Road Entry#6 (505 W. 37th St - Ryan's Apt. - 12:19pm - NYC - June 27, 2010)

The nights of travel and apple.

Where to begin? Ryan and I arrived in New Jersey Thursday afternoon as you can see from my previous post. We left Des Moines, Iowa Wednesday morning at 11:30am and arrived in Chicago for a brief moment during rush hour. From there I wrote that we were bypassing the windy city to hit up Cleveland for the night before driving the last leg to New Jersey on Thursday morning.

Well those plans changed immediately when we took the wrong turn like Lloyd and Harry after leaving Illinois and getting into Indiana.

The "Dumb and Dumber" in us decided to take I-94 into Michigan on accident from Indiana. We didn't see the sign or realize that I-90 from Illinois is the same thing as I-80 in Indiana, missing our exit to drive through South Bend, Indiana. "I don't think we are supposed to go into Michigan" I said to Ryan, and I didn't look on his iPhone maps application to confirm my suspicion on this route. So by the time we were 20 miles outside Kalamazoo, Michigan I realized we had made a wrong turn. Ryan rerouted the GPS on his phone and it said that were driving 2 hours out of our way. I analyzed the map even further to realize we were 2 hour outside Ann Arbor, MI and we could stop there for some Wednesday night entertainment and potentially get a hotel room there. Ann Arbor was only 10 hours from NJ and we could sleep, wake up and make it on Thursday with plenty of time to spare. Ryan then suggested to drive all night and into the morning so we could get to Jersey quicker. I agreed and we made it a mission to enjoy our final night on the road without a bed!

We got to downtown Ann Arbor around 12:15am. Went to the bar with the most people in it, and sat down next to four lovely women. Caitlyn, Whitney, Jen, and Aimee were all Michigan natives and in the late 20's. We had great conversation and filled out the night with a couple drinks, stories, food, and interesting life information. The most compelling person in the group was Caitlyn, a nurse now living in Chicago. She works at the Rush Hospital (ER - NBC show) in orthopedics. It didn't hurt that she was very beautiful as well. She graduated from the University of Michigan and was back in Ann Arbor to visit her friends and family for a couple of days. She recommended some great spots in Ann Arbor. "The Fleetwood", she said, was the best grease spoon restaurant for late night munchies. We didn't end up making it to The Fleetwood because we had to hit the road again at 2am.

Ryan drove the next leg through Toledo into Ohio. I picked up after a 2 hour nap and drove through Cleveland, Youngstown, and into Pennsylvania. We traded off sleeping and driving this entire time. Ryan drove another 2-3 hour leg through Pennsylvania to State College area (Penn State). Then I drove the last leg all the way into New Jersey and the La Quinta hotel in Clifton, NJ. Phew! Even writing the trip's minutes is exhausting...

So now we are on the EAST COAST officially...

After sleeping for what seemed to be an eternity of a nap, we decided to relax Thursday night before the Friday morning move into the city. We ordered some take-out from Red Robin and watched the NBA draft. Then went to the movie theater next to the hotel and saw the new "Grown Ups" movie. It had it's funny moments but wasn't a great movie as expected. We crashed until 8am - our wake up call.

Friday morning we made it under the Hudson and to his apartment at 9am. Ryan's mom and stepdad were in New York for business and helping Ryan move in on Friday as well. The move went effortlessly and we finished around high noon. I then went on a run down the Hudson River Park path for an hour before coming back to the apartment to get ready for the Mets-Twins game at Citi Field.

The four of us took the subway from Port Authority to Citi Field and entered one of the most majestic stadiums I have ever been to. The facade and Jackie Robinson atrium in the front of Citi Field is remarkable. Felicia and Chris (Ryan's parents) were generous enough to buy tickets and refreshments for us (unbelievable gesture). It was a great game and the four of us had great seats as well! Ryan, Felicia, and I scored a 5-2 game in favor of the Mets in the Mets program. David Wright had a sweet oppo-homerun that really juiced the crowd in the bottom of the 6th. The Mets' fans were great and the stadium was even better. It reminded me a little of Safeco field in Seattle and not as much as Pac-Bell Park or Angel Stadium. Nevertheless, it was spectacular.

We hopped the train back were I got to sit and talk to Chris for quite a while about his businesses and history before meeting Felicia. He talked about some of the philanthropic initiatives that he is involved with and the people he knows in the sports philanthropy community. He said that he might be able to help me get my marketing career off the ground with potential opportunities with some non-profit organizations that are heavily involved in the sports culture, a great idea for the economic state we are in.

Chris and Felicia went back to their hotel while Ryan and I just finished the appetizer of entertainment for the night. We got back to the apartment to shower and changed from the night ahead of us in the Lower East Side (LES). Ryan recommended a place called the "Fat Baby" down on Essex. We got there by taxi and entered effortlessly by not waiting in some ridiculous line and paying an outrageous cover charge. The bar had a red and black motif with gothic style chandeliers and three separate floors. We were having a great time dancing and talking to some many different people. As the night progressed, I met a striking lady name Katy near a booth on the second floor. I met her, her sister, and her friends as well. Katy, Kristina, KK, and Cate. KK and Cate live in Brooklyn and are friends of Katy from Boston College, grad date 2009. Kristina is Katy's younger sister and she lives in Florida. Katy and Kristina drove from Florida to New York the night we met, the road-trip stories came out because of this. Katy is a grad student at Tufts in Boston now. She is studying to become a doctor and I was enamored. We danced into the AM hours and had a blast! Ryan and I saw them all off into a taxi and the night had officially come to a close at 4:30am.

Saturday. Wake up - 11:30am. Ryan had to go take his practice GMAT at noon, so we both woke up around 11:30am. We walked to Subway to get a sandwich before splitting up. Ryan texted me 45 minutes later that he was a little late to the exam because he met a couple of sweet Canadian girls along the way and chatted it up. I took another subway ride down to the East Village to meet up with Kaitlin, a great friend from Denmark and my 2008 study abroad days. She has been living in the East Village since I helped her move into her 7th St apartment in the summer of 2008, days after we got back from Europe. We had a coffee at Cafe Mocha and walked with her friend Julia to a place called Crash Mansion to watch the USA-Ghana World Cup match. Kaitlin and Julia had to leave at 4pm for work, so I ended up watching the US lose alone, in complete agony. I walked around the LES and East Village for an hour or so, checked e-mail at WiFi hotspot, and got back on my subway to Midtown to meet up with Ryan again.

Ryan and I had some dinner around the block from his apartment before doing some laundry starting at 8pm. While Ryan did his laundry, I went around his building to check out all the amenities. Ryan's place is totally swag. When I first saw it, it looked like a 4-star hotel with it's ivory and marble decor. These luxury apartments are truly spectacular. I saw the nice weight room, laundry room, mezzanine, and patio courtyard. While exploring the building, there was a check-in table near the lobby for some exclusive VIP party on the rooftop of his building. I decided that it was my mission to get into this party. I walked around some more and met two ladies in the lobby with the Carrera sunglasses logo on their t-shirts and wristbands. I decided to strike up a conversation with them in hopes of getting in.

Alvina Alston and Allison Feit were their names. Alvina is a friend of the event director and was there to support the party and event for the whole day. Allison is the younger sister of the event director and was helping him out while visiting New York for the weekend. Alvina, Allison, and I all started chatting on the lobby couches while they were waiting for their Thai takeout. When the food arrived, the Thai place forgot to give them forks, so I offered to run up to Ryan's apartment and get them some utensils. This proved to be the defining moment in getting into the party. When I got back to the lobby with their forks, Brian Feit was there with them as well. As they enjoyed their food, I explained my adventure plans and how I came to be in this lobby and this hour. That led to some phone number exchanges and a wristband/handstamp access for the party.

The party was majestic. Carrera sunglasses was the corporate sponsor of the event, with models and display cases of sunglasses being featured. There was two open bars, lighting, lounge areas, and a DJ booth with small dance floor. Allison kept on saying that there was some celebrities there and it was an extremely swag VIP party, so I just kept on saying thank you for the chance to be there. I took a couple of pictures of the skyline and had a ball. Dancing, drinking, and socializing at it's finest! The party ended at 1:30am and we went back to sleep in the apartment. It was a great feeling to know that your accommodations were only 24 flights down from where the party was being held.

Good morning and good afternoon! That is where I am right now!

I just woke up.
Let's get brunch.

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