Sunday, June 8, 2014

NYC with Dad for the first time

When Dad saw a bus trip to NYC, he decided he wanted to go. He had only been to NYC when he worked for Kaman Aircraft and went on a business trip. He said they just went in a limo to the meeting and he never got to experience the city. I told him (he's 81), it's a lot of walking. Having been to NYC before, I knew I could not let him go alone as he was planning. Since I'd been before, I wanted him to pick out what he wanted to do. The only thing I said I wouldn't do was the Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island. I had already been and would not want to spend the day doing that especially when you won't get me past the base of the Statue.

I took the Fodders guide to NYC out of the library and told him to pick what he wanted to see. He chose the Museum of Natural History, which surprised me, Central Park Zoo and Times Square. The only other thing was the Empire State Building which we knew we probably couldn't make it to on this occasion.

I went on google maps and chose walking directions. The total walking distance was 3.9 miles. George told me that Dad and I would never be able to do it. I thought since it was spread out over the whole day that maybe we could. Dad often goes to Six Flags after all.

We got a beautiful day. It happened to be on what would have been his 62 wedding anniversary.

We were dropped off at the art museum and had to make our way almost a mile to the Museum of Natural History. We spent a couple of hours there. Saw many dinosaur bones and interesting relics of ancient civilizations and animal and bird displays. I don't know if Dad had ever been in a museum like this before, so I hope he enjoyed seeing everything. He was quite impressed by the life size models and marveled how big some were.

Chinese wedding chair


We also went to the planetarium show. He had been to one once before he said about 30 years ago. He did not express if he enjoyed this one or not. It was pretty good but had to take it with a grain of salt when it was about the big bang theory.

After lunch at the museum, which I highly do not recommend(!), we decided to make our way to the Central Park Zoo. We knew this was quite a hike and the shortest way was to go diagonally across the park--easier said than done. There are all kinds of paths and very few landmarks. We asked directions constantly to be sure we were still headed in the right direction. We seemed to ask mostly tourists, many who didn't speak English and then many people who never heard of the Central Park Zoo. My Dad finally came up with a smart solution to that dilemma. We started asking only people walking dogs in the park--they obviously were from NYC.

Well, we did end up not going diagonally across and did some detours which cost us in more body aches by the end of the day. But I will have to say, if we weren't on a mission, I would have lingered. My only knowledge of Central Park was from driving by on bus trips, muggings mentioned in movies and most vividly the scene from the movie, "The Out of Towners"--the original with Jack Lemmon and Sandy Dennis. I love that movie but it made me not desire to go to Central Park. That is a lesson in false impressions.

I was so impressed at the beauty of the park and the enormity of it. There were very talented entertainers in various parts of the park. If I were a city dweller, I would definitely hang out there.  I would have longed to linger and take more pictures, but all were taken in a hurry--not to say that we did not take it easy and often sit on the benches to rest.

When we finally found the Central Park Zoo, there was absolutely no sign pointing us there, but we found it. Despite being hidden, it is not tiny. We started with the rain forest building which made the warm day in he city feel cool. We observed some beautiful birds, bats and other critters.

Outside we saw monkeys and a few other species when I was surprised that my Dad said he had enough. Although their natural habitat was replicated, he didn't really care for it and felt sorry for the animals, so we cut our visit there short without seeing the whole thing. No problem for me.

Next we started the hike to Rockefeller Plaza. On the way we saw these fun looking characters on the street, that I couldn't resist taking pictures. Well, I believe it was Spiderman who told me that all things in life weren't free, "ya know what I mean?"
Oops. I did not realize they posed with people for tips. I saw someone do a selfie with him and then did not pay him. Spiderman was not happy that day. Reminds me also, before we entered the zoo security had to be called for some woman screaming and ranting and raving at the attendants--she was just entering the zoo with a small child. We could hear her for quite a while. I really wonder what she was screaming about, but it was in a foreign language, so I'll never know. There were many interesting people in NYC. I could just sit and people watch.


Here are some more random pictures.



We ate at the Metro Cafe. I liked this place "where New Yorkers eat".  They also let us sit there for over an hour waiting for our bus.

The bus ride home was very long. There was a night game at Yankee Stadium and traffic was backed
up. Also the bus trip we had signed up for had added two more drop off points that were not on the main drag. It took an hour more than it should have. They played "Frozen" on the ride home. I hadn't seen it but was curious about all the hype. Part of it was hard to hear, and part of it I started to doze from the long day, but I got the gist. Pretty good. Then at the end they showed the actress who sang, "Let it Go" and played her music video. Then they played an actress singing it in Spanish. Then they showed another actress singing it in another language. By then it was torture--not again!
This country girl enjoyed her day in the big city. I love the sites and I would have skipped the
 museum for shopping, but this was Dad's day. Knowing our mapped out route was 3.9 miles, we are pretty certain that we walked at least 5 miles. Dad was quite a trooper for 81 years old. I was happy with the new sneakers that I had purchased for the day. Dad was sore and when asked about his trip, "Been there done that. I can check it off the list." He was a little disappointed I hate to say. When we neared the end of the day and I could tell he was worn out, I asked do you want to buy an "I love NY" souvenir? He said clearly, "No!."  When asked about his favorite part, "I fell in love with the benches," where he could rest. As for me, it had been so long since I've gone, I am actually ready to go again. And now memories have been made and I will always remember when Dad and I took on the city together.

PS After posting this, I was informed that the traffic jam at Yankee Stadium was for people going to see Joel Osteen. In that case, I will forgive everyone. Glad to see so many people going out to see him. 
I will also add, that on the bus ride home, we were talking to a seasoned-NYC tourist. She was surprised how much ground we covered and she said we were not the first to get lost in Central Park.

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