Wednesday, July 13, 2005

New York City & Getting No Sleep

This past weekend was a total whirlwind. On Friday afternoon I had Officer Professional Development (OPD) at the O Club (Mugs) and then a Hail & Farewell directly following it at the Landings, so by the time I got home & changed, it was time to head to Philly to pick up Ashley's friends.

We took Ashley's Montero since we were picking up 3 people + their luggage. Unfortunately, about 5 miles away from the airport the Montero started making a terrible clunking sound. It kind of sounded like metal-on-metal hitting, and was emanating from the engine. After calling my dad & Ashley's dad, we decided that the best option would be to rent a car at the airport to send Ashley & her friends home in, and then I would wait at the airport until a tow truck could come retrieve me & the Montero.

I took a shuttle from the parking garage over to the rental car area at the airport, and rented Ashley a Ford Escape from Budget. Her guests arrived about half an hour late, but I made sure they all got loaded up, and then sent them on their way back to Dover. I called the tow truck around 11:00PM, and it finally showed up at 1:30AM.

Apparently there was a major accident on I-95 near the airport, so it delayed the guy a significant amount of time. His name was Don, and he was very personable & conversational on the ride back (which made the unfortunate situation a little more bearable). It set me back $350 cash for the tow, in addition to the $65 for renting the Escape for Ashley. However, I didn't care as much about the money as I did that I got back to Dover at 3:30AM, and I had to be up at 4:30AM to get ready to head back to Philadelphia to catch a train New York City.

Yes, it was as bad as you might think so little sleep would be. We got on the road back up to Philly just after 6:00AM, and dropped off the rental car at the airport around 7:30AM. Then we all piled in my Grand Am (which Ashley had followed me in), and headed over to 30th Street Station to catch the AMTRAK train. Our train was about 20 minutes late, but we finally boarded and were on our way to NYC around 9:45AM.

It was my first time taking a train anywhere (save the monorail at Disney World or the subway in NYC), so there was a certain novelty involved. Unfortunately I was dead tired, so I probably enjoyed it a little less than I might have had I not gotten only an hour of sleep. We arrived in Penn Station just before noon and got a couple of cabs over to our hotel at Beekman Towers.

We had two rooms reserved there, but they had overbooked the hotel for the night. This actually worked to our advantage, though, because they offered us a 1,000 square foot apartment style suite instead. We had two bedrooms, two bathrooms, a kitchen, a living room, and an awesome view of the East River from the 23rd floor. After dropping off our luggage, we caught a couple of cabs over to Times Square, and then walked down to 42nd St to eat at John's Pizzeria.

Thankfully our lunch didn't take long, and we made it over to 12th Ave. in time to catch the 2:30PM Circle Line Cruise around Manhattan. It was a 3 hour cruise (like Ashley & took in 2002), we got to see lots of great sights, I snapped some stellar pictures, and I even caught a 15 minute nap on the middle deck during a thunderstorm.

After the cruise, we went back to the hotel to shower, and then went to the Bull & Bear Bar at the Waldorf Astoria Hotel for dinner. I neglected to mention earlier that I had been wearing my sunglasses all day since my eyes were so blood shot from lack of sleep. So even after the sun set, I decided to keep my sunglasses on. When I showed up for dinner well-dressed, in sunglasses, and with 4 other females in formal attire, I understandably turned some heads.

Dinner was great. Ashley & I both got Filet Mignons (which was the third best steak I've ever consumed), had a couple of glasses of wine, and then actually went to the bar area for drinks. I asked the bartender what Frank Sinatra's favorite drink was when he came to the bar (FYI: he lived at the Waldorf Astoria for many years, so he frequented this bar quite often), and he replied with, "Frank always got a double Jack Daniels on the rocks." I told him I'd take it, and that sent the night into hyper drive.

After having drinks there, we went across the street to the Whiskey Blue at the W Hotel. It was so packed there, though, that we left before even getting drinks. Then I suggested we go to "The View" which was the rotating restaurant/bar on the 48th floor of the Marriott Hotel in Times Square. We caught a couple of cabs over there, waited to catch the two elevators to the top, and then b/c the bouncer thought I was important (b/c of sunglasses and 4 women) we got to cut in line and go directly to a table.

We all had a drink there, watched the Manhattan skyline go by, and then decided we should head back to our hotel to check out the bar at the top of it called "Top of Tower". The view was amazing, but the combination of lack of sleep, several drinks, and just coming from a rotating bar made me think that this bar was rotating, too. That's when we knew it was time to call it a night. Ashley's sister & friend decided to stay at the bar, though.

Well, at around 2:00AM, we got a knock on our bedroom door, and it was Ashley's sister saying that her friend, Tammy, had lost her wallet in the cab we took back to the hotel. So we had the NYPD come to our hotel at 3:00AM to file a report. I, however, was too tired to even regain consciousness for this excitement, and didn't really understand what had occurred until the next morning.

On Sunday we walked around 5th Ave, Rockefeller Center, Central Park, 6th Ave, Little Italy, & China Town. I was running on fumes by Sunday afternoon, so we just kind of took it easy towards the end of the day, and hung out at a bar in Little Italy. Then we got our luggage from the hotel, went back to Penn Station, had dinner at Nathan's Hotdogs in the station, and then got on the train at around 8:00PM. One thing of note about train travel: I HATE how there aren't assigned seats (like on planes), so everyone basically sprints through the station, down the stairs, and then onto the bus to fight for seats like animals. That aspect was pretty unappealing.

We finally made it back from Philly to Dover at around midnight, so again I only got a few hours of sleep before having to go back to work. Monday was probably the longest day of work I've ever experienced. I was totally drained from the weekend, but managed to get through the day without dying. We hit up Smither's for dinner last night (a Jamaican cheesesteak & a couple of Yuenglings made my life a little happier), and then I went to bed at 7:45PM.

Ashley took her friends back to the airport today, so were finally settling back into a normal routine. I caught up on my Attack of the Show episodes & The 4400 from Sunday over dinner tonight. And we're probably going to buy Ashley's New Beetle Convertible this Saturday to just wash our hands of the Montero which looks like it's dying. So even though it's only just past 8:00PM right now, I'm going to call it a night again to finally catch up on my lack of sleep. You can relive the NYC trip with me by checking out the photo gallery below. Goodnight everyone!

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