My first trip to New York City was in 1966. It was around Thanksgiving, after the parade. It was cold, but there was no snow. We left on a bus in the early morning hours and arrived in time for lunch. I do not remember where we ate lunch. Our first stop was a tour of the Statue of Liberty. We stood in line for some time before getting on an elevator that took us to her feet. To get to her crown required climbing up a long spiral staircase with barely enough room for two people to squeeze past each other. It was also the way down after you have had your fill of the majestic view of the harbor and city.
Next stop on the tour was the Empire State Building which was still the tallest building in New York City. Fortunately, the observation deck was entirely reachable by elevator. We had enough of stairs by then and were glad for the ride to the top. The view off the observation deck was breathtaking. I marveled at the distance to the street as I peered down over the safety rail. Where we had dinner that day also has slipped my mind. After dinner we headed for the main event!
Radio City Music Hall was the most spectacular building on the trip and we were in New York for one of its famous Christmas Shows. It was the largest auditorium that I had ever been inside. There were multiple balconies above us as we took our seats on the main floor. Everything on stage looked so small from where we sat.
The evening show began with a performance by the world famous Rockettes who danced their way through several Christmas tunes, finishing off with their signature high kicks. Santa followed with a brief appearance; he advised the children to behave and to enjoy the movie. It was a new Disney movie, “The Sword and The Stone”. The movie was stunning on the huge screen. By the end of it all, I was quite tired. I fell asleep on the bus ride home and barely remember stumbling up the stairs to bed that night.
My second visit to NYC was as a teenager. I went with a group of teens in a summer program called Upward Bound. We started out visiting the American Museum of Natural History, where a skeleton of a t-rex greeted us in the main hall. We toured the museum with a guide, but I occasionally found myself playing catch-up with the group. Sadly, all I remember of the museum is the one display that is no longer there.
Our next stop was the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum where my “buddies” ditched me. They thought it was funny; I thought it was mean. But I had a watch and a map and knew where our next stop would be, so when the time came I took off alone through Central Park. It was the quickest way to get to Lincoln Center.
Minutes before the show was to start the group showed up. They were angry with me for not waiting for them and relieved that they hadn’t lost me in the City. We were at the Metropolitan Opera House to see a ballet. I can’t remember if it was “Swan Lake” or “Romeo and Juliet” that we saw. The walk through the park had worn me out and the music was quite soothing; I think I slept through most of it.
My third trip to NYC was as an adult. It consisted mostly of driving to New Jersey to take the ferry and then parking in the battery. We wandered about Chinatown and Little Italy sampling the food. We ate at an overpriced restaurant before leaving for the day. I suppose this trip is why I haven’t been back.
In all my trips to NYC, the one thing that I never did, and now regret, is visit the twin towers of the World Trade Center. I always thought there would be time, after all, they weren’t going anywhere. How wrong I was.