Observations on the Road to...

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

How I Spent My Summer Vacation: New York

Before going to San Diego last month, I had taken a visit to New York with my friends Joseph and Alisha. Joe and I had originally planned to go to New York sometime last summer as a graduation gift to ourselves. But due to poor planning, and just plain too much to do and take care of the first half of last year, we had to scrap plans for the big trip. So by the time 2008 rolled around, we made it imperative to start planning things to make this trip happen. Which for me that included having to sacrifice going to Coachella back in April with Alisha, Dang, and a bunch of other friends. I actually bought tickets to the event, but luckily, Keoki, who hadn’t yet bought his tickets to the festival took them off my hands.

Then after a while, and Joe and I began eyeing dates in which to go, Alisha told us she was thinking how much she’d like to see New York. Which led to Dang also to contemplate a trip out east. But in the end, Dang just wasn’t gonna be able to make it out with us. So it was Joe, Alisha, and myself.

Being the big, gigantic Oakland Athletics fans –let alone baseball fans– that Joe and I, we just had to make sure that we had to see a baseball game in Yankee Stadium. This 2008 season of course being the last season the Yanks would play before moving next door into the new Yankee Stadium. It just so happened that the A’s were playing a weekend series in New York in July. What worked out so picture fucking perfect and then some, was that the weekend after the trip to New York, was Comic-Con weekend.

To maximize our time in New York, we figured getting on a red-eye that left SFO on Wednesday night, and our connecting flight from Las Vegas to JFK would get us into New York at a little past 8am Thursday morning. In the cab ride into the city, I chuckled to myself as Alisha and Joe were either still kind of sleepy or had their attention elsewhere as we passed by an exit to Queens Boulevard. I mouthed the phrase: “I AM QUEENS BOULEVARD.” Joseph being a fan of Entourage as well, I thought he’d get a kick out of it as well, and I tried to show him the exit sign before it was too late. Hell, I got so much a kick out of it that I tweeted: “I am Queens Blvd.”

Anyhow, after checking our bags into the hotel (located in Times Square), we headed straight for the Statue of Liberty, which I gotta preface by saying that it pays to not only buy your tickets for these sightseeing stuff ahead of time, and online, but also to get the express passes. It really is so freakin damn worth it considering all the time you save, especially considering we were running from place to place at break-neck like speed –might be over-exaggerating with that, but still– we had to if we wanted to see and do everything that we wanted to see and do.

After the Statue, we had to conserve a little energy to get to Rockafeller Center for the tours we had planned for there, so we didn’t bother getting off the ferry again to see Ellis Island. Following the Statue of Liberty, the three of us headed to Rockafeller Center to take a pair of tours: the NBC Studio Tour and the Top of the Rock Tour.

The studio tour took us to the set where Brian Williams does the network’s Nightly News broadcast, which is actually only one room away from where MSNBC does their programming. We also got to see Studio 8H, which is where Saturday Night Live is taped. Unfortunately, we didn’t get to go tour through Conan O’Brien’s set. My guess was that since it was so close to the hour in which they tape the show that they were probably rehearsing. Oh well. Also, they didn’t allow for pictures to be taken on the tour. Again, oh well.

After the studio tour, we took the Top of the Rock tour, which was basically a tour of the Rockafeller Center, and concluded with being shown to the top of the Rockafeller building.

Throughout the trip, I took photos with not only with my digital camera, but with my manual camera, too. I think I took something like four rolls at 24 exposures each. Haven’t gotten them developed yet, but I will, and like the others I’ll end up uploading it onto my flickr.

We went to Papaya King afterward for a quick –and I mean quick– bite to eat, which is also to say, some pretty good hot dogs. We had just enough time to get something to eat before having to get ourselves ready to catch the Avenue Q musical just down the street from the hotel.

When Alisha picked out the musical, I scratched my head sine the title sounded so familiar. They did a run of the production at a theater in San Francisco not too long ago. Thought it was enjoyable, especially considering most of the characters’ arc fit our the themes in which the three of us could relate to.

To cap the night off, we headed down to a movie theater on 34th Ave, where we met up with this fucking guy. Dave and his friend were already in line, as they were waiting for us to catch a midnight screening of The Dark Knight. I’ll share and repeat Dave’s description of the line that night: it was retarded! That line worked its way around the freakin damn corner; it was so long.
Since the theater sold tickets to the movie in four different auditoriums, Dave and his friend had tickets to watch the movie in a different auditorium than the three of us.

But when we met up with Dave after the movie, there was no denying the fact that we were all just in so much fuckin awe of that movie. The way in which Alisha kept describing my reaction to the movie –as the credit rolled– to people: “It was as if Joey had just seen Jesus.” More on The Dark Knight soon, I promise. I’ve been meaning to write something up on the film, and a couple other issues as well.

Anyway, after the film, as Dave was escorting/walking us back to our hotel, he laid this little bit of information on us: last call at bars and clubs in New York is as late as four or five in the AM. Of course, in California, bars and clubs have a last call at around one-thirty or so. Although the three of us were dead damn tired after just the first fuckin day, we took full advantage of this information the next couple nights.

And like the San Diego recap, there’s just too much to fit into in just one single post, so I’ll leave off here, and pick things up in the next couple days.

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