“It will help me become a more rounded individual…I would hate to go to college without and real travel experience…It will give us some great mother-daughter time…You always said you wanted to go back to New York… If I can make it there, I’ll make it anywhere.” This was the laundry list of reasons I gave my mom on why we should take a trip to New York, just the two of us. Within a couple weeks, we had everything planned, reserved and booked with three months time to spare; all we had left to do was sit back and wait for our June tenth departure date.
The night before my mother and I embarked on our week long trip to New York, we were checking all of our flight plans and reservations, like the good little travelers we are; airline tickets: check, shuttle from LaGuardia Airport to hotel: check, hotel reservations… ” I’m sorry, but our systems hold no record of your reservation, and the hotel is completely booked up, I’m sorry for any inconvenience,” ladies and gentlemen, we have just lost cabin pressure. With T-minus 11 hours until our flight departure from Ft Lauderdale international airport, the living room turned into a miniature intelligence agency, complete with one desktop computer, two laptops, a home phone, three cell phones and four people frantically trying to make last minute hotel reservations. After two hours of navigating internet travel sites, less-than-friendly hotel operators and a limited budget, we finally managed to book a private room with communal bathrooms down the hall at the luxurious YMCA, home of three foot wide showers with two foot wide shower curtains.
The YMCA slightly resembled a jail cell, it was an eight by ten room with a bunk bed, but we were in the big apple and that was what really mattered. Not wanting to waste any time, we immediately hit the subway equipped with maps, cameras, and a bad sense of direction. Every time we pulled out a map, to figure out where to go next, a New York local would walk over and offer great directions to get us on our way.
My mom and I played the picture perfect tourists and hit all the typical hot spots: the Merrill Lynch Bull, Rockefeller plaza, Grand Central Station, FAO Schwartz, Toys-R-Us, the Statue of Liberty, Elis Island, Times Square, The American Museum of Natural History, Central Park, and Ground Zero. We also managed to see some not-so-advertised sites like homeless people napping on benches, men urinating on sidewalks, and a drunk throwing up on the subway.
While in New York my mom’s cousin called from Connecticut and quite frankly, guilt tripped us into taking a train to visit for a couple days. We trudged our luggage all through the city and up and down subway stairs, which was no easy feat, but we finally made it to Grand Central Station and were on a train headed to Connecticut. My grandfather had been one of twelve children and besides him, they all lived in Connecticut, which meant I had tons of relatives, whom I had never met. Each and every relative embraced me as if we had known each other for years and I immediately felt like a part of something bigger. We spent two entire days telling hilarious stories and exploring Connecticut. My Cousin Ray even took me and my mom out to Mohawk Mountain where we picked wild raspberries. The most meaningful and extraordinary part of my trip to New York, was Connecticut because I developed a new appreciation for family.
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