26 August 2007

My world...

Come... take a tour of my world.

First, an external view of my place.

The entrance to my apartment building is the door on the left. The closed aluminum doors to just left of my door is a bar. Fortunately, they do not make too much noise at night.

This is looking down my street (to the north). Again, you can see the door to my building toward the left of the image.

This is looking down from the 125th subway station onto my street (Broadway). This image is looking south. My building is the fifth on the right (right by the first delivery truck).

Now let's go inside...

This is what I see when I walk in the front door - a hallway leading directly to the main room. The kitchen is the opening seen to the left.

Immediately to my left (not seen in the picture above) is the bathroom.

Here is a before and after picture of the bathroom. There is a sink behind the half wall.

I am installing a shower head so we can keep clean!

Now let's look at before and after pictures of our kitchen...

This is what our kitchen looked like the day we moved in.

This is what it looks like now.

We still want to get some furniture for the main room, but here is how it looks now -

We have a futon available for anyone who would like to come visit!

Now to my room... I like to call it my lair. It is not too big - only 9' by 8'. But I feel I was able to utilize all of my space well.

Amy helped me name my sleeping apparatus as my "Big boy bed." I had to sleep the first few nights on the ground before I was confident enough in my ability to not fall off the loft bed :).

The top image is looking into my room from the main room. You are looking northeast. On the bottom, I took the picture from inside my room looking southeast.

This picture is looking into the corner where I was standing when I took the bottom picture seen above. My wardrobe is open; the door is covering a window behind it.

This is what I see if my blinds are open in my bedroom. I am really getting a great deal on this room. I am lucky they did not charge me extra for the scenic view!

My blinds are closed most of the time. My room is great. It is quiet and dark.

This is the view out the front windows of the apartment. You are looking down on Broadway at approximately 124th street.

What did you do this weekend?

My first weekend in New York – it was a good start to city life.

Thursday evening (23 Aug) I went to a Mets game at Shea Stadium. I had a great time. I thought it would be a bit lonely going to a game alone, but it was not too bad. Certainly it is more enjoyable to have the time to spend with someone, but it was a good activity for an evening when I did not have anything to do…

The San Diego Padres were in town – they gave the Mets a good game. Wagner blew a save in the top of the ninth inning when he allowed two runs to score to put the Padres up by one run. The Mets were able to tie the game in the bottom in the ninth to send the game to extra innings. The second batter for the Padres in the tenth inning hit a solo home run to break the tie. Unfortunately, the Mets could not match them in the bottom of the tenth…

The New Yorkers are great fans. They can be brutal to their team and the players if they do not perform as expected, but all good fans are like that. A fair amount of boos sounded from the stands at Shea Stadium on Thursday when the Mets failed to capitalize on scoring opportunities. These fans are passionate about the game. It is fun to watch games with them. I especially enjoy riding the subway to and from games. It is fun to listen to the fans analyze the game and even talk trash with others. I am not strongly invested in any of the New York area teams (yet) so I can just listen and laugh at all the different comments. It is great!

Friday afternoon I met Rustin and his class from NYU Dental School in central park. They were meeting there for pizza and Rustin invited me to join them. We enjoyed some great New York style pizza – probably my favorite food in the city thus far, I love it! After we ate, Rustin and I rode the 1 train down to the South Ferry station where we boarded the Staten Island Ferry. The sun was out, but the sky was incredibly hazy. Nonetheless, we had a good time. The Ferry travels very near to the Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island. When the Ferry docked in Staten Island they made everybody exit the boat. Rustin and I walked off the boat, around the ferry terminal to the boarding room and got right back on to return to Manhattan. Neither of us know much about Staten Island yet so we did not have much reason to explore on this occasion. When we got back to the subway I met a man who lives on Staten Island. He overheard Rustin and I talking about running. Fellow runners always can share a cordial and enjoyable conversation. He was telling me about some neat runs on Staten Island. I got his phone number. I am going to run with him sometime out on the island.

Riding the Staten Island Ferry past the Statue of Liberty

Rustin and I nearing the Manhattan port

After our ferry trip, Rustin and I rode the subway to Canal St. I had experienced this street once before with Dad and Trent. Know what I was getting into this time, I had fun walking up the street. Everyone is out to make a buck – selling knock-off watches, sunglasses, ties, jewelry, etc. Rustin and I bought some boot-legged DVD’s (shame on us). They are movies that are still in theatres. They guys selling the DVD’s had a suitcase full of them. About five minutes after we bought the movies, we saw another group of guys down the street getting busted for selling the same DVD’s. I discreetly put our DVD’s into my shoulder bag and continued on. I am glad I could contribute to such a heinous crime ring.

What could be in that plastic bag? Certainly nothing illegal!

Making mom proud on Canal St.

We followed Canal St. into Chinatown. All the store signs slowly transitioned from English to Chinese characters with English subtext to solely Chinese. We found a small Chinese restaurant where we ate dinner. After eating dinner, we returned to America… I mean… we walked back to a subway and headed to our apartment.


We put in some of the DVD’s we bought. We averaged about 50%. The video quality on half of them was good. The others are not even worth watching.

On Saturday the ward had a tubing trip planned. They chartered a bus to drive us two hours north of the city. We stopped in a town called Phonecia, NY. It was a nice, even quaint, town. There is a business there which rents out tubes to float down a local river. It is not a huge river – bigger than Millcreek and the Lava Hot Springs river, but nothing like the Snake or the Green River. There were some quick parts with so rapids – if they could be called that – but nothing too big. I did get dumped out of my tube a couple of times. It was fun.

We stayed and had lunch at a park in Phonecia. The area was beautiful. The hills and surrounding area were blanketed with shrubs and trees. It would be a fun area to find some camp spots – but only with a fully loaded Jeep!

The ride home is one I will not soon forget. The air conditioner on the bus was not working. We had 60 hot, wet bodies crammed on a stuffy bus. The temperature outside was more than 95 degrees with high humidity. Sitting on the bus doing absolutely nothing, not an ounce of physical exertion I was sweating like I do when I run. It was miserable. I had to laugh at the situation, otherwise I would have been even more miserable. When we drove into Manhattan I saw a marquee which said the temperature was 98 degrees. When I stepped off the bus it felt like I had just entered an air conditioned room – that is how bad it was. Despite the long ride home, I had a good time and met some new people.

The only way to escape the heat was to sleep.


I left Salt Lake City in the Penske truck on Monday morning. Dad helped me get all of my boxes and furniture from my bedroom up to the garage on Sunday night. I wanted to have everything ready to load when Rustin showed up. He arrived from Arizona at about 1:00 a.m. I had gone to bed at about 11:00 to get some sleep in. When he arrived we loaded all of my things in the truck and then went to bed. We awoke at 6:00 and were on the road by about 6:30. I drove from Salt Lake to Rock Springs, WY where we filled up the truck. I had been feeling sleepy while driving so Rustin took over driving responsibilities for the next while. In addition to filling up, we stopped at Wal-mart to buy a pad lock for the back of the Penske truck. As we continued through Wyoming I called Judd Naylor my insurance agent. I wanted to know if we were insured as we drove the rental truck. Apparently a regular auto policy does not cover the class of truck we were driving. Rustin’s insurance did not cover us either. We decided to stop in Cheyenne, WY to buy insurance from a Penske dealer. We spent about an hour finding the place and getting the policy set up. We entered the state of Nebraska not long after leaving Cheyenne. It seemed like Nebraska was never going to end. It was a long state! By the time we got to Lincoln and Omaha it was dark. We crossed the Missouri river into Iowa and continued east. Finally at about 2:30 a.m. on Tuesday we arrived in Iowa City, IA were we stayed at the home of one of Rustin’s friends (Curtis). Rustin and Curtis had not seen each other for quite some time, so they talked for about an hour. We finally got to bed at 3:30.

Tuesday 14 August -- Nauvoo and Carthage

We awoke at approximately 10:00. We showered and dressed in shirts and ties. Curtis let us borrow one of his cars so we could drive to Nauvoo, IL. We got on the road by 10:30 and it took us about two hours to get to Nauvoo. We decided to pass through Nauvoo and visit Carthage first, then return to Nauvoo. The entire drive was beautiful. The Mississippi River is stunning.

We were stopped on a bridge crossing the Mississippi so a barge (seen in the background) could pass through

The drive from Nauvoo to Carthage is particularly breath-taking. The road meanders along the banks of the Mississippi. It was beautiful! When we arrived in Carthage we quickly found the Carthage Jail. We followed a tour led by a sister missionary. It was incredible to see the place where Joseph and Hyrum Smith were martyred. The room where they were when the mob attacked was the jail-keepers own bedroom. The door in the jail today is the same one which hung on the day of martyrdom. There are two holes in the door from bullet holes. One of the holes is from the bullet which struck Hyrum in the face and killed him. It was a somber feeling to be in that room.

On the drive back to Nauvoo from Carthage I received a phone call from Trent. I had spoken with him earlier in the day because Amy had been admitted to the hospital with the anticipation of delivering the babies. When Trent called me in the afternoon he said, “We have two new baby girls!” Tears flushed to my eyes. I experienced various emotions. I was so excited for them. I also felt sad that I could not be there with them. My best friends just welcomed two new children into their home and I could not be with them. It was difficult. Nonetheless, I am happy and grateful that the babies arrived without complication and that both Amy and the twins are healthy.

Back in Nauvoo Rustin and I attended an endowment session in the temple. It is a spectacular building. It is perhaps the nicest temple I have ever been through. It was a memorable experience to be there.

We traveled back to Iowa City. Curtis gave us a short tour of The University of Iowa (and saw the football stadium), then we went back to his place where we stayed for one more night.

Wednesday 15 August -- CUBS GAME!!!

We awoke at 7:30. We got on the road by 8:00 and drove to Chicago. It was only about a 4 hour drive. By the time we found our hotel and checked in it was about 1:00 p.m. We found a Motel 6 near the O’Hare Airport. We rode the train to downtown Chicago where we ate lunch at Giordannos – an Italian restaurant famous for making the famed Chicago style stuffed pizza. It was delicious. After lunch we walked down the Magnificent Mile – a famous section of Michigan Ave with nearly every big-name store imaginable. At 5:00 we rode the red train to the Addison stop in north Chicago. This stop is significant because of Wrigley Field!!! I have wanted to go to a game at Wrigley for a long time. I finally got my chance. We bought tickets for $30 from a scalper. I then bought a shirt at a small shop outside the stadium. We went inside and found our seats – not bad.

The famed Wrigley Field -- an awesome ball park!

Reds win 11-9

We were about 40 rows up right off of 3rd base. Soon after we sat down it looked like there might not be a game. The rain began to pour and lightning flashed through the sky. The game was scheduled to begin at 7:05. However, it rained until 8:00. Finally, shortly after 8 o’clock the players came out and began warming up. The game was underway at 8:35. Because of the late start, by the sixth inning, many fans began heading for home. Rustin and I decided to move a bit closer to the action. We found some seats about 15 rows up behind the Cubs dug-out. We watched the last three innings from those seats. It was awesome! Wrigley field is beautiful. It is well maintained. It has a quaint, old-time feel to it. It is nestled in the neighborhoods of Chicago. I loved the game. I would definitely go again.

The game ended at 12:00. We did not get back to our hotel until 2:30. I am not impressed with the Chicago public transportation system – very slow!

Thursday 16 August

We started our day on Thursday at 9:00. We were on the road by 9:30. It took us at least an hour to get out of the greater Chicago area. Traffic was slow. We traveled on I-80 for just a short time. Soon after crossing into Indiana, we took I-65 heading toward Indianapolis. On our way we stopped briefly in Lafayette, IN. We drove around Purdue University (and saw the football stadium). We ate lunch then got back on the road. We traveled to Columbus, OH where we arrived at about 5:30 p.m. Rustin has a former class-mate who is attending Ohio State (Kyle). He showed us around the Ohio State campus (we saw the football stadium – the famed Horseshoe). The campus is huge! Kyle told us there are 63,000 students matriculated at Ohio State. That is more than double the University of Utah! After looking around campus we went to downtown Columbus where we ate dinner at a cool spaghetti joint. We then went back to Kyle’s place where we spent the night.

Friday 17 August

We got an early start on Friday morning. We got on the road by 4:30 a.m. We wanted to get into New York early enough in the afternoon so that we would have time to move all of our stuff into our apartment. We got into Manhattan at about 2:30. We had to stop at Manhattan Apartments, Inc. (our apartment broker) to get our keys. They are located on 57th street. We then drove to our place on Broadway and 125th street. We got to our place at about 4:00.

Detour to visit Michael Scott?

New York City in the disance - almost there!

When Rustin and I were in New York in July looking for a place to stay, the apartment we ended up with was being renovated. I was anxious to see the place to see how it turned out. When we finally arrived, we found that they did a good job renovating the place, but they did not finish the job. The bathroom was incomplete. There was not bath and shower head. The sink in the bathroom is not plumbed. The toilet does not work. The gas is not connected to the stove. The plates for the light switches and electrical sockets are not installed. And the construction crew left the place a total mess. There was dirt and dust everywhere. There were buckets and buckets left in the kitchen, along with left-over tile, grout, garbage cans, and tools. There was also extra hardwood flooring they had just left here. It was overwhelming to see the condition of the apartment. Now, not only did we have moving to do, but we had major work to get the apartment in livable condition.

Before we got a chance to move any of our stuff into the apartment, it began to rain. As we waited for the rain to stop we ate dinner at a pizza joint next door to us – great New York style pizza!

After about 40 minutes the rain let up enough so we could start moving stuff inside. We were concerned about just leaving our truck unattended on the curb outside, so we took trips inside one at a time. Rustin would take a handful of stuff in while I waited at the truck. When Rusting came back, I headed up with a load. We did this for about an hour and a half before it started to rain again. Fortunately we had moved everything that could be carried by just one person. We decided to wait for the rain to break before moving anything else. As we were waiting Doug and Amber Doxey arrived to help us. They came just in time to help us with the big stuff. We visited for about 45 minutes until it stopped raining. We moved everything else inside in about 30 minutes.