All of Us!

All of Us!
Finally! All together with enough time to spare (??) to capture a picture of all six of us in the same spot, same time. Now this is a precious photo! I tried to get one last year for our Christmas card and didn't succeed. So when I had the chance I threw out the lasso and rounded everyone up (at my niece's graduation party) to grab a couple snapshots. My oldest son, Casey, and his girlfriend Nika are on the left; and my youngest son, Brady, and his girlfriend Jenne on the right; that leaves Bob and I in the center. (Bob is the one who doesn't look very happy about having his picture taken!!)

Thursday, September 13, 2012

The Big Apple: Day 4, Part 6: SoHo Shopping and Dinner in Little Italy

Nika, me and Casey at Il Picolo Bufalo in Little Italy
The final part of my last day in New York City is about to come to a close.  What better way to top it off than shopping and Italian dining.  

After leaving the American Museum of Natural History, Nika and I hopped back on the subway and headed back to the hotel to freshen up.  There we met Casey, just finished with work, and off we went to my next big adventure – shopping at Soho and 5th Avenue – and then dining in Little Italy.  

I have to say that Casey was certainly right when he kept instructing me to not, not, not pack much for clothes, etc.,  when I made my trip to New York.  He said the shopping was out of this world.  I strongly (in my mind) disagreed, thinking that the prices would be "out of this world" and that I would find nothing.  Huh! Well, let me be the first to confess -- I was wrong, wrong, wrong!!! He kept telling me that we would head out to Soho to do some shopping and that I would be fascinated with what I would find.  Okay, again, I was wrong, he was right!

When we stepped off the subway at Spring Street I immediately fell in love.

Trendy shopping, it's cobblestone streets and cast iron buildings.  SoHo is called the heart and soul of New York City.  And with its prominent place in being the backdrop for many movie locations, fashion shoots, and one of the best places in the city to catch a glimpse of famous stars, many of whom live in SoHo, I can certainly see why.  

SoHo is shorthand for south of Houston (pronounced "how-stun"). It is the first official acronym given to a neighborhood in NYC.  The official historical district from 1973 together with Houston to the north, is north of Canal Street, and between West Broadway and Crosby Streets.  The history of SoHo dates back to the early 1600's when it was just grassy meadows where Indian Tribes settled.  This neighborhood has gone through many drastic changes over the years to get to what it is today.  

Nika and I
We strolled down the streets of SoHo taking in the many shops and storefronts while browsing about inside to find some great deals.  We did some haggling with street vendors and with ethnic shop owners.  I snagged a Coach purse, some (5) shoes, some gifts, some clothes.  While we were “negotiating” on a price for my Coach purse and a Louie Vitton purse for Nika, a group of guys gathered close by to anther street vendor located next to our salesman.  I think he was thinking the same thing we were – something might be brewing and neither he nor us wanted to be witness to or in the middle of whatever transpired.  It worked out well in our favor, as his expression was continuously, “hey, you are killing me here” all the while aware that a storm might be brewing to his right.  But, he has never dealt with a Wisconsin girl who has learned Garage Sale Haggling 101 from her mother.  They have never published the book, but it is lessons you pick up when you are young and handed down from generation to generation – you might be embarrassed to see your mom do it, pledge you would never, ever do the same thing, would never, ever attend a garage sale, let alone be caught dead “bargaining” on a price – but yet that day comes and the next thing you know, you look in the mirror and, yes, you've grown up and you are looking, acting and sounding just like your mom trying to snag a deal.  Man, those genes certainly don’t fall far from that family tree, do they!

My new short rainboots

Casey and Nika had both forewarned me that haggling was allowed.  I told them to step back and let Momma into the front line with her assault rifle.  I was going to snag a deal, come hell or high water.  In this case, it might be a neighborhood (or gang, for that matter) brawl, so either the vendor or I was going to have to kneel down to the other.  I was determined it was not going to be me, and I triumphantly walked away the victor for both Nika and myself.  The guy didn’t know what hit him! Huh!  I am told that is may be why they pack up shop and go running when they see (or hear) a Wisconsin girl coming down the street!  Hah!

Having pulled off enough deals to satisfy my shopping craving (well, that and I was being told we were going to have to start shipping things home if I didn’t stop), and the fact that my feet were starting to hurt for all the walking that day, a mutual decision was made that it was time to get some grub. 

Loaded down with packages, we strolled off to Little Italy to have dinner. Eccentric Little Italy in New York City was once the energetic home of most of NYC’s Italian population.  Now it is the top tourist destination in Manhattan.  The narrow cobblestone streets, located on Mulberry Street between Broome and Canal Streets, lay beneath decades-old fire escapes lined with Italian restaurants.  It is said that these cosy restaurants serve up some of the best Italian food outside of Italy.

Two pairs of brown heels, my black/white shoes and my furry (ugg-like) boots.

We were headed for Il Picolo Bufalo - a quaint, little Italian restaurant with fantastic food, where Casey had eaten before a few times and remarked at the start of my visit that we had to go there.  This place labels itself as the "Taste of Naples in New York -- in the Heart of Little Italy."  And it certainly did not disappoint.  It truly was fine authentic Italian cuisine. 

After stuffing our bellies, it was time to think about heading back.  Since my feet were now thinking they needed a vacation and, as I said, we were loaded down with packages from our shopping excursion, I made the executive decision that we were not going to try to take and juggle all this stuff on the subway (okay, maybe I was a little frightened about taking all my "priceless" treasures on the subway), so we hailed a cab and off we went back to our hotel.  The original plan, of course, was that we would try to do one of two things at this point -- go up the Empire State Building (too many packages to carry up that) and/or carriage ride in Central Park (it was raining, so we nixed that idea, too).  Life is so hard when you have so many options, but dang it, my feet were hurting from so much walking, and since they were protesting (quite loudly, I might add), we figured it best to head for home (or, in this case, our hotel).
Some chocolates I picked up for Bob at the Willy Wonka store in Times Square.

We arrived back at the hotel, saved from the rain by taking the cab ride, and I began unpacking my "finds" for the evening.  As we got ready for bed and I rummaged through my purchases, then crawled into bed with my laptop to download the pictures I had taken that day plus make notes of the adventures we had taken, too, that day, I reminisced about the day. I got to do a lot of shopping. I got to do a little wheeling and dealing on prices.  This was fun.  It was almost like not even being away from home – somewhat akin to garage saleing in Wisconsin! Ha!  You can take the girl out of Wisconsin, but ... you can't take Wisconsin out of the girl.

So, here we are.  The last night of my big adventure.  I have to say it -- what a perfect ending to a perfect trip.  

But now it is time to get some ZZZZZs because in the morning "I'm Leaving On A Jet Plane."

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