Cruise 10, New York, Vacations

Vacation 2010: New York (Part Three)

(You can read parts one and two here).

If you’re just tuning in, my husband was in a motorcycle accident back in April – a pretty serious accident. He crushed his pelvis, had to have three surgeries and when we went to New York? He had only been up and walking for three weeks. (I know!)

The first day we spent the day riding the New York subways and walking all over New York (okay, not really, but it felt like it), the second day I meant to take it easy on him. I had every intention of letting the man rest.


Only, it didn’t quite work out that way.

Now before you go and think I was a cruel and heartless task master and wielded a whip over the man’s head, I didn’t. In fact, I begged him to stay around the hotel and just take it easy. The boys and I would go around the city, take pictures and show him later.

But he refused (just one of the reasons I love him so much – his stubborn streak) and he insisted on coming with us. Since we were only planning on going to Rockefeller Center and Central Park later, I thought, what could it hurt?

Famous last words.

Look at those geniune, relaxed smiles!
We headed out to Rockefeller Center. The highlight of our New York trip, for the boys, was our trip to Nintendo World.

The boys are big-time gamers. BIG TIME. They live for games. They talk, eat, sleep, breathe games. So getting a chance to visit the Nintendo World Store in New York City was a dream come true.

When we finally located the store (we got a bit turned around trying to find it), the boys actually broke out into smiles. Even Kevin got into the excitement and we spent an hour roaming around the store and looking at all the Nintendo goodies. (I confess, I was a bit disappointed with the store. I was expecting something bigger and flashier, but the boys really seemed to enjoy themselves while we were there so …)

I told the boys that they could pick out one souvenir; I’ve never seen them put so much thought into shopping before.

What to buy ... what to buy ...

Dude ended up picking this character and Jazz picked this thing. I don’t know man, I don’t even pretend to know who these characters are or try to understand the appeal, but *shrug* to each his own, I suppose.

One good thing about hanging out at the Nintendo store though, it gave Kevin a chance to catch his breath and relax for a bit.

"Pa-PER" (Inside joke)

A dragon made out of Legos hanging from the ceiling at the Lego store. Cool.
We walked across the square and went into the Lego store. Again, I was a little disappointed – I was expecting something BIGGER and FLASHIER! I mean, we were in New York, everything was bigger and flashier. But it was a nice, two-story store with a bunch of Lego sets for sale along with a tower filled with an assortment of various Legos of every shape and color that kids could buy by filling up a cup for such-and-such price.

Can you imagine trying to get that cup of odd Legos home?

We headed back to the Subway after the Lego store. I think now, we should have just stuck around Rockefeller Center and hung out for a while. But instead, we spent our time trying to find somewhere to eat (we ended up at some Chinese joint), and navigating an indoor mall.

Since we didn’t spend that much time at Rockefeller Center and had some time to spare, I made the stupid brilliant suggestion of going to Grand Central Station. I had read about it in the tour book and they recommended going if for no other reason than to appreciate the architecture.

Standing at the heart of Rockefeller Center.

Again, I was thinking about Kevin. I knew he was getting tired (he was also sweating profusely – not only because it was hot outside, but because his body was working overtime trying to keep up) and I figured, “HEY! We’ll get to Grand Central Station, sit down, people watch for a bit and then head back to the hotel.”

Sounds like such a simple plan, doesn’t it?

Erhm … no.

Here’s why …

We found our way back out to the Subway platform from Rockefeller Center. We got on our train, then got off on the stop we needed to transfer trains – the “F” train. The “F” train platform is two floors down, this meant stairs, a lot of stairs. Not so bad going down, but hell for Kevin going back up.

Once we got off the “F” train and up the stairs from hell, we then had to walk another 1/2 mile before actually getting to Grand Central Station.

True. It was impressive.

New York '10

Yes. The building was magnificent.

New York '10

But until I could find someplace for poor Kevin to sit down, I didn’t really pay attention to the beauty or appreciate the magnificence because my poor husband was now a puddle of sweaty goo.

To my horror, and EXTREME annoyance, there was no place to sit down unless you wanted to go into a restaurant and buy something.

New York '10

Now I ask you, what sort of station doesn’t have places to sit?? (Though I’m sure it’s because New York doesn’t want to encourage homeless people from sleeping in the station – I get that, but STILL).

Now normally, this wouldn’t have been a problem. However, Kevin really needed to sit down and rest and since we couldn’t find any place to sit down, we did a “National Lampoon’s Vacation” moment: we looked around Grand Central Station, nodded, said, “Yep. Here we are. It’s quite grand” and then left.

We were there probably about five minutes, tops.

We walked the 1/2 mile BACK to the “F” train and were able to snag a bench for Kevin. He sat to catch his breath. Only, it was super hot (there is absolutely no air in the Subways until the cars whizzed by) so I know he couldn’t have been very comfortable.

We walked the two flights back down to the “F” train and back up two flights of stairs to reach our street. We made it back to the hotel and Kevin just collapsed onto the bed from sheer exhaustion.

Keep in mind that this whole trip? He was ONLY using his cane. He had nothing to lean on and help support him.

I felt terrible. I mean, really awful. I thought it would be such a simple trip out to Grand Central Station, that he would have a chance to catch his breath before we started back and … no. If I had had any inkling that there would be so much walking and then no place to sit down, I never would have suggested it.

Trust me when I say, Grand Central Station was Kevin’s least favorite part of this entire trip. 😦

We spent the rest of the afternoon at the hotel so Kevin could rest. We ate dinner at the Green Cafe

Then we headed to Central Park.

With his walker.

We hadn’t used his walker up to this point, but after our afternoon fiasco, well, I’m really glad we had it because it really helped him get around a lot easier.

Central Park was gorgeous.

New York '10

It’s so amazing that the city planners put this gorgeous, wooded piece of land in the middle of the madness that is New York City.

New York '10

Central Park is literally a breath of fresh air after the noisy, crowded New York streets.

New York '10

A sweet haven from the madness.

I can see why New Yorkers love it so much.

There were runners, bikers, families with strollers, young lovers sprawled on the grass making out (that was uncomfortable) and even an amusement park for the kiddies.

New York '10

When we happened upon a clearing that had five baseball fields on it, we stopped to rest.

New York '10

Though it was still hot, it wasn’t AS hot and we savored the cool breeze while we watched a variety of different baseball games.

Many of the benches had small plaques that people had paid for with various messages on them. This one was my favorite.

The trip to Central Park was balm on our Grand Central Station wound.

New York '10

We didn’t get to explore Central Park very much. The evening was wearing on and we were ALL getting pretty tired by that time, but we saw enough to satisfy our curiosity.

(I apologize for the shakiness – Dude took this while we were walking through, but I thought you might be interested in watching it. You can see me helping Kevin at one point – I had my arm around him because we were walking up an incline and I was gently “pushing” him so it wouldn’t be quite so hard for him).

Even though we were only in New York two days, it felt like a week. We did a lot. We saw a lot, but not nearly enough. I’d like to go back someday. Maybe take in a Broadway show (if I can bring myself to cough up the money [expensive!]), visit the 911 Memorial, but I don’t see that happening any time soon.

Though New York fascinated me, I have to be honest, it simply wasn’t my bag of tea. I didn’t care for the noise, the sensory overload, the feeling I was being stuffed into a sardine can of humanity – I much prefer my soft, quiet, slow-paced town in the middle of nowhere.

But I’m glad we went. It was quite an experience.

Thanks for reading along. I’ll write about our cruise next.