Monday, March 31, 2008

Trip to NYC: Day 4

I don't know if I was intimidated about trying to put the rest of our NYC trip to words or what, but for some reason I fell off the blogging wagon there for a couple days. But I'm back and ready to report on the 2nd half of my vacation, before the memories have totally faded.

Unlike Sunday, I did get my camera out on Monday for lots of sight-seeing and picture-taking. We started out Monday by taking the Subway down to Manhattan to scrounge up some real NYC breakfast and then in due time arrive at Randall's work,'s New York offices. We started hunting for bagels, but then were distracted by a Duncan Donuts, which is real New York enough for us, since we don't have them here in Utah. We got a couple donuts each and some HoCho (as I heard someone called Hot Chocolate this evening) and then we headed out to check out Madison Square as we had a bit of time before we needed to arrive at CNET.

Flatiron Building
The Flatiron Building. Taken from Madison Square.

Empire State Building
Empire State Building, and me with my HoCho.

After strolling around a bit, we walked back to Randall's work and reported for duty. One of the things Randall does for work there is a daily podcast each morning talking about technology with a couple other guys there. Its called "The 404" and they broadcast live each morning and take calls and have a live chat room. They also record the show and make it available for download and/or subscription as a download. As I've been a listener since the very beginning, perhaps since before anyone else, they were gracious enough to let me join in on the discussion that day, and Jon also got to hang out in the studio as we were broadcasting. The language on the show is generally around a PG-13 level, but if you're okay with that, you can check out the show I was on here (none of the swearing came from me).

In the Studio at CNET NY
Randall & Jon in the studio

After The 404, we went to grab some lunch with Randall and ended up across the street at a deli where we got some paninis. We ate back at CNET and then left Randall to finish up work, while we headed back uptown with our ultimate goal being to get to the Ed Sullivan Theater to pick up our tickets for The Late Show with David Letterman. We took the Subway up to Grand Central Station and decided to walk the rest of the way from there. Coincidentally, it also happened to be St. Patrick's Day, and the St. Patty's Day parade was in full swing at this point. We were able to swing over to 5th Ave from time to time and catch parts of it as we worked our way northward. I guess I'm just used to Utah 4th and 24th of July parades, but this was seemed a bit underwhelming. No floats. Just marching bands and groups of people walking.

Grand Central Station
Grand Central Station

St. Patrick's Day parade
St. Patrick's Day parade

Anyway, we got to the Theater with time to spare, waited in line for maybe 30 minutes, and then were told to come back in a couple hours for the actual taping. We had some time to kill so we had back down to Times Square to do a little souvenir shopping. I picked up some mugs that I like, a deck of cards designed to look like the Subway/Metro passes, and a T-shirt from the ESPNZone. Then it was back to Letterman.

Our seats were on the 3rd row in the balcony, so to see Dave's desk, we kind of had to look down between the lighting rigs. The thing I was most struck by was how small the studio was. I always imagined Dave and the band being pretty far away from each other, and really there's not that much space between them. The CBS Orchestra was great, and played some cool songs, including some Green Day. The main guest was Rainn Wilson (Dwight from The Office), and he was followed by Mike (Golic) and Mike (Greenburg) from ESPN Radio. The musical guest was an Irish band (St. Patrick's Day theme?) called Bell X1 that was fine, but not that memorable. It was cool to be there, and was a fun experience.

Outside the Ed Sullivan Theater

Inside the Ed Sullivan Theater
I got yelled at for taking this one. I didn't realize the layout of the set was so top secret.

Once the taping was over, we started thinking of what we had yet to do. We decided it might be cool to go the Empire State building, and Randall had called while we were at the show, so we let him know that was our plan and he gave us a spot to meet up with him. We got down there, found Randall, and then walked over to the Empire State building. The waiting line to go up was pretty long, so we let Randall talk us into going to Rockefeller Center for our "go-up-in-a-tall-building" experience, which meant another trip back up a few blocks. Along the way, we made a brief stop in Macy's, the world's largest department store, and then it was back to the street.

Once we got up to Rockefeller Plaza, we got some pizza as we'd yet to eat some while we'd been in New York. I thought mine was pretty good, while Jon was unimpressed. It did seem a lot like Sbarro. From there, it was up to the Top of the Rock observation platform on top of the Rockefeller center. There was almost no line at all there. In fact the longest line was the line of people waiting for the elevator to go down. It gave some nice views of New York at night, including a green St. Patrick's themed Empire State Building.

Empire Go Bragh

Once we'd had our fill there, we headed back down to the street, and made a final stop of the night at a place called Junior's for some New York Cheesecake, that really was phenomenal. Great stuff. Very rich though, and I had to go back and buy a bottle of water to wash it all down. That was the end of our very full Monday.

More photos from Day 4.

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