Cruise 10, New York, Vacations

Vacation 2010: New York (Part Two)

See the boys' serious faces? I think it's safe to say they weren't exactly loving New York.

We slept well in New York, despite the fact that there is an infestation of bed bugs (and many other places, apparently). We were first clued in to the bed bug problem by all of the ads for getting rid of bed bugs on TV. Though we know what bed bugs are (sort of), it never dawned on us that it could become such a problem that an entire city had to advertise to get rid of them. They hang out in hotels and snuggle down into suitcases so that the unsuspecting traveler inadvertently takes them home with them.

You can imagine how that could quickly become a country-wide problem.

But so far, it looks like we left those critters back in New York – at least no one has come forward with tiny little bites all over their body.

One night, we were woken up at 3:00 in the morning by loud pounding. You’d be hard pressed to NOT find any sort of construction going on in New York and our street was no exception. In fact, a few doors down, they had imploded a building (not while we were there), and were working on building it back from the ground up. WHY they were working at 3:00 in the morning is beyond me, but it was very annoying to wake up to. Seven o’clock in the morning I can understand, but three o’clock in the morning?? Listen here New York, YOU may not like to sleep but WE do!

Other than that, Kevin and I slept fine. Dude and Jazz, on the other hand, didn’t get much sleep. One was always kicking the other or hogging covers so they spent the majority of the night trying to find comfortable positions or silently cursing each other.

Heading to the subway.
Because Kevin had only been walking for three weeks and really couldn’t physically handle a lot of activity, we purposefully kept our itinerary low key. I really wanted to see the Statue of Liberty and Central Park and Kevin really wanted to see Times Square, so we made plans to try and squeeze those things in.

We decided to go to the Staten Island Ferry first. (If I had known our cruise boat would sail right past The Statue of Liberty [in fact, it got a lot closer than the ferry did] we would have skipped this activity all together. Ah, for the gift of foresight).

But we needed to find a way there. I didn’t want to spend half our vacation budget on taxis, but I wasn’t sure if Kevin would be able to handle the subway, mainly the stairs down into the subway. So, we asked the front desk if there was a handicap accessible entrance anywhere close and luckily, there was one one block away. We used the elevator to get down into the subway, purchased our Metro cards and waited for our train to arrive.

Now, we have some experience with subways from our trip to Washington D.C. a few years back, so we knew what to expect. And to my surprise, the cars weren’t all that crowded (but filled up fast around rush hour). And we easily navigated the subway routes while we were there, though not all of our stations had an elevator for Kevin. So he ended up navigating way more stairs than we thought he would have to. But as usual, he handled his discomfort like a champ.

Standing in front of a forest-y looking divider at a subway station.

The ride out to Staten Island was quite long. We must have gone through close to ten stops before we reached the one we needed. As usual, there was a lot of construction going on, so it was noisy and a bit congested as people had to walk around it, but we entered the HUGE building. There weren’t that many people there (though it filled up close to the time another ferry was scheduled to arrive) and Kevin had a chance to sit down and take a load off while we waited for the ferry.

New York '10

We waited about thirty minutes, boarded the ferry and started making our way across the harbor.

New York '10

I actually ended up on the wrong side of the ferry (the Statue of Liberty was on the other side), and it was so crowded that I didn’t even try and make it – I would just make sure I was on that side on the way back. In the meantime, we spent a relaxing fifteen minutes or so admiring the New York skyline.

New York '10

We made it to Staten Island, read a little about it’s history, grabbed some hot dogs wrapped in pretzels and then caught another ferry on the way back to Manhattan.

New York '10

This time, I made sure I could see the Statue of Liberty.

New York '10

A myriad of emotions washed over me when I finally saw her: pride, freedom, accomplishment, strength, confidence, hope … it was amazing. There is just something … awe-inspiring about actually seeing the Statue of Liberty. She’s beautiful and it was interesting to watch people gaze at her. The boat got quiet as we passed her and you could almost reach out and touch American Patriotism.

It wasn’t nearly as crowded on the ride back and we sat back and enjoyed the cool breeze.

New York '10

We got back on the subway and rode uptown toward Times Square.

Though there were more people on the subway by this time, they were surprisingly quiet. I guess I was expecting there to be a lot of chatter, but there wasn’t, everyone kept to himself/herself. And it was interesting to see the number of people who offered Kevin a seat, which we thought was really nice (of course, I later found out that they are required to give up their seat if a disabled person is in the vicinity – it’s the law. So … even though I’m sure they were being nice, I’m also sure they were sort of forced to be nice).

How cool is it that the truck behind Kevin says "Inspire."
We arrived at the Times Square stop, walked up the stairs and out into pure chaos.

It was loud.

It was noisy.

It was crowded.

It was completely overwhelming.

I felt like I was in a movie – I turned around and kept being bombarded by over stimulation. There was so much to see, so much to hear, so many people pressing in on us from all sides – it was insane.

The boys almost immediately shut down. I’m pretty sure they frowned the whole time we were in Times Square. They didn’t care for it, at all. Kevin was fascinated.

We didn’t stick around Times Square too long, Kevin was starting to get really tired so we headed back to the blessed quiet of our hotel room.

We stuck around the hotel room and rested until rush hour was over, then we walked a few doors down from our hotel to a quaint cafe to eat dinner.

Even though Kevin didn’t complain, I could tell that our day had taken a lot out of him, poor guy. So, I told him the next day we would take it easy on him.

Unfortunately, I lied.

(… to be continued)