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  • Writer's picture Jana

When the First Day of Your Trip Almost Becomes Your Last.

Our first full day in New York proved to be challenging, to put it mildly. We had a learning curve to conquer, for starters. There were moments, on this first day, when I seriously considered calling American Airlines to inquire if they could get us on the first flight back. However, because there is a shortage of everything in the pandemic, including return flights home to Los Angeles, I was not able to act on my potentially impulsive thoughts to pull the plug on our trip. Read on to find out more about our eventful day.

Day Two.....

This is what jet lag looks like, times four. I too was jet lagged, especially after our long day of travel the day before (about 12 hours door-to-door), but moms aren't allowed to have jet lag, so that was that. We had to be up bright and early (which translated to the middle of the night, California time) to start our over-booked day of sightseeing. I practically had to pour buckets of cold water over the kids' heads to awaken them. Luckily, they were so excited for their first real day of sightseeing in New York that it didn't come to that.

The kids were excited (well at least three of them were) for their first New York subway ride. I realized early on, when we couldn't get a ride into the city from the airport, that taxis and Ubers were not going to be an option for us, since none seemed to accommodate parties of five. So the subway became our only option. Although a bit rusty, I am a seasoned rider of the New York subways, but not with four children in tow. Fortunately Garin, our master map reader, stepped in and took over. He got us everywhere we needed to be with the utmost precision, including complicated trips with multiple train transfers. Thank you, Garin!

Our first stop, which turned out to be a very long walk from the subway, was the U.S.S Intrepid,

For those of you who are history buffs, here is more detailed information on this awesome ship:

Before boarding the Intrepid, we had the chance to tour the USS Growler submarine (at the same location), which was a bit creepy, but cool nonetheless. The entire interior was painted in a putrid pea green color and smelled dank, to put it nicely. I could hardly imagine how these poor men spent months at a time in the frigid waters off Russia trapped in this coffin-like vessel. As we made our way through it, I experienced palpable claustrophobia, which I was not aware I suffered from, until boarding this submarine.

For those of of you who are history buffs, here is more detailed information on this arguably creepy submarine:

I rarely pose for photographs, but couldn't pass up the opportunity to pose in front of the Top Gun fighter jet. My regular blog readers know I have a bit of Top Gun obsession, so this was quite a treat for me. I even found myself humming Danger Zone in my head as Catherine posed me for the perfect shot. If I don't look too closely at the photo, I think I can make out a vague resemblance to Kelly McGillis in the original Top Gun, who played Charlotte "Charlie" Blackwood, Mavericks' love interest. Most likely, wishful thinking.

We got to see some really interesting exhibits abroad the Intrepid, including the space shuttle, Enterprise. We can now proudly say that we have seen two of the space shuttle fleet up close and in person.

One of the low points of the day, which got me contemplating an early return home, was losing Garin on the Intrepid (an 873 foot ship, for those of you who didn't read up on it above). He went missing for some very long and unspecified period of time, which was quite distressing. This happened as we were leaving. He decided it would be amusing to find an alternative way off the ship, to the one we were taking. Not only did it scare the hell out of me and anger me beyond words, but almost caused us to miss our reserved time at our next attraction. During COVID we all know that you can't show up late for those etched-in-stone reservation times, made weeks, if not months in advance. If I recall correctly, after we finally found him, we all gave him the silent treatment for another long and unspecified period of time.

Our next stop was the Circle Line Cruise, which took us around all of the famous New York landmarks, from the water, of course. Seeing Lady Liberty up close, was definitely one of the highlights of trip to New York. However, we were a bit disappointed at the narrator of our tour who mumbled the entire time and was barely audible. We missed all the New York history and fun facts we (especially Garin) had anticipated learning, but we made the best of it by enjoying the cool breeze and breathtaking sights.

The Brooklyn Bridge was another highlight of the Circle Line tour. Although these photos don't do it justice, the bridge was even more breathtaking than one can imagine, as we passed under it.

After our boat tour, later in the afternoon, Miles lost his backpack. This was another low point of the day that got me contemplating my sanity for even embarking on this trip in the first place. He only discovered it missing after we were already in the subway station, many, many blocks from where we surmised he left it. We had to leave the subway and walk all the way back to get it, which probably took another hour. By the grace of god and some very helpful staff at the hotel where he left it, while using the bathroom, we found it.. Nonetheless, after a very long day with much chaos, I was even more visibly annoyed with certain members my little clan, after this unfortunate incident.

We managed to salvage the evening when I got a rather off-the-wall idea to take the subway from where we were (Hell's Kitchen, to be exact) to Harlem for soul food. We ate at Amy Ruth's, where we all got some form of waffles (I couldn't resist the fried chicken and waffles), which was out-of-this world. After all the mishaps of the day, the comfort food and lively ambience were exactly what we needed.

We took the subway back to our hotel in midtown, from Harlem, which landed us in Grand Central Station. It had not been on the jam-packed sightseeing itinerary that day, but I was so thrilled the kids were able to see this iconic landmark.

I've been known to do just about anything to get a good shot, so I was thrilled to get this one of the kids in a nearly empty Grand Central Terminal - something I have never seen before.

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