I don’t know what it is about New York City. It’s so much part of the fabric of being an American, whether you’ve ever been there or not. It’s just part of our shared experience. When the opportunity came up to go, I jumped at it. You may remember my last trip, which was a blast, but pretty much limited to Times Square and a Broadway show.
This time, our local college club put on a fundraiser bus trip to New York. It’s about a 3 hour trip down there, leaving here at 7am and leaving there at 7pm for the return trip. Nate and I thought we could take Jake and spend the day wandering around Central Park and going to the Natural History museum. It ended up being a good thing that we left Lydia and Aaron with Grandma, because we must have walked 10 miles over the course of the day. All three of us awoke with very sore legs and feet the next morning!
So we got off the bus outside the Metropolitan Museum of Art and wandered across Central Park towards the Natural History Museum. It turned out to be a rainy, gloomy kind of day, but we didn’t mind. Central Park is really an amazing place. Whoever thought of putting an oasis of green in the middle of the hustle and bustle and concrete and cabs was a genius. There must have been times when there was pressure to give up some of that valuable real estate for more buildings, but thankfully someone had a strong enough backbone to say no. It was just such a strange feeling to be there. It was like I had been there before. How many movies and TV shows have scenes in Central Park? A lot! We didn’t take a huge amount of pictures because a) I didn’t bring the nice camera since I didn’t want to lug it around all day, and b) it was raining. But we did take a few. Here is one in Central Park that everyone should recognize.
We found our way over to the Natural History museum, and spent 6 hours wandering around.
We got the “super saver package”, which included tickets to all the special exhibits. They do it really smart there – your tickets to the special exhibits are all for a specific time. So when you’re up at the podium purchasing, it’s kind of like going to a travel agent. She’s got the map, and is circling destinations and suggesting where to eat lunch between exhibit times. The plus side to this is that you are guaranteed a space in every exhibit with very little time spent waiting in line. The downside is that you’ve really got to keep an eye on your watch and be able to read a museum map. Anyway, we saw the Butterfly exhibit, the Planetarium show, the IMAX movie, and the whale exhibit. And we also saw about 70% of everything else. That’s how big it is. You can be there for 6 hours and not see everything.
After the museum, we walked north up Central Park in the rain. Since it was pouring, we were basically alone in the middle of the island of Manhattan. Just us and our umbrellas. We ended up (soaked!) at Columbus Circle, another place with the eerie feeling of “I’ve Been Here Before Yet I’ve Never Actually Been Here.”
We walked toward the bus meeting place, looking for a somewhere to eat along the way. We were looking for a little Teriyaki place I had scouted online, but when we got there, it had morphed into super-expensive Japanese fusion cuisine. So we hopped across the street and went to a pub. It was so nice to get off our feet for an hour and talk about all the amazing things we’d seen at the museum.
We ended up with a little extra time before we had to meet the bus. So why not walk some more? We walked/trotted to Times Square so Jake could see the spectacle. Then we turned around and headed for 6th Avenue to meet the bus. We, and it, were right on time.
It appears that the local college club does this trip twice a year, once in the Spring and once in the Fall. I think we’d definitely be up for doing it again. The question will be when will Lydia and Aaron be up for the challenge? We were talking at dinner about how different things would have been if they were there. By the time you’re 11, you can walk that far without melting down, and you can stay interested and focused and generally have a nice time under challenging circumstances. At 8, I don’t think you’re quite there yet. We’ll see. They had a great day with Grandma, so they didn’t feel too bad about being left behind.
Onward and upward! Upcoming posts: baseball season has begun, a fabulous Quabbin biking trip last weekend, and… wait for it… the garden is going in! Stay tuned!