A Drive By 8/1/10

Date:                           August 1, 2010                      


Location:                    Plattekill, NY




            If it is 6:30 in the morning it must be time to get up on your day off.  That is it must be time to get up on you day off if your desire is to take your family into the metropolis of New York and give them just a tiny taste of what being in a very large city is like.  Yesterday, that is exactly what Connie and I wanted to do.  We didn’t know that was what we wanted to do until our family arrived for an all too short weekend visit.  But, that is what we decided we were going to do and sleeping our day away was not even an option.


            Our original plan was to “chill out” and enjoy the campground for our quick summer visit with our North Collins family.  Connie had stocked our larder, we had wheedled a day off on the weekend, and our family had arrived safe, sound and with new plans.  Our grandson thought it would be nice to have a “drive by” of the city.  It was his first visit.  It was the family’s first visit and why not, at least get a quick glimpse of the “Big Apple.”  It is, by the way, just a city and only a few miles away, so why not just “drive by” for a quick peek.


            Well, if you have ever been near New York City or even looked into its monumental offerings you realize that there is no way to “drive by”, but if you try you can put a lot into one day and leave this beautiful, large and experienced filled place with a treasure trove of new memories and enriching experiences.  So, at 6:30 Connie and I were awake and getting ready to give our visitors a snapshot view of the Big Apple.  Maybe we could even impart some of our love and wonder of the city on our country cousin family members.  North Collins, New York has fewer people in the whole town than most single buildings in Manhattan.  It must be adventure time and the Big Apple is beckoning.


            There are many ways to get to the center of activity in New York.  We choose to expose our family to the Staten Island Ferry as we had so enjoyed on our first excursion into the city this summer.  The ferry is about 2 hour away and if one decides to put there GPS in adventure mode it can be a very pretty drive along the Hudson River and through the palisades that line the large commercially navigable highway of water.  Our adventure was off to an early and pleasantly calm beginning.  I was the navigator this time and as such I actually got to enjoy the view a lot more this time then on our last excursion.  Our day was beginning on a really good note.


            Just north of the city we decided to head to the more intelligent avenue into the city.  Or at least we thought I was the more intelligent path.  We turned of our secondary road and thought we were heading to one of the main arteries to the southern end of New York and the ferry on Staten Island.  Bob was to get is first taste of New York City driving.  Leadda, or Sacce’s cousin Bob and Heidi’s GPS, took us to  the first of three bridges and one tunnel that we needed to get to the free ferry ride into New York City.  The free ferry ride cost us well over twenty-five dollars in tolls, not to mention the price of gas.  Oh well New York here we come.  As we turned off of the secondary avenue calm and beauty we entered the crowd of seven million cars that had decided to go the exact same way into the city that Leadda had chosen.  Welcome to New York Bob.


            The desire to make Bob’s drive by of New York the least amount stressful anxiety as possible failed just a bit.  Leadda dropped us off on the Hudson Parkway.  That is the highway that that runs down the Hudson River side of Manhattan Island.  We drove right through the busiest borrow of New York on our way to the less busy parking lot on Staten Island.  Cool, I was not driving and Bob was not talking. The traffic was not nearly as bad as one might imagine.  Once we got past the 42 Lanes of bumper cars trying to get into the 2 lanes of traffic headed onto the bridge, traffic was not that bad.  Or, from my navigator and passenger perspective, traffic was quite calm considering we were driving down Manhattan’s west side.  They did want a drive by didn’t they.


            Somehow on our way to the bridge that led to the bridge that led to the tunnel that led to the ferry we managed to drive past the Intrepid museum, the cruise ship docking area and finally ground zero.  Really cool, and the day was just beginning.  We had the Staten Island Ferry, the Statue of Liberty and all of New York in our day’s future.  We managed to make it safely out of Manhattan so we could get a ferry and come back into Manhattan via the sail by the Statue of Liberty.  It was part of why we had come to New York and, I hoped, well worth the effort.  My success will be measured in the memories of our family as they choose to remember the day.  As for me, being in one of the biggest city in the world, having the chance to show off some of what it has to offer and enjoying it with my family is kind of great and it definitely will fill my memory bank with new, warm, experiences.


            To describe our day would be unfair of me.  I am a lover of big city life and the constant over stimulation of people, sights and sounds.  How that is perceived and how it translates in the memory banks of our visitors will be up to them to evaluate.  We did get to see many of the iconic views of New York.  We did get to spend our five minutes in Times Square and we managed to get kind of lost on the subway under New York.  We walked and walked and walked some more.  We covered the center south of Manhattan Island and even had a pub dinner in the village.  We stood in the lobby of the Empire State Building, and even saw the Naked Cowboy.  Beth got to pose near the theater that is home to An American Idiot; her favorite group’s Broadway Musical, and Bob got a new pair of shoes from a store near Times Square. 


            From my perspective, the day was an accomplished major success.  It was not nearly a full view or example of what New York has to offer.  It was a real taste of what might be possible.  I do not think we scarred our visitors off from ever visiting again.  And maybe we even whetted their appetite to experience big city life again.  They may not want to live there, but I know our granddaughter wants to return to attend a play on Broadway.  Maybe not walk quite as far next time, but still to return and sample a little more of what can be experienced in the Big Apple.


            I will return to the city as soon as the opportunity presents itself.  I am not sure that desire is tantamount in everyone’s mind.  Central Park is still on the list of places we all want to explore.  Maybe a slightly less expansive itinerary would be advantages.  And maybe few more prior plans would have been beneficial.  But as a “Drive By” yesterday seemed to be an unexpected success.  Our day lasted from early morning until late into the night.  We all needed and enjoyed the night’s sleep that punctuated the end of our day. And the pictures are pretty cool.  Memories have been implanted and the value of each is now under development.  The value and full meaning of each of our memories will be expressed in the future as we all reflex back on our quickly planed and grandson inspired drive by exploration of New York City.