Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Winter Blows

The last sunset of 2013, Coney Island
We ended 2013 at our favorite beach in NYC, watching the last sunset of the year at Coney Island. We had hoped to make it a whole event, with Irish coffees and noise makers, but it was freaking cold. Like, I'm surprised we didn't die of exposure kind of cold. And, not one restaurant was open to help us with the Irish coffees. Come on!

We still watched the sunset and walked the boardwalk from Coney Island to Brighton Beach but then we jumped on the subway tout suite and celebrated the new year from the warmth of our East Harlem flat.

The last sunset of 2013, Coney Island
After greeting the new year from the steps of Sacre Coeur in Paris and the Spanish Steps in Rome, perhaps you're wondering why we didn't make an effort this year and watch the ball drop in Times Square? Perhaps you're also unaware of the freaking clusterfuck it is down there? First of all, you have to be situated by 3pm. Secondly, the police barricades keep you rooted until after midnight, meaning you can't move from the spot you chose before 3pm for a full 9 hours. And, unless you're in a certain spot, you also can't see the ball drop. Finally, the coup de grĂ¢ce, there are no public restrooms. Seriously.

In all our travels we've never encountered anything as ridiculous as Times Square on New Year's Eve for crowd control. Times Square is a freaking mess during the best of times, man. I can't imagine what fools actually brave all that bullshit to stand in the cold for nine solid hours. I'd rather be warm and drink copiously with easy access to bladder emptying facilities. God we're getting old. And smart.

President Clinton and Mayor de Blasio
New Year's Day saw us at the Mayor's inauguration celebration. I scored a couple of tickets to the event, which also got us a couple of blankets, some souvenir mugs, and a free lunch, plus the closest I've ever come to a past or present US President. (I may have been closer to a future President Barack Obama in 2008 but he was on the other side of a structure at the Seattle Center so I didn't really get to see him. I heard him though. Magical.) The following weekend, we also got to tour Gracie Mansion, the Mayor's residence, and we both had our picture taken with him. His staff hasn't emailed those out yet but I'm sure they're coming. (Shakes fist in air.)

Atlantic City, NJ
Our first mini-break of the year was to Atlantic City, NJ. We got a killer deal so were able to stay right on the famous Boardwalk, in the Bally's on Park Place. I'm not sure what I expected but reports of the city's death and degradation have been greatly exaggerated. Atlantic City is gorgeous! The casino scene might be a bit like downtown Las Vegas, a bit down and out, but the beach is ahhh-mazing and the boardwalk itself is in great condition! Though we didn't escape the boardwalk area during our short stay, I wouldn't mind going back to explore the rest of the city. Seriously, Atlantic City, where have you been all my life?

East River, NYC Cruise
We wrapped up our January with a lovely 3-hour nighttime cruise around Manhattan. It was a great way to see the city and a lovely experience all around.
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