We made it home around 5 am this morning (Thursday) after a delayed flight and a episode with a crazy woman on the plane that had to be escorted off by an air marshal at JFK forcing us to taxi back to the gate (ask me and I'll tell you about it sometime). Nevertheless, we're home and it feels great. I have been looking at our daily trip blogs and noticed that those entries towards the front of the trip were a little more lively and lengthy. We'll see if we can remedy that with our final trip entry, here it goes.
After getting in extremely late the previous night, we had a later morning before spending our last few hours in New York. Knowing that we had to leave that afternoon, we wanted to make the most of our time so, we started off by catching the subway uptown to eat at the Seinfeld diner. Seinfeld fans will recognize that shot below
All of us on the trip (ok...Matt, Robb Jared and I) are big Seinfeld fans, so this was a must. Ask us any Seinfeld trivia and Matt, Robb or I could answer it. You're impressed I know...
The real diner is called Tom's Diner, locally touted as the inspiration behind Suzanne Vega's song "Tom's Diner". Of course the diner looks nothing like the one on the Seinfeld show, they only used the the outside for "exterior establishing shots" as we learned that they are called.
At the least it fulfilled my pancake craving, they tasted great!
We then caught the Subway again and stopped off to see the New York Temple
It was cool to see such a metropolitan temple. I wish that we had time to do a session, maybe next time
We then jumped back on the subway going downtown to tour battery park where we saw the statue of liberty.
The last time we were here they allowed you to climb the stairs to the top, but in the post-9/11 world they only allow you in the bottom section of the big green lady and only if you have an appointment. That's the statue just off of my left shoulder, if you can see it...
We opted out of the ferry out to liberty island due to the weather and instead headed over to ground zero. Ground zero was a site I'm glad we visited. They have erected a make shift memorial on the grounds over the new subway station.
I saw one visitor in tears reminding me know how powerful the experience is still for people. You could watch all the construction underway through the holes in the netting draped over the fencing
It was quite fascinating to watch them work
Catching the subway back uptown, we then headed to the Soho area (stands for south of Houston street). Little Italy and Chinatown are near and we wanted to do some shopping for some shirts and souvenirs for the kids before heading home. There's Jennifer posing on Mulberry Avenue, the heart of Little Italy
After walking through a few of these shops you figure out quickly that you've seen one, you seen them all. There are a lot of nasty looking meats and dead birds hanging in the windows in Chinatown. Jennifer watched this Chinese dude place a snail in his mouth, suck out the contents, and then spit out the shell. Awesome. I tried to tell her how cool it would be if she did that, but she wouldn't listen. In any event, with our shopping complete (lotsa little bits of junk), we headed over to Little Italy to go to the country's first pizzeria- Lombardi's.
This place dates back to 1905. Jennifer and I watched a segment about the country's greatest pizza on the travel channel prior to leaving and decided we had to give it a try. We had the traditional, pepperoni with fresh basil and fresh mozzarella. The Minnicks had a tomato and spinach pie.
While there, our waiter invited Jennifer and I to go and check out how the pizza's are cooked in the back kitchen. We jumped at the opportunity as we wanted to check out the coal oven we had heard about. The pizza chef was very nice and invited us back into the kitchen to check it all out. Friendly looking guy, isn't he- notice the insignia in the background
Jennifer took some pictures of our pie cooking inside
This oven (coal) was HUGE, they used this 8 foot pole to get to all of the pizza's in it.
Supposedly, there is a great debate as to which person, the original owner (Lombardi) or his pizza chef (we'll call him Pete), who later broke away and started his own pizzeria, brought pizza to America. That's a picture of the two below, chef on the left and Lombardi on the right.
Debate aside, the pizza itself tasted great. Definitely some of the best we have ever had. Getting short on time, we then had to hustle back on the subway to get our bags at the hotel make the long subway ride to the airport. Being as it was around 5 pm, the subway was packed and I got the feeling that the locals didn't particularly enjoy the millions of bags and carry ons that our entourage had brought.The flight felt long, but we were both very excited to see our kids.
We have been talking together and with the kids about the trip this morning. A lot of great experiences and memories that we will be talking about for years to come. I had a couple of impressions. First, we enjoyed the many nice people we met in Boston and New York. I was impressed with the number of people who walked up to us and offer support or help when it looked like we needed it. Second, I sure love how and where we live. It was cool to see such impressive and historical things, but it made me realize how much I love living where I live near so many family and friends. Finally, After reviewing all of the entries, I have one word for myself, diet. Man we ate a lot of food.
Also, I will be working to place short little videos of the trip throughout the past few entries. Come and check them out if you want to see a little of our adventure.