holy shit, MIL snores like a fucking dude.
i love her to pieces, but damn. i never met another woman who could snore louder than me - and i've been known to wake myself up with my log sawin'. MIL had me beat, though - she was sucking up the freaking furniture. oh, man. i buried my head under pillows and errrrrythang, and i could not get to sleep.
which didn't bode well for me, because it was another looooooong day of walking and sightseeing. plus, it was the hub's last day in the city before hopping a plane at the asscrack of freaking dawn the next morning, so i knew we'd be making the most of the hours we had left.
we decided to head back over to rockefeller center and check out "top of the rock" - basically, the top of the tallest building in the plaza. there were several levels of observatory up there, with a view that rivaled that of the famous empire state building. they offered a package deal that included observatory tickets, plus a pass to the nbc studio tour and a behind-the-scenes tour of radio city music hall. with tickets in hand, we followed the line and went through the "twirly door" (as the kid called them) and into the elevator.
as we began our ascent, the lights went out and we looked up to find a somewhat cheesy, space mountain-esque light show. well, i thought it was cheesy, but the bean was quite fascinated. and then we stepped out of the elevator, through the glass doors, past this swarovski "waterfall", and out onto the first level of viewing decks.
it was a nice day, cool and clear and slightly breezy. we snapped lots of pictures (i'll spare you, though, and only post a few), checked out the gift shop, mugged for the camera, and found the target-sponsored "breezeway." it was a little room that was filled with those heat-seeking lights that follow you as you walk around. again, rather silly and cheesy, but my girls loved it. they've obviously inherited my love of all things shiny and sparkly.
then it was back down in the elevator/light show, and we found ourselves back in the bowels of rockefeller center. the kid and i decided it was a fine time to test out our ice skating skills, and after a short shopping trip in search of socks for me (i was wearing uggs, and no way was i strapping on a pair of rental skates barefoot, EWWW!), we stepped very cautiously out onto the ice.
you can see how much of a scaredy-cat we both were. grippin' the rails like our lives depended on it. heh.
but it didn't take too long before we reached our comfort level and slowly eased away from the walls, managing to skate quite a few laps despite sore ankles and annoying show-offy guys who insisted upon speeding around the rink, skating backwards right behind us, and coming to a screeching halt in front of us.
and the highlight of my day: the rink attendant waved me over at one point, and i wondered what i'd done wrong (i always assume right away that i've fucked up in some way). but all he wanted to know was this:
"i was just wondering who's older, you or your sister?"
i glanced over to see the kid holding onto the rail again, damn near doubled over in laughter.
"um, that's my daughter. i'm her mother."
and with a grin at his astonished face, i skated away.
when we were all skated out, we changed back into our shoes, returned the skates, and scampered across the street to dean & deluca to grab a quick lunch. that skating is hard work, and we were hungry. the kid and the hub had turkey sandwiches while MIL and i opted for smoked salmon and cream cheese wraps. yummy.
i strapped the bean into the moby wrap and we all hopped into a taxi, headed towards ground zero. it was quite a sobering experience, although a lot of construction has taken place and continues on. i snapped a few pictures, but i felt a little weird about it. i mean, it's not like you can pose in front of anything and smile - just not right.
we went across the street to "tenhouse" - the first fire station to respond to the attacks. there were more memorials and plaques dedicated to those who were lost, but i decided not to take too many pictures - again, it just didn't feel right. across another street, we found st. paul's - a haven for many volunteer workers during those early days of search & rescue from 9/11. it's amazing that the church has managed to remain intact through the years, not to mention the flying debris from the collapse of the neighboring twin towers.
from there, we just kept walking and found ourselves at battery park. along the way, i saw this sign and immediately thought of a very dear friend, although the spelling's a little off, i think. ;)
the kid was being a little wild and crazy, and when we came across a nice park bench overlooking the water, the hub sent us over there to sit, relax, and have a zen moment. hee!
and as we continued to walk through the park, the 8-year-old-boy sense of humor kicked in at the sight of this sculpture:
but then i looked down and saw:
we'd worked up quite a thirst from all that walking, so we found a starbucks (seems like there's one on every corner - kind of reminded me of the abc stores in hawaii) and found a nice table to sit and sip. the bean liked hanging out in the chair next to us.
by then, it was time to meet up with my cousin r, who was finishing up at work and suggested meeting in little italy for dinner. thinking we were going to eventually catch a cab, we followed the hub as he wound his way through the financial district. we found ourselves standing right in front of the bull near wall street and giggled as we took pictures of it before joining the crowds and continuing our walk.
before we knew it, we were in chinatown and just down the street from mulberry & canal, where r was waiting for us. so much for that taxi. oh, well, at least we saved a few bucks while working off our dinner. mm-hmmm, the one we hadn't eaten yet.
there are so many places to eat in little italy, it was hard to decide which one to try. we ended up walking into angelo's, out of sheer hunger and exhaustion, and were warmly greeted and seated immediately. they offered us a high chair for the bean, which we declined, but instead of the typical wooden kind, they brought over one of those little chairs that clips to the side of the table. we decided to give it a shot, and it was great! she loved sitting in her own seat all by herself, and we tucked our scarves around her to make her more comfy.
i went with the lobster ravioli with shrimp and vodka sauce, which was really yummy. the kid had traditional spaghetti and meat sauce, while r had an eggplant entree, the hub had chicken marsala, and MIL went for fettuccine alfredo.
our pasta was served in really, really big bowls. and it was all delicious!
i decided to try the creme caramelle for dessert, while the kid ordered spumoni and MIL went with the decadent-looking chocolate cake. mine turned out to be a flan-like dessert, served with homemade caramel sauce and fresh whipped cream. the hub reached over and took a big ass bite before i could stop him, and the face he made was priceless. he hates pudding/flan/creamy stuff, and i couldn't stop laughing at the fuss he kicked up as he tried to choke down the mouthful of goo. poor baby.
we hopped onto the subway back to times square, headed towards the giant toys r'us so that the kid could finally ride the ferris wheel. seriously, it was amazing to us that there was a full-sized freaking FERRIS WHEEL inside the store. and she'd been dying to ride it since we arrived, so she was totally giddy and clapped her hands like a little kid when we bought our tickets and got on. she really wanted to be in the car with e.t., but instead we got the one with the m&ms. it didn't take long for her to get over it and just have fun with the ride. oh, and take more silly pictures.
i thought it was hilarious that toys r'us offered a personal shopping service. what is with these toy stores and personal shoppers? how hard could it possibly be to shop for toys, of all things? geez.
after the ride was over, we decided to explore the THREE-story store and found a huge section dedicated to barbie, the kid's favorite toy when she was little. wasn't it every girl's favorite at one time? and she was dying to check out the giant display of "high school musical" and "hannah montana" merchandise, but the area was roped off and there was a crew setting up for what looked like a movie shoot or something. when she decided to sneak in and play with a couple of toys anyway, she was promptly kicked out by a bored-looking employee, who told us that they were having a crayola fashion show the next day. "it's the big box of crayola's 50th anniversary," she said.
before we left, i ducked into the potty and was amused at the wall of little mirrors.
a final stop at the mtv store (located right below the studio where they film TRL every weekday) to look around and let the kid pick out a new tee, and then we bid goodbye to r and cabbed it back to the hotel.
the hub and i packed everything but the bare necessities to last me, the kid, and the bean for a day and a half, and managed to get it all into two bags. this way, he could lug all the dirty laundry, souvenirs, and stroller home, leaving us with just the car seat and one suitcase to check in when we left. i was pretty bummed that he was leaving, but then i was even more grateful to have MIL there to hang out with.
furniture sucking and all.