I heard a church bell softly chime in a melody sustainin’

Somehow or another, some of our pictures didn’t make it online, and we didn’t realize it until yesterday afternoon. So I want to point out a few things, like this sign at Prospect Park:

Mike, in that way that he does, nudged me so I would notice the sign. Because he likes to get me riled up about things. BUT WHAT IF I WANT TO BRING MY BARBECUE INTO THE PARK? WHAT THEN, PROSPECT PARK? GO AHEAD, TRY AND STOP ME! YOU WILL RIP THIS PULLED PORK OUT OF MY COLD DEAD HANDS! (I actually do think this sign is a little odd. I would think it would be “barbecuing.” Which is what other similar signs said. But this is further evidence that the word “grilling” is superior, because there is no confusion.)

Also, because I like this picture, here I am at Prospect Park:

Okay, now I will resume the regularly scheduled recap! On Thursday we went in search of New York City’s best burgers. Mike’s list, obviously. We decided to try The Burger Joint, and we were not disappointed. From there, we hiked up to the Met to purchase Alisa’s half birthday present: the William stapler. Alisa’s half birthday is close to my birthday, and somehow or another we got started exchanging presents for half birthdays as well as regular birthdays. I knew I wanted her present to come from New York, and she loves hippos. Yay, William! (I gave her the stapler already, so it’s okay for me to post this.)

From there, we headed over to the American Museum of Natural History (Mike’s list). I am going to be honest – I was not completely jazzed about going to the museum until I realized that this is where they have the dinosaurs. (I have clearly never seen A Night at the Museum.) I have a freakish love of dinosaurs. In fact, I was a little overly excited. As you can tell in the pictures.

When I was very small, my mother made me a stuffed stegosaurus for Christmas. His name was Diney. I loved him very much and slept with him for years and years. He hasn’t fallen apart, but he’s pretty threadbare (or, as I like to say, real). This picture is for my mom.

Mike and I had a bit of a disagreement about the dinosaurs. I said that I like to imagine that they were purple. And he did not think that was the smartest thing I had ever said. His argument is that if they were purple, they would have stood out and been easily killed. Well, they’re all extinct, aren’t they? Game, set, match. Besides, as the AMNH will tell you, no one really knows what color they were.

(So we should just use our imaginations.)

Thursday was so hot, you guys. By the time we got to the meteorites, I was basically done with everything.

My legs were shaking and I probably hadn’t had quite enough water. So we went back to our hotel to recover before going to Otto, Mario Batali’s pizza place (Kari’s list). A few years ago, I read Heat, and this restaurant was opened during the time that book talks about, so I thought I’d like to see it. Plus, Smitten Kitchen said it was the best pizza she’d ever had. And we all know that I trust her judgment. The thing about Otto . . . well, Mike kept saying, “I don’t understand this place.” The atmosphere is weird – it’s really loud. And there were people of all ages there. But it also felt upscale, though the prices were very reasonable. The food, though, was really awesome. Seriously good stuff. The olive oil gelato? Lives up to the hype. Oh. My. Gosh. I would go there again, just for that. The pizza I had was great, too, and the cheese was wonderful, and Mike’s spaghetti alla carbonara was very tasty. But the gelato . . . so good.

Friday was our last full day in New York. First we went down to Bleecker Street in Greenwich Village. This is from both our lists, because as a good Simon & Garfunkel fan, I wanted to see Bleecker Street, and Mike wanted to see the Village. Also, he had a black and white cookie. For Scott.

We walked around, had some pizza, and didn’t quite make it to Magnolia’s. Then we headed up to The Strand (Kari’s list). I got a tote bag, one with stripes that does not appear to be on their site. Lucky magazine recommended this one, but I don’t think I’m a toile kind of girl. (I asked Mike, “Am I stripes or toile?” and he was emphatic that I’m stripes. Sorry, toile.) Then we did another thing from my list, which was that we made our pilgrimage to the Cathedral of St. John the Divine. Mike wanted to see it, too, actually, but just because of the architecture. I wanted to see it because it was Madeleine L’Engle’s church, and for a while she was writer-in-residence there. It was amazing, and it must be quite an experience to attend a service there. I would like to do that sometime.

And then, for dinner, we went to Serendipity 3. I know, it’s kind of a hassle, and it’s such a touristy thing, but the food was pretty good (I had the black bean burger), and the frozen hot chocolate really was delicious. And now I can cross it off my list.

After getting cleaned up, we went back out to the theater to see Avenue Q (Mike’s list). Interestingly, he enjoyed this one more, but I’d have to say that I enjoyed Spring Awakening more. It was funny, though, and I am glad we saw it.

Saturday morning we did another touristy thing and went to BB King’s to see the Beatles tribute band Strawberry Fields. And you know what? I had a lot of fun. It was silly, but the music was good. They were really serious about it – I have a t-shirt that someone gave me that has a picture of the Beatles and says Vox: Sound of the Longhairs. I noticed that the guys were even using Vox speakers. And of course they dressed up, changing costumes throughout the show to represent the different eras of Beatles music. We had a silly fun time, and left very full and singing Beatles songs.

And that was the end! The end of our time in Manhattan. It was a fun, full week of things we had been wanting to do, and it was so fun to share all of it with Mike. Next time we go, we are going to be Brooklynites, because there are tons of Brooklyn things that we want to do. We also enjoyed our time on Long Island very much (look, I have learned: ON Long Island), and I deeply regret that I didn’t get a picture of Mike with Mary Ann, his second mom, who couldn’t have been more welcoming or friendly. The only time I had ever met her was the weekend of our wedding, so it was nice to spend time with her and hear her stories and eat her meatballs (DELICIOUS). And we ate cannolli and we grilled out (I had her saying “grilling” by the end of the weekend) and we had pizza from Mike’s favorite Holbrook place.

Our last morning in Manhattan, Mike and I saw a newscast that was talking about whether couples can spend too much time together. We looked at each other kind of shifty eyed and then decided to watch the report, which said the usual things about communication and making sure each person has the down time that he or she needs. We have spent an unprecedented amount of time together this summer, and I was a little nervous about it, but we have each had our outlets, so I’d have to say that overall? It’s been awesome. And our vacation was a great example of that.

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