As transplanted New Yorkers living in Northern California, my wife and I have TONS of memories of living in New York. We’ve shared dozens and dozens of those with our kids over the years.
One of our recollections that has stuck out most for the kids: The fact that you can walk everywhere.
We live in the country now, so you can imagine why the notion of ambulating is so intriguing. We can get places! With no car! (We did this in London when we lived there in 2013, but R was too little to remember it, and L seems to remember destinations instead of how we got to them.) The girls also have said they are fascinated by the ideas of buildings twinkling like stars, smoke rising from subway grates, and relatively empty streets. I think they have imagined walking at night in the city to be like walking on air.
Naturally, then, during our family vacation in New York City earlier this month, we HAD to walk around at night. We got our chance after meeting friends for dinner and dessert in Little Italy. The restaurants were 1.2 miles from our hotel. So we hoofed it “home.”
Watching the big girls fulfill this fantasy was nothing short of bliss. They started by holding hands with our friends’ kids, skipping and singing as they bounced down the sidewalk a few paces ahead of us. They marveled at the illuminated skyscrapers. They jumped when taxicabs honked horns. They even stopped to peruse the offerings of a little bodega in Chinatown.
When our friends peeled off to do some shopping, our pod continued on foot, the girls continuing their love affair with all things urban and night.
Even Baby G got in on the curiosity act; from her perch in Powerwoman’s Ergo, she took it all in, smiling and gurgling with delight.
Yes, there was drama—a cabbie nearly ran R off the road, and when we spotted a rat, the kids shrieked. There also were the requisite complaints—about five blocks before we reached our hotel, L complained of her foot hurting and R said she was too tired to go on. (Both persevered.)
Finally, about 30 minutes after we left Little Italy, we arrived at the hotel, safe and sound. As we rode the elevator, the baby triggered a yawn chain that left the big girls scraping the bottom of their respective barrels of energy for the day. Through her squinty eyes, with her body entering ragdoll-mode, L put it all into perspective: “That might have been my favorite part of the trip, guys. I wish we could walk everywhere.”