New York, New York (and Boston)

A (aka Dad) left on a business trip to New York this morning. It happens occasionally. When he announced it a few weeks back, I did what I always do on these occasions: I eagerly sat down to google “cheap flights to New York”, quickly realised how much time I would have to spend cooped up in economy class with two children under five whilst my husband luxuriated in business, how jetlagged I would feel managing said (jetlagged) children single-handedly around a foreign city whilst my husband worked all day and attended “networking” dinners all night, and how much all this would cost, and immediately switched to plan B: disgruntled whining.

“Does it have to be that week?” I demanded. “You do realise Singapore has a four-day long weekend happening while you’re away?” Then a thought hit me, and I brightened. “You don’t think they’d give you two days off in lieu of the public holidays you’re missing, do you?”

“They probably would…” A replied, and promptly re-organised his flights to include a two-day side-trip to Boston. Then he asked me to book his travel to Boston.

So tonight, just before I trot off to investigate what Amtrak and Greyhound have to offer (and if you have any advice on that PLEASE TYPE QUICKLY – my last coffee was at 2 and my next glass of red is in five) I’m going to take a few minutes to dream of a world without jetlag, or household budgets, or children who are unlikely to stay placidly quiet when confined to a seat in a tin tube for twenty-two hours plus, or, you know, my own work commitments; a world where I am, by now, halfway to enjoying the following, wonderful itinerary:

Intended for: One 2yo, one 5yo, and Mum.

Overview: A rambling week around one of the world’s great cities. See the sights, eat the foods, ride the subways, greet the people.

Strengths: The company would pay for our hotel. Even in a hypothetical world where money is no object, everyone loves a freebie. New York is enough of a melting pot to have something for everyone at most times of day, food to suit all palates, and public transport infrastructure to interest the nerdiest transport nerd (aka P). Also, despite cliches to the contrary, the locals were pretty helpful last I checked (aaaaages ago).

Forseeable difficulties and mitigating strategies: In a world without jetlag, or household budgets, or children who are unlikely to stay placidly quiet when confined in a plane for twenty-four hours in a row, how many difficulties could there possibly be? I would probably freak out a bit up top of the Empire State Building on account of the height, but I feel confident in my ability to suck it up temporarily and bribe everyone down quickly. It would be… hard to see the look on A’s face as we regaled him with tales of our wonderful adventures upon his return from the office each night? A real pain to have to narrow down our daily sightseeing options? I really think if you take the jetlag/budget/childish behaviour out of the equation you’re pretty much golden.

Estimated Price Bracket: Apparently, in this fantasy, I don’t care! (Let’s say expensive, at least from this distance.)

Itinerary:

Day One

  • Fly Singapore -> New York (non-stop, 19hrs/1 stop, 22-32hrs – significant time gain on outbound leg)
  • Overnight in central New York

Day Two

  • Ellis island (Update: Ellen points out that we’d need to check first to make sure it’s reopened to the public)
  • Central park
  • Empire State Building
  • Overnight in central New York

Day Three

  • Roosevelt Island (I know of someone who lives there and he’s told me enough to make me curious)
  • Bridges of New York
  • Explore using the subway game (rules to be formulated and agreed)
  • Overnight in central New York

Day Four

  • Coney Island
  • Overnight in central New York

Day Five

  • Day trip a bit further out of town, possibly to either Shelter Island or somewhere in the Hudson Valley (consider a day’s car hire)
  • Overnight in central New York

Day Six

  • Guggenheim Museum, MoMA and the Metropolitan Museum of Art (all day – in a world where my kids sit placidly on a plane for up to 32 hours, this can happen)
  • Night out at a jazz club (see above)

Days Seven and Eight

  • Fly New York-> Singapore (significant loss of time due to time zones)
This is the plane we would have boarded this morning in an alternate universe which differs from our own in only a few improbably specific ways.

This is the plane we would have boarded this morning in an alternative universe which differs from our own in only a few, improbably-specific ways.

Sightseeing suggestions for Boston and evenings out in New York are also welcome. I’ll make sure A reads them. (I’ll hold back his transport details until he does.)

Find out how the business trip actually went.

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