About 20 years ago, our daughter announced at the dinner table that she loved New York and wanted to live there.
She had never been.
I’m not sure what caused the fascination. It probably wasn’t stories I had told about when I lived there. I moved to Queens in 1977, when they were still looking for David Berkowitz, a.k.a Son of Sam. New York in 1977 was a fun place to live, but you had to know where you could and should not be. Depending on the time of day, places like Central Park switched categories.
I figured the best way to cure someone of NYCFS (fascination syndrome, ‘cuz what’s a thing without an acronym) would be to take that person to New York. Since Faith had been sick and had missed her class field trip to the Statue of Liberty, I decided to take her there. We drove into the city. As we approached lower Manhattan, off and now under East River Drive, a fork lift carrying a huge crate of freshly iced fish pulled across the road in front of us. New York drivers, just like I remembered.
We parked, walked to Battery Park and joined the endless line for the Ferry to Liberty Island. While waiting in 90-something degree heat, a freelance acrobatic group entertained us for five minutes at a clip and then walked the line prodding for money. A dollar here, a dollar there, by the time we boarded the ferry, I could have bought a Cirque du Soleil ticket.
Liberty Island was mobbed. The line to the Statue was long. So long that the estimated time to arrival at the entrance would have required us to get a hotel room for the night. We walked around and we had lunch.
While carrying our trays along the cafeteria line, one of the servers noticed me when I picked up one of Faith’s fries and held it up so she could eat it. He was Jamaican (so apply that accent as you read this) he smiled and said “you good father.” Ever since, I have bragged to Faith that “an official agent of the US Government has proclaimed me to be a good father.”
Back on the ferry, we returned to Battery Park. We didn’t have time to stop at Ellis Island because, judging from the line, we would have never made it in. I’m sure the line was shorter when my grandmother arrived from Syria about 90 years earlier. Back on land, we walked around lower Manhattan, found our car and made our escape (my words).
Faith had thoroughly enjoyed the day and couldn’t wait to go back.
We’ve been back many times. I took her on day trips targeting one sight after another. Empire State, World Trade Center, Yankees World Series Parade, Christmas decorations, the Metropolitan Museum of Art, The Museum of Television and Radio and many other wonderful places. Faith once said: “I want to experience the city in every weather condition” – seriously, she said that. She can cross that goal off her list.
We visited New York on a day that was so cold that we went into almost every shop on Fifth Avenue just to get warm. We visited on such a windy-rainy day that we bought multiple $2 umbrellas from the guys who show up when it rains with a huge box of umbrellas for sale. We’ve baked in the August sun, buying a pretzel just to get a pile of napkins to wipe away the sweat and we’ve walked through Central Park in the snow. I took her with me on week-long business trips where she was allowed to explore museums on her own – “do not leave the museum unless it is on fire and you can see the flames.”
We have enjoyed every minute of every trip.
Earlier this week, Faith took me to New York. She was shopping for camera equipment and then we did what we do best in the city – we walked. This time, we walked The High Line, a little bit of the West Side Walkway and back up 8th Avenue to The Molly Wee Pub. Below are some of the photos I took along the way.
I am glad that Faith remains fascinated with New York, and I’m so happy we can still experience the city together.
Since it’s the 4th of July, I thought I’d add these photos too.