I neglected to mention our stop at Bryant Park in my ‘Day 2 and a half‘ entry. Bad Dez! Bryant Park is located one block from Times Square in midtown Manhattan. According to the BP website, the park typically hosts over 5,000 business people during lunch hours in warm weather months, and counts 20,000 visitors by the end of the day. Check out the webcam now!

Walking around, we saw some really beautiful flowers and greenery. There were several tables dedicated to chess playing and, rumor is, there was a boule board (game: Petanque), too. At least a dozen people were taking advantage of the free wireless access. Interestingly, there were thousands of folding chairs all around the park, I’m guessing to encourage people to ‘take a load off’ and enjoy the scenery.

I noticed no one was sitting on the grass, and realized there was a sign posted that said the grass was being tended to. I assume the City was preparing for the HBO Summer Film Festival, which is opening today (6/30). That’s when we headed over to Times Square.

So, Day 3 rolls around. Sunday. Our day to sleep in. Dad made himself, D.P. and me eggs and potatoes for breakfast (Mom had her own breakfast). Dad and I showed D.P. how to eat eggs and potatoes the family way, which is to slather them with mustard. D.P. tried a little mustard, but I don’t think he was as convinced as Dad and I had hoped he’d be.

The four of us got ready to go, and headed out the door right before lunchtime. A short drive later, and we arrived at The Great Wazu in East Hanover, one of my dad’s favorite places to eat. They planned on just picking up the sandwiches and then taking D.P. and me to the Frelinghuysen Arboretum where the four of us would eat lunch, but the skies clouded over and rain began to fall lightly, so it was decided we would eat at the restaurant instead. Of course, as soon as we ordered and sat down, the rain had already stopped. The four of us ordered the same, based on the very strong recommendation of my dad: Number Three with proscutini, cheese and capacola. Each added our own ‘toppings’ to our individual sandwich (I had lettuce, tomato, black olive and basil mayo [I may be forgetting something]). I could easily see why my dad ate there often! The bread was fresh and not too crunchy. And, the meat! The meat itself was music for my tongue and tummy. I can still taste it.

After our very tasty lunch, we were treated to the sights of the Arboretum. D.P. and I took lots of pictures (and some video) of what’s in bloom there. Unfortunately, the rain came back (this time in full force) and we had to head back to the car. Earlier that morning, we had looked over the show times for a local movie theater and it was at this time we decided maybe we needed to go see a movie.

We chose Get Smart with Steve Carrell and Anne Hathaway (as well as my favorite hotty of all time, Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson). You can read the plot summary here. Steve Carrell’s character, Maxwell Smart, reminded me a lot like his character in the TV series The Office. You know, the office idiot who seems to be one sandwich short of a picnic. There were several incidents during the movie that had me cracking up so hard I thought I was going to run my mascara – thankfully, I didn’t lose too much eye makeup. All in all, it was a good movie, and definitely a good first date movie. Romance for the chicks, and action for the guys. Two thumbs up.

We drove back over to the Arboretum after the movie. This time, I was able to get some really good shots of the flowers, plants and trees and some of the buildings. The scenery was really amazing, and its history is rich!

“George G. Frelinghuysen, a patent attorney and son of Frederick T. Frelinghuysen, Secretary of State under president Chester A. Arthur, was married in 1881 to Sara Ballantine of Newark. She was the granddaughter of the founder of the P. Ballantine Brewing Company.

In 1891 the couple commissioned the Boston architectural firm of Rotch and Tilden to construct a summer home and carriage house on property they named Whippany Farm for the river nearby. The Colonial Revival style is evident in such details as the Federal urns and swags, Ionic columns on the porte-cochere and the large Palladian window on the second floor landing.

The family only lived here during the summer months. In the winter they resided at 1 Sutton Place in New York City. The property was a working farm. Vegetables and flowers were grown for the family’s consumption and sent to them in New York City via train. There were greenhouses, several barns and some smaller houses on the property. Some servants lived on the property year around.

George Frelinghuysen died in 1936 and Sara Frelinghuysen died in 1940. This property was left to their only daughter, Matilda (1887-1969). Miss Frelinghuysen had an interest in gardening and was a member of the Garden Club of Morristown. In 1964, she began plans for turning the estate into an arboretum. Upon her death the land and house was bequeathed to the people of Morris County for the use as a public arboretum. The Frelinghuysen Arboretum was dedicated in 1971.

The Haggerty Education Center was opened in 1989. It contains a multi-purpose auditorium and two classrooms. Its purpose is to provide continuing horticultural educational programs for the public. It is also home for various regional plant societies.” (Frelinghuysen Arboretum)

We stayed for quite some time, and then decided D.P. was getting hungry (okay, I was, too) so we headed home.

In my family, we have a few recipes that are cherished – special. Every so often, when we meet someone we really like and want to spend more time with, we lure them in with one of our family recipes. At the top of my family’s list is my dad’s canoli recipe. [Technically, it is a calzone/stromboli, but when it’s a family recipe, you call it whatever your little heart desires.] It was at my request that we were served canolis for dinner after the Arboretum, and my dad was nice enough to oblige. While D.P., my mom and I relaxed, Dad slaved over the stove making what I hyped up to be the best food known to man. Or, something like that. I told D.P. it was damn good, and I meant it. We enjoyed some wine with dinner and, later when no one was around but D.P. and I, he confessed his complete adoration for my father’s recipe. He followed that up with, “When you made it, it was good, too.” Nice save, buddy.

After dinner, we played games for a couple of hours. When we were deciding which games to play, D.P. said he didn’t really play board games, but I knew he would love it once he got started. I told him: “Tough! This is what my family likes to do.” Sure enough, we had a lot of laughs and it was a really good time!

D.P. and I had to check the flight load on the computer so, when we were done playing games, we headed upstairs to the den and got online. When I found out we’d have to wake up no later than 5 am, I about blew a gasket. I lamented how early it was, and how I understood the process of flying stand-by… but why did it have to be so damn early? Word around town is, people were rolling their eyes all around me. I’d like to take a moment to say that my PMS was acting up that day – that’s why I was being completely unreasonable. It couldn’t have been the fact that I am completely unreasonable most days, no way! Shoosh. Anyway, as I was getting ready for bed, D.P., who was in another room, texted me with “Sleep well.” I immediately felt bad about how I had acted, and promised myself I’d make it up to him soon.

Jump to Why I’ll never be the same: Day 4.