Don't get too excited about this itinerary, though. Because none of it happened.
The great thing about Thursday was that we woke up and decided we needed a lighter day. We were tired of pushing ourselves so hard, always maxing out on adrenaline. Our poor brains were all museum'd out. And with all the walking we'd been doing and no place to ever sit down, we were certain our feet (though obviously resilient) were never going to be the same again.
So we scrapped the plan we'd devised the night before and asked ourselves, "What do we really want to do today?"
And the answer was "spend more time in Central Park."
We also wanted to keep our walking total under five miles for the day. Wouldn't it be amazing to return to our hotel at the end of the day without feeling like our feet were well on their way to permanent damage? 🙌
As we got ready that morning, I finally found the words to express what I had been feeling in my heart for days ... Here's what I posted on Facebook:
“Yet knowing how way leads on to way, I doubted if I should ever come back.” — Robert Frost
I find myself reciting these words silently, constantly, on this trip. There are so many paths to take, so many places to see. But there isn’t time for everything. I am just one traveler, after all. The problem with falling in love with a place is that you want to stay or, at the very least, come back to that very spot. You want to follow this path, or that one, so you do — promising yourself that you’ll retrace your steps later and see the same place again, possibly from a different angle, or at a different time of day. But way leads on to way, and very rarely on this trip have we seen the same place twice. The problem with travel is that your eyes become opened to new places — and now that you know that they exist, you’ll just have more places to miss when you’re gone. Living in the moment takes on an entirely new meaning. You drink in the experience and soak it all in, knowing that THIS is it. This is the moment you get in THIS spot. And you find a bit of solace in the fact that more moments and other spots await you down the road...
THURSDAY, MARCH 29, 2018 -- DAY FIVE
Since we'd happened upon The Hello Deli on Saturday night, we'd been looking for an opportunity to eat there, and Thursday's lunch seemed like the perfect time. We headed to 53rd and Broadway, and we could see Rupert Jee's friendly face even before we even got inside (Celebrity Sighting No. 2!). Poor Ryley is too young to understand Rupert's significance to Ryan and me, but as big "Late Show with David Letterman" fans (not so much Colbert), Rupert holds a special place in our hearts.
Super low-key and practical! We'd expect nothing more and nothing less from our good buddy Rupert.
I had "The Shaffer" (named after Paul Shaffer, of course), and it was absolutely delicious. Best wrap I've ever had! And, I think the three of us ate for $32, which would make it very possibly the cheapest meal we had the whole time we were in New York.
This place has star appeal, great food, cheap prices, and A PLACE TO SIT WHILE YOU EAT. Can't get much better than that.
I think it horrified Ryley that I would actually ask Rupert for a picture, but he was totally cool about it. I told him we were big fans, and he replied that "it was fun while it lasted." He's just a normal, hard-working guy who happened to be in the right place at the right time and caught a TV host's attention. His wife was super-sweet, too, calling all customers "sweetie pie" and saying, "Have a seat; lunch will be served shortly," in her adorable Asian accent.
Next on our list was to walk up the west side of Central Park, get some more cookies (of course!), and then eat them in the park.
So on our way to Levain Bakery, we walked a couple blocks north to see Columbus Circle ...
And then up to Lincoln Center, where the Juilliard School is located and where the city's symphony, ballet, and opera performances take place.
We even found the building where "Live with Kelly and Ryan" is taped! I went in to see if they have a gift shop, but the security guards told me the show was on break for the week, as were souvenir sales. 😉
We swung by Levain Bakery's second location (which is bigger, but still has no seating) to pick up some cookies "to go," then headed toward Central Park. We made a point of stopping by John Lennon's 72nd Street apartment on the way, which is just a half block from the park.
From what we understand, he was shot and killed in the driveway there.
Then upon entering Central Park at the Strawberry Fields entrance, there's a memorial to him, and there was also a singer/guitarist performing Beatles songs.
Ryan and I wondered if there's a bit of an issue with guitarists having to take turns being that day's designated memorial performer. Like, what time do they have to get there in the mornings to call dibs on the spot? Have they put their heads together and developed a schedule so everybody gets a turn? Is there a hierarchy in place? What happens if two people decide to play at once? Do they duel?
These are the things Ryan and I wonder sometimes.
Anyway, Central Park is so vast. I could have sworn we were in this area on Wednesday, but it was an entirely different corner.
And this was where we decided to take advantage of the ample seating and enjoy our chocolate chip cookies.
This was also an interesting place to people-watch. There was a guy was hanging around awkwardly with his bicycle right here in this spot, where there's a good view of the bridge. Finally we realized he was waiting for everyone else to finish taking their pictures so he could take a pic of his bike with the bridge as a backdrop.
It was such a foggy, misty day -- just the way we like it! I loved it so much.
Bethesda Fountain ... without water.
We recognized this area from that scene in "Elf" where Santa and his sleigh are having trouble!
There were musical performers taking advantage of the acoustics in this place, too.
And when we came out on the other side, there was a man making gigantic bubbles ...
Ryley was in a crazy-good mood, so we took advantage of it and had some fun with photography!
Like with any kid, you take the silliness when you can get it!
Fun with her boyfriend, Hanny (Hans Christian Andersen) ...
Hanny likes the smell of Ryley's hair.
Alice in Wonderland ...
What I found especially interesting in Central Park was the number of joggers wearing sunglasses --on a misty, overcast day. I made it a point to look every one of them in the face to see if I recognized any as being famous. Unfortunately, I didn't.
But I also noticed dog walkers (sometimes with several dogs) and nannies with fancy strollers, and I couldn't help but wonder if any of those dogs or babies belonged to famous people we'd know of!
And, at the very least, an average person walking their dog in Central Park in the middle of a Thursday afternoon is fascinating to me just because they obviously manage (somehow) to live in Manhattan. So what do they do to support themselves? What's their story?
We headed back to Midtown via 5th Avenue and especially took time to notice the brick and paver patterns on the sidewalk, as well as the oddly shaped trees.
For some reason this seemed like an especially long stretch, and I remember that all of us were complaining about our achy feet. We were too far from the subway, and we couldn't figure out if our subway/mass transit passes would work on the city bus. Looking back, maybe we should have called an Uber or Lyft.
But you miss so much when you don't walk. We really believe walking is the best way to take it all in (I'll have more thoughts on that in a future post!).
And if we hadn't walked it, we wouldn't have done all the high-end window-shopping that we did. We even went into Tiffany's.
Of course, we felt way out of our league, but I guess the older you get, the less you care about what people think of you. 😉 #40s
Look at all the interesting Trump-themed businesses in Trump Tower.
And the photo doesn't do this Dolce & Gabbana shop window justice. It was so bright and colorful! I think those are fresh flowers.
A motorcade passed us while we were right by Trump Tower, and the road to the building's vehicle entrance was blocked off. We read Trump was in Ohio that day or something, but maybe it was someone in his family? Who knows?
Anyway, we got back to the hotel in time to rest for a bit before Ryley and I got ready to go to our Broadway show! (Ryan had opted out of the experience back when we purchased tickets.)
We ordered an Uber to save ourselves the walk over to Broadway, but when it still hadn't arrived by 6:20, and it looked like it was stuck in traffic, we canceled it and headed to the theater on foot.
Times Square was especially magical-looking in the fog.
The theater had a very interesting set-up; it was open to the lobby area, and then the lobby was just a couple feet from the exterior doors. Ryley's and my seats were probably 10 feet from the theater doors, and we could actually hear street traffic and passers-by during the show, as I'm not sure they ever completely closed the doors.
Going to a Broadway show ... talk about a dream come true for both of us!
Funny story... We got there at 6:45 and found our seats, but as soon as we sat down I realized I couldn't find my phone. I knew I had had it recently because we had just taken pictures outside the theater. So I was rummaging desperately through my purse, and Ryley was looking under the seats, and then the people around us got involved, and then the usher brought his flashlight over. How embarrassing! Anyway, after several minutes, we finally found it under the seats in front of us!
I just found it strangely ironic that you plan and dream for this (expensive) experience, and you get there, and it doesn't always go as smoothly as you imagined it would! We were trying so hard to be elegant theatergoers, and we definitely did not make a good impression right off the bat!
Anyway, we saw "Dear Evan Hansen," which won the Tony Award for Best Musical in 2017, as well as a Grammy this year. The show was pretty amazing (same writers as "LaLaLand" and "Greatest Showman"), and we really enjoyed it.
More than anything, I love sitting next to Ryley during Broadway shows because of how she claps so enthusiastically after every musical number. She lets her guard down during musical theater and allows herself to get caught up in the story and truly appreciate it -- completely uninhibited. It's truly my favorite thing.
The show got out around 10 p.m., and since we only had one more day in the city and weren't sure if we'd be coming back to Times Square, Ryley and I stopped in a couple shops to grab some quick souvenirs we'd been eyeing all week.
Then we realized we'd never had dinner! The last food we'd had was Rupert's Hello Deli around 11 a.m., followed by Starbucks and a cookie around 1 or 2.
You'd be amazed at how hard it is to find food in NYC. I mean, you think it's everywhere, but if you're not willing to pay an arm and a leg and/or you're not wanting to wait an hour for a seat at a nicer restaurant, your options are fairly limited. And, surprisingly, some places do close at 8 p.m.! Also, even if you were okay with fast-food, you won't get free refills, and you won't have a place to sit. It's just the reality!
So, after we were done in Times Square, we headed toward the hotel and actually ended up at Chick-fil-A. We took it to-go and carried it three blocks to eat it in our hotel room.
One more thing: the lack of restrooms. There aren't any. I guess your bladder just kind of shuts down (except for that poor lady we watched pee in the street; her bladder didn't shut down!). I went into a Starbucks to use the restroom once, and theirs was closed for maintenance. But a lot of places don't even have publicly accessible restrooms for customers.
Anywho, so that was Thursday! So much for a light walking day! But the important thing was that we spent precious time in Central Park, and it was time (and footsteps) well spent. #noregrets
Total miles walked on Thursday: 9.4 😀💪
Stay tuned for the rundown of Day 6 -- our final day -- coming soon!