Chicago/NYC Vacation Report

Esther and Jim in NYCWhat a ride!  Thanks to all of you who gave us so much good advice about what to wear and what to do in Chicago and New York in January. We had an awesome time, and came home with lots of stories, pictures, videos and memories. We saw a lot, but left enough things unseen that we will have to visit each place again (but maybe in the summer next time!).

Chicago was FREEZING COLD, New York was balmy (in the 50’s) until the last two days, so we want to thank Louis Luftop and Linda Ost for loaning us warm coats, the Hidalgo Flea Market for cheap gloves, caps and scarves, Starbucks for being everywhere for us, Einstien Brothers Bagels for introducing us to a wonderful Jewish treat, Giordano’s Pizza for a pizza pie so delicious that real tears ran down my face, the thoughtful concierge at the Millennium Knickerbocker Hotel in Chicago, for giving us great advice throughout our stay, the Sears Tower, for reminding us how small we really are, Shawn, Kathy and Sarah Clark for hosting us day and night in New Jersey, the train, subway and mass transit systems for being on time and cheap, the cast of “The Drowsy Chaperone” for making Esther’s first Broadway Show so enjoyable, Fox News for showing us a live newscast through their window, the San Antonio Airport Hilton, for rescuing us from icy highways the last night of our vacation, and American Airlines for getting us to New York and Chicago for $540 (although, as Esther mentions in a video clip, the weather in Chicago reminded us of why the tickets were so cheap!)  I have uploaded 3 video clips and one picture slideshow for your enjoyment.

Trip Gadgets – I had two new gadgets that I brought on our trip:  A Pioneer Inno XM portable receiver  (and mp3 player) and an Aiptek MZ-DV hybrid camcorder, camera, and media player that boasted a 2 gb sd card.  Both performed great.  The camcorder was AWESOME (even had image stabalization) and the Inno even picked up xm satellite signal from the airplanes.

Chicago Thoughts – Great city; feels more homogenous and “middle-America” than NYC; way too cold, and the wind off Lake Michigan was BRUTAL  Will definitely return to see the museums and the shore (when it’s warm).

New York City Thoughts – Overwhelming and immense; the sheer volume of skyscrapers and people on the street is awe-inspiring.  We heard dozens of different languages spoken constantly (the last night we stayed at a run-down hotel off Little Korea), and the fast-pace of the transit system and pedestrians is invigorating and exhausting.  No wide-open spaces, hardly any parking lots, and, at least in Manhattan, every restaurant charged about 8 dollars more per meal than normal.  We really enjoyed the fresh-roasted peanuts and almonds, pretzels and hot dogs that the street-vendors sold, we enjoyed lunch at ESPN Zone in Times Square, and the Broadway show was cool.  We always felt safe (hey, what are the chances of us getting mugged, surrounded by millions of other people?), and confidently rode the subways.

New Jersey Thoughts – We were quite surprised by all the wide-open spaces and vegitation.  I know New Jersey is “The Garden State”, but we are way too influenced by the images in Tony Soprano’s world to get a realistic idea of just how pretty New Jersey can be.  But before you get excited about buying a house in Jersey, consider my friend, Shawn Clark, and his property tax woes.  Shawn’s mortgage is bad enough, but when you add in the obscene property tax that he pays, thank God you live in Texas.  We were also amazed by the New Jersey trains that flung us into the heart of Manhattan in 40 minutes, efficiently and comfortably.

Atlantic City Thoughts – Definitely not as sparkling and magical as Las Vegas. The boardwalk on the Atlantic Ocean is really nice. The sunset we witnessed was spectacular. Esther and Kathy spent most of their time shopping in Goodwill Outlet stores, while Shawn and I wandered up and down the boardwalk with Baby Sarah.

 Enjoy the videos, and if you have further questions, I will do my best to answer them!

Chicago Video Clips

New York/New Jersey Video Clips

Atlantic City Video Clips

Slideshow of Vacation Pictures


10 Responses to Chicago/NYC Vacation Report

  1. Brad says:

    Hi Jim

    Good to have you back. Glad you enjoyed the trip. Next time stop off in Indy.


  2. Are you guys all a’twitter over your Colts? Will they choke again?

  3. Echo_ohcE says:

    I wasn’t kidding about the wind in Chicago, was I?


  4. Gary says:

    Hey Jim!

    Glad to hear you guys had a great time! Sue and I were in NYC last year, visiting her best friend in Queens. We had a great time! We went to see the Empire State, Liberty, etc. I wanted to catch a baseball game at Shea or Yankee Stadium, but we didn’t have time! My first subway ride was quite the experience!!!!!
    I’ll have to admit, I’m more of a West Coast guy, though. I’ll take LA over NYC! My wife is more of a East Coast gal, though. She LOVES New York!!!

  5. Jason Osborne says:

    I am so happy for you that you were able to experience the glory of Giordano’s. It really is a small taste of heaven on earth. I highly recommend that you take advantage of their dry ice – packed shipping options. A box of Giordano’s pies in Texas could quite possibly bring a whole host of souls to a new level of understanding of God’s grace.

  6. Brad says:

    I’d like to extend my sympathies to you all who couldn’t make it to the big show. In the meantime …


    My mojo’s cookin’ :-))))))))))))))


  7. Brad says:

    Hi Jim

    One last thing. I checked my map just to verify. But in your Chicago video, the first one, you’re going up in the elevator and point out Wrigley Field. I’m sure it’s just a spoof but that isn’t Wrigley. Wrigley is in a crowded neighborhood pretty far North and slightly West of your position. Whether you’re in the Sears tower or the Millennium Knickerbocker that’s Millennium Park you’re looking at not Wrigley.


  8. Yup, you’re right. We saw Wrigley looking out another side of the Sears Tower, but it ended up in the video anyway. Good observation, and congratulations to your Colts. They should thank God above that they won’t be facing the Cowboys in the big game (and that they didn’t have to face the Charger’s in the championship game in San Diego. I think you might be forgiven a little gloating over in the Daniel’s Den blog.

  9. danielbalc says:

    My favorite part of your video’s was seeing SC. Just for curiosity sake I gotta know if he is still a car enthusiast. One of my favorite memories of the annoying pre-teenage years was making his Mercury Cougar say, “back away from the vehicle” like it was KIT from knight rider.

  10. Pablo Honey says:

    Hey Jim, looks like it was a fun trip. My only question is: what was Daniel doing in Rockefeller Center!?:

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