Chapter Five: Miracle On 34th Street…Our Final Day In NYC

P1040753Chapter Five: Miracle On 34th Street…Our Final Day In NYC

Day Five – A More Perfect Union, Yep It’s Still Flat, The Best Coffee I’ve Ever Tasted, Our Eataly Fix, No Parrots Please, Police Presence, Miracle On 34th Street, You Can Never Have Enough Squirrels, Death Escalators, Taco Time, I Think You Have The Wrong Fare and Adios NYC

When we awoke Saturday morning and looked out at what would be another gorgeous NYC day, Tracy commented, “I wish we had booked an extra day.”  Instead we were booked on a mid-afternoon flight, so we only had until about 1:30 to check a few more items of interest off our list.

photo1We walked down 14th Street…

P1040716…to Union Square where they were gearing up for a Holiday market.

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Booths featuring everything from fresh produce…

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…to Moorish lights were nearly ready for the hordes of shoppers who would visit shortly.

P1040718We also ran into some corgis…

P1040722…which reminded us that our two corgis back home were probably missing us.

IMG_1734The park glistened on a crisp morning.

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Speaking of shoppers (not to mention hordes), Tracy and I would join them shortly at two completely different NYC shopping venues.  We headed down 5th Avenue on this beautiful crisp morning.

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Walking by the Flatiron Building, we knew we would shortly be at stop #1….Eataly.

IMG_2165With the bright, blue sky as the backdrop, the NYC skyline seemed even more spectacular than usual.

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We had visited here in 2011 and were very impressed (supposedly there is one coming to L.A. in the not-too-distant future). Eataly is owned by a partnership that includes Mario Batali, Lidia Bastianich and Joe Bastianich, and offers Italian food, fresh produce and a lot more.  It’s also a good place to grab a bite to eat.

P1040745On this morning, I had coffee on my mind. There is a coffee place as you enter Eataly (Caffé Lavazza) and while standing in line I had my second corgi encounter of the morning.  It must have been a sign we needed to get home to see our kids.

IMG_2173I attempted to order my usual vanilla latte, but they don’t serve those.  However, the barista instead recommended a chocolate/orange latte. Wow! It was, no kidding, the best latte I have ever had in my life.

We walked by some Eataly employees who looked like they really kneaded the dough.

P1040736Speaking of dough, we almost bought some panettone, but since it was about 20 bucks more expensive than the ones we buy at Trader Joe’s, we passed.

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Some parts of Eataly are a little, fishy…

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…while there are other spots where you can just pig out.

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I felt like toasting this place with champagne, which we could have done.

IMG_2184The fruits and vegetables at Eataly are so colorful…

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…that it seems a shame to eat them.

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They really do a wonderful job of presentation.

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Want to feel like the big cheese?

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All these varieties were in our wheel house.

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In 2011, we had lunch on their rooftop when we visited with Kim and Mary.

P1000384Unfortunately the restaurant would not open for another hour, and we didn’t have time to wait.

IMG_2180We wandered for about a half-hour and amazingly we got out of there without buying anything.

P1040729Walking across the street, we paused for a minute near Madison Square Park where I met a parrot in 2011, who spent some time on my arm.  Since it drew a little blood then, and now that I’m on blood thinners, I’m quite happy the parrot was nowhere to be found on this morning.  As a precaution, Tracy placed me under a protective shield.

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My parrot incident had been quite the folly, so I was happy to run into William Seward. After singing a quick verse from “North To Alaska,” we were back on our way.

P1040730If anything, the day was becoming more spectacular.

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Wandering toward our next destination, we came upon a statue of Horace Greeley.  When I saw the statue of the famed newspaperman, I knew, although I am no longer a young man, we would be headed west soon.

P1040749Spying what looked like the entire New York City Police Force shortly thereafter, our next destination could not be far away. Tracy had read that 16,000 people per hour shuffle past Macy’s window displays, and there seemed like there were 16,000 cops. The city was on high alert because ISIS had made threats against NYC and Washington DC.

P1040752It is quite unusual for me to go in a department store on vacation (or any other time), so this was Tracy’s version of Miracle On 34th Street.  Of course, Macy’s was gearing up for the Thanksgiving Day Parade the following week.

P1040753The big balloon of Snoopy was a giveaway.  As you can see, just the thought of me going inside gave Tracy a huge smile.

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I’m glad we did.

P1040758Inside we strolled through the lavishly decorated bottom floor.

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The glittering displays were quite festive…

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..and I even got my squirrel fix (for those who don’t know, I love squirrels…yes, I’m nuts).

IMG_2213Tracy and I were led astray by an employee who said to go to the 9th floor to see all the Christmas stuff. So up the escalators we started. By about the third or fourth floor, I noticed the escalators had a strange look to them…they were wooden!

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Aesthetically speaking, I’ve never thought much about escalators, but these were cool looking. I didn’t feel in (much) danger riding this bad boy, although I found out afterward that in 2010 a little kid dropped a water bottle on an escalator and as he tried to grab it, his right little finger was caught under a comb plate. A Macy’s employee was able to stop the escalator, but the kids finger was severed and an attempt to reattach it surgically proved unsuccessful.  Danger aside, I liked the escalators.

P1040764Outside of a train, the 9th floor was rather a bust, except for a couple of posters of a movie that I’ve seen about 34 times.

photoBack downstairs, we wandered outside and became part of the 16,000 shufflers.

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We had wanted to come here at night when the displays would really be spectacular to witness, but those pesky dinners had gotten in our way.

P1040765We took the subway (successfully, I might add…although it’s only a couple of stops, so I really would have had to be an idiot to screw up) back to Union Square. George Washington’s statue was magnificent in the sunlight…

P1040770…as we toured the booths.

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I was tempted by some of those colorful, mosaic lights that I wanted to buy when we visited the Albayzín district in Granada, Spain, but looking at our phones (remember watches?) we barely had time to grab lunch before our driver would pick us up for the airport.  I guess we could have just stayed and eaten some colorful carrots.

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Walking at a brisk pace, just a block or so past our hotel was Dos Caminos (675 Hudson Street, opposite the Apple Store).  The bar was relatively empty, so we sat down and I ordered three of the best carne asada tacos I have eaten in quite some time.  I’m glad they were good, but they cost 20 bucks, as did Tracy’s Surf & Turf tacos (also good).

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The beans were also quite good; a dangerous choice to eat before a six hour plane trip.

P1040780A double margarita poured quite generously from our nice bartender put me in what I hoped would be a good place for our flight home. Luckily, I still retained a few of my faculties for what happened next.

IMG_2226When we got back to the hotel (our bags had been stored for the morning), they received a call and said that our ride to the airport had arrived. He was about 15 minutes early, but anyone who knows me realizes I like to get to the airport long before our flight departs.

As he started to pull away from the curb, the driver confirmed that we were “going to LaGuardia Airport,” which I’m sure is a fine facility, but unfortunately not the airport where our flight was to originate. When we corrected our airport destination, he replied,, “Oh, it will be a little more to go to JFK.”  We said, “Fine.”

After making the u-turn and heading on 14th Street, he said, “Are you Mr. I Don’t Remember His Name?”

“No,” I replied. “Perhaps we should turn the car around, because I have someone waiting for me, and you have someone waiting for you.”  Sure enough, just as we pulled to the curb, another car pulled up in front looking for us. Somewhere in the midst of this, I’m sure there was also some guy looking for a car to take him to LaGuardia.

It was no harm; no foul, and soon we were heading out to JFK and getting our last look at the great city of New York as our new driver traversed the city streets at a high rate of speed (fortunately, no tourists were hurt or killed during this trip report).

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Once again, our autumn journey to NYC turned out to be nothing less than perfect. The weather was great, and we were fortunate to experience a couple of gorgeous days to witness the colors in their full splendor.

P1040334We always leave wanting more of The Big Apple, and I’m sure we’ll back sometime in the next few years to take another quick bite out of the most exciting city in the world.

Enjoy The Journey!  Attitude is Everything!

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