Thank God for Fridays! Especially since during the summer at my job we have half day Fridays and we all get to leave at 1pm. It is truly the best part of my job.
So today I used my half day wisely. My friend Jen is leaving on Tuesday for a 6 week adventure to England and Berlin and so we decided to spend the afternoon together combining the two things we do best: Beth introducing Jen to the very touristy places and activities in NYC and Jen introducing Beth to the off the beaten path activities.
We met at City Hall Park, which I have never truly explored. I must go back and spend an afternoon reading on a bench overlooking the amazing fountain. We then headed out to walk across the Brooklyn Bridge, which we had both done before. I like walking over the Brooklyn Bridge (aside from all the pedestrians who do not follow the basic pedestrian rules of - everyone together now - walking to your right!) because it is such a famous icon of New York architecture.
After we crossed the Brooklyn Bridge we headed down near the water so that Jen could try Grimaldi's pizza for the first time ever. World class famous Brooklyn NYC pizza. We waited with everyone else outside for about 20-25 minutes to be seated. Grimaldi's is a tiny, red checkered table cloth, tables crammed together type of place. Don't expect friendly smiles and pleasantries but rather prompt efficient service. We ordered a small sausage and onion pizza with Peroni beers which we thoroughly enjoyed while we caught up on life and chatted about Jen's big plans for her upcoming trip.
After Grimaldi's we headed to the Prospect Park Zoo, which is part of the City Zoos along with the Bronx Zoo & Central Park Zoo. We went there to see Jen's friend perform with an interpretive dance troupe performing through out the zoo this week. Unfortunately we missed their performance in the sea lion area but got to see them perform briefly in other parts of the zoo. All the children at the zoo were totally into the interpretive dance performance and were imitating the dancers. It was too cute. Then we walked through the zoo (relatively quickly since we got there 45 minutes before closing). Although it is a relatively small zoo it has some unique animals and some exhibits similar to those at the Bronx Zoo. We got to see Sea Lions, Turtles, Porcupines, Kangaroos, Red Pandas (which were just the cutest), Peacocks, River Otters and Prairie Dogs. In the Prairie Dog exhibit you can go underground and come up in a plastic enclosed case where you're on the same level as the Prairie Dog - fun for children and adults alike! While we wished we had more time to visit the Baboons we enjoyed the time we had there and agreed it was a place we'd visit again.
Jen is that friend that I always have great adventures with in NYC. She gets me to places I never thought I'd go and invites me to experience the city in a way I probably never would without her. I'll miss you buddy over the next 6 weeks - but I will try to have Jen-inspired adventures while you're gone that I can tell you about. I envy your ability to pick up and explore Europe for 6 weeks. I wish you the best trip ever and I can't wait to hear all about your adventure.