The Woody Project Blog

November 30, 2004

Filed under: Uncategorized — Ryan @ 9:06 pm

This is the third and last post in this series:

New York City – Day 3 – Sunday, May 9, 2004

Our last day in the big city.

We checked out of the hotel at 10 am and walked down the street towards the Empire State Building (only 3 blocks from our hotel). On the way we saw Madison Square Garden.

Empire State Building

The lobby of the Empire State Building is gorgeous, decorated in art deco style with lots of marble, brass and stainless steel. Every other floor of the building that we saw was run-down and dumpy – you wouldn’t think that you were in one of the most famous buildings in the city.

The security checkpoint and the ticket office are on the first basement level and we got ushered to the front of the line because of Christina’s cane.

The observation deck is 86 floors up and takes two elevators to get you there. The view is terrific but it’s a little hard to see very far because of the smog. The observation deck looks much bigger in the movies.

Short history lesson as learned from the guide in the hotel room:

The Empire State Building and the Chrysler Building are the result of a wager between the CEO of Chrysler and the CEO of General Motors. Needless to say GM won the bet. The Empire State Building set a world record with construction going on around the clock and an average of 4 1/2 floors going up every week.

To complete our experience we walked till we had an unobstructed view of the Chrysler Building. We didn’t go inside because we were tired. I think the busy weekend was starting to wear on us.

We got a slice of pizza from a pizza shop around the corner from the New York Public Library and then walked back down 5th Avenue to the Empire State Building and then paid a visit to Macy’s, the world’s largest department store.

More handbags. Wow, look at all those handbags. Why do people need so many handbags?!?

After a walk through Macy’s we made our way back to the New Yorker and waited for the shuttle to take us to the airport. We got shuttled to the Port Authority bus station were we transferred to a bus that took us to Grand Central Terminal and then back to the airport.

After a weekend of fine dining we were both in the mood for some fast food and got supper at the airport McDonalds.

Our plane left at 5:45.

After landing in the almost deserted Rochester airport we took the shuttle to the parking lot and grabbed the little red rocket. We were back at Christina’s apartment by 8 pm.

It was an amazing trip and I was tired.

Zzzz

The End

November 29, 2004

Filed under: Uncategorized — Ryan @ 11:46 am

The second in a series of three posts:

New York City – Day 2 – Saturday, May 8, 2004

David Letterman – Broadway btw 53rd and 54th

Saturday in the Big Apple started at 10 am with a walk down Broadway to the Ed Sullivan theatre. David Letterman wasn’t taping but we got to look at the box office. Next door we visited the CBS Store – a very, very small store with some interesting things.

We had planned to eat lunch at the Hello Deli around the corner from Letterman but when we got there we decided not to. In daylight the Hello Deli is a very scary place.

We got pictures though!

Jekyll and Hyde Club – 6th btw 56th and 57th

After the Hello Deli lunch got nixed we needed food, badly. We made our way towards the Plaza Hotel and walked past the Brooklyn Diner (57th btw Broadway and 7th) and the HardRock Café and eventually ended up at the Jekyll and Hyde Club.

The “Club” is actually a restaurant with 4 floors of live entertainment. As the name implies, the restaurant is based on the book Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde. Actors wander around the restaurant and engage the patrons.

Each floor has a different theme (salon, library, laboratory are the ones I can remember) and the staff encourage you to wander around and explore each floor as you wait for your food to be served.

The food was only average and be careful when you order beverages. We didn’t realize that refills weren’t free and we ended up paying $12 (USD, approximately $16 CDN) for Coke.

While I was eating, one of the actors dressed as Igor snuck up behind me and licked my head and then complimented me: “mmmm, not bad” and when Christina went to the washroom Scarlet O’Harlot took her seat at the table and tried to pick me up.

It’s a very interesting place and I recommend that everyone go there once.

The Plaza Hotel

After our outrageously expensive lunch we wandered to the Plaza Hotel. It was interesting to see the hotel in person after seeing it in so many films.

We made a short trip to the Plaza Hotel gift shop and the only thing I could afford was a $5 tin of mints.

Tiffany’s – 5th and 57th

After the most expensive hotel I’ve ever been in Christina and I went to the most expensive jewelry store in the world. Tiffany’s is five floors of very beautiful things.

After browsing the first floor we made our way to the second floor (engagement rings) and it wasn’t long before Christina was trying on the ring she wants. There were two, one slightly larger than the other with a price range of $6,000 to $13,000 (USD). Hmmm.

When I first saw the diamond rings sparkle in the display cases I thought the brilliant sparkle was a result of the case lighting, but when Christina took the ring out of the case and put it on her finger it still sparkled just as bright. I haven’t seen many diamonds but I’ve never seen one sparkle like these did. After seeing the diamonds in person I can understand why someone would pay so much for one. But not me, and not that day.

We looked around the other floors a little but soon got tired of looking at things we couldn’t afford. The most expensive thing I saw was a Tahitian pearl necklace worth $447,000.

Central Park

No trip to New York is complete without a horse and carriage ride through Central Park so that is what Christina and I did next. Hiring a carriage isn’t very hard at all and a 20-minute ride will run you about $40.

Our driver pointed out items of interest including the carousel, the carnival (which was just setting up for the summer), the chess house and the two apartment towers that were featured in the movie Ghostbusters. The Ghostbuster buildings weren’t in the park but you could see them from there.

After the ride we stopped and watched a break-dancing demonstration for a few minutes.

Shopping

The world’s greatest toy store (FAO Schwartz – 5th and 58th) was closed for renovations but we got to sit on the giant teddy bear outside.

Barney’s (Madison btw 60th and 61st) had a boutique that for $20 would customize and mix a batch of lip-gloss just for you. We also saw the location where Jack (Will & Grace) worked for a few episodes.

While walking around town we kept seeing people carrying the Bloomingdale’s Little Brown Bags, Medium Brown Bags and the odd Large Brown Bag. It was too much; we decided that we had to have our own Little Brown Bag. We made our way to Bloomingdale’s (3rd btw 59th and 60th) in search of something to buy but, alas, nothing in the store suited.

It seems that every department store in New York specializes in hand bags. Why do people need so many handbags? It’s a mystery that may never be solved.

After being defeated by the sea of handbags we decided to take a walk down Park Avenue. It was a very nice street – one of the few in New York that had a centre median with grass and trees.

Rockefeller Center

We arrived at Rockefeller Center and browsed through some of the kiosks. It was the most upscale outdoor flea market I’ve ever seen.

We visited the MET Store (a small version of the Museum Store) and the NBC Store (much larger than the CBS Store).

By this time of the day (about 5 pm) our feet were tired and our stomachs were grumbly – we made our way to Planet Hollywood Times Square for supper. I had a New York strip steak (what else?).

Madame Toussauds Wax Museum – Times Square

Freshly recuperated from our afternoon and bursting with energy from our delicious supper we went to Madame Toussauds Wax Museum and spent about two hours wandering around the many floors and exhibits. Of all the locations we visited on our trip, we took the most pictures here.

After we purchased our tickets we were taken to the 8th floor in an elevator and before the elevator doors opened we were instructed that we were about to walk into the “opening night party” and that most of the celebrity guests were already there and we were fashionably late.

“Feel free to mingle and don’t be afraid to touch”

How often do you get told that before going to a party?

Anyone who’s ever been to a wax museum will tell you that it takes some getting used to. Even though we knew the celebrities were going to be wax replicas we still treated them like real people for the first few minutes. All evening I found myself being careful not to walk between two people talking and saying “excuse me” if I happened to brush up against one of the celebrities. It’s an eerie experience.

On another floor a group us turned a corner to find an exhibit of N Sync and a person about to take a picture of them. We waited patiently for her to finish and made sure we weren’t in her way. This went on for some time until someone remarked, “I think she’s wax”.

Christina and I hung back out of the way for a while and watched other people come around the corner. People sidled behind her carefully, ducked in front of her, said “excuse me”, and even gave her trouble for taking too long.

We laughed till our stomachs hurt.

Carnegie Deli – 7th btw 54th and 55th

A short taxi ride took us to the Carnegie Deli, which is world famous for its cheesecake. It seems that every deli in New York serves a bowl of dill pickles and cucumbers with every order.

We ordered one slice of the strawberry cheesecake (the best) and it was so big we couldn’t finish it. Yummy.

It turns out that our waiter was a Canadian living in New York. Until six months earlier he worked in the travel industry but because of the tourism slowdown he had to take a job as a waiter.

The Carnegie Deli will ship its cheesecakes over-night to anywhere in the continental US. For $40 you can get a small cheesecake delivered to your doorstep the very next morning. This deli is awesome!

Cheesecake in our bellies, we hired the cab parked outside to take us back to the New Yorker. This cabbie was an interesting character and we were told how “New York cabs are the best deal in the world”, “black limo cars are evil and they rip you off”, and “just last night a black limo car cut me off and if the driver wasn’t a woman I would have killed her with my bare hands.”

Hmmm. Thanks for the ride.

Got back to the hotel around 9.

November 24, 2004

Filed under: Uncategorized — Ryan @ 11:09 pm

This is the chronicle of our trip to the Big Apple. It’s been a while between the trip and the posting of this entry but better late than never. I’m going to post this entry in three parts, one for each day of the trip. Here’s day 1:

New York City – Day 1 – Friday, May 7, 2004

Greater Rochester International Airport

Christina and I left for the Greater Rochester International Airport at 8 am and after a long, arduous journey, we arrived at 8:10 am. Parking was achieved in the long-term lot at a rate of $4.50 per day and after a short shuttle ride to the terminal we checked in and got our e-tickets. It seems that no one uses real tickets anymore.

We decided to carry everything we needed in our backpacks so we had no bags to check. We wandered around the shops in the airport to kill some time before our flight was to leave at 9:30.

We found a bookstore, a Subway serving breakfast (gross) and a golden tree. We then decided to take advantage of the rocking chairs in the airport and watched the comings and goings of the airplanes and helicopters.

The Rochester airport isn’t large but its very well laid out and welcoming to travelers. A+!

The next stop was the security checkpoint. Christina pointed out to the first security officer that she was wearing a tens machine and that it was a medical device. So far so good. Apparently the second security officer on the other side of the metal detector didn’t hear the conversation and when Christina started to walk towards him he over-reacted.

“Stop! Don’t come any closer! Back up! What’s that on your hip!?”

I thought he was going to tackle her. I guess everybody in the airport is a little hyped up and sees suicide bombers everywhere. I found it hard to keep a straight face.

I didn’t have any problems going through security and while I waited Christina got frisked and searched. She must have the terrorist look about her.

We got to the boarding gate about a half hour before the flight was scheduled to leave so we sat by the window and watched some more planes come and go. Our plane pulled up to the gate soon after and we got to watch the passengers get off, the luggage taken out of the tail, the luggage for our flight loaded and the plane refueled.

Our plane was U.S. Airways turbo-prop with a capacity of about 50 passengers and the flight to LaGuardia took about an hour and a half.

Katz’s Deli – 205 East Houston Street

The first item on our itinerary was lunch at the famous Katz’s Deli. We took our very first New York taxi ride from the airport directly to the deli and arrived at noon.

If I didn’t know about Katz’s Deli I never would have ventured into the restaurant, let alone the neighbourhood- it’s seedy looking.

If you want waiter service you sit at one of tables along the wall, otherwise you get to fight for your lunch at the deli counter. Giving one of the “sandwich artists” a dollar gets you a sample of whichever meat you like. If you give it a pass they will then proceed to make your sandwich for you.

The two of us ordered one sandwich – a corned beef on rye (with mustard) – and it was more than enough. I’ve never had corned beef that good… it was so tender… it flaked apart, and without any exaggeration there was 3 inches of meat between the bread.

Oh, by the way, this is the diner where Harry and Sally had their famous sandwich. “I’ll have what she’s having.”

Battery Park – southern tip of Manhattan

Now that we had refueled we decided to waste no sight seeing time and hailed another taxi to take us to Battery Park, the departure point for the Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island ferries. Christina is good at hailing cabs – I think she was born to be a New Yorker.

Battery Park used to be an island fort, which has since been connected to the mainland with landfill. The park is beautiful and you almost forget that you’re in the biggest city in the world.

There were also lots of good deals in the park. You could buy brand new Oakley sunglasses, Rolex watches and Louis Vuitton bags for under $10. Christina wouldn’t let me buy anything. She’s no fun.

Statue of Liberty

We bought our tickets for the ferry at the ticket booth in the centre of the old battery. We then proceeded to the security checkpoint and waited for the next ferry in a large tent. The security for the ferry was stricter than at the airport – they even made me take off my belt and watch.

There are a number of ferries and they leave every half hour and travel from Battery Park to Statue of Liberty Island to Ellis Island and then back to Battery Park.

The afternoon was hot and it was even hotter on the top deck of the ferry. After a short ride we got off at the Statue of Liberty Island Park. The Statue has been closed to the public since 9/11 so we had to content ourselves with walking around the island. The island isn’t very large and we managed to make it all the way around in about 20 minutes.

We got some nice photos of the Statue of Liberty from the ground and the view of southern Manhattan and Ellis Island was very picturesque.

Ellis Island

We caught the next ferry to Ellis Island but didn’t get off. Instead we waited for the boat to return to Battery Park.

Ellis Island used to be the point of entrance for immigrants until 1954. It has since been turned into an immigration museum. We needed a break and decided that we weren’t very interested in an immigration museum.

Ground Zero

Once we got back to Battery Park we walked down Greenwich Street to the former site of the World Trade Center. The site was busy and there were several tour buses.

The site was fenced off and all cleaned up. We saw the twisted girder that was erected as a monument but the saddest part was all the memorials written in marker on the fence.

The New Yorker

We had a little trouble getting a cab from ground zero – the drivers seemed to be particular about where they went.

We checked into our room (34th floor, #3406) about 4:30 and I took a short nap to recover from the hectic morning. It was easy to get into bed because it was one step from the door. The room was very small and was just large enough to hold the queen size bed, a dresser and a desk.

The hotel opened in the 1930’s and changed hands numerous times. It became a church and residence, it nearly became a teaching hospital and dormitories, and then around 1980 it was converted back into a hotel with about 350 rooms. The management has been adding rooms ever since and the hotel is now at full capacity with slightly more than 1,000 rooms.

Times Square

For supper we walked to Times Square and ended up at Applebees on the 2nd floor – the view was amazing – you could see all the comings and goings on the street.

After supper we switched into full tourist mode and wandered around Times Square for a few hours. We saw Toy’s R Us, the MTV Store, Bubba Gump Restaurant, Sketchers, Quicksilver, and the Virgin Megastore. In Sketchers we saw the Dali Lama trying on a pair of running shoes.

Really. No foolin’!

A lady took a picture of Christina and I in front of the bright lights of Times Square. The picture turned out really good.

We finally decided to call it a night at 11:30 and walked back to the hotel to rest up for another full day of sight seeing.

November 18, 2004

Filed under: Uncategorized — Ryan @ 11:56 am

Phase Two (of an undetermined number)

Phase One of The Woody Project.com is now complete. “That’s good” is probably what you’re thinking. It’s good to make progress and by completing Phase One I feel as though I’m making progress. “What the hell was Phase One?” is probably something else you’re thinking. And by logical extension many people are probably thinking “What the hell is Phase Two?”

Phase One was the intial startup period for The Woody Project. Now that it’s been a little while (about 6 months I guess) I feel I have attained sufficient readership to proceed with Phase Two.

Phase Two is as vague as Phase One, but with one important difference: We’re getting t-shirts!

This exciting announcement leads me to Phase Two, Part A…

Phase Two, Part A

The Woody Project.com needs a logo and a slogan.

In an effort to make The Woody Project.com more interactive I’ve decided to start a logo and/or slogan contest. The winner ( as picked by me with consultation with the rest of the management here at The Woody Project.com) will receive a free t-shirt featuring the winning logo and/or slogan.

Entries can be made by posting a comment to this post (or any other post for that matter).

There is no real time limit but I don’t want this to drag on forever.

To get you started, here are some test slogans:

Got Woody? (a take on the Got Milk? campaign)

Wood is Good (or the variation: Woody is Goody)

Now with 10% more Woody

and one last, a variation on the preceding:

Now with 10% more cowbell

On with Phase Two! Yay!

Filed under: Uncategorized — Ryan @ 11:53 am

You Know You Live In A Small Town When…

… when everyone listens to the local country music radio station and everyone knows the words.

I was on my way home for lunch the other day as I pulled up to a stoplight. Just as I came to a stop, John Denver’s Thank God I’m A Country Boy started to play.

I’ll admit that I like that song… it’s catchy. I started to sing along.

A Honda Civic full of young girls pulled up to the light in the lane next to mine. I could tell that they were listening to the same radio station.

How could I tell?

They were singing Thank God I’m A Country Boy. Very loud. Very exuberantly. Very very exuberantly.

I smile…

I pull into the Tim Horton’s drive-through…

The driver of the car ahead of me also had their radio tuned to the same radio station.

How cold I tell?

He was singing Thank God I’m A Country Boy. I could see his lips mouthing the words in the mirror.

A car pulled into the drive-through behind me. The driver of that car also had her radio tuned to the same radio station.

How could I tell?

She was mouthing the words to Thank God I’m A Country Boy and bopping to the music.

Proof that living in a small town can be just a little bit creepy.

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