For the first two days of my trip, I was pretty much on my own. I would ride the subway into Manhattan with Talaura and then venture out into the city. With out a map. That's not really true. I have a "smart" phone, but I never used it. Talaura would point me in the right direction and away I'd go, gawking appropriately along the way. The first day we hiked over to the theater to get our tickets for my first Broadway show (more on that later) and on our way back to Talaura's building I'd point at various buildings and shout out what I thought was their names getting it wrong every time. I could see Talaura getting worried about my navigation abilities, but I promised her that I'd be just fine. And I was, with the exception of that day's shoe choice (bad, bad, bad, bad, bad). First stop? Top of the Empire State Building (only this came out in my head as this line "as tall as the Chrysler Building" from Annie)! Getting to these tourist attractions early, like when they open, is probably the best plan ever. I was a little late to the Empire State Building, but I saved time by purchasing and printing out my ticket at home. I would have been waiting and waiting if I'd waited (heh) to buy my ticket there. That's where the line started. I was early enough though to skip on ahead to the elevators. I think I waited in line for about 10 minutes before I was crammed into an elevator that went to the 86th floor observation deck. Not too shabby. The first ride up takes you to the 80th floor (I think). There, you are funneled through another maze to the second round of elevators. I could tell that this was usually a big waiting area, but they've set up your wait nicely with displays of pictures and history of the building. You also start to realize that you are really, really, really high up off the ground. Really.
It's at the 80th floor where you wait for people to come down so that you can go up to the 86th floor where the observation deck is and the amazing view of the city.
I traveled from the Empire State Building over to the New York Library. They have an exhibit running right now called "Lunch Hour NYC" and it's all about the history of lunches in NYC ranging from the very first food carts and menus to the automat. It was a great exhibit and it was free! I did put some money in a donation box to pay for some kids' lunches though. The only disappointing thing was that I didn't take any pictures. I didn't think it was allowed. Also, I see libraries as sacred places. There is a specific code of conduct for those places and that code did not include photography. It was only later on my out that I noticed the sign read "no FLASH photography". Oh well. The lunch exhibit made me hungry for lunch and so I went outside to meet Kizz for lunch in Bryant Park. We hugged and laughed and cried and got caught up and it was good. Kizz is also the type of woman to be prepared for emergencies and was able to give me a band-aid for my badly blistered foot and then she walked me most of the way to Grand Central Station. See? I didn't need a map.
I'm a sucker for train stations and Grand Central is awesome because it's still a busy, working train station. And it's HUGE! It's also really easy to get lost in. I went down to the food court below the first floor and when I came back up, I thought I was coming back into the station on the opposite side, but I ended up right where I'd started. It's like walking through an Escher painting. But, Oh, the people watching to be had! There's a mix of people actually trying to go some where, tourists gawking, and a guy in a banana costume.
Wait...Yup, that's a guy in a banana suit. Go banana. I was also pretty sure that I saw Matt Damon getting a shoe shine.
By now, my feet hated me. Seriously. I hobbled my way back to Bryant Park to rest while I waited for Talaura to get off work. I just sat and watched people and journaled. When Talaura showed up, I was less hobbley and more gimpy. I gimped my way over to my very first Broadway Production. We saw One Man, Two Guvnors. I laughed and laughed and laughed and fell in love with half the cast. Best. Show. Ever. Then I oohed and awed at the famous people sitting in the audience. I saw Jim Parsons, Jessica Hecht and Rich Sommer, who is way cuter in person. It was all so glamorous and wonderful. I went home with starry eyes.
And you guys? That was the first day. The First Day! My feet didn't forgive me until Thursday.