Thursday, October 9, 2014

New York Day 1 - In Which Everything is Amazing!

I have always wanted to come to New York and I have often wondered how I had made it to 44 without ever getting myself here. So it was with great pleasure that I stepped out of La Guardia Airport and could finally say I was officially in New York. Never mind the hours in transit, the uninterested flight attendants with their 3am-spackled on makeup faces, the officious customs officer/assholes, the horrible airplane food. None of that mattered – we had arrived!

I will say here that I thought I was perhaps going to die on the car ride into Manhattan. Apparently, lane markings mean very little here in New York.


This was what happened when I tried to take a picture from inside the car…

We made it into our charming but puniture (a Jacob-ism meaning puny crossed with miniature) apartment, managed to wake up a baby with our loud bags rumbling along the hallway, wrestled with an inflatable bed for Zoe, and fell into bed.
Of course, time zones were not really on our side and so it wasn’t until after 10am the following morning that we woke up and even then, I use the term loosely. I have a theory that teenagers don’t really wake up until at least 1pm. Add in the time change and it meant we were stuck with a sleepwalking Jacob for most of the day. Zoe was the only one awake as she had been in Halifax playing soccer for four days and had already adjusted. But again – who cared? We were in New York!
Our first order of business was to eat as none of us had eaten anything approaching nutritionally helpful food for about 24 hours. I think the airlines would be better off just cutting out pictures of food from magazines and serving that up. At least we wouldn’t be disappointed when paper actually tasted like paper.

$56 later and we were feeling better. Well, we were no longer hungry but I wasn’t feeling that great about the $56 breakfast. But whatever. At least while eating we had the pleasure of being entertained by two women who had devoted their lives to the serious business of age preservation. These two looked like they basically spent their time going from one appointment to the next and although I have never seen Jersey Shores or whatever it is called, I am pretty sure these two were straight out of central casting. Taking a picture was tricky but you get the idea.



They spent about 20 minutes doing their hair and makeup right there on the street, adjusting their cheetah and leopard print pants, rearranging their implants, and buffing their nails, all the while saying things like: “Ya gawta be jokin me, Caw-la” and “I’m gawna fuckin kill that bee-otch who did my last gels”. This country mouse could only guess that she was referring to her manicure as she was holding up her fingers and inspecting her long talon-like nails.
We could only stare for so long and anyway it was time for us to ascend to what I could only assume would be my certain death at the top of the Rockefeller Building. For those of you who know me, you will recall I am not good with heights. I am sure that either I, or my children, or all of us, will become insane while at the top of whatever it is we have been compelled to go up, and will climb over whatever obstacles are in our way (10ft high chain link fencing, inch-think glass walls etc.) in order to jump off. Why I think this, I am not sure, but think it I do. Of course my kids think this is hilarious and will not pander to it at all and will often go as close as they can to the edge, and then turn and wave at me. This is probably a good thing but it is extremely annoying at the time.


I would like to say, however, that I did go right to the top with hardly any fuss except for a brief moment in the elevator when they turn off the lights (thanks very much) making it apparent that the roof of the elevator is glass and so you get to see the inside of the elevator shaft as you are being whisked up to the top. Not really that great if you are me but I just closed my eyes and lay down on the floor and prayed. No, just kidding, of course I didn’t pray.


Jacob took some great pictures of us all up on the top. That’s the Empire State Building in the background


Looking north to Central Park.


Look closely and you can see people on the observation deck of the Empire State Building. It’s the New York equivalent of waving at the people on the other ferry on your way to Vancouver.


‘No Stick Bugs allowed’ was the only conclusion I could draw from this sign. Seems odd, really. A stick bug isn’t going to use a ladder anyway. It would just fly up there. I mean, come on anyone knows that.

One of the nice things about our visit to New York was that Jacob was going to get to see his friend Malia (think Grad Date) as she is studying dance here in Manhattan. We met up with her in Times Square (what a disaster that place is – could they ease up on the scaffolding and construction for a few metres here and there?) in front of what Jacob referred to appropriately as the ‘Big Ass Signs’:


Case in point.

It was great to see Malia and she quickly whipped us into shape transportation-wise and had us onto the subway and heading to Ground Zero in no time. I have been wanting to the see the 9-11 memorial for some time and it did not disappoint.


Two pools occupy the footprints of each of the two towers. Water flows down the edges of the large pool, and then down into the smaller square pool in the centre. It is impossible to see how deep it is when standing at the edge of the memorial, but the effect of the constantly disappearing water is powerful and moving. The whole place blew my mind actually. 

Following the 911 memorial, we walked along the river down to the Staten Island Ferry with plans to take it over and back (the only free thing in New York!) but it was getting dark so instead we enjoyed the view of The Statue of Liberty, Jersey City, and these two random boob-like statues that I encountered. Whatever, people, whatever.


We finished the day off with an excellent dinner at Ulysses on Stone Street in the financial district that I would never have known about let alone find on my own if it hadn’t been for yet another friendly New Yorker who took pity on me when I tried to take two teen-agers and a 13 year old into a bar for dinner (whoops!) and offered to walk us over to the place himself. Great atmosphere here – the place was full of suits and financial district workers relaxing after work.


Another example of my excellent photographic skills..sorry, Malia.


Before we could head home Kent needed to see the Charging Bull statue by the New York Stock Exchange. This took some doing as Zoe, who is the best navigator and map reader of the lot of us, thought he was saying ‘Bowl’. We wandered around for a while until  she finally said ‘Did you mean that you want to see the Charging Bull? it’s right over here!” and led us straight there.


Best buddies.

We said goodbye to Malia, managed a few minutes of power shopping in Century 21, and then hopped back on the subway to our place. Did I mention how small it is?


That’s the kitchen on your left (shutters), the bedroom next left, the living room, and then the bathroom which is behind the front door.  You can pretty much stand in the hallway and see the entire place. Cute. But the beds are comfy and it has all we need so no complaining here.

Stay tuned for more tomorrow, and thanks for reading!




  1. Jane, the fact that you came with your whole family for your first visit to New York is commendable!! Soooo many people think NY is intimidating and overwhelming.... but you did it!!! I wish I was there... great fun reading your posts... don't forget that New Yorkers are super friendly & helpful so don't hesitate to ask questions especially from those handsome Irish cops that are draped all over the city ;-) Way to go, Jane! Welcome to New York xo

  2. Thanks, Lady! Your tips have been so helpful. What an awesome place. Can't wait for tomorrow!

  3. have fun! recommend the High Line and the food and shopping around there for a day or half