Taking a bite of the Big Apple

When we booked our tickets to Ecuador I assumed we’d be flying due south.

“Honey…for some reason nearly all of the flights to Ecuador fly out of Miami or New York. How odd is that?,” I said to Glenn as we sat down to buy the first leg of flights for our big trip.

It turns out that the western edge of South America lines up with the eastern edge of North America. Who knew? Okay, probably most of you knew that, but it was news to me!

This is one of the benefits of traveling, right? To fine tune one’s knowledge of the things you were supposed to learn in the 6th grade?

This is likely the first of many reminders to come that my knowledge of geography is nearly as bad as my knowledge of pop culture…which is pretty darn pathetic.

Since we’d be flying through New York anyways, we decided to extend our layover for a few days and take in the sights. Glenn hadn’t been to New York in over 20 years and I had never had the chance to visit.

New York is really nothing like I expected. I imagined it to be overwhelming. Loud. Smelly. People yelling. Honking cabbies. Hot dog vendors on every corner. Clearly I’ve been watching too much Law and Order.

I now understand why so many people absolutely love New York.

I’ve been amazed at how friendly everyone is. It is a different kind of friendly than what I have experienced in the Southern U.S. Here, it seems everyone is doing their own thing and in a bit of a hurry – but as soon as you engage them, even with a small nod, they immediately start chatting with you in a very sincere way.

For example, Glenn and I were trying to get out of the  subway at Grand Central Station – which is a very confusing endeavor as many subway lines and platforms intersect at this station. We must have looked a little befuddled because a man dressed in chef’s uniform, clearly exhausted from a day’s work, walked over to us and said “Where you need to get to?” Before you knew it he was giving us detailed directions complete with emphatic hand gestures.

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Luke, our friendly NYC tour guide.

We have also realized that we aren’t close to stylish enough to live here, at least not in Manhattan.

We are staying in this funky hotel called Pod 39 (because the rooms are indeed teeny tiny little pods). But the taco place on the main floor and the rooftop bar are clearly the place to be. Glenn and I have spent several evenings in the elevator with mobs of 30-somethings dressed in stiletto heels, miniskirts and pressed suits…while Glenn and I are sporting sweaty hair, tech-shirts and sandals…with socks. We call our look “Portland Chic” – it has yet to catch on here.

In the end we have  walked all over this lovely city, logging ~10 miles on the pedometer each day. Temperatures have been in the mid-90’s with high humidity – which has made for some very exhausting and sweat-soaked days, but it’s been worth it. We visited: the High Line, Times Square, Central Park, China Town, Little Italy, Greenwich Village, Soho, Wall Street, 9/11 Memorial, Rockefeller Center, Staten Island Ferry, Statue of Liberty…and lots more!

Today we fly to Ecuador to explore the Galapagos…provided that Cotopaxi, the volcano near Quito, quits erupting!

A few pictures of our travels around the Big Apple below. I look forward to coming back some day when I can spend more time.

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Our first glimpse of Grand Central Station

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Selfie in Times Square. Not even 9:30 in the morning and we were already sweating like crazy!

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Being on the eastern seaboard gave me an excuse to try my first ever lobster roll. Yummy!

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San Remo Apartments as seen from The Lake in Central Park. No sign of Bono though.

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The mall in Central Park.

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Meadows Green in Central Park with a great view of the Manhattan Skyline.

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It seems everyone has carved their name into the booths at John’s of Bleecker Street pizzeria.

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One of several NYC subway adventures.

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New “Freedom Tower” World Trade Center building looking down over Ground Zero.

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One of the reflecting pools at the 9/11 Memorial.

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Big money.

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Looking north toward Central Park from atop Rockefeller Center.

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Looking south toward the Empire State Building from atop Rockefeller Center.

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Big city selfie.

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Statue of Liberty from the Staten Island Ferry.

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Coming back into the city on the ferry. Quite a beautiful sight.

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