Sunday, April 17, 2011

New York City Trip Report, Day One, Part 3!

The train downtown wasn't too crowded and we exited right at Times Square. It was still slightly raining, but this made the crowds very low. We were able to walk the sidewalks (and blocked off streets) pretty easily. That would change the next day.

After wandering around for a few minutes, we headed for ToysRUs. It's a giant store, so big there is a ferris wheel on the inside! A didn't want to ride (bummer..I really wanted to get in the Cabbage Patch Kid car!), but we did grab a drink from the snack bar and people watched for a few minutes. After our little break, we shopped the Lego area with their giant NYC icon displays (with a couple special guests).

 The boys were in their element here. They must have looked at the same Lego displays a hundred times. I just wanted a break. So, I found a small quiet area near the dinosaur area and sat for a few minutes. I could people watch all day, especially in NYC. The boys had a good time looking at the Bakugan, Ben10, Star Wars and Transformers goods for what seemed like hours. I wandered over to the candy area and browsed the preschool toy area. I was missing Am pretty hard at this point and nearly cried when I spotted the Mickey's Clubhouse and Chuggington toys. I had to keep reminding myself how difficult this trip would have been with him (just thinking about lugging the stroller up and down the subway stations was enough), and realized he would pretty much be staring at the backs of people's knees and the ground the entire time in his stroller. Plus, I knew we would be back in a few years when he could really enjoy it. I'm all for bringing little kids on vacations (even if they will never remember) because they still have fun and the parents remember it. But NYC with our toddler, without any extra hands, could have been a nightmare. I know he'll love it though when he's 5 and A is 13. I can't believe I just typed out 13!?!

After A FINALLY picked out a bunch of Lego mini figures, we once again ventured out into the rain. We took our obligatory pics in Times Square.

When we go on vacations, we don't like eating at chain restaurants if we can help it. However, I knew how much A would love Dave and Buster's. Orlando is supposed to be getting one this summer, but A had never been to one. Stephen and I had gone on our honeymoon and had SO MUCH FUN, we knew that we wanted to bring him back here if we had the opportunity. Dave and Buster's is only about a block from Times Square, and we were so hungry at this point (not to mention exhausted). We travelled the long escalator to the second floor in the building and were seated immediately. I think there were only a few other patrons, as it wasn't dinnertime quite yet. While we were waiting, I called home to check on Am. He was already having a fun time with Grammy and Pop. I didn't have to worry. :)

A ordered a large fries (he said he wasn't that hungry), Stephen had the fried shrimp (I think) and I ordered the Island Grilled Trifecta. It was so good! It came with a skewer each of grilled shrimp, grilled chicken, and grilled steak with rice and veggies along with various dipping sauces like pineapple pico de gallo and mango citrus sauce. It was delicious! Both of our meals came with a $10 arcade card to be used after we ate in their humongous arcade. A was anxious to get in there (who wouldn't be?) and when we finished up, we headed right there. I'd say our $20 gave us about 1 hour playing time. A played most of the games you could win tickets with and accumulated a bunch. Instead of buying a huge prize or even a bunch of little prizes, A chose a small grabber toy. He wanted to save the rest for when D&B comes to Orlando. I think he was just really tired at this point and wanted to get back to the hotel.

We needed to find the 33rd St Station for the PATH train but had some difficulty finding it. We knew it was on Sixth Ave, but it was such a large area with a huge square, we couldn't find it (the rain wasn't helping). So, after talking to another woman searching for the train, we spotted it across the street and headed down the stairs. There was a large group of people standing around and we realized the train was shut down. It was shut down going in both directions actually. We waited a few minutes to see if it would start running again to no avail. They did make the announcement that PATH running out of the World Trade Center was still running to NJ. Good thing, I was starting to get worried. So, we had to get down to the WTC. Another check with the subway map (nothing says HEY I'M A TOURIST than staring at a subway map for 10 minutes), and we took the train downtown getting off at the Church St. Station. This gave us the unexpected opportunity to walk by and admire Trinity Church. It was really beautiful!

   Another good thing about being rerouted was the opportunity to show A the World Trade Center site. He was only 6 months old when the tragedy occurred, and I remember holding him so tightly that day. It was my first day of work, and thankfully, A was allowed to accompany me to work (and had everyday after that). One day, a few years ago, A saw the footage on TV of the towers falling. He has some severe anxiety issues (they are getting better, thankfully), but I felt it necessary to tell him what it all meant and why they fell. He seemed to take it well, and asked a lot of questions. At one point he was concerned about visiting NYC because he thought it would happen again. By this trip though, he was a little older and understood the magnitude of it all. (Unfortunately, his anxiety of this will come into play later).

As we walked by the World Trade Center site this trip, we talked a little bit more about what happened that terrible day. What was once a giant whole in the ground (what I remembered about a trip my brother and I took in late 2001) is now lots of concrete and the start of a building. It no longer resembles a devastating loss, but rather, rebirth and renewal. I was proud to be an American in 2001. And I felt that resurgent pride once again when I saw the site this time. A asked me why they were rebuilding the building. I told him because "Americans, New Yorkers especially, want to show the world that we were not defeated. That we will build bigger and better. And that we haven't forgotten." I used those words exactly as I have written here. They may sound rehearsed;  it's because they were. I anticipated him asking this question and wanted to answer in a way he would understand.  A looked up at me and smiled. I'm so glad we had that discussion. I really think he understood. He's growing up so fast!

We walked with, literally, hundreds of other train riders down Vesey Street towards the PATH station. You could tell everyone was just tired from their long workday and just wanted to get home. The train was full and we had to stand, but we were quickly back in New Jersey. The walk back to the hotel seemed to take forever, but in reality, it was only about 5 minutes. Stephen got the keys for our other room from the front desk and A and I checked out the lobby. It glows all purpley and blue. It's very pretty. Stephen also asked the front desk if there was a grocery store or convenience store nearby, and thankfully there was one right around the corner. A begrudgingly went along, he had walked a lot that day. At the grocery store we bought soda, chips, dip, pretzels and sushi (long story) to take back to the room. Again, I can't say how convenient the W is to everything.

Back at the hotel, we bypassed the lobby bar and headed up to our rooms. Our other room connected to the king room, only this one had 2 queen beds. The rooms were very similar, except our comfy chair at the window was smaller and the colors were a little different. We were soooo tired. Stephen and I unpacked while A watched a little TV. We all had a snack and then fell asleep quite quickly in our heavenly beds (as Starwood calls them). A and I left our curtains open so we could see the NYC skyline before drifting off to sleep and for in the morning when we wake up. This was our view:

Up next: The day I had been dreaming of for 5 years.

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