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.