Our end goal was my sister-in-law’s wedding near Boston, but I wanted the trip to be something to look forward to, and it’s hard to look forward to an in-law’s wedding where the only people you know will be the ones with wedding obligations. So, I cashed in a couple hundred thousand Delta miles and bought 5 plane tickets to New York City, landing at 11am on June 17th. That way, the children could meet one of my friends since the 3rd grade and get introduced to one of my favorite cities.
The weather for our first day in NYC was beautiful (and 15-20 degrees below what we left in Atlanta).
We saw our awesome accommodations in Battery Park (thanks to Matt from the NYC Dads Group) and then began walking about the city to explore it a bit. After lunch outside, we went by the new World Trade Center and the 9/11 memorial. As we approached it, I whispered something to my wife (whose birthday is 9/11) about whether we should just let this be a cool fountain to the children or a memorial to the victims of a horrific act of hatred. I thought I’d settled on the former but ended up giving a fairly simple and sanitized version of the latter.
Then, I saw on social media that Doug French was in town and not far away, so I reached out to him, and then he rode up on a bike to meet us at an ice cream shop in Chinatown! Given his 20 years living in the area, he was a good walking tour guide, even introducing us to the awesome that is Rice to Riches and the playground across the street (which greatly pleased the children).
Then, we entered Washington Square Park. My son has been excited about the prospect of going to this location in NYC for the past several weeks, because after his chess tournament, we watched “Searching for Bobby Fischer.” Since that viewing, playing chess like young Josh Waitzkin became at the top of his “things I must do before I die” list. Unfortunately, we walked through the wrong part of the park, it seems, as we saw no chess boards. He was disappointed, but I assured him we’d try again the next day, and we pressed ahead to our dinner with my childhood friend Jeremy on the night before his 40th birthday at Almond.
Dinner was great, and he and his bride seemed to enjoy the entertainment my children provided after walking nearly 8 miles across Manhattan (after an early morning flight from Atlanta). I insisted on a picture of the children and him together before we headed back to Battery Park for the night.
The next morning, the 5 of us rode the Subway up to the American Museum of Natural History, another spot the children were looking forward to mightily, in part because of a movie (“Night at the Museum“). We loved it–all of us. I’d never seen this particular museum, either, and I think it beats Chicago’s and Washington DC’s natural history museums. Afterwards, the children got hot dogs from a street vendor and wandered Central Park for a bit before we hit the train again to head south toward Tribeca, where we were to participate in a City Dads event. However, I didn’t forget my promise to my boy, who wanted to try again to play chess in the park.
We hopped off at the appropriate stop and found a man named Jimmy, who was just finishing off a 20-something and collecting his cash. My boy asked if he could play, and he sat down. Jimmy extended his hand and introduced himself.
But then it was all business. My boy tried to go for a quick win, but Jimmy was having NONE of it.
After a couple moves, Jimmy asked him to start over and spend more time thinking about each move instead of trying to follow a set “quick win” formula, and they began a new game.
A small crowd gathered; some folks took pictures, but when they finished, it was just the 2 of them again. My boy was allowed to win, and he learned a few things about the game in the process. Jimmy gave him a quarter for his victory. He beamed.
I got to see some of my friends from the Dad 2.0 Summits, and the children got to make pasta and dessert. And best of all, we got to take home a Withings home monitoring system that’s the bomb! It looks pretty and records things through a fish eye lens that I can monitor on my iphone.
It was great watching our babysitter with the children and the dog last night whilst I was rockin’ out to some live Def Leppard. #blessed
After the event, we boarded the ferry to Staten Island, so we could see the Statue of Liberty (for free!).
We packed up and went to bed at a decent hour that night after walking just shy of 10 miles that day (per my iphone), and the next morning we caught the 7am Amtrak train to Boston… [to be continued]