Wednesday, November 21, 2012

NYC Day 5

Our Friday in the Big Apple was a pretty low key one. Our initial plans to go into the Empire State Building got postponed until the next day because of the long wait, so we had some time to just walk around the city before we went to Central Park or visited Madame Tussaud's Wax Museum.

By this time in the week, we were pretty much Mass Transit Pros. Brad was the master at navigating the different subway lines and stops. During our whole time there, we only got lost once. (We hopped on the Eastbound train instead of the Westbound, and ended up confused in Queens.) Not too bad for some small town, Southern, first-timers!

We didn't intend to walk past Macy's on Black Friday, but it was on our path from the subway stop to the Empire State Building, which was still our original plan that morning. There were literally thousands of people on the street waiting to get into the World's Largest Store. It was the only time during our visit that I clung to Brad's hand so we wouldn't get separated in the crowd. Black Friday shoppers are crazy!
When we finally made our way through the sea of people to our destination, we immediately realized that the wait was going to be too long to enjoy the truly experience before we had to leave and be at our next scheduled stop. So instead, we decided to wait until tomorrow for that and just did some sight seeing. It was cool to see Seventh Avenue (aka Fashion Avenue) in person. And the NYC Post office is seriously huge! It reminded me of the Parthenon replica we have her in Nashville. We walked by Madison Square Garden, and even though Taylor Swift was performing there that night (and the next), we didn't get to go to the concert. Bummer. (But we did see many girls in obvious TSwift concert attire on the subways!)

Right outside of Central Park, which was our next stop, is The Plaza. As in "Eloise at The Plaza," or as I better know it, the place that Kevin McCallister stays in "Home Alone 2: Lost In New York." It is grand, for sure. We walked past the valet and bellhops into the lobby to take look around. It is so fancy and beautiful. I can definitely see why it has been the setting for some movies.

We were right on time to participate in our walking tour of Central Park that focused on TV and movie locations. The tour guide told our group where specific scenes had been filmed, as well as a lot about the history and details of the massive park in general. It was so pretty there, especially in the fall as the leaves were changing colors. Of course we had to take a picture kissing in front of "the kissing bridge." Apparently, this bridge is the most proposed location in the whole city. How romantic.

The most personally exciting places that we got to see the spot were where Kevin first meets the Pigeon Lady in "Home Alone," the fountain that Giselle dances in front of in "Enchanted," and walk the Promenade, which is not only the solitary straight pathway in the whole park, but it's also the most filmed area in Central Park with scenes in "When Harry Met Sally," "Serendipity," "Breakfast at Tiffany's," and "Big Daddy," among others. 

Our tour took a little break to allow us to ride the park's historical carousel. It was so old fashioned that the music was even created by the circular motion of the horses, and you could see the antique instruments working in the center of the circle. Back in the way old days, the carousel was powered by mules underneath that would walk in laps at a speed determined by the number of knocks the conductor would do on the floor: one for a gallop, two for a trot, three to slow down, and four to stop and so on. It has since been motorized, thank goodness.

After a few hours of touring (just a small portion of) Central Park, Bradley and I enjoyed The.Best.Burger.Ever. Like ever. Shake Shack is compared to the In-N-Out Burger of the West, or the Whataburger or Five Guys of the South. But let me tell you, this place blows all of those other regions' burger joints out of the greasy kitchen! Hands down, this was the best burger and fries combo I have ever experienced. On more than one occasion, Brad and I have considered flying to NYC just to eat here. It's that good.
The line was out the door and down the street, and once you finally arrived in the building, you were herded through a winding amusement park style line before you could place your order. It was pretty much standing room early, and believe me, people were standing and eating. Luckily, I spotted two empty seats near the window for the hubs and me. All we had to do was share the table with an Asian family of three. Hey, you've gotta do what you've gotta do! And the meal was more than worth it.

When we were all filled up (and wanting more but not willing to wait in line a second time), we made our way back to Times Square for the third occasion that week. This time, we were visiting Madame Tussaud's Wax Museum. Of all the many things we did during our visit, I think we probably had the most fun here.

There were life size, life-like wax figures of hundreds of celebrities, musicians, politicians, and a number of any historical figures mingling around the place just waiting for you to approach. Brad was able to flirt with Bette Midler and prove that he's just as smoldering hot as Edward Cullen and Johnny Depp. And I was able to show off my JLo booty and finally get my hands on Justin Timberlake. (Humina, humina.)

I listened to Woody Allen talk about the city and helped Lucy bake dinner while Brad chilled with Michael Jordan and Muhammad Ali and tried out to be one of the Rockettes. (He didn't get in.)
As if the entire museum wasn't one big photo op, they had a few places set up specifically for picture posing. We could finally stand on the bridge that was merely in the background of our Central Park picture, and Brad had the opportunity to fully "embrace" the Oval Office. Yikes. There's a reason we aren't into politics!

We rocked out with some legends with the likes of Elton John, Tina Turner, and Bono, and I performed some height comparisons along the line. I was just barely taller than horse jockey Willie Shoemaker, but I couldn't even touch Kareem Abdul-Jabbar's head on my tip toes! 

We couldn't resist some 90's boy band / girl band photo bombing, and I got a second opportunity to fawn all over JT. Also, that bottom right image is of a random wax woman taking a picture. She's not real, people. There's no need to very patiently wait behind her to snap the picture she's trying to get. She's not a real person taking a real picture. You can just walk on past her. Because she's not real. Just fyi...

Within Madame Tussaud's Wax Museum, there was a special 4-D showing of "The Polar Express"!! Eee!! That's my very favorite Christmas movie! And since Santa waved at me at the end of the parade the day before(!!!), it was officially Christmastime! The showed an abbreviated version of the film that lasted about 45 minutes but still adequately captured all of the magic.
And if you're wondering, the fourth dimension catered to our other non-visual senses. Snow fell from the ceiling when the boy walked outside in his pj's; wind gushed over our faces when the train came to a stop in front of his house; something poked us in the back when they were falling into Santa's big gift bag; and it literally smelled like Christmas in the theater when they were gathered around the tree at the end! It was awesome!!

As soon as the film was over, we came to the Main Event. I finally got to meet Wax Figure Taylor Swift!! It was magical! They even had her sparkly guitar in a case nearby. My was museum goals were officially complete. Success.
I'm not exactly sure why we had so much fun at that silly museum full of wax figures, but Brad and I truly enjoyed our evening goofing around with fake famous people. That combined with our amazing time at the beautiful Central Park and the best meal in all the land made our penultimate day in the city pretty great.
If you're interested in how the rest of the week went, you can check out Day 1, Day 2, Day 3, Day 4, and Day 6.

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