Monday, August 24, 2009

Huddled Masses

So we had the whole in-law family in from Tennessee visiting last weekend and I’m only now writing because it has taken me an entire week to recuperate from the whirlwind tour of my fair city that we undertook. It was a veritable New-York-apoolooza, the kind you need to train for. Now next to my family, I love New York City more than anything out there, but that doesn’t mean I love all of New York, all the time.

I love Tom’s Restaurant and cherry lime rickeys for brunch.

I love Luger’s for David’s annual birthday dinner even if the waiters deride me because I refuse to eat the rare parts of the meat. I am just waiting for the day they give me a charcoal on my plate, like some kind of wacko Santa, because I order my meat “in between “medium and medium well.”

I love the Transit Museum, especially the assortment of subway cars from the early 1900s.

I love Lombardi's for pizza and Ferrara's for cannoli and I love dumplings and pork buns at Dim Sum and the space show at Hayden Planetarium.

But I gotta say, I do not love Liberty Island at high noon in mid-August. Between the hordes and the heat, it’s hard to appreciate your freedom. By the time we got back to Manhattan, we all felt like we truly understood the meaning of those famous words inscribed at her pedestal, “Give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses yearning to breathe free.”

“I always thought it was “be free,” I said,

“Me too,” said David, “But now it makes sense. After riding in that boat I am actually yearning to breathe free. It really smelled like shit.”

We were nothing if not huddled masses, me and David and his sister, trying to keep the kids from jumping overboard and dragging that behemoth of a double stroller up the stairs to the deck, losing the rest of our party in the thronging hordes of liberty-seekers.

The boat ride there and back and the super-intense security (at least they didn’t make the kids go through the air-blowing machine this time – Primo is still traumatized from last year) was definitely the worst of it. Once on the island, Primo plugged into the audio tour and was totally mesmerized for 40 minutes. It was also mood-lifting to hear him communicate with us at the top of his lungs, since he couldn’t quite understand how to remove his headphones.




And there, asking strangers to take group photos of us in front of Lady Liberty (and by the way, I cannot believe that anyone, even those from the farthest-off shores, even those who’ve never seen a camera before, would snap a picture of a family in front of the Statue of Liberty horizontally, landscape-style, so that the only glimpse of the magnificent icon is about ¾ of her pedestal), It was there that I recalled what a disastrous trip we had last year, when David and I took the kids for the first time to Liberty Island and they were both such insufferable little twits that I shouted at the top of my lungs, so loud that everyone around us stared,


We love our Lady of the Harbor. A lot. We shout “hello!” to her every time we go over the Brooklyn Bridge and have a large, artsy print of her displayed prominently in the front entrance of our apartment. We know all sorts of trivia about the making of her, and pertinent documentaries on DVR that even Primo has watched. We love her so much that on the way home Seconda said, “When I grow up, I’m gonna climb to the TOP of the Statue of Liberty!:

I told her I’d be right there with her, as long as it was between the months of September and May.