Waiting for your attention span to lengthen. Waiting for your tolerance of exhaustion to rise. Waiting for your legs to get strong enough for back-to-back days of walking. Waiting for your interests to come into focus.
And this summer was the perfect time. You were ready for one of my favorites.
We didn’t do it all. We didn’t even try. But we roughed out a 4-day schedule with plenty of history hot spots, Legos, and modes of transportation — and we headed for New York City.
Daddy couldn’t join us this time so you’ve already planned plenty of baseball for “next time”. This trip was me and you, Buddy. And I’ve been looking forward to introducing you to NYC since you were a baby.
[typography font=”Schoolbell” size=”36″ size_format=”px” color=”#8c0510″]Day 1[/typography]
We spent the first half of the week in North Carolina with Aunt Lynn and Uncle Paige, then piggybacked onto our own vacation and flew from Atlanta to New York for part 2. We landed and were in a cab by 10:30am, and Day 1 of our NYC adventure was in full swing.
We were super early for checking in, but there was a room ready so we dropped our stuff and headed straight back out. In the 2-block walk to Grand Central Terminal, we passed the New York Public Library and decided to drop in.
No stranger to libraries, you quickly found the kids’ section and a jaw-dropping number of Who Was/Who Is books — your favorite! In a way, the Who Was/Who Is books inspired this trip. You and a friend at school got into reading this series this past year in Second Grade and your interest in history really took off. Each book focuses on a significant person or place in history — and they’re the perfect dose of storytelling for curious little minds. As we made choices about places we’d visit during our trip, you brought up various Who Was/Who Is books several times — how appropriate we would find them first thing.
We made it to Grand Central and to our train. At some point during our trip planning, we started marveling at all the different modes of transportation there are in New York City — and we made it part of our trip to see how many we could use. The subway made #3 for the day (#1 airplane, #2 taxi) and we were headed for #4.
For the cost of one MetroCard swipe, you can board the Roosevelt Island Tram and get a unique view of the East Side from 250 feet above the East River.
You even pulled out your camera and snapped a few photos.
We stopped for a slice of pizza (and some air conditioned rest) on Roosevelt Island – it was a quick over and back. Because we had a date you couldn’t (wouldn’t!) be late for.
The Lego Store was at the top of your NYC Wish List, and in researching hours and directions beforehand I discovered a Lego Store perk with your name written all over it. Each month Lego Stores across the country host a “mini-build” for kids to come into the store, receive a unique Lego set, build it right there in the store alongside fellow Lego-heads, then take it home — for free! And wouldn’t you know it but the July mini-build date was during our trip!
We tooled around the store for a bit after your VIP mini-build experience and even mini-figured ourselves as NYC tourists. Along one wall of the store was a floor-to-ceiling display of different colored bricks and pieces, and they let shoppers fill plastic tubs grab-bag style with anything they wanted. If you wanted a full tub of red bricks or black tires or little red tail lights – so be it. Any combination was fair game. So we got a small tub and filled it with your favorite colors, otherwise hard-to-find pieces, and enough seafoam green to build Mommy a tiny Statue of Liberty.
All in all, we got out of the Lego Store having spent a mere $27. I’m still in shock.
Having been up and on the go since 5am — we opted for a few hours back at the hotel to chill and check out the new Legos before dinner. We had tickets for a show that night and I’d hoped to go somewhere amazing and fun for dinner your first night in NYC, but ‘amazing and fun’ takes ‘time and energy’ — and I wanted to use both wisely. So – you won’t believe this – but we went to McDonald’s in Times Square for dinner. I knew it would be quick and that would mean more downtime in the hotel beforehand — so McDonald’s it was.
Looking back, our last stop of the evening may have been a bit ambitious when it came to energy level, and maybe we should’ve called it quits for Day 1 — but you rallied! And off we went!
You almost made it, too. Your energy lasted until the last 30 minutes and you couldn’t help but crawl into my lap and put your head on my shoulder. You assured me via whisper in my ear that you were “still listening” and just “soooo tired”. You poor thing.
The city that never sleeps had made quite the impression in just a single day – and I loved watching you take it all in. I think you smiled ALL DAY. And there was so much more to come.
One way to get the most out of life is to look upon it as an adventure.
— William Feather
Goodnight, little adventurer.
The story continues!