I don’t remember if I ever had to write the stereotypical back-to-school essay, but it’s September, and we actually had a cool vacation this year. Sweet Husband and I took Crazy Son, Special Girlfriend, Wise-guy Son and Imp Son to New York City for a few days.
We stayed at the Holland Motor Lodge in Jersey City – clean, affordable, close to public transit into NYC, and as it happens, very near some fine eating establishments.
Saturday: Supper at Bertucci’s Brick Oven Ristorante – wonderful food, and we drained their supply of raspberry iced tea. We trekked into NYC, strolled Times Square, and navigated through the Hershey’s store when I’m sure it was close to the Fire Marshall’s maximum load limit. (Some of us are introverts with large personal space zones.)
Sunday: Despite a preference to avoid Sunday shopping, we visited the Century 21 discount store (how can something claim to be 1) New York’s second most popular shopping destination and simultaneously 2) its best-kept secret?), had Charly’s famous chili dogs for lunch, and caught two shows: Mary Poppins on Broadway at the New Amsterdam Theatre and a family-friendly “Eight is Never Enough” improv comedy show.
Monday: The three teens explored the Ripleys’ Believe It Or Not! Odditorium while the rest of us made a pilgrimage to the Lindt store and a Barnes and Noble. Lunch at the Hard Rock Café (wonderful french fries, and great milkshakes). We left Wise-guy Son at the hotel and the rest of us headed out to see the Mets trounce the Astros. The starting pitcher stayed in the whole game and almost bagged a shut-out. Extreme thirst made me shell out $4 for a bottle of water. Extortion, anyone? The hotdogs were just as high. Taking the train home from the game sure beat sitting in traffic.
Tuesday: Imp Son and I headed for a Borders while Crazy Son and Special Girlfriend did Macy’s. Wise-guy Son and Sweet Husband chased down some tickets to Phantom of the Opera. Some of us had “Chocolate Therapy” at Ben & Jerry’s, and the rest ingested lots of ice cream too. Late supper took us back to Bertucci’s where we discovered another wonderful meal but a distinct lack of raspberry iced tea. Crazy Son looked so sad, the waitress was rather concerned until she discovered we were the probable culprits. He’s taken up Vitamin Water as a substitute.
Wednesday: Early start for train and bus ride to Six Flags Great Adventure, in New Jersey. Aside from Sweet Husband’s headache (who knew I should bring the whole bottle of Advil LiquiGels®?) we had a blast. The tigers put on an interesting demonstration, but my most vivid memory is of El Toro, the wooden roller coaster. Crazy Son talked Special Girlfriend and Foolish Mother (yes, that’s me) into the ride. NOW I read on the website that “El Toro features the steepest drop of any wooden roller coaster in the country at a record-breaking 76 degrees.” The first words to cross my lips as it stopped were “Thank You, Jesus” – for keeping me alive, or just that it was over, I don’t know. Looking back, I’m glad I went. I had my eyes closed, but Special Girlfriend said hats were flying everywhere.
Thursday: We were kind of draggy after the long day before, but we had a nice visit to the Central Park Zoo. I’d like to spend a whole day there. Pre-zoo, we stopped at the ESPN Zone. Television monitors in the bathrooms so you don’t miss a play? Hmm. But the desserts… we ordered something called “Chocolate Chip Cookie Sundaes”. Much bigger than we expected, given the moderate price. One is enough for two people. A huge cookie (I had mine cold, the default is heated) piled with excellent ice cream and whipped cream, with chocolate sauce…. Wonderful stuff. Then for supper we found a place called the Evergreen Diner. It wasn’t glossy or high-priced – just fast and with terrific food. Bummer for me, I wasn’t hungry (guess who finished all of her sundae when some of the others wimped out?) Imp Son and I went to Toys R Us (it has a Ferris Wheel) and back to the hotel, while the others attended Phantom at the Majestic Theatre.
Friday: All day travelling, because the two-part flight was significantly less expensive than the direct one. First stop on Canadian soil was Pearson Airport’s Tim Horton’s for some genuine steeped tea. I think they make it better in Nova Scotia.
Sparkling magic sights:
· something in the Times Square sidewalks sparkles when it catches the light, day or night
· a shiny black dragonfly with glittering wings paused on Imp Son’s hat, but didn’t linger for a photo
· tiny, glossy bubbles floated to greet us from the zoo
· the polar bear put on an underwater show… the bubbles and dust motes he stirred up sparkled in the light
· the Nicobar pigeon’s feathers shimmered as he flew through the bird exhibit
· oh, and my “Fish can fly” shirt that I bought at the Hard Rock Café sparkles too.
© Janet Sketchley, 2008
For devotionals, reviews and conversation, stop by Janet Sketchley's blog, God with Us: Finding Joy.