I spent Fourth of July weekend up in the family ranch back in Colorado to attend my cousin Dan’s wedding. It was a beautiful wedding – very small, just close friends and family. Hay bales and planks were involved, camping gear and a double-wide trailer newly installed. From a city boy’s view, it was a hicks-ville but from a mountaineer’s eye, it was just pretty. Totally enjoyed it, and totally worth the hundred some dollars to fly from NY.
But aside from the holiday weekend and family wedding, my brother Saul also turned sixteen earlier this March. I have a long standing promise to each of my siblings that in the summer after they turn sixteen, I’ll fly them out to NY and spend a week with me in the city. To my youngest sister Bella who’s turning two this year – we have yet to talk and I have yet to make the same promise. This can be a possible loop hole when you turn sixteen.
We flew the same day to NY – my boyfriend Andy and I in one flight, and Saul on a separate flight. I tried to get the same flight but no seats were available. When we checked in, I made sure I spoke with the airline agent (and I did one of those I-just-glanced-at-your-name-tag-I-WILL-mention-your-name-if-shit-goes-down moves) to let them know that my brother was flying by himself. He had a connecting flight in Atlanta, and that was the only time he would be totally by himself. I’m not saying he’s not bright, he can read signs and all, but the kid is from the mountains – Atlanta airport is huge compared to Colorado Springs Airport’s twelve gates.
I arrived in LaGuardia around 7pm and let Andy go home while I stayed to wait for my brother’s delayed flight. He did not land until 11:30pm and we did not get to my apartment until half past midnight.
As any tourist in NY should do, first thing we did was go to Liberty Island. It’s a very historic site. It’s where Magneto used Rogue to power a machine that would turn the leaders of the United Nations into mutants. We spent most of the time following a group of young French girls and their chaperone. I bet Saul was thinking I wasn’t aware of what he was doing – I am very aware. He thinks he’s so slick.
We also went to The Natural History Museum. He took some pretty cool pictures of the dioramas, and of me posing next to dinosaurs. My Lady Gaga impressions were very useful – raise your paws up, little monsters. Since we were already in the area, we headed to Central Park and checked out Strawberry Field – when CDs first came out, I remember my Dad bringing compilation CDs and we would listen to The Beatles over and over all day.
We had dinner at Vynl which was in Chelsea. I’ve never seen my brother so uncomfortable! We were surrounded by rather outlandish gay guys, and it’s just something he’s never seen before. At one point, when I was going to the restroom, he actually said “don’t leave me by myself.” Poor kid. So I left him by himself and he wasn’t devoured by gay men. That was a teachable moment.
We hit the art museums in one day. We started at the Museum of Modern Art and showed him the three paintings that made me move to NY. We followed MoMA with the Guggenheim. I think he was more interested with the architecture than the art works inside. Though there was one work that got us both perplexed – a room covered in $100,000-worth of one dollar bills. A few blocks down was The Metropolitan Museum of Art and stayed in line for almost an hour to see the Alexander McQueen exhibit.
My good friend Ryan wanted to take Saul to the Bronx Zoo. I’ve actually been there only once before, and it was with Ryan as well. The zoo was fun, but nothing compared to the commute to the Bronx. It was a weekend so there were some train issues. At one point, we had to take a shuttle bus, and there was a crazy guy in the bus. I could feel Saul’s heart beating like a drum. The crazy had no shoes, and he kept yelling at everyone. I didn’t mind because I’m used to it, but when crazy guy put his hands in his pants, that was when I grabbed my brother by his hand because I would want to know where he is when I start defending him from a pervert with my free arm doing jabbing motions despite the lack of a shiv.
We went to the wax museum in Times Square – it was pricey to get in, but after seeing what’s inside, I decided it was totally worth. I’ll even add it to my list of where to bring tourists. The wax models were amazing as it is, but they also had a 15-minute 4D experience of the movie Happy Feet. You basically watch a 3D movie but you also “feel” what was going on in the movie. We got sprayed with water, poked on the back, saw bubbles. It was stupidly fun and I will do it again.
The last thing we did during his stay was go to the Empire State Building. I typically do that first when I take visitors out to show the city and what to see and expect but I figured I shake things up a bit. I’d like to think he was impressed by the city, and I felt proud showing him MY city.
He told me he wanted to come back, and he asked how much the plane tickets were so he can find a job and save up for a trip. It’s cute, but I don’t know if he’ll actually go through with it. We talked about our sister Angel who is next in line for the sixteenth-birthday-gift, and how I’m not going to let her travel the same way he did. I asked him if he can maybe drive her to Denver, that way, she won’t have a connecting flight and just fly direct from Colorado to New York. When Saul got back in Colorado, my sister called me and there was panic in her voice: “Saul told me you won’t let me fly by myself and that he’s coming with me when I come visit you. IS THAT TRUE?!” After calming her down, she asked me what we can do in New York. She wants to start planning for our trip. Three years premature.