About 5 years ago, my cousin Beth moved to New York City to peruse a career in fashion. She made her dreams come true and ever since moving there each time I would see Beth at family parties she would ask me the same question, “So, when are you coming to New York?” Every time I’d reply with a half-hearted promise to come see her, both of us knowing that it was inevitable that I’d have a reason not to go.
Huz has always worked nights and weekends until recently and finding a sitter is definitely not on my list of easy things to do. This made going to New York one of those things that I would always put off until later.
That was until a few weeks ago. Beth had sent me an email asking if I’d be interested in coming up to talk with a group of teen moms about the issues they might face and give some advice on being a young and successful parent. I admit that I was extremely flattered that she would even think of me in that light and honestly I was very surprised.
In the past I had entertained the thought of myself being a public speaker to the youth, imagining that through talking about my mistakes and sharing the life lessons I have learned that I could possibly influence a younger generation in positive ways. I immediately agreed to come up but only under one condition, that my work would allow me to take the day off.
It figures (and probably sounded like another excuse) that the day that I was asked to go up there and talk to the girls was the same day as the State of the Union meeting at my work. The State of the Union is the biggest meeting our company has each year and everyone is required to attend so I knew I could not request off. When I told Beth that I wasn’t able to come she said she understood but followed with the almost (practically famous) phrase of “Well, when are you coming to New York then; Just to hang out?”
I could not say no this time, I did not want to say no this time! Now that Huz is home on the weekends and I had it on my list of resolutions I figured why not. Why not just go? Even better, why not take my daughter with me to visit Beth in New York? Nan is older now and super fun; the three of us would have a blast! I asked Beth if we both could come and she said of course! I’m sure she (and definitely Nan) were expecting me to back out but really I did want to go so I was determined to prove them wrong.
Naturally, I waited until the last minute to book the Bolt bus and could not get any tickets for Friday night. The ones for Saturday were sold out, except for the 6:30am bus. 6:30 am? hmmm. I couldn’t flake out this time so I booked the early ass tickets. Believe me when I tell you, I was super nervous that I would not be on that bus so early on a Saturday morning. Huz was nice enough to offer us a ride downtown so we would not have to take the regional rail that early in the morning. I’m sure he also figured if he didn’t take us down we would never make it on time (after 13 years he knows me well).
I was super excited to see Beth because when I woke up on Saturday it was 3:54am and by 4:15am I was already on my second cup of coffee and starting the day. I got showered and dresses and woke everyone up;
The bus ride was quick and by the time we arrived in Manhattan at 8:30 am Nan and I were wide awake and hungry. Within a few minutes Beth had texted me that she was a few avenues away and wondered if we were hungry? I laughed out loud, it was then that I knew it was going to be a great weekend!
I wish I had my camera out when Beth ran up to the corner where we were standing so I could have captured that perfect snapshot of her. She was breathtaking! She looked so glamorous and stunning; she looked exactly like a New York City girl, fashionable, confident and IN CHARGE. She is a New York City girl!
Beth gave us huge warm hugs and then as we walked by a ton of buildings she noted which ones were what and told us the bits and pieces along the way.
We stopped in a little cafe and ordered fresh omelets and pancakes and chit chatted before we headed over to the ferry to see the Statue of Liberty.
It was freezing cold, almost as windy as a hurricane and we must have been ca-ra-zy to go out in that choppy water on a ferry but it we had so much fun. I took almost a million pictures and looked like a total tourist but I didn’t care, I was a tourist, that’s how we do!
Because of the nutso weather we decided not to get off at Liberty Island but Beth suggested that we stop at Ellis Island to check out the Immigration Port Museum. We explored the warm (and wind free) museum but before we left, I said that I had wanted to duck outside for a smoke. I couldn’t find my lighter for a minute and while I was growling Beth said, “Eh, just go out there and you can ask a European for one.” I was a bit confused and then happily found my lighter.
When I was outside a beautiful woman came up and started talking to me in French. I failed French in high school so it took me a minute to figure out what she was saying but then realized she was looking for a light. By then I also figured out what Beth had meant. Smoking is disgusting and unhealthy and most American women know it however, me and the beautiful French woman do not. I suppose I should move over to France or Europe or France or if France is in Europe then either place. I failed geography, too.
Anyway, back to the story…
After the quick stop at Ellis Island, we ferried our way back to Manhattan and got back on the Metro then we walked around Times Square to make a purposeful stop at the M&M Store. (We Couturier’s have a weird thing with M&M buildings) I can only wonder what was running through Beth’s mind as Nan and I ooh’d and ahh’d various items. We picked gifts for the boys and even some very expensive cat toys for Spook. While browsing around Beth and I made fun of some toxic looking M&M’s. When we were done searching the store we payed for our goods and because we had spent 60$ we got to pick out a free M&M’s dispenser… Complete with toxic M&M’s.
After we left the store we headed towards Broadway to meet my Aunt Kathy (Beth’s Mom) and Jose (Beth’s boyfriend) because we were all going to see Billy Elliot. I had never been to a Broadway show and Nan had tried to see this particular play through her school last year but it was already overbooked and she was not able to attend. Seeing a real play on Broadway for the first time was very exciting for the both of us! It was such a wonderful play about an 11-year-old boy who finds love and happiness doing unconventional things during a very rough time in his town and his personal life. We laughed. Some cried. I sobbed. It was a fantastic play and it totally made me want to move to New York and fulfill one of my
300 dreams and become an actor.
When the play ended we headed back outside into the cold in search of a great place to eat (if you have never been to Manhattan and love food go there right now) and ended up in a lively little Italian restaurant called Don Giovanni Ristorante. The place smelled heavenly and it was lively enough to not feel bad about and talking loud and laughing hard over tons of food and a few Italian beers.
After we were all filled up we left the Restorante (fancy, fancy talk) we headed back out into the freezing wind, kissed and hugged my aunt goodbye then found warmth in a quick taxi ride to Beth’s apartment in Queens. We all tried to watch a movie but then decided we very much needed sleep rather than the entertainment of Ben Stiller.
It was a wonderful day that we had and the fun continued on Sunday. I will put all of that into a separate post though because I want to make sure it gets all of the love it deserves!