My grandson Lake, age 14, wasn’t so sure about going to New York City. He likes his familiar world of friends, soccer, soccer, and more soccer. One of my theories of childrearing is that adults are supposed to be smarter than kids. So far, so good.
Our itinerary called for us to come home from Boston to New York City to Washington, D.C. to Columbia, SC. Researching soccer venues for the relevant dates, I discovered that the New York Red Bulls were playing the New England Revolution in Harrison, New Jersey, a short subway ride from Times Square. So I bought the three of us, Jenna, Lake and me, tickets to the game. I didn’t care much about the game, except that I like most sports, but the decision gave Lake some buy-in to this leg of our trip. The journey to the stadium required a subway ride, which was also part of my agenda for a New York experience, so win-win.
The first 15 minutes in New York City were hairy. Jenna was driving and the traffic was, well, New York City traffic. Our hotel was near Times Square. After checking in, we walked there to catch the subway, and Lake was bowled over. Who wouldn’t be? A cowboy wearing a guitar and a jockey strap. Women wearing only body paint. Bright lights. Big city. Sensory overload. Tens of thousands of people.
We ate a very late lunch at Hard Rock Café which made Jenna happy. This was, after all, her vacation, too. Then, we had to catch a subway. The game was in New Jersey.
The home team won the game, but I learned Lake was pulling for the Revolution. Jenna and I didn’t care.
The next day we went to the observatory on the 86th floor of the Empire State Building. Good way to see the city. We never made it to Central Park or the Statue of Liberty, for example, but we could had a panorama view of the entire city from that height.
We bought tickets to see the Lion King. The challenge had been which Broadway play would appeal to a 14-year-old boy. Lake liked it. I’m the one who slept through the first act.
In New York City, just walking down the street is a hoot. We went into soccer shops, cigar stores, shoe stores and, best of all, a random retailer that sold magnificent rock specimens—up to half a million dollars for a rock—and it wasn’t even a diamond. Beautiful, but I didn’t have that much money on me, so we just looked. We had supper and ate sushi with friends Chris and Bryan. We discovered Insomnia Cookies.
I think Lake will go back to New York City. Mission accomplished.
Tomorrow: Washington, D. C. The Fifth Leg of my summer excursions