Well folks, I finally made it. I am writing this from my hotel room in New York City. Remember way back when I said it was one of my goals to get here for work – well, here I am!

But DAMN that’s a long flight! Throw in a bit of plane malfunction and flight changes, and about 28 hours later I made it to my hotel. The first Air New Zealand flight (AKL to SFO) was a dream – dinner, a couple of movies and then slept until they woke us up for breakfast. United Airlines? (SFO to JFK) – yeah, not so much. Middle seat, no individual tv screens, crap programming, no food…oh and did I mention plane malfunctions? yeah.

Anyway, after a good while of getting horizontal on the plushest bed ever, I was ready to face this:

View from my hotel room

My dear Mina (a native New Yorker who I studied with) came and picked me up in the afternoon. We quickly jumped on the subway and caught the Staten Island ferry right on dusk. The sky changed through amazing colours as we cruised past Ellis Island and the Statue of Liberty.

Statue of Liberty

Lady Liberty

The ferry ride was really cool – we stood outside both ways, and braved the icy wind (it’s about 3 degrees here). definitely needed the scarf & hat!

Mina & I on the Staten Island Ferry

By the time we returned the sun had gone down (4.30pm!) and the bright lights of Manhattan and the Brooklyn Bridge were lighting up the sky. So beautiful! The Empire State Building is currently lit up in yellow, orange and red for Thanksgiving – I am waiting for it to change to red & green for Christmas!

Manhattan lights

We hopped off the ferry & headed uptown to Bryant Park (to see the cute Ice Skating Rink) and Times Square. The last time I was here was New Years Eve 2005 (the coolest night ever – but would never do it again!) so it was neat to see all the lights. So much has changed – there are new stores, new billboards and new lights. I love the hustle & bustle of it all!

Times Square!

We had soup, salad & breadsticks (felt weird to be ordering soup, but it was delicious!) from Olive Garden before heading home for the evening. I love how in NY state they are required to list the calories of every meal on the menu – makes you think twice about what you are ordering! haha!

Before I jumped out of the car, Mina gave me a gift bag filled with goodies to welcome me back to NYC. I wanted to share just how many items of awesomeness are in this wee bag:

Goodies!

– bottles of water (tap water = yukky)
– A notebook with a lovely letter from Mina
– snacks including chocolate covered pretzels – yummm
– socks to keep my tootsies warm
– A Michaels gift card (can’t WAIT to go to this store & get some stash)
– A bottle of wine
– A corkscrew to open the bottle of wine
– A christmas themed wine glass (so gorgeous!) to drink the wine in
– A subway map
– the T-Shirt from the 5K Thanksgiving run that I didn’t get to run due to flight changes 😦
– Gorgeous NYC embellishments (for when I get to put these pics down on paper!)
– A Mamma Mia CD……..

AND…..

– TICKETS TO SEE MAMMA MIA ON BROADWAY! YUSSS, I cannot wait for next Saturday night! I love Mamma Mia (refer the whole “sailing around the Greek Islands on the Mamma Mia tour” blog post) and seeing the show on BROADWAY no less will be amazing.

Best goody bag ever! Thanks Mina!!!

Ok, better get to bed – the working part of this trip starts tomorrow!

xx Leah

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