By Rebecca Borman
After my great stay in Dupont Circle, it was on to the second part of my East Coast Swing, New York City. This year’s visit would be made special by the fact that I was sharing it with my son Erik, his wife Josey, and their kids Mackenzie and Carter.
Our trip started at DC’s Union Station. Mackenzie and Carter had never been on a train, so they were very excited when we all met up that morning…..
We waited impatiently to learn which track our train would be on, and when the info popped up on the sign we, like everyone else, made a dash for the gate, with Carter in the lead. Five of us dragging suitcases and other bags were quite a spectacle, I imagine. When we got to the gate, an Amtrak employee noticed me and said: “Senior citizens have early boarding. All of you, come this way.” Sometimes it pays to be old. We enjoyed our train ride immensely, and the kids were very excited when we could see the NYC skyline. Before long we were in the Big Apple.
Our accommodation was a VRBO in SoHo, which we thought would be a great location. It was also a three-floor walk-up. Yikes! Once again dragging our suitcases, we made our ascent and stepped into a bright and very modern three-bedroom apartment. It didn’t take long for us to set out for a walk to acquaint ourselves with the area and to find somewhere to have dinner. We enjoyed our meal at what was clearly a local favorite restaurant, and on our way home bought a few groceries at a busy Whole Foods.
When we were planning the trip, we wondered how to choose what to do in our three-day visit. We decided that each of us would pick one “must-do” activity, and we would add in other things as they fit into our days. Mackenzie asked to see the Statue of Liberty and to visit the 911 Memorial and Museum. Since it was rainy on our first morning, a museum seemed like a good idea, so off we went. Our first job was to buy Metro cards. We talked to the kids about riding the subway and came up with a plan that would ensure that there would always be an adult on their side of the turnstile. Making sure we were heading in the right direction…Downtown…we were on our way.
I can’t say enough about the Memorial and Museum. We spent hours inside the Museum and then walked around the Memorial, which is so peaceful. A volunteer answered Erik’s questions about the symbolism of the design, and then gave us a quick personal tour. It was a morning well spent……
And from there it was a short walk down to Battery Park, where we could see the Statue of Liberty. We decided that, while we would love to visit the Statue and Ellis Island, that was for another trip. Mackenzie and Carter were satisfied to see The Lady from a distance.
After a rest and change of clothes back in our apartment, we were heading Uptown. Erik’s must-do activity was a Broadway show, and we’d chosen to see My Fair Lady. Josey had the idea to have dinner before the show at Tavern on the Green, and what a fun meal that was. And it was an easy walk to the Vivian Beaumont Theater at Lincoln Center, where we enjoyed a wonderful show. Day 1 was definitely a success!
Carter’s must-do was the Empire State Building. He had also hoped to have a really good New York bagel, so those were our goals for the second day. Erik did some research and identified what was supposed to be the best bagels in Manhattan, just blocks away from the Empire State Building. We rode the subway, going Uptown this time, and a short walk took us to Ess-a-Bagel, and the bagels were, indeed, amazingly good. We were content and ready for our visit to the Empire State Building. Express passes got us to the Observation Deck in no time, and we were amazed by the view and the perspective of the city…..
Whether it’s your first time or your fifth, it’s always a spectacular experience. Good picks, Carter! Our morning had been so efficient that we had time for other adventures, so we continued father Uptown to Rockefeller Center and FAO Schwartz. On the way, we passed the NYC Public Library and made a stop there, as well. On our way back to SoHo we stopped at Eataly for a slice and a look at all the wonderful offerings of meat, seafood, produce, pasta, and more.
That evening’s activity was my must-do, dinner at Becco, a restaurant I love not only for its fun ambience and good food, but also because I’ve shared meals there with people I love. I wanted Erik, Josey, Mackenzie and Carter to be part of that memory. The restaurant was busy and hectic, but we were shown to a fairly quiet table and had a good time. After dinner, we walked to the subway through Times Square, which was anything but quiet, of course…..
We enjoyed seeing the flashy neon signs, but 30 minutes was all we needed. It had been another active, successful day. My phone app said 7 miles and 19! flights of stairs.
We’d saved Josey’s must-do for our last day…walking the Brooklyn Bridge from Brooklyn to Manhattan. It’s one of my favorite New York activities, and she and I were especially excited…..
Mackenzie and Carter weren’t so sure about it, but after only a few minutes they got why it was so special. It’s only a mile, and the walk seemed easy to all of us, even though the walkway was crowded. The bridge itself is beautiful, of course, and so is the view of the skyline across the bridge. Before we knew it, we were on the other side, with lots of day left. Carter was hoping for an authentic New York slice, and that seemed like a good idea for our lunch. Google research pointed us to Scarro’s, so off we went. The subway dropped us off on the edge of Chinatown and we wound our way through the streets to find lunch. Scarro’s was everything it promised. We all loved our pizza in this tiny shop tucked in between Chinatown and Little Italy. And since we were so close to Little Italy, it seemed a no-brainer to walk there for what ended up being the best gelato ever. And, to my surprise, we were only an 8-minute walk from our apartment!…..
On our last evening we had dinner in the neighborhood, at Katz Deli, a New York institution. Speaking for myself, it’s the best pastrami I’ve ever tasted, and Josey particularly enjoyed her potato latkes and matzo ball soup. Good pick! After dinner Josey and Erik set off to find a bar listed as one of the top 25 in the country, and Mackenzie, Carter and I went to eat what Food and Wine magazine called the best cupcakes in the world.
It isn’t easy to please five people of vastly different ages, but we did it. Each of our five must-do activities was enjoyed by all of us, and we were completely satisfied with what we had accomplished. Mackenzie and Carter loved the city as much as we adults do, and all of us hope to visit again often.
Another wonderful East Coast Swing is in the books!