First a little background. Months and months ago, I registered for an international e-learning conference held at Columbia University in New York. A few weeks ago, Mikey spontaneously decided to come with me. I’ve been to New York City a few times now. Let’s review them:
1. Circa 1993. I was 15, and we went as a family on an epic vacation that started with visiting family in North Carolina, then Washington DC, then Philly, and finally, a few days in New York City. This was obviously before I started blogging because I hadn’t even heard about the Internet back then. Here’s what I remember about that visit:
- It was the first time I ever saw naughty chocolates (at Hallmark, of all places) and triple x movie theaters.
- It snowed, and I remember sliding across Times Square to try and get tickets for a play at the TKTS booth. We saw Forever Plaid.
- My mom took Amanda and I to Saks 5th Avenue to look at all the clothes we couldn’t afford to buy. Meanwhile, my brothers and dad rode the subway, went to the top of the World Trade Center, and visited Battery Park.
- We got pizza at Sbarros.
2. I was 19 and a student at Smith College. I went to NYC on a day trip with an art history bus. I didn’t know anyone that was going, so I went by myself. I packed a backpack with no less than 3 books of poetry, a journal, and some Twizzlers. I was terrified of someone finding out that I was a tourist and getting mugged, so I refused to look at a map in public and ended up getting terribly lost.
3. I went to the New Yorker Festival in 2006. (I totally blogged that one…)
4. A last minute decision to visit my friend Emily who was summering there during law school in 2007. Blogged here.
5. And in 2008 for the New Yorker Festival again. Amazingly, I wrapped up that whole weekend in one blog post.
So I wasn’t really a stranger to the city, but Mikey hadn’t been there since he was 13 and ordered lobster for dinner. (That was before he learned that when your parents say you can order anything on the menu, they don’t mean the most expensive thing.) I wanted to make sure he saw all the essentials. We left on the earliest flight possible on Tuesday morning (6 a.m.). Mikey flew Delta and I flew American. Based on our experiences, Delta won the battle of which airline got you there with no delays and not randomly selecting you to pay $25 to check your perfectly carry-on-able carry-on that they said was too big and then refused to refund the money when you complained via email. By the time we actually got into the city and made it to the hotel and got all checked in and settled it was almost 6:00, which was too bad because I had made reservations to visit the 9-11 memorial at 5:30. Oops.
Mikey had a whole list of places to eat from a friend who had lived in New York for a few years, so we consulted the list. The conference hotel was in the Upper West Side, so we wanted something close by (because hungry) and decided on a crepes place. We started walking. And it was rainy. And it was pretty humid. We walked along Central Park, and I wasn’t always happy with the heat, humidity, and rain, but I was pretty thrilled to be there and see stuff like this.
We finally made it to the creperie. I felt a little embarrassed about going in because by that time, I was soaking wet. I’m sure I looked pretty tragic, but then I decided that it’s New York and they probably see everything there. The food was really good, and it was nice to sit down and relax for a bit. It was also really nice to have someone to eat with. Dining alone is my solo vacationing kryptonite. We thought it might be fun to try the Top of the Rock that night. Since it was so drizzly, we thought it would be pretty empty. So we made our way to midtown. I noticed these mosaics on the Rockefeller Center for the first time.
I think this was my favorite part of the night, even though I was wet and my feet were already kind of tired (bad shoes), but I just loved all of the lights reflected in the puddles in the road and the mist of heating grates letting off steam.
Of course the ticket agents at the Top of the Rock told us we’d be crazy to go up that night because it was zero visibility. It was starting to rain harder, so we decided to just head back to the hotel for the night. After all, we had been up since before 4 that morning. It’s just that when you’re in a place like that, you don’t want to waste any time. There’s just so much to see and do. More of what we saw and did tomorrow (probably).