Today was a ridiculously crazy day. We got up at around 2:30 in the morning, traveled 3,000 miles across the country, moved into our hotel, explored the city of New York and went out to dinner. I really don't know where to start, so I'm just going to do this chronologically.
|Our plane - sorry for the dots, there was sort of a plastic sheet|
over the window.
The six of us, our parents, Mrs. L, Don Gosney, and Mrs. Kronenberg met up at El Cerrito High School at 3:45 in the morning for the weighing of our luggage, a photo, and some quick reminders before we left on our shuttle to the airport. While I do love to fly...let me tell you, I absolutely hate the airline industry. Fee here, fee there, 8 dollars for some fruit, restriction on this, restriction on that, etc. While I was extremely excited about the trip. it was also pretty stressful not knowing whether I'd have to pay an extra $50 because my bag was too heavy (it ended up being 4 pounds under the limit) or whether they would bug me about carrying a suit on board, as it was quite a bit bigger than a purse, laptop case or other personal items. Thankfully, Virgin America gave me no problems at all. I was out like a light as soon as we took off; the seats were very comfortable (for an airplane), the ride was smooth, and there were no crying babies. I'd say I slept a good 3 1/2 to 4 of the 5 hours we were flying.
As soon as we landed, the wheels began turning again; we boarded a shuttle to our hotel a little south of Upper Manhattan at 74th Street. The hotel was very nice and gave us everything we needed; the room was clean and comfortable, the wi-fi works well, and even though the room Lenny and I got is directly across from the elevator, it is very quiet.
|View Looking Up Seventh Ave. from 33rd St.|
A little over an hour after we arrived at the hotel, we set out to Penn Station to pick up our tickets for tomorrow's train to Philadelphia. I was fascinated by the fact that there is practically another world down under the streets of New York; the complex that made up Penn Station consisted of I don't know how many pizza places, the subway, three other rail lines, and more. After that, we took a leisurely walk up Seventh Avenue to 36th Street, and from there east a few blocks to our restaurant. The restaurant, Keens Steakhouse, is one of the oldest in Manhattan, and the building created a unique atmosphere of history with photos and newspaper articles from its earliest days covering the walls, along with some very old architecture and artwork. For me, though, the best part was the food. I ordered the Aged Prime New York Sirloin (well done), which turned out to be the juiciest, most delicious slab of meat that I have ever tasted. If you look at the picture below, you can see with the reflection of the light just how juicy my steak actually was.
After eating, we all returned to the hotel on very full stomachs. We went over the plan for tomorrow, which involves waking up at 6:30...but I can say that today we only got started! Tomorrow we'll be visiting the University of Pennsylvania and Philadelphia before returning to New York for another delicious dinner, this one at a French restaurant. I already see myself steadily gaining weight from these amazing dinners, so I've decided to take the stairs 8 stories every day to maybe burn just a few of those calories. I'm not really complaining, though, the beautiful places, valuable information and amazing food...I could get used to this.