Last weekend we were off on another Christmas trip — and it wasn’t to Disney! We set off for another of our favorite places to be during the Christmas season — New York City.
When we were planning the trip we had romantic ideas of walks on 5th Avenue, sipping coffee while looking at the Rockefeller Tree, wandering Times Square, taking in the Statue of Liberty from Battery Park, and our hair (well mine, not my bald husband’s) being blown gently in the wind as we watched the sights of New York pass by on an open top bus tour.
Of course, reality is always a little different.
Our trip started out with me getting a fortune cookie fortune that said “A very expensive trip is in your future”. You know any trip is going to be fun that starts with that fortune.
We were joined on this trip by my Aunt, and we all met up at Newark Airport no problem (she was coming from Chicago and we of course were coming from sunny, warm Florida).
Our first realization that we weren’t in Florida anymore hit us when we left the terminal and walked to the bus stop. It was FREEZING! My Windy City Aunt was used to this, but we were not in any way shape or form. On went the puffy coats, gloves, hats, and scarves.
After successfully getting into Manhattan and to our hotel we were off for sight seeing — and that’s when calamity ensued!
First off, while walking by the Today show windows I was ahead of my husband and Aunt. All of a sudden I hear my husband saying firmly and loudly “Get away, no pictures, no, no no”. Since we aren’t movie stars or famous, I was curious as to why my husband would be telling someone “no photos”. I turn around and see they are faced by an aggressive, fake, Minnie Mouse. If you’ve never been to NYC you probably have not seen this phenomenon where people dress up as popular characters such as Cookie Monster, Mickey Mouse, Olaf, and Minnie Mouse (these are really bad, old costumes) and approach you to have your photo taken with them “for free”. We actually saw some of them take people’s phones for group selfies, and then not return it until tipped. Anyways, back to my story — since we’ve been to Disney 98 times we know what the real Minnie looks like and can get our picture with her anytime we want, so naturally my New Jersey born, Philadelphia raised, 6’5″ husband got all his bluster and east coast accent up to make sure this Minnie never approached us again by firmly telling her to go away!
Our next calamity was the crowds! We didn’t romantically stroll around Rockefeller Center adoring the tree. We squirmed our way to a clear view to get photos, grabbed seats when we found them to rest, and were herded along the sidewalks like never before. In fact there were so many people in Times Square when one person pumped into me it spun me 180 degrees so I was facing the opposite direction I wanted to go in!
After all of this we were back at the hotel, got in the elevator, hit our button and the doors closed. And we waited. And we waited. Then the alarm went off. Then we hit the open door button — and thankfully — the door opened. We got off that elevator quickly and jumped on the next elevator that came. For the rest of the trip we were a little iffy on taking that middle elevator.
The next day we were up and on an open top bus tour of the city. In 30 degree weather. We were wise enough to select a bus what had a partial cover that cut the wind, but not much else. After getting off at Battery Park to see the Statue of Liberty, have lunch and go to the 9/11 Memorial and Museum we headed back to the bus stop to get back on the bus.
The next bus that pulled up was pretty full, and only about five people got off. The driver then proceeded to let all 15 or so of us on the bus. We were among the last 5 people on the bus. There were no seats. We stood, figuring people would get off at the next stop and we would grab a seat then. After the bus drove about two blocks the driver realized there were people standing and started yelling at us to sit down. We said there were no seats. He then asked why we got on!! He let us on we replied! Then he asked why we stood and we said there were no seats. His reply was we should have said something before he started driving. My Aunt gave the best reply “You started driving before we even knew there weren’t seats”. During all of this the driver made his way to sidewalk and kicked us off the bus.
Our last calamity was after we willingly got off a different bus near our hotel (ironically, the next bus that came to pick us up was literally EMPTY) we still had to walk through Times Square. All of a sudden I feel something roll over my foot. Someone had forcefully run over me with a stroller. I asked “Are you serious” to the father and he told me yes he was serious to get out of his $%#^ing way. I then watched as he pushed his baby into two men ahead of me. Things got aggressive between these three men. I really thought I was going to see a fist fight. When the stroller pusher’s wife joined in the yelling I thought I was in a Bravo reality show and looked for cameras. If not for the baby being there I think fists would have flown. Of course, the baby is probably already traumatized as it was used for a battering ram all night.
It might sound like I’m complaining about all of this. I’m not. It made us realize these are the moments that make a trip a fun and fill it with laughter. Sure, getting kicked off a tour bus wasn’t fun in cold weather, but when the next bus that pulls up is empty, you can’t help but laugh. And now we can now say we’ve been kicked off a tourist bus in NYC. When you go to Disney like we do seeing a fake Minnie Mouse is just stupidly hilarious. After you realize everyone in your party was battered by the stroller you say “we had our NYC moment” and laugh.
Yes, we’ll remember seeing the Rockefeller Center tree, watching the light show at Saks, seeing Times Square, looking at the Statue of Liberty, and going to see the Rockettes Christmas Show, and especially hold a special place in our hearts for the 9/11 Memorial and Museum. But we’ll also remember the laughter, the smiles, and the biggest piece of carrot cake ever and my Aunt’s face when it was placed in front of her.
Being Floridians, we’ll also remember the cold. So cold.
Merry Christmas and may your travels be as fun-filled as ours are!