Playing Tourist in Gotham
I’ve been visiting New York with my imagination since the 90’s, when I read about The Dakota, or most recently when I started watching Sex and the City, Friends and the King of Queens; but I never had the opportunity to visit the city until this past weekend.
Overwhelming! That is the word that comes to my mind if someone ever asks me to describe the city that never sleeps. Don’t get me wrong, I enjoyed a lot my weekend, and definitely would like to come back one day (for adult tourism) and taste the sweetness of that big apple… but first impressions count, and for me, that melting pot was just too much, I don’t think I could live there… maybe I’m getting old, maybe New York is a city to visit when you are very young and adventurous, I don’t know! Walking into the heart of Manhattan I realized how small I am. I was surrounded by hundreds of giant buildings and thousands of little ants (people) walking so fast in opposite directions (particularly noticed at traffic lights). We walked more than 40 blocks on Saturday afternoon; everybody was in a hurry, and I was just walking, breathing the heavy air of downtown, looking at the people, the stores, the sky, and trying to learn from them. 2 days is not enough time for New York, and especially if you go with kids 🙂
Grandma (Abuelita Blanca Ines) came from Colombia to visit New York with Cefora, a very close cousin of our Prada-Serrano family. It was awesome to see her again after so many years. Knowing that grandma was nearby (only 8 hours by car) we decided to have a family road trip to New York to spend some time with her. I packed as much as I could to make Alejandro feel like he was at home: his favorite toys, pillow, blanket, food, etc. Emily packed Minnie, Moradito and her Barbie dolls, because it was very important to take them for a little vacation, they really need it!!
After wonderful hugs with grandma and mama’s excitement with all the gifts from Colombia, we went to our first destination: Central Park! The best part of our trip! I totally loved that place: the lake, fountains, quiet spaces, noisy shows, musicians, weddings, amateur and professional photographers, bubbles, kids, tourists and particularly Lennon songs, Imagine mosaic and the magical energy at the Strawberry Field. I walked out the park, and visited the Dakota Apartments, where John Lennon was killed and I felt again like I was in my teen years!
The next day we took a short cruise to visit Liberty and Elli Islands. Mrs Liberty was there, all green and powerful, and again many ants (people) around her trying to get a spot for a nice picture… including me, I know! anyway… the Statue of Liberty is an obligated stop in the USA when you play tourist 🙂
On Monday morning we drove back to Ottawa. Emily was very happy about the weekend; she totally loved the hotel, the city, the statue and the road trip. When I asked her what was her favorite part of the trip she replied: grandma was my favorite part! And that sweet answer made me realize that she was totally right. Our trip to New York was awesome because we had the opportunity to share the experience with grandma. Nothing compares with the possibility to feel the love of our family. Maybe those buildings made me feel small for a second but seeing Emily hugging grandma and Alejandro sharing her fishy crackers with her, filled my heart with joy, and that made me bigger and stronger.
I hope next year we meet in Colombia with Maria Camila, aunty Stella and the rest of the family!
Lessons I learned for next vacation:
- If I am going to bring a cooler, bring some frozen soup for Alejandro, otherwise he will just eat grapes, bananas and fishy crackers
- Don’t show the milk carton to Alejandro. He won’t drink his milk if he notice it comes from a container different from the transparent bag we use at home
- Bring paper towels in the car just in case the kids get sick