Monday, May 21, 2018

Saying Goodbye To NYC

As the saying goes, all good things must come to an end so that means our vacation is over and it's time to get back to reality. It was a good trip split between NY and NJ and there were several highlights that made this trip really awesome. One of the main highlights was meeting some of my husband's family, he does have a huge family spread out in the East Coast so this is one of the many trips we will be making to this part of the country.

I was received so warmly and we got along so well that by the end of the trip my husband's nieces were telling him, "Just go back home and leave J with us, she can live with us." That was the sweetest thing ever and hilarious at the same time! I tell you, I won some hearts during this trip....If I must say so myself.


Another highlight was the celebration of my husband's birthday (the main reason for this trip), his family ended up throwing him a surprise birthday party which was the best thing ever. This was a day after his actual birthday so he got to celebrate his birthday twice.


This was part of the aftermath of a night well spent, we had so much fun at the surprise birthday party.


There were plenty of other highlights but I want to keep this post short although I will touch on what I will miss. I will miss taking walks along the streets of Brooklyn and appreciating how different the houses are compared to where I live. I will also miss the numerous bodegas where you can buy fresh fruits among other things.


Believe it or not I will miss taking the subway especially after getting the hang of it and seeing how convenient it is. Plus it is an interesting place to people watch.......


All in all I will miss the vibe of just being in a different city, It's always so refreshing visiting some place new and experiencing a bit of life in the new environment. Anyway, that's it folks! I am tired and sleepy so I better end it here but do check back in because I have a few more trips coming up that are going to be exciting! See you then...........




Friday, May 18, 2018

Getting Around Major Tourist Sites In New York City

Before I get started I would like to add that I am writing this from my personal experience of how we navigated this city, it is a very big city and we only scratched the surface so I am not claiming to be an expert, but I would like to offer some tips that may help any first timer out there who wants to check out NYC.

We have been based in Brooklyn as I mentioned before and we are very close to the A/C blue line, we mostly took the A line which was express so it got us to places faster, as it had limited stops. Below are the stops and the major sites you can see from each stop.

High Street - Brooklyn Bridge

This stop gets you to the Brooklyn Bridge where you can cross over to Manhattan at the other end. It does make for a nice walk from one end to the other especially on a nice day, make sure to also check out the Brooklyn Bridge Park for great photos of Manhattan from across the east River.


Chambers Street - Freedom Tower, 9/11 Memorial, Financial District & Staten Island Ferry

Freedom Tower, 9/11 Memorial & Museum - Start with these sites from the Chambers St. stop as you can easily walk to them and they are all next to each other. Watch out for signs directing you or simply ask around if not sure.



Financial District - After visiting the 9/11 Memorial you can make your way to the financial district to see the NY stock exchange, the Stock Exchange Bull statue and the Fearless Girl statue



After scrambling through the crowd of tourists all eager to take pictures with the bull and the girl, ask where to get the Staten Island Ferry which is within walking distance. The ferry will get you to Staten Island for free and pretty fast but I am sure that's not what you really want right? this ferry actually passes by Liberty Island which is where the statue of Liberty stands. On a good day and with good zooming capabilities, you can get some great photos of the statue. If this is not enough you can buy one of the many tours being offered to take a ferry that gets you directly to the island where you can take close up pictures of the statue. 

We opted for the free option and since the weather wouldn't let us be great, this is what we ended up with.


Canal Street - Chinatown and SoHo

If you are looking for cheap shopping you can check out Canal Street as you head toward Chinatown,  if you are up to walking you can also head to SoHo for some expensive stuff. We didn't make it to SoHo as we were super tired, it was raining and our pockets aren't that deep for SoHo shopping anyway.



42nd Street - Times Square, Broadway Shows

If you want to check out the bright city lights or one of the many Broadway shows that the city has to offer, head to Times Square. It's great for people watching, shopping, eating and entertainment. If you don't like crowds don't venture out here as it does get very crowded! I thought it was exciting so the crowds did not bother me in the least bit!



59th Street - Beginning of Central Park

You can either take the subway to this stop so you can get to Central Park or you can walk from Times Square to Central Park, we ended up walking. After all the walking you can decide to relax in Central Park which is a huge urban park in Manhattan. There is actually plenty to see and do at this park and it seems to be lively no matter what day of the week it is.




That's it folks! I do hope I have done a good job of compiling places to check out and how to easily get to them. I am not going to lie, initially NYC was intimidating and overwhelming but once we got the hang of taking the subway and knew where and how to get to the right stops, it actually wasn't that bad.

Wednesday, May 16, 2018

These New York Streets

Today was yet another day full of exploration and I must say my feet are so sore right now but at least that's a good indication of a day well spent up and about. Unfortunately the weather has been horrible, I am talking constant rain the whole freaking day! ideally it would have been best to stay indoors binge watching some good TV shows or movies while snacking on goodies that aren't that good for the waistline, but since it's my husband's birthday today........we had to shelf that plan and get out there to brave the gloomy weather.

We took the subway to the 9/11 memorial and museum which commemorate the September 11, 2001 attack that killed almost 3,000 people. Where once stood the Twin Towers is now the 9/11 memorial and it's hard to describe how it looks but I will let the pictures do the talking.


The names you see inscribed belong to those who died on that day.


The museum is right next to the memorial but we didn't get to go inside because there was a long line and it was raining so we decided to skip it and move on to other sites we had planned on checking out.

I was interested in seeing the statues of the wall street bull and fearless girl (google them). Sometimes you just want to take that cheesy photo to be able to say, "I was there once" so of course I decided we should indulge ourselves. There were a bunch of tourists all over the two statues but at least I did manage to get a good shot with the fearless girl statue and my husband was able to sneak one with the bull when he found an opening.


Better than nothing I suppose.........


Otherwise this was the chaos at the front.....


Having completed this mission we decided to go check out the statue of Liberty. There are two ways to do this, you can pay about $35 and get a ticket on a ferry that we were informed makes a stop at Liberty island which is where the statue stands to take close up pictures or, you can take the Staten Island Ferry which is a free ferry that goes back and forth transporting people between Staten Island and Manhattan for free. It doesn't stop at Liberty island but it does pass by the statue of liberty so on a good day you can get some good shots of it. Guess which option we opted for?

The free option of course! unfortunately the weather wasn't the best so this is what we ended up with, Ooh! well, at least we can say we did see the statue of Liberty (which by the way is smaller than I had always imagined). 


The ferry ride was actually very pleasant and quick and I am glad we got to experience it, next up was China Town through Canal street.

We once again took the subway to get us there and despite the rain which had by now gotten heavier, we soldiered on. We had been told that Canal Street was where you could get all those fake designer purses, watches etc. but we were more interested in just checking it out and visiting China Town. It was so funny how someone would come up to you and whisper "Channel, Gucci purse" with the hope of luring you to their shop. We wondered around for a bit, took some pictures and quickly headed back to Brooklyn as we were both tired, wet from the rain and just wanted to get to our room so we could chill.







That's it folks, it was a good day. I now need to take a nap before we head out for the night as my husband wants to go dancing, I would rather stay in bed watching my favorite shows online but it's his birthday so off we go dancing. 


Tuesday, May 15, 2018

New York City

My husband and I have been in the East Coast for the past 4 days and 3 of those days have been spent in New Jersey hanging out with his family and bonding. We arrived in NYC yesterday evening so today was our first full day in this city that never sleeps and it has been exciting!

Today we decided to hit some of the popular tourist spots starting in Brooklyn because that's where are staying. We started with the Brooklyn Bridge which is a suspension bridge that connects Brooklyn and Manhattan. This bridge was opened in 1883, 14 years after the initiation of it's construction and today its become an iconic feature of NYC's skyline. You can easily walk from one end to the other but it does get pretty crowded and there is a bike lane that you have to be mindful of. You don't want some angry biker shouting at you for hogging their lane......yes, I saw that happening several times and fortunately I was just an observer not the receiver of the tongue lashing, phew!

There were plenty of opportunities for good photos so of course I took advantage........



Someone decided to try some acrobatic stunts and concluded that the steel wires holding the bridge were impressively strong.............to my relief! who wants one of those breaking off, right?!


After crossing over to Manhattan we took another subway train ride to Times Square, a big commercial intersection in central Manhattan at the junction of Broadway and Seventh Avenue. The place was crowded as expected but since I love crowds I was not bothered at all, the only complaint I had was the weather which had by now become really hot.





After the excitement of Times Square we headed to Central Park; an urban park in Manhattan, to take it easy and rest our tired feet. The place was bustling with activities that I even forgot that it's Tuesday, a regular working day. I can only imagine how much busier it gets over the weekend! I loved it!





That's it folks, it was a super long day for us and we got back to Brooklyn very tired but content by all the activities we had indulged in today. Tomorrow is another full day and it so happens to be my husband's birthday so of course it's going to be a special day. I will keep you posted so watch out for the next update.

Random Thoughts of The Day:

I love how much I get to speak Spanish here (NJ & NY) because you know this is where there are lots of Dominicans, Puerto Ricans etc. The diversity here is amazing and no one really stands out because it's truly a melting pot.

Speaking of diversity, my husband has gotten tired of excitedly saying, "those are Dominicans" whenever someone passes us speaking Spanish just because Dominicans are a dime a dozen here, I must say it's good to see him feel so at home because where we live there aren't that many Dominicans.

Taking the subway was intimidating at first but after maneuvering around the city today am proud to say that I am getting the hang of it and it's less intimidating than I initially thought.

On the subway today I did see one of those infamous NYC rats. It was a chubby lil' thing scampering around and you could tell that rat was so used to being around people because it was not fazed at all by the crowds.






Sunday, April 29, 2018

Houston, Texas

I came to the realization that I haven't done a lot of traveling within the US. I have visited several states but there is just so much more to see and explore so it's about time I started appreciating what this country has to offer. My husband and I have decided to be taking more trips within the country whenever possible and I will be writing about those trips as we go along. We recently took a trip to Houston, Texas and even though It was a really short trip we had lots of fun and I got to catch up with friends I hadn't seen in years!

This trip was not strictly structured with specific places we wanted to visit, we decided to go with the flow and just enjoy ourselves without the added pressures of trying to see a lot within a short time frame. The priority was to have fun, relax and get a taste of the vibe in this city. Without further ado this is what we were up to..........

Lyndon B. Johnson Space Center:

This is one of NASA'S largest research and development facilities where you can learn some very interesting facts about space travel and what it takes to be an astronaut among many other things. We took a guided tour of the center which was really interesting and very informative.




Kemah Boardwalk:

Situated about 20 miles from downtown Houston, this place features: restaurants, retail shops and various amusement rides. We visited during the week so there weren't that many people but I was informed that during the weekend it gets really crowded. I am glad we visited when we did because we were able to enjoy the place without massive crowds and best of all we didn't have long wait times for the things we wanted to do. We had some really good seafood, went on a boat ride and walked around enjoying the ambience. Too bad we didn't take many photos because Kemah is pretty, actually I don't even know why we didn't take photos but hey! at least my friend got this cute shot of us.


Discovery Green:

This is a 12 acre urban park in the heart of downtown Houston. The park is very vibrant and pretty with interesting events that often take place on it's grounds, on a good day you can even get the pleasure of enjoying some free live music. On the day we went there was an event celebrating diversity and they had a deejay who was playing some really good music, there were also several live bands that performed. Definitely a must do if you want to take it easy and enjoy some downtime. 





We even got the pleasure of witnessing a proposal, it was so sweet and everyone around stopped what they were doing to clap for the couple.



The sun was certainly out and bright!




Thick thighs save lives........I could save several lives!

 

Catching up with friends:

Last but not least I got to enjoy the company of a couple of friends that I hadn't seen in years!!!! to be honest with you, for me this was the highlight of the trip. We laughed, a few tears almost got shed as we had some "deep girl talk" and we drank & got very merry. What was meant to be lunch ended up extending to happy hour and the hours just seemed to fly by! fun times indeed.




That's it folks! It was a short trip but sometimes that's all you need to re-charge. We have another trip coming up soon so watch out for another update.