First, thank you to my husband, whose idea it was for us to take this trip. Thanks also go to him for valuing travel so much that he has acquired several credit cards that earn travel rewards. Our airfare for this trip was paid for entirely by points, as were two of our three hotel nights. All we had to pay for was food and activities. By far the largest expense was attending two Broadway shows. Walking in Central Park was free. The boat ride was not costly, especially since I got a discount for purchasing tickets online in advance. We only spent a couple of hours in the Metropolitan Museum of Art, so I did not pay the "recommended" $25 per person admission price but opted for $10 instead. We got breakfast free in the hotel each day, and a friend treated us to lunch on Wednesday. It was such a big, late lunch that we didn't need supper Wednesday night, settling instead for dessert before the show. I think we only spent a little over $100 on food for both of us.
Second, let's hear it for your humble blogger! My closer friends know that I am an extremely nervous flyer. I date my nervousness to a very bumpy trip taken when I was quite pregnant with my first child. I am not sure what has changed, but in the last year I have gotten better. I don't think I grabbed my daughter's arm in panic once. We did have very nice, smooth flights. And my dear husband made sure we had direct flights (even though he had to drive us two hours to Arkansas to get them).
I am also proud of myself for successfully leading my daughter around New York City using public transportation! On the night we arrived, I spent a good half hour on the phone with my husband, who had charted out for us the subways and buses we needed to take to do what we wanted to do. That helped immensely. But I guess somewhere deep down inside I do have a little directional intuition (this will surprise my husband). We didn't make a single subway or bus mistake! There was once or twice early on that we were waiting for a subway but I somehow sensed it wasn't the right one and we backtracked and changed course. (The challenge when you're unfamiliar with the city is not finding the right train but making sure that once you have found it you head the right direction!)
We never felt unsafe. We encountered some odd characters, to be sure. Several times on the subway people came walking down the aisle, sharing their sob story and asking for money. That was uncomfortable. And there were some nearly naked people walking around Times Square. I was glad Evan wasn't there--he would have been horrified.
Caitlin asked me what my favorite parts of the trip were. It is hard to say, but seeing Pippin is probably at the top. It was stunning in every way, the consummate Broadway experience both musically and visually. The first glimpse of Times Square in the dark was magical. As Caitlin says, it was so bright it could have been daytime. By Thursday afternoon, when we got to the museum, we were already so exhausted that I don't think I enjoyed that as much as I expected. My feet were tired and hurting. We were overwhelmed by the sheer size of the place. After a couple of hours we gave up and went and lay on the grass together in Central Park. I enjoyed that as much as anything.
If money and time were no object, I would choose to spend at least a week and follow up each day of activity with a day of rest. I wish we could have done more. I would have liked to have taken a trip to Ellis Island and the Statue of Liberty instead of just seeing them from the boat on our sightseeing tour. I would have considered walking in the area of the Twin Towers, if not actually touring the 9/11 Memorial (which has had mixed reviews). I would have liked to see Battery Park. The list could go on.
More than anything, I am thankful for the time spent with my daughter, who will be leaving for college in about four short weeks. Having this time with her, making memories that we will always share, was the best part of all.