Departure to New York City was determined the day prior to be between 8:00am and 8:30am. We left at 8:18am, so, for wintertime, with three kids, that’s pretty much thirty minutes early.
We arrived around 10:30am and got a street spot on W59th Street right near the horse-drawn carriage parking. Poor horses. The coachman/driver bellowed, “They’re going to shit all over your car!,” referring to the pigeons who were perched twenty feet up on a street light. A car wash is cheaper than a parking garage so we stayed in the spot. After getting everyone ready to walk, we began our trek to see the Rockefeller Tree. In the eight minutes it took to get ready, the car got shit on five times. He was right, but my train of thought prevailed. (For the record, the car wash we got the next day didn’t get the shit off the roof…hot water, a little elbow grease, and rags did.)
We started walking – Graham in a stroller, Austin strapped to Lindsay – and treated the dudes to some street pretzels that they gnawed on the entire way to the tree. Linds and I took a bite of each and the smoke taste lingered in our mouths for over an hour. Disgusting start but the boys enjoyed it and didn’t get sick!
We got the tree and Nolan wasn’t impressed, it clearly didn’t meet his expectations and to be honest, it did look a little paltry in the daytime. Maybe because the building around it are enormous or the thousands of lights aren’t really glowing as they are at night, but whatever, we saw it. Mission accomplished.
We continued on, trekking downtown to meet up with friends of ours and their three daughters. We walked until we got to Penn Station, where we decided that walking to where we were going would be too tall an order if we expected to stay in the city longer than another hour or so.
We bought a $12 MetroCard, enough for rides for each of us down and back. We later found out that kids under 44″ tall ride for free. Graham thought it was cool, Austin seemed very happy, and Nolan was loving it too, despite each of them getting a bit tired. Fortunately, the 1 Train wasn’t crowded and we all got seats. The ride lasted only ten minutes or so before we had to get everyone hustled off the train. No sweat. 3-on-2 was basically 2-on-2 since Austin was attached to Linds.
We got off where we needed and went to see the Pulidore crew. They’ve got three girls, around the same age as our three boys (besides Austin). The kids warmed up to one another (Graham was smiling and friendly, as he typically is around everyone, even though his communication skills are lacking a bit), before we decided on a playground visit followed by some more walking.
We took a route through Brookfield Place where we grabbed a quick bite, the kids watched the luminaries and made a wish, and continued on to the over-the-top Oculus structure. Austin was getting cranky but I left the bottle at their apartment, so we headed back. But not before a stop at Le District for some macarons.
We headed back to home base (theirs, not ours) and hung for a while more – the kids playing, us watching football, talking, having a few beverages – before deciding to navigate back to our car…but not without another stop at the tree, since Nolan requested we see it one more time when it was lit up. We hopped on the subway again, this time the express train, where an aggressive homeless straphanger was pretty possessive of the five end seats on this particular train. Nolan and Graham stared as the mesh-masked vagrant muttered random shit under her breath, before trying to engage me in a conversation. We got off at 34th Street and walked the rest of the way, on what was a pretty nice night in the city.
The walk took forever since throngs of people preferred to see it at night but it was still pretty fun. Nolan requested nuts but every time we saw one there were hundreds of people on each street corner waiting to cross, so it wasn’t meant to be. The tree was glowing and Nolan was finally satisfied.
We continued on back to Columbus Circle, Graham passed out in the stroller while Austin was asleep strapped to my chest. We got back to the car, Linds fed Austin, so me and the boys walked over to go to the bathroom, and to see if we could procuree some street nuts one last time before we left. We couldn’t, but I was asked a question about hot dogs and asked the two if they wanted one, and despite their exhaustion, were ecstatic for a dirty water dog, a NYC staple. Nolan got ketchup on his while Graham discarded the bun and ate it hot dog eating contest style.
We strolled back to the car and hit the road back to Connecticut. We walked about 9+ miles, Nolan walking about 96% of them nary a complaint. They were all passed out a half-hour into the ride, Graham being the last to fade.
I miss living in the city and everything about it – the convenience, the atmosphere, the hustle-and-bustle, the unpredictability, all the bars/restaurants/stores you can imagine, but I wouldn’t change living here in rural CT with my favorite four people. But damn, isn’t the city wonderful?!