Monday, November 11, 2013

The Lure of New York

New York is noisy. Funny, but I don't remember noticing that before. On this trip, though, I was more aware of the noise, especially at night. Sirens and large trucks lifting dumpsters which in turn clanged and banged like Oscar the Grouch having a temper tantrum  -- sounds I didn't seem to remember hearing as we traipsed through the city during the day, but which seemed to emerge unbidden right around bedtime.

My daughter didn't take her first trip to New York City until she was almost thirteen -- a one day, bus trip whirlwind with the obligatory Radio City Music Hall show. Other trips soon followed, and now, three years later, she has seen two Christmas shows at Radio City Music Hall, two Broadway shows and countless sights. She has seen the Christmas tree at Rockefeller Plaza and explored the interior of the New York Public Library. She has skated in Bryant Park and watched the big piano demonstration at FAO Schwartz (although she refuses to pose with the toy soldier at the door). She knows which restaurants she wants to go back to, which sights are worth seeing again, and which not-yet-seen destinations top her wish list for future trips.

Artwork by Willard Bond on 50th Street
This trip, we spent much less time in Times Square, and we spent our last few hours exploring the area around the United Nations. Having failed to get tour tickets ahead of time, we settled instead for photo ops outside the gate and from the park across the street in Tudor City. A history buff, my daughter had nearly as much fun tracking down consulates and photographing flags as she did seeing a show, and not only did I enjoy watching her and her friends, I was glad to see a part of the city I hadn't seen before.

As always with a trip to NY, we come home with a list of "glad we did that" items and its companion: the "I wish we'd had time to do that" list. Somehow, the Empire State Building never seems to make the cut, and while Ground Zero usually tops the list, it's so far removed from both where we stay and where we spend most of our time that we never quite make it there.

This trip, we took stock of everyone's first choice destination over lunch on Saturday, so in addition to seeing Newsies and ice skating in Bryant Park (both of which we'd planned ahead of time), we shopped at both Macy's and Niketown, ate pretzels on the benches in Central Park, stopped in a variety of Starbucks locations (I had a partner in crime on this trip) and, as usual, walked for miles through  familiar territory (Fifth Avenue) and new areas (the Diamond District).

I'm happy to say that by the end of the day yesterday, we had fit everyone's top choice in, with time to spare for new explorations this morning. Still, no matter how long we stay, I always leave wishing we'd been able to stay a little longer.

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