The Big Apple ~ It’s What’s at the CORE that Counts

July 23, 2013 at 6:12 pm 1 comment


New York City has been my favorite city in the world

ever since my first visit when my family of six piled into the sweltering hot car and drove from Philadelphia to attend The Worlds Fair in 1964.

Sure, I was only two-and-a-half years old, but from my stroller, I vividly remember spotting the huge globe that occupied the sky above me. Known as the Unisphere, this 12-story high, stainless-steel model of the earth has remained a landmark in my memory to this very day. Although I may only recall the smells and flavors of food from different countries and the frolic with my older brothers and sister, I was too young to appreciate that the 1964/1965 New York World’s Fair was the third major world’s fair to be held in New York City. Or that it hailed itself as a “universal and international” exposition. What I’ve come to realize years later, is that the fair’s theme “Peace Through Understanding,” dedicated to “Man’s Achievement on a Shrinking Globe in an Expanding Universe,” is an ongoing challenge that in 2013 we still face daily.

But on every return trip to NYC over the past 50 years, I feel as naive as that two-and-a-half year old, as free as Lady Liberty, as tall as The Empire State Building, as musical as a Broadway Performance. My voracious appetite for life is equally satisfied by the people and sights as it is by the best cuisine anywhere.

So imagine my splendor when we recently celebrated our son Kevin’s graduation from NYU! I looked at each of our three children at the ceremony at Lincoln Center and the Graduation at Yankee Stadium! I could have sworn they were just dancing on the oversized piano keys at FAO Schwartz. Or watching Lion King on Broadway as Katie reached her stuffed animal “Simba” in the air while giraffes and zebras galavanted by her down the aisles. Visiting the statue of Balto in Central Park, ice skating at Rockefeller Center and eating at Mickey Mantle’s. Taking the ferry to Ellis Island where present meets with the past and Lady Liberty’s torch lights the future. Standing in curvy, never ending lines at the TKTS anticipating which Broadway show we were going to see. The unforgettable birds eye view from the top of the Empire State Building always leaving us breathless.

Upon Kevin calling NYC his “home” we became house guests in his city and the Big Apple seemed even more ripe. College friends who became family, relatives who became more like friends. Loving our excursions to Van Courtland Park in the Bronx, where NYU Cross Country hosted the best 8K meets. Always celebrating by grabbing delicious and toasty warm red velvet cake and carrot cake straight out of the oven from the tiny bakery across from the park and devouring on the subway ride back to the Village. Camping out at our favorite landmark, Washington Square Park, with its refreshing fountain and famous arch, shopping every floor of the original  Macy’s and spending hours at Time Square. New York is the city that nevers sleeps  and the city that always eats! Our favorite indulging occurs at Carmine’s, PJ Clark’s, Carnegie Deli, Jane’s, Phebe’s, Angelina’s, The Olde Stone Mill and Brooklyn’s Miriam’s, Rose Water and Grimaldi’s.  Our newest discovery, Minetta Tavern in Park Slope, is known to have ” New York’s Best Burger.” My taste buds vote the Black Label Burger as “The Best Burger Ever.”

During our visit last week to celebrate our daughter’s birthday, we saw New York in a different light. While Katie has her first college internship in Manhattan this summer, she has had the best of both worlds residing in Brooklyn. While adapting immediately to city life, subway travel, sneakers- and- suits, then heels-in- the- office, she has also mastered managing her time while juggling a 40 plus hour work week with navigating the city and outskirts of the Big Apple. While savoring her Brooklyn neighborhood and all its quaint restaurants, boutiques, greenery and parks, we ventured to Brooklyn Bridge Park. Surrounded by families, children, and individuals, we all seemed to crave the refuge from the race pace city just across the water. Only a bridge between us, we lay atop a peaceful hill, eating ice cream and drinking in the skyline of the landscape, enjoying the company of one another in both conversation and silence.

But by far the most silent part of our trip was our somber visit to the freedom tower. A tour one is responsible to take as a human being. In order to remember, one must never forget. In order to never forget, one must acknowledge the tragic loss of many and the turmoil of the survivors at the hand of hatred. We visited the two fountains. In each, water flowed constantly, flowing into more fountains that rippled into a large hole known as the void.

Touching the names engraved on the walls around the fountains with my fingertips, the stone was freezing cold and I felt compelled to touch each name as a tribute to the victims memory. We chose not to take pictures since our internal picture will remain with us. In fact the last picture we have of the twin towers was when our children were small. Jovial, silly and joyous they posed with the towers stretching high above them. Sort of like my first time at the New York Worlds Fair with the Unisphere stretching high above me. Yet in 2001, where was the world’s “Peace Through Understanding?”

New York City still remains my favorite place in the world. It remains the most heavily visited city by people from all over the world. Seeing it through my eyes as a child, through our children’s eyes, and now through the eyes of our grown children, the core of the apple is what contains the seeds of opportunity, change and hope. Interestingly enough, admission price to The World’s Fair in New York for adults (13 and older) was $2 in 1964 but $2.50 in 1965, and $1 for children (2–12) both years. Today visiting New York will break the bank. But spending time in New York with our family, that is simply priceless!


Entry filed under: Uncategorized.

Paying It Forward ~ Time Well Spent Back To The Future

1 Comment Add your own

  • 1. Edward Ryan  |  July 25, 2013 at 8:11 pm

    I remember the worlds fair globe, I think it was in flushing meadows park! awesome piece of work, great reading, it brought back a few memories for me thank you Jayne. Besos y Abrasos


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Welcome to my blog!

"It is better to improve than it is to prove"
- Jayne Bonilla

Since the road to success is always under construction, this blog is intended to serve as a visceral compass empowering readers/writers to find their own direction along the way.

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