Here’s the Boggess Notes version of November 2012, plus or minus a couple of weeks: we parked the bus in Carrollton, Ohio at my parents’ house (aka The Lake House); I traveled to Seattle and Portland for work; Ayrril, Carson, and Bridger traveled to Las Vegas, Kingman, Flagstaff, Silver City, Las Cruces, and Phoenix for the Thanksgiving break; we all met back in Ohio in mid-December.
Before settling in for what proved to be a white Christmas in Ohio, we decided to hit New York City for some holiday cheer! The original plan had been to hit NYC on the way down from Boston, possibly en route to Philadelphia, but we have always wanted to be here during the holiday season. It did not disappoint!
We flew out of Pittsburgh on Bridger’s birthday, took a cab from the airport to our hotel, and immediately hit the town. Every street had Christmas lights, the store displays on 5th Avenue were amazing, and Times Square was lit up like, well, like Times Square! It was beautiful. On Monday we gave the Birthday Boy control for a day and he took full advantage. He and Carson played for a couple of hours in an arcade on Times Square, we crossed the street to watch the new movie Wreck-It Ralph, ate burgers and fries at Five Guys, and lost track of time playing the new WiiU in Nintendo World at Rockefeller Center. Dinner was a square and a slice near the hotel. It was Bridger’s dream day, and not so bad for the rest of us, either.
Over the next few days we walked in Central Park, went to the top of the Empire State Building, visited the World Trade Center Memorial, rode the ferry out past Ellis Island and the Statue of Liberty, watched people ice skating under the giant Christmas tree at Rockefeller Center, went back to Nintendo World for another round of family games, and explored the American Museum of Natural History. Somewhere in there Ayrril and I even found time to hit a pub or two.
Hurricane Sandy did quite a number on New Jersey and New York, including Ellis Island, which is now closed for repairs until at least October 2013! The Statue of Liberty is also closed to visitors due to storm damage but the ferry took us right by her island as a brief rainstorm blew in off the Atlantic. Looking back toward Manhattan, we could see Freedom Tower at 1 World Trade Center rising above the skyline. It’s due to be completed in 2013 with a final height of 1776 feet.
The World Trade Center Memorial site was beautiful and powerful. Two square pools sit where the Twin Towers once stood, with water cascading continually into their centers from beneath granite retaining walls inscribed with 2983 names. It was a moving reminder of how precious and fragile our lives are and how quickly everything can change.
On Thursday we took advantage of a beautiful clear morning to view the city from the Empire State Building observation platform. The elevator was amazingly fast at moving us from street level to the 86th floor, but even more amazing was the lack of any line to get in – no waiting! Then we hopped the subway back to Central Park for one last pass through the Christmas market near Columbia Circle, a final walk in the park, and then headed back to the hotel to check out. Rather than calling us a taxi for the ride to JKF, the concierge offered use of the hotel car service. We stepped out to the sidewalk to discover that the hotel “car” was a white stretch limousine. Score! We piled in and ended our New York City holiday in style.