It had been years since we last visited, so a couple of weeks ago when my son was home on his school break, my family decided to take the Acela down to the Big Apple with the goal of being nothing other than tourists for a few days. It can be daunting trying to figure out what to do when you’re down there, but between shows, museums, and great restaurants, with a little research ahead of time (done by wife and son!), you really can’t go wrong.
I think we checked the boxes of visiting the city’s major attractions, including:
- The Intrepid Air and Space Museum – This museum is located on the USS Intrepid, a (still floating) World War II aircraft carrier that features a large array of restored aircraft, including the Space Shuttle Enterprise, a British Airways Concord, and a Blackbird Spy Plane. This was a perfect fit for my son, who is studying aeronautical engineering.
- The Spy Museum – The concept sounds corny, but this turned out to be a real winner. The museum contains historical espionage displays, a laser maze obstacle course, spy equipment, and interactive code cracking exhibits. No spy balloons however. I especially enjoyed learning about World War II enigma machines. Very well done.
- The 9/11 Memorial Museum – A tough visit that brought back sad memories, particularly for my wife, who lived in NYC at the time of the terrorist attacks. Because of the emotional aspect, I don’t think we would ever visit the area again, but I would recommend taking the time if you’re ever in the area.
- The Central Park Zoo – Since I like sea lions, penguins, and grizzly bears, this is a great spot to hang out in beautiful Central Park. We tried to spot the recently escaped Eurasian eagle owl in the neighborhood but came up empty handed.
The real highlight of the trip for me however was seeing the The Phantom of the Opera… again. I’m not saying I’m a groupie, but this was the 5th time I’ve seen the show – twice in NYC and three times in Boston. I feel like the more I see it, the more I love it! While some performances over the years were better than others, I felt this one was the best yet, thanks to a very talented Phantom. The show been continuously running at the Majestic Theatre since 1988 and unfortunately, they’ve announced it will be closing sometime soon, so we felt incredibly lucky to have seen it one last time before the final curtain (and chandelier) comes down.
When I look back on this excursion, I’ll always be glad I brought a sturdy pair of sneakers, an Apple Watch to wirelessly pay the subway fares, and my son who can navigate even the toughest subway maze with ease.