Hello Philadelphia, Hey Rocky

10/19/2022 -Before making it to our campground in Maryland, we stopped off to run the Rocky steps in Philadelphia.

Hello Philly
Harvy’s cruisin downtown Philadelphia
Philadelphia City Hall
Saint Francis Xavier Church

We were able to park across the street and walk to the steps. Without having to pay.

There is a statue of Rocky and a plaque on the right side of the art museum before you go up the steps. As we walked towards it, a man offers to take our picture and asks for money. “$10 or $20, I’m homeless I gotta get me something to eat, I do this for a living.” We decide to let him take our pictures, but in the rush of the moment I didn’t get to take one of just Mitch.

So you have,The rocky statue, Mitch and which way do I hold my hands
The stairs Rocky ran on
Mitch ran the stairs
He’s ready for a boxing match now

There was another guy at the top of the stairs selling Rocky t-shirts, so we bought a couple from him. He then took a bunch of pictures of us at different points of interest. Um yeah, can I get back to taking the pictures and not being in them so much?

Philadelphia Museum of Art
Statue on one side of the steps
Statue on the other side of the steps

They have fountains and falls that run down on both sides as well, but since it’s fall they were shut off for the winter. After visiting the steps we went across the street to see the Washington Monument.

The Washington Monument

The photos that follow, without captions, are different views of the monument.

After we visited these historical landmarks we decided to find a Philly cheesesteak. I mean while we’re in Philadelphia, get one right? Well, we heard about one place from a local, and mapped our way there. The signs are confusing and we parked in an area up the street from a sign that said pay to park by your license plate, so we thought we were good to go. I see a man under a blanket eating some ruffles, I ask him if he was hungry and would like a sandwich, to which he says, “sure I’d like that.”so I tell him we’ll be back and I’ll bring it to him. We walk up the street for couple blocks, we can’t find the restaurant, then we realize it’s not there anymore and we get back to a $36 parking ticket on our windshield. We couldn’t have been gone for more than 10 minutes! Now, I’m telling ya, that man on the street, that I offered to buy a sandwich for is the only who could’ve told parking enforcement that we were there. I mean in that short amount of time! Do they have some kind of set up where he calls “the man”? Unless he’s parking enforcement, posing as a homeless person? Who knows. Anyway, I tell him “I’m sorry, we didn’t find the restaurant” and he said “that’s ok.” We decided to scrap the whole idea and just hit the road.

We made it to Greenbelt national park campground in Maryland where we’ll be staying for 5 days.

Harvy at Greenbelt National park

It’s a nice park in the middle of the city of Greenbelt and only 10 minutes from DC. The cars kinda sound like the ocean, squirrels are running about and leaves are falling.

One even landed on Mitch’s head, oh lucky day

No electricity or water but hey, we got a good internet connection here. Hallelujah, I’ll take that any day, we got a generator.

Open campsites and calm surroundings

While I caught up on writing today Mitch mapped out our adventures and sights to see for the next few days. we’ll keep ya posted.

The New York Experience

11/19/2022 – After so many years of seeing New York on tv, and hearing other people’s experiences and/or opinions about it, its nice to know for myself what it’s all about. So I thought I’d share my experience, for what it’s worth.

I’ve been told New Yorkers are rude: what I experienced is that New Yorkers aren’t rude, they’re people. Sure some might be, just like anywhere else. Some local’s definitely have no tolerance for tourists on the subway, as is the case when we had our scooters on the subway that first day. I can’t say I wouldn’t feel the same way if roles were reversed.

Seeing a girl on the subway holding her sweet dog

What I always thought- New York was a magical place, and it would feel magical. The reality is that it’s a city, some areas are really nice and have door men. Other places, there’s trash, homeless and that one person, yelling obscenities into the unknown that everyone knows to leave them be. Sometimes that’s all of the above, in one place.

There are no garbage cans in some areas in New York, so residents just put out the bag on garbage day

Some streets emit a smell of garbage, some smell delicious, and sometimes you’ll get those smells on the same street. Sometimes the heat from the subway rises from below through the grates and can give you a wonderful burst of warmth on a cool evening.

Having only seen New York on TV a part of me thought their weather would be less harsh. Nope, it’s weather, it’s the same damn feeling of hot or cold you’d feel anywhere else!

Buying a hat from the street vendor because it’s colder than I thought it would be (Mitch said I look like I’m from Russia in the dead of winter) I said, “well thank you!”

The best parts about visiting New York was those small moments in time that invoked a true feeling that will make the memories special. I’ll remember how fun it was to barter with the street vendors. Trying to get them to give me a bundle deal. A homeless man asking for money as we walk by saying, “come on miss fancy pants, where you goin?” Hey, miss fancy pants, can you give me a dollar?” Mitch loved it so much he ran back and gave him some money and then he says, “oh hey, Kojak’s comin back, Kojak came back!”

These were the fancy pants

Mitch buying me at $22 ring, only to realize once I put it on that it has “you & me” engraved on the top. Making it a perfect 10 year wedding anniversary ring.

An unexpected moment of fate

The food ~ I always thought that New York food would have a different amazing extra awesome flavor in everything we ate, you know because its New York. Not the case, sure the pizza was pretty darn good the other day, but it wasn’t something that would make you wanna travel across the country for. It’s pizza. Just like a hot dog from the little stands they have, it’s a hot dog.

Mitch’s first hot dog in NYC

I loved that every area in New York had its own uniqueness, Chinatown, little Italy, the west village and so on.

The city full of small cities

What I heard- The subways are scary, you gotta be careful. The truth is, they’re a great mode of transportation. The variety of people on the subway at any given time are the same as the variety on the streets. The systems run so frequently and efficiently it’s easy to get to where you want to go when you want. Some people make eye contact and smile, some are downright exhausted and others are in their own internet world. Just like how we met Paul, a tiny smile, a kind gesture and what do ya know, a new friend!

Subway silence

Sitting on the subway has that kind of silence you hear in an elevator, the low whispers, or the occasional loud talker, but overall it’s silent. The frequent overwhelming squealing and rocking of the subway drowns out the silence and you can begin to know how close you are to your stop based on the rhythm of the rails. Now I’m not saying it’s always safe, but nothing in this world always is, you just need to have your wits about ya, no matter your surroundings and you should be fine. FYI- the best app for navigating the subway systems I found is- citymapper

People just getting to where they want to go

The NYPD are throughout the city, trying to keep the peace. We saw them standing on street corners, on the subway, handing out free coffee, cookies and sanitizers in the World Trade Center terminal, directing traffic and getting cursed out by someone they were arresting.

Standing in the middle of all the traffic, NYPD

Overall visiting New York, or anywhere else for that matter, remember, it maybe something you’ve always wanted to see, but ultimately it’ll be how you felt, what’s happening in your life personally and what stirred your emotions in those moments that you’ll really remember. Nothing did that for us more than the 9/11 memorial.

Visiting ground zero, to morn the loss of those we didn’t know, but still experienced the loss of our fellow Americans. The day that reminded us all, that we were not impenetrable. To see the love, the resilience and magnitude of the American spirit rebuild after such a tragedy resonates evermore.

We pay our respects, give our condolences and will never forget

Thank you New York for the experience, and thank you New Jersey for letting us call you home for a week.

Hamilton on Broadway

10/18/2022 our last day in NYC and the first morning we have nothing planned. Ok, I take that back, we planned to once again, organize. Being in such a small space things get chaotic easily. Moving stuff around, putting things we access frequently in easier locations and shoving things in the back we know we won’t use. It took hours, like almost 5 hours, but boy was it worth it.

Organized and feeling good

The play started at 7 pm, but we wanted to see times square in the evening and do some people watching. We left to get to the subway around 3:15. We do as we’v done the last of couple days, ride our scooter to the subway, lock them up on the street and take the subway.

All dressed up, bundled up and are ready for our night on the town.
Times Square in the evening

We pop into a couple stores, get a corn dog, do some haggling with street vendors for our last bit of souvenir shopping and watch the world rush by.

A New York corn dog.. tastes like a corn dog, hot on the outside, cold in the middle and meh.. I got this Kate Spade purse at a thrift store in Maine for $10!

We found an open bench, and run over to sit down when a lady says, just so you know, there are mice in that planter. I think to myself, Oh exciting, maybe I’ll get to see a New York rat! I sit on the bench staring at the holes they’ve made around the vegetation just waiting. For a while I wasn’t sure it would happen, but I saw a tail! That tail was waaay bigger than a mouse. That was a rat! Mitch had saw a whole body and said, oh ya that’s a mouse. Ok, so what’s happening here, is it a mouse or a rat? Well, it’s both! We saw them both scurry around at the same time. That’s right folks, a mouse AND a rat live in a Times Square. If you’re ever in the area and stop by, tell ‘em we said hi! We should name them, maybe they’ll become as popular as the place itself.

The home of rat and mouse

After our exciting rodent witnessing, it was 6:40 pm and time to get inline at the theatre half a block away.

Broadway, here we come, to watch
Move it along people
Inside the Richard Rogers theatre
We were at the very top, farthest back. You can’t see anyone’s face from so far back. Had I thought about it, I would’ve brought my binoculars.. or better yet get some of those gold tiny binoculars people used to use.
We had considered these seats but they said the view was partially obstructed. Now that we see it, we would’ve probably picked those. Ya don’t know till ya know, ya know.

The actors, the music, the singing and dancing were spectacular. It was so well written and the fact that it was a huge history lesson about Alexander Hamilton was quite interesting. There was no photos or videos allowed. Mitch got a terrible leg cramp halfway through, so I got two shows in one. Him trying to workout a leg cramp without hopping around in pain was a feat of its own. After the show was over we leave the theatre and see the cutest cop car ever!

NYPD -beep beep
We stop into Starbucks for a hot beverage for the journey home

Since it was our last night in the city, I looked into the best way to give away our path and metro card. People said they usually just give it to a local, someone on the bus, so that’s what we did. Mitch gave his to a lady who had just gotten off of work, all business attire and such. I gave mine to a young man sitting next to Mitch and we ended up talking with him for the whole ride back to Grove Street. When we get to our stop we find out his name is Paul and we say goodbye and it was nice chatting with him. To our surprise he was getting off at the same stop and offered to show us his place, and since we wondered what the size of the apartments were like we took him up on it. I was thinking it would be the size of a walk in closet, or maybe a living room, but as we walked to the front doors I realize this place is fancy. It’s not gonna be no closet sized apartment. It was a brand new building and as we go up the elevator he tells us it was the view that sold him on the place. As we approach his door he says, “this is the point where you realize it’s a place to harvest your organs.” We all laugh, but in my mind, as we enter into the bedroom to see the view, I worry for a second he’s going to lock us in the room. Thankfully that wasn’t the case, he offered us Fiji water and I see awards from YouTube on the ledge of his windows.

view from Paul’s apartment

We encourage him to invest in real estate, he tells us a bit about his family and how his mother was scammed out of money his Dad had left them when he passed. They went from having money to living comfortably for the rest of their lives, to being homeless. That’s what motivated him to start his own business on YouTube. He’s 20 years old and working 12 hour days to help his mom get back on her feet. Not only that, he’s thriving in a way he said he probably never would’ve if things hadn’t happened the way they did. One of his many channels is called mystery recapped.

I see why he fell in love with the place

After exchanging numbers we talked about meeting him in Vegas sometime, gave him big hugs and wished him all the best. Home to Harvy we go, tomorrow it’s back on the road, Philadelphia here we come.

Museum of Natural History, Central Park & TV Show Locations

10/17/2022. Our reservation to visit the museum was at 11 am, giving us plenty of time to take the subway and get some coffee. now to see the dinosaurs!

I would’ve written what they were if I knew, all I know is they’re big and it was cool to see.

Watch out! there’s a shark above you!
NYC dog walker near Central Park

We take stroll through the East entrance of Central Park and visit the castle.

The Belvedere Castle
The back side of the castle
The view of Central Park and turtle pond from the castle

The castle was closed when we visited, so we were only able to view it from the outside, but wow! What a view it was.

The path in Central Park
There’s a road that runs through the park
Close up of what it says under the statue

As we continue to make our way back out of Central Park we see this tall pillar, I take a picture and say to Mitch, “I wonder what that is, I’ll just take a picture and look it up later”

thankfully a guy walking by says, “it’s the oldest thing you’ll see in Central Park, it’s from Egypt. I’m a tour guide and I just can’t not tell you about it.” We thank him and make our way over to it.

Hieroglyphics
Translation of hieroglyphics
View of the city from central park
Walking tunnel in Central Park, we aren’t sure but it made us think of the movie The Brave One with Jodie Foster, if you haven’t seen it, it’s a great movie

One thing we really wanted to do was see a few of the locations that were used in some of our favorite shows. I mapped it out and we headed towards the first stop.

Walking towards our next point of interest on 85th street from Central Park

Our first stop is for a show on Hulu, Only Murders in the Building. We’ve never seen the show, but it’s Taylor’s favorite and she asked for us to get a picture for her.

The “arconia” building from Only Murders in the Building. It’s actually the Belnord apartments at 225 w 86th street
The Belnord Apartments

We then headed further north on the subway to go see the “Seinfeld restaurant” it’s actually called Toms Restaurant, they just cut out Tom in the Seinfeld series.

Tom’s Restaurant
The restaurant from Seinfeld, they only used the outside image and nothing inside is like the show. Tom’s restaurant at 2880 Broadway in New York

Back on the subway and a stop off at Times Square

Hello Macy’s
The pigeons of New York
In search for more snacks
Taking the subway to the friends apartments

We find our way to Greenwich Village, also called the west village.

The friend’s apartment in the west village 90 Bedford st in New York. Again they only used the outside image for the show.

There’s a restaurant below the apartments, we decided to eat there, sat down at a table and they brought us waters. As we looked at the menu and the prices, we decided we weren’t feeling it, so before the waiter returned we jetted down the street, Mitch pretending to get an important call from… nobody! Once we got down the block, we sat on the sidewalk to plan our next stop.

I look up and see this old crooked post and a homemade two seat bicycle

We decide to head back to New Jersey and find something to eat there.

Mitch on the subway, we got this down now
We found a restaurant in Jersey City called Luna
I got the penne vodka and Mitch got the braised ribs and gnocchi they were both delicious
Cool Poster in Luna restaurant

The service was excellent, great atmosphere and the best part was the sign they had on the bathroom door

We finish our meal and head home to Harvy, as the sun was setting lights were coming on. We went a different route than usual and came upon a beautiful building.

Jersey City, City Hall
Civil war memorial

We settle in for the rest of the evening, looking forward to not having anything scheduled the next morning. Tomorrow evening we will actually see a Broadway play, on Broadway!