My daughter-in-law Kelly is going to New York next weekend, and I’ve been scheming and dreaming of how and when I can go again. Until I have the money and the time, I’m going to do a little walking down Memory Lane.

The last time I went to the Big Apple was the first weekend in May. Some work chums and I had been talking about it for a while, and we decided that the weekend of graduation was the best time. Three of the group took Amtrak, and Nancy and I flew out of Charlotte. Our tickets were only $128 round trip, and we had no problems whatsoever. Well, that’s not entirely true because we had a delay of about an hour leaving Charlotte, but that’s a minor thing when you consider the reasonable cost and speedy, comfortable trip.

We stayed at Double Tree in Times Square, and one of the many things we liked about our accommodations is that they give fresh chocolate cookies to all of their guests. Yum! Sometimes little things make a big difference. After checking in, we walked to the New York Public Library and were overwhelmed with its awesomeness. Is that a word? The upstairs reading rooms had a hushed, reverent quality about themI loved picking up old tomes and reading bits and pieces of information. Afterward, Lisa, Linda, and I walked the streets gawking like a trio of exactly what we were, tourists from SC.  

I know no one is that interested in an hour by hour breakdown of our visit, so I’ll just hit the high spots beginning with the Evergreen, a neat little diner close to the hotel where we had breakfast a couple of mornings. We loved the “local color,” our French server, and reasonable prices on the excellent food.  We also enjoyed :

*The Strand, a bookstore with 18 miles of books. We were agog with the selection of books and atmosphere of the store.
*The two-day bus tour that took us on a loop all over Manhattan, complete with knowledgeable tour guides who gave us tons of  information about the city’s history and some of its famous residents.
*Chinatown and the Jobe restauarant where the dessert was “ice cream meeting with fried banana.”
*The sights, sounds, smells, and street vendors in Chinatown. We bought neat scarves and purses.
*La Mela on Mulberry Street in Little Italy.
*The South Street Seaport and the mix of people there.
*“Scarf night” at Juniors, a cool restaurant in the theatre district.
*Bryant Park and its outdoor reading room behind the New York Public Library.
 *Liberty Island and the climb to the top of the statue with Lisa and Linda.
*Ellis Island and the ambience in the great hall. I enjoyed this stop so much that I’ll probably write more about it later.
*The variety of people on the ferry to Liberty and Ellis Islands.
*Walking across the Brooklyn Bridge to Brooklyn and back to the southern tip of Manhattan.
*Seeing West Side Story with Nancy and Martha (loved the scene at the gym when Tony and Maria first see each other).  Lisa and Linda were equally impressed with Wicked.
*Being at the set of Today and having our picture made with Meredith….also with Lenny, a regular on the show.

What made the trip especially nice was traveling with such compatible, pleasant people. This is an extremely important element to consider if you’re considering a group trip. Not a harsh word was spoken, and all three nights I fell asleep hearing laughter and happy conversation.  We didn’t do everything together, and we were fine with that. Lisa, Linda, and I played the tourist role to the max while Nancy and Martha visited  museums.  

Nancy and I left the city first, and as the cab driver put our luggage in his car, he made polite conversation and asked us where we were from. When we said, “South Carolina,” he shook his head and said his wife was from there and was hinting that she wanted to move back. “It’s a great state” we assured him. “You’d enjoy living there.” We laughed at his reply. “I’m sure gonna miss her when she leaves.”

Anyone out there up for a trip to the Big Apple? I want to see The Lion King and need some pleasant, compatible travel buddies. Just say when.

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