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Thursday, December 15, 2016

Trips to the East Coast, Chapter II

Our trip started with a very short planned rendezvous with a friend from Harvard student housing days in the terminal at the South Bend airport.  His plane arrived at 4:35; ours boarded at 5:00.   But we had time to hug and chat quickly--with the hope of a visit again later.

The non-stop flight to Newark is a joy with no need to connect in Detroit.  The hotel shuttle came quickly this time and we checked into the Newark Airport Hilton, a familiar place for us.  We shared a pizza and veggies and settled in the for the night.

It was not a good night for me.  There were pulsating noises in the hotel machinery and I felt much empathy for our friend's wife who we learned had been quite ill over the years.  I lay awake too long.

It was another shuttle ride to the airport in the morning and then NJ Transit to Princeton Junction where Jeff picked us up and brought us to the Hyatt Regency where we rented a Hertz Nissan Sentra.  We were able to check in early at the Princeton Homewood Suites.  We shared a half-pound burger at Ruby Tuesdays but each got our own sangria, a nice treat.  A nap helped my insomniac self and then off to the Dance Factory's demonstration in which Michael danced twice.

It was Chinese take-out for dinner and then on to the Princeton Middle School Choir concert.  It was fun to see the progression in skill and maturity from 6th to 7th to 8th graders.  Their conductor must be doing something right when there were 114 7th graders in their choir alone with probably equal numbers of "men " and "ladies" as she called them. She even had the 7th grade "men" singing lyrics from the Song of Solomon.  After the concert we headed down those dark roads by Carnegie Lake to the hotel and another Ruby Tuesday trip for our favorite shimp fondue appetizer and a glass of wine.

 We chatted with our waitress who had a great Notre Dame story for us. She was dating a fellow and asked him to go to a wedding with her.  He gave up tickets for the Shamrock Series game to do so and that really warmed her heart towards him.  She decided to surprise him with tickets later to a game in South Bend and they had a wonderful time together.  A romance sealed by a ND game!  She said it made her heart go pitter-patter just to hear we were from South Bend!
High Line, World Trade
Center, Statue of Liberty
and Jim
10 Hudson Yards
Day Two--Uber to Princeton Junction, NJ Transit to Penn Station, and a cold walk to 10 Hudson Yards where we made our way through security to Sidewalk Labs on the 27th floor.  Dan was there to greet us, show us around, introduce us to folks, including another South Bend native Steven Smyth, and get us some coffee and snacks from the drawers full of choices.

We walked back to Penn Station and made our way through the cavernous and crowded passageways to the Number 2 line to Brooklyn and the Nevins stop.  Another cold walk, but mercifully short, brought us to the Even Hotel, a pretty trendy and very new hotel.  It's all set up for exercise and good health, complete with eucalyptus scented sheets and an exercise ball in the room.  The place is full of puns that make me smile like "Oddly our hotel has just Even numbered rooms" or "Please push our buttons" in the elevator and "Well-come" on a whiteboard in our room.

Using the Even  trainer
One little vignette.  We looked lost at Penn Station trying to find the 8th Avenue exit.  A woman was eager to help us and insisted that she guide us the whole way--as it was to the 7th Avenue exit.  Then she insisted on $20 for feeding her hungry children.  Jim did give her a $5 and the whole incident made me feel like we were suckers.  We resisted the next beggar in line at the MTA ticket lines but did give a buck to the pretty good musicians in the subway.
Dan had an office holiday party after work so we met at 8:15 for dinner at the Bacchus Bistro and Wine Bar on Atlantic Avenue--another short, but cold and windy walk from our hotel.  The lights were so dim that Jim and I had to get out our cell phone flashlights to read the menu.  We ordered successfully and enjoyed our hanger steak (me) and branzino (Jim).  Dan took a look at our nifty hotel and then went on to his third engagement of the evening, a birthday party for a friend.  Jim and I are happily in our little room watching Thursday night football.

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