It's no secret that NYC is my happy place. Toby and I first visited the Big Apple in 2004 when he attended a work conference. That trip was the beginning of so much change for us even if we didn't realize it at the time. While he attended sessions during the day I explored the city via an on-off tour bus, taxi and foot. That time alone with just my camera and the city were truly magical for me. I had never experienced a place that affected all of my senses at once. No matter where I looked there was something interesting, funny, delicious or even scary taking place. I LOVED IT! For the first time I felt like I fit in but in a way that allowed me to go completely unseen. Having lived at the time, in a fairly small southern town, I didn't know how much I wanted and needed to just be a fly on the wall. I didn't feel like I had to be "on" for anyone and I could snap photos anywhere and no one cared! I was definitely hooked! We both left that trip changed in a way. Toby began to realize his worth as an employee and started to look elsewhere for opportunities that within months would lead us to Savannah. I don't think it's a stretch to say that 4 days in Manhatten changed our lives.
Now, EIGHTEEN YEARS later, we've been to the city countless times and each time I fall more in love. Wether for work or vacation or often both, I just never tire of the hustle and bustle of the city, of the noise, the people, the smells (some I could definitely do without). I often go alone so when I can be there with those I love it's all the more special!
I've been a few times this Summer and I would have to say the highlight of all the visits was in late May early June with Mac and Io! Although the start of our trip was met with travel delays I don't think it took away from the fun in any way!
We stayed in midtown at The Hotel Hendricks. I think it's my new favorite midtown hotel with tiny rooms and great customer service. In preparation for the trip I created an apple maps guide with places I knew we wanted to see/visit. This was my first time to do this and I love it! It makes it so fun and easy to be able to share plans within the group. We didn't make it to all of the spots, but we really covered so much ground! We saw a show one night, MJ The Musical, which we all absolutely loved! Unfortunately for Toby, Mac & Io I managed to cough 99.9% of the time we were there due to the stent I had in place at the time. I felt so badly about that but I think we were all able to laugh about it.
Coincidentally while we were in town there was an event being held on Governor's island that Io was interested in. The Japan Performing Arts Early Summer Festival was taking place that weekend so we paid a visit to Governor's Island. We had never been and I can see why it's such a beloved place for New Yorkers! Sadly, the weather put a damper on the event (we did get some funny photos), but we made the best of it and were able to meet the director who was so excited when she saw Io!
We enjoyed some incredible meals together that I will never forget. Most notably for me was dinner at Sparks Steakhouse. This iconic NYC steakhouse is known for being the location where Crime Boss Paul Castellano was gunned down in 1985. My Daddy, a huge mafia aficionado, visited Sparks in the early 90's and met the Maitre D who gave him the tour and talked with him about the shooting. He also gave him one of their rather giant menus to keep. We met the same man, got the same little tour and he also gave us a menu that he signed! It was so fascinating to compare the prices on the menus. Dinner at Sparks was just magical in a way and I found myself to be very emotional as if I could feel my Daddy there with us. He would of course be so proud of the man Mac is, and he would absolutely adore Io!
There were so many great parts about this trip but the real highlights for me were just strolling around the city, a few paces behind "iMac" and just seeing them together. They have such an easiness about them. Their flow of conversation is never stilted and each is genuinely interested in what the other is saying. One moment in particular that stands out to me was at Chelsea Market. We were exploring the shops and Io picked up a book she was interested in and without even hesitating Mac wanted to get it for her. I cannot really express why but this made me so happy and emotional. To see how much he loves her and just wants her to be happy is enough to make my heart burst.
I am so thankful that we were able to share this trip with them and look forward to many, many more! Love,