Saturday, December 4, 2010

New York City

Marty's parents decided to come to town for Thanksgiving this year. His mom had visited us here last year, taking the train the whole way from Illinois because she does not fly. This year his newly retired (and therefore full of free time) father decided to drive them across the country, just for some turkey and dressing, and a little sightseeing. We had taken his mom to Boston last year, so this year, despite her fear of big cities, tall buildings, and terrorism, we took them to New York, or as Oliver kept calling it, the Big City. It was a whirlwind overnight visit, and we stayed right in the heart of my old stomping grounds, Times Square, on the 34th floor of the Doubletree Suites, and Grandma survived it just fine.

It is strange for me to go back to New York. It feels like a completely different time in my life, so distant, and yet oh so familiar. I was again reminded of everything I loved, and everything I hated about that place. As the cliche goes, it's a fun place to visit, but I wouldn't want to live there! And I did for over 6 years! I had given Marty's parents a list of things to do, catered to the idea that they've never been there, and probably will never go back again. We did everything we could on that list in a day and a half. It was kind of nice to play the tourist, though there were times I was acutely aware of how touristy we all looked, it just made me giggle inside.

A word about the photography (yes, it's my obsession lately). But I'm starting to get really frustrated by it. This was not the first time that I had high hopes for taking some awesome pictures, and ended up sadly disappointed. Everything seemed just right, it was a gorgeous day, and we were going to be in some picturesque locations, so I just knew I'd get some awesome,  potential Christmas Card worthy shots. Nope, didn't happen. Not unless you think a great Christmas Card photo would be the back of Oliver's head. Sigh. It takes more than a fancy camera to get good pictures, that's for sure. But I'm going to blame the crowds, the toddler-tude, and the distractions, and not the skills of the photographer!

So instead of gorgeous photos, a travelogue...

 On the train to NYC, cuddling with Grandma

 Having lunch at Katz's Deli, the New York institution where Sally got all excited in When Harry Met Sally. Oliver is ready to eat, pickle in one hand, fork in another. Sitting between Grandma and Uncle Dan (Marty's brother).

Riding on the subway. Doesn't my hair look fabulously shiny?!

Walking across the Brooklyn Bridge: Dan, Pop-pop, Grandma, and Oliver pretending like he's asleep so he doesn't have to pose for a picture.

 The back of my head again, it's my best feature, really.

 Eating ice cream in Brooklyn Bridge Park

 Oliver and Pop-pop

 No, I'm not posing, Mommy!

 Didn't I say I would not pose?!

Nope, not even for a group shot!

Save me Grandma!!

 Get me away from the paparazzi!

Finding rocks wherever he goes . . .

 and throwing them.

 Finally, a group shot! Except Pop-pop is in the shadow of Oliver's gigantic head. Sigh.

Father and Son

After hanging out in the park for a while, we ended up walking back across the Brooklyn Bridge and over to Ground Zero. Though I lived in NYC on 9/11, I had not been to that part of town since then, and while it looks just like a construction site now, the vastness of it is overwhelming. 
Exhausted from all the walking, we took the subway back to our hotel to rest and freshen up before dinner. We ate at John's Pizzeria on 44th Street, a favorite place when I lived here. It was still as good, and kid-friendly too!

 After dinner, we explored Times Square.

 Oliver seemed to like it, I think it was all the lights!

Posing with a bum dressed as Elmo. This is a new thing since I lived here, but there are Elmos and Cookie Monsters all over the place, and after you pose for a picture with them, they hold out a sock for a "donation." Not sure what Pop-pop paid them, but I think these guys make a lot of money!

People-watching from the stadium seats by the TKTS booth. The other new addition since my time there, along with some pedestrian mall areas which are really nice. We were all really tired by now, can you tell? Back to the hotel, where we all slept great!

 The next morning, at the Toys R Us in Times Square, which has a ferris wheel inside. Pop-pop, Daddy, and Oliver in line.

 Riding the Ferris Wheel

 Waving at Mommy!

Daddy and Oliver making the same cheesy grin for Pop-pop.

The rest of the day was a whirlwind of touristy activities, and not much photography. After Oliver had completely explored the huge Toys R Us, we headed down to Macy's to see the Christmas decorations and the window displays. Then on to the Empire State Building for a trip to the top, only to change our minds when we realized how short of time we were running. A quick lunch, some t-shirt shopping, and we headed to Rockefeller Center. The scaffolding was still up on the tree, but the rest of the decorations were nice.

At the ice rink.

Then Marty and his Dad ran back to Times Square to get our bags from the hotel, and we went to St. Patrick's Cathedral for a peek. Then we booked it on to Grand Central and speed-walked all the way to the last car on the train before finding a seat. We didn't want to miss that train or we would have been fighting with commuters for space. We made it just in time.

On the train back to Connecticut. Does anyone else think it's not fair that Oliver's asleep, when he's the one that got pushed around in a stroller for 2 days?! He shouldn't be as tired as we all were!

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