Dad Visit: Painting the Town

Once upon a time my Father came into town. The end.

Ok I lied…there is a WHOLE LOT more! Take two: The Pops arrived the evening of October Seventh in the year Two Thousand and Ten. The eve began with a fantastic dinner at one of my favorite local Upper West Side restaurants, Sooke—a lovely Thai restaurant (my dad LOVES Thai food!)! Divine! It was marvelous having the Pops in town! It was his first visit since I moved to the East Coast in 2009, so it was particularly fun to show him where I have been dwelling this past year. …still I confess it was a bit weird to think he was visiting my… home… ? Wow. Remember how I LIVE in Manhattan?! Strange…

Following dinner we walked up Broadway towards Bryan and my apartments. Along our stroll, Bryan and I felt it imperative to show him what real New York grocery shopping is like; we therefore took him to our local grocery store. Oh New York grocery shopping: so much squeezed in so little space. The walls are lined with food—packed with it even—yet there is no room for people. It’s absurd; grocery shopping is definitely something you only do when you’re feeling chipper and patient! My Dad appreciated it. Ha.

We then rounded the corner to show him Bryan’s apartment. So lovely! We were excited to show him our free leather chair and ottoman as well (did I mention we found a free leather dark brown ottoman and chair on Criagslist!  It's quite lovely!)! And then to my apartment…which during that stroll we concluded it is literally but 200 steps (Rachel sized) from Bryan’s door to my door! The short stroll from one door to the next is always a treat: rats, drunks, cursing….again a real treat. We then sat around with my roommates and simply chatted for the remainder of the evening.

Friday:
Friday began with a continuation of my UWS tour— thus I decided to walk my Dad to school with me (the path I take). We began by walking up Amsterdam. One of my favorite parts of my walk to school is St. John’s Cathedral—the largest Cathedral in the United States (or so I’m told). Naturally we had to stop and appreciate it’s magnificence.


SO beautiful! Bryan and I sometimes attend free concerts there. The structure is monstrous! And everything is so detailed—the architecture, stain glass, everything really…

Absolutely breathtaking!

We continued to school. First I showed him my other home: the School of Social Work. I cannot believe I’m already more than half done! It seems just yesterday that my Mom and I explored campus for the first time!


Then to main campus: Low Library, the Thinker, the Law School…everything. I loved showing my Dad my school. I quite love Columbia! It’s been such a phenomenal experience!

Continuing on…I showed him some of my other favorite UWS spots: Grant’s Tomb, another exquisite church, Riverside Park, and of course a spot where the movie Enchanted was filmed!


Ha! I’m cool I know. My tour continued: we boarded the subway and emerged at 96th street. There I showed my Pops my current internship—the FCC—and my old residence on 93rd St (again that seems so long ago!). And that was my tour of the NY life of Rachel. We therefore continued to something I’ve been dying to tour: the UN!

We took our adventuring to the East Side of Manhattan where we went through Grand Central over to the UN.



Love this:


I’d never done a UN tour so I was absolutely elated! Somehow we lucked out and hit no lines (at all). Then we were the last two to get tickets for the 1:35 English tour (it was 1pm); everyone after us had to wait until 2:35! Oh it was lovely. While we waited for our tour we walked through some of their galleries—one in particular was a photo journal of those suffering with AIDs around the globe. It was very moving.

The tour was fabulous. Our tour guide had a microphone and we each had head phones—I felt like I was on a field trip in the Holy Land again.


The guide was amazing though; she was very bright and extremely knowledgeable. At the beginning of the tour she asked what country we were in—apparently the UN is not US soil but soil to all the UN countries. I guess my Dad and I left the country…? Party!



The tour lasted about an hour. I don’t know about my Dad, but I know I left thinking about how much more I need to stay up on my current events. Delightful experience though.

My Dad seemed to have brought wonderful weather, so following the UN we strolled up 5th Avenue—saw St. Patricks and some of the big wig stores—then leisurely walked through Central Park. The park is always full of entertainment: we came upon something being filmed, singers, a leaf man? (this guy seriously dressed up like a leaf, would pick up leaves, then throw them for people…no joke), we saw Strawberry Field, the boathouse, the Balto statue


and Alice and Wonderland statue,


Cleopatra’s needle—aka an obelisk—and so much more.

It really was an amazing walk.

At this point it was getting a bit later in the day, so my Pop’s and I headed back down the island—hit up the NY Library. Great story there. In the Main Reading room there are signs everywhere that say “No photography”. Well, this one lady was taking pictures and the guard/worker calls over to her:

“Ma’am.”
“Yes?”
“Do you drive?” (I was confused where he was going with this.)
“Yes,” she replied.
“Well do you read the signs when you drive?”
At this point she looked a bit confused, but then she noticed him signaling toward something—the sign...

Yeah, I think she felt pretty dumb. But it was most comical. My Dad thought it was hysterical. He and the guard bonded over that one.

Continuing on: New York Life. I thought it about time I go and visit the FiancĂ©’s work. Thus my Pops and I went and saw his office. I felt loved: he had a picture of the two of us in his cubicle! Love him.

Post New York Life Bryan and I decided to show my Dad Max Brener’s Chocolate by the Bald Man—a Willy Wonka inspired restaurant! They have the BEST hot cocoa! Really though! We all got some hot cocoa which we drank in hug mugs (the cutest mugs that you hug…or really that you cup in your hands and it keeps your hands warm as you drink). Loved it! Love the restaurant! You can order fondue, s’mores, crepes, and so many other wonderful things! Sigh. Brilliant. Following our scrumptious dinner we meandered through Union Square where we watched some street performers break dance and then played chess. Ha. Seriously though—my pops and I each played chess with those guys who make money by playing games of chess in the park!


SO fun! I’m no good at chess—but the guy taught me a lot.

My parents topped the day off with an amazing treat: The Lion King on Broadway. Talk about powerful! Moving! Deep! I LOVED it! L-O-V-E! And though I’ve seen it before, it never ever gets old! The music is so powerful that I can hardly move and hardly breathe. Sigh—I LOVE music! I love musicals! I love the passion, the emotion, the power…music has a way to unveil the deepest feelings. Exquisite! I cried when I saw it in Utah with the wonderful Perry family; I cried when I saw it Friday night. It was the perfect close to the perfect day!


Saturday:
We began the day with a visit to the Manhattan LDS Temple. I cannot express the apparent difference in sound, feeling, and peace there is by merely leaving the streets of Manhattan and entering that sacred place.


Exquisite. A bit of Heaven on Earth. And what a remarkable experience: as fun as it was to paint this fun and crazy town with my Dad, it was such a wonderful experience to go to the temple with him and my future hubby! The peace found in the temple is unreal! It is so powerful! Following the temple, Bry and I even invited my Dad to join us in our post Temple tradition: Pink Berry!

Yum! Best lunch ever!

We then spent the afternoon biking through Central Park! Marvelous! The weather was flawless and the park was filled with some of the most talented performers. One of our favorites was a guy rockin out on his guitar! He was fantastic! It was so relaxing and exhilarating peddling through that NY oasis.




We then hit up the Museum of Natural History; we explored Asian mammals, Asian people, Pacific Island people, found Dum Dum from the movie Night at the Museum,


...then we visited the sea life room…and still we saw only a miniscule part!

As evening approached we thought we’d try out a restaurant I’d heard of: Stardust Diner. Someone mentioned it to me briefly long ago as being a 50s style diner restaurant with aspiring Broadway singers as the waiters and waitresses. The general gist: the waiters and waitresses sing. I was a bit skeptical of what that meant: one song every hour or so? I was very much mistaken! It was FANTASTIC! Such fun entertainment! The waiters and waitresses all have phenomenal voices and the entertainment was non-stop! Diner food and singing: what could be better?! I can’t believe I hadn’t heard more about it!

Our waiter, Matteo, singing as he brings us drinks:

And another waiter singing on the back of some booths...

*Sigh* It was literally some of the best family friendly entertainment I’ve ever experienced! We were there for a good two hours! Not going to lie, I laughed pretty hard when our waiter found out Bryan and I are getting married (courtesy of my Dad) and so announced to everyone that “Rick and Julie” are getting married in December. Love that he gave us names. Ha. Julie? He was great. Oh yes, and I cannot tell you how funny it was when a waiter picked up the microphone and announced, “Now we’re going to sing a little medley to you all from the ORIGINAL high school musical.” The music began and we found ourselves immersed in a fantastic medley of Grease! Haha! Too funny yet SO true!

Next: The Adams Family broadway musical. The first hour was fantastic! I was rolling in laughter! Witty, goofy, and plain out hysterical. Then…let’s just say the last 15 minutes of the first half went downhill fast enough for us to leave during intermission. In fact, it appeared many people there were not pleased—to bad the online reviews painted it so positively.

As we exited I cannot tell you how proud I was of my Pops! That’ll be a great teaching lesson for the grandkids (don’t get any ideas though…that aint happenin for quite some time). We then played in Times Square—M & M store and such—then made it over to the Empire State Building! My first time!!! It’s HUGE! I felt like I was looking down from an airplane! It seemed surreal being so high above the hurried atmosphere of the city; everything seemed so calm and far away.  The left gold-topped building is where Bryan works:


Times Square:

It was really fun. I’d have to conclude the evening was a huge success: a diner with a show, a good solid hour of the Adam’s Family, and then the Empire State Building, Bryan, Dad….great day.

Sunday:
Sunday morning we went to Church: second time at the new Harlem Ward (did I mention our ward split?). It was fun having my Dad there for the Sabbath. This week in priesthood the guys apparently received the annual singles ward Chastity Talk. I found it hysterical that Bry sat through that with his future father-in-law. Ha. And post church: waffles! Yum!

It was sad to see my Dad go—it was SO FUN having him out here! BUT we had one SUPERBLY FAN-TATIC time! Love him! Love my Mom for letting me borrow her hubby for a few days! Oh, and it was such a blast being a tourist in my own city again! I just don’t paint the town like that all too often—I have this thing called school you know… ha. Wonderful weekend!  Thanks parents!

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