We had a great time visiting New York City in October 2007.  We took in the Broadway Show “Wicked,” had some fabulous meals, went shopping from 5th Avenue to Canal Street, and learned what it’s like to walk around Manhattan in the wind and rain with a $5 umbrella.

We stayed at the Grand Hyatt on 42nd Street by Grand Central Station and we were able to find some of our old Madison Avenue haunts, the office building where we used to work, etc.  Grand Central Station is totally changed, downstairs.  They now have a food court, and shopping where there were once just empty corridors.  The Oyster Bar is still there, but now there is so much more.

Friday we were in the studio audience of Good Morning America in Times Square, then we took a cab to Central Park West and visited Strawberry Fields, walked across Central Park to 5th Avenue, and down 5th to all the shops along 5th, past Rockefeller Center and St. Patrick’s.  All this time it was mostly fair, but about Noon it started raining.  We had lunch and went back to the hotel.  Keep in mind it’s October, it’s a bit cold, and now it’s raining, and Amy is wearing flip-flops.  Too funny.  We walked down to the UN, did the tour, and walked back in the rain, and found Amy a pair of little shoes at Payless that she wore the next day.

That evening we went to Wicked, we found an Irish Pub in the theatre district for dinner before the show.  Again, keep in mind it’s raining, it’s rush hour on Friday night, and the line for cabs in front of the hotel is about 30 deep.  So we went over in front of Grand Central to catch a cab, and I literally had to step in front of one to get one, and then had to fight off another lady who thought she should get it even though I was there first.  I do know how to be a pushy New Yorker.  Too funny.

Our dinner was great, and the show was great, too.  We ended up strolling back to the hotel because with the rain there was no way to get a cab and I didn’t feel like fighting for one again.  It wasn’t raining too badly and we got back without getting wet.

 I think the funniest time we had was going downtown.  The plan for Saturday was to see the Statue of Liberty, then make our way North to Chinatown for shopping in the underground Chinese knock-off purse stores.  They’re not literally underground, but all the stores are back-room cash-only operations, if you get my meaning.  So we caught a cab for the ride downtown, and it was raining, and the thought of taking the ferry to Liberty Island didn’t really sound too appealing (brrrr colllldddd, and rain!).  So we opted out and walked up to the Ground Zero site, and found a store to wander around for a couple of hours.  Amy scored a designer jacket at about 50% off, and even with that it was pretty expensive.  Then we made our way up to Chinatown.

You have to understand I have never done this before, and when I lived in New York it never occurred to me to go to Chinatown for anything other then maybe dinner, and then it was pretty rare.  Now everyone goes there for shopping.  Along Canal Street you can buy just about any designer item that is fake on every street corner or from these little tiny storefronts.  As you stroll along the street looking every bit the tourist, Chinese men and women will discreetly approach you and ask if you’re looking for purses (in a very low tone of voice).  If you nod yes, they will lead you to their store, and you go in to a back room where the purses are all hung up on the walls.  You pick out what you want, bargain for your price, pay cash, and get out.  All very quick and simple.  Too funny.  The store in the front may or may not really sell anything, but it all looks legit.  But no one is paying taxes and no one really bought anything from the designers.  It’s all very shady stuff, and everyone loves it.  Too funny.

So when we had enough of that…it got very crowded when the rain died out…we walked further north all the way to Greenwich Village, and Washington Square Park.  We took a cab back up town from there — the shoes Amy bought the day before were rubbing blisters.  She didn’t take my advice and wear socks.  Ouch.

On Sunday we had a few hours before we had to catch our flight home, so we went to “Top of the Rock” to see NYC from above.  There was an hour long wait to get into the Empire State Building.  But Rockefeller Center is just as nice.  We took one last stroll down 5th Avenue before catching the cab to the airport.  We actually took a town car, which was much nicer and only cost about $10 more.  Then when we went to go through the security line at the airport, Tony got pulled aside for a search.  What happened was…we were in the process of renewing his drivers license.  In Florida they give you this little slip of paper to prove that you’re in the process — it extends you for 90 days.  So he had an expired license and the little slip of paper.  They weren’t having any of that…so wham…he gets pulled aside for a search.  Too funny.

That was it, we had a really nice time, and one day we’ll go back and do it again.  We love seeing the shows and the shopping is fun, too.  I’ll take orders for knock off purses.  I talked to someone who said they have purse parties at home after going to Chinatown and stocking up on purses for all their friends.  Maybe we should try that one day.  Could be fun.

Enjoy the slide show, and be sure to check out my photo album  for more NYC Pictures.

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