Please don't judge me for what I'm about to say because what I'm about to say is going to make me sound like a spoiled brat. A little bit.
My family loves New York City. LOVES it. We go often - say two, three times a year or so, usually as birthday gift trips - and I'm very fortunate to be able to do that. The problem with going to the Big Apple with my loving family is that typically when we go, we don't stray from the three block radius around our hotel.
Here's our usual schedule: Friday, we get in to the hotel in midtown, we go out for a nice dinner in midtown. Saturday, we shop in midtown, we go see a show in midtown. Sunday, we have a nice breakfast in midtown, we leave by 11 a.m. from midtown. That's usually about it. Do you see why I warned you about my spoiled brat-ness? I love going, but after a while it's hard to remember where we've had dinner or what show we saw when, you get the idea. Again, I know. I'm a spoiled brat.
This weekend was the greatest family trip to NYC ever because we did none of those things mentioned above. Well, we did see a show but how can you not if you're able? Really.
Friday, I worked a half day and met my family at the hotel after taking the train from D.C. to NY's Penn Station. Note to self...the Acela is NOT worth it. The obnoxious "BIINNNGGG-BOOONNGGG: Attention passengers, the cafe car is now open there is no line, etc." occurs every 20 minutes right as you're about to drift off or finish a paragraph from Jane Eyre. I dropped my bag off and out we went to the subway station - for those of you who know my mother, yes, mom went on the subway. I know, I was surprised too but she put up with it and I think she rather enjoyed herself. Oh, yay for adventures!
We were bound for Queens - the one borough I hadn't frequented yet - to see the U.S. Open, another first for all of us. After fighting through crowds to find my sister a hoodie and having a mini "TOO MANY PEOPLE, CAN'T BREATHE" attack, the four of us - Mom, Dad, Leslie and I - settled down to a lovely meal at the Champions Restaurant on the grounds. Mom and I bickered about Palin vs. Biden vs. Obama until finally I said, "Mom," my hand swinging wide open over the table, palm out, "Here, you take the final word. Go on. Take it." Having zoned in an out, careful not to participate in the heated conversation, Dad just causally commented on how beautiful the ceiling was as my sister tried to inject her opinion: "Stop it! Both of you! I'm not voting because of messy stuff like this!"
After dinner, we saw the most amazing tennis I had ever seen in my life - Davenport lost, but Roddick beat Gulbis in four sets - barely. I swear, it was like watching Roddick play Roddick - each with serves over 110 mph continuously.
We saw Roddick's fiance (the rock on her finger was as big as my fist) who looked utterly bored as she spent most of the time chatting with Roddick's brother.
Highlight for my sister and I: we got on the Jumbo Tron by making huge asses out of ourselves. Twice.
Time we got back to the hotel - 2:45 am. Time I got up the next morning: 9:50 am. Record for latest my parents have ever slept-in in 20+ years: 9:30 am.
My sister and I are four years and four days apart - both of our birthdays are always on or almost on Labor Day - so we were here celebrating our birthdays together as we typically do and Saturday was her day to choose our activities. So we went to a museum - The Natural History Museum was having a special exhibit on the horse and my sister used to ride.
We hadn't been to a museum as a family in years. It was awesome! We weren't allowed to take photos inside the horse exhibit - but at the end was this enormous horse sculpture made out of driftwood, then bronzed. Absolutely beautiful.
Much later, we saw South Pacific with my brother Zach and his wife Lauren (yes, there are two Lauren Effrons. No. It does not make family gatherings more fun) who live in the city - FABULOUS, FABULOUS, FABULOUS show!!! And it wasn't even in midtown!!! It was a show my sister decided on and what a choice! I had never seen a play where I knew every song, had no idea all of South Pacific was inflitraited into my inner pop culture scene.
Afterwards, we went to our favorite deli - The Stage on 54th and 7th - where we dined on fancy things like Matza ball soup, the Cindy Adams sandwich (half pastami, half corned beef - four inches high), and blueberry cheese cake (four inches high). That's New York, man - my favorite place to eat.
Sunday morning, we awoke barely able to move and dragged ourselves out to 6th Ave. where the city had shut down the street for a Bazilian festival.
So much color! Everywhere!
Finally, it was time to catch the train home. The Regional this time. "BING-BONG"-free, I got through 80 more pages of Jane Eyre and even slept a little.
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