June 30, 2010

NYC 4 - Coney Island

NYC 4 - Coney Island

After another hot night, we roused the troops and headed out to Starbucks. There's a guy who spends all day there and he recognizes/talks to us each day. Today's destination is Coney Island....Hot Dog eatings Mecca.

The train ride out there was fun. My iPad was enough to keep the kids and I occupied for the long commute. As we picked up passengers, we could tell that this was a "beach bound" train: SunHats, coolers, Towels, etc. Looks like this is where New Yorkers go for a beach day.

Although I was impressed with the train station, R was disgusted by the bathroom facilities. Outside the station, there is was....the one....the only....Nathan's Original Hot Dogs. This is where Joey Chestnut will compete to defend his title of 68 dogs only a few days from now. We bellied up to the bar and ordered, what else....Hot Dogs.

They were good. So good, I almost ordered another...... only 66 off the lead for a championship run.

The rest of Coney Island was a step back in time. The boardwalk was alive and well and a welcome change from the hotels that line our beaches in FL. There was plenty to see and do. Carnival rides, concessions, Shoot the Freak with a paintball gun.....this place had it all. We decided to ride the "Wonder Wheel" which is a ferris wheel, but half the gondolas are on a track that swings as it travels around the inside of the wheel as it goes around...very unique.

We also took a ride on the Cyclone....the grand-daddy of all coasters. The beach itself was nice and wide with excellent sand. We even found a model doing a photo-shoot on the boardwalk in some sort of black goth outfit (always fun to watch a production crew at work).

The ride back to Manhattan was quick and easy. We ended up in Herald Square just to look around. My foursquare account had been locked up for most of the day and I was getting frustrated that I wouldn't get my NY-specific badges. We took a quick tour through the Manhattan Mall and then a Starbucks break (drinks where only $2 since this was our 2nd Starbucks of the day). Decided to head over the Central Park to walk around a bit.

The temp is starting to cool, so our walk through the south side of Central Park was pleasant. There was an ensemble performing at the Columbus Circle entrance which sorta set the mood. CJ and M like the rocks....they a like some sort of mountain goat children. We walked all the way to the north side of the Mall before we decided to double back down to the Apple Store. Even with extremely sore feet, this group is fun to be with and remains positive.

Dinner tonight is at Marks': Grilled Cheese Sandwiches....yum

Overall a very eventful day. I got lots of badges, lots of sun, and lots of pictures :-)


June 29, 2010

NYC 3 - Day at the Museum

The forecast for today calls for HOT and Rainy. The indoor plan is to do the Museum of Natural History. After a morning Starbucks run, we hit the 7 Train to Times Square and switch to the local uptown to 81st street. Since the Museum has a subway entrance, we didn't even have to walk out in the heat at all.

We start off with the Planetarium show. Mark and I saw a show a few years back about the creation of Earth. Today's show was all about Stars (and our Sun)....another A+ presentation.

We didn't just walk the museum.....we read the exhibits and learned about all sorts of things: Meteorites, Minerals, Prehistoric beast, mammals, cultures, etc. M & CJ are great: No complaining, No getting lost....just little sponges that are as interested in the exhibits as the adults are (awesome).

Food at the museum was a bit pricey. The banana that costs .05 at Marks corner store sells for $1.20 in the food court. My bottled coke was almost $4....ouch. Oh well, at least it's food.

As the museum closed, we decided to find food. We need up at Chevy's Tex Mex. I think we've broken 4square as all of our checkins tell us to "Slow down and relax" (even though it's been 12+hours since our last checkin that counted). Um, how else are we supposed to get the NYC specific badges if we can't check into anything.

After diner, we strolled over to Times Square. This place is always electric and today was no different. We saw Ali Contie filming some sort of low production music video, we took pictures with a black gentleman in a "joker" costume, we called Mom/Dad and waved to them on the webcams, M & I played a piano in the middle of the square for tips, hahaha

CJ is really lobbying hard to eat at Olive Garden (an ongoing joke). We will probably end up here when we stay at the Marquee in a few night, but for today, it's just a scouting visit.

Not sure where we'll end up tomorrow, but I'm having a blast traveling with Kauffam. R is a great organizer, S finds cool things, M has a great attitude, CJ is hilarious, and Mark brings the NY perspective. I think we're ready for Amazing Race Family Edition!!!!


June 28, 2010

NYC 2 - Corona Park/ NYsci

Last night was HOT HOT HOT. Mark's air conditioner says it's 60 degrees, but it's way hotter. To add insult to injury, NYC is having a heat wave. Bottom line....it feels like those AC-less summers in Indiana.

Chef Markus woke up bright and early to prepare "World Famous Blueberry Pancakes". I must admit, they're much better than I expected. In fact, they would have been perfect "Pete's" pancakes had they not had blueberries in them.

After a quick stop for a morning Starbucks, we headed over to Corona Park. It's Soccer season (football to the rest of the world) and every field is full of athletes who think they're playing in the world cup. Even the hollowed out water fountain was used as a make-shift soccer field. After walking up to the world's fair globe and the "Spaceships" from Men In Black, we headed over to Arthur Ash Stadium.

We found a cop to take a picture with so we can all cross that off our lists now. Officer Rooney also let us know that we were walking toward a part of the park with a rally for thousands of "recovering" drug addicts. Ummmm, we changed course for the Science Musuem instead.

As we approached the museum, we saw people hopping out of their cars and running to the door....apparently trying to get in by 11am. We quickly found out why: Admission was free before 11 on Sundays in June. With only seconds left we made the cut....Yahoooo.

The science museum was great. Tons to do, touch, explore.

As evening fell, we walked through the spanish neighborhoods to the local train stop. With vigilant eyes, we scurried passed improvised food carts, people "hanging" out, and a guy with blood dripping from his scalp & nose. EMT & police arrived but the guy wasn't talking.... our best guess is that he was drunk and fell on the subway steps.

Diner was at Fo Fun Chinese Restaurant. Hightlights included my egg drop soup that fed all 6 of us, local shady characters that would pass by the front window, and a projects across the street where little kids were dangling their feet our the window in a effort to cool off.

Tomorrow is going to be another scorcher with a big chance of rain. Perhaps another museum.



June 26, 2010

NYC Trip - Day 1

It's finally here...the big NYC trip of 2010. Although I was up around 3am (couldn't sleep due to prior afternoon nap), we were up and at 'em and off to the airport in good spirits. Rhonda has decreed that today is "Red,White,&Blue Day" so that means patriotic garb all around. Actually, people thought we were cheering for the US to win their World Cup soccer match that was to take place this afternoon.

OMG, R passed a Starbucks stop at the airport to eat lunch instead. Even so, we were nearly the last to board the plane (It's a wonder R didn't have a heart attack). The plane was nice with lots of TV channels/music to tune into provided you brought your own headphones. What a coincidence, the Kauffman's were prepared for this. We not only enjoyed the flight in our own TV worlds, but we were even able to play a few rounds of multiplayer iPad Airport with the aid of our bluetooth connections.

As we approached NYC, the city sights came into view. Statue...Check, downtown Manhattan....Check, Western Beef....Check, Citi Field.....Check. Mark didn't make it to the airport so we picked up a van to take us to Mark's.

Upon arrival, we were pleasantly surprised to find that Mark had organized his belongings in anticipation of our visit. We immediately went to the new BestBuy/BJ's Wholesale (woot). Picked up some foods, air mattress, TV antenna, fan, etc... so we should be all set for the week.

For evening meal, Mark lead us to Joe's Bestburger. It's kinda like 5guys burgers, but they have something WAY better...Chocolate Soda. Not just that (oh no no no), but also Strawberry Soda!!! Even the Snozberries tasted like Snozberries (yum). After dinner, we took a trip to visit the Queens Library. Overall a very impressive building with a focus on a multi-language collection. We picked up books and movies of all different languages to see how much we could "figure out". What we quickly discovered is that we are pretty lost without English print.

The evening was capped by a visit to the Chinese Grocery store. Crates of dried fish were just "out" with people flipping through the stacks. There appeared to be a section of rotten food (complete with a fly disposal system) for people that want to buy that sorta thing. In the meat section, I found some "silky chicken" that looked like regular chicken, but it was DARK BLUE. What the heck could have possibly happened to that chicken to make it's skin appear like it had mold growing all over it.

OK, we broke down and bought some durian frozen pops. When Mark found out that I was going to try it, he started throwing out caution warnings. Basically, I'm expecting a life changing experience when I sample the durian pops (based solely on it's infamy).

We're back at Mark's now. His WoW raid was called so we're watching "How to train your dragon" on his big screen TV.

I'm glad I brought my iPad/keyboard as it seems to work well for blogging. Now I'm going to try to post this entry with a new iPad app that I downloaded.

Peace out for now...

Big Penguin