Warless, crimeless, murderless… trip highlights!

Since a shit-ton of wrong went down this summer – in Israel and across the world – I’m going to dedicate this post to the happy, quirky, tiny moments of the trip I took with the kids to visit family in New York this month.

On my first day in Ameeeerica, I have now seen EVERYTHING. Liz OUT. 

One of my favorite things to visit. Couldn’t keep my hands off.

Ok, sorry, I lied. But I couldn’t help it. I, on the one hand, hate the sensationalist news in New York, and on the other hand, can’t be there without breathing it like a true native.

A pride and a privilege to see this happen for the first time. My brothers and I ate slept breathed the New York Public Library growing up (thanks mom).

Found an old friend. Put on the big cushy headphones and hit play for kicks… and it played… played and played some obscure teenage song… from my old mix tape collection. For the, um, record, I made some pretty good ripped-off-the-radio mixed tapes.

WRONG.

The kids met their cousin. Bebe was quite taken.

We broke the rules a few times.

The city.

It’s not New York without a visit from the FDNY.

‘And did you hear the Rosenbergs are down in Fort Lauderdale this month? Oh can you just imagine?’

Bebe was taken with a lot of new things… and a particular uncle…

We wrote to ‘our’ congressman to try and save the elephants… the 96 Elephants Project at the NY Aquarium.

That guy.

You know you’re getting older when…

The mother ship.

The Big Green Lady.

So when we arrived at Newark, Koala kept asking me who the green man holding a book was. Lucky the border control takes so long because I could not figure out what the eff he was talking about. Then I looked up at one of the monitors and saw the Statue of Liberty imprinted… then I did that dramatic movie turnaround and saw she was everywhere… so I taught him about the Statue of Liberty. Sure enough, as we got to the elevators, there she was, a real statue, and Koala – who happened to be in his, yes, green jumpsuit, stood proudly imitating her.

So we went. She was kind of a theme of the trip.

Including upskirt.

More city.

When you have a Grandpa from Florida.

A lesson from newborns and Coney Island.

Today was the most bizarre day I’ve experienced in a really long time. The same day consisted of me holding the newborn boy of a girl I consider a cousin as well as punching myself in the face on Coney Island’s Cyclone.

This pseudo cousin gave birth to her first child deep into Saturday night. This afternoon I was on the Southern State to see and hold the closest thing I have to a blood nephew (I say that with all due respect to my nephews-in-law).

This was the first newborn in my adult life that I actually cared about before meeting it. I walked in the room to find my pseudo family wiped out with exhaustion, and my friend handed me the baby boy, a tiny package of 6 pounds and some ounces. He was absolutely beautiful, and if beauty is in the eye of the beholder, well, I had a lot to behold. New(!) mother also looked amazing; as her sister – the closest thing I’ve ever had to a sister – told me about the birth, I couldn’t stop being so utterly proud of this little girl I used to play mattress-stairs with.

This experience just totally winded me; I didn’t know what to expect but felt so comfortable with it each second I was steeped in it. Family; new members of family. I’ve never witnessed it – or been a part of it to that degree – firsthand.

After I tore myself away from the family, I headed towards Coney Island to meet two college friends of mine. We strolled along the boardwalk and then figured, we’re already here, why not take a spin on the Cyclone? The Cyclone is a rickety decades-old roller coaster that is a rite of passage for New Yorkers born and bred. I’ve ridden the Cyclone; my father has ridden the Cyclone, my father’s father… that’s the kind of legend it is. It stands (and dips and dives) for the youth of the Brooklyn-bred.

The experience was everything the baby-beholding was not. Adrenaline pumping as we climbed into the car, profanities flying as we ricketed up the first curve. Somewhere around the second drop, my glasses came off. I realized it and quickly grabbed for them, getting myself stuck in a position of holding the seat bar instead of sitting back. Somewhere in that mess, I managed to punch myself in the nose, smell my own blood, hit my head and severely strain my neck. When the ride ended, I found myself speckled in red with my nose pulling a Pinocchio.

How had I gotten from holding a one-day old baby and being so moved I could barely talk, to icing my nose and not being able to move my head sideways? Or maybe the question should be reversed – when does this youth ride come to an end? When do you realize you’re pathetic for trying?

I feel young, and I know from family history I will feel young for a long time to come. But this is a different kind of young – it’s a youth based on a different kind of curiosity, not the kind pumped by adrenaline and profanities. This youth is not as bold, not as daring, not as stupid, but it is a journey of satisfying many of the questions I’ve held and learning the new questions to be asking. This youthfulness might not be any smarter than the past one, but it’s definitely not stupider.

Or maybe I have it all wrong; maybe I’ve been out of New York for too long and missed the message altogether. Maybe New York was asking me if I really feel up to being here. Maybe she has something to say for those of us who leave her.

Maybe Brooklyn was giving me a beating, showing me what it really means to come back.