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[typography font=”Schoolbell” size=”36″ size_format=”px” color=”#8c0510″]Day 2[/typography]
The first day of our trip may have been one of the longest days of your life. As I got up and started getting organized for the day, I couldn’t help but capture your exhausted little self – bedhead, Beary, and all.
I promise not to let that photo fall into the wrong hands, Buddy. I know you’re a big bad 8 year old now.
Up and at ’em! NYC is waiting for us! But first – breakfast.
We stopped for a quick breakfast before heading into Central Park that morning, and you wanted to take my picture at the LOVE sculpture just outside on the sidewalk. A friendly stranger saw you handling your camera, and offered to take one of both of us.
She snapped these — and smiled. “Not all New Yorkers are angry.” And she disappeared into the crowd. Seeing that last one on the viewfinder when I got the camera back was a perfect way to start the day with my favorite goofball.
In keeping with the Let’s-See-How-Many-Modes-of-Transportation-We-Can-Use-in-NYC Game, we opted for #5 – Rickshaw! Perfect way to see Central Park, right?
Our guide, Victor, actually called it a Pedicab — but a new mode of transportation nonetheless. Victor took his job as tour guide very seriously – pointing out film, TV, and various other pop culture references throughout the Park. I had been to Central Park several times but seeing it from a rickshaw with my favorite boy and the wind in my hair was a real treat.
Victor was quite the photog and – of course – knew some great spots for photos. I smiled and shook my head several times – and gave in to the cheesy touristness of it all.
This was the day you really started to get comfortable with your camera – and started snapping away. You even experimented with video.
We could NOT talk Tour Guide Victor out of taking the jumping photo… He INSISTED.
After our trip through the park, Victor dropped us off at the American Museum of Natural History — where we would do our best to squeeze every drop out of a single day in a place you could easily spend a month.
We’d done a bit of homework and decided the best way to get introduced was a guided tour. Driven by one part height, two parts excitement — you took your place right up front, asking questions and soaking it up.
We LOVED the museum. You were disappointed there was no major Egypt exhibit, but excited to learn they’ve moved many of those items to the Smithsonian in D.C. — since we’ll be there later this year. We learned about Teddy Roosevelt – the Conservation President, and after our initial tour we doubled back to the places you wanted to spend more time. It felt terrible to know we were rushing by so many beautiful, interesting exhibits, but we kept reminding each other, “we’ll be back.”
Being there, and having to use our limited time so wisely, was an incredible lesson for me in traveling and focus. I worked hard to make this YOUR trip, not MY version of YOUR trip. So when we had a little less than an hour left and we had time to visit one final exhibit — I expected the dinosaurs or the lions or some other predictable scene from the Night at the Museum movie. But you declared your favorite was: Lucy.
That Lucy. One of the world’s most famous human ancestors. You’d learned about her during our pre-trip research and couldn’t leave without stopping.
Thanks again, Teddy Roosevelt. I know we’ll be back to the museum someday, as we only just scratched the surface. Buddy, I hope you always have a heart for history – and I hope you have the same dazzled look on your face when we visit again someday.
Having been inside all day, we emerged to find the sun was shining! We half-expected it to be raining as the forecast called for scattered storms. We jumped in a cab and headed further uptown – to the next thing on my little history buff’s wish list: Grant’s Tomb.
Evidently, it’s not quite as popular as other landmarks in New York – we had to give directions to our cab driver! But you were not deterred. You studied President Grant last year in school, and knew his role in the Civil War – and that he was a West Point grad like Uncle Tom! President Grant and his wife Julia are laid to rest in a truly beautiful spot on the Hudson River under a banner that reads “Let Us Have Peace.” As we learned about Grant and what he worked for as General and then President – it was sobering to consider we’re still struggling as a country with some of the same issues of equality and justice. I’m so glad you had this on your list, Buddy. It was a poignant place to visit.
Around the perimeter of the mausoleum, a local artist created a mosaic bench with city scenes, landmarks, and even a NPS Smokey the Bear. It was beautiful. You got a stamp in your National Park passport before we headed back downtown.
As we headed back downtown toward our hotel, I realized we were too close to one other uptown landmark to resist. Buddy, I don’t know what it says about you or our parenting that you’ve grown up watching Seinfeld and laughed along with me at all the Seinfeld references we encountered during our trip — but we’ll call it culture.
And since it was blazin’ hot on our walk, we even went inside to cool off with some ice cream.
Back on the subway, headed for midtown and Times Square — where we ate dinner at ANOTHER Seinfeld reference. The Tony is taking ME to Sardi’s.
I have absolutely no recollection of taking this goofball shot of you inside Sardi’s – but it’s one of my favorites from the trip.
Another full day of fun — but an early-ish bedtime so we could be up early for Day 3!
The story continues!