Griggs Family RV Trip – Day 22

Our first trip into the bustling island of Manhattan would be part business and part pleasure, but before we headed out after lunch, we started our day in a similar fashion: going for a long walk with Tiger before work and then getting a decent breakfast. We walked north to check out the Krispy Kreme donut factory on the corner of Marin Blvd & Christopher Columbus Drive, as Hannah noticed it during our drive on Tuesday night, and we were thinking it would be a fun walk to get breakfast on Sunday morning.

Before heading to bed last night, the girls mentioned wanting to make pancakes, so they got up early and made some yummy chocolate chip, blueberry and blueberry chocolate chip pancakes, our family’s typical order. We threw in some eggs & fruit to feel better about the carb loadings, and then I started my day at work while the girls journaled and cleaned up for the day.

A few days before we left from St. Louis, I was on a sales call with one of our reps, and it turned out our prospect that day lived right in Jersey City, so I scheduled an early lunch to meet, connect and talk business. As we enjoyed a deli sandwich and salad from Au Bon Pain, we discovered that her parents are from Independence, Missouri, which is right next to where I grew up in Raytown, Missouri, two towns no one outside of Missouri has ever heard of, so that was fun. It’s amazing as I get older how this world keeps getting smaller and smaller.

After my lunch, I came back to the RV, had a few more calls, and then we left for our first trip into Manhattan, which was quite comical. We gave ourselves an hour to make a 35-minute trip into the city, which we found out wasn’t near enough time! We were the epitomy of tourists in New York, asking which line to take on the subway, how to pay for a ticket, which ticket we needed. It was so sad, a true comedy of errors, and I showed up to my appointment with our private equity partners 45 minutes late explaining all of our blunders . Yeah, 45 minutes late! You do the math. It was the longest trip into New York since they were rowing people across the Hudson.

Hannah & Naomi playing the floor piano in FAO Schwartz near Rockefeller Plaza (in the background).

During my work meeting and subsequent sales call, both of which went great, Tammy & the girls explored Rockefeller Plaza and the wonderful shops surrounding NBC studios, like the Lego Store and the American Girl Doll Store. At one point, Tammy sent me a text letting me know I could take my time since they found the American Girl Doll store. The last time we were in one of those was in Chicago, and it was like pulling teeth to get the girls out of there. I knew I had a good hour before I would be hearing from them again.

After my meetings, I walked to meet them at FAO Schwartz, the incredible toy store made famous by the movie Big, in which Tom Hanks played “Heart and Soul” and “Chopsticks” on the floor piano. The girls both gave it a whirl, but it was harder than it looked. We also watched a magician, which really impressed the girls, and it spurred me to tell them about my love of magic back when I was their age. My dad, looking to motivate me to get good grades, promised me I could get a magic trick every quarter I reached a certain GPA. It worked, and I spend a year or so learning and performing a few magic tricks, some I still perform to this day. It was a fun reminder of the joy of magic to fool the mind.

We also walked through the NBC Studios building looking for a pizza shop that apparently closed during COVID and never re-opened. As we explored the building looking for our spot, we stumbled upon the part of the building where they film The Tonight Show, starring Jimmy Fallon, the only late-night show we cared to watch when we had cable. Haven’t seen the show in years, but always thought it would be fun to see it live, but that may have to wait for another trip. We never found the pizza place to even verify it existed, so we started searching for a different pizza spot, not realizing how many pizza places existed in New York. If we were really thinking, we would have looked for the nearest Ray’s Pizza, a tribute to our love of the movie Elf, but we were tired and completely forgot about it. We found the subway and headed downtown to get closer to where we would catch the train home, and we started looking around there.

The Griggs huddled under a tiny umbrella, and Naomi is the only one who wasn’t getting wet!

To make matters worse, there was rain in the forecast, but it was only 30%, so we gambled on bringing our big umbrellas, choosing instead to only bring one small umbrella. As luck, and the forecast, would have it, that 30% became 100% as we started to hunt for a pizza place around the World Trade Center, and we were forced to huddle under the tiny speck of umbrella, which only kept my head dry. The rest of me enjoyed nature’s shower before we finally found our pizza spot, Harry’s Italian, which had great reviews on Yelp. It was a bar on the inside, and people were enjoying some beverages after work, so we sat outside under a covered area, which was nice as the weather had cooled considerably from the day before, with highs in the upper 70s.

Our first view up close of the Freedom Tower, completed in November of 2014

On our way back to the subway station to head back to Jersey for the night, we got our first look at the Freedom Tower, the tallest building in the United States, standing at an historic height of 1,776 feet, with 94 floors and eight perfect isosceles triangles on its sides. It was built to signify the rebuilding of the World Trade Center after the 9/11 attacks, and is a reminder of what was lost on that tragic day nearly 20 years ago. We didn’t go into the history much, as we have tickets to visit the 9/11 Memorial Museum on Monday, so we simply marveled at its beauty and it’s incredible height.

After dinner, we made our way back to the subway, successfully bought tickets to ride the PATH train under the Hudson to Exchange Place, and then walk the seven city blocks back to the RV, where we found Tiger as excited as always to see us return. We took him for a walk, then ended our night watching movies. Life on the road is just so much fun!

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