Long Weekend Celebrating America

Hello everyone! What a weekend right!? It’s crazy to think that I have already been here over a month now and have only about a month and a half left 😦 I am beginning to become more and more attached to this city and my work every day and know I will miss it all greatly when August 21st finally rolls around. Ok, enough with the cliché soppy stuff and on to the fun and excitement!

We finished out work last week on Thursday with a shortened day, meaning plenty of time to go out and do more exploring! After leaving work, I returned to my apartment to change and then headed out on an afternoon of adventures. I had made a list of all the places I wanted to go and visit for each day of the long holiday weekend (a little excessive I know but hey…I like to be organized most times). For Thursday, I had planned to visit the NFL Headquarters over in Midtown East, as well as the Nickelodeon Headquarters just off Times Square, and (to let my inner child out) FAO Schwarz Toy Store. I started off heading to the NFL Headquarters using my GPS to get me to the right street….but of course my GPS happens to go psycho and couldn’t tell left from right so I wasted a solid 15-20 minutes trying to get it to recalculate my location. When I finally found the building and went inside, I asked the lady at the desk about visiting and tours and she said unfortunately nothing was available for that day but to come back the following week (this week) so I plan to return there sometime in the near future 🙂 So after a disappointing first start, I began making my way to FAO Schwarz and stumbled upon Trump Tower AND the Apple Store. I ventured as high up and as low down as I could go in both buildings before finally deciding I better move on before people think I work there. When I got to FAO Schwarz, the famous doormen were happily greeting everyone and willing to take pictures so I chose not to pass it up.

FAO schwarz

This place was HUGE! I cannot express how enormous it was! It was like a never-ending maze of departments and toys! I saw everything from life size superheroes made of Legos to the famous Big Piano floor mat to $600 teddy bears to banana peel powered keyboards! I could’ve spent HOURS in there but I started to notice that most people were NOT of my age…so I decided I better move along before people think I have some sort of issue 🙂

After the toy store, I went next door to the Apple Store (which is also underground) and gawked at all of the technology before me. I then remembered that the Plaza Hotel (from Home Alone 2) was directly across the street and I had never actually gone INSIDE! So I thought to myself WHY NOT!? My initial assumption was that I was going to be immediately asked to leave unless I was a registered guest in the hotel but surprisingly nobody stopped me, in fact everyone greeted me and treated me like I WAS a guest so it was kind of nice. I made my way downstairs first and found lots of little restaurants and sweet shops, sampled some delicious cinnamon bread, and stumbled upon a froyo (frozen yogurt) place. For those of you who do not know, I absolutely LOVE froyo….like seriously if I was able to, I would eat it 3 times every day because it is THAT good 🙂 Anyways, I was initially hesitant to buy any because its NYC and EVERYTHING is expensive but I figured I might as well since I may not find another place like this one and so I loaded up my bowl with a variety of flavors, toppings, and syrups and it cost me less than $4! I was impressed with myself! After devouring my froyo, I made my way back upstairs and meandered through the rest of the hotel; everywhere from the grand ballroom to dining halls to conference rooms and more. At last, it was time to head back towards Times Square for the subway back to Brooklyn. I had plans to go to bed fairly early since I was getting up around 4:30am the following day to go to Good Morning America (GMA).

I found myself binge watching Netflix that evening until I finally fell asleep around midnight sad to say. My alarm came too soon…

I woke up, showered, and made my way to the subway for Times Square and was the first individual at the studio! After hitting up Starbucks for breakfast, I spent the next 2 hours standing in front of the GMA window and watching everyone inside getting cameras ready, scripts, lighting, etc.

gma 2

It isn’t the greatest picture in the world but that’s also because outside the studio was still dark out and the inside was completely lit up so I was unable to capture a solid picture. Anyways, finally more people began showing up. A GMA worker had come out several times and told us all that anyone who wanted to was able to board a studio bus to Central Park to see Mika for the Summer Concert Series. I was uninterested at first as I was NOT about to give up my place at the front of the crowd to be on TV! However, after others began questioning the worker about the taping that day and whatnot, they said there was not going to be any filming OUTSIDE the studio that day due to the concert taking place! I finally decided I would go check out the concert since my hopes of being on TV were non-existent at this point…

I boarded a double decker bus from the studio to Central Park and we got a brief “tour” of 5th Avenue before finally arriving at Central Park. I realize now that this post is already getting lengthy and I have a lot left so I will shorten up necessary areas, Basically, the concert was AWESOME and some of my cousins back home spotted me on TV (so that makes several appearances on TV within a month’s time) and I got super close to Ginger (the meteorologist for GMA) as well as Mika himself!

gma 1

mika 1

After the concert, my phone was basically dead from taking pictures and videos that I had to return to Brooklyn to let it charge. When I left my apartment again, I was headed for the Bronx….Yankee Stadium awaited!

The subway actually brought me directly outside the stadium so I had zero walking to do besides descend several stairs. This was my view directly after exiting the subway and staircase….

yankee stadium

I began wandering around the official Yankee Apparel Store when I heard a worker announce “Anyone a part of the 1:40pm stadium tour needs to make their way to Gates 3-5!” I was not a part of the tour but I sure wanted to be 🙂 After hiking clear to the opposite end of the stadium to buy tour tickets, right as I got to the window, the person ahead of me bought the last one…so alas I was at a standstill once again. After exploring the nearby area, I came across a beautiful track and field complex which made me start reminiscing on my high school track days…

Finally I began making my way back to Brooklyn. Tyler and I met up shortly after I returned and found a reasonably priced sushi place just down the street from my apartment. I ended up devouring around 30+ pieces of sushi (Tyler didn’t finish all of his so I assisted)

sushi

It was delicious. After dinner, we returned to my apartment and began planning the following day’s worth of plans. We planned to hit up Nathan’s Famous Hot Dog Eating Contest in Coney Island first and then Long Beach in Long Island for the rest of the afternoon. The hot dog contest was insane….no words can describe the massacre of meat we witnessed as people shoved hot dogs, buns, and water down their gullets to win a championship and $10,000! We did, however, manage to obtain some pretty sick hats in the process:

hot dog hats

While these hats were in no way at all flattering, we wore them proudly the rest of the morning and I even wore mine on the subway ride back towards Brooklyn. We dropped our things off at my apartment, changed clothes, and headed towards Atlantic Avenue to catch the Long Island Railroad. The train ride was super cool! We saw parts of NYC we never would have thought existed had we not witnessed them firsthand. At last, we arrived at Long Beach. When we arrived at the beach we were just in awe of just how LONG Long Beach really is….dumb statement I know but seriously it was crazy.

long beach 2 long beach 1

After finding out we had to pay $12 just to ENTER the beach, we still figured it was worth it since we had plenty of time to kill and we would most likely never have the opportunity again. Tyler and I jumped waves and swam for a short bit before we came out and laid in the sand. I drifted off to sleep and took a wonderful hour nap. Around 7:30ish we left the beach and began the hunt for food. We went the cheap route and settled with Burger King. The next available train from Long Beach to Atlantic Avenue wasn’t leaving until 8:30 so we had plenty of time to enjoy our cheap fast food. The train ride home was a blur as I again drifted off to sleep and took another perfect nap. When we finally reached Brooklyn and caught the subway back to Clark Street, we met up with Jennifer (another SWD intern) and two of her friends to watch fireworks from my rooftop. While my rooftop was pretty crowded, it was NOTHING compared to the crowds we saw down by the promenade. The show finally began.

Now I have watched Macy’s fireworks on TV for years, but I would never have imagined getting to witness them in person. It was absolutely stunning. I had never witnessed anything like it.

fireworks

My Facebook is loaded with pictures and videos of the fireworks but I figured it was best not to bombard my blog post with every single picture. The fireworks just reminded me how truly blessed we all are to live in this country and be a part of something much larger than ourselves. It was a perfect way to cap off a perfect 4th of July. When the fireworks subsided, everyone was ready to call it a night. I hit the hay around midnight if not earlier.

Sunday was an EXTREMELY relaxed day. I woke up and met Jennifer for church again in Times Square and then ate some more delicious soup from The Original Soupman (Seinfeld) before returning to Brooklyn where I spent the rest of the day doing laundry and tidying up the apartment. I crashed around 10:30 after a packed and exhausting weekend of adventures.

It is now Monday, which means a full week of work but I am super excited for this week as several major things are taking place: 1) my projects are going to be moving forward big time this week as I have lots of meetings planned and I finally (at least for now anyways) finished my research for my Needs Assessment portion of my Hispanic outreach project 2) all of the interns are having lunch with Derek, the CEO, this Thursday and 3) my girlfriend will be visiting this Thursday through the following Tuesday and I cannot wait!!! Lots of positive things taking place in the office this week and things already feel like they are off to a good start. For example, on my way to work I passed the NYC Stock Exchange and was reminded of this great country by this:wall street

Well…I have gone on long enough and I may have bored some of you but hopefully you made it through to this point and are still doing ok 🙂 I hope everyone had a wonderful holiday weekend and enjoys this week and the surprises it holds!

Until next time,

– The T1D in NYC

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