For high school graduation we offered both kids the opportunity to travel where ever — literally. Kenzie always wanted to see NYC. Now, Kenz graduated in 2018 but with the move, etc., we needed to delay the trip until this year.

We arrived on Wednesday to our flat in the Bedford-Stuy neighborhood of Brooklyn, about 30 minutes outside of lower Manhattan by subway. Our first adventure was to get groceries. About a 9-10 block walk from the house — and these are city blocks so already my steps-counter was happy.

We grabbed a cart and started to fill ‘er up. Clearly we were visitors by the look on our cashier’s face when we checked out. Crazy tourists, how are you going to get all that food home? Thank goodness for UBER. After loading the car and unloading back at the flat, we made some dinner and turned in early. Our flat was great for our family, 2 1/2 bedrooms (the 3rd bedroom, which we just used for our luggage was really tiny, thus the 1/2) — the only downside was there was no A/C. Fans everywhere, which was good but no actual air conditioning. Fortunately, we came to NY before the heat had set in – literally, other than one afternoon, the weather couldn’t have been more perfect.

Thursday, our adventures began. We started with figuring out the subway. Thanks to my hairdresser and friend, Summer, who explained that Google Maps has a train feature. Handy for sure! We took the train down to Battery Park and from there grabbed a ferry to Liberty Island to see Lady Liberty up close and personal. What an awesome sight. She is so much larger than I think we were prepared for. What a wonder.

We spent quite a bit of time there just taken in her beauty and, at least for me, wondering what my grandparents thought when they entered our country and laid eyes on her for the first time.

From there we ferried over to Ellis Island. Hallowed ground that is. I am so in love with our country and the story of its beginnings, the heritage of my father’s father who came here through Ellis Island from Greece, being there, walking through those doors made me tear up immediately.

After Ellis Island, we ferried back to land and from there we ventured to Central Park. The day was overcast and called for rain, but we had hopes we’d make it to the famous Bethesda Fountain in the middle of the park before the skies opened. And we did, for the most part, but upon arriving, the rain began to fall, and I don’t mean a drizzle. It looked like we took showers with our clothes on. Soaking wet! Drenched. Was it worth it — absolutely. Central Park is a truly beautiful place.

We rode the air conditioned subway home shivering the whole way. We ordered in some NY pizza that night from the neighborhood and called it a night.

Friday was a big day. We started by visiting the 9/11 memorial. Like most of us, I remember distinctly where I was and what I was doing that fateful morning. Kenzie, on the other hand, was not six month’s old at the time and most of what she knows of the attacks is from our stories or what she learned in school.

We arrived and immediately took a guided tour (which I highly recommend) of the 9/11 Memorial Museum. It ran about an hour and shared personal stories of those who lost their lives and some who survived that day. We did a little more touring on our own afterwards, but before leaving to go to the reflecting pools, we were stopped by a volunteer named Greg. He wanted to make sure all of our questions had been answered. Greg was a business owner, his company was in the North tower when the attacks occured. He and all 39 of his employees were marked as safe, thankfully. But the passion by which he spoke, for that day, for the responders, for the people who worked together to leave, for his city…speaking with him was truly the highlight of the tour.

We left the museum and spent a little time at the south tower reflecting pool. We studied the names and looked for those names that had white roses placed in the letters — that signifies that 5/24 was their birthday. Volunteers place these roses daily. It was amazing how walking around the plaza you hear the hustle and bustle of the city, but as you draw in to the reflecting pool and the sound of the rushing waters the city noise is drowned out and all you have is the water and your thoughts. It was a beautiful moment.

We left the memorial and found a great Italian eatery in lower Manhattan for Kenzie — she LOVES Italian. And I have to say, it was fantastic. All the way to the view of the city streets from the 3rd floor windows we sat near. They even had a chicken dish Frank could enjoy with his allergies.

We left the memorial and went back to Brooklyn for a few hours — as that night we would venture out to Times Square.

Now that is an adventure. The amount of people crawling around Times Square is amazing. And the LIGHTS! Literally lit up brighter than daylight! I can’t even imagine what it costs to advertise there.

We walked and walked and walked. We ventured in the M&M store which smells of sugar and chocolate throughout the THREE floors. No joke! Every way you can imagine an M&M its to be found here! Next we hit Disney and that was topped off by an escalator ride down from the 3rd floor through lanterns from the Tangled movie — Kenzie’s favorite. That was a fun moment. My daughter has one foot in adulthood and one foot firmly planted in her childhood. It is so wonderful to see both at the same time.

In these three days, we did a lot of walking – over 15,000 steps or thereabouts each day. Kenzie’s feet were not prepared and by Friday night she was in pretty bad shape. Saturday we were slated for the Empire State building, but Frank and I knew that would be a lot more walking — so, Kenzie and Frank being the movie buffs they are opted to head to midtown to catch Aladin on a big screen with amazing sound. I on the other hand decided to go and visit Grand Central and the fountain (when it wasn’t raining) in Central Park one more time.

I think we all enjoyed our choices.

Today is Sunday and in a few hours we will board a plane and return to our average, suburban life, and we’re excited. We all enjoyed our urban adventure, but can say without a doubt in our minds, this life is not for us. We loved every minute of our visit, and will probably come again, but the quiet of our streets, the trees and green grass, and the ability to hop in our car to get somewhere quickly is calling to us.

Until next time NY — thanks for a great adventure.

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