We had an amazing whirlwind trip to New York for Thanksgiving. I could go on and on about it, but I’m going to try to give my impressions in a more concise format: short impressions of all the different experiences we had.
The trip out: I can’t imagine anything more smooth than what we had. It was a dream, especially compared to the interminable drive that Jenny’s family had from Virginia. Elena was a perfect angel, and she even napped in our arms on both plane trips. We had worried that she wouldn’t, but the gentle vibrations of the plane along with our soft singing kept her sleepy.
The hotel: Even though it was closed for most of our trip, I’m thankful that we were upgraded to the “club level” of our hotel. They had free snacks and desserts our first night, and an access code for free internet that helped us the entire time.
Downtown Newark: We went out to pick up a to-go dinner order and drove through the mean streets of Newark after 8:00. I don’t think I would like to do that on a regular basis.
Public Transportation in New York: After some frantic trial and error, we discovered that 1) A credit card can only be used for two transactions per day at the MetroCard kiosks, and 2) A single MetroCard, no matter how much money was loaded on it, can only be used four times in a row before you have to take a break. It would be nice if this information was posted somewhere, so that I didn’t have to frantically swipe and re-swipe my card while the rest of the group was already on the platform, watching our subway leave the station.
The Thanksgiving Day Parade: It was nice of my family to get up early and save us a spot right along the parade route at 65th and Central Park West. When we arrived, we discovered that there was no possible way we could push through the crowd to meet them. Instead, we walked down to a slightly less crowded area and pushed in as far as we could. I put Elena on my shoulders so she could have the best view, and she enjoyed the parade more than I thought she would. Her favorite group by far was her grandpa’s marching band, the Towson University Tigers. On balance, it was a fun experience and almost all of the people around us were very nice. Except for the couple where the guy put his wife on his shoulders–that should be kids only. Thanks to Nick for all the great pictures.
Thanksgiving Day: Despite the predictions of rain, we spent some time in Central Park and all of a sudden the sky was clear. While we walked down Fifth avenue towards Rockefeller Center Laura put a shawl in front of sleeping Elena’s face so that she wouldn’t get sunburned. It was hard to see the window displays because of the glare. We took a hot chocolate break at Rockefeller Center and saw a marriage proposal on the ice rink. Later, we stopped at Bryant Park. They use the old Gillette razor model: although the skating is free, the skate rental more than makes up for it. The line was long, so we didn’t go skating. We did wander around the holiday shopping booths, and found some cute custom soaps.
Thanksgiving Dinner: We still don’t know what the price will be, but we did get to go on the dinner cruise. We had a great time. The dinner was good enough, but the views were spectacular. We went pretty close to the Statue of Liberty. Sadly, some of my pictures didn’t turn out because of focus issues. But the ones that did are pretty good.
We didn’t get back to our hotel until after midnight–partly because of the aforementioned ticket issues, but also because we got on the wrong subway train and didn’t realize it until we had gone two stops too far. It was a full day, and we still had Friday to go. More about that soon; in the meantime, there are more pictures at my flickr photostream.