|Greg, Kaden, Michelle, Zac, and Taylor (back and center) on Staten Island Ferry.|
|The Statue of Liberty through the snow.|
|Kaden playing with pigeons outside the New York Pizza place.|
The first place we stopped was in Central Park for a carriage ride. Though it was dark and cold, the ride was really fun. We saw hundreds of ice skaters skating on a rink in Central Park. I couldn't help but wonder how good they must all be, because if even one of them fell, a domino effect was likely to occur – but everybody skated around counter-clockwise at a reasonably fast pace, and from the time I noticed them until the time I couldn't see them anymore, everyone was still skating.
Busy busy city – New York streets were bustling with activity, apparently mostly due to the entire city rushing to see the famous Christmas tree at Rockefeller Center.
I'd like to interrupt this blog right here to discuss the drivers in New York City. Visitors need to know that rules that apply in other cities around the country do not apply in New York. Even my three-year-old grandson, Zac, was confused as he insisted, "Green means stop. Red means go."
Pedestrians were oblivious to the cars around them. The "walk-don't walk" alert might as well have read, "gobbledygook." We had to crawl through traffic – wait, I'm sure New York has another term for traffic – maybe it's standstill. Whatever.
We finally made our way to the magnificent Christmas tree, but we couldn't find a parking space, so, since we were just crawling by anyway, we stared at the mammoth tree from the street, which was great, because that gave us a good half hour to view the tree from inside the car.
"The Rockefeller Center Christmas Tree," according to the Rockefeller web site, "is a world-wide symbol of the holidays in New York City. The tree, traditionally a Norway Spruce, is illuminated by 30,000 environmentally friendly LED lights on five miles of wire, and crowned by a Swarovski crystal star. Tens of thousands crowd the sidewalks for the event and hundreds of millions watch the Tree Lighting Ceremony broadcast live across the globe."
Wikipedia says the Norway spruce is anywhere from 69 to 110 feet tall and has been put up every year, with the exception of 1932, since 1931.
Next stop after we drove through Times Square? Christmas Dinner. But first we had to find the hotel in Queens to get our room. GPS couldn't find it. Nobody at the hotel answered the phone when Michelle called, and the online feature was inaccessible while we drove through several neighborhoods that offered no phone service???????? In New York?????????
Anyway, we finally made it to the hotel and looked around for an open restaurant on Christmas. Closed. Closed. Closed. Closed.
OH, WAIT! There's one! A Japanese restaurant where adults pay a mere $30/plate, and children pay $15/plate! Ridiculous. We drove on.
The ONLY place that was open was a combination Baskin Robbins/Dunkin' Donuts. And so, on Christmas day, my son, his family, and I, had donuts for dinner with ice cream for dessert. (I would have taken and posted a photo, but my son and his wife refused to allow me to take one.)
The next day we rode the Staten Island ferry, had some New York pizza (not bad, but I prefer Chicago pizza), and drove home through a blizzard.
All in all, it was a memorable experience, and I got to spend it with my son and his family, with whom I rarely spend Christmas, so I was really happy.
Next year? Who knows? Whether I'm sitting at my own dining room table eating Christmas dinner or standing in line at a Taco Bell, as long as I'm with family, I'll be happy.