SATURDAY – March 23rd – the day before we left – wow – I have to say – EXHAUSTING….;) But – time was going so fast!
Friday we had to consolidate down minus one room – and this originally was thought to work out three girls in one room, but despite the smallness of the ladies, this was not going to work, in the wee hours of Friday after the Open Mic Night Championships ( I know, I did miss it but I hung close to Jazz on the Park to see if a room opened up) – it did not, lol, and when everyone started to filter in – we tried to see if I could take one mattress, maybe someone could use the floor and sleeping blanket, but unfortunately, these options all ran dry.
Only option – and still the best one, was to give up my room and for me to find an alternate location, for the next 2 days, making sure the ladies were in, snug, and safe. We decided I would leave my shopping items in the room, Alice took my room, and I began to ask via phone neighboring hostels of availability. I immediately tried an International Youth Hostel – packed. Another Jazz on the Park on Amsterdam, PACKED. BY LUCK – one room was available, for one night (well like right now which was 1:00 AM until check out Saturday (it was Saturday!) at 10:00 – but I was like, YEAH! YES! YES YES! 🙂 So I had one night, now needed two….but that would come later.
They held the room for me – for 30 minutes, I checked on everyone, they were good, – we originally planned on meeting Saturday afternoon to work on 911 photos and other areas for the staff of the 911 project at ASF – I hustled to Chelsea Jazz on the Park on 11th Avenue, checked in, sharing the room was someone – who my luck, was a GREAT older gentleman traveling so he didn’t mind the late night intrusion. I scanned some possibilities for an open room for Saturday night to Sunday – nothing, but at that point was super super tired, so decided to call it a night (well, actually 4:00 AM Saturday) and sleep the sleep of the dead, I died sleeping as sound as a baby for sure.
I woke up at 10:00 AM – Still Saturday – and began the New York room search, and after an hour – I did FIND ONE – but it was uncertain. I then went on to call the students via text/email, and stated for their sake and mine, since Friday had been a late night with the Open Mic NewUYorkian Poet Cafe finals, to let them off the hook, and just to schedule dinner together at 7:30 – location to be decided by them. In the meantime, I would do the 911 project to the best of my ability, as well as find a place to stay! 🙂 I figured correctly, everyone slept in LATE – so this worked out excellent! (Some people slept to two o’clock, now that is what I am talking about!)
I, through a strange twist of events was able to talk to the former New York mayor, which in turn helped me get a place to stay at the Newton Hotel, seriously perhaps the LAST room in New York for Saturday to Sunday – THAT is a story in itself, but what I found ironic, was the fact that it was on Broadway, Hotel Newton, only two one train stop from the rest of the gang! YEAH! BINGO! I rushed out of the complimentary bagel breakfast at Jazz on the Park, moved my luggage I had with me to the OTHER side of Central Park – (a beautiful sunny day!) texting everyone not realizing they were STILL ASLEEP!, and checked into The Newton Hotel, thanking them for letting me check in way before normal check in. I think they appreciated the last 24 hours I had had, lol. Then, I was off to 911 – where I met my friend Umar, a graduate of Butler High, Butler, PA with me, and we walked through the Empire State Building area, to a restaurant of his choice, Heartland Brewery. Wow. Food AMAZING. I mean the Enchiladas I had and the fries, – TO DIE FOR – A W E S O M E – worth putting in my restaurant blog. Then Umar shows me a jersey he bought me – a TERRY BRADASHAW #12! FREAKING YEAH! But this was not all…I did give him the Mexico version of Steeler fan-clubbing with an authentic Steeler poncho – and then… (crazy day!)
We met an AWESOME couple – from BUTLER, PA – Prospect to be specific, at the bar with us as we were eating! WHAT? Seriously? He works at Butler County Community College and knew some of the people I knew when I interned there! (Not mentioning names yet since this is a wide audience) 🙂 I mean, WHAT? NO KIDDING! SERIOUSLY! AGGGGH! We talked about the Pens, the Steelers, BUTLER! for ever! What were the chances?! LOL….
We then got a text, thanks to Umar checking his new awesome phone and my account in my blog, email, facebook, ALICE WAS UP! YEAH! She didn’t know where everyone was in the hostel, but what she didn’t know was most were still out asleep, with only a few that went to NYU and other collegiate areas at 11:00 having just missed them. We arranged to all do the 911 together, Alice, Me, and my friend Umar.
We left in a state of euphoria, kind of like, can you believe we met someone from our HOMETOWN? LOL…
Noonish arrives, and brings Alice, myself, and Umar going upstairs from the metro, and a gentleman that has a stroller with two children needing help up the stairs. We go to help him carry the stroller, and yep – he’s from BUTLER, yeah, BUTLER, PA too! 🙂 No kidding – NO FREAKING WAY. We are laughing now, and just like, WHAT THE HECK?! 🙂 Waaaaay crazy! On the way to the 911 site, we still are a little dazed, yet, amazed (RHYMES!) – and began taking in the new buildings – now making up 911. WOW. EVERYTIME, even this has been maybe 8-9 years, I go to New York, I see new images and perceptions of the same areas I visit, that is AWESOME! 🙂
The buildings blended into the sky, I was AMAZED – 🙂 We were abel to retrieve a tons of images to serve for our 911 Educational project. Umar took some awesome photos and here is one (mine are RAW images and will take awhile to download!) I am never surprised, yet I am, in how many angles New York has to show off as a city. It was breathtaking again showing Alice all the memorials to the individuals who served to well, serve others.
We then moved on, with Umar and I parting as it takes him close to 2 hours to train in from Long Island, and Alice andI decided on seeing the MOMA.
On the way there, we were detracted…by…A Toy Store, but not just ANY Toy Store! (As the link will prove!) We saw bears, and giraffes, and Harry Potter and the HUMAN keyboard piano!, and CANDY and…okay – onto the Moma…
NOOO! It closed at 5:30 and we arrive AT 5;30…..I regret maybe seeing the Toy Store first, but deep down, LOVED the toy store, but felt bad as we missed the MOMA…:( We sacrificed the time we WOULD have spent there and went to Rockefeller Center, the awesome skating rink, then to St. Patrick’s Cathedral, onto past Radio City, and that AWESOME painter with landscapes of New York with paint can and caps – we were getting so close to dinner time! -(Stomach rumbling)
We decided to go to Carnegie Deli (Thank you Alexa!) – 7:30 and began texting everyone, not Mel’s but Carnegie Deli! – while we cut the time looking for some makeup for Monica Simmons – finding some but not all in Duane Reade stores nearby.
Finally – 🙂 DINNER! We went into Carnegie Deli, afraid everyone was doing their own thing and just decided, let’s eat! The comment of someone leaving stating this restaurant did not maintain its Jewish roots anymore made us reflect, but we thought we could still see this from the aurograohs and the amazing food served here and as we waited, amazingly, it was like a Flash MOB! Everyone from our group began coming in! YESSSS! It was like the New York version of the last supper ( I am sure that is sacreligious) but let me tell you, HOW COOL was it we were all together the last night ? Way more than Cool, it was just, – AAGGG! PERFECT!
I realized right then and there, the trip was Great because of the Repentino. ladies that came, and I would not have been any other place for dinner with any other people, than them. If you’re talking about the food, MY GOSH – servings that could crush the Incredible Hulk’s appetite – SERIOUSLY! We had to get out early to head to Barnes and Noble on 79th – to grab a book I had to replace at ASF library, and barely made it out before the doors closed – Natalie, I owe you 10.00 ! 🙂
We made it back to the hostel, and honestly, I was exhausted recalling all that occurred, from that late morning of needing to find a new room, to right here now, ready to leave back to Mexico in the AM. MAJOR WHOA. However, the story does not end here, so stay tuned for the next post as we departed this amazing trip on Sunday – just one day ago..:)