Last week I had the opportunity to take a trip to New York. My Mom and I decided to take a girls trip and visit my best friend who resides there. Of course I could not pass up the chance to register for a race, the NYPD Memorial 5K. This makes state #8 of my goal of 50. So far I have completed races in Louisiana, Texas, Mississippi, Alabama, Georgia, Kentucky, and Hawaii.
We arrived in the Big Apple on Thursday and had a car pick us up from the airport. I deserved a medal for surviving that ride. New York drivers are not the best and I will leave it at that.
After making it to the hotel we toured the Times Square area. We got our first taste of pedestrian traffic which was pretty intense. About 30 minutes after navigating the sidewalks we arrived to the promised land: the original 8 level Macy’s!
Surprisingly I did not shop until I dropped since I was about to drop anyway from the exhaustion of walking around this urban jungle.
We decided the bypass the Empire State building since it was foggy and headed back to the hotel to rest up for our big night on Broadway.
My New York friend told me I could literally walk out to the street and flag down a cab within minutes. We waived and waived but had no luck. Finally the hotel bellhop came out to the street and advised us getting a cab would be impossible during rush hour. He advised us to take the Subway.
After studying the complicated Subway map for a few minutes we made it underground. Trying to figure out the machine that issued Metro cards was equally complicated. The 1 train arrived and we squeezed into the car with several hundred angry commuters. The scene inside was like a mosh pit. After exiting I realized we were still 7 blocks away from our restaurant and my feet were cursing me for my choice in shoes.
We finally arrived at the famous Russian Tea Room about 30 minutes late for our reservation….thanks Subway. The walk and commuter mosh pit were well worth it. The food was exquisite and the restaurant was beautiful. I had the Kulebiaka, which was salmon with slow cooked onions, mushrooms and vegetables wrapped in pastry, served with roasted baby beets. Yum! A+ for my first Russian restaurant experience.
After dinner we went to see the Broadway show Wicked. I am not into musicals or plays but Mom wanted to see it and she was ecstatic. Three hours quickly ate away at my attention span but the costumes and sets were amazing.
If I thought the taxi situation was bad during rush hour I didn’t know what was in store for us once all of the Broadway shows let out at 11:00pm. Lawd! Taxi cab: impossible, Pedicab: $4 a minute…hell no, Subway: wasn’t risking it at night time. We were on 52nd St. and our hotel was on 29th St. I told Mom we were just going to have to walk and hope our feet didn’t fall off.
Our feet did indeed hurt but the excitement of walking through Times Square at night and seeing the sights distracted us.
The next day we ventured out on the Subway again and headed to the Union Square area with a goal of seeing as much as possible before the rain arrived. We had a delicious breakfast at Petite Abielle, which is a Belgian spot I found on Yelp.com. By the way I have been using Yelp to scout out restaurants for my past few trips and I have not been disappointed yet.
We toured the Union Square area and saw some famous sights such as the Flatiron Building.
Next up were the sights of Midtown New York.
After Mimosas and lobster rolls at Sarabeth’s we went to the FAO Schwarz Toy Store. This long standing New York institution was made famous by movies such as Big and Home Alone. Mom and I had a blast being big kids.
What does one do after playing with toys for an hour? Ice cream of course!!! We walked to Serendipity and after a 45 minute wait, this place always has a line from what I hear, we entered chocolate heaven. We ordered the sundae with mint chocolate, strawberry, and vanilla ice cream.
We managed to dodge the rain while we were stuffing our faces. We took a walk in Central Park to burn off some calories then finally made it to the Metropolitan Museum of Art. We were there about two hours and only saw a fraction of what they have to offer. If you want to see everything I would recommend spending a whole day.
Even though I wore flat shoes my feet were killing me from all of the walking. I can’t grasp how I can run a half-marathon on a whim but can’t walk around all day. I blame the shoes.
We met up with my New York friend and headed to the exclusive Meatpacking District for dinner at Willow Road. We had short rib meatballs, gourmet burgers, and a bottle of rose’ of course. One thing I can say about New York is the food did not disappoint at all.
We woke up bright and early Saturday and took my now favorite mode of transportation, the Subway, to lower Manhattan. I finally got the hang of the routes and that darn Metro card. I felt like a real New Yorker as a swiped my card and went through the turn stall. After a quick bagel we boarded the boat to the Statue of Liberty.
It was a gorgeous, cool, sunny New York day and the views of the skyline were breathtaking.
Mom and I thought walking the New York streets were rough on our feet but we had no idea what Lady Liberty had in store for us. Being a showboat I decided to order the crown tickets months ahead of time to surprise my mother. I did not know we would be ascending over 200 ft. on a spiraling narrow staircase that my 5’3″ frame could barely clear. I thought my Mom would back out because I was sure intimidated especially when I looked down. She took the lead and soldiered on.
The climb was worth it when we made it to the top. The view was incredible. How many people can say they viewed the New York City skyline from the crown of the Statue of Liberty?
Next we headed over to Ellis Island. We were able to find some of our family names while we were there.
After the tour we headed to the historic Stone St. area of lower Manhattan and had pizza at Adrienne’s Pizza Bar.
We also had the pleasure of touring the NYPD Museum. The tour guide, a female NYPD officer who began her career in 1974, gave us a private tour. It was such an honor to talk to her and hear her first hand account of 9/11. What I was most surprised to learn is how many officers are fighting cancer and have died from cancer related to 9/11. In one of the pictures below you will see what looks like a rock. It is actually the slide of an officer’s gun that was melted into the asphalt at the World Trade Center. It was a moving experience to be able to see and hear these things.
The rest of our afternoon took us to Wall St. and Chinatown.
I wish I would have saved some more room to eat again because everything looked and smelled delicious in Chinatown…..but I had bigger problems at this point. The boots I had on were killing my feet. So much that every step was painful. I talked my energizer bunny almost 60 year old mother into heading back to the hotel. At this point I did not know how I was going to do the race in the morning. I soaked my feet in a hot tub of water and doused them in Biofreeze.
In the evening we walked a few blocks over the my New York friend’s loft. Even though I had on a cocktail dress I wore sandals, heels were in the purse however. Then we all headed to dinner at Buddakan in the Chelsea neighborhood. I can’t begin to tell you how delicious the food was. I would have taken pictures but it was so dark inside you could barely read the menu. We started out with lobster egg rolls and dumplings. For our meal we had lobster fried rice and sweet and crispy jumbo shrimp. For a cocktail I had a cosmo…..I had to have my Carrie Bradshaw moment. For dessert we shared carrot cake. It was well worth the wait and price.
Now for the reason I write this blog….the race! By some New York miracle I woke up Sunday morning and my feet felt fine. Maybe it was the Biofreeze, maybe it was the hot soak, maybe it was just wearing my comfortable running shoes. We headed to Zucker’s Bagels in lower Manhattan for a pre-race bagel. Good place, crowded, and they give you enough cream cheese to put on a crate of bagels.
The race started at the NYPD Memorial where a prayer ceremony was held for fallen officers. Each runner received a race bib with the name of a deceased officer. I ran in honor of Detective Fermin. Detective Fermin “Sonny” Archer died from injuries he sustained in an automobile accident while on duty. Detective Archer went home after the accident. He began to feel ill while at home and went to North Shore Hospital for an exam. There it was discovered that he suffered a torn aorta and he was admitted to the hospital, where he remained until passing away on July 14th. Detective Archer has served with the New York City Police Department for 28 years, originally working as a member of the New York City Transit Authority Police Department before it merged with NYPD in 1994. He was assigned to the Warrant Division where he worked with the U.S. Marshals Service Fugitive Task Force. Detective Archer is survived by his wife, four children, and his father.
Read more: http://www.odmp.org/officer/20922-detective-fermin-sonny-archer#ixzz32YHxXKrk
is his profile from the police memorial:
The starting line was at the base of the new World Trade Center. I was super nervous but so excited at the same time because I could not believe I was doing a race in New York and staring up at the World Trade Center. I squeezed my way to the front and tried to check out who was going to be my competition in the law enforcement division.
The start, which was at 10:13am (a lot later than races in the South), was fast. I was trying to keep up with the crowd and scouting out NYPD running club singlets at the same time. Surprisingly I finished the first mile in 6:58. My goal after that was to hang on to a good pace and just enjoy the experience. I ran without my IPOD so I could hear the crowd and take in the sounds.
At the 1.5 mile mark I was passed by a woman in a NYPD singlet. I tried to stick with her but she was too fast. I blindly guessed I could have been in 2nd place for law enforcement but there was no way of knowing. As for overall I was in 11th place.
I slowed down to a 7:32 pace for mile 2. I picked it up for mile 3 for a 7:26 pace. I finished the 5K in 22:35. Good for 13th overall and about 23 seconds off my PR time. Not too shabby for my feet almost falling off the day before.
I ended up getting 2nd law enforcement, but it wasn’t the woman in the NYPD singlet who beat me. It was the girl in the neon sports bra 7 seconds in front of me! See picture below. Gah! I wish I would have known.
The after party included tables of 6 foot long subs and an assortment of drinks. I got to meet several NYPD officers and traded patches and challenge coins. It was great talking to these officers and hearing their experiences of being a police officer in such a big city.
Finally it was time for awards. I got a really nice plaque for placing 2nd in the law enforcement division. I also got 2nd age group!
After the race we visited the 9/11 Memorial Site. The Museum was not open yet but we got to see the memorial pools.
We headed back to the hotel to freshen up then headed to a popular Sunday brunch spot in Chelsea called Cafeteria. I had the Mac and Cheese trio which included traditional, gouda, and bacon. I can’t begin to express how delicious, and probably unhealthy, it was. I deserved it though after running……that is what I kept telling myself.
After a quick stop at an afternoon rooftop party with my New York friend, Mom and I finally went to the Empire State Building. My advice….be prepared to wait, and then wait more, and then wait longer. Even though we had pre-paid tickets we waited over two hours. We finally made it to the top around 8:30pm and the timing was perfect. I will let the pictures, actually taken with my cell phone believe it or not, do the talking.
Mom and I returned home Monday. It was a great 4 day trip and we got to see and do a lot. Until next time!