A Bite of the Big Apple!

The last time I was in Manhattan was on my honeymoon, 16 years ago this month.  It hadn’t changed much from a cursory look.  Except for one pretty noticeable gap in the downtown grouping of skyscrapers, everything seemed about the same.

I stood at the World Trade Center site yesterday afternoon for a few minutes.  What we all saw on television nearly seven years ago cannot possibly have given us an accurate rendition of the terror and chaos that must have enveloped the city that day.  The incredible collapse of those two massive buildings must have paralyzed many in fear.  It certainly did me as I imagined it yesterday.  There’s only a certain, scaled perception that television, even big-screen TVs can offer.  It was heartwarming to see the work of hundreds of builders as they labored to build the memorial, slated to be opened in 2012.  I can’t even imagine what it was like that day.  Overwhelming.

Of course, great centers of civilization like New York City showcase the best and worst of the human race.  We saw much of the best and, thankfully, little of the worst.  I decided to “be in the heart of it” by staying at a hotel right on Times Square.  We had a great little suite on the 31st floor that fit our family just perfectly.  I loved the location, despite the price.

Our 30 hours in NYC were filled with amazing experiences.  We got up early to visit the Today Show over at Rockefeller Plaza, just a few minutes’ walk from our hotel.  Much to our surprise, the line to get into the Plaza went halfway around a city block–and this was an hour before the show started!  I had underestimated the frenzy that country singer Kenny Chesney would generate by singing on the show that day.  When we finally got into the Plaza, we were waaaaaaaaay back in the crowd and only got passing glimpses of the show’s personalities.  (Kayla and I did manage to get a second of air time when they picked a lady right next to us for their Friday Ambush Makeover piece!)  Well, to make a long story short, we left after an hour and a half of nothing.

The day before, we had spent a large portion of the afternoon visiting Liberty Island.  It was really hot and the kids were tired; but they were good sports and enjoyed seeing Lady Liberty.  That night, I surprised my girls by taking them to see Phantom of the Opera, their favorite musical, on Broadway!  We had a great time!

After leaving the Today Show, we visited the American Girls Place.  Now, I want to say very publicly and loudly, that this was NOT my idea!!

Next, we had a couple of neat experiences.  On our way back to our hotel, we walked right by the Fox studio where Fox and Friends broadcasts each morning.  I didn’t know this prior to our visit but each day after the show, they do a 15-minute live “after the show” show.  We walked by just as they were doing this.  There were only 10-15 people gathered around watching it.  We stayed and heard a great Broadway singer.  Then, Steve Doocy, one of the anchors, came outside and talked to us and posed with the kids.  He was super friendly.

After leaving Fox, we had to pass by Rockefeller Plaza again.  By this time, they were taking the outdoor concert staging down and all but maybe 50 people had left.  We asked a guard if any of the personalities would be coming outside again.  He said no.  We decided to go in the plaza again anyway and just see what we could see.  At that very moment, Ann Curry and Tiki Barber walked out to close the show outside in the Plaza.  I called Ann over and she met the family.  She was taken with Jason!

After lunch, we went to the Empire State Building and just looked around.  We were a little pressed for time, so we didn’t go up to the top.  Then, we visited Ground Zero at the World Trade Center site and headed back to our hotel.  We got off the subway one stop too early and had to walk through Times Square one more time.  As we were walking, all of a sudden Christina says “There’s the guy from America’s Got Talent!”  I looked at him and said “No, it’s not.”  Then, everybody around him said, “yes, it is!”  We took off after him, him being David Hasselhoff, and walked around Times Square with him for a little bit.  He had a camera crew with him and was doing a promo piece for America’s Got Talent.  Maybe we’ll be in it when it airs.  David was nice enough to let us get a picture with the kids.  It’s funny: Deborah and I know David from Knight Rider in the 1980s but my kids know him from a TV talent show in 2008!  Oh well, it was another New York moment!

We finished up the NYC part of our “homeless tour” by going into the incredible Toys R Us store in Times Square.  It is a kid’s dream and a parent’s worst nightmare.  Amazingly, we didn’t buy anything.  It’s nice to have the excuse that you can’t really buy these kinds of things because there is no room for them in our “home” the minivan!

After surviving a Manhattan rush hour, we made our way up Route 22 through New York state and then crossed into the little town of Great Barrington, MA, where we are settled in for a week of rest and family.  Then, up to Maine, over to Niagara Falls, and back to the Midwest for a bit.

We had a really wonderful time in NYC.  Except for the traffic, we really felt quite at ease in the city.  Most everyone we talked to was very friendly and helpful.  I even had the chance to encourage our taxi driver, whom I discovered was a fellow brother in Christ!  The biggest thing to me about the Big Apple is that the vast majority of the millions of people who live and work there do not know Christ.  The sea of humanity one is confronted with in that city is amazing to experience.  It makes me want to stand up and do some street preaching.  It also makes me want to cry.  I think it’s maybe in a small way what Jesus felt as He looked over Jerusalem and saw them as scattered sheep, not acknowledging their Shepherd.  I praise the Lord for those who have dedicated their lives to ministering in this city.  There is soooo much need.

Thanks to everyone who has emailed me and expressed their love and prayer support for us during this time.  It means a great deal to us and I know sustains our spirits through the many miles we travel.

If any of you are not on Facebook (www.facebook.com), let me encourage you to sign-up (it’s free!).  You can do a search for my name and request me to be your “friend.”  Then, you can view the photos I’m posting from our trip.  There’s also the opportunity to network with many other people you know or knew in the past.

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2 responses to this post.

  1. Posted by Becky E - Indianapolis(Greenfield) on June 16, 2008 at 5:45 am

    What amazing memories you are creating there in NYC!!

    Kendra and I are a little bit envious about you and the girls seeing “Phantom of the Opera”. That is our favorite musical as well. Kendra has all the songs/lines from the soundrtrack memorized!

    God bless you all…we are still praying!!

    Reply

  2. Hi Becky (and Kendra!),

    We are having a blast on our trip out east. The kids really enjoyed their time in your pool–maybe we can do that again before too long! Thanks for your prayers!

    Reply

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