Thanksgiving Day Parade

Monday, December 1, 2008

One of my major "to-do's" while living in New York was to attend the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade. This year I decided to stay in the city for Thanksgiving, so it was the perfect opportunity to attend the parade. Luckily I had a good friend who invited me to watch the parade at her office. We woke up early (but not as early as we would have if we had watched the parade on the street). At the office, we had a nice breakfast as we waited for the parade to arrive. It was really fun to see the parade in real life, having a great view from the 6th floor of the office building. The parade was a little disappointing, but still a blast. I was used to watching all of the performances on TV and was expecting that as I watched the parade live. Apparently, the performances only occur in Herald Square near Macy's, and you have to be a VIP to get tickets to watch the parade down there. Luckily, we turned on the TV so we were able to watch the performances and the parade.
Here are some pictures from the parade.

This last one is the float with Santa on it, signifying the end of the parade.

Also, they fill up all of the balloons the night before and they invite you to come see them beforehand. A bunch of friends got together to see the balloons. After waiting in line to see them, we finally got up to the balloons. It was fun and impressive to see the giant balloons up close.

Happy Thanksgiving!

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

I just wanted to wish everyone a Happy Thanksgiving! I've been truly blessed and couldn't ask for anything else in life. I have realized that the last couple of months, but I'm still glad we have a day to celebrate that fact. I wish I could be home, but I will be making the best of my time away from home. We have a bunch of friends getting together for dinner and earlier in the day a good friend of mine and I will be attending the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade. What better way to spend a Thanksgiving in New York! Don't worry, I'll take lots of pictures.

My Run In With the Rich and Famous

As I was coming home from church the other day, I was in a very focused conversation with a friend of mine. A few moments later, some other friends said, "Did you notice who was standing right in front of you?" Needless to say, I didn't. I was too entrenched in my conversation. Apparently, I was sitting right behind Kevin Bacon. His identity was confirmed when he spoke a word or two. Apparently some of the stars are not so high maintenance that they refuse to take the bus.
Thanks Monica for the picture!

Election Night

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Every four years we have the chance to elect a president. It seems like this last presidential campaign was the longest in history. The news channels have been talking about this election for at least the last two years. As you know, New York, my current state of residence, went very Blue and voted for Barack Obama. That was very obvious as you walked the streets of the city. No matter what your political ideology is, I think we can all agree this was a very historic election in which we have a president elected of a different race.

Some friends of mine who have lived here for awhile said it was really cool to go to Rockefeller Center for the presidential election, so we went. At Rockefeller Center, they have a map of the country and change the states red or blue depending on which way the states vote. Then they have fabric going up the GE building representing the number of electoral college votes each candidate gets. With all of this and big screens up to watch the results, it was the perfect place to watch the results come in.
We were actually there when they announced that Barack Obama had enough electoral college votes to win the presidency. Everyone went crazy. There were even a lot of people crying. I wondered what would have happened if I had shouted "Go McCain!" Needless to say, it was a fun night to remember and one that will go down in the history books.

We also took a detour to see the results in Times Square. There were results parties all over the city. I heard the biggest and craziest was the party up in Harlem. I had some friends who went up there after they had announced Barack Obama won and they said it was a madhouse until about 2 am. Everyone was so excited for the first African-American President. Here's a picture of the electoral college map on the famous Nasdaq screen.

Happy Halloween

I've never been really big into Halloween. It seems like I'm always scrambling for a costume last minute, which was once again the case this year. I was debating what to be and just couldn't think of anything. I was even considering just not going to the Halloween dance because I didn't have a decent costume. In the end my costume came out great after it evolved from what I planned earlier in the week. I ended up being the Love Doctor. I had a lot of fun with it. I had some candy prescription pills and a spray bottle of love potion no. 9. My favorite part was my clipboard where I provided free consultations and prescriptions for love. All in good fun of course. I decided I had already experienced the NYC Halloween parade last year and could skip it this year. It was a pretty laid back night. We just met up and had a casual dinner and then went to the Halloween dance. Here's some pictures of my costume and some of my friends costumes.
The Love Doctor is in. Don't mind the lipstick on my cheek and forehead.

Probably my favorite costume of the night: Marge Simpson.

Troop Manhattan Heels and Richard Simmons.

Me and my roommates. Edward Scissorhands and a streaker.

New York Cares

Monday, October 20, 2008

Every year the city sponsors a day called “New York Cares.” A lot of businesses and church groups sign up to volunteer in the city to spruce up the city. Most groups are assigned to schools or parks. This year, our church group was assigned to a junior high school in the Bronx. It was a long day moving computers and books up and down 3 flights of stairs, but it was well worth it. A small amount of time from a lot of people can make a big difference. Later in the day, we were also assigned to do some painting. I helped paint the stage in their auditorium. Others with more talent were in charge of painting murals in the bathrooms.
These kids have so little, so I was glad I could make a small difference by spending a few hours helping them. Plus, it was fun. I was so tired by the end of the day that I felt like I could take a nap on the subway.

Parents in Town: Part II

Due to my dad having a work conference out in New York, my parents came out for a second trip to New York in six months. Last time they came we did practically everything touristy in the city, so I wasn’t sure what we should do. In the end, we had a lot more relaxing trip this time. On Saturday, my parents really wanted to see Coney Island.
Since developers keep talking about tearing it down, I figured it was time that I went. Everyone told me how unexciting it was, so I was prepared for a let done. Surprisingly, we still had a good time. We wanted to ride the Cyclone, but it was already closed for the season.
We walked along the boardwalk and enjoyed the beautiful weather. And of course we had to eat at Nathan’s Famous (where they host the hot dog eating contest every 4th of July).
Other adventures from my parent’s trip included a jaunt through Chinatown and Little Italy, and a New York Street Fair (every Saturday and Sunday in the summer, they close off 10 to 20 blocks to traffic and set up tents for vendors. It is fun to walk around and see the little shops and sometimes you can even find a great deal. You can also always find some good food.)

The rest of the week included lots of nice relaxing dinners. I also took my parents to Jersey Boys where my amazing friend Heather showed us around backstage. Thanks Heather! I love it when my parents come in town.

My Last Yankees Game at Yankee Stadium

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

In case you don't know, they are tearing down Yankee stadium. I wasn't planning on going to another game because the price of tickets have skyrocketed with the end drawing closer, but then a friend called me up last night and asked me if I wanted to go.
Of course I did. We had a great seats, so it was a great send off to good ole' Yankee Stadium. Here are some other pictures I took during the evening.
This board counts down the games left in the stadium.
The Yankees beat the Chicago White Sox. This is Yankees playing nice at the end of the game.
The grounds crew performs YMCA as they smooth out the clay.

September 11th

Last year, I didn't realize it was September 11th until later in the evening and by then I was too tired to go down and see ground zero and the beams of light. I decided I wouldn't let that happen this year.

It was a very somber experience. Everyone was really quiet, but there were people everywhere. There were makeshift memorials set up along the fences surrounding ground zero.

As I walked around, I saw so many people in uniforms. Some were firefighters, some were police officers, and some were in the armed forces. This place means a lot to them. There is a large ramp that goes down into the pit (for construction purposes). There were flags from all the different countries of people who died in the tragedy lining the ramp.

A lot of people who went down to the site realized for the first time that the beams of light representing the two towers are not actually on the site of the towers. They are about 4 blocks south of ground zero. They sit on top of a parking structure because of all of the work going on at the site. Supposedly, this is the last year they are supposed to have the beams of light.

Then, I stopped a the fire station that sits across the street from ground zero. Inside you could see the memorial for the firefighters that lost their lives from this station. It was very touching.

It was a great experience that I will always remember. I think I went 2 hours without speaking which gave me time to reflect on what had happened 7 years ago.

Trip Home

Thursday, September 4, 2008

It has been nine months, but I finally returned home to California to visit. I've seen some of my family on vacations since Christmas, but I never actually went home. I guess it was because I thought I would be moving to Utah where it is a lot cheaper and quicker to get home.

It was such a great, relaxing trip. I flew in late Wednesday night. On Thursday, we just lounged around, played with the kids, went to the pool and then headed out on the boat. It had been over a year since I had last been wakeboarding, which I definitely noticed. Unfortunately the water wasn't very good, so we switched to the tube. That night, my older brother and older sister came over for a big BBQ. I realized how much I missed home cooked meals.
Then on Friday, we woke up and went to Disneyland. It is so much fun to go to a Disney park with kids! They make it so exciting to see how excited they are for the rides and characters. The kids were so good all day, even though they were catering to me. It was the first time that I had been to California Adventure, which has a lot of cool rides. Here's some pictures from our adventure.

Then the rest of the weekend we just lounged around and enjoyed each other's company. We played some Wii at my brothers and had another BBQ. On Sunday, we celebrated my nephew's first birthday. He wasn't as excited as we would have hoped, but I think he still had fun. He had his own cake to play in and made a mess with it.

It doesn't necessarily take living far away to realize how much your family means to you, but it definitely solidifies it. I loved being with them and miss having them around.

U.S. Open

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Another checkmark added to my list. One more thing you can only do in New York is attend the U.S. Open. I only attended an evening session, so I just went to the main stadium. They have almost 15 different courts with all different games going on at the same time though. It's pretty cool. We went the 2nd night of the open, but still saw Venus Williams and Roger Federer play. It was great. I've never really watched tennis on TV before, but it's quite exciting live. Here's some shots we took.

This is Venus serving.

And here's Federer.


Wednesday, August 20, 2008

I just got back from a much needed break from work and life in the city. My friend and old college roommate lives in Boston. He lived in New York over the summer for a law internship, but had a week at home before he headed back to good ole’ Provo. So I decided it would be a great time to go visit Boston. I’ve wanted to go since I moved to New York, but haven’t had the opportunity yet, until now. So me and a couple of friends headed up Friday after work on the luxurious Chinatown bus. On Saturday, we woke up and had some fun on the lake in his backyard. We went for a swim and even went for a nice kayak ride. It was absolutely serene. After getting ready, we headed into the city to see all of the Boston sites. We walked most of the Freedom Trail.

On the Freedom Trail, we saw the Old North Church.

Fanuiel Hall
Paul Revere’s grave
Bunker Hill
and the Cheers Bar.

I even thought Paul Revere deserved a high five for everything he did.

In the midst of seeing everything (including too many things to blog about), we ate some great Italian panini's in the North End of Boston (Boston's Little Italy). It was really good. After a long day, we headed back to Jon’s house in Georgetown. For the next two days it rained and wouldn’t stop. I wasn’t complaining though because it gave us some time to watch the Olympics and just take a break from life. Even through the rain, Jon took me up to see New Hampshire, which is a beautiful state.

On Tuesday, the rains parted and we had a gorgeous day. We decided to go back in the city and tour historic Fenway park. As you can see, I was converted.

Then Tuesday night, I was lucky enough to use Jon's family's season tickets to go see the Red Sox play the Texas Rangers. It was the best game I could have asked for. The Red Sox scored 10 runs in the first inning. I thought it was over after that, but the Rangers came back and made the game competitive. The final score was 19-17, which is amazing for a baseball game. We were lucky enough to see a slugging fest.

This is David Ortiz after he hit his second 3 run homer in the first inning.

I should add that Jon's season tickets are absolutely amazing. They have had them forever, so they are lucky enough to get them on the 5th row, right near home plate. I couldn't have asked for better tickets. This was a once in a lifetime opportunity that made my whole trip. Here is the view from our seats.

To finish off the trip, we headed to Harvard. It is a beautiful campus. Maybe someday I'll actually go there. Who knows? :)

What more could I ask for from a week's vacation.

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