As our two-month family road trip moved from Philadelphia to New York City, we shifted gears accordingly.
If Philadelphia shines its light on history, then New York shines its light on right now. Even though New York played its part in American Revolutionary history (hello, Capitol from 1785 to 1790, anyone?), walk into the NYC Visitor Info Center and browse its hundreds of brochures, and you will find exactly one mention of it: George Washington bade farewell to his troops here in 1783 at Fraunces Tavern. Yawn.
New York is too grand, too majestic to bother with what happened 250 years ago. It’s moving fast, baby, and we’re moving, too. We made a list of everything we wanted to see and do in NYC in one week, and set out a campaign to achieve it.
“This week we are go go go, do do do,” I told my kids. “You can rest when we get to New Hampshire.”
So from dawn ‘til dusk, for six days straight, we rocked The City. From Mary Poppins to Harry Potter and from the Bronx Zoo to the Bronx Bombers…
From the Intrepid Aircraft Carrier to the Central Park boathouse…
From The World’s Largest Dinosaurs at the Museum of Natural History to the world’s most dazzling sweets store, on the Upper East Side…
From Little Italy to Chinatown…
and on a subway-aided pilgrimage to my ancestral home – Brooklyn – we never stopped.
Until our children made us.
For once, my energy outlasted theirs. Their exhaustion was biblical, coming on the seventh day.
They went on strike. “We are NOT LEAVING THIS APARTMENT.” So we hunkered down and rested, knowing that the city marched on outside our window on West 44th Street without us.
Christopher’s favorite was the Intrepid, where our boys learned about Kamikaze pilots, nuclear submarines, and other light-hearted things.
Dylan’s Candy Store was the predictable hit for the boys, and the dancing splashing fountains in Battery Park were a welcome relief after the Ellis Island museum and an unusually rocky ferry on a warm summer day.
By the time they pooped out on our last day in New York City, we had a few things left on our list still undone: Walk along the High Line (free!); Kayak the Hudson (free!); take the ferry to and ride bikes on Governor’s Island (free!).
All will be saved for next time. Because while New York waits for no one, it always welcomes you back. It is like a party that’s still going after you’ve returned from a refreshing nap, a favorite movie you watch years later and find, to your great joy, not only does it hold up, it has gotten even better.
FamilyGal Laura Diamond of Southern California is in the midst of a two-month adventure on the East Coast with her husband and two sons, ages 7 and 11. This is her fourth installment; she and her family have played at Six Flags Wild Animal Safari in New Jersey, floated down the Delaware River and reveled in history in Philadelphia. Next up? R&R in New Hampshire.