Mercy. Please. Have mercy on us, Colton! We had seen many of the things we wanted to see already and were glad to have a more sparse itinerary for the rest of the trip. Colton said that he was going at a slow pace with us and that his usual pace keeps him from spending so much time in the bad smells and heat. Young people these days: so resilient and resourceful.
We enjoyed a leisurely morning with breakfast in the room and had a late morning start to the day.
Our guide came to our room and took us to Brooklyn. We took some pictures of the bridges and headed to Colton's favorite burger joint Shake Shack. We hit it just before the rush and managed to get a table. Yummy!
We took the train to Saint Patrick's Cathedral in Midtown near Rockefeller Center. The architecture is stunning. We sat and took it in. We have a weakness for stained glass and had plenty to look at. The awe and reverence in a church like that is something missing from the structures we meet in today. We have the "relationship" idea down but we would do well to remember that He is GOD.
We walked down 5th Avenue and Colton took us into Ralph Lauren. I asked him tongue-in-cheek if he wanted to do a little back-to-school shopping. He looked at the $160 price tag on a pair of sweat pants and said that he didn't need anything today. We took the elevator to the women's section (?) and, tucked in the corner, was a beautiful little pristine coffee shop, little known and hidden from the crowds. Sit. Air Conditioning. Liquids.
Time to put the adults down for their naps.
Another date night ensued. A little dressier this time. We took a taxi to Azalea's which proved to be a romantic venue. The restaurants near Broadway always ask when seating you if you are attending a show. They have always brought our food promptly and gotten us on our way in plenty of time.
We had a short walk around the corner to the Broadway Theatre, one of the few theatres that is actually ON Broadway. Our show of choice was "Fiddler on the Roof" and it did not disappoint. There were a couple of dance numbers that were all men and they were incredible. It was so athletic and energetic: it gave me extended moments of childlike delight. One number was of five guys dancing with bottles balanced on their heads. It was amazing but I was relieved when it was done that no one had dropped his bottle. What a delightful end to a delightful day!
Day 4 was Sunday and Colton's church meets in the afternoon. We met late morning for bacon, egg, and cheese bagels at Brooklyn Bagel and then coffee at Bean and Bean which is on the corner up from the church. Colton instructed us to sit near the only window unit air conditioner at Manor Community Church. He played the piano for the service which was the most thrilling and moving performance I had heard all week. The people were very friendly. Some come to receive the free food given after the service, meal, and prayer time so there were a variety of social statuses represented. New York is a collection of nationalities and it gives a true sense of being "the church" when you worship with a variety of races. I was very blessed to sing, worship, and eat with the folks there. The pastor was sick that day so the interns ran the service and did a fantastic job. After the song service, Colton had to go change his clothes: he was drenched with sweat.
After church, we had a good chat over some Argo Tea a few blocks away and then parted ways for the day. Time for the old folks to rest again.
It was nearly 8pm when we decided we needed dinner. Jeff looked online for something within walking distance. I didn't want anything spicy that late so we opted for the steakhouse around the corner. We decided on Jack's Steakhouse without even looking at the menu. It sounded straightforward enough. Looking at the menu is always a good idea in NYC because you may not realize that the least expensive item on the menu is $45 and that everything is à la carte. Once we were there and saw the menu, we decided to stay and make a nice meal of it. Plus we were too tired to walk anywhere else. Just kidding. The filet mignon was delicious and we followed up with cheesecake and apple strudel, beautifully presented.
Our final day had arrived so we ate breakfast in the hotel and packed our bags. Our flight was not until 8pm (so we thought) so the hotel stored our bags until we came back for them that evening. We put things we wanted for the flight in the outside pockets of our suitcases so we could get them before checking our bags at the airport.
Jeff used an app to find our way to the Metropolitan Museum of Art which is located on the east side of Central Park. The subway we took got us to the west side and then we took a bus across the park. This museum is beyond huge and beyond amazing. I already knew that we would only get a sampling of it this day. I read a New Yorker's comment that she had been over 30 times and sees new things every time she goes. Jeff wanted most to see the modern art and I the impressionists. That is a little insight into our personalities. We each enjoyed all of it. I saw a few things I wouldn't mind having for the house but I didn't see any price tags. We enjoyed a delightful déjeuner at one of the museum's restaurants. The corn soup was delicious and the $18 chicken sandwich was plenty for two.
We met Colton and walked to Eclair, a pastry shop. We took our purchase to a coffee shop near Grand Central called Ground Central. It was loud and crowded but a kind young lady gave up her couch so the three of us could sit together in the cozy, dimly lit back room decorated like a private library. I enjoyed my cheesecake eclair there.
When we came out of the subway, it was raining so we stepped inside the Bank of America building until it subsided. My husband felt we had the right since he works for the company and apparently owns the building. We finally made it to the NY Public Library and, after doing our thigh-burning stair climbers for the day, enjoyed sitting in a large air-conditioned room to look for dinner options now that we were getting notifications of our delayed flight due to storms in the area. We decided on a barbecue place that Colton liked near our hotel but it was pouring when we tried to leave Penn Station so we just went to their food court in the subway and ate pizza.
The rain was down to a drizzle now so we enjoyed the cool mist as we walked to our hotel lobby. We got our bags and hung out for a while in the beautiful lobby while listening to a mom absolutely yelling and swearing at her children. It obviously was not worth it to take them to Queens from the Bronx at that hour and then have to go back and get them tonight so she wanted to take them tomorrow but they just didn't understand why that was better. This was pleasant. She finally stormed out. I had seen another short-tempered mom on the subway who snapped and jerked from the children when they were doing nothing wrong. I saw many nannies with children who treated them well. I know these were isolated incidents but I saw that maybe it is better for a nanny to be with the children all day if there are moms who would treat them cruelly.
Colton walked us down to the taxi stand in front of Penn Station and sent us off to the airport. We saw a complete rainbow beginning to end as we went and got more flight delay notifications along the way. Our 8pm flight departed at 11:45pm. Even after seeing how he is thriving there and knowing that he is a 22 year old man, my heart was tugged as we flew out of the city, farther and farther away from our son. He will be home in three weeks. That helps.
GertRUDE sat in front of me on the plane, making fun of the flight attendant with her friend. Grow up, Gertrude.
We drove our own van out of the airport garage at 2am on the empty, silent streets. The silence made me feel that my ears were clogged but they weren't. We wisely had planned for the day after the trip to be a rest day. And it definitely was.
We knew we wanted to experience new things in New York this trip but also knew that there is no way to see it all in one visit. We will take little nibbles of that Big Apple each trip and do it at an enjoyable, unfrenzied pace, seeing new things each time and revisiting our favorites. We had other uses for the money we spent but sometimes it is just TIME TO GO. Travel matures you and opens your eyes and mind. Things are very different in other places. This can make you thankful for what you have and give you ideas on how to improve it. It is good to experience other cultures and flavors and sights. It is amazing to see the God-given abilities people have and what they have done with the raw materials God provided in the earth. It all leaves me in more awe of God than before.
Long before I started blogging, I wrote of our 2010 trip in a Facebook note. I read it this week and then managed to delete it 😳 but the ending was so poignant. I wrote that we took Colton on the trip when he was sixteen to expose him to other places, to encourage him to follow his dreams, and to show him that he was big stuff with us and that we wanted to celebrate him in a big way. I do not know if it is ironic or providential that he now wants to live in NYC. He IS following his dream and pursuing the direction of God's calling on his life. I've been viewing the tapestry from the back all his life and now am getting glimpses of the front.
New York City is an amazing place. I saw many impressive scenes there but I was most impressed with my two men. When I look to my left or right, that same man is always by my side wherever life takes me. He's there with an outstretched hand to help me up and help me out and that hand is constantly reaching for mine so that we can go together. He's there to stand between me and any threat and is clearing the way and bearing the load. He's mighty handy to have around and I think my identity as a lady comes largely from the fact that I am so well-treated by this true gentleman. New York City was marvelous but it only served as another backdrop for watching this lifelong marvel that I observe daily in my husband. After the tea and lipstick are gone, he will be the souvenir from my trip that I get to 🐝keep.
The other marvel I observed in New York is a little boy whose legs have now grown long and whose hand no longer needs to reach for mine. I recognize him simultaneously as child and man and simultaneously shudder and cheer to see him roaming freely around New York. This man's unending energy is a great partner to his unquenchable infatuation with the city that never sleeps. He has a way of coming to right conclusions and seeing through to the heart of a matter. He so quickly volunteers to serve, whether it is filling our hotel ice bucket or giving food to the poor. To see him respect and serve all people makes this mom mighty proud. He lives by faith believing that God will guide his steps to work out the purpose for which he was designed and willing to do today whatever the Lord has led him to at this point.
I enjoy many elements of my life including travel. However, nothing I saw in NYC trumps the consistent joy that results from being a Christian, a wife, and a mother. That goes with me everywhere. You may never see New York in person or be a wife or a mother, but we can all have Jesus and that is joy enough for this life and the next.