Dad In Training
My day in NYC alone
As a married father of 2 with no family living close by to help out, it isn't very often I get the opportunity to do something entirely by myself outside of work, errands and exercise. During our trip to the States we were staying with family that were only too happy to take the children and give us a little bit of downtime every now and then; naturally we usually took them up on their offers. I didn't know what to do with myself though when my wife made plans with friends and presented me with the opportunity to have a day entirely to myself. I say I didn't know what to do... I did, but it felt like I was entering unchartered territory that's all.
I boarded an early train into New York City and had a skip in my step. I had no bags, no stroller, no children... just me. I rode a familiar route up the escalator from 33rd St station underneath Manhattan Mall and paused to stare up at the Empire State Building as is tradition on trips to the city. I walked a block to a Starbucks on 7th Ave and unlike everyone else taking their coffee to go I perched on a barstool in the window. New York is always fast paced and full of crowds of people in a hurry and given that it was still before 9am, today was no exception. I took a deep breath and smiled. I had nowhere to be like these people. I actually had nothing to worry about other than how hot my cup of java was and enjoyed watching the city rush around me. My day of self indulgence had begun.
Having taken my time over my coffee (a luxury in itself as a parent) I slipped into the stream of people rushing up and down the street outside and rode the wave to Madison Square Garden. All the times that I've been to New York and I'd never actually been inside the Garden. I planned to change that this trip and had booked onto the tour and secured tickets for a Knicks game later in the trip. The tour was a great way to spend a morning for a guy like me who loves sports and music. To be inside such a famous arena and get a feel for how they prepare for events every day was a privelege. Madison Square Garden has played host to some important historic moments in the entertainment world, such as John Lennons finals performance, Marilyn Monroe sining happy birthday to President JFK, Gretzky's final game and the first Ali vs Frazier fight - you just never know when another iconic moment could take place. Walking the corridors, it felt like the walls could tell stories!
Having enjoyed my tour of the world most famous arena, I strolled up 7th Ave to 42nd St and the bright lights of Times Square and was surprised not to be bothered by anyone. I was a guy by himself, with no map or camera and my alone time was enhanced by blending in and not being seen as a tourist by the touts on every corner.
Enjoying my walk around a sunny but bitterly cold New York, I made my way to 49th St where I had an appointment to get a straight razor shave. I walked in and felt like I had gone back in time to the prohibition era. The classy, 1920's decor was complimented by the smell of mahogany and the sounds of mellow jazz music and I knew I was in for a good experience when I was greeted from the cold with a warming tumbler of bourbon. The New York Shaving Company gave me their ultimate shave package and I wasn't left disappointed. I had a facial, was shaved 3 times and treated to hot towels, warmed homemade shaving foam and their own brand of moisturiser and shave oils. I walked out of there feeling like a million bucks and would thoroughly recommend doing it at least once in your life. Being shaved by an Italian with a straight razor in New York City was one of 4 items ticked off my bucket list in this trip alone.
It's always a trying time going out for a meal with young children in tow and I tend to spend most of it with my fingers crossed that it goes smoothly. Even a smooth meal out though nowadays is spent with me and my wife taking it turns at getting to eat and chopping up eachothers food. I walked into Burger Heaven, a typical American eatery that had been in the same family for 4 generations and sat down alone. I ordered my food, looked at photos I had taken on my phone, took a selfie, struck up a conversation with my server and ate in uninterrupted peace. What. A. Luxury!
I enjoyed the treat of having a day by myself. I enjoyed not having to worry about anybody else... I could eat when and where I wanted, go where I wanted and do what I wanted to do. I didn't have to worry about where the nearest changing table was, how long since the last bottle of milk or drag a baby bag and stroller around. It was like going back in time to a former life and I have to say that I enjoyed it. But that being said; it was a novelty and as enjoyable as it was, I wouldn't be in a hurry to do it again or make a habit of it. The best thing about being a part of a family or in a relationship is having someone to share the good times with. Whenever I saw something, I had noone to point it out to. When I was happy about something, I was happy about it alone. I enjoyed eating in peace, but life would be dull if every meal was consumed in silence. I enjoyed my day alone in the big city, but nothing really compares to family life and having someone to share lifes experiences with.