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Opinion: Optimist editor grabs a bite out of the Big Apple

But despite the nightmare ending day of travel, it was a fantastic week made all the more special that I got to share it with my dad.
New York City column(1)
Optimist editor Ian Jacques, right, and his dad Ron at Yankee Stadium.

After the COVID-19 pandemic put the kibosh on a January trip to Mexico, I had an airline and hotel credit that I was itching to use.

My dad, who did make it to Mexico along with some of my family, suggested in early April, that an August trip to New York City could be in the offering to make up for the lost Mexican excursion.

And so the planning and anticipation began.

Finally, on July 26, the two of us were off to NYC for a week of baseball, Broadway, tours and great food and drink.

We have been to New York before – three times in fact – with my last visit some 10 years ago, so I had forgotten what a unique and amazing city New York is.

After a long day of travel we finally touched down in the Big Apple just after 6 p.m.

I will note that WestJet didn’t not lose our baggage (we both took carry-on) and we had no flight delays on our two flights – Vancouver to Toronto and Toronto to New York.

Security and U.S. Customs were also not an issue…well at least at the start of our vacation. More on that later.

Our hotel was right in the Theatre District and was an ideal spot. Easy access to subway stations, lots of restaurants to dine in and or get take-out, as well as several markets to stock up on with drinks and snacks for the room.

I highly recommend doing a lot of planning in advance of any trip to New York City. There is so much to see and do, trying to plan when you get there will be next to impossible. Plus, by choosing our hotel where we did, it made it easier to get to the two theatres for our Broadway shows, Times Square and to the subways for our travels to the ball parks.

We took in four ball games – one between the Mets and Yankees at Citi Field (home of the Mets) and three games at Yankee Stadium.

My dad and I are big Yankees fans, so this trip certainly centered on a lot of baseball.

We had been at Citi Field 10 years ago as well as Yankee Stadium, but the atmosphere and excitement at both stadiums never seems to gets old.

Since we have been to NYC a number of times before, we had already done a lot of the city tours, Statue of Liberty, etc. This time around, we did a split guided and self-guided tour of the 911 Memorial and Museum as well as the new observatory. This was a moving day of reflection for sure aided by the fact that we were in New York on our first trip in the late summer of 2000 – almost a year to the day before the 9-1-1 terrorist attacks.

I recommend a guided tour of the memorial as you get a lot of insight that you otherwise would not get by just completing the tour on your own.

The other tour we did was the Intrepid Air, Sea and Space Museum – another must for any history buff, or space enthusiast. Both tours were full value for the money.

Food and drink was plentiful throughout the trip with a highlight spending an evening with some good softball buddies at a great Italian joint just a block away from our hotel.

The week came to a close all too quickly on Aug. 2 with a nightmare travel day at Pearson in Toronto. The photos you have seen online about lost luggage – sadly are true. I saw hundreds of bags just sitting in the baggage area with seemingly no final destination for any of them. Add to gate changes, security and customs issues as well as two flight delays and a 16-hour day of travel, with a three-hour time change, brought our trip to a close.

But despite the nightmare ending day of travel, it was a fantastic week made all the more special that I got to share it with my dad.