- We actually got on the road precisely on time. This is such a rare occurrence that I could not let it pass without acknowledgement.
- The drive was uneventful and we encountered no traffic until we got to the Holland tunnel. This was a different route for me, but it made sense to avoid the West Side Highway and enter Manhattan in TriBeCa.
- We parked for free right in front of the hotel. Really.
- After leaving our luggage behind, we hopped a subway to Battery Park and made our way to Staten Island, fortifying ourselves with some Sabrett’s along the way. I eat a hotdog maybe once every few years. This one was with onions and mustard. It was divine.
- After docking, we jumped on a train for two stops and then walked the remainder of the way to Stapleton Pier where we got in line to tour the U.S.S. McFaul. Also present was the U.S.S. Cole, but that line was even longer.
- Our tour was informative and free and the perfect activity for Memorial Day Weekend. Recommended.
- After docking again in Manhattan, we walked to Chinatown where we gorged on soup dumplings, crispy duck, Shanghai noodles, squid with salted vegetables and peppers and, my favorite, green beans with pork.
- A leisurely walk back to our hotel followed dinner, with the boys remaining behind while I hoofed it up to Rocco’s for pastry. It was a beautiful evening for a walk and I was thrilled with the patriotically lit Empire State Building and Freedom Tower.
- Have I mentioned before how much I love the green spaces in lower Manhattan? The west side, with its meandering paths which hug the Hudson is so lovely, particularly in the spring. I couldn’t resist a quick run to start my day, while the boys slept in.
- Our reservations for the Statue of Liberty (obtained online a couple of weeks prior) were for noon. We again headed to Battery Park via the subway and were through security and waiting on the dock in little time. But, then the waiting really began. Waiting for the boat to arrive and unload. Loading the boat. Arriving on Liberty Island and unloading the boat. Waiting to go through security again… The 196 steps which took us to the base of Lady Liberty were the least painful part of the entire process. Unless the National Park Service figures out a more efficient way to get people on and off those boats, I don’t imagine myself ever returning to Liberty Island. If you plan to go there, look into departing from the Jersey side. I think it would be faster.
- The boat ride does provide a fantastic view of lower Manhattan and it is impossible to take in the sights without imagining what newcomers to America must have seen. On a sunny day in May it must have been magnificent.
We were in the car and driving north only 4 minutes beyond my target time. There was a quick stop in Jersey for some diner chow and then it was back to Albany for the Head and the Heart show, courtesy of 97.7 WEXT, at the Upstate Concert Hall. I had a great weekend – hope you did, too!
Tag Archives: NYC
Almost 6 months to the date exactly, the boys and I are getting ready to head back to NYC for another round of adventures. Our plans for the weekend include taking in some of the Fleet Week events and a visit to Lady Liberty. We’re staying in TriBeCa and once I park my car, hopefully on the street, I don’t intend to be north of Bleecker Street again until we head back to Albany.
Have you ever checked out Fleet Week? Apparently there are ship tours both in Manhattan and Staten Island. I’m kind of wondering if the Staten Island events might be more accessible, once we actually get to Staten Island, that is. We’ve already toured the Intrepid and it would be cool to ride the ferry on a warm, sunny day. Because it will be warm and sunny, damn it, since it is Memorial Day weekend and I said so.
From the little I’ve read, it seems that after we get off the ferry we’ll have to take a train to Sullivan’s Pier. I don’t really know Staten Island at all, but think it might be fun to expand our explorations beyond Manhattan’s shores. There’s also an appeal to just driving south and parking the car without mucking around midtown. Are there any Staten Island experts out there? Fleet Week veterans, perhaps?
Lunch and dinner plans are pretty loose this time around. I’m thinking about a meal in Chinatown and another in Little Italy. We’ve been very happy at Joe’s Shanghai and their soup dumplings are a favorite item of the boys. Maybe a stroll past Umberto’s Clam House so I can share some bonafide NYC mafia history with them, but since the food reviews are less than stellar, we’re looking for other options. Do you have any recommendations for us?
Of course, I’m hoping for an evening run down the west side, around the southern tip and then up the east side of Manhattan to the Brooklyn Bridge. Maybe I can even make it to 3 boroughs in a single day! Whatever we end up doing, wherever we end up eating, I’m certain it will be memorable. Can’t wait!
I’m getting kind of excited about spending some untethered time in NYC. I feel like circumstances are aligning. The sun is expected to shine in mild blue skies. The moon will be nearly full and, I predict, spectacular. I have a good idea about what I’m going to wear (cutoff shorts with footless tights, flat shoes for walking) and what I’ll need to pack (running gear, a cute dress for cocktails).
My plans are fluid but include a couple of stops on my way downtown – Macy’s, perhaps, Porto Rico Importers, definitely, Rocco’s more than likely. I’ll be dressed casually so I’m going with a backpack instead of an overnight bag. I like to have my hands free and travel light.
I’ll have a quality late lunch with at least one glass of wine, maybe my first rose of the season. My plans include a nap followed by a run. I want to head south down the lower west side to Battery Park through the Seaport and over the Brooklyn Bridge. The “blood moon” will be rising and whatever music I choose I know will be perfect.
A quick shower off, a little makeup and then there will be cocktails at a swanky place down on lower Hudson where, I believe, Sundays are “pants optional.” Fun will be had. I know how to do this. It’s going to be epic.
Waking up on this day a dozen years ago, I remember being happy that I could finally get out of bed and escape the image of those towers falling down behind my eyelids, over and over again. The sky was once again stunningly blue, but now it was silent with all commercial airline traffic grounded as the world focused their attentions on Ground Zero.
During my drive west on the thruway to work, I passed a convoy of trucks carrying generators and other equipment, their destination without question. There was still a sense of urgency and the hope for survivors yet to be found was a beacon, to which it seemed we all looked.
There was kindness present in unexpected places. Drivers waved to one another, inviting an easy merge into traffic or permitting a turn which would more typically be denied, as we are accustomed to all being in such a damn rush. The world slowed down.
It’s difficult to believe that twelve years have passed since that horrible and scary time, but what is more difficult to accept is that many of us have forgotten how a simple act of kindness can radiate with as much force as the collapse of a tower. Or two.
The world became a different place for millions of people on September 12, 2001. Husbands and wives woke up for the first time as widowers. Children opened their eyes and saw a world with a gaping hole where once their mother or father had been. Parents mourned the unimaginable loss of a child, which to me, is the ultimate affront to the way nature is supposed to function.
Today would be a great day to do something nice, to make a gesture which is unexpected and generous in spirit. While I hope to never again witness a horrible tragedy like the one which occurred in our country twelve years ago, each day provides us with an opportunity to erase even the tiniest amount of sorrow in the world by the smallest act of kindness. Wouldn’t that be a great 9/11 memorial?
PS – A childhood friend of mine, who lost her husband far too young to a different type of terrorist, cancer, began an organization called Gift it Forward. Check it out here.
We stopped in at a little joint Sunday afternoon down in the West Village, Tortilla Flats, hereafter referred to as the place with the worst service. Ever.
Our party of three arrived at what I think of as the “shoulder season” of dining hours, around 3:30 or so. There was a distinct lack of greeting after we entered, but the bartender finally acknowledged us and directed us to the lone waiter, Mr Frazzled and Angry. Just like his hair. He agreed to seat us and selected the only unoccupied dirty table. Naturally, it needs to be bussed and wiped, which he did in between other tasks. His sense of prioritizing was poor.
We sat and perused the menu, giving the margarita list the bulk of our attention. We selected a path to tequila awareness (Sauza Hornitos) and waited for the server’s return. We waited a long ass time, actually. We waited so long that we finally sent a representative to the bar to place the order directly with the bartender. In a remarkably rapid fashion, the server brought us our pitcher, with the correct number of glasses salted (2 out of 3) and garnished with limes. Drinking commenced.
About midway through our first drinks we again flagged the server down to place an order for nachos with sides of guacamole and salsa. A short time later we received our nachos, which were unlike any nachos I’ve ever been served. They were flat, looking more like a quesadilla than a pile of crispy chips topped with cheese and beans and whatnot. For clarification we inquired if we had been served the correct item and to remind the server that we had also ordered a couple of sides and that utensils, plates and napkins would be helpful. With a remarkable level of surliness for a human being over the age of 16 or so, he retrieved our guacamole and salsa, but no plates or napkins.
At this point we were drinking our second drinks on fairly empty stomachs. You see, we didn’t have plates or napkins or utensils with which to eat our food. Even though those are all obviously, to most, considered essential items when consuming food. Eventually, once the ray of sunshine who was our “server” had cleared a neighboring table (which was unoccupied) and stood at the bar for a few minutes, we received plates and napkins. Silverware never was provided. The (finger)food was tasty.
My commitment at that particular moment in time was weighted heavily in favor of the tequila, so I elected to not sit that kid down to painstakingly itemize all of the lapses in service which he had committed. Our interlude ended on a high note when the waiter inquired how everything was – a question he posed for the first and only time as we paid the check. We were able to exit the restaurant laughing, a state I don’t imagine he was able to replicate with the paltry, yet still generous, 15% tip we left for him. At least there’s always tequila, buddy.
My middle son is wrapping up his middle school academic career in a couple of weeks. There are a few events to commemorate the occasion, including a day trip to NYC, later this month. When I was in 8th grade, we also went to the city. I remember it vividly because I saw my first Broadway musical, Grease, and wore the brown sweater coat (the height of fashion in 1980!) my mother knit for me. It was a special day.
On Friday, he brought home the permission slip which detailed the itinerary for their day. Basically, they depart from Albany at 6:30 in the morning, returning at approximately 9:30 p.m. Their first stop is midtown where they have 2.5 hours scheduled at Madame Tussaud’s Wax Museum. From there they head to the Hard Rock Cafe for lunch. I understand that not every kid has parents who believe in authentic experiences which reflect their locale, but doesn’t this sound incredibly generic? Is there anything about this that screams “greatest city in the world” to you?
But, wait, it gets better. The kids then head down to the South Street Seaport – and this is the part that really rankles me, where they have 3 hours to wander around, using the “buddy system.” Now, I’m sure (right?) there will be adequate supervision of the kids, but this segment of the trip, the lengthiest one, is completely unstructured. In the description provided on the permission slip, this cool, but small area, was heralded for its “mall and 15 places to eat.” Really?!? I’m sending my kid to New York to go to a mall and eat at some chain restaurant?
I’m pretty familiar with the downtown area where the kids are going to be. The Brooklyn Bridge and the World Trade Center are right there. Why aren’t they bringing the kids to either of these free, yet, significant places? Maybe a ferry ride to Staten Island? There’s so much history in that area! How about Chinatown, Little Italy or the Tenement Museum, all of which are included in the 8th grade social studies curriculum?
Is it just me, or is this a true example of missed opportunity and lack of effort in planning? What do you think?
Our lice thing turned into a week of laundry and hair combing and ultimately a prescription lotion, Ovide, which I elected to use prophylactically on the entire family. FYI: if you ever need to get this lice and nit killing potion, start at the pharmacy at Walmart because that was the only place that had it in stock. Insert socioeconomic targeted population wise-ass remark here. I am optimistic that we have eradicated the problem, but will remain vigilant. Please keep your fingers crossed that the nightmare is over and in return I will pray that your house is never visited by this plague.
Now, for the dreams…
After my recent dropping of the hammer on my underperforming son, he has really been making strides in the right direction. His grades and attitude have improved and I felt comfortable recognizing his efforts with a reward. His cell phone has needed an upgrade and I was thrilled to have the opportunity to buy him one that he is equally thrilled to own. I will hold tightly to the spontaneous (and public!) hug he gave me during the future’s more challenging moments. And that gushing text he sent me? I’m keeping that forever!
Making a dream come true can be as simple and spontaneous as agreeing to purchase a smart phone or a more involved process requiring reservations and tickets and an overnight bag. The latter describes the realization of my oldest son’s birthday request, albeit an event we marked a week prematurpely. Shortly after his 15th birthday last year, my boy-man asked that we go to NYC’s Metropolitan Opera House to take in a performance. You’ve got to applaud a kid who can begin to plan a NYC adventure a year in advance – that’s my boy.
Our trip began from at the Rensselaer train station where we popped our figurative MegaBus cherry – overall not a bad experience, but it would have been nice if the Wi-Fi had been more consistent. We stayed at a classic NYC hotel, the Ramada New Yorker, which was comfortable and convenient. But, really, it was all about Carmen. Our box, with its ever so slightly impeded view was remarkably comfortable and I think I only dozed for a minute. Twice. The show was beautiful – the voices, the orchestra, the setting. I wouldn’t have changed a thing about the night, which concluded with a cab ride back downtown and midnight snack eaten at the hotel.
So, two out three isn’t so bad. I’ll take it.