Monday, April 13, 2009

Unique New York

I took a lot of photos on our one week trip to New York, but this is one of my favorites, in the East Village. The weather was wintry--cold, windy and wet--but the trees were blossoming and there were daffodils and tulips in all the little pocket parks. My sons had never been there (okay, the older one had when he was 18 months old) so the trip was really for me and my mom and her husband to show them the city. If you've spent time in New York, you have your favorite things about it that you want to show someone else. But ultimately the greatest experience in New York is to discover it for yourself. Thus the highlight of my sons' trip was the afternoon when they took off on their own with their Metrocards, cell phones and maps. I'm still not sure exactly what they did, but I know it involved criss-crossing subway rides, a walk through Central Park, running into one of their teachers in Grand Central Station, and buying knock-off sunglasses from a street vendor. The rest of their afternoon remains private to them, but I like to think that some time in the future they will get to show someone else something they discovered that day.

We were supposed to stay in a penthouse apartment in Chinatown but through some unfortunate events at the last minute we ended up in the West 50s off 10th Avenue. The new place was much less luxurious than where we were supposed to stay--and half the price--but we took advantage of our location to explore 9th Avenue, which has a ridiculous number of good restaurants for extremely modest prices. I actually spent less on meals than I had expected! Also we turned out to be a few minutes' walking distance from the U.S.S. Intrepid (which was high on my younger son's list of sight-seeing attractions), Top of the Rock at Rockefeller Center, and Times Square. So, as my younger son would say, "It's all good."

I had time to think about some of my own experiences living in New York more than 20 years ago, especially since I insisted we visit my college. It doesn't really feel like "mine" anymore, and yet I was surprised at how much I remembered about navigating the city and the subway. New York has changed, but the things that make it unique really haven't changed that much.

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