New York City!!

November 15, 2017

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I am WAY behind on blogging.  But before I get back to my regularly scheduled amazing LiLo families, I have to tell you all about our recent trip to New York City. 
 Mostly because if I don’t do it now….I will either forget the details or never get around to doing it.  And I really want to tell you all about it.
For the last few years my husband has put his name into the NYC marathon lottery.  
Because…why not?  He has always wanted to do it.  Well this year….he won the lottery!!  
And from then on it was training, more training and planning.  
He really wanted to run the marathon with his two oldest friends Nils and Gavin and they 
joined right in and entered the marathon under the category of running for charity.  
They ran for PS-3 which is the school where Gavin’s kids go to school.
We found a sweet deal on flights and stayed with our GRACIOUS hosts Gavin and Todd (think 8 people in their 2 bedroom place) and we had a blast!!  They live in the charming SoHo neighborhood and it was like a dream.  Not the typical loud, crowded, crazy, dirty, stinky New York.  The streets are cobblestone and if you look one way down the street, you see the Empire State building in the distance and if you look the other way you see the World Trade Center Freedom Tower.  There are cute coffee shops, restaurants and little specialty stores.  Seriously…..I could have spent hours walking around there and exploring the restaurants and stores.  They even have the original cronut (think croissant and donut mixed together) shop 2 blocks from their house.  We waited in line for 30 minutes before they even opened to ensure that we would get some before they sold out.  
If you followed my InstaStories you got to see a fun moment-by-moment behind the scenes of our trip.  For those of you who don’t follow me on Instagram, you should!!!  I love following others too and I will follow you right back!  Find me @lilo_photography.
I must warn you that these are going to be terrible pictures.  I took ALL of these with my iPhone and I don’t feel bad about it at all.  It allowed me to stay in the moment and document everything that I wanted to document.  I did bring my big camera, but it was raining or misting much of the time we were there and the one time I took it out during the race, it was almost impossible to get a decent shot with the THOUSANDS of other people around.  So I kept it in my backpack.  I did get some really cute family photos of our host family….so my big camera didn’t go to waste.  Stay tuned for those photos in a later blog.
I loved taking pictures of my feet exploring all of the places in the city.  
So many cool tile floors….it is still fall there….the streets look so pretty when they are 
glistening and wet……and Lady Liberty.
Our first day there, we hung out, got coffee at a charming coffee shop and walked around a bit.  Then Karli and I went to do some shopping at Century 21 (think TJ Maxx prices on designer EVERYTHING) while the guys went to get their race bibs and check in.  That night we got together with some other Coloradoans and did some carbo loading.  
Sunday the guys headed out early to catch a ferry and a bus and walk a ton before they even started the race.  We, on the other hand, slept in and got coffee again.  Catching a theme here?  The guys started the race around 11 am and there was an amazing app that we could watch their little dots running in real time.  It was so fun to see them moving along the race!   They also sent us selfies all along the way and we could tell by their smiling faces that they were having a great time! After catching a bite to eat, we headed out to another friend’s house.  They live right along the route and we got out of the misty rain for a bit while waiting for the guys to pass by.
We finally got to see them around mile 17.  I would have loved to have seen them earlier on route, but navigating NYC with 50,000 racers, spectators and road closures was a bit of a trick.  From there we caught the subway and made our way to as close to the finish line as we could get!  The security was pretty tight which made me feel a lot safer.  I was a bit nervous being around that many people in New York City.  We saw the guys just a bit before they hit mile 26 and they were still smiling!  It was such an encouraging vibe as everyone was cheering for everyone and the excitement in the runners and the crowd made for an emotional scene.  Karli and I were so proud of our 3 racers that we were misty-eyed all day!  They did it in just over 4 hours and 40 minutes.  I could have run about 40 minutes of that 4 hours and 40 minutes so I was SUPER impressed.  Nils had a little knee pain but overall, they were all in great shape and the end and they were all smiles!!  
It took another hour or more to reunite as a lot of the streets were closed off and only accessible to runners.  We also may have gotten a pretzel (because you must) and a hot chocolate.  
It was chilly and foggy out. You couldn’t even see the tops of the buildings.  

I know I didn’t run the race but traipsing around NYC all afternoon was exhausting and I walked over 15,000 steps that day!  We finished the evening with take-out Chinese food and then went out for drinks afterwards to celebrate their finish.
Check out that bling!!!

The next day, the guys donned their medals and we went to brunch.  We thought it was strange to wear their medals but Gavin insisted that it was a thing.  And he was right.  Everywhere we went people had their medals on and they would high-five each other and they were even rewarded with free drinks sometimes as a congratulations.  It was so fun!  I wish more cities did this.  How often does the medal go into the drawer never to be worn again?  We also walked the Highline Canal (and beautiful walkway that was designed over an old above ground railway line) and went to the Whitney Museum.  Again….over 13,000 steps.  
A little perspective for you….
We also got to see Gavin’s newest (although it has been in the works for over 3 years) accomplishment.  He has designed a stylish diaper bag and Barney’s (upscale department store) just picked it up.  We were able to go to Barney’s up to the kids department and see it in person.  It was so exciting to see the fruits of his labor.  I love the picture of Ellison checking it out! If you want to buy this awesome and amazingly stylish bag click here!!!

Tuesday I did some photos on the streets of New York (dream come true) and then Nils, Chris and I went to the 9/11 museum.  Wow.  What can I say.  It was amazing, emotional, heavy, depressing and brought back so many memories.  It was SO well done and was overwhelming.  I think it is a must see if you go to New York.  Hint….start with the “timeline” section of the museum which is at the end.  But it takes a long time and I felt rushed at the end and wished I would have had more time in there.  When we came out of the underground museum it was dark and raining and it seemed so fitting.

This picture is my favorite from the entire trip.  Not sure why.  It just sparks great emotion for me.  Right as I came out of the museum I saw this site.  The rain, the lights, the flag, the tower……I was an emotional wreck.
After the museum (and a quick outfit change) I met up with my long-time friend and mentor in Times Square.  I got a picture of us, but the resolution was too low so sorry Rene!!!  But it was so good to see her and catch up for a bit.  I wish it would have been longer!  From there, we set out in the rain to see HAMILTON!!!  In case you have been living under a rock, Hamilton is one of the biggest Broadway hits in years.  It is the story of Alexander Hamilton as done in rap/song.  It is unique and is all the hype right now.  So much so that even a lot of New Yorkers haven’t seen it as tickets are still selling for $500-1000 a piece.  Thankfully, our hosts are UBER talented and are a part of the Broadway scene and have friends in the show so we got house seats.  Which means we payed “regular” (read: still pretty expensive compared to the DCPA) Broadway price for the (amazing 5th row) seats…..while the people a few rows behind us payed over (gulp) $700 per ticket.  I didn’t really know much of the music (I know….I know….you think it wasted on me….don’t hate those of you who know every word of the songs) and I was a little skeptical that it wouldn’t live up to the hype.  But you guys……it was amazing.  And we even had the understudy for Alexander Hamilton.  I can’t wait to see it again.  Seriously.  You all should get tickets when it comes to Denver this spring.  And you should download the soundtrack so you can sing along with the songs.  They are pretty fun, but note that there is some language so if you have kids you might want to make sure you get the “clean” version.

We ended the night after the show having drinks at the Renaissance hotel overlooking Times Square.  It was the perfect ending to our perfect trip!
Thanks for making it all the way to the end of this blog!  And thanks to Gavin, Todd, Nils, Karli and Chris for making it a memorable trip and for running the marathon to give us an excuse to visit New York City.

New York City!!

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