Reflections on our recent trip to New York City

Hello again dear readers!

I missed you! I hope you don’t mind. I took last week off from writing to enjoy our first family vacation since the pandemic.

In April of 2019, we had our next big vacation booked. We were going to take a family trip to New York City. I live in Virginia so it is only about a 6-hour train ride and tickets are pretty cheap. We were so excited to take my husband’s parents on all our favorite touristy New York adventures.

Then the pandemic hit at the beginning of 2019. We had no idea that one of our favorite places to visit would be so hard-hit by the pandemic and the domino effects that came as a result.

I was gutted seeing every day updates on my favorite morning show GMA about how hard it was for New York during the pandemic.

So many lives were lost. Too many businesses had to shut down.

How do you recover from something like this?

In typical New York fashion, we saw the strength and resilience of the human spirit. Everyone rallied, adapting and changing to the best of our ability to deal with our “new normal.”

Then 2021 arrived and we were finally in a place where COVID was more under control and could re-book our vacation. And yet, I felt myself becoming very apprehensive about traveling.

After the rallying spirit died down a bit, the news began to splash a different side of human nature across our TV screens.

Tired and weary, people began to express their anger and grief. Now, instead of seeing a daily update on my morning show about COVID, the message was one of fear.

There were reports of various incidents of violence on airplanes and subways and senseless acts of violence especially when it came to NYC.

I couldn’t discern for myself. Was this a result of the pandemic or was it just a return of the news cycle?

I began to worry about so many facets of our trip. Would it be enjoyable at all? What kind of New York city would we find when we stepped off the train?

And I want to tell you that what we discovered renewed my faith in humanity?

While wandering around the city on our various adventures, I began to pick up on a theme: The rallying spirit of hope was all around me.

One evening we were enjoying catching up with a friend, a New Yorker, and sitting on the breezy sidewalk cafe between towering buildings. It was around ten at night and “the city that never sleeps” was buzzing all around us.

As we were talking I noticed an old man sitting a few benches over from us. He looked a bit disheveled and was holding all of his belongings on his lap in a few bags. At his feet, he had piles of cardboard. He sorta just blended into the background.

We sat on our bench for over an hour eating Shake Shack and catching up.

Then I noticed a group of young men walk past us. One of the men in the group walked over to the old man and I overheard him say, “Hey man. How are you tonight? Are you hungry?”

He gestured to the Shake Shack, “Would you like something to eat?”

This wasn’t something I was expecting and it wasn’t the last act of kindness we would witness.

The next day as we walked out of our hotel there were bagpipers in the street. It was the beginning of the twenty-year memorial services for all those lives lost on 9–11 and our hotel just happened to be near the base of the new One World Trade Center.

The traffic and crowds were growing as we stood on the street, waiting for our Uber, surrounded by a sea of bagpipers, NYPD officers, pedestrians, and event volunteers.

I watched as traffic rolled to a snail’s pace and drivers were getting frustrated. Then two NYPD officers started walking car to car with boxes of pizza.

Drivers rolled down their windows and the officers offered them food.

Again we were seeing a beautiful act of kindness.

It was at that moment I recognized that hope and kindness were all around me.

Not once during our trip did I experience the fear or violence constantly reported on the news.

I needed this reminder and I bet there are so many of you, dear readers, that could benefit from my experience.

I hope this post encourages you today. Enjoy a few pictures from our New York City adventures, and remember today as you go about your lives that hope and love really are all around us!

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