Last week I traveled to New York City for business. In addition to photography, I also work for a firm that conducts seminars throughout the country, and I’d been asked to attend our annual New York event. It was quite the complicated itinerary. Because my husband recently had back surgery, I made plans to leave my boys with my parents in Bucks County, PA instead of at home in Pittsburgh. So I drove them to Doylestown, and then took the train from Trenton to New York.

I arrived in New York on a cold, gray afternoon. My first stop was to take a walk in the High Line Park. This is a former freight rail line that runs above 10th Avenue for about 20 blocks. It’s now a scenic walkway with views of the Empire State Building and the Hudson River. I imagine it would be a lot prettier in spring, summer or early fall with more color, but it was a nice walk nonetheless.

Next stop was a ride on the Staten Island Ferry. This is about a 25-minute ride from the southern tip of Manhattan to the eastern edge of Staten Island. Ferries leave about every half hour, and provide a nice view of lower Manhattan, the Statue of Liberty and the Verrazano Bridge. And it’s free!

I don’t know why we had this Coast Guard escort. I could see that the ferries heading the other direction back to New York did not. Strange and not that comforting.

I made a stop at TKTS, where you can get great discounted last-minute theater tickets…… and on a whim, decided to go see Daniel Radcliffe, aka Harry Potter, in How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying. This was so fun. And only two blocks from my hotel!The next day the itinerary got a little more complicated. Remember my boys were staying with my parents? Through an odd coincidence, one night during their stay, my parents were invited to go to dinner with friends and stay overnight. Where? New York. And not just New York – but the very same hotel where I was staying.

So, that afternoon, my dad and the boys took the train into the city. My mom joined them later on.

Jonas was fascinated by the view of Times Square from the 35th floor. Leo found the view a little unsettling, but was just as amused by this bench seat. We had to drag them away from this activity to go see New York! I’d told the boys before the trip that one of my favorite childhood activities in New York was to climb on the rocks in Central Park. No surprise that they enjoyed this too. Jonas got a little help from Pop Tony. There really are no words to describe how happy I felt that the boys felt the magic of New York. It’s always been a place close to my heart. It’s such a great feeling to be able to share that connection with your family. At the end of the trip, I asked Leo which he enjoyed more, New York or Disney World. He didn’t hesitate. “New York!”Small world alert! My dad grew up in Greenwich Village, and still has some cousins there. But with the size of the city, you sure don’t expect to run into anyone you know by chance. So boy were we surprised to run into my dad’s cousin’s husband and his son, Christian, at this amazing Central Park playground. Photo by my dad.The hotel lobby sure looks like something out of the future. At first Leo was afraid to stand near the glass edge and look out as we took the elevator up – but by the end, he couldn’t get enough of it. And I’ve never seen elevators like this anywhere else – there are keypads where you enter your destination floor. The keypad then indicates which elevator to go to. Once in the elevator, you don’t push a button – your elevator has already been programmed to take you to your floor. The kids loved this! And I loved how fast they were. Ah, the Haier Building. What is it? I have no idea. But I couldn’t resist shooting it with that dramatic sunlight and natural spotlight on the top. Toys R Us! I’m so thankful that by the time the kids got here, they were so tired they didn’t want to stay long. One more favorite activity: hiding behind the curtains. He could enjoy the view AND hide at the same time. The same day the boys left, my sister came in for a little quality time.

The final frame… my amazing dad. Not only did he and my mom take care of my boys at their house, and take them all over NYC, but my dad then drove back to Pittsburgh with us so I wouldn’t have to do all the driving myself. And then made dinner for us! All this before flying out of Pittsburgh for one more night in New York before going back home. Thank you Pop Tony (and, Mimi too)!