Part 2 of 3 explaining the last year!

In part 1, I went over our trip to New York last summer, starting in Onalaska, WI, going through Chicago, Youngstown, Centralia and into New York. This time, I will continue our trip finishing up in New York and heading to Washington, DC, Gettysburg and finally back home. Next time, I will talk about our trip to Lincolns Tomb in Springfield, IL and then our latest trip to Saint Louis, MO and back.

After we left the waterfront, we passed a couple of old colonial type ships parked in the harbor. It was starting to drizzle again and so we headed for the subway. We got to the subway and took the train to Grand Central Station where we walked around and basked in its enormous glory.

We left Grand Central and started walking around Manhattan and ended up, where else? Times Square. You could see the light from blocks and blocks away. It was a bit more expansive than I had thought it would be. Beth and I were excited to see the flagship Toys R Us store. We paid to ride the Ferris wheel in the store and we thought it was awesome.

We continued to walk around and ended up at the Radio City Music Hall and Rockefeller Center. It was amazing. I never thought that I would see Rockefeller Center (it wasn’t during Christmas, but it was awesome anyway!). We continued on running about town and ended up walking to Trump Tower, Central Park and the 5th Avenue Apple Store!

We went back to the apartment and on the way, I took a couple of pictures in Washington Square Park. Afterwords, we went out to drink for Beth’s birthday. We walked around trying to find a bar to drink at and found a sports bar that was not that fun. We took a cab from there to another bar. During this cab ride, I lost my iPhone. I didn’t notice until we were out of the cab for about an hour. I tried calling it and texting it and received no response. We left that bar and took another cab to Stonewall, the famous bar where the Stonewall riots happened that started the gay rights movement.

After talking to a few people, we left and went back to the apartment.

The next morning, Teresa and I went to the Apple Store in SoHo and purchased a new iPhone with a new contract because I didn’t want to pay the unsubsidized fee for the iPhone (which is like $600-$700). Afterwards, we went back to the apartment and picked up Beth then went to the Ghostbuster House (which is a real life working fire house in New York. We took the subway to Central Park and walked from the north side of the park (where there really isn’t anything touristy going on), to the south side of the park. The south side of the park is where are the iconic Central Park moments happen in movies and TV. We had to walk around the giant lake after I got the worst pretzel of my life from a crappy vendor cart. We visited the pond and the fountain that are in a lot of movies, walked past the Lenon memorial area of the park and saw the apartment building he was shot outside of.

At this point, it started to get dark and we took some pictures and rode the subway back to the apartment. Beth was tired and wanted to stay in, so Teresa and I went out to take some photos of New York at night. We got stopped by some crazy homeless guy and hassled for money. We walked by the Flatiron building, the Empire State Building, Times Square again, Madison Square Garden and Macy’s. It was a lot of fun and we covered a ton of ground. This was the last night in New York.

The next morning, Teresa and I went and got Strawberry Crepes and took the subway to the Roosevelt Island Tramway to Roosevelt Island. It was scary and fun! We went back to the apartment and picked up Beth and took the subway to Coney Island. It was a very long subway ride where we went by a really cool cemetery that was crazy packed and really old looking.

When we got to Coney Island and left the subway station, there was a crazy guy who was yelling at everyone in a fight with .. himself? It was strange. It was almost like the guy who swung a train at us in San Francisco. Nathan’s Famous Hot Dogs were there and we had to eat there. They were amazing hot dogs! We walked to the beach and touched the Atlantic Ocean for the first time. The rides were running, but we didn’t have time to ride any of them and had to get on the subway back to the city and head to DC.

We headed back to Washington Square Park and the apartment to pack up and head to Philadelphia and Washington, DC.

We packed up the car and headed out of New York. We wanted to make a stop in Philadelphia, PA so we could see Independence Hall and eat a cheese steak at Pat’s Cheese Steaks. It was an interesting experience. It was getting late and we needed to head over to Independence Hall. We got there after they weren’t admitting people into the Liberty Bell, but we could see it through the glass. We checked it out and then walked around Independence Hall. It is a lot smaller in person than you would think.

We had to get to the hotel in DC, so we left Philadelphia and headed to DC. We arrived in Washington and checked into the hotel. We unloaded our crap and then drove around the government buildings and parked and walked up to the Washington Monument. It was bigger than I thought it was going to be. It was a very surreal experience. In New York, things were a lot smaller than I thought they would be and in Washington, DC, things were a lot larger than I thought that they would be.

We took some photos and then headed back to the hotel so we could get started the next morning.

We got up and first thing drove into the city. We had not had breakfast, so Teresa suggested that we stop and eat at this sandwich shop, Potbelly’s. I was skeptical at first, because I am not a huge fan of sandwiches. We parked and went in and ate. It was amazing! Too bad we don’t have one of those in La Crosse.

After we ate, we went around the corner to Fords Theatre. It is the theatre where Abe Lincoln was shot. Across the street is the house where he was taken and died the next morning. We took the tour of the theatre and museum and I learned a lot about the actual assassination. Afterwords, we went to the house across the street to see where Lincoln spent the last hours of his life. It was really interesting.

After Ford’s Theatre, we walked around DC and saw the J. Edgar Hoover FBI Building (as seen in the X-Files!). We stumbled upon the National Archives where the Declaration of Independence, Bill of Rights and the Constitution is housed. It was really interesting seeing these founding documents in person, even though you couldn’t really read anything on them.

The Capitol Building was next on our lest of things to do. Unfortuantely, you can’t walk up to the front of it and just walk in. Since September 11, you have to enter through the visitor center and go through all types of security screenings. There were no more entries allowed on that day to get into the actual Capitol. The museum was cool that is located in the visitors center.

We left the Capitol and headed down the National Mall. We stopped in the National Arboretum (?). It was cool. The Smithsonian Institution (looks like a castle) was pretty cool. We then continued down to the White House and took numerous photos.

Later that evening, we went over to the Jefferson Memorial. That thing is HUGE!!! Afterwords, we dove over to the Lincoln Memorial and around and around it because we couldn’t find parking. Eventually found parking and went up the steps to the memorial. Abe was HUGE!! Took some photos and then we went over to the Vietnam Veterans Memorial, walked down the reflecting pool to the World War 2 Memorail (which was epic). Walked back to the car and drove around again and headed back to the hotel.

This was our last day in Washington before we had to head back and we were going to the Mint, Capitol, Smithsonians and Arlington National Cemetery. We started with the Mint and learned how our money is made. The Capitol was next. This time we were able to get tickets to see the inside. It was a very interesting tour that explained the meaning of all of the ideas behind a lot of the choices they made in construction.

The race to see all the Smithsonians were next. The Natural History Museum, American History Museum and the Air and Space Museum. We had to rush through the last one as they were closing. We left town and headed to the Arlington Cemetery. It was HUGE!! We walked up to JFK’s eternal flame and then to the Tomb of the Unknowns. They have a guard changing ceremony that was really interesting to watch.

It was getting late, so we headed back to the car and started the long car ride home via Gettysburg. Unfortuantely, I don’t have time to finish this post at this time, I have to help finish dinner. Next time, I will finish and tell about Gettysburg, the trek for Teresa’s iPhone and the final leg home from Madison!

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