Start Spreading the News… New York, New York

I just got back from a weekend in New York City for my family reunion… it happens every two years, and usually it’s at one of my aunts’ or uncles’ houses, and now that we’ve passed the torch to the next generation, at one of my cousins’ houses.

But for once, it was hosted by one of my generation who only has a small apartment in a big city… nowhere to park mobile homes or camp on the lawn, as some of the family have traditionally done.

Yup, that’s right… times are a-changin’, and my family descended from Minnesota, Kansas, Virginia, Saskatchewan and Ontario (that’s me) onto the Big Apple… Manhattan.

Start spreading the news,
I’m leaving today,
I want to be a part of it…
New York, New York…

Heather Vale in NY capAs a souvenir, I bought myself a NY Yankees cap…

Here I am in the La Guardia airport going home with it on; the picture was taken with my camera phone.

Barry’s got a NY Yankees cap too (a little older than mine), and I’m going to be seeing him on the next trip coming up, so we thought it might be interesting to see people’s reactions… two people wearing NY hats, everywhere but NY.

The most fun I had was on the first night, Saturday night, when my cousin Jim (the native New Yorker who grew up in Kansas City then lived in Chicago during the University years) took a few of us out for a night on the town. I was the instigator… my point was, it was Saturday night in New York city… why would we want to turn in with all our parents, right after the jazz show we all attended, when we were in the city that never sleeps?

So Jim and I, my cousin Ross and his wife Deb turned out to be the adventurous group. I was stag on this trip, and so was Jim, so he and I probably seemed like a couple as far as casual observers were concerned. Hey, a cute blond big city, big shot lawyer… any woman would have loved to be in my position. 😉

One day we took a ferry ride around the harbor, then walked around SoHo and Greenwich Village, stopped by Ground Zero, and finally went to eat down by the water… here’s a video of a human mime-robot who doesn’t like my refusal to shake his hand (hey, I didn’t know what he would do, I just wanted to take a shot of him):

Then on the last day, before heading to the airport, my parents and I went to the top of the Empire State building.

I had been there once before — the only other time I went to New York — with my classmates in University. It was done through the art department, and it was a bunch of us art majors hanging out together and visiting museums.

But my best friend Ariel Enhaynes and I also needed to do “cool” stuff like going to Studio 54 (at 18 when the legal age was 21) , The Tunnel, and the HardRock Cafe, taking a subway ride, going to a live Rocky Horror Show (I think I actually got up on stage and danced, like the girl did in Fame) and walking around Times Square.

And yes, we also went up the Empire State Building, AND the World Trade Center (which was obviously still standing at the time, and also meant the Empire State Building had much shorter line-ups than it did this time).

Here’s a video of me on this trip, not 20 years ago, at the top of the Empire State Building:

This time around the city was busier, but cleaner, especially around Times Square.

So what did I learn this trip?

Love your family, and get to know them, no matter how little you get to spend time together. Some of my cousins and second cousins I’ve only met once, and the last time I saw them was many years ago, so it’s not like we get to hang out all the time.

Also, take advantage of what you have when you have it. That’s why I did everything that I wanted to do while in Manhattan, knowing that I might not be back for a long time.

But most importantly, get out there, travel, and enjoy life. I’ve done some travel in recent years, but it was mostly for my job at Nokia when I had it; there was not a lot of just kicking back and having fun.

I want to be in a position where I can go anywhere I want, any time I want, and experience different cultures and cities.

There’s nothing like travel to put your own life in perspective, and pinpoint exactly what you want out of your life, and that’s what happened to me this weekend.

Happy trails, and I wish you the best of finding perspective on your journeys too.

Keep Unwrapping the Mysteries of Life!

Heather Vale