New Jersey & A New York Minute

July 7, 2009Devon No Comments »

I do not even know if I can tell you what happen this week. Not that I should not tell you, but if I can — it all happened so quickly. I have to look at my photos to get the order right.

Ari & JesseTuesday June 30th, I hung out in Ocean Grove with Jesse, Ari, Elisabeth (one of Ari’s friends), and Anne. We all went around Ocean Grove, had lunch at Munch in Asbury Park, went to the beach, and had dinner at Ari and Elisabeth’s work –Stella Marina. It is an Italian restaurant right on the boardwalk overlooking the ocean. The food is fantastic — I recommend the mushroom mozzarella pizza. This day I mostly caught up with what everyone has been doing and visa versa. Everyone is doing well and happy. Jesse and Ari both really like living in New York. It is funny — I have not seen them in over 7 years, I had no idea what to expect. They are basically the same, yet taller and grown up.

Wednesday July 1st, Jesse had made plans for the week/weekend so he had to return back to New York in the morning. It was really go to see him — even if it was short. It just gives me another reason to come back to New York to see him longer. We had a drink together to celibate seeing each other — that what surreal. You have to remember, that I have not seen them in forever — neither of them could even drive by the time I moved to Texas. It was strange to see them drink and drive now — not at the same time, by all means, I mean individually.

Ocean Grove, NJ SunsetThursday July 2nd, was a relaxing day. Just hang out, went to the beach, and puttered around. Around 4pm Win (Ari and Jesse’s father) and his family arrived. It was so nice to see everyone from the Swenson family. In the evening we all went to the beach and walked around. It is so nice here — low humidity, around 75 degrees (24 C), and a slight cool breeze from off the ocean. Every night the sunsets are spectacular orange and pink. You can sleep comfortably outside because it is just a perfect climate.

Asbury Park, NJFriday July 3rd, I did a personal tour of Asbury Park. A little back history — this is important. Ocean Grove and Asbury Park are like sister cities — divided by a small water way. When every I came up with Jesse’s family to Ocean grove we always stayed in Ocean Grove — never ventured into Asbury Park because it was so run down and slightly dangerous. It was as if the edge of Asbury Park was an invisible wall that you never passed. Now, in the years I have been away, Asbury Park has been gentrified and an up-and-coming tourist destination for many residence of New York and New Jersey. It now has spectacular restaurants, hotels, apartments, homes, shops, and clubs/bars. It was amazing to see how it had all changed on my tour. Asbury Park BoardwalkThat night, Ari, Elisabeth, and I went to The Beach Bar in Asbury Park — a bar right on the beach. It was fun to sit in the dim lights, with the ocean breeze, and sip a Gin and Tonic. Oh, back tracking, on my tour I found out that Asbury Park was going to have “the most create fireworks display on the Jersey Shore” Saturday, so I figured I would see them after I got back from New York.

New York Time SquareSaturday July 4th, I went to New York — by myself. I left Ocean Grove and went to the Asbury Park Train station at 8am. After one connection, I arrived at New York Penn Station at 10am. I had a strict itinerary that I wanted to follow — well, not really an itinerary, but list of what I wanted to see. I jumped onto the Metro and got an unlimited Metro day pass for $8. If you ever visit New York, get the unlimited passes; they are so worth it. I first zoomed over to Christopher Street to see the legendary Stonewall Inn (40th Birthday!). Then I zoomed over to ground zero and saw them building the new 911 memorial. On the Metro again, I went over to Brooklyn and walked back to Manhattan over the Brooklyn Bridge (what views — a must if you visit). Then, again, I zoomed to Time Square and walked all around. I went up and down almost every street around Time Square. I stumbled upon Discovery Channel’s Titanic exposition and immediately wished Dominik could have been here — it would have been fun to go in if he was here, but not alone (oh, I even saw the “naked cowboy).”

Bethesda FountainAfter speeding an hour in Time Square, I zoomed to Grand Central Station to see the legendary train station. After just a few minutes, I then zoomed to Central Park and spent the rest of my 4 hours walking, getting lost, and eating lunch in the park. I have always wanted to see the Bethesda Angle (personal reasons), now I have. At 5pm, I zoomed over to Penn Station and grabbed the train to Asbury Park.

Asbury Park Fireworks 2009Once in Ocean Grove, I took a two-hour nap, getting up at 9pm. I walked down the boardwalk to Asbury Park. At 9:30pm the most amazing firework show I have ever seen launched from the beach in two locations combining explosions in the center. I had the perfect spot — I was right under the compilation spot. The show was so spectacular I had to take photos — to make the moment even more special, my camera actually captured the splendor (even video)!

Point Pleasant, NJSunday July 5th, I spent most of the day on my own. Ari, Elisabeth, and Anne were all working. So I spent the day at the beach. I tanned, swam, body surfed, and so on. Around 4pm I went back to the beach house and Ari and Elizabeth got off work. We all went out to dinner in Asbury Park then Win’s family, Ari, Elizabeth and I went to Point Pleasant. Point Pleasant is like a miniature Coney Island (carnival boardwalk by the sea) or Puetzchen’s Markt (for my German readers) only on a boardwalk. We went on many rides — getting slightly sick. We ending the night on the beach eating candied apples under the moonlight. We got back to the beach house around 11pm.

Monday July 6th, I got up at 8am, said goodbye, and left for the train station. I got to Newark Airport at 11am and got a flight to Atlanta — first class. I had an amazing grilled chicken salad with chopped cucumber, yellow bell pepper, mushrooms, onion, and tomatoes. To end the meal, I had a bowl of fresh fruit and a ginger cookie. I arrived in Atlanta on time and got to my connecting gate to Houston. Of course this day cannot run perfectly — I was bumped from the flight. While waiting for the next flight at 8:10pm, I started writing this blog. Also, I have an application on my phone that you create a profile and it finds people for you to date around your current location. After I got tired of wiring the blog, I decided to active the application just to check it out — and come to find out, I had three matches, one only 800 feet away. I activated the chat feature and we chatted for a bit. We decided to meet between our gates at gate B22. We introduced each other found out where each were from and going — lives in Austin and goes to UT, go figure. We decided we would hang out some time when I visit Austin again.

And then the bad news — I got bumped from the 8:10pm flight to Houston. I got on the phone and called a Delta rep. I asked if any flight to Houston Inter, Hobby, or even Austin had any seats open. She said that Austin had one seat left and it was leaving in 5 min — the flight the person I met earlier was on! So I ran (flew is a better word) and got on the plane, first class. Then, the plane was delayed because of extra baggage (oops) and some mechanical problem with the plane’s computer. Once the maintenance guys got on and fixed it, the baggage was all sorted out, we took off an hour late. I told Shari to scrap Houston and to get me in Austin — come to find out that the Austin Airport is the same distance (in time) as the Houston Airport, just 1 hour and 30 min away. I am glad to be home and not sitting in an airport.

Now, just a quick note: If you ever fly into LaGuardia airport between 7am-7pm and have $110/person extra on hand, you can take a helicopter from LaGuardia to the East 34th street helipad in Manhattan (now that would make a good start to a special trip)! You can do it from all three airports around NYC, but the LaGuardia helicopter flight is cheapest.

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