Saturday, July 30, 2011

New York City Trip

Have I ever told you that I've always dreamed of living in New York City? I grew up in a rural area on a family farm in Oklahoma, but I've always had big city dreams. I had these huge dreams of NYU and city life. I always knew it was just a dream, but it was fun to think anyway.

After I fell in love and had a family, I still dreamed of visiting NYC. This past spring, Chance and I got to go spend some time with his best friend in NY state and while we were there I had so much fun and only wish we would have had a little more time to spend.

Right now I'm preplanning my next trip to NYC, whenever it may be. I just need to go back, it's like a siren's call. But as I was planning last night, I realized that I never actually posted any pictures or story from New York City! How dare I right?

Arch and I on the train from Albany to NYC
We started out taking a train in from Albany. That was my first train experience, and compared to a tiny little plane it was fantastic! The seats were wide and comfortable; you could get up and move around. Archer loved it. It was a 4 hour train ride, but it was fun and actually kind of relaxing. As we came into the city area we started being able to see bridges over the Hudson which was too cool. I loved seeing the skyline in the distance. It made my heart race.

Early views of the skyline from the train.

As soon as we got into the city, we went from Penn Station to the Empire State Building which was only a few blocks away. Walking up out of the train station was so neat. The sun was out and the buildings had halos. I was in love for sure.

We actually walked up to the back side of the building, which was our first mistake. We were immediately drawn in by some guy who worked there and wanted us to take his tour. He asked where we were from, "Oklahoma" we said, and he knew we were suckers. One hundred and fifty dollars later we were heading inside and waiting in line for a really dumb 3-D "ride." Archer thought it was fun, but I would never pay money to do that again. The ride was something you could do online, but even still, we got to go up to the observation deck, take pictures, and just look around. I wasn't as fascinated with it as Chance and his friend were, I think it was the builders in them, they liked seeing those massive structures towering all over. I just wanted to get on the ground again and look up.

From the Empire State Building we took a cab to Central Park. We wanted to see the carousel, the Alice in Wonderland Statues and the Hans Christian Anderson statues. We got out of the cab, he dropped us at the east entrance to the park. It was cold and cloudy and we should have known better. We got about half way there before we decided it was too cold. We trudged back out and hailed a cab to the hotel because it was freezing. We wore light jackets and my poor son's pants were riding up near his knees because he had grown like a weed and they had become high-waters nearly over night. I felt awful and he was cold and tired; so we took a cab.

I got the hotel on Priceline's name your own price feature (which I love by the way) and I got it really cheap. I had called ahead of time to tell them we needed two double beds, but of course once we got there it was a single queen, which doesn't work with three adults and a baby. We called down and they fixed us right up. It was a very simple process, but one in which we are mostly certain my child lost his hatty-hat. We didn't realize the hat was missing until a few hours later, and then we were too late to run to Children's Place in Time Square for a new one. Luckily we found an oversized one later.

We got our stuff unpacked at the hotel and tried to decide what we wanted for dinner. Because it was chilly out and we were tired from traveling we settled on a restaurant a block away called Eamon's. It was decent, but nothing I would rave about. Next time we would skip it unless we were going to have a beer or two also.

Times Square
We went back to the hotel again and warmed up before walking down to Time's Square. The lights were awesome, and it was so much warmer there than anywhere else. We headed directly for Toys r Us. Chance, Jeremiah, and Archer headed hopped on the ferris wheel while I took pictures. After the never-ending ride we wandered around the store a little and let Archer pick a toy. He chose a Buzz Lightyear with wings, because one, he loved it and two the little boy he had played with the night before had one. We also got to look at the dinosaur and the Lego figures. Archer was scared to death of the dinosaur and is still scared of it when he talks about it.

Archer, Chance and Jeremiah on the Ferris Wheel

The scary dinosaur.
On the way home I sent the boys ahead while I wandered over a block to Starbucks. A nice hot coffee was great and I relished the few moments alone walking the streets I had once dreamed of frequenting. Chance, of course, was all paranoid something would happen to me in that one block, it didn't.

The next morning we got up fairly early and took a cab to the Public Library. It was neat, but I didn't really get to do anything but take pictures out front because I didn't want to drag my noisy kid around in such a building. He wanted nothing more than to run free, play on the stairs, and hear his little squeals echo. From there we grabbed breakfast (muffins and donuts) from a street vendor and hopped another cab to St. Patricks' Cathedral. It was gorgeous, even under construction. We actually went on March 16 and I wished we had been able to go on the 17. Arch and I lit a candle and said a prayer for the Tsunami victims and went back out onto the streets to meet his dad who was smoking. Jeremiah stayed in the hotel and slept, the slacker.

In front of the Library.
St. Patrick
We looked into the windows of the stores and snapped a few pictures, but again, the cold and then rain kept us from doing much.

Saks 5th Avenue (I think)

We took yet another cab (which was not the plan at all, we wanted to walk, it was just too cold) back to the hotel, packed our stuff back into bags and checked out. We took a cab to the Museum of Natural History. It was really fun, but Archer was tired and restless and wasn't really interested. I realized about mid trip, that he was really too young for NYC and I regret taking him. We would have had more fun if we had waited until this summer when it was warm and he was just a little older.

Museum of Natural History

Chance and Jeremiah getting a street hot dog. 
After the museum, the plan was to grab a hotdog and take the subway to Penn Station to wait for our train. The got the hot dog, but Chance wanted to walk through Central Park again since it was a little warmer and the rain had stopped, and try to find the statues of Alice in Wonderland, because Archer loves Alice. We set the coordinates in our phone, but it was clear across the park. We got nearly there and Chance decided he was going to take a short cut through the grass. Except, if you'll remember, I said it had been raining all morning. The "grass" was hidden mud, which soaked my shoes and jeans and nearly caused me to fall on my face. The temperature was still in the low 50s so jeans and shoes/socks soaked did not make for a fun trip back to the train station. I was pissed, Chance was mad because I was mad, and it was just no fun.

Chance and Arch got to see Alice, I didn't go.

I pouted for an hour or two, instead of really enjoying my time. We got on the train and headed back to Albany. The sun was out the entire train ride, which was a weather anomaly for the trip; most of the time we had been there so far it had been cold and cloudy and just yucky.

My trip to NYC was a little disappointing, but it wasn't the city itself. It was the weather and my attitude and taking my sweet toddler before he was really old enough to enjoy it. The next time I go, will not be with child. I will enjoy myself much more without him, and then when he is older I will take him back. We will explore the park, check out all the dinosaurs in the museum, and ride the ferris wheel in TRU. He will remember it and we will make great memories. Maybe he'll even dream of living there someday like I did. I can only hope.

Here's to my next trip, and I hope it's soon!!

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Anonymous said...

Whoa -- I got tired just reading about your trip. I've never seen the Alice statue and I really should, since the Alice books are among my absolute favorites.

Did you know the ESB stays open until something like 2:00 in the morning? It's very cool to see the city at night, and the wait is a lot easier at that time of day.

If you like the train, you should think about taking an overnight train trip sometime, with a cabin. It's cozy and cute and kids love it -- they can wander around and explore. We've done it a couple of times, but only over one night because I can't imagine going more than one night without a shower, but at the same time I can't imagine showering on a train.

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