May 25, 2018

Big Apple Getaway

In late March I previewed this lengthier post of the Rising Family’s trip to New York City. Why did we go? I had completed my work assignment at the New York International Auto Show. I was there already, so the Rising Family™ re-formed in the city. None of us had toured the Big Apple before and it was a chance to see one of the world’s greatest cities. Simple as that.
Day 1: We booked a room near Times Square on 8th Ave. We picked the TopView hop-on hop-off double-decker tour bus company to get around Manhattan . We soon dubbed it “StinkoView” owing to its quirky management. Yet the tour on our first night in the city was excellent. 
We rode on the upper deck. Saw the night scenes from Times Square all the way downtown, then out over the Manhattan Bridge, into Brooklyn and back. It was a cool, misty and rainy evening, but the novelty of seeing the city at night made up for it. For whatever reason I thought of one of the first Martin Scorsese movies I’d ever ingested, After Hours. This flick invaded my imagination again after lying dormant for decades. The brain works in mysterious ways.

Day 2: Next morning we boarded the StinkoView bus and traced the same route from the night before amid grey skies. It took us to lower Manhattan and the September 11 memorial. There were many “guides”, many genuine “I was there” personal recollections I overheard. Likely more than a few hustlers, too—very New Yawk that way—but the somber feeling was palpable. A long line to get into the museum meant I will do this tour solo at some point in the future. We skipped the museum and departed after observing the Freedom Tower and the reflecting pool embossed with the names of all the victims. I was taken aback by the smaller scale of the place where the twin towers once stood, because the carnage wrought in that space loomed so large in my head.

We “ubered” over to the nearby Battery Park City ferry terminal to catch the WaterStinko tour of the Manhattan skyline. This aquatic circuit took us down the Hudson River past the NJ shore, Ellis Island, and then to the Statue of Liberty. 
Even with clear blue skies, the wind was chilly with supremely-invigorating sea air! At one point, Naomi and I giggled because the “ride past important harbor attractions” sales pitch meant “from a distance.” The TopView staff had always been friendly but not exactly attentive to detail or 100% truthful about what our $150 had bought us. It turned out fine. We took in the sights of these world-famous places which symbolize the American experience. All the while, we were politely jostling with other tourists for the best photo and selfie-taking spots on the boat.
Lunch in Chinatown (Shanghai 21) was yummy, then a stressful subway ride to 34th street. Toured the Empire State Building which was a throwback to our trip to Dubai and scaling the Burj Khalifa. I enjoyed the 1930s vibe.

More to come...

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