Traveling with our staff each year is something we don’t take for granted. Although most of our trips are planned to attend continuing education courses, occasionally we have an opportunity to vacation together in a more relaxed and team building environment. Last month we were privileged to experience the great city of New York. The sight-seeing, food, broadways, and shopping were second to none. We are delighted to share our memories with you.
Upon arrival, we were met by a luxury shuttle bus at the airport. Our driver, Paul, was incredibly informative and gave us a small history lesson on the way to the hotel. Who knew we would be staying at the stunning Intercontinental located directly on Times Square? After checking into our rooms we met in the lobby for a planned outing with the whole group. We arrived at a museum called “Gulliver’s Gate.” It is one of the most technologically advanced museums of miniatures out there. The intricate detail and master craftsmanship is astonishing. From a fully functioning mini-airport and a digital Niagara Falls, to hidden details and interactive moving parts, it was an absolute must-see. After touring the multiple floors, and observing the artists crafting in the workshops windows, we worked up quite an appetite and were ready for a delicious Italian dinner at the infamous Carmine’s.
The next day we were treated to a delectable brunch at a stunning historical restaurant called Tavern on the Green. Originally a sheep fold in the 1800’s, it was transformed into a public restaurant in 1934. Many people find the scenery recognizable as this was the backdrop of the popular movie, Breakfast at Tiffany’s. After we had our fill, we took a casual stroll to 220 Central Park South. There we were met by three coachmen of the Central Park Carriage Tours. We each hopped into a horse drawn buggy, and enjoyed the history and breathtaking views Central Park has to offer. Not to mention, the stunning Strawberry Fields, a 2.5 acre landscaped section of the park, which was dedicated to the memory of the formal Beatle, John Lennon. We were lucky enough to have experienced a local street performer strumming a soft tune of “Strawberry Fields Forever” nearby.
After a long stroll back to the hotel by way of window shopping on 5th Avenue, we prepared for dinner and the much anticipated Hamilton on Broadway. Bond 45 did not disappoint.This Italian kitchen and bar is known for their seasonal market vegetables and features an extravagant menu including house made pasta, thin crust pizza, and breakfast served all day long. Luckily, for our ladies that wore heels, the Richard Rogers Theatre was directly across the street.
Hamilton on Broadway was absolutely incredible. Words fail to describe the talent presented on one stage. Our seats were directly behind the live orchestra in the center section. (Leave it to Dr. Hochberg to spoil us with the very best.) The emotion, the soundtrack, and the performances were an experience of a lifetime and definitely the favorite highlight of our trip for all. The excitement continued well after the curtain closed and one lucky lady in our group reached out to a lead cast member on social media and received a response back! This was truly an encounter that will be remembered for many years to come.
The following day, Friday, we ventured out on the popular New York Subway to visit the National September 11th Memorial & Museum. Complete with a private tour, we reflected on the tragedy that affected so many Americans and their families. Although a somber experience, we learned so much about the events of the day, the individuals, and the unique perspective of what has shaped New York to become beauty from ashes again. The twin reflecting pools located on the plaza was a nice ending to always remember the lives lost. In fact, the names of each individual are inscribed into the bronze panels edging the pools. It is a powerful and constant reminder of the largest loss of life from a foreign attack in American history, of both general public and rescue personnel. A special thank you to our tour guide, Victor, for the attention to detail and impactful impression you left us with.
To complete our experience, we walked to the One World Trade Center, the main building of the rebuilt World Trade Center complex. It is the tallest building in the Western Hemisphere, and the sixth-tallest in the world. The elevator ride to the observatory deck had a floor to ceiling digital screen playing CGI animation of the development of Lower Manhattan, New York City in the last 500 years. There are no windows, but these elevators are high speed and oftentimes can make a riders slightly dizzy. It travels at 23 mph and transport passengers from the lobby to the observatory deck in a mere 47 seconds. Following a quick group photo, our staff was seated to lunch with an amazing view at ONE Dine, a restaurant located at the top of the tower with views of Midtown Manhattan, the East River, and The Hudson. The local chef inspired menu had great choices for everyone, from appetizers to finishing with dessert. After a quick descend back down, we were then on our way to The Hudson to see things a bit more at ground level.
We met at the docks of The Hudson River. A nice tour cruise boat awaited us and we enjoyed indoor seating in the VIP section, of course. The announcer gave detailed history on the bridges and buildings as we passed by. The most beautiful was that of Lady Liberty. Although it was a cloudy day, she stood tall and was seen for the first time by a handful of our team members. It was a bucket list item we were all happy to check off!
Finally the dreaded day arrived, Saturday. It would be our last full day in the Big Apple. Most of our staff made plans to enjoy the city on their own. Ezel was bit adventurous and took the Subway to Brooklyn. Angela and Dr. Diora met with friends. Kayla went to the spa and later met Karren to go shopping. Cheryl, Karen, and Sharon took Uber’s to visit the beautiful Met Museum. Although a bit scattered, we all were thankful for time to enjoy individual excursions on this trip. Ending the day, we met for a group dinner at La Masseria. (Italian is our go-to favorite, if you can’t tell.) Complete with homemade gelato, we finished our meal and prepared for a final Broadway show, The Lion King. “The movie come to life” is an understatement. The cast, the costumes, and the choreography was incredible. It was another late night, but well worth it.
Sunday morning we met in the lobby bright and early for checkout and to head to the airport. Dr. Hochberg was busy passing out Schmackary’s cookies to everyone as a little treat for the plane ride home. Some of us watched movies, others caught up on sleep, but all of us reminisced on what a wonderful trip it was. We are so grateful to be a part of a team that feels more like family. New York was the trip of a lifetime, and we cannot wait until Dallas!
To view our complete NYC photo album, please visit our Facebook page.