Day Trips With Ian: Brookfield Plaza, NYC, Travel

During the worst of the pandemic, when the weather was grey and isolation was the worst, we decide that every weekend we would take a day trip to add some adventure to our lives and to keep Ian stimulated. We missed the past two weekends due to second shot side effects and a backup of household chores. With Steve visiting his parents in North Carolina, Ian and I were on our own for a trip to Manhattan.

We took the train. I haven’t been on mass transportation in nearly two years, and I wanted to make sure that I still remembered how to do it. The Amtrak into Hoboken was fine, but the PATH line at Hoboken was on COVID weekend hours, so we had to wait around for a while. When a train for 33rd St showed up first, we momentarily considered going into Times Square, rather than the World Trade Center area. Good thing we decided to wait a little longer, because tourists got shot there later.

The PATH train — remember the smell of a subway? — got us to the Oculus, the train hub by the World Trade Center. I always think it looks like the inner belly of a dead whale, and I really don’t like think about dead things anywhere near the WTC, but that’s just me. There’s lots of chic-chic stores and it’s bright and clean. Definitely worth a visit.

Steve’s office, where he’ll probably return soon, is connected with the Oculus. So, is Brookfield Place, a super fancy mall with some cool restaurants. Ian and I got some burgers in at P. J. Clark’s, a boutique tavern with nice view of the harbor. Rich dudes sail their yachts up to the dock there.

After dinner, we walked around the southern tip of the city. The city still feels empty. A weekend dad chased a kid on a bike. Joggers logged miles on their fitness trackers. And me and the autistic kid. We turned around, when I got nervous about the transport schedule.

To avoid the stinky, slow PATH train, we took the ferry across the river to Hoboken. Despite the fact that I said “Hoboken?” before getting on the boat and getting off, we ended up in Jersey City. Ian decided that he would rather do the 40 minute walk than wait around for an Uber.

That walk between Jersey City and Hoboken was a surprise treat. The city transformed minute-by-minute as the sun set reflected off a cloudy sky. We walked along newly paved paths past clean new buildings for investment banks that wanted to get out of Manhattan after 9/11.

All together, the boy and I walked 7.5 miles that day and didn’t get a parking ticket at the town’s train station. I got some nice pictures. A few days later, I have recovered from spending $100 for the burgers in the city.

4 thoughts on “Day Trips With Ian: Brookfield Plaza, NYC, Travel

  1. “That walk between Jersey City and Hoboken was a surprise treat. The city transformed minute-by-minute as the sun set reflected off a cloudy sky.”

    I love this, a serendipity that would not have happened without the mistake, and the boy willing to walk 40 minutes. I’m guessing you might have taken the Uber.

    A moment I remember that way is a trip to Venice with children who others would have said were too young. One insisted on playgrounds everywhere. we found one a ferry ride away and watched the sun set over Venice in a spot we’d never have been without a child.


  2. We’ve been seeing the restaurant prices go up for a while, a feature, I think of the $15 minimum wage in the city. It affected our less expensive meals (say, the local diner) because, I think, the labor cost increase is a bigger percent of the cost. But, I don’t think we’ve ever spent $100 for burgers for two. Yesterday, we spent $150 (with 10% tax + tip) for pizza and salad for four, but, we have an extra pizza left, so probably at least another 4 meals out of it. No view of the harbor, though.


  3. It’s slightly spooky to see so many places (not just from you, but around the world) which are usually crowded with tourists and locals, so empty.

    But it does mean you can really appreciate the architecture and design – rather than being swamped by the people.

    I have to say that using public transport (as in crowded trains/buses) feels like the last thing that will come back to ‘normal’ for me. Perhaps it’s because public transport is the last remaining place where masks are *supposed* to be worn, so it feels riskier. I know that’s entirely counter-intuitive – but that’s the way the human brain works – if you see precautions, the risk comes to the forefront of your awareness.

    I know we’re supposed to be supporting the restaurants we love, so they keep open – but $100 for 2 burgers! I feel fleeced if I pay more than $40 for 2 in the most up-market of bistros.


  4. Mr 13 is off to camp this weekend (drama camp for those in lead roles in the upcoming musical – Beauty and the Beast; he’s got a cameo role as Monsieur D’Arque – the evil head of the insane asylum – type casing, I wonder? ;- — but he’s seriously stoked, as it’s his first lead)

    Gave him the list of requirements, and he packed his suitcase. Have just reviewed the packing. ….
    When they say 4 complete sets of warm clothes (camp is in the mountain ranges south of us – and it’s coming into winter here – so days around 10 degrees Celsius (around 50F) – which isn’t freezing, but noticeably chillier) – they don’t mean 2 skimpy t-shirts and a pair of shorts…..


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