February 22, 2013 I entered the #ifihadglass contest via twitter. I really didn’t think I’d win the opportunity to get Glass but what the heck. My tweet read, “#ifihadglass I’d work on my sign language receptive skills by documenting and reviewing them later. Think of the vocab vault I could build.” A month later on March 29th I got a tweet that said I had been invited to join the Explorer program. What?!?! Me? Whoa… “…we’ll DM in the coming weeks.” turned into months. On June 5th I finally got my direct message on Twitter and the planning started.
Having just come back from San Antonio and trying to squeeze in the trip before Silent weekend, we were heading to New York City on June 14th. My pickup appointment was set for noon the next day and we would fly home later that night. That was the plan… Airtran had other ideas. Flying from Jacksonville to Atlanta and then to La Guardia wasn’t in the cards. We got to Atlanta and after delays and poor customer service they canceled the flight stranding us in Atlanta. Airtran’s reason for canceling was weather but a flight had left for NYC 30 minutes before ours. Weather, indeed…. There was no way we were going to make my appointment. Frustrated, we canceled the rest of the flight and headed back to Jacksonville. I had moved my pickup appointment to July 3rd at 4pm (The only one available at the time).
Home again, we discussed how we were going to get Glass. The 3rd was is right before the holiday so I suggested to Jerry that we take a few days and actually see New York. Within days the vacation was set up. We would fly out of Jacksonville on the 3rd (early), spend three days in New York over the 4th of July holiday and fly out Friday the 5th evening.
July 3rd arrives, we get up at the crack of dawn…actually even before that, 3am to shower and finish packing and we head to the airport for our 6am flight on JetBlue. If you haven’t taken a trip on JetBlue I would suggest you do. For us the bonuses were, in flight entertainment (for free), complimentary beverage and snacks, and most importantly for us – a direct flight so we don’t get stranded at some random location. Everything goes smoothly and we arrive in New York City a little after 8am. We catch a cab to our hotel in hopes that we can drop off our bags so we can explore the city a little unencumbered.
Taxicabs, they are everywhere. This is the only time in New York we used their services. From JFK to Midtown Manhattan the cab driver had the windows down. The weather was perfect for this, however, my hair was not. I’m sure I could have asked to have them rolled up but I didn’t want to get into it with a cab driver on my first trip to New York. So I suffered. My hair suffered. All of our transportation from that point on was taken care of by Uber. A little more expensive but the cars were clean, the drivers were friendly and polite, and none of them had their windows down. Even riding around the city I noticed how many cabs were driving around with their windows down. Is this normal??
We arrive at the Fairfield Inn and Suites around 9am and ask if they happen to have an early check-in. I was not expecting it but they did. They even offered their breakfast buffet to us. Whoa! This is why we like Marriott. We had something to eat, headed up to the room to drop off our bags and regroup before we headed out into the city.
Our hotel was about a three block walk to the Empire State building. We decided to be touristy and head up to the observation deck. It’s a long process to get there. Lots of lines. The views are spectacular though. I would love to go up at night. I bet that is amazing.
Lunch time and we, okay I, was getting anxious about my Glass pickup appointment. We headed to Chelsea Market to grab some lunch and explore the area. I guess I was a little wiggy as we ended up walking through the marketplace a couple of times before settling on a place to lunch. We settled in at The Green Table and enjoyed our meal. A cute little restaurant with some great eats. I had the raw milk Grilled Cheese and Jerry had the Chelsea Cubano. We didn’t eat slow enough. We had lots of time to kill before my appointment. We both thought that the market place was bigger than it really is. We decided to check out the High Line but the weather had other plans. For the next couple of hours it poured. We found a couple of chairs inside the marketplace and people watched until around 3:15. My appointment was at 4 but we thought we’d go hang in the Glass lobby until then…
Heading up to the 8th floor of Chelsea Market, I checked in and Jerry and I took our seats on the couch. I think we sat there for about 10 minutes before Brian, my Glass guide came to get us. We walked over to the wall where all the colors were displayed. I had originally chosen Shale but had the option to change. I tried them all on and after consideration I stuck with my original choice. I would join #TeamShale. I was now a Glass Explorer!!
Exhausted from waking up early and all the excitement of the day, we headed back to the hotel. We decided to walk down the block to the Stage Door Deli for dinner. I wasn’t really feeling well so I just had some eggs and toast. Breakfast all day, why thank you, yes. Back to the hotel and I think we were asleep within minutes.
Fourth of July!! How would we spend the day? I really wanted to experience different things in New York. We started at The Metropolitan Museum of Art. They had a wonderful exhibit The Civil War and American Art. I think we could have spent days in there. So much to see..
After a few hours of culture we needed a mind break so we took a stroll through Central Park. This thing is huge! (That’s what she said…) We only saw a slice of the park. We walked from around 80th street, past the Boathouse to Bethesda Terrace where we stopped and people watched as the Angel of the Waters keep watch. We saw a couple get married and they had tons of pictures taken. We saw a person dressed like a raggedy Gandalf and also a man making huge bubbles. It was awesome. We strolled down The Mall to 65th and 5th to get an Uber car back to the hotel.
Dinner that night was at Cooper’s Tavern which was connected to the New Yorker Hotel. Jerry had his “go to meal” of fish and chips while I enjoyed the Skyscraper Burger. YUM! The meal was just what we needed to face the crowd of people at the fireworks. Jacksonville gets crowded downtown at fireworks but New York crowds are HUGE. I couldn’t believe how many people were with us at the end of 33rd Street watching the fireworks. We found a place to sit down after the fireworks and watched hordes of people leaving the area. So many people….
Last day in New York. First up, the 9/11 Memorial. Because of all the construction around the area, there is a lot of walking to get to the queue to enter after you get your tickets from the “Preview area”. It was hot. Sunny and hot. We spent about an hour walking and standing just to get into the Memorial area. Did I mention it was hot? Jerry and I both got sunburned. The space was nice. I think the city of New York did an excellent job in honoring the souls or the people who lost their lives here. We want to come back and visit again once the museum is open.
You can’t come to New York and not see the Statue of Liberty. She reopened on July 4th and we tried to get tickets but the website was down and the wait on the phone was over an hour. We had a “free harbor cruise” ticket from a special ticket we had gotten when we went to the Empire State Building. Free is good. An hour long tour around the harbor gave us great views of NYC. After seeing the hordes, yes I used that word again, of people on Liberty Island we were happy we did the cruise. No more queues please.
Hey, we haven’t eaten lunch yet. If you’ve seen the movie When Harry met Sally… and you remember the scene when Meg Ryan’s character fakes the orgasm…yeah, that’s here at Katz’s Delicatessen. After enjoying their Katz’s Pastrami sandwich, I don’t think she was faking it!
After filling our bellies full of yummy goodness, we headed back to the hotel to pick up our bags and head to the airport. It was time to head home. We took an Uber car to JFK because I didn’t want to have my hair tangled again by a taxi.
Three days in New York is not enough time. We barely scratched the surface of things to do. Broadway shows, baseball games, events at The Garden, more museums, and of course people watching. Glass is a great reason to go to New York and I’m happy we did it. I look forward to more adventures and showing them through Glass.