How weird is it to wake up on Thursday in Chicago and have lunch in New York? About as weird as waking up on Friday in New York and having lunch in Chicago. It was that kind of trip.
Here are the pictures to prove it.
I woke up at 5 in Chicago to take two trains to O'hare. By noon I had landed at La Guardia and by one I was checking in to the W hotel in Manhattan (Union Square location).
But one of the best parts of the trip was flying in. I thought that I had heard in some 9/11 coverage that planes aren't allowed anywhere near Manhattan...well, we didn't fly over it per se, but we fly along side of it, traveling north over the Hudson River. And the first sign that I knew that I was looking at Manhattan was seeing Ground Zero. It's a lot bigger than I thought it was, and was shocking to see from above.
But before I had time to dwell on it, I was passing Madison Square Garden. And then the Empire State Building. And then Central Park and then Yankee Stadium. The whole island was beautiful and I was glad that I was seated on the right side window, so I could take advantage of the eastern view.
I checked into the W and the rate was 409. Per night. With taxes and everything it was 475. Are you kidding me? I'm glad I wasn't paying for it.
After checking in I went straight to Bobby Flay's Mesa Grill. And then I checked out the alli experience, the reason I was there. Now it was 2pm and I was stuffed. The only thing I had really researched was restaurants, so I wasn't sure what to do. I decided that even though it was really far, I should start walking towards Ground Zero. I had the time.
So I made my way down to the Financial District, via NYU's campus/Washington Square Park. And it didn't feel like it was that far getting down there. (Turns out it's 2.1 miles from the hotel.) And when I finally got there, I was expecting some big emotions. But all it is...is a construction site. There's no way to feel what happened. If you didn't know, you just wouldn't know. The whole thing just felt empty. And that's what was the most depressing--that there weren't any emotions to feel.
So I took some pictures and made my way back north taking Broadway this time. It felt a lot farther coming back. But I made it and was back in my room by 5:30.
Later on, I met up with some coworkers for drinks in the hotel bar. I ordered a Whisky Sour. The 4 drinks came to a total of, wait for it, $47. Um...yeah.
So we went out for dinner at 10pm to a Cuban restaurant, Havana Alma de Cuba. I ordered the roasted suckling pig and had unlimited Sangria. Again I'm glad that I wasn't paying for it, between the 15 people at the table, the appetizers, entrees, desserts, and pitchers of mojitos that were going down, the bill was probably close to $1000.
Anyways, I ended up back in the hotel around 2am, just in time to wake up at 7 for my flight. So yeah. New York.