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A family rendezvous in New York City

Iím what you would call a juxtaposition: the fact of two things being seen or placed close together with contrasting effect. I am a homebody, content to putter around my house rearranging the books on my shelf or watching movies for hours. On the other hand, I yearn for the open road or a city unknown to traipse around in and get lost. I want back alleys and facades full of minute architecture, my eye finding them afresh with the rusty details snapped for posterity.

We traveled to New York City this past weekend to visit our son, along with his girlfriend, in his new apartment in Brooklyn. We somehow finagled a family weekend ó our daughter flying up from Florida (sans her boyfriend) and our other daughter driving with us from home before she heads back to school. We havenít had a family weekend away in so long as college, jobs and life have prevented it. But here we were, entering the city in anticipation of quick, solid days together.

I love driving into a city, and New York is unlike anywhere else. When you pop out of the tunnel and are propelled into the madness, your heart beats, and your eyes are open. We snaked our way through lower Manhattan and into Brooklyn where he lives. Itís a different vibe with residential brownstones lined up in beautiful rows on shady streets. We arrived Friday afternoon, miles under our belt, and fell into hugs and luggage and much paraphernalia brought along to help newbies furnish an apartment.

We set out that night to find some supper and ended up at the Dim Sum Bar where we partook of small bites of goodness to satiate our tired bones. The walking, always the walking, is a serious business in this city. It energizes you and takes you past small places and tucked-in spots that take you out of the norm.

The next morning, after relaxing and catching up with slow conversations, we headed out for the entire day. We took the subway into Manhattan and walked out into a downpour. We laughed as we holed up under a small overhang and watched the grimy streets refreshed with the steady rain. When it stopped, we found a spot to sit and eat, whiling several hours away in conversation and laughter. An open-air flea market found us sifting through discarded pieces, set in a small parking lot tucked between a beautiful old church and towering buildings, blue sky visible above. We tucked into his place of work as well, an upscale used clothing store, so we could see where he spends some of his hours.

Treasures in hand, we found our way to the Chelsea Market, spending precious minutes there browsing handmade jewelry and crafts, plus trying new foods. We found ourselves on The Highline, an abandoned set of above-ground train tracks turned into beautiful plantings and a place to walk. It was stunning, and as the sun was setting, we had the most perfect picture-taking minutes ever. From there we headed to St. Markís Place where we spent time in Barcade, a bar that serves craft beers and is lined to the brim with vintage arcade games from the early Ď80s and beyond. It was an amazing place to sit and sip and listen to the pings of obscure video games. Across the street from there was Papaya King, a New York classic, and we noshed on footlongs and tater tots, the evening finally closing in on our weary bones.

Sunday dawned, and we rose early to take the train to Coney Island, always a place Iíve wanted to visit. The beach held us for several hours, and we took in the boardwalk after eating hot clams with tartar sauce and some Coney Island Brewing Mermaid Pilsner. Heading back, we rested, then got ready once again to try Smorgasbord Prospect Park, an every-Sunday occurrence with outside food tents that served the most amazing new combinations. My fries with Hatch Chili Sauce and cheese were drool-worthy. When the rains came down, we walked back to the apartment, umbrellas shading us, and spent the evening watching a movie and chatting cozily.

His neighborhood just off Flatbush Avenue, past Habibís Deli with the best bacon, egg and cheese rolls, is beautifully diverse. It called me out of the stupor that is my everyday life, if only for a weekend. The people smiled from their stoops, and we drank rich coffees at the small Gratitude Cafť. My heart is joyful that we are able to have him usher us through his life and space at this moment. We departed, each going their separate way, but hearts refreshed from family once more.

Published: August 26, 2016
New Article ID: 2016708269975