Sunday, October 13, 2013

Five Days In New York, Ten Favorite Destinations. (Day 1)

Air tickets, check
Hotel, check
Airport ride, check
Itinerary, check
Luggage, packed
Pets, taken care of

I was on top of my game.  At 4AM we were already in the car on the way to LAX.  New York City, here we come!

Suddenly, as we were approaching the airport exit, a horrifying thought crossed my mind. I turned to Varuzh and otter the words -

"Did we take the iPad?"

Everyone gasped ... and then a loud scream cut through the tense air.

"I want my iPaaad!" cried Alex. Big tears ran down his cheeks. "I want my iPad! Can we go home?"

It was too late to go back home, but not having iPad meant no peace at the museums, stores, restaurants. Oh, and what about the 5 hour flight?!?..

I took a deep breath and waited a second to exhale. What's done is done, I thought. If not having the iPad meant that we will have a whining kid most of the vacation, then so be it. Somehow we had to carry on.

"Alex," we said in unison in order to stop him from screaming, "don't worry, New York is so amazing that you won't even feel the absence of the iPad. Promise."

Before we knew, we boarded the plane, got to check out the cockpit, chat with the pilot, watched two movies during the smooth flight, and landed in the city... where every inch has been memorialized in books, songs, movies!


I have been to New York many times for business. But my trips were no more than a red-eye flight to NYC, subway ride to the Federal Building in Lower Manhattan, lunch in Soho, and a flight back home. So, as you see, I knew pretty much nothing about New York, and this was my chance to get to know The Big Apple. Luckily, Alex was so mesmerized by the tall buildings, thousands of people and yellow cabs rushing down the streets, that there was no trace of thoughts about iPad left in him... most of the time.

As soon as we dropped off our luggage at the hotel, we were off to our first destination.

Destination #1 Top Of The Rock

Who could forget Sleepless In Seattle where Tom Hanks and Meg Ryan finally met on the top of the Empire State Building, or Cary Grant waiting there for Deborah Kerr in An Affair to Remember?! But since we did not really have any romantic meetings scheduled, we decided to climb to the Top Of The Rock to check out view of Manhattan instead. It was nowhere near as crowded as the Empire State building. There were no screens at the top viewing deck, and, the best of all, we got to actually see the Empire State Building from there!

What a great way to kick off the vacation!

Hello New York!
Empire State Building, Lower Manhattan, Hudson River
Central Park, Upper Manhattan, Hudson River
Rockefeller Center
The Rock (short for none other than Rockefeller Center) delivered everything it promised. We picked the best time to be there - just before the sunset. We got to see the city in the daylight slowly change into it's night attire. I could stay there forever - Manhattan felt like a three dimensional piece of art where the beautiful tall buildings were positioned in a perfect disorderly order. The city felt so close, I could almost touch it.

When we finally peeled our eyes off the view and made our way downstairs, we walked further down the street where we were treated with the special sight.

Destination #2 Times Square at Night

The iconic junction of Broadway and Seventh Avenue stretching from West 42nd Street to West 47th - Times Square - is the must see. While during the day it is a major commercial intersection in Midtown Manhattan, but, at night, it is an incredible spectacle of lights, gigantic TV screens and commercials. Every year I watched the ball drop at midnight on January 1st on TV, but neither photos nor TV could ever prepare me for this stunning visual. No one can say they've been to NYC if they did not visit the Times Square at night, period!



"Mommy, I want milk," Alex started pulling my shirt. He looked tired, and it was time for us to head back to the hotel.

"So, Alex, how do you like New York?" I asked.

Alex apparently was too tired to talk, so he just showed me his thumb up... Well, how could he not...

The seed of love for NYC was planted. Will continue my report tomorrow.

xo Zuma A.

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