Having spent the previous week (after painting our kitchen purple) scrambling to prepare for our trip (TripTik and maps from AAA, guidebooks from the library, house cleaned, fridge emptied, cats boarded), we set out at a ridiculously early pre-dawn 6:00 a.m., bags in the trunk of Jesse’s car, maps on my lap. We had a big suitcase and a little suitcase, the big one packed for the week in Maine, the little one for easy in-and-out for the day trips to the cities.
First stop: New York City. Our first time. I was kind of hoping I’d hate it and not want to move there, but that didn’t happen. A friend said she hadn’t loved New York because of how tall the buildings were; she’d felt a little claustrophobic. I loved the feeling, loved the fact I could barely see sky, loved how big everything was. I think it comes from being born in West Virginia, in identifying with a place that has mountains. It feels safe to have things above me, it feels homey and comforting. Who knew that would transfer to the city?
Just before dinnertime, we rolled into the city, promptly got lost because of bad directions from Google maps, and then promptly found ourselves with the handy-dandy city map I’d bought at Barnes & Noble. Jesse, normally a fairly cautious and safe driver, immediately adapted his style of driving to match the city’s; I was highly impressed.
We got to our hotel, a chic little boutique hotel we’d booked with Hotwire.com. (Seriously, if you’ve not used them, you should try it. Sue told me about them, and I fully plan to use the site the next time I travel. All the hotels we booked for this trip were four-star establishments, and we paid Holiday Inn prices—really.)
Here’s our room. It felt quiet, which was perfect because after the chaos of the streets, the over-stimulation, the calm was much appreciated.
After we freshened up, we set out walking. We ate dinner at John’s Pizzeria near Times Square, recommended to us by Miriam Parker, who is not only a Real New Yorker but also a writer AND adorable AND stylish AND funny—we all wish we were Miriam. But, sadly, there can only be one.
The pizza could not have been better. It also ended up being our cheapest meal in New York, and by far the best.
Feeling refreshed by the food, we set out again, enjoying the crowds, stopping in a giant Toys R Us, strolling past Rockefeller Square, feeling the vibrations of the city in our bloodstream, the waves of tourists, the lights, the warm summer air, the subway beneath our feet. What a way to start a vacation.