Sunday, September 9, 2007

Landing and NYC

Katja and I spent most of our Saturday finalizing plans for the arrival of her parents, Sergei and Natalia, at JFK airport. In the morning, this meant some last minute cleaning and packing, before departing for New York City and Terminal 1 (Aeroflot) at JFK Airport.

Yeah, we were just crazy enough to drive from Portsmouth, NH to NYC to meet her parents. It seemed to make more sense than some of the alternatives, such as her parents changing planes to fly to Boston directly. Plus they wanted a chance to see a little bit of NYC.

The weather was mostly sunny and very near perfect. In fact, the whole trip couldn't have gone any better.

Sergei and Natalia's flight arrived about 40 minutes late (we learned it had departed late from the Sheremeteyevo Airport website). We therefore had time to go find a choice parking spot, take a leisurely stroll up to the observation and food court level, and enjoy some tea and coffee. When we knew their plane had landed, we went back down and waited amongst the masses for her parents to emerge.

Lots of people watching ensued as we guessed at the origins and life stories of the passengers and those waiting for them. I should have made a few surreptitious photos of some of the more colorful people. Rarely do you see such a strange mixture of people as you do at the airport. Especially in NYC. Even more especially, an international terminal at JFK.

About an hour after their flight landed, S & N emerged through the steel double doors with their luggage in tow. Quick hugs, hellos, congratulations, questions about their comfort (and sleep) on the flight. Serge and I each grabbed a big suitcase and made our way back to our awaiting red Audi wagon.

We made our way to the very nearby Holiday Inn at JFK (got a good price here on Hotwire). Upon checking in and settling into our rooms, Sergei and I ordered some food (Natalia was too tired and went to sleep; Katja simply wasn't hungry). He cracked open a bottle of brandy (well, he called it cognac) from Dagestan and we had a few sniffs before calling it a long day and good night.

The next morning we had a quick breakfast at the hotel buffet and set to driving into the city via the Long Island Expressway and Midtown Tunnel. Very easy trip to make at 9 am on a Sunday, probably all the more so for being the 1st day of the NFL season. We parked and set out to do something typically touristy - visit the Empire State Building.

Quite a circular and convoluted path they require you to take to visit the observation deck of the Empire State Building. More than once I wondered if there was a piece of cheese at the end of the maze for this big mouse. However, after two elevators and half a dozen queues, we found ourself on the observation deck of the tallest building in NYC.

The weather conditions were really about perfect for our short excursion. We took the opportunity to snap a few photos, contained herein. Nothing so remarkable to report other than I really wished we had about 3 or 4 days to explore the city more, take in a Broadway show, and see more of the architectural and cultural wonders of the city where I was born.Hmmm ... I can't figure out what either Katja or Natalia found so interesting about this view ...