february 16th – nyc

our last day in new york begrudgingly arrived tuesday morning as natalie woke and headed to the office and phillip and i packed a bag for the day and got things going, too.  now, even though we might have been sad that our last day was upon us, we were getting excited for what the day held.  what did we end up doing?  well, for starters we went to piers 92 and 94 on the hudson river to watch the day two breed judging for the westminster kennel club dog show!


happy anniversary!

for those of you not familiar with the process, in the morning before each evening show, each breed is judged individually and the best of the breed is selected.  so for example, the golden retrievers are in the sporting group.  now, only one golden retriever is shown in the evening, so they have to pick the best out of the bunch.  how many goldens, you ask?  how about 50!  yes, folks.  there were 50 golden retrievers being judged tuesday morning, and since phillip and i are both golden lovers, that’s exactly where you would have found us.

now, before the pups are judged they have to get all dolled up.  one of the coolest things about westminster is that you get to go into the benching area where the dogs are chilling out and getting groomed.  after receiving our wristbands, i led phillip over to the benching area for the sporting group and i think he stopped dead in his tracks when he saw all the goldens.  these sweet faces are just irresistible!  now, i urge you.  no, i implore you!  please scroll through the album of golden retriever photos we captured.

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got your fill of goldens?  i thought you might!  now that their coats are glistening and smiles ready, it’s time to be judged!  over in ring 10 is where all the goldens were being judged, so phillip and i snagged a couple seats so that we wouldn’t miss a thing.

the judge brought anywhere between 10 and 20 goldens into the ring at a time, which gave me the perfect opportunity to take even more pictures!

we eventually got our dose of goldens for the day, but before leaving for the afternoon we moseyed along the aisles to check out all the other dogs.  i think something that always amazes me is how much stuff it takes to get these pooches ready.  hair dryers, nail clippers, product.  you name it, they have it.  regular pampering sounds like a pretty blissful life, doesn’t it?

we saw a couple great danes, the gentle giants they are.  this breed always brings a grin to my face when i see them, and this fellow was no exception.

look at that face!

look at that face!

and then right before we exited we found the vizslas!  phillip’s sister emily has a sweet vizsla named brandy and we couldn’t leave without sending her some pictures.  the one of phillip getting kisses is my favorite.  🙂

we could have probably stayed until the late afternoon to watch all the other breeds, but we had places to go and people to see!  we conducted a quick costume change, hopped in a taxi, and then walked through the doors of the famous 21 club.  21 club is a true new york city establishment and has been around for decades and is the most featured restaurant in new york city films.  that alone should tell you how impressive of a place this is.

when i told my parents phillip and i would be in new york, they both insisted that we go to 21 club, even if just for a drink.  this restaurant is one my grandpa bill’s favorite places in the whole world, and i knew it would be a great memory to make in his honor if phillip and i went.

upon entering we were warmly greeted by the maitre d’ and shown to the coat check.  we left our winter jackets and bags there and took up two stools at the bar.  the bartender mark promptly said “hello” and offered us some crackers and almonds and the drink menu.  as i looked around the bar and then outside the window at the falling snow, i couldn’t help but get a little sentimental.  in a place where my grandfather once spent his evenings, i now was there, too, with someone very special to me.  it was the perfect way for phillip and i to celebrate the anniversary of our first date, and i don’t think i would have had it any other way.

i want to be a bit selfish, so as not to spoil it i’ll say this much:  it’s obvious why 21 club has the reputation it does.  it can make even the most typical tuesday feel extraordinary with the atmosphere, service, eats, and drinks.  if you’re looking for a spot in the city that will make you feel like a million bucks, look no further than 21 club.

although we didn’t want to leave, we had to be getting to the next thing on the list.  we thanked the staff and waved goodbye and out the door we were.  despite the rain, we forged southward towards the new york city location of phillip’s company.  we had intended to just go by the building, but mother nature had other plans in mind.  the umbrella i had purchased just the day before was nearly of no use as the rain poured down relentlessly.  the wind then twisted and turned, sending my skirt flying up more than once, i’m sure of it.  phillip was somewhere near by, and as we finally arrived at 39th street, we decided that a quick break from the elements would be a good idea.

up the elevator we went where we arrived sopping wet at the receptionist door.  we were kindly greeted and ushered in by his employees to take shelter for a little while.  phillip introduced me to everyone as we sipped on hot chocolate in the break room and shared our stories thus far to anyone who would listen.

eventually the rain came to a gentle drizzle, which meant it was again time to go.  before walking out those doors, though, we changed back into our clothes from the morning which were thankfully very dry.  i mean, i don’t think i would have been heartbroken had i been forced to go shopping for a new outfit…but maybe next time.  😉

since the final show of westminster was still a few hours away, we coordinated meeting up with my dear friend jamie for some dinner at stout.  it was close by the garden, so it was the perfect location for some pre-show food.

we had a little time to waste before jamie arrived, and since we were ravenous, phillip and i scarfed down on the loaded fries.  we left off the jalapenos since we weren’t feeling spicy that night and should have traded them in for extra avocado ranch.  that stuff was amazing!  the plate was practically empty by the time we were done with it, and i secretly hoped it would magically refill itself.  that’s how hungry we were and how good this greasy, indulgent appetizer was!

phillip stuck with water while i washed my bites down with some ommegang rare vos.  now, i just recently found out that ommegang is a local new york brewery out of cooperstown, and for some reason that fact alone makes me love it more.  i always look for ommegang on the menu when i’m out for a drink, and i was very glad i got to enjoy some at dinner.

shortly jamie made his grand entrance and he and phillip met with enthusiasm.  one of your dear friends and significant other meeting each other is a big deal!  and it was a great opportunity for us all.  jamie munched on chicken tenders, phillip and i split the chicken wings, and we chatted and caught up as if we’d all been friends for years and years.  it was one of the highlights of the trip for me, and i am counting down the days until we see each other again.


finally it was time for the big event, the final show for the 140th westminster kennel club dog show!  instead of popcorn this time, phillip and i chowed down on hot dogs and coca-cola as we laughed and watched the big dogs bumble down the green ring and the little dogs prance along with them.  although we were rooting for the german shepherd and the precious bulldog annabelle, the german shorthaired pointer took home the gold.  another show in the bag!

thankfully the rain stopped while we were indoors, so phillip and i took a stroll along the streets afterwards.  the chilly night air was invigorating and seasonal and made even better when we looked up and saw the eventful colors lighting the empire state building.  how festive!


once we were back uptown, we couldn’t leave new york without going to  hot & crusty one more time.  i know, we’re too much!  we grabbed a half dozen poppyseed bagels and everything bagels to take home which actually ended up making the airplane smell amazing on the flight home.  nom noms!  we also picked up a couple slices of cheesecake.  i went with the classic that i felt was a bit underwhelming for new york.  phillip had the better bet with the boston creme cheesecake that was to die for.

after a good night’s sleep and some emotional goodbyes, phillip and i were back down in the south in what felt like no time at all.  funny how you anticipate something like a trip for weeks or even months and then it seems to be gone in a flash.  good thing i have all these wonderful posts to remind me of the fun!


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