And so, we spent the few weeks prior preparing Ryan for our trip to the Big City of New York. Matt told him about the bumper cars, and the boat, and the subway train. We talked about playing games, minigolf, and seeing huuuuuge buildings. It was Ryan's first trip to New York and we couldn't wait to experience it with him. So, last Saturday morning, we left our house and headed on our way.
We decided to take a different route, through Pennsylvania that would allow us to avoid the New Jersey Turnpike, Matt's least favorite road in the world, which has proven extremely traffic-filled on all of our recent trips North. Well, needless to say (and I won't say whose fault it was...ah hem!) we ended up taking Route 76 outside of Harrisburg instead of Route 78, and guess where we were headed on Route 76???? That's right! Directly towards the New Jersey Turnpike! ARGH! We stopped and bought a map and managed to find our way to Route 78 but not without losing about 1.5 hours. Ryan was a champ the whole time. Either watching a video, listening to music, or napping.
We then finally made it into the city. We announced our arrival to Ryan who was so far less than impressed (he couldn't see too much from his vantage point in the back of the van). We put the address of the hotel into our Garmin and Matt did an excellent job navigating through the city. As we were driving, every time Matt honked his horn, or swerved to miss hitting a rogue taxi, Ryan would pipe up and say, "Are we in New York?" He had a sense already that this was an exciting, busy town.
We should have realized it before we did. But sadly, we didn't. I am not particularly familiar with NYC, and Matt was just focused on not getting crashed into (a minivan in NYC is a challenge indeed!). And so, when we pulled up to the address of our "hotel" we were a bit confused. It was a run down brownstone, with shady characters standing outside. I looked at Matt and said, "Only the best for (insert company's name here)'s employees!" Much to our frustration, our Garmin had taken us to 212 E. 42nd Street in Brooklyn, not Manhattan. So, that meant we had to drive ALLLLLLL the way back through the city practically to the point where we entered the city in the first place. We eventually arrived at what ended up being a very nice hotel a few blocks from Times Square, but this was after we had spent 2 hours simply driving back and forth through NYC. We valeted our car on the company's dime and headed inside to quickly put our luggage down before we headed to the picnic....FINALLY!
Ryan was excited. And despite the 7 hours he had just spent in the car (as opposed to the expected 4) he was still in great spirits. We loaded him into the BOB stroller and headed to the ferry. We got on the boat and he could not stop asking questions and pointing at the many exciting things he saw. "What's dat, Dada!" "Mama! Look! Look at dat big air plane!" "Dada, is the boat going yet?" "Oh wow! Dis is fun!" (when the boat hit some big waves). It was a true joy to experience NYC for the first time all over again through his two year old eyes. This is the reason we came in the first place and suddenly all the wrong turns suddenly seemed worth it.
|Looking out the window on the Ferry and loving EVERY minute!|
The ferry pulled up to Randall's island and we headed to the picnic. There were tons of people and we grabbed some food first. The food was great as far as Matt and I were concerned, but a little too gourmet for a two year-old's taste buds. But, they did have hot dogs (a rare treat for Ryan, who has only had one once or twice before). But, they did not have knives. None. Zippo anywhere on the island. So, being the cautious parents we are, we managed to use two forks and our fingers to cut the hot dog in half length wise so as not to be such a choking hazard. But of course Ryan didn't want it in a bun. He wanted a tortilla. We found one. So, Ryan ate french fries and a tortilla wrapped hot dog for dinner. Yuuuuuum! ;) He also thoroughly enjoyed the fresh squeezed lemonade and the strawberries and blueberries we eventually found while exploring the rest of the island.
Sadly, we were disappointed by the activities. They had clearly scaled back this year. Ryan was too short for the much anticipated bumper cars. But, we were soooo proud of him when we had to break this news to him. He took it in stride and just said, "I just have to grow bigger!" The only other ride he could get on was the carousel and there were no carnival games to play this year or Minigolf. So, we came all the way to NYC to ride a carousel. Well, not really, but to say we were a little disappointed was an understatement. (Though, really we shouldn't complain. We had a weekend in NYC that we didn't have to pay a penny for. So, thank you Matt's company!) And Ryan, true to form, was still doing fairly well, despite the fact that we were bumping up against his bed time. Keep in mind that throughout all of this I was still feeling nauseous and exhausted, but I had not lost any meals in 24 hours, so, VICTORY!
|Checking out the big city down below. We were on the 42nd (top) floor of the hotel!|
|(Why Blogger turns pictures I have already rotated I will never know. But, that is the Chrysler building as seen from our hotel room)|
In the morning Ryan woke right at 7:00, as is his usual and wanted to "go downstairs to eat." He didn't understand that there was no "downstairs" in our little room. But we ate fruit and cereal in the room and after we were showered he headed to Dunkin Donuts with Daddy so Mommy could rest a little. We then headed, on the Subway to Levain bakery. Along the way we walked through Time Square and Ryan loved all the lights and people. He was also thrilled to finally ride the Subway train. (He has been on the metro in DC before, but I don't know if he remembers). If you have never been to Levain and tried their cookies you MUST GO! We stocked up on cookies and a chocolate brioche (soooo good!) and then headed to Central Park were Daddy and Ryan played for a bit while Mommy sat and rested. After that it was back on the Subway, to the hotel, and to home.
But, of course it wasn't that easy. A train broke down on our line and we waited nearly 40 minutes for a train to come. Ryan was great though and enjoyed the people watching in the station. We then had to take a different train, which meant a longer walk to our hotel (did I mention my exhaustion??) but we finally made it back (after stopping to buy Gyros on the street which were DELICIOUS, and Ryan loved, but um, just a little messy to eat while walking) packed up, and headed out; Only 2 hours later than we had planned.
Looking back Matt and I wondered if it was all worth it. We weren't sure. But with a day or two's distance behind us we decided that yes, indeed it was. Ryan loved almost every minute of it. He was clueless to the fact that we were "late" for much of our trip. And, it was the last time we will be able to go to New York as just a family of three. Ryan deserved to have this special memory with just the three of us. And despite the fact that we didn't take nearly as many pictures as I had planned, I hope he never forgets it!
(If you made it to the end of this novel, you are a champ. I mostly wrote this for the benefit of our own little family's written history. But thanks for reading. And I hope it was at least a little enjoyable).