Tuesday, 24 July 2012

The Big Apple Returns

This used to be my favourite city.

 Marc and I spent a good deal of time here BC (before children) and loved every minute of it. We were travelling for business, on expense accounts with buckets of disposable income. We were young(er) with no real responsibilities or cares. We played in the city until the wee hours of the morning and suffered few regrets. And then children, marriage, mortgages, school fees, and all the associated pressures seemed to shift into the top priority slots. Frivolous holidays in New York? Who can afford that? Besides, what could the children possibly find entertaining in a city full of the most expensive hotels and restaurants ot to mention the top notch bars and nightclubs?

Ok, so I wasn't fully committed to finding the answers to those questions. Until now. And let me tell you, I have now found answeres galore.

So, where did I start with the planning for this holiday? Simple: I started with them. A simple question such as "What would you like to see, eat, do, and learn when we go to NYC?" was more than adequate to get this party started.

Abigail's answer was simple: The Statue of Liberty. She then elaborated by informing us that she thought someone would discover her on the streets of NYC and ask her to do modelling. I smiled. Funny, I used to think that myself......still do in my dreams. Sebastian's answer was a little more complex (of course, it is). Seb wanted to know why NYC was significant in the history of the USA and why it remains the most vibrant city in the world. Oh God, this was going to require some research.

Or maybe not...... I decided to let the city speak for itself.

We arrived Sunday night and the first thing Sebastian said after the taxi dropped us off in mind numbing heat and humidity was that he thought the city stank. Yep, there is a stench about it this time of year. Or most times of the year.

After a refreshing shower we headed out the front door of our hotel, crossed Central Park South into, you guessed it, Central Park and walked towards Columbus Circle. We saw some super fit black men doing a break dance/acrobatic performance. It was set to get dance tunes and the children loved watching it although Abigail did seem to find more than a little amused by the comment that seeing a black man running in Manhattan without a police officer chasing him was very unusual. Abigail caught a Chinese woman apparently hypnotising a Chinese man whilst sitting on a park bench. We caught a cab and directed him uptown. Way uptown. To Harlem.

Many of you might be thinking at this point, I done gone and lost my mind. Nope, I was hungry and there ain't no place better to fix an aching, empty belly than Harlem. Me was going to get me some soooooouuuuuul food.

The yellow cab drove us all the way up to 110th and barely stopped to collect his fare and kick us to the curb. We walked into the restaurant and was told to sit ourselves down just anywhere we liked, as long as someone else wasn't sitting there. Well, that's simple enough.

Their homemade lemonade was declareded by the children to be the best lemonade in the entire world and children have drank a lot of lemonade. We ordered ribs, fried chicken, cornbread,cornbread stuffing, macaroni and cheese, and green beans. Abigail went for the catfish fish fingers. And chips. We can bring a girl all the way to NYC from England and she orders fish and chips. What can I say?

We ate until we thought we would explode. Or the jet lag would leave us a lumps of lard huddled in the chairs. When it came time to ask for the bill, 2 slices of cake (1 chocolate, 1 red velvet) were delivered all packaged up for us to take home with us. Gratis. Free. Complimentary. No charge. They had such a great time listening to us and were so charmed by the children's English accents and manners they gave them cake. Get them! The children were so pleased with themselves, they wouldn't go to sleep. Abigail thought this might be better than being discovered as a star in the making.

We finally collapsed into our beds, shattered from a long day our travel and the early excitement of a city just waiting to show us what it had to offer our new demographic despite the humidity. Maybe, NYC is still my favourite city.

EDITOR'S NOTE:  My iPad is to blame for the lousy state of this article when I first posted it.  It wouldn't let me do any formatting.  Sorry, if you had to read it like that.  I will do my best to do my duty to ensure future technology challenges are beaten down.  Into the ground!


Susie said...

So glad you enjoyed yourself in my home town!

Anonymous said...

You ready do need to write..love ya