I have wanted to visit NYC for as long as I can remember. It was actually a dream of mine to live there after college, but life happened, plans changed, and my living in The Big Apple never happened. But now it was time to decide the family vacation and guess what? New York here we come! My sixteen-year-old son, husband, and myself landed at LaGuardia Airport on a hot June day. Okay, so the airport sucked, but we were thrilled to be there.
The shuttle ride from the airport to our Times Square hotel had us in awe. Our minds were blown by the traffic and the skyline. Once we settled into our hotel, we threw on comfortable shoes and hit the streets. The pedestrian traffic in Times Square was like nothing I’d ever experienced. I swear, it was shoulder to shoulder and I loved it. The hustle and bustle, constant horn blowing, sirens, incredible amount of lights, yes, this is what I’d been waiting for and I was taking it all in.
As evening fell on our first day, our stomachs told us it was time to eat. We’d heard about this place called Juniors that was known for its amazing cheesecake. We started walking in what we thought was the direction of the eatery, but after fifteen minutes, we said to hell with it and called an Uber. The driver picked us up on a corner in Times Square, drove us around several city blocks, and dropped our asses off at the same corner where he picked us up. This dude then told us that Juniors was across the street, behind all of the construction equipment. I got out of the car pissed! That jerk could’ve said that when he picked us up and we’d have tipped him more than the actual fare was. Anywho, we get to Juniors, wait forty-five minutes for a table, and it was totally worth it. It wasn’t a fancy place, very casual burger and fries kind of eatery, but the cheesecake was good enough to resuscitate the dead.
A good night sleep and it was time to hit those streets again. This time we opted to take the open-air tour bus. We liked it so much that (aside from walking) it remained our mode of transportation for the duration of the trip. The next three days were filled with every touristy thing you can imagine. Each of us had something different that served as out favorites, but I’ll only give you the run down on mine. The 911 Memorial and Museum were soul stirring reminders of our countries greatest loss. A tour of Brooklyn gave me a greater appreciation for it vs. what I’d heard. A visit to Century 21 had me feeling like I’d died and gone to retail heaven. If you’ve never heard of it, it sells all high-end designer clothes, shoes, bags, etc. at discounted prices. And you can shop them online (wink, wink). As an author and avid reader, my literary heaven was found at Strand Bookstore. Three fabulous, glorious stories of books and I tried to touch damn near every one of them and purchased more than I probably should have. My biggest regret is that we got so caught up with other things that we didn’t make it to Harlem. I know, how the hell did we not get to Harlem? It only means that I have an excellent reason to go back.
Oh, before I go, I must tell you about other must go to eateries. The Westway Diner was our brunch spot. The food was great and very reasonable. I’ve already told you about Juniors, also not ridiculously priced. But if you’re willing to spend a little bit more cash and love Italian like we do, Carmine’s is a must! It’s a beautiful, lively atmosphere and the food is served family style. We’re greedy and couldn’t decide on one meal, so we had spaghetti and meatballs (really good) and shrimp parmesan (freaking incredible).
To sum this experience up, I’m a southern girl at heart. Born and raised in Atlanta, Georgia. Yes, a true Georgia Peach and I intend to stay one. By the end of day three, the ridiculous traffic, sirens, horns, and foot traffic that I found endearing on day one had become nerve racking. All that noise is disrespectful to the senses. While overall, I love New York, I just love it as a place to visit, because there is no place like my southern home.
Stacey is a Contemporary Fiction and invites you to follow @ https://twitter.com/covingtonlee, https://www.instagram.com/scovingtonlee, https://www.facebook.com/StaceyCovingtonLee, and visit her website @ www.staceycovingtonlee.com.