Thursday, November 28, 2013

Brooklyn Bridge & The Russian Tea Room

On our last day in New York, we made one of my dad's life long dreams come true, to walk across the Brooklyn Bridge!  Lucky for us, the weather decided to clear up and was beautiful and clear. There did happen to be a protest on the bridge that morning, it was something to do with charter schools so there were thousands of kids, teachers and parents walking across the bridge all morning.  We went a little later in the day, after the protest had been going for a few hours, we were hoping we had missed the crowd ... it took us a good 45 minutes to even get on the bridge but by the time we hit the main part of the bridge, the protest was over and all the kids were gone.

Tonight, for our last dinner in New York, we dined at the famous Russian Tea Room.  On our way there, we split a cab with a couple that was headed to the airport.  They asked us about our dinner plans and we told them where we were headed, the wife answered with:

"Everyone should eat at the Russian Tea Room at least once in their life."

I totally and completely agree.  It is a magical experience.
The food is extraordinary, authentic Russian.
I can't even talk about the decor, there are no words for it.

Unfortunately, all these photos were taken with my phone so, of course, they don't do the place justice and all the colors are a little off, but they still capture the enchanting-ness of it all.

We were seated on the first floor.  Isn't it gorgeous?!
There are four floors in this fairytale of a restaurant.  We asked our waiter if we could go sneak a peek of the other three floors.  He said "No" and we gave him disbelieving looks of disappointment.  Then he went on to explain that there was a private wine tasting going on.  But then he told us that if we happened to get lost looking for the bathroom, he wouldn't tell anyone ... 

So, we snuck in and tried to look as un-tourist-y as possible while trying to take pictures of all of the amazing decor.  The Russian Tea Room is most famous for their giant bear aquarium, I am SO glad our waiter let us up there to see it, because it really is something else.  Those blurry orange spots are fish, it truly is ginormous aquarium.

We didn't make it to the other two floors.  I have to come back to see them.

My dinner consisted of:
Beef Stroganoff 
Chocolate Volcano  

We ended our time in New York by going to see Jersey Boys.  It was a first for all of us.  It was so much fun, that music is so classic.  The voices of those actors are unbelievable!

Natural History Museum & Newsies

We decided to extend our visit in the city by a couple of days, there were some shows we wanted to see, and there are always new things to see in New York.  Since the weather was still rather cold and gloomy today we thought it would be a good day to go to a museum.  We had visited the Met, even though you could visit that place a dozen times and still not see everything we wanted to go somewhere we hadn't been before.  I was hoping for the Guggenheim, I have been dying to get into the museum for years but there is always something that keeps me from going.  This time, they were setting up a new show and the rotunda was closed.  The whole reason I want to go is to see the rotunda, so there was no point in going if the best part of the museum was closed.  So, we decided to go to the natural history museum.  This place is incredible.  The exhibits are wonderful and the museum is huge!

We made sure to visit all the animal halls

The Hall of Biodiversity was by far my favorite part of the whole museum.  It was endlessly fascinating.  So many cool things to learn about.

My second favorite: The Hall of Ocean Life

The Hall of Gems
My mom wanted to see the famous star of India.  
I'm glad she did because I probably would have bypassed the Hall of Gems and the Hall of Minerals.  However, I was totally taken by the display's presentation. 
I thought the way they created patterns out of the different gems was fascinating.  
At 563 carats, the Star of India is the world's largest gem-quality blue star sapphire. Some 2 billion years old, it is also one of the most well-known objects in the world.  I didn't get any pictures of this famous stone, but we did see it and it was beautiful.

I am lucky enough to have the unique opal as my birth stone.  
I had no idea there were so many different kinds of opals:
Black Opal
White Opal
Boulder Opal
Crystal Opal
Fire Opal
Matrix Opal

After 5 very full hours of learning at the museum, it was time for some dinner.  We decided to get some New York style pizza.  Believe it or not I have never had New York Style Pizza in New York, it was time that changed.  We went to John's Pizzeria, it came highly recommended and it was a short walk from our hotel.  You would never tell from the outside, but it is actually an old church....

"When the search was on to find a location as unique as the pizza itself, the newest John's in Times Square, in which patrons eat their pizza under a five-story stained glass cupola of what was once the Gospel Tabernacle Church, was born. Built in 1888, the site was reconstructed to house the largest pizzeria in the country. With over 400 seats, four pizza ovens, and two kitchens, this outpost can accommodate large and small parties alike "

Cutest dessert ever

After dinner we went to see newsies, squeeee!!!!!  I grew up watching this classic Disney film more times then I can count.  I was hopelessly in love with the handsome Jack Kelly (a very young Christian Bale) I have every song and every iconic line memorized.  I remember the day I heard this childhood favorite had been turned into a broadway play, it was immediately added to my Life Bucket List.

I was in absolute heaven the entire two hours.  It was interesting to see the differences between the movie and the play.  They switched things around a bit and added a love interest ... intriguing yes?  The dancing, the singing, the set design, the music, the costumes, everything was just marvelous.