Alex and I have been having a blast traveling and seeing new places and meeting new people. The idea is to travel the world eventually, including all of the 50 states of America. We had a bit of an argument the other day about New York bring a state or not, and for the life of me, I don’t know why I challenged an 8 year old who has been learning about the country’s states to prove that New York City is a city in a state called New York. Of course New York is a state. Our decision to take a trip to New York was a result of him winning a bet that he was right and I was wrong (which I was). Not that I mind, but this is not going to be a trip where mummy buys quirky things in out-of-the-way shops as souvenirs or spends a couple of hours on a history and culture tour. So no museums and no theaters. This would be his trip, his itinerary, I could only make one condition, no subway.
If you’ve ever tried to plan a trip to a city like New York City you know the first thing that gets you is where to stay and how to get around. I had already nixed the subway idea, so this was shaping up to be an expensive bet. The only other alternative for getting around would be a cab or the bus. Now as tourists doing things without a guide, public transport is not always a good idea. It’s easy to get lost, especially in a city that big, and cabs aren’t the cheapest means of transport. I was not going to subject myself to those site seeing tours where they drive you around, tell you to turn left or right to see this or that, where this thing happened or this famous person lived and out with the cameras – click. I need to walk around, pretend I’m not completely clueless and if possible, blend in. “Wouldn’t it be cool if we could drive around in those black SUVs like famous people?” My son asked. “Why not a limousine?” I joked.
It turns out the best way to see New York City is in the back of a black SUV, with a nice, friendly and respectful driver named Michael from Brooklyn. We met Michael at the Airport, looking sharp in his tailored black suit to pick us up from JFK airport. I had never been picked-up by a car service before, so this was as much a treat for me as it was for Alex. I found JFK Car Service and Michael on the web via http://jfkcarservice.com they seemed nice, had nice looking cars and friendly drivers who knew a lot about New York.
I spoke to a nice lady about getting a car service to take us around the sites the next two days. I emailed her my itinerary and she promised everything would be taken care of. And so we drove from JFK through what I was told was a longer, but more scenic route. New York does look like “Emerald city” when you drive from the Belt Parkway past the Verazano Bridge, onto and under the Brooklyn Heights Promenade before hopping onto the Brooklyn Bridge. Traffic is crazy, but when you are being chauffeured in a luxury SUV, you seem to glide through traffic. Our driver chatted a bit, told us a few interesting things about some of the places we passed. It is kind of exciting to arrive in New York City just when the sun has set. It’s almost like the City is just waking up or just coming alive. It makes you want to go out and do something. Unfortunately we were too tired and so we had dinner and called it a night.
We had at least 15 places to visit in the next two days and the guys at JFK car service told me they would make it possible to see all that we wanted to see and more. Michael showed up promptly at 9 am. ready with a smile to whisk us away on a magical journey through the big apple. New York City is one giant playground, if you approach it with the wonder and glee of an innocent 8 year old. Yes, the Empire State Building dazzles, standing up-close to the Statue of Liberty is a thrill, Coney Island is as corny as it looks in movies, but we kinda lost it when we got the Toys R Us Flagship store. We then we went to the Brooklyn Children’s Museum by which time we were already high from stuffing our faces with candy at Dylan’s Candy (Willy Wonka’s chocolate factory brought to life).
Then it was on to the Museum of Natural History and a stint a the Bronx Zoo. We took some nice selfies with Jimmy Fallon, George Clooney, Sponge Bob Square Pants and The Marvel superheroes – at Madame Tussaud’s. Michael made a few stops at some nice Pizza places to get us the best slices of Pizza in the world and then Nintendo world happened and everything just became a blur. Good thing is that the hotel we stayed in could arrange a sitter so that Mommy could go see Time square at night and have dinner with grown up people. New York was exhausting, but thank to JFK car Service, it was the most fun we’ve had so far. I’m looking forward to a return trip, this time at a more leisurely pace and still rolling in a black SUV.