Archive for January 11th, 2010

Going to New York City for New Year’s Eve has been one of the top things on my travel wish list for some time. Many would argue that it is too cold and too crowded to bother. Not me. And Taylor was nice enough to let me book a trip with my pal Linsi.

Oh, hey. Before we go any further, why don’t you take a minute to get you a drink, and maybe a snack, and settle in for the rest of the storythis may take a while…and to think, this is just the first of 3 parts.

Where were we….So, just a few days after Christmas (December 28th), I hopped on a plane to Washington, D.C. (actually with Linsi and actually to Arlington where she lives) and our adventure started. Since she had to work, I had good intentions of getting out and exploring the DC area in winter. But her couch and celebrity magazines lulled me into a lovely afternoon nap, and before I knew it she was off work, so we went to the mall instead. We had a delicious dinner of spaghetti, some wine, and a couple episodes of “I didn’t know I was pregnant,” then decided to call it a night since the next evening we’d be taking the train to New York.

I got up the next morning and met Linsi’s longtime pal, Nolan, who had never flown before, at the airport. I love traveling with a newbie. It’s so fun to be with others who are experiencing new things, and showing them the ropes. Over the course of our whole trip we took practically every form of transportation available, Metro/subway, taxi, train, bus, plane, feet (the best way to see stuff).

When Linsi got off work, we gathered the last of our stuff and headed for the metro station…next stop Union Station! We were taking the Amtrak to New York City.

I’ll just say, taking the Amtrak to NYC was AWESOME! There is about 2.5 times as much leg room as on an airplane and they may or may not sell beer in the concessions car (wink!) Nolan’s seatmate left pretty quickly after the ride started.

Once we got to New York City, we checked into our hotel, the Hotel Chelsea. It was built in 1883 and was first opened as an apartment building and there are actually a few people who still have apartments in the building (and I think we saw some of them). Many famous artists and musicians have stayed at Hotel Chelsea throughout the years.

The lobby was decorated for Christmas and the whole place showcased tons of artwork. When we arrived it was already dark and we got heckled by the club goers waiting to get into the club next door.

We crammed into the tiny elevator and were escorted to our room by the bellman. Room 720 was our home for the next two nights. It was small and especially cozy after we added a cot.

We were warned that there was not much we could do about the heat, so we turned on the ceiling fan and propped open the window with a coat hanger almost immediately. We tried the tray first, but found that the coat hanger was sturdier.

I did not take a picture of the sketchy, nasty SHARED bathroom. Think, mildewed, peeling paint on the walls, shower curtain from 1973 and large portion of the porcelain worn off the old cast iron tub that looked like it could have been a puddle of blood around the drain. Yeah, we shared with a few other people in the hallway. Luckily, I think we only ran into a conflict once or twice. Our second morning there (after New Year’s Eve) we all elected to not to shower just to not have to get back in that tub. Thank goodness for my college experience with community showers…I brought flip flops.

I did my best to ignore the rumors of hauntings at the hotel, but late at night it’s hard to fall asleep when you hear every.little.creak. Trust me, if you have trouble falling asleep at home, it’s easy to creep yourself out in a foreign place.

Also, there were these little shutter doors just outside of the door to our room. One time, someone opened the door to leave, and the shutters were closed. We all accused one another of playing tricks, and likely it was another person in the hallway who closed them when we were inside, but it was still creepy. Thankfully, I slept more soundly the second night (New Year’s Eve) thanks to the relaxing effects of a few beers.

Anyhow, like I said before, there were tons of different art pieces displayed all over the hotel, especially the stairwells. It honestly was pretty cool.

Our first night, after checking in, we didn’t plan to go too far from the hotel to find something to eat. We ended up finding Seven Bar & Grill after wandering around for a little bit. The three of us split 7 tapas items, thinking they were regular (small) tapas. We looked like we were super starved and barely had enough room on the table once everything came. We tried quesadillas, pizza, dumplings, calamari, tuna and salmon tartar, goat cheese and tomato fondue, cajun shrimp. I almost didn’t try the tuna and salmon tartar, but got bold and went for it. I don’t think I would order it on my own, but I am proud that I tried something new. Here’s our full table.

Linsi and I split a bottle of Periquita Portuguese wine, which was delicious.

After dinner we continued to walk down to Times Square, where we thought we saw the Rockefeller Center Tree and Ice Skating Rink.

We were pretty much done walking around the area when I recognized that I didn’t think we were at Rockefeller Center. (We were in fact at the Bryant Park rink.) After that we started to get cold, and since we hadn’t planned on being out too long, we decided to head back to the hotel for the night.

To be continued…


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