Thursday morning the Chesapeake Bay Children and I stepped onto an Amtrak train in Richmond and by noon-ish were mesmerized by the hustle and bustle that is New York City.
The trip came about when I asked my 17-year-old son (who has everything he needs/wants already) what he wanted for Christmas.
Although I knew this little outing would not be inexpensive, I learned a long time ago never to put price tags on family adventures. So, with a little encouragement from Daughter and several talks with myself--one of which included the fact that Son graduates from high school next year and such opportunities for family adventures will be fleeting--I booked the trip.
It helps that I have a wonderful blogger friend, Daryl, who lives in the city and is the best tour guide ever.
We joined up with another wonderful blogger friend, Kate.
(And for dinner Friday night we met up with yet another wonderful blogger friend Lauren.)
The most rewarding part of blogging has been the friendships I've made that would otherwise have been impossible. We are all so different and yet have so much fun together. I feel very fortunate to have been connected to these talented, gifted, fantastic people.
|Daryl and Kate on Broadway
After settling in, we headed out for our first
|Every human being in the United States was on Fifth Avenue last Thursday.
It's a fact. Admit it, you were there too, weren't you?
I've never seen so many people before in my life.
The windows on Fifth Avenue are an attraction unto themselves. The only window shopping I've ever done was back when Fosters department store was open in Mathews Court House. Let's just say that Fifth Avenue and Main Street Mathews are at the opposite ends of the Window Shopping Spectrum.
The Fifth Avenue merchants go
|The marketing folks knew I could not bypass shiny, sparkly,
kaleidoscope looking images. I think I stared at this for an hour before
I was stampeded by the herd of humans running amok.
|Here we have a delicately dressed display
plus the added bonus (?) of the image of me taking the picture.
|You haven't seen a window display until you've walked down Fifth Avenue.
|This diamondy looking lizard is draped around the front of a jewelry store.
(Diamondy is too a word. They invented it on Fifth Avenue.)
|I cannot imagine how much this costs.
What I really can't imagine is the person who has enough
spare change to purchase something like this.
It's mind boggling.
After oooing and aaaahing up and down Fifth Avenue along with the entire population of the United States, we made our way to Rockefeller Center, where we joined up with the rest of the population of the North America to admire the Christmas tree and do something really
|Son, Daughter, and Daryl approaching the tree at Rockefeller Center.
We paid money to be catapulted by some sort of Beam Me Up Scotty elevator to the top of Rockefeller Center, where I remembered that I no longer like heights and have a morbid fear that everyone in my party is just seconds away from being hurled over the edge of the very meager plexiglass protection.
|Way. Too. High. Up. The End.
|Daryl, taking a calm, cool, collected photo.
FYI, she's way too close to the edge and nowhere near a wall to hold on to.
I used the zoom to get this close to her. I was doing the sane thing,
holding on to the wall and breaking out into a sweat.
|We were almost higher than the sun.
Humans were not intended to walk casually around
at the same level as clouds and the sun.
It's a fact.
|When you are eye level with the top of the
Empire State Building, something is awry.
After what felt like four thousand hours way too far away from terra firma, we finally made our way back down to Normal and took some time to admire the tree and the ice skating rink.
|The tree at Rockefeller Center
|Those are ice skaters down there where it's safe, on ground level.
Not eye level with the clouds.
Friday afternoon Son and Daughter wanted to do some shopping. I like to shop about as much as I like gallivanting in the clouds, but because this trip was about them and not me, I agreed to accompany them.
Did you know that in some stores--which happened to be the only stores the Chesapeake Bay Children wanted to visit--you have to actually (not kidding) WAIT IN LINE to even enter? Yes, it's true. And once you're inside, it isn't like a ride at Busch Gardens where you get something in return for all that waiting. No, then you are forced inside to rub elbows with the entire population of North and Central America all fighting over the exact same merchandise we can find here in Newport News.
Also, did you know that shopping in Abercrombie and Fitch in NYC with teenagers is exactly like being in a discotheque (without the benefit of a bar or alcohol or the stamina and nerve endings of your youth) that pumps in mens' cologne every five seconds and the music is so loud that you can feel the bass beating in your chest AND the flashing lights in what is otherwise darkness can cause you to feel like you're spinning even if you're huddled in a corner
Did you know that?
I didn't either.
Aside from Abercrombie and Fitch and Hollister, we went to Uniqlo, which is the exact opposite in that it was so bright I almost had to put on sunglasses. Instead, I huddled in the corner
|Do people actually dress like this? They do?
The hats look like my great-grandfather's dipped in neon.
(This is from the person who proudly dons a crab hat at every opportunity.)
|OMG. The people. Were. Everywhere.
OK, all kidding aside, I don't like shopping but I did love being on Fifth Avenue. I don't like heights but I did love being on top of Rockefeller Center.
Daryl also took us through Central Park and into Times Square, which was amazing. She selected the most delightful places for us to eat including the incredible Robert at Columbus Circle, where Chesapeake Bay Son consumed smoked octopus as an appetizer.
Oh yes he did.
At our table overlooking the lights of Columbus Circle and Central Park, we were joined by Lauren and her daughter Emma. Kate's son Matt came along too. It was a perfect evening that ended with Kate and I and the kids escorting Lauren and Emma to Grand Central Station, where we had a final glass of wine and bid adieu.
(That may mark the first time I've ever said bid adieu. I think it's all the Fifth Avenue window displays making me feel all fancy.)
Pay no attention to the glare. I told Kate to aim right into the sun.
CB Son, Daughter and I cannot thank Daryl enough for her hospitality.
For her blog posts and pictures about this adventure, click here and here and here.
Kate's blog post is here.
We can't wait to go back.
~ ~ ~ ~ ~
Kate and Lauren, it was so good to spend time with you.
Daryl, thank you so much for everything. You gave my family memories that will last a lifetime.