Sunday, January 17, 2016

Panic - Diplomacy - Exhilarating New Years Eve in NYC

It started with a wash of panic. All that I planned! Ruined!

...then I took a breath...and thought, "Lets see where this takes us"...maybe this could even be an Opportunity Curve

...then I was nice to a stranger

...and opened myself up to what could be...

...and ended up guiding our family through one of the best evenings of our lives...

...and NONE of it would have happened without first getting an email with bad news.


I opened the email from United. It listed our flights to Aruba: Minneapolis to Chicago to Aruba. My eyes narrowed. The email said the plane from Chicago to Aruba, painstakingly scheduled to perfection to arrive just when I wanted, was canceled, and we were rerouted from MSP to Denver, to Atlanta, to Aruba...arriving a whole day late.

Luckily it was months until the trip, and I knew enough about well-meaning, but inferior computer algorithms that with the limited data it had, was just trying to reroute us the best it could. I settled my panic, and called a human at United to work through a solution that worked for all parties. I even offered to travel a day early so we could arrive to Aruba on time. It would cost me money in hotel, but my top priority was to get to Aruba for the full week of fun.

The lady at United received my diplomatic offer well, and even accepted my request to travel the night before on an EARLIER flight...just in case of bad weather we would have a whole additional flight to get to our connection location.

We were all set.

Fast forward to 3 days before our trip... finally sunk in that since our overnight was in Newark, we could, possibly, visit Manhattan on New Years Eve. The family was curious, but naturally concerned with the world saying that NYC is not for the feint of heart on new years eve. (and was it even safe?)

BUT, since one of my only declared missions for our family is to offer experiences they wouldn't normally get, I decided to lead the family through a whirlwind tour of The City.

We landed at 6, arrived at hotel by 7, and from 8pm to 12:30am, we...

Took a cab from the hotel to Newark Penn Station...and bought MTA passes to World Trade Center (actually, we were planning Times Square station, but on the way, my youngest seemed sad that he wouldn't see the Statue of Liberty...and so adjusted our destination on the fly...
My ladies in front of Lady Liberty

The family in front of same...with cool clouds all lit up

We saw ground zero memorial, the Freedom tower, and the financial district (along with the NY Film Academy).
Somber...even on New Years Eve. My son the MP sure seemed deep in thought, "This is where it all started for me"

Freedom tower...and a family that seems always up for adventure

Freedom tower selfie!

We then hopped the subway up to Central Park, walked to a friendly McDonalds, and then to Rockefeller Center to see the Christmas tree all lit up. My wife has wanted to see this for years!

...but...they had already turned it off. Sad faces all around.
Others from Europe were sure we all sad-faced.

 Ah well...we still had an awesome time walking. Next we saw the Apple Store on 5th ave, and walked Central Park (just down the south-east stairs, through the park, and up the south-west stairs).

Next we walked down Avenue of the Americas to glimpse at the Times Square lights. We weren't allowed to enter (so secure...we felt really safe!) but at 42nd street could see the ball before it dropped!
See it?!? That blue blob in the upper center.

Our last stop was the Empire State Building, always a favorite of mine.
One last photo with the family

...and of course with my lovely Lady. Love traveling with her

We left NYC at 11:30, (forums suggested subways are clogged after midnight) and celebrated 2016 at a small transfer station in Newark.

We all got to sleep around 1:30am. We all had an amazing whirlwind tour of NYC and can now say "Oh yeah, I've done NYC on New Years Eve!"

I'm SO happy this adventure happened...I'd like to take full credit but was just taking advantage of a seemingly terrible flight detour, and ended up with an adventure we'll never forget.

...and it was just the beginning since the very next morning we flew to ARUBA!!!

Love this family.

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