We recently took Mikey on his first trip to New York City!
His friends must have been talking about NYC, or maybe they even talked about it in school, because he had been asking to go. He would make tall buildings out of Legos, or draw tall buildings with lots of squares for windows and call it New York City. I had to take him with me into New Rochelle one time and he asked me if that was New York City.
So, we decided it was time.
“Now listen, buddy: You’re going to have to be a real good listener, OK?” my husband told him during a pep talk prior to the trip.
“Yep,” answered the 5-year-old.
“You have to hold our hands the whole time, alright?”
“And you’re going to have to do a lot of walking, got it? We are not going to carry you.”
So, the big day came and we took an express train out of northern Westchester that was just less than an hour ride time. It was Mikey’s first train ride and the conductor was gracious enough to make a show out of stamping his ticket and shaking his hand and welcoming him aboard.
On the way there, Mikey asked, “Does New York City have a playground?”
Mike and I looked at each other. “Well, yes, but we aren’t going to one today,” said Mike. “But if you just want to go to a playground we could have just stayed home because there are about six playgrounds within 10 minutes of our house.”
Mikey was lost in thought for a moment, then asked, “Does New York City have a pool?”
He’s talking about a hotel. He thought we were going on vacation and staying in a hotel and he was looking forward to a pool.
Again, Mike and I exchanged an “are you kidding me?” look. “No, buddy,” I answered. “This isn’t an overnight vacation. We’re just going for the day.”
When we got to Grand Central Station and made the mass exodus onto the platform and out into the epicenter, Mikey held my husband’s hand the entire time. He couldn’t care less about the historic train station, but when we got out onto the sidewalk he was full of excitement – and immediately began looking for Spiderman.
Our first stop was the Nintendo store, where Mikey ran from the Mario statue to Bowser, then discovered the consoles he could play right in the store.
Then we made a stop at FAO Schwarz, which we didn’t even realize we were going to see as we made our way past Rockefeller Center. Mikey was able to try out a bunch of gadgets and gizmos and even meet a toy soldier.
Then we hit the LEGO store, which Mikey was really looking forward to. He was able to push his way to the front of a station to build with some demo blocks, and I was able to reflect on the fact that the day was going much better than I had anticipated. Honestly, I was prepared for Mikey to be instantly bored in the city, want “uppy” and for us to have to turn around and carry him several blocks back to Grand Central and take the immediate next train home.
He was being a real trouper!
My husband and I, on the other hand, were hangry and feeling our age, and almost resorted to fisticuffs right there in the store as we tried to look on our phones for a place nearby to eat that served chicken tenders.
Because Heaven forbid the child eat pizza in NYC.
We lucked out with a pub around the corner, where we got burgers, Mikey got chicken tenders, and we were able to recharge without needing a divorce attorney. Once our energy levels were back up, we made our way to Times Square, where Mikey barely took in the sights.
“Isn’t this cool, Mikey?” I asked as I held up the phone to take a family selfie.
“Yeah,” he said, with zero excitement.
“Look at all the screens, and the lights, and I think I see a transformer over there!” my husband pointed.
“Yep,” Mikey responded.
He didn’t care. He had zero cares about the awe of Times Square.
So, we made our way to the M&M store (because, you know, it’s not like you can just buy M&Ms at the supermarket…) and then to the Disney store. We made a swing through Bryant Park but – seeing as there was not one square-foot of grass available on this beautiful day – it was literally just a drive-by.
Mike only had to carry Mikey the final two blocks back to Grand Central.
We will do the Museum of Natural History and Central Park and the Empire State Building and all the other attractions in the future, but for our first trip, we pretty much just wanted to see if Mikey could tolerate a long day of walking and crowds – which he did!
All in all, we were so proud of our big guy. We were also now the proud owners of a new Pokémon stuffy, a LEGO set, a Statue of Liberty LEGO magnet, an M&M dispenser machine, a 2-pound bag of M&Ms, two $4 bottles of water, and a chocolate fudge brownie from Zaro’s at Grand Central Station that Momma has no regrets about.
Mikey zoned out on the tablet on the train ride home, and as it pulled into the station he looked over at my husband and asked, “Where are we going now?”
Mike whipped his head in my direction so fast I was surprised he didn’t get whiplash. I saw the appalled look on his face.
“What do you mean, Mikey?” I asked.
“Are we going someplace else now?”
“No, buddy. It’s dinnertime. We had a big day. THAT was our event for the day…” Before I could even finish my husband cut in.
“Yeah, Mikey, we are going somewhere else: Home. We are going home.”
Luckily, Mikey could read the room and backpedaled. “Yeah, OK. I want to go home. Can we watch the Mario movie when we get home?”
This time I couldn’t even glance at my husband when he looked at me, for fear that I would break out in laughter.
Holly Crocco is editor of the Putnam County Times/Press and mother of a 5-year-old. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.