Friday, January 2, 2009

Little Trains and a BIG Tree

With one exception, Jamie and I have gone to New York City each holiday season since we started dating.  The year we skipped, 2006, Duncan was only nine months old, and we were not comfortable leaving him for long enough for a trip to the city, but we really missed our foray into the hustle and bustle and the lights and drama of the city at Christmas.  Over the years, we've seen shows ranging from Blue Man Group to Rent to Cirque du Soleil's Wintuk.  This year, we decided it was time to extend our tradition to include Duncan.

I admit I was nervous about taking Duncan into New York.  It's a long day, and anything can happen.  With my anxiety out in full force, I envisioned him being nabbed in Rockefeller Center, falling onto the train rails, or simply walking away and being lost.  I'm determined not to let that anxiety affect Duncan, so we did what all good parents do.  We took deep breaths, held his hand tightly when he wasn't strapped into the stroller, and enjoyed ourselves.  The "wow factor" was worth all my concerns.  We had a fabulous day in the city and forged lifelong memories and a new tradition.

We started by taking the train to the train to the trains:  we took to train from Southeast station to White Plains and transferred to the New York Botanical Garden stop, where we went to the Holiday Train Show at the conservatory.  It was an amazing display of miniature, historic and contemporary New York State buildings crafted from natural materials.  Each vignette of buildings had its own miniature train.  Neither my words nor my pictures can do it justice.  If any of you ever have the opportunity, I recommend it.  Our favorites were the original Yankee Stadium, the conservatory at the NYBG, the Empire State Building, the Statue of Liberty, and the New York Public Library.  After lunch at the cafe, we headed in to Grand Central Station and walked over the Rockefeller Center.

It was colder than cold, but somehow it is always warmer in Rockefeller Center.  We saw the biggest tree EVER, and the angels, and the skaters.  We watched until we couldn't take the cold any longer.  For days, we let Duncan watch the Today Show and the news so he could say "Look at the big tree!  I was there!"  It was all he could talk about for days.  

So, a new tradition is born, and we will look forward next December to taking a breather from our own Christmas hustle and bustle to enjoy what New York has to offer.
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