Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Part 1: The Big Apple

Markus and I took a much needed vacation a few weeks ago to visit with friends and family that live up north, stopping in NYC for the weekend. But before I get to that I am going to be a drama queen and tell about the ride up. Mainly so I can look back at this post years later and remember what a wimp I am and how I eventually overcame my fear of large, tall, bridges (one can hope). I drove the first half of the trip b/c driving into Manhattan on a Friday night scares me. Actually, I think I could handle the driving part. What I can't handle is Markus' New Jersey coming out and him yelling at me from the passenger seat to cut people off, throw my drink at them, and throw up my middle finger. I do not like to be told how to drive. Most people don't, therefore we would need even more therapy than we do now with the bridge incident.

So, I'm afraid of the Bay Bridge that connects Virginia to Maryland via Route 301. I know this because I drove over it years ago with a car full of friends on my way to Avalon, NJ. I had a full blown panic attack to the point where I had to immediately pull over after crossing the bridge and let a friend drive. I would have pulled over sooner if they would have let me but stopping on the bridge is frowned upon. It scares me. My hands are sweating typing this because I have to think of that bridge. Fast forward to our trip: I am happily driving along listening to fun music and annoying Markus because I'm peppy in the car when I remember that I have to cross the bridge. I don't want to let Markus drive b/c then I loose my right to listen to anything I want, a rule we have when driving long distances because of our difference in music. Mine being good and his being, um, different than mine. And also, I want to prove to myself that I can do it this time.

I continue driving. The panic hits me when I get about 1/10 of the way across the bridge because not only are we crossing a big ass bay bridge but I have gone in the Smart Tag lane which requires you to cross with oncoming traffic. And did I mention the railing is see through and not a barricade so I can see straight down the water? So I clutch the steering wheel, look only forward (never in the rear view mirror and certainly not down) and ask Markus to talk to me. This distraction helps slightly when I am about to have a panic attack. My friend, Erin, who was in the car the first time I drove over the bridge did great in coaching me across. So, what does my loving, caring husband talk to me about? How big the bridge is! Obviously, he doesn't want to make it across ALIVE! Panic takes over and it felt like forever until we got to the other side. Once we did, I was literally shaking and the thought of crossing replayed in my head but I kept on driving because a)I did not want to listen to heavy metal Finnish music for the remainder of the trip and b)Because the thought of divorcing Markus AS SOON AS WE GOT BACK TO VIRGINIA distracted me enough that I could concentrate again. I finally calmed down around the time we crossed into Manhattan, 3 hours later. Needless to say, Markus didn't make the same mistake twice. On the way home he drove and I fell asleep. Every time I would wake, he would lovingly tell me to go back to sleep. It worked, we made it over the bridge and our marriage is stronger because of it.

Now on the fun part. Our main purpose was to see the Yankees play in their new stadium Sunday afternoon. But first, there was New York City. I love this city. If I had to pick a place to visit over and over, this would be it. Markus and I have visited a half dozen times in the 4 years we have been together and there is always something new to do. But this trip was a little different, we didn't really have anything planned except for the game so we just kind of went with the flow. We have seen the tourist sites, eaten at trendy restaurants, seen plays, etc. This time I wanted to just be in the city.

First up was subway ride to the Union Square Farmers' Market Saturday morning. But before we left I wanted to get some snaps of the city from the roof of our hotel. The views are amazing! I wish I had gotten up early enough to see the sun rise but I was on vacation so these will do for now.

Next, we headed to the farmers' market in Union Square and I had sensory overload with all of the things to photograph. People, food, flowers, dogs. You name it, it was there. I've been to this market before but never with a dslr camera capable of turning a market into a photo shoot. Markus was great. He was very patient and let me snap away. Probably because he felt guilty for almost killing us the night before. Here are some of my favorite shots, I love how vibrant the colors turned out.

Then it was off to Central Park. I have only explored the lower tip of the park so we decided to take the train to the Upper West Side and walk down to our hotel. We entered around 80th street and walked around exploring and sightseeing. It was Saturday and the park was pretty crowded but we managed to find a spot to lay near a pond. It was quite lovely to relax in the middle of all the hustle and bustle. Even though the park is crammed with people, it is one of my favorite places, especially in the warm months.

I wish we had more time to explore but we had to get back to the hotel to get ready for our night out on the town. We got semi-dressed up and headed down to the Meat Packing District to check out the roof top bar at Hotel Gansevoort, a recommendation from my friend, Susan, who is more hip than I. This hotel was thumping, literally. We thought we were going to sip champagne while watching the sun set but their was some sort of party going on with bottle service, a dj, and scantily clad women dancing on tables. Something both of us may have enjoyed if we were with friends and, oh about 5 years younger before we were old and married. So we quickly did a loop then headed back down the elevator before I felt like a total loser. But I did manage to get a peek at the infamous SoHo House roof top pool that was featured on SATC. I wanted so badly to take a picture but I didn't dare whip out my camera in front of the model-ish types being oh so cool. That would have definitely made me look like a tourist. So instead we opted for a walk around the Meat Packing District, making our way to the West Village for dinner. Something that didn't make me feel old and touristy. I even managed to snap a few pictures on the way.

There is a group of Scandinavian restaurants located in the city that we have been wanting to try since our first trip in 2005. We finally got around to trying Smorgas Chef located in the West Village and I wish we had gone sooner. The food was delicious and the atmosphere was perfect. I can't wait to try the real thing when he takes me to the Motherland next summer.

Up next is part two of our NYC trip; Dim Sum, baseball, and Connecticut. Never thought I would say those 3 things in a sentence!

1 comment:

  1. funny story about crossing the bridge - you did it....despite Markus! love the pic of the raspberries.