Sometime during the spring Scott and I had the wild idea of taking Annelise to New York City for her tenth birthday (which would be September 4th). We talked about clever and creative ways to tell her this exciting news, but we never decided on anything, as per the norm. This of course left us with the not clever at all method of just straight up telling her one afternoon a few weeks before her birthday. Oh well.
As the day approached she was a see-sawing mix of excitement and regret.
(Apparently when you are on the cusp of turning ten you get very moody. This doesn't bode well for the unavoidable tween and teen years.)
While she wanted to go to New York she also wanted to go to school and see her friends and have me bring cupcakes and open presents at home and have cake and ice cream and possibly invite a friend over for (gasp!) her first sleepover (I can't even). She also had to do a ton of school make-up work Labor Day weekend (having the extra day turned out to be a huge blessing) before we left so that experience left her a little, um, let's call it bitter.
Also? The morning we left she woke up with congestion that got progressively worse throughout the day (and lingered throughout out trip) so her tenth birthday was getting off to a rocky start.
Sidenote: There was a surprise engagement during our flight, which was exciting and definitely perked her up. They turned the running lights off inside the cabin and asked everyone to turn on their seat lights and call buttons, which at first freaked me out, but then I noticed the brawny man that had been sitting across from us up near the front of the plane and they asked for so and so (his girlfriend) to come to the front of the plane. He got down on one knee and yada, yada, yada, she said yes and the whole plane erupted in clapping and cheers.
It was sweet.
Once we landed at La Guardia we caught a cab and checked into our hotel in the Times Square area.
It was located at 48th and 8th so it was near Times Square which was convenient for some things yet far enough away from the crazy, so that was really nice. We booked it through Hotwire, which is kind of a gamble because you only know price and general area, you don't know which hotel you get until after you book, which has always worked out for us but is still a tad scary.
After freshening up a bit and charging up our phones, we hit the streets. We walked along the edges of Times Square on our way to Rockefeller Plaza. Annelise's eyes lit up when she saw the Hershey store and M & M World, but we held off going inside until another day.
We were soon attacked by our first costumed photo personality of the trip (there would be more, it's rather annoying since they are very aggressive and not subtle at all about asking for tips), a Minnie Mouse. I snapped a photo but didn't tip (it was our first attack and happened very quickly and we did not ask to pose with her, she just sort of grabbed Annelise) and then we avoided all costumed characters as best we could for the remainder of our trip.
We had never had anything for lunch so we checked off "Eat a cart hot dog like a true New Yorker" from our list first thing. (I don't know, I'm guessing New Yorkers eat them sometimes.)
We settled down to eat them on some nearby benches while enjoying the people watching.
And Annelise had fun feeding the birds.
Soon after devouring our dogs we spotted a Mister Softee truck, I had read on a blog that this was the best soft serve ice cream ever so Scott and Annelise got cones.
What? It was her tenth birthday. When else should one eat a double wide ice cream cone as big as one's head packed with rainbow sprinkles?
We soon made our way (once we stopped eating this was much more successful) over to the plaza.
The line for the Top of the Rock wasn't long at all (later, as we were leaving, it was a nightmare) so we got our tickets and took the supersonic elevator ride upwards. Annelise thought that was highly cool!
She also was highly infatuated with these viewers, so much so she coughed up her own money to get a better look on the Central Park side and again on the Empire State Building side.
We spent time on the outdoor decks and inside looking through the windows, the views all around were simply amazing. I don't think I could ever get tired of them.
I did get tired of people pushing their way either beside you or even (worse) right in front of you with no regard for the fact you might be taking a photo. Then, once rudely ensconced beside you in your space (Seinfeld Judd Reinhold anyone?) they would linger for an eternity. The other thing that bugged was when people knew others (okay, maybe us) were waiting for a turn in their spot and they'd take forever and a week to move and let you (us) have a turn.
We even went all the way up to the tippy top so we could see the views freely without a plexiglass screen, which was nice, very crowded and windy, but still nice.
After that we made our way to the subway to get slightly uptown for supper at Serendipity. Before we descended down into the depths we came this close to getting cupcakes at Magnolia Bakery. I'd had the brilliant idea of buying cupcakes and taking them up to the Top of the Rock for Annelise's birthday but then worried we wouldn't be allowed to do that, and as it turned out no food or drinks were allowed up there. Scott and Annelise were still sweeted out from their ice cream and neither one wanted to haul cupcakes uptown for later, so we abstained.
By the time we walked from the subway stop to Serendipity, including one do-over walk because we went the wrong way, the whole novelty of this New York adventure had worn off for Annelise. She was tired, her feet hurt and she could hardly breathe thanks to her sniffles slash congestion.
This, or some version of this, is how she sat until we got our food. Then, bless, she could hardly taste her hamburger and the whole chewing while breathing ordeal became too much.
Needless to say, she was not as thrilled by the frozen hot chocolate as I'd predicted she'd be (she's totally faking her enthusiasm at this point).
This is also around the time she began to answer our questions with what shall henceforth and forever be known as The Sassy Yet Sullen Shoulder Shrug, which we had to shut that down immediately.
I can't even.
Truth be told, after a very early morning start, a day of travel and then an afternoon slash evening of touristy New York things plus all the walky walky, we were all a little cantankerous and overwrought. We caught a cab and made it back to our general hotel area, stopping first for some Benadryl and bottled water at a nearby Duane Reade, before crashing for the night and sleeping the sleep of the truly exhausted.
Stay tuned...more New York adventures to come (everyone's attitudes had miraculously improved by the fresh light of a new day, so that's good).