A couple weekends ago, I went to New York City for the first time. When I told people my plans, it elicited two typical responses. The pretentious, “I love New York!” or the “I’ve never been but I’ve always wanted to go.” And since I suffer from MCS (Middle Child Syndrome) I milked the perceived jealousy from the second response so much it went sour.
After finding out about my impending trip, the next question was always, “How long are you staying?” I answered the question honestly once. At least, I started to answer it honestly once but as the words were coming out I noticed the expression on the other person’s face. The words trailed off and I realized this needed to be answered vaguely to avoid the “Are you crazy?” question.
I left work at 4:00pm on Thursday and drove to my sister Zoe’s place in Utah. We got up very early in the-it-doesn’t-exist-in-my-book A.M. to catch a flight. Zoe’s friend arrived at her apartment at 4:30 to give us a ride to the airport. Kudos to Zoe’s friend for being such an awesome person. I couldn’t help contemplate as I sat in the back seat if I would have been a good enough friend to get up in the forbidden hours to drive a friend to the airport. I didn’t come to any definite conclusion but it’s pretty safe to say I’m not that good of a person. Not only did she drop us off, she provided breakfast for us. Like I said, her friend is an awesome person.
My biggest concern about the trip is that I’m not young anymore. I definitely need my sleep or else I can’t function or I’m just plain cranky. It took my whole mental faculty to enjoy the moment instead of being concerned about sleep. Lyn, my twenty-two year old niece, told me, “It’s just for the weekend. Then you can sleep.” Spoken like a twenty-two year old.
Our flight to Dallas was uneventful and boring. I tried to look over my sister to see out the window as we approached. Almost 16 years ago I flew into Dallas for the first time as a missionary. This was my first time back. What little I could see out the plane window it hasn’t changed much.
While we waited in the terminal, a little songbird tweeted his song to us. I tried to take his picture but he was camera shy. He flew away but his song echoed throughout the terminal.
We arrived at La Guardia at five o’clock Friday afternoon and were ushered into a taxi. The driver received the address for our destination and took off. He wasn’t a friendly fellow and concentrated on the radio and driving. Judging by the traffic he navigated us through I was thankful for that. There was no smooth way to do it so I took out my camera and took a picture of us in our first cab ride. Such the small town tourist.
It took over thirty minutes to get to the hotel. Lyn was in the lobby waiting for us. After checking in, the concierge explained the elevators to us. Yes, the elevators needed an explanation. She looked at our faces and asked if we wanted her to show us. We nodded our heads slowly. “You push the button of the floor you need here,” she pushed a button. “It tells you which elevator to get onto.”
“Ohh,” we said slowly in unison. That’s just silly, I thought.
Our room consisted of two beds and a bathroom with a sliding door (that did not keep any secrets). But that was okay because we were in NYC!
After settling in, we went walking. The evening was hot and muggy causing people to sit on their stoops. Just like in the movies.
Lyn showed us a pier. I’m going to say that was the Hudson we were looking at.
She then took us to Times Square, the hotbed of tourist activity. We ate at an Applebee’s and were privileged to pay twice as much as what we pay at our local establishment. But that was okay because we were in NYC!
Lyn pointed out certain sights to us. Some she didn’t have to point out (Naked Cowboy). I took a picture of the Yankee Clubhouse store and sent it to my Red Sox family members (go Sox!). Project Runway was filming a fashion show and I could see the very tops of models heads.
Another tourist asked Lyn if she wanted him to take a picture of all three of us. She declined politely. So he photo-bombed us.
We went back to the hotel and I fell asleep rather quickly.
The next day, Lyn’s birthday, we went to breakfast as a local diner. We had the privilege of paying $50 to eat. But that was okay because we were in NYC!
Since we had such a limited time do things we came up with a plan. Our first stop would be Battery Park via the Subway. Lyn kicked in to tour guide mode and we were off for our adventures. Our first Subway ride did not disappoint. On the seat across from me was some kind of dried, red substance. I say it was blood. I’m sure the CSI:NY team would be called in to save the day. Thankfully, I did not have to sit on that side. But somebody did. It didn’t seem to bother him to be sitting on some kind of unknown but possibly body fluid.
We arrived at Battery Park and decided to take a ferry around Liberty and Ellis Islands. The line for the ferry was an hour wait. But that was okay because we were in NYC! Lyn looked at me, “Do you get motion sickness on boats?” It’s true I’ve had past experiences with motion sickness.
“No,” I said and smiled and felt like a little kid. Truth is I’ve never been on a ferry before so I wasn’t sure. But if mental power had anything to do with it, I would not get sick. Just by sheer will and determination.
For the record, ferries do make me sick. When I closed my eyes almost 12 hours later to go to sleep I still felt like I was pitching back and forth.
I hope I don’t ruin this for anyone but the Statue of Liberty is not very big. She’s actually a fairly tiny gal. Considering I’ve only seen her in the movies and it’s usually with sweeping shots I just thought she’d be a little bigger. After all, in Ghostbusters 2 she walks across the harbor.
After returning from our ferry ride, we had a hot dog from a vendor. It’s the little things that get us small towners excited. Sure, I’ve had hot dogs from vendors before. But they were cheaper. It was okay, though, because we were in NYC!
We got onto the Subway again and rode to Central Park. The Central Park. The park in movies (That’s How You Know He Loves You was in my head the whole time), and television. We only had time to see one corner of it though. It was time to get ready for dinner.
Lyn decided to go to a place her boss recommended, John’s Pizzeria. We waited for an hour to be seated. The slogan they touted was, “No slices.” The pizza was served whole. Just like we do it in the west. But that was okay because we were in NYC! The building must have been an old cathedral because the ceiling had a distinct churchy look.
After dinner, we went to see a Broadway play. “Nice Work if You Can Get It,” starring Matthew Broderick. Everyone clapped when the big stars came out on stage. I wanted to clap for the rest of the cast, too, so that they didn’t feel left out. The play was fluffy fun. Not a serious tone by any means.
We went back to our hotel and finished our birthday cupcakes. It was midnight when we turned out the lights and 4:30 when we turned them back on. We had to get to the airport. This is the part of the story I became vague about when people asked how long we’d be there. I didn’t realize it would catch up with me when I returned home and they’d ask what we did. Eventually, they’d piece together how short the trip really was.
Our cab driver on the way to the airport was a chatty soul. Unfortunately, by that time, I was too tired to carry on a conversation.
I wish I could have stayed longer. Not only to see NYC, but also to see my niece tackle the Big Apple. This is what you do when you’re twenty-two, you travel. You learn who you are and where you want to be. She has learned that Utah, and being close to her family, is important. Right now, she’s determined not to visit NYC ever again after she leaves in just over a month. I hope she changes her mind because I want to visit again and I need somebody to navigate me around.