Intrepid Museum

The rain was cold and fierce as we began Day 3. Our first museum destination was the Intrepid Sea Air and Space Museum, located 46th @ 12th. We had not mastered local bus routes and set out on foot with umbrella in hand. The umbrella was of little use, as we were soaked in short order due to the wind drafts. After trekking across the many city blocks, we arrived at the entry to the Intrepid museum. A bagel from the local street vendor restored our spirits and we were ready to explore the aircraft carrier. With appropriate identification cards, there is free admission for retired military personnel. This access includes the Intrepid, the Space Shuttle Pavilion, the GrowlerSubmarine, and an interesting historical film of the ship.

Our next tourist destination was Grand Central Terminal, which was quite a journey back across the city. By this time, we were accustomed to walking but did consider taking a taxi or pedi-cab. Instead, we made several stops along the way and planned on taking a break at the hotel to regroup for the afternoon. Deli sandwiches and chips were a perfect light lunch and we enjoyed talking with the locals at the sandwich shop during our brief stop there. During our visit to Grand Central Station, we used a free tour app to learn about the main terminal area. There are free guided tours on Friday @ 12:30 pm but we did not arrive in time to participate. The app audio had appropriate descriptions to capture the listener’s attention and provide an educational experience.OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

A good day of learning and light on the wallet too!

Central Park and Upper Manhattan

This is our Saturday in the Big Apple! It was great to see the sunshine out and a forecast of perfect weather ahead! The first destination was Central Park, by way of the Waldorf Astoria, Trump Tower and FAO Schwartz. A lot of information to absorb as we walked through this east section of the city. The Waldorf Astoria was a walk through the lobby where we admired the craftmanship in the central clock. This was a memory lane moment for me. In June of 2010, I stayed at the hotel during some business meetings that changed my life in many ways. The weekend prior to the meeting, a head cold started and it was in full combat by the time I arrived in New York. A sinus infection moved the mere head cold to all shades of miserable. At some point, I escaped from meetings long enough to go to a Duane Reade doctor facility and start on antibiotics for the remainder of the week. It was June, but rainy and cold. I recall holding my head and ears during the flight back to Dallas and being pleasantly surprised that my hearing was not damaged from the event. Anyway, to this day, I say “If you are miserably sick in NYC, the Waldorf is an excellent choice for a sick bed!”. The hotel comforts were the only bright spot in that week of pain. Anyway, back to the present.

We moved on the north and made stops in various stores and buildings along the route. We walked through Trump Tower and rested for a bit in the atrium. The next stop was the FAO Schwartz toy store, which was very enjoyable. We found the keyboard used in the movie “Big” and saw the Statue of Liberty made of lego blocks.

Central Park was a must-see on our list, but we were both rather weary of the long walks and may not have given it the proper attention. There were some highlights that we enjoyed in the couple of hours that we spent there. We saw the fountain and strawberry fields and the promenade. We noted that the park is very photogenic. Our best photo series of the entire trip was at Central Park.

Dining Out in NYC at Scalini Fedeli

This night out will become much like a restaurant review. A subway ride to TriBeCa put us only a block from our dinner destination at Scalini Fedeli (165 Duane Street, between Greenwich and Hudson). We hopped onto the subway near the hotel and arrived at the restaurant early for our 7 pm reservation. There is a small city park across the street from the restaurant, so we sat and recapped the favorites of the trip thus far.

Gwyn at Scalini Fedeli in TriBeCa for evening dinner

Gwyn at Scalini Fedeli in TriBeCa for evening dinner

Going into the restaurant, we were immediately seated and welcomed. The restaurant was recommended by friends and business acquantances who frequent the city, and it lived up to the recommendations. The welcoming atmosphere was much appreciated and set the tone for the evening ahead.  The staff was professional and very efficient through the entire evening which was impressive and added to the enjoyment of the evening.

As we began to make our selections from the prix fixe (fixed price menu), special treats began to arrive as sampler items. Oh how delicious! We wanted to order one of everything! Some of the favorites were the soft egg yolk ravioli  and the regatoni appetizers. The pumpkin risotto was a special for the season and also quite tasty.

Moving into the main course, the oven roasted salmon was juicy and intensely flavorful without becoming overwhelming in the flavor palate. The roasted chicken breast with rosemary and garlic sauce accompanied by pasta was cooked to perfection and delicious. The dessert choices and samplers included gelato and several selection with chocolate.  They had me at the word chocolate!

This evening and the meal together were ranked as our best dining experience during the New York City trip (a much coveted award!).  Hat’s off to Executive chef Michael Cetrulo and the wonderful staff at Scalini Fedeli!  We’re looking forward in great anticipation of our next visit.



Mamma Mia! at the Winter Garden Theatre in New York City

NYC Subway

NYC Subway mural with Alice in Wonderland theme

Our evening activity for the second night in New York City was a trip to the Winter Garden Theatre to see Mamma Mia. Originally built in 1896, this theatre is located at 1634 Broadway, between 50th and 51st street. The original structure was not a theatre, but the many building renovations have restored it to the style of live-performance theatres of the 1920’s and is a very comfortable venue. Our seats were purchased at a discount through for an evening showing of the Mamma Mia live performance. I don’t know if we found the best deal available, but we were able to purchase the tickets online prior to our departure and had our seat assignments in hand while others were shuffling through lines and seeking tickets to the popular show. We were seated on the first row of the balcony, which was an excellent view. Our neighbors to the right were three ladies on holiday from Australia. Their enthusiasm was contagious and soon the balcony patrons were dancing right along with the show performance. The ABBA songs and humor of the show just make for a fun experience and we left the performance in a happy mood and still humming along. There was window-shopping and people-watching to finish off this second day in NYC.

Top of the Rock, Battery Park & Trinity Church

Busy Day ahead as we continue our adventure in New York City!

Top of the Rock

We started the morning at Top of the Rock, which was just across from our hotel room. The admission fee was $12 each with military ID and we also purchased the view identification card for $3. The view identification card is simply that – a card that identifies the major buildings and other sites in each view as you walk around the open area at the top of the building. It is worth the price if you are not familiar with the city.

John at Top of the Rock

John at Top of the Rock

Top of the Rock

Top of the Rock

Top of the Rock

Top of the Rock

Along the route to the elevators, we had a fun time with a photo shoot and took time to enjoy three short movies about the building and location. Acclimated to the city from on high, the next activity was buying subway tickets and heading south to Battery Park.















Battery Park and Statue of Liberty View – We sat on the benches in Battery Park and looked at the Statue of Liberty from afar. The boat dock is at the southern tip of the park and street vendors provided much needed refreshments to enjoy while we rested.OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA




This artwork was in front of the World Trade towers and I recall my first business trip starting my career and seeing the towers as part of that first New York City experience. OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA


Fraunces Tavern 54 Pearl Street New York

Fraunces Tavern Historical Marker

Fraunces Tavern Historical Marker








Federal Hall and the Trinity Church Tour

Enroute to the Trinity Church for a free tour, we discovered the Federal Hall building and used our extra 30 minutes exploring this facinating structure. Managed by the National Park Service, the building has excellent exhibits and was well worth the stop.

At the Trinity Church, we were ready with a few others for the 2pm tour which is billed as a 15 minute overview of the church, but no tour guide in sight! At 10-15 minutes after the hour, visitors began to drift away from the tour gathering. Then a young woman appeared who does not typically do the tours, but works in the communications department of the church. She gave an amazing tour of the church, the graveyards and insight on history, architecture, and cultural significance of the Trinity Church. It was the BEST tour of our trip and lasted almost two hours! What a pleasant surprise for us! After finishing there, we walked by the former site of the World Trade Center buildings. I reminisced a bit about other trips to the area and memories of the park and buildings back in the ’80’s.

Saint Patrick’s Cathedral

St. Patrick’s Cathedral, New York City

After a quick stop at the hotel room, we were ready for a night out exploring! Our first stop was the St. Patrick’s Cathedral. Having just entered the city, I was taken in with the simple theme statement for the cathedral website. “In the City that never sleeps, everyone needs a place to pray”

Stained Glass Window at Saint Patrick's Cathedral

Stained Glass Window at Saint Patrick’s Cathedral

Renovations underway at Saint Patrick's Cathedral

Renovations underway at Saint Patrick’s Cathedral




History and modern times are linked by technology when using this St. Patrick’s Cathedral tour app. Even with ongoing renovations, this is a remarkable building with interesting architecture and historical significance. After about an hour visiting and learning about this landmark, we journeyed on.

Next stop was dinner – destination Times Square! There is no better way to get into the rhythm of New York City than to be in the mix at Times Square. We had a fun walk from 5th Avenue to 7th Avenue and enjoyed the varied architecture along the route. New York style pizza was on the menu at the famous John’s Pizzaria on 44th street. Have you ever eaten pizza inside a church? This restaurant has retained the beauty of the Gospel Tabernacle Church design and features the roots and history of a structure from the late 1800’s. After our fill of pizza, we were ready to wind down for th evening and made our way back to the hotel.

St. Patrick’s Cathedral– 5th Avenue @ West 50th Street

John’s Pizzaria – Times Square/West 44th Street

New York City and Exploring Manhattan

Flags @ Rockefeller Center, New York City

The beginning of our journey to NYC was uneventful with a flight from Jackson to Atlanta and then Atlanta to Newark after a short layover. Arriving in Newark, I began to look for the Airtrain, but then found and took the Newark Airport Express service for $16 per person (cash only). We considered that to be a good deal for a 45 minute bus trip into the city center. The final stop on the bus route was at Bryant Park. There is a subway station at Bryant Park (Orange Line). If we had taken the subway, the next station to the north would be about a block from our hotel, Club Quarters-Manhattan. However, we decided to hoof it, with our luggage in tow. The sights and sounds during our 10 minute walk to the north was the acclimation needed to feel the rhyme of the city. Our check-in a Club Quarters was quick and easy and our room was a corner room that was larger than many that I have previously experienced in NYC. There was no view, well, a view of concrete and heat/air units, so we didn’t gaze much at the “view”. A much better scene was a few steps out the front door where we could see the international flag display at Rockefeller Center.