Yes, we arrived in New York yesterday. The fact that I’ve just managed to sign on for a Day One post–Day Two to follow soon–explains a lot about our desire to take advantage of every moment to explore the city with our kids. Though both DD1 and DD2 visited New York previously to visit Adventure Guy’s great-grandmother, a life-long New Yorker, neither of them can remember those visits which occurred when they were infants, toddlers, and preschoolers. Soccer Boy complained frequently prior to the trip about the fact that, among the family, he alone had never had the opportunity to see New York for himself.
But now, all three can claim at least a basic knowledge of the city that never sleeps. We thought it would help them relate if they got very little sleep themselves (not really, but it sounds good, doesn’t it?), so we scheduled a 7:00 a.m. departure. The real reasons behind that timing included the awesome direct flight and airline ticket price I scored months ago when we started planning this trip and the opportunity to have a good chunk of the first day actually in the city rather than spending time sitting in airports. Even with our commute into the city from Newark, we checked in to our hotel by noon.
On the recommendation of a friend, I booked the Affinia Dumont for our stay. With three kids in the family, especially preteen and teenage ones, it’s difficult for us to stay in a single hotel room, a problem that is exacerbated when the room is the size of a typical New York City offering. But, here, we have the option of a suite that includes a bedroom with two queen beds, a large sitting room with a couch that pulls out to make a double bed, and a small kitchen–all for less than it would cost per night for us to book two regular hotel rooms. I love having the option of stocking up on some items for breakfast, buying some two litre bottles of soda, and bringing home leftovers for later. Thought the fridge obviously ranks high on my list of useful kitchen appliances, the microwave creates some nice snack options too. Conceivably, we could cook meals beyond that as well since we have a stove, but I won’t be doing that on vacation.
Once we arrived, we grabbed a quick lunch at The Heartland Brew Pub before visiting the expo for the New York City marathon. The burgers at the Brew Pub hit the spot as did the seasonal pumpkin ale for Adventure Guy and caffeinated drinks for the rest of our sleepy party. The food and service made our lunch enjoyable, though we experienced for the first time a warning that seems to be a recurring theme among wait staff here–“The iced tea is not sweet. You’ll have to use the sweetener on the table.” This indicates two things: 1) We obviously either look or sound identifiably Southern (or perhaps both!) and 2) Waiters here believe all tea in the South is served sweet when in our general area it’s still the exception rather than the rule.
Fortified with food and non-sweet tea, we hiked to the convention center for the expo. This, unfortunately, led to my discovery that I had selected the wrong footwear for the outing. Though the boots I wore had always proven plenty comfortable previously, the combination of the rainy weather soaking them and the pace and duration of our walk–or perhaps more aptly our forced march–led to painful rubbing on my heel. I persevered, but by the time we left the expo and moved on to Times Square, I happily volunteered to stand in line for discount Broadway tickets while the rest of the family explored.
My efforts resulted in our attendance at the kids’ first Broadway musical Rock of Ages. We told them afterward that we had to take them to this particular vaguely inappropriate (at least for Soccer Boy) show here because we’re willing to bet good money it will never play Suburbia. Adventure Guy saw this musical last year on his first run at the marathon, and he hasn’t stopped talking about how fun it was since. That was enough for us to snag the tickets at 50% off. With songs from Journey and Bon Jovi, Pat Benatar and Poison, Whitesnake and Twisted Sister, I felt like I was reliving my high school days, right there with my own two high schoolers–a bit of a strange experience, but completely enjoyable all the same. They even included my favorite angst-filled number, Sister Christian by Night Ranger, providing Adventure Guy and me the perfect opportunity to embarrass our offspring–belting out the lyrics on the streets of New York as we relived our own youth and enjoyed making memories with our kids.