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Published: March 26th 2012
Neighborhood in Harlem
During the most recent Spring Break, I decided to take my 13-year-old son to New York
, the big city of dreams. Even though he is only 13, he is eager to get out and see all that the world has to offer. Right now he doesn’t have a passport so he is limited to the 50 states but that doesn't stop him from traveling coast to coast. Since he has already seen what the west coast has to offer in California and Hawaii, why not take a trip to hustle and bustle of the Big Apple. Spring Break is generally a time for just me and my son to hang out, my wife likes to let us have some guy time, but since it was NYC I asked if she wanted to go, shopping in NYC is any girl's dream but she declined and said next time I'll definitely go.
So I packed up my suitcase and drove up to Houston on Sunday evening got a hotel room since we had an early morning flight on Monday. So I get to Houston and pick up my son, we head to the room don't stay up too long cause we know we
Home away from Home
Brownstone we stayed in
have to get up early to catch our flight.
Day 1: Monday March 12, 2012
5AM alarming is blaring, time to get up and head to the airport, my wife drops us off, kiss good bye, I love you and of course you two stay out of trouble, we both smile and say of course we will :-). I checked in the day before so we dropped off bags inside and headed to the TSA gate. Not too bad at Bush international for an early morning, we get thru in about 5 min and go grab some breakfast before we head the gate. We both have flown a lot, so we're prepared, Kindles, Ipod, Nintendo DS, we have all the entertainment we need even though we both know we'll be sleep as soon as the plane is airborne.
We board the plane and I'm sleep before we hit 20,000 ft and when I open my eyes all I can see is the Georgia Dome, welcome to Atlanta by Ludacris comes to mind. So we waste some time walking around but we have a 3-hour delay and we both hungry so off the Chili’s for some
Rockefeller Skating Rink
Skating Rink at Rockefeller Center
lunch, we both have ribs, we're nice and full time to go to our gate to wait to board. I kill time by reading the Hunger Games while I wait and its time to board our flight to LaGuardia Airport. Atlanta to New York is about a 2-hour flight, so I can read some more in the air until I'm ready to count sheep. I read for about 30 minutes then I feel another nap coming on, I awake to the massive NYC skyline and I know our destination is near. We swoop over Queens and land at LaGuardia, you can see my son's face light up when he sees the Statue of Liberty and the Brooklyn Bridge before we land.
Off to grab our bags and time to summon a cab to take us to our apartment, I decided to rent an apartment instead of a hotel so my son can get the feel of a real NYC neighborhood. After a few days of research I found a nice brownstone on W 137th St up in Harlem
, while the online reviews were nice but I exchanged emails with the owners and they alleviated any concerns I
had about the apartment or the neighborhood. So we get a cab and Uptown here we come, I called the landlord to let him know we were on our way and the cabbie got us their in about 20 minutes, weaving in and out of traffic like a professional driver that a NYC cabbie is, all the while me and my son are people watching from the back seat.
It's a beautiful spring afternoon so people are out and about in the city; when we hit 125th st the street is alive with people everywhere. We finally make it to our destination and a slender fella is outside waiting, he says my name and I say hi, its the landlord, he says welcome to the neighborhood with a welcome greeting not normally associated with New Yorkers. He shows me and my son to our apartment, it's a nice little studio apartment with all the amenities we need for our trip, two beds, TV, kitchenette and full bathroom. It's even equipped with subway maps and things for tourist to do in the city, even though my son and I have a full agenda planned out. He gives me the keys
and shows me how the locks work, tell me about the bird in the window that has laid eggs and is resting.
So we head back to the street, he shows me where the train stop is, the tricks to the express train and where to grab food nearby. After he gives us that info, we say thanks head back to the room for a second and it's time to take on New York.
I asked my son, where to first, he says lets go to the NBA Store and Nintendo Store, then Time Square, kid knows what he wants to see. So we walk outside, it's a beautiful neighborhood looks like the brownstones in the Cosby Show only thing missing is the kids outside playing double dutch. So we head down to the train station and buy two seven day subway passes, so we're ready to see what New York has to offer. My son lives in the suburbs and public transportation is new to him, only what he has seen on TV, he's a lil bit nervous, I tell him nothing to fear, subway is a great way to get around.
Time Square at Night
I hand him a Metro pass and his swipes to go thru the gate and time to get on the train. Since we're headed to the Rockefeller Center, the Express train is what we're waiting on. Within about 3 minutes an Express train shows up and we're on our way. Not many people headed downtown Manhattan this time of day most people are going home after work, so we get our choice of seats and away we go. After about 15 minutes, we reach our stop 47-50 Station Rockefeller. We walk out and there it is 30 Rockefeller Center, NBC Studios, my son is awestruck by what he sees. Houston is a city of 5 Million people plus but it is very spread out, so you never see this amount of people in once place, seas of people walking up and down the street like an army. We walk around the corner and he sees the famous ice skating rink at the Rockefeller center.
Off to destination one, Nintendo World, my son is in heaven looking at all the games. We're walking thru the store and how convenient, he forgot his money. Oh well we got 4
days, so next time we come down your better have your money and we head to the NBA store cause I want some Chicago Bulls shorts. So we walk towards 8th Ave and walk a few more blocks and we end up on 5th Avenue, make a left and there’s the NBA store. Linsanity has taking over NYC and they have Jeremy Lin gear as soon as you walk in the store, also Knicks are playing the Bulls that day. So I head upstairs and fine a pair of red Bulls shorts and my son finds his favorite team, the Heat, so I get him a pair of shorts too. Off to Times Square to see the lights and excitement, we have to walk down to 42th St to get to Broadway and Times Square, we're also hungry so we grab some famous NYC pizza, nothing hits the spot like a hot slice of pizza. We recharge our batteries and back on our mission to Times Square, we're at 47th St, so we have 5 blocks to walk and anybody who has been to NYC knows New York blocks are bigger than normal blocks. After a few minutes we make
Time Square Train Station
Train we caught to get back home.
it to our destination, lights, camera action we're in Times Square and its pleasant evening. People are all about taking pictures, looking at the screens flashing, only thing missing is Dick Clark and the News Years Eve Ball. After about an hour a full day of travel is wearing on both of us, so we head down the street to the train station to take us back Uptown. We find our train, the C Express Uptown and its time to ride, after about 15 minutes; we're at W135th St, that's our stop. Hop off the train head upstairs and walk down to W137th, we're on our block, it's a relief to be back in a home away from home. After only half a day New York has left an impression on my son, he loves the city and is ready for the next day. We unwind and watch the Knicks-Bulls game and Bulls victory is great ending to a busy day. Monday was a great day,I'm ready for Day 2 and what New York has to offer us.
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