Taking a dream vacation to New York City

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Spencer captured this photo of One World Trade Center on his recent visit to New York. Photo by Spencer Massciot.

Over Thanksgiving break, I was fortunate enough to be able to take a trip with my parents to New York City to celebrate my mom’s 50th birthday. It’s been my mom’s dream vacation since she was a little kid. We’ve been preparing for this trip for a long time, so it was amazing that we were finally able to go.

We left from the San Diego Airport after having dinner with my Grandma. Our flight was a redeye, so when we eventually arrived at the Newark Liberty International Airport in New Jersey, we had not gotten too much sleep. We took a train from the airport and made our way to the hotel, with luggage in tow. After breakfast, we set out on foot to begin our day touring the city. We explored destinations, including Times Square, Grand Central Terminal and the Chrysler Building, then stopped for lunch at a holiday fair at Bryant Park. After lunch, we explored the New York Public Library which is home to thousands of books and the stuffed animals that inspired Winnie the Pooh.

The next day, we went to the American Museum of Natural History in the morning and ventured through the majority of Central Park in the afternoon, where at one point we had a view of the Thanksgiving Parade floats being inflated.

On Thanksgiving, we started our day at the observation deck in Rockefeller Center. When we exited the building we had an awesome view of the Thanksgiving Day Parade for a little while. For the rest of the day. we made our way walking through the residential villages of Manhattan and saw Washington Square Park and walked on the high line. In the late afternoon, as we were readying to go back to our hotel for their Thanksgiving dinner, we decided to stop in a grocery store for some water. Earlier that day, my parents had been talking about how Adam Duritz, the lead singer from their favorite band the Counting Crows, lives in the area we were exploring and how cool it would be to see him. The talk became a reality when he actually walked into the grocery store we were in. My parents were so excited and took a picture with him.

The next day, we visited the Empire State Building, explored stores on Black Friday, and went on a river ferry that allowed us to get a view of the city from the water. That evening, we returned to the Empire State Building at night because it’s incredible to see at night. We also had dessert at Carlo’s Bakery from the television show Cake Boss.

On Saturday, we explored the Met and a different part of Central Park, took a ferry to Brooklyn and walked across the Brooklyn Bridge to Manhattan, saw Wall Street, walked through Chinatown and Little Italy and had dinner at Lombardi’s, America’s first pizzeria.

On Sunday, we saw Hello Dolly, starring Bette Midler, on Broadway. It was an amazing show and my mom loves Bette Midler so she kind of got emotional in the theater. Afterwards, we walked along Fifth Avenue and saw the United Nations building.

The next day, we visited the Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island. We had the opportunity to walk up 393 steps to the crown and see amazing views from the inside of the statue. Later that day, we reflected on our trip at the National September 11 Memorial & Museum which is next to the new One World Trade Center.

We walked around the area surrounding our hotel on our final day. Overall, we did so much all around the city and there was nothing left on our list that we didn’t get to do. It was an amazing trip and I am very thankful to my parents for allowing us to take the trip as a family.

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Spencer Massicot