Conversations from New York City

What an amazing city of contrasts. Rich and poor; grunge, grot and exceeding beauty.

Driving into the north of the city from Boston, I was amazed by the majestic homes you could see from the highway, with dry stone fences everywhere (similar to those you see in Ireland). It appeared like an era from a time gone by.

We arrived on 22nd December to a bustling NYC, overrun with tourists from around the world, gearing up for Christmas. The location of our accommodation was far better than we anticipated with views of Time Square.

USA NYC Lego Shop with boys

First stop was, of course, The Lego Shop at the Rockefeller Centre. The boys had been given money for Christmas from special friends and relatives, and it was burning a hole in their pocket. I have never been one for giving money or gift cards as gifts, but it has been delightful listening to and watching the dilemmas of a 6 and 9-year-old regarding what they should spend their fortunes on!!

We were fortunate enough to get amazing half price tickets to The Blue Man Group. Fantastic entertainment for all ages and Byron was lucky to be presented with one of their paintings.

USA NYC Blue Man Byron

The Christmas markets at Columbus Circle in the pouring cold, rain were excellent. We ran into other Australians and found fabulous Lebkuchen (a family Christmas tradition). It is funny how the smell and taste of certain things can have such an overwhelming sensory impact on you, bringing back so many special memories.

We walked through Central Park, looking like drowned squirrels, then decided to abort our plans. The boys headed back to the hotel to dry out, and I enjoyed my first few hours of time to myself walking down 5th Avenue, somewhat overwhelmed by the obsessive Christmas consumerism and sheer volume of people.

USA NYC Central Park walk Myles, Byron, Orren

Christmas in New York City

We spent a lazy Christmas morning in the hotel, and lovely High Tea at The Plaza, Palm Court. Very special indeed! A new experience for boys using fine china and drinking tea etc.

USA NYC The Plaza High Tea

We were very fortunate with the weather. Beautiful blue skies on our ride around Central Park (it is huge!!). Amazing looking across the park to the imposing skyline. Such a special park. Ice skating in Central Park had been on everyone’s “bucket list” – not as easy as the kids thought it might be, but a great experience – one of those iconic, have to do things!

USA NYC Central Park ice skating travelswithboys

The Museum of Modern Art (MoMA) was on that list for me as well. It was free Friday evening when we arrived, with literally thousands of other people. Quote of the day from Byron was …”Seriously Mum!!! How can they call that Art? It is just a blank canvas”. What can you say to that?? I loved seeing some of Picasso’s works I had not seen before.

Our tour to Lady Liberty was cold and windy, but so fascinating. She is indeed stunning as the afternoon light fell on her. Dinner at “Eaterly” in Soho that night was a fabulous experience. A fantastic food market concept. Kept thinking of all our friends and family that enjoy great food and wine! We are so very fortunate!

USA NYC Statue of Liberty

The Guggenheim was another highlight for all. Simply stunning piece of architecture! The boys loved the Museum of Natural History, followed by dinner at the Whole Foods Market, another brilliant concept in marketing. We all enjoyed wandering along the High Line, meals in Hells Kitchen and Soho. The cultural diversity is amazing.

New Years Eve in New York City

New Years Eve was a memorable event in so many ways!! A phenomenal number of people started pouring into Times Square early in the afternoon. A fabulous organisation of the masses. Many, many blocks shut down, very limited movement in and out of the area.

We opted not to stay on the street but to view the festivities from the hotel balcony. On the street, you are put into “pens” early in the afternoon and once you leave, you lose your spot. That means no wee stops and with small children we thought better of the idea! Also, it was freezing!! We enjoyed a fantastic dinner at the now closed Ruby Foos in Times Square, then returned to the hotel balcony for the ball drop.

USA NYC city view

Our last days were spent enjoying the fantastic weather, visiting Central Park Zoo, the spectacular views from the Empire State Building and wandering the streets, enjoying the architecture of such places as Grand Central Station.

The reality now kicks in. Kids to start school, bills to pay, etc. Eekk! A new chapter begins. Life in Charlotte at Magnolia Drive.

(Part 8 of 25)

About Conversations from Afar

This series follows the journey of Anita, Orren and their two boys Byron and Myles, who left Australia in November 2014 to experience life in different parts of the world. They made their way to America where they discovered incredible places, met wonderful people, and put down roots for a six-month stint working in a totally different job. They ventured to Costa Rica, Egypt, England, Scotland, Italy, Germany and France and made so many memories along the way.

Each week we publish a new conversation. Follow their journey.