The date: July 15-19, 2000. The place: New York City…
The next day’s destination: Ellis Island and the Statue of Liberty. We got up early in the morning to try to catch one of the early ferries to the island. Given our natural propensity to lounge around in bed, we ended up catching one of the later morning ferries. :-)
Walking around the island and in and out of the statue reminded me of the field trips we all took back in elementary school to museums and such. But I have to admit, I didn’t care much for all of that as a kid. This time, my interest in history having grown by leaps and bounds since then, I simply couldn’t get enough. My sweetie and I both remarked how wonderful it was to be able to share this kind of experience with each other. We weren’t there because of any feeling of having to be there, but rather of wanting to be there. We weren’t the kids crying “Is it time to go home yet?”, but rather the ones roaming around in wide-eyed reverence wondering “What else is there for us to see?” We were being tourists in the best sense of the word, and it was almost a shame when we had to catch one of the late ferries back to the mainland.
Of course, literally as soon as we set foot off the ramp back at the ferry dock, we had to run the gauntlet of vendors hawking their wares—watches, jewelery, briefcases, etc. Living their bit of the American dream, I guess. However, neither of us felt the urge to stop and ask any questions… besides, we had a date that night.
A full day of being tourists later, we went back to the hotel and got ready for dinner. We cabbed it to Times Square, settling in at Carmine’s, a family style Italian restaurant just off of Broadway. The food was fabulous, the portions enormous, the company absolutely delightful. After dinner, we decided to walk around the Square for a bit. Now I’d seen plenty of pictures of Times Square before and had watched enough Dick Clark New Year’s Eve specials to get an idea of what it would be like, but I was still completely unprepared for the lights and sounds. Again trying not to sound trite, it was just exciting, pure and simple. And then it started to rain—not too hard, but enough to get your attention. The ones who had them pulled out their umbrellas, the ones who didn’t immediately started scurrying about looking for cover. But us? We didn’t do a damn thing—we just grabbed each other’s hand a little more tightly, swung our arms a little more freely, and strolled through the rain without a care in the world, me in a dress shirt and slacks, her in a knee-length black sheath dress and heels, two kids completely overdressed for the way we were behaving. I’d almost forgotten how good it could feel not to grow up, but with her in my arms and The City around us, it was impossible at that moment to feel old.