Jersey and NYC

Less than a week ago we decided to change our route and go all the way to the east coast. If you’re going to drive around the US, you may as well drive around the US. It’s forced us to do more interstate driving lately and pass right through some otherwise stop-worthy places, but we made it.  Coast to coast, baby!

From Niagara, we stopped in a random town somewhere in New York (Corning?) for the night. Our hotel had a ‘wall of fame’ featuring previous guests including some girl from MTV’s Road Rules Semester At Sea, the third guy from Full House, and some comedian with a puppet. The hotel recommended a kid-friendly Hollywood themed restaurant and we headed out. Bode and I went in first while Jason was locking up the van. The hostess asked us, “2?”. No, there will be three of us. She grabbed three menus and walked over to a booth, threw them on the table and walked off without another word.  It was our own personal “Welcome to New York” moment.

We also got some interesting advice for driving through New York in a VW bus: “Don’t break down.” Multiple people e-mailed us this useful tip. There are simply no VW’s on the road around here and it seems no places to buy parts or get help. We took the advice and rolled on to Westfield, New Jersey.

One of the main reasons to come all this way was to visit our friends Alli and Kevin. And, Bode was keen on going to the top of the Empire State Building.

So, what is the exact opposite of living in an old VW? Living at Kevin and Alli’s!!! It’s a little like living in a Pottery Barn catalog, though I bet a lot of the stuff is better than PB. Even the ends of the toilet paper rolls were shaped into roses or something. Fancy! All kidding aside, their home is fantastic.

Alli and I have been friends since high school, and lived together through most of college. After college, she moved to the Big Apple and lived right in the  heart of Manhattan. She played host to lots of “Girls’ trips. Later, we both had kids at the same time, and spent every Friday of our pregnancy on the phone comparing notes. Her daughter, Lainey and Bode are one month apart.

Since then, they moved out to New Jersey and had another daughter, Keira.  Last time we’d been to their house was just days before Keira’s birth, and this trip we got to celebrate her third birthday with a party at a gym. Bode had a blast with the girls, and even enjoyed Keira’s new birthday toys- the Princess phone and the Gassy Gus game (courtesy of Uncle Ed). The girls were equally excited about what Bode brought–a camper van! Our van is only equipped to hold one carseat, so the girls had to take turns. Bode was happy to ride in Alli’s newer car. It had automatic windows after all.

One of the other highlights of our visit was getting to see another long-time friend, Melissa. She and I spent about every weekend together in our teens.  She and Henrick came in from Queens and we all went out to dinner. Another great thing about being at Alli’s house—they have a babysitter! One that will watch all three kids! It’s been a while…

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9 thoughts on “Jersey and NYC

  • November 11, 2009 at 10:53 AM
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    awesome photos of my other city = ) oh yeah, the kids are cute too.

  • November 11, 2009 at 1:05 PM
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    your bus will be running so nice after a visit with the fmbc at jomeokee . . and you might catch up with the leaves. We are in the annapolis area if you need anything coming through maryland send me an e-mail although you will probably be taking a more western route, west of frederick, catoctin mtns., harpers ferry into va., blue ridge pkwy, shenandoah, right down to NC – miss the DC congestion.
    great trip!

  • November 11, 2009 at 2:44 PM
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    You made it to Westfield, NJ? How funny! I grew up in Fanwood, the next town over. Westfield was (and is) the snazzier of the two towns definitely.

    Sorry you had a rude NY waitress. I think the deal is that New Yorkers are just in your face–if they’re friendly, you get a lot of friendliness at close range, and if not, then, well, you get what you got.

    Anyway, compared with those large, square states you passed through, NY and NJ must seem like quite a contrast in a variety of ways. Enjoy.

  • November 11, 2009 at 6:42 PM
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    You’re in New York and the weather looks mahhhhvolous!!! Lucky lucky kids – enjoy!

  • November 11, 2009 at 7:47 PM
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    After spending 24/7 with each other for nearly 3 months, taking the train into NYC for a few hours was quite a culture shock. People everywhere! Bode was transfixed.

    I wish we could have gotten some van photos there, but we decided driving would be more headache than we could deal with.

    Alli insists they live on the less snazzy side of Westfield 😉
    The weather got up to 70, absolutely amazing.

  • November 13, 2009 at 1:48 PM
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    Yes, there are less-snazzier sides to Westfield…
    (and all places Jersey).

    There ARE places in upstate NY that are VW FRIENDLY. Ed Karpinski of Syracuse NY (near the zoo) is an awesome VW mechanic. Also know of a Dutch Antiguan in the Çuse area whose name eludes me.

    You just need to know WHERE to look and who to call. Also some great salvage yards, one of which is in Fleischmann’s NY in the Catskills.

  • November 17, 2009 at 1:27 PM
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    Arg! We nearly crossed paths with you in NYC! We road-tripped down there from Boston last weekend to see some friends. Sorry we missed you guys!!!

    Funny thing, we met the bass player for the Alice Cooper Band — not our usual weekend hangout crowd of course, but I wonder if Angela would have been able to identify him without being introduced? (Already on a first-name basis with Dennis, are we Angela????)

  • November 19, 2009 at 12:54 PM
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    Thank you for not sharing the pomegranate pictures, I would definitely have to relocate (to an even less-than-snazzier-side).

    As for the toilet paper origami, definitely a figment of your travel acclimation. Those were wads from my kids DIY potty training. We loved having y’all and hope Red Beard keeps clocking the memories!

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