Robbie and Hannah will share a few.
Blurry group photo. Notice the array of desserts.
After all the hype that I've heard about this over the years, it was actually quite good; however according to the poster in their bathroom, I could have made one at home too. Ah, well.
Carrie hadn't seen the White House in her Adult Years! This was remedied on our way back that night, right before the sky opened. Robbie, ever the gentleman, drove us to the door so we wouldn't have to walk in the rain any more than necessary.
Morning drive by the Capitol.
How is my brother so tall?
The next part of the story involves some extreme frustration on my part, as Robbie dropped us off at the train station in plenty of time right after that photo was taken. We had about 10 minutes until our bus left, which (apparently) we thought would be enough time to scope out the station we'd never been to before and get some snacks to get us through the 4 to 4 1/2 hour bus ride we were about to take.
[Insert a sarcastic comment from Spencer right here]
Well, crap happened, and we missed our 6:30 bus by about 2-3 minutes. Luckily we got first in line for standby seats on the 7:30 bus, and we only were an hour behind schedule. It took me the majority of the bus ride to stop being angry at myself for not being more responsible!
We met up with Mom and Keena, who'd been in the city since the night before, and went for lunch at the Piccolo Cafe. (I got a yummy focaccia panini with arugula, olive oil, truffle pate, and prosciutto cotto, which came with a little side salad! Cause you care!)
Here we are, on 40th and 8th, right across the street from Dean & Deluca.
We started walking to Times Square to the TKTS discount Broadway tickets booth, and on the way it started to rain like crazy.
(I love the tall buildings. That sounds like something a kindergartner would say, and this may be cliche, but I love the energy and feel of the city. I was more overwhelmed with the height of everything on my first trip back in 2002, but it was so fun to be in a large city.)
The rain was really coming down as we made our way to Times Square, so much so that we had to leave my mom at Loft without an umbrella while we got in line to get our show tickets. No, it wasn't mean. Meaner to have her in line with us without an umbrella.
We're lookin pretty classy in our Chicago ponchos!
Checking the TKTS app to see what shows will be discounted, and by how much. This may not be the absolute cheapest option, but when you don't know ahead of time what you will be seeing, it's something.
We waited in line for a while, maybe an hour, but once the booth opened, it started moving pretty fast. Keena left to pick up my mom so they could get settled in our apartment.
This screen was projecting commercials, ads, and periodically shots of the crowd around Times Square. It had just shown a video of Carrie and I, but once I got my camera out, it stopped and was in-between pictures.
Times Square, in all it's rainy glory. It looked much different to me without the large Coke bottle.
We thought we'd go low-key for dinner- since it was still pretty wet out, and we didn't want to miss our show- so we walked over to an Amish deli a few blocks away and got soups and salads and bread to go.