On a cold and dreary January morning in 1986, I was dropped off at the 92nd Street “Y” on Lexington Avenue in New York City. I was in my third year of university and about to start an internship in Human Resources with the Riese Organization. A restaurant firm that owned and operated some 350 fast food and full service restaurants all over Manhattan, they were ahead of their time opening the first multi-outlet locations (the Taco Bell, Roy Rogers Chicken and Dunkin Donuts trio dotted many Manhattan corners at the time).
To say I was nervous would be a colossal understatement. I moved my meager belongings (2 suitcases) into my 8th floor dorm room I would be sharing with my college friend Anne who was also doing an internship in New York. Later that day, as I sat in a coffee shop eating my dinner of toast and coffee (more ample meals would have to wait until that first paycheque came in), I confessed to Anne that I thought maybe I’d made a mistake. I wasn’t sure if I was up to living in Manhattan. Not sure exactly she said but I think it was not much more than a shrug, accompanied with “Well, go home, then.” I’m pretty sure she followed this quickly with giving New York a chance, the commitment I’d made to the Riese Organization, the credits and tuition money I might jeopardize and a litany of other perceptive and practical comments.
Of course, I did stay in New York for 8 months and quickly learning the ins and outs of the subway system, the bounteous salad bars at the corner grocer and a neat little pub on the Upper East Side that sold Rolling Rock beer for a buck. I also found that there is nothing like a sunny Saturday afternoon in Central Park and that “Suggested Admission” means exactly that (thereafter I paid 50¢ each for numerous evening and weekend visits to the Met).
I brought my husband-to-be to New York a few times. He enjoyed all my old stompin’ grounds (especially that little tavern on Bleeker Street) as much as I and even took in a jog around the Reservoir. This weekend will mark the first time I bring my three children to New York City with me. I’m bound and determined to show them not just the touristy Times Square and Empire State Building New York, but some of the real pleasure of this extraordinary metropolis.
So start spreading the news, we’re leaving on Friday!
I’ve rented [what I hope will be] a cute two-bedroom apartment on West 58th near the Park for 5 nights. I’ve got Yankee tickets in one hand and “New York City with Kids” guidebook in the other. I have a tentative itinerary set up that includes some old favourites (like the American Museum of Natural History, Rockefeller Center and the Bronx Zoo) but some interesting side trips I hope the kids will appreciate (St John the Devine Cathedral, the Lower East Side Tenement Museum, Statue Stalking in Central Park). I think I even still have an old subway token kicking around (Oh, that’s right! They don’t take tokens anymore). Should we warn someone that we’re coming?