Tuesday, March 26, 2013

NYC: Day 4

It was our last day in NYC, and we had to get up early in order to get breakfast at the hotel (which was a very expensive organic-based restaurant with $9 juices), and catch a cab to go Circle Line Cruises, where our "Statue of Libery Cruise" was taking off. They only had one tour a day that was a) specifically went around that statue and 2) was less than 2 hours long. And yes, NYC has a lot to look at, and yes, John, the tour guide was very informative about the history of events that took place on the Hudson River. But keeping my child in a seat for two hours, isn't an easy thing, particularly when you get there 30 minutes early to make sure you get a seat on the inside of the boat, because the temperature had dropped a bit and it was a big windy next to the river. The CityPass is good for a limited number of cruises, and it seemed like a good way to see the city (and New Jersey). :-)

X-man did really well though. He chewed some gum and listened intently. He tried not to get too bothered by the fact that the tour guide kept asking people to take their seats. John had explained that everyone on both sides of the boat would get equal time to see the same things. He explained that the boat would even be turning around at the statue so that both sides could get a good view. You couldn't actually go to see the Statue when we were there because it was closed following some damage to the island and the docks from hurricane Sandy last fall.

X-man and I had read all about the statue, so he knew it was built in France and got shipped over. He was also excited that in its heyday, over 98 percent of the people who came to America were let into America to be citizens when they came to Ellis Island (including his great grandparents).

After our boat ride, we walked right next door to the Intrepid Museum. The Intrepid is an air craft carrier that was in service from the 1940s through the 1970s. This is totally MacTroll's kind of museum. It was expensive to get into $22 for adults and $17 for children ages 7-17. The first exhibit we went on was actually a Growler submarine from WWII. It was tiny and held 90 guys, and as we were walking through it (you have to pass a "door test" before you board, because if you can't get through the sub doors at the beginning of the line, you can't get through the sub below), all I could think about was how it must have smelled. We saw only 4 toilets and a few showers.

X-man had specific questions about how long it took for everyone to learn what all the freaking buttons did. I could tell he was doing his best not to reach out and start pushing every one of them.

We made our way through the museum seeing all of the various aircraft on top of the carrier. The space shuttle Enterprise and the Concord exhibits were closed that day, but we had seen the Enterprise at her original museum home in D.C. when X-man was 2. It was never used to orbit space, so that made it "less cool" or something like that. But it was also recovering from Sandy storm damage.

Then we ate lunch at an Au Bon Pain down by the exhibits about the mess halls. Let me say that if you are in the Navy, and the Intrepid is any indication, you get a whole lot more space to sleep and move about on an air craft carrier than you do on a sub. I'm just saying... in case anyone was thinking of joining up.

We returned to the top area of the museum and found the "children's area." X-man played for over an hour at all the exhibits where he could pretend to be a helicopter pilot, attempt to put his hands in thick astronaut gear gloves and try to do things like attach valves or remove bungie cords or other simple tasks that are not so simple in giant gloves.

They also had a light signal for Morse Code and a "warning" alarm that X-man liked to set off and try to get other children to play with him. His favorite though was the astronaut cone that put two people in a very cramped spot for re-entry back in the day. It had a bunch of buttons that X-man could push all that he wanted.

After the museum, we walked a couple of blocks and hailed a cab. Metro fair was $2.50 per person each way. Taking a taxi down 42nd street was $12. We were good on the subway, except for a few people who were slightly annoyed by X-man's constant questioning on our second day. One moved two seats away from us, another switched seats to the other side. He was asking things like how people got into the tunnels to vandalize them with spray paint, and did they ever get hit by the trains because they were going very fast, and "Why is that man asking everyone on the train for money. He's a soldier, are we supposed to give him some?" when the man is 3 feet away. Or my favorite, "How many stops is it now?"

In the cab, he was fascinated by the fact that they have Touch Screen TVs, that are like airport TVs, they repeat the same news and game show questions every 10 minutes. I'm sure it would drive me nuts if I drove a cab.

That night, we took the metro to Times Square. X-man liked that when he looked up at the sky it was dark, but down on the street it was like daylight from all the screens and lit up billboards. He was, however, dismayed that that's all it was. A bunch of people with some lit up advertising. So, we ducked into a Disney Store (after noticing the trend of regular people to dress up in really old superhero and Sesame Street costumes) and charge a couple of bucks for folks to get their pictures taken with them.

In Disney, X-man looked around and keyed up Phineas and Ferb shorts and a Jack and the Neverland Pirates short on their big TV screen, and then we walked a couple blocks back toward the Metro and got dinner at The Counter.

We were seated next to two NYPD cops. X-man was excited to see them and said hello. Halfway through dinner as we were talking about all the places we'd been that week, one of them leaned over and handed me some fun playing cards. They were three "baseball card" like items that featured three of the dogs in their K-9 unit.

We read all about the dogs, which required me to research what the heck "Vapor" detection was. (Gotta be impressed with a Chocolate Lab that can smell an explosive 15 minutes after it's left the area and then track it down.) The owner of the restaurant kept offering them steak to take their dogs. But the officers refused. The dogs ate a specific kind of kibble. They didn't touch anything else.

After dinner, we took the subway back to our room. X-man was excited to watch the show Tanked! While MacTroll and I packed up to leave for home the next day. It was a very busy trip, but it was all the fun a 7 year old could muster. He wants to go back in the summer and play in Central Park and visit the penguins to see if Tango and her fathers are still alive (even though he knows they're not a couple any more).

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