We planned a trip to New York with three other couples. Wayne & Tina, Jack & Linda, and Ed and Janis. For the sake of brevity, these couples will now be known as W/T, J/L, and E/J.
We stayed again at The Red Roof Inn. After we dropped off our luggage, we met Tina's cousins for supper at an all-you-can-eat sushi restaurant about a block away. It was expensive, but very good. Unfortunately, just before supper, W/T and myself took a short walk near the hotel and feasted on some hotdogs from a street vendor. And the vendor was so nice, that he gave us some meat on a stick for free. This meat wasn't beef. It definitely wasn't pork. It couldn't have been chicken. And it didn't taste very good. W/T cautiously threw theirs away after one bite, but I idiotically consumed my "meat" on a stick in several (2) bites. And then I spent the rest of the evening praying to my stomach. Later that evening, Wayne and I took a walk to Times Square. We wanted to catch a hockey game with our beloved Oilers. Do you know how hard it is to find a TV showing a hockey game from the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation in the middle of Times Square? Do you know that we actually found one? We found one TV inside the ESPN Zone showing the hockey game, whereas 99.9% of the other TVs were showing the final game of the NCAA Final Four.
Idiot that I am, I had to check my work e-mail while on vacation. So I managed to find a place that had Internet access (it was only about 2 bucks for 20 minutes). So I managed to get my e-mail fix almost every day.
The first full day in New York, everyone went shopping to the Woodbury Common Factory Outlet, except myself. I decided to take a look at the Columbia University campus. That way I could put on my resume that I "went to Columbia University" and not be lying (for a change). After that, I took a short stroll to Riverside Park, then made my way to the Guggenheim Museum. Later that day, I met up with everyone else at the hotel, and then we decided to go to Chinatown for supper.
On Monday, we all went to Madame Tussaud's Wax Museum first thing in the morning. After that, we went to the Carnegie Deli, where we feasted on 8-inch high sandwiches (the next day, we found out that the Carnegie Deli was closed for a health violation... how comforting). We then walked to the new Time Warner building, then took a walk down 5th Avenue (including a stop at Trump Tower).
On Tuesday, we had planned to visit lower Manhattan. Our first stop was a Chinatown restaurant, where we ended up having dim sum with Wayne's aunt and Janis' cousin. Or maybe it was the other way around. I'm so confused! After lunch, we took a walk down the Brooklyn Bridge (part of the way), then went to see Ground Zero. Afterwards, we took the Staten Island Ferry, stood on Staten Island for about 12 seconds, then turned around and went back on the ferry. Dinner was at a restaurant in Little Italy. We then walked through SOHO and into Greenwich Village, before taking the subway back to the hotel.
Wednesday, we had tickets to a taping of Live With Regis And Kelly. The studio had more security than an Israeli airport. And Bruce Willis was supposed to be on the show, but he taped his segment beforehand ("booooooo!"). Afterward, we went to the Starbucks across the street and ran into Yo Yo Ma (or someone claiming to be him). We then met the other couples at a deli, where we ran into Mia Farrow. After lunch, we took a "30-minute" carriage ride (elapsed time: 21 minutes), and then went to the Metropolitan Museum. I think everyone was pretty tired, cuz those Picassos started looking pretty weird. Oh, and we saw David Caruso on a park bench by Central Park. After supper, Wayne and myself went to a Knicks game, while Julie and Tina went to see Hugh Jackman on Broadway ("Van Helsing! The Musical"). We waited for the two girls to come out of the theatre, when across the street, I saw Ray Liotta. Henry Hill from Goodfellas, my all-time favourite movie! I squealed in delight, and ran to get a closer look at him. After he ran the gauntlet of autograph seekers, he walked past me to get to his car. Since I was standing in his way, he kind of pushed me aside. Yay, he touched me!
Our final full day in New York, we went for lunch at the Soup Nazi. For those who don't know, the Soup Nazi was a character on Seinfeld. The real Soup Nazi (gee, he doesn't really like that nickname for some reason) had a soup stand in Midtown. We arrived at the Soup Nazi headquarters at 11:45, still too early, as he was closed until noon. I ended up first in line, so I was nervous as hell. When the soup stand finally opened, I nervously put in my order and paid in cash, my hand shaking the entire time. The sign outside the soup stand explicitly stated that after ordering and paying, the customers are to immediately move to the left. But a tourist was standing in my way, so I could not move to the left. The Soup Nazi was exasperated with me just standing there, so he started yelling at me "Left! Left!". Finally, the tourist moved out of my way. Oh well, at least I can claim to have been yelled at by the Soup Nazi