Saturday, June 20, 2015

Stop 4: New York City

New York has always been one of my favorite cities. When I was in my early 20s, it was one of my Top Bucket List Destinations. I was lucky enough to have a great friend take me there when I was 25 because I couldn't afford it on my own. I remember thinking, as the plane flew over Manhattan, that it looked like a Monopoly game that had gone on for too long. The city intimidated and thrilled me. I absolutely loved it. Shortly after that, in the midst of a divorce, I even seriously contemplated moving there. I returned two more times after that first trip, always in December, and fell more and more in love with the city each time. There was something about frenetic pace, the chaos, the crowds, the noise...I felt cooler, hipper, more alive in NY.

This was the first time I went with the boys. I was a mom in sneakers, not a twenty- or thirty-something-year-old in stilettos visiting some of the bars made famous by "Sex and the City." To say it was a different experience is putting it mildly. The thrill was still there, and I still loved it, but I think I have mellowed so much that the noise and the frenzy was a bit exhausting. Instead of looking at people on the subway coming home from work and thinking: "How cool to have to walk everywhere," I would think: "How exhausting to have to walk everywhere." It's only been a few days and I'm longing for the quiet of the ocean, the warmth of the sun, and the sand between my toes. It is official: I am no longer the glamour girl who loved her heels more than anything. I am the hippie mom who loves her flip flops best.

We stayed in the nearest "campground" to the city: Liberty Harbor Marina and RV Park in Jersey, just across the Hudson River. You could see the Statue of Liberty from the lot.

It wasn't fancy or relaxing, but it was pretty cool to look out your RV window and see skyscrapers. We'd walk 4 blocks to the nearest Jersey subway stop and take a short train ride into Manhattan.

Since we only had two full days there, we tried to just give the boys a taste of the whole city. We walked a ton and got lucky with a bit of a cold front. They were way less cranky in NY than they were in DC. 

The first day we started out where our train left us: at the World Trade Center. We visited the 9/11 Memorial, which was incredibly moving.
The new World Trade Tower

These memorial "pools" mark where each of the Twin Towers once stood

We then made our way uptown to Chinatown, Little Italy, and SoHo.
Seeing the boys' reactions to some of the stuff being sold in the markets
in Chinatown was priceless.
"Oh my God! Those are eels, Mommy!
Oh my God! The eels are still alive, Mommy!"

A delicious lunch in Little Italy

As we walked around the city, the boys seemed to blend right in...
My little New Yorkers

We then hit Times Square, which was "aaaaaamazing" (to quote Ben), but perhaps not quite as amazing as the famous Toys R Us store, where they spent a lot of their saved up money and even more of our time.
Times Square

Riding the Toys R Us ferris wheel

The big moment of trying to figure out how much of their money they wanted to spend

That's a big shopping bag and some happy boys!
(Guess who had to carry that bag around the rest of the day?)

We went back to Times Square later so they could see it at night

But the boys weren't the only ones who went home with a big bag of stuff:
I got me some NY bagels!
Day 2 of NYC included the Staten Island Ferry for a (free!) view of Lady Liberty and the Manhattan skyline:

And a stop in Battery Park for a local brew and some hot dogs

Then on to Central Park (after another quick beer and overpriced lemonade stop at Tavern on the Green):

And then to Top of the Rock, the observatory at the Rockefeller Center (way cheaper than the Empire State Building and with better views, although not quite as iconic):

We ended our NY visit with some of the best pizza and ice cream in Greenwich Village:

Overall, NYC was definitely a big hit, but I think we are all ready to put the big cities behind us and hit our next stop: Cape Cod! Bring on the ocean, please!

Four more states added to USA map and a new "I Love NY" for the collection.
New York, check!

1 comment:

  1. Hi Liz, am LOVING read your travel posts, what an amazing trip!!

    The last time I was in NYC (way too long ago!) was also in December & without children, we are hoping to visit next year as a family & I have wondered how I will see it when I go back this hoping I will still love it as much as ever! Interesting reading your thoughts.

    Part of me has always felt that I should be living in NYC and I think it always will....I think if I'd had more direction in my 20s then maybe it would have happened. Should, woulda, coulda ;)

    Loving all your photos, your boys are beautiful & have grown so much....and you look very happy!

    Will be following your journey! X


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