New York Diaries

For years, I’ve been telling my daughter we’d take her to New York City for her 10th birthday.  It just seemed like a nice, even number.  I thought she’d probably appreciate the city more once she got a little older.  I didn’t even go myself until I was 19!  Surely she wouldn’t call Child Services on us if we waited until she was 10.  About two months ago, she made me an offer I couldn’t refuse: “Mommy, if you take me to New York for fall break, we can skip the big birthday party this year.”  Think … dream sequence from “Wayne’s World.”  It was like harps started playing.  This was music to my ears.  I actually got dizzy and had to pull the car over.

Any parent who’s ever orchestrated a kid’s birthday party can relate to what I’m saying here.  First, they’re expensive.  Second, they’re a ton of work.  There are the invitations, then there’s the decision over where to have it without duplicating what every other one of her friends has already done.  Sadly, that’s just the beginning.  Once the party actually arrives, it’s like herding cats trying to keep everyone’s child entertained and/or uninjured.  The gifts are almost always opened in cyclone-like fashion … making it impossible to know who gave what.  In recent years, some of the other moms have started sending out thank you cards with amazing party pics printed on the front.  One mom even went so far as to get an individual shot of the birthday girl with every guest so that the photo thank you cards were personalized.  Shoot me!!!!  I’m lucky if I even remember to bring our camera to the party.  One year we had to borrow one!

So, for weeks, we’ve been planning our trip to NYC.  My first stop was to McKay’s used bookstore to buy all of the cheap tourism paraphernalia I could find.  In the “New York with Children” book, we quickly found a couple of must-do activities, including a trip to the American Girl emporium to have lunch with our doll, Emma.  One imperative thing they forgot to mention in the guide is that you should actually bring your doll with you.  I’m serious!  For you American Girl neophytes, let me explain that it’s crucial that the doll and your child have matching outfits.  We spent an hour the night before our trip packing Emma’s bags to make sure her clothes all matched Dalton’s.  At 6 a.m., right there at gate A7, we had our first M-E-L-T-D-O-W-N.  All I could think was, “Is it too late to throw a birthday party?” Of course, my husband offered no support whatsoever.  He was just staring at me blankly like it was entirely my fault, which it kind of was.  I did what most any parent would do under the circumstances and threw some money at the problem.  We now have a new doll named Rebecca … who now needs her own bed to match Emma’s.  Again … shoot me!!!

I’d say all in all, the trip was a huge success.  Of course, there were a few minor setbacks you’d expect on an adventure such as this one, like the day we got off on the wrong bus, walked 45 blocks to see the World Trade Center memorial and never actually found it.  Guess who was staring blankly at whom on this one?  I wanted to kill my husband.  We walked so far it felt like my big toe had separated from the rest of my foot.  Convinced that I had a case of gout, we decided to hop the subway to our next destination … another huge mistake.  I can’t tell you how many underground trains we got on and off of to end up nowhere near our hotel.  Here’s the best piece of advice I can give any tourist going to New York: TAKE A CAB!  They’re cheaper, and you’ll avoid losing hours of valuable sightseeing time trying to figure out the Rubik’s cube that is the New York subway system.

Another thing I took away from the whole experience is that everything in New York costs 10 times as much as it should.  For example, I thought I’d reached a point in my life where I wouldn’t get sticker shock from something as simple as a crab cake, but apparently I was wrong.  One night on the way to our hotel, we decided to go into the Waldorf Astoria to show it to Dalton and just warm up in general.  After having a $12 cup of hot chocolate, we decided to just get something “light” to eat.  $160 dollars later, we had consumed a bowl of tomato soup, an order of crab cakes, a club sandwich and three salads.  I needed a stiff drink, but at that point … we couldn’t afford one!

The only other must-do item on our list was to see “Wicked” on Broadway.  I bought the tickets on the Internet sight unseen for $140 a piece … and that was the matinee!  I kid you not when I say we were on the very LAST row of the Gershwin Theatre.  Any further back and we would have been sitting in the booth with the lighting crew.  It was so stupid it was actually comical.  Despite the partially blocked view, it was, hands down, the best play I’ve ever seen.  Our savings account defiinitely took a beating this fall broke (ah… I mean break), but as the marketing gurus for American Express might say … “Trip to New York … priceless.”

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7 Responses

  1. You must team up with my wife, sister and neices. They took the big NY trip together (all girls). They haven’t stopped talking yet. Another trip in the planning? Yes
    We really enjoy you blog and thank WSMV management for hiring you.
    Jennifer=talent, ,professionalism. personality and you know what? You are a great blogger too.
    I was watching “4” before you were born.

  2. Hey Jennifer
    Never grow tired of reading about your adventures!
    I hope one day to get to go to New York!

  3. All I can think of:

    Your blog “Priceless”

  4. What can I say.

    Your blog: “Priceless”

  5. That was one of the funniest things I’ve ever read, Jennifer! Have you ever thought of writing a book?

  6. All the time Jacquie. My life truly is stranger than fiction. I just have to find the time to actually write it and find a publisher.

    Thanks for reading!
    Jennifer

  7. Funny story, Jennifer. Next time you (or anyone) goes to New York, especially for the first time, check out http://www.bigapplegreeter.org. You get a real, live New Yorker to show you around the city and take you wherever you want to go… that helps you avoid those 45-block hikes. 🙂

    My Dad’s been a Greeter for a few years, actually, and always loves getting a family from Nashville. It makes him think he has spies who can check on me…

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