A Trip to New York City

Ever since we got here in the United States, my wife has been talking about taking a vacation and visiting New York. All my “vacation trips” were with bachelor boys and almost all of them followed a defined template, one makes the plan, and the rest get on with the trip. We see things, take pictures, get drunk and get back with not much to remember but a lot to talk about. I was always a member of the second category. This time around I was the one making plans and i was wonder-struck by the amount of details that I had to process. I was worried that my two year old would not adapt to the change. My wife is not exactly the “hit the roads” kind, and I was concerned on how we would get through 5 days away from home. I gave in finally and we decided to plan for a holiday right after the Labor Day weekend.
In recent times i have found solace and answers for every possible thing in the World Wide Web and am one of those guys who does not believe stuff because it is in the WWW. I spent a weekend just writing down things we would like to do, visited travel blogs and we started to get an idea of how our trip would look like. We decided to stay in a nice inn outside the city, that had access to numerous Indian restaurants. We chose Metuchen a suburban town which was about half an hour ride away from the Newark airport and to NYC. So the trip itinerary read out as Houston to Newark; Newark to Metuchen; Metuchen to NYC; and finally Newark to Houston. We decided not to use the Hop on Hop off buses and instead ride the metros to visit places across NYC. 

Day 0

Drove from the airport to Metuchen without much ado. Metuchen turned out to be a quaint little town, with beautiful winding roads and no traffic lights.The inn was perfect and our vacation plans had made a great head start.  The inn had a great Jacuzzi.  It did take some time for me to adjust to the Ford (smaller but newer) and to the place by itself. I did become more confident as I drove around the town [believed I was getting things done].  We spent the evening driving around town and enjoying Indian food at an Indian restaurant serving Chettinadu Cuisine.

Day 1

We woke up to the sound of thunder and rain rattling our windows, the rain was torrential and showed no sign of letting up but I showed all signs and soon curled up in my bed and slept through the morning. The wife was fuming that I had traveled 1000 miles just to sleep in a hotel. The rain did slow down by late afternoon and we took off to visit the local scenery again. We spent the evening visiting Edison Museum (an under construction tower) and Menlo mall ( a mall half the size of the one close to our home in Houston). The food again was great at every corner. Not a bad start if you ask me, but to my wife signs of disaster were showing up. My daughter did not seem to care. She ran around the room exploring every single cable, desk magazine, room in the suite.

Day 2

Beautiful day, the weather was just perfect. We started off early took the AMTRAK train to NYC Penn Station.  I was getting more energized with every passing minute. I do believe that the mornings tells you a lot about the place by itself. Chennai makes you feel at home with the smell of coffee and the sound of mantras from the temples. Houston reminds you of work with all the high rise buildings and energy corridor. Bangalore – vibrant youth. New York has a vibe that signifies energy. You see people either rushing to get their jobs done or just lazing around in central park. The park is right in the middle of the city and has the mystic ability to make you forget all things around you.
We spent the best part of the day walking through the park. If the park was all about tranquility then the subway was something different altogether. The trains bustled, street performers hustled and rats thrived. After some difficulty we finally understood the concept of uptown and downtown in the subway trains. We visited the Museum of Science and Natural History( remember Night at the Museum), went up the Empire State Building and walked around Madison Square Garden. I have never been a big fan of heights, but the thrill to look down from the top of the Empire State is too much to pass. The city streets do offer you rude salesmen, super weird folks, dancers, cops, super weird folks, workers, people dressed in Armani and the tourists. I have never seen so many people my wife exclaims! I smile to myself as I remind her that we are from India. She does not get it. J. My daughter seems all excited to see things. 

Day 3

Beautiful day again, We made our way to the World Trade Center memorial. The Freedom tower and the memorial fountains stand in place of the fallen twin towers. While many pose happily for pictures, we see an old couple holding hands and watching the fountain. Joy for many, sorrow for few. My wife is shaken and she does not want to take any more pictures. We walked away silently. We decided to visit The Statue of Liberty. The touts promised a 3 hour wait, but visitors nearby asked us to take the state tour and told us the wait time was only about 20 minutes. Soon we were on our way on a boat, we just realized we had used all modes of transport for the trip Yaay! There is an amazing view of Manhattan downtown from the liberty island. The daughter has just been watching the crowd, and thrown no tantrums yet. She seems mighty impressed by the liberty statue. The wax museum did provide some cheap thrills for both of us [Jolie for me, Clooney for her]. Times Square never ceases to provide enough excitement. Street Food, Lemonade, People selling stuff on the streets. This is worse than a boat jetty my wife says. J
 We walked back to Penn Station. I found it very difficult to comprehend why the platforms information were shown only 10 minutes before the departure. It is not easy to run around a subway station with a stroller. We managed to fight our way to get seats on the Amtrak. The wife and daughter are sound asleep on the way back.

Back

Last day, time to get back to Houston. Drove around New Jersey before heading out to the airport. Landed in Houston. Reached Home. My daughter goes straight to her toy closet, the wife starts looking at the pictures in the camera. The city that never sleeps did manage to shake me up again. About the earlier paranoia Much ado about nothing really.

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