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It’s interesting that I’ve never written about one of my favorite destinations. Perhaps it’s because most of my visits since 2000 have felt more like family time than travel.

My first grandchild, Ally, in New York

My first grandchild, Ally, in New York

That’s the year my oldest grandchild had her 12th birthday and I brought her to New York. It was a perfect age. She was young enough to want to stick with me in the Christmas crowds and old enough to be thrilled by the city. Because we live in a rural state, it seemed important that I expose her to the theater and to wider ethnic experiences. Of course, we needed to include my favorite music and so there was a night at the opera.

This twelve-year-old trip became a ritual that ended two years ago when I brought the last of my nine grandchildren.

On the street where we live.

On the street where we live.

Now here I am, strolling the streets of Manhattan on a free and easy trip to the Big Apple. No responsibilities. No standard agenda. Trying to avoid Times Square and looking only for the things I love.

IMG_1755Like scoring a great apartment on the Upper Westside that is close to Zabar’s and Fairway Market.

Like seeing the The Chew! By lurking on their website I secured tickets for one of my favorite TV shows.IMG_5980

Since the ticket agents for the show warn that they overbook and that admittance is on a first-come/first-served basis, our late-the-night-before arrival didn’t daunt my daughter Kellee and I. Chock full of anticipation we decided to check out the situation early. Undecided what to do 1 1/2 hours early we were still discussing options when five minutes later the next arrivals gathered behind us.

Hooyah! We were first in line and going to make it in.

Carla Hall has been a favorite since Top Chef days.

Carla Hall has been a favorite since Top Chef days.

What a fun experience it was. We were part of a lively crowd spurred on by a good comedian who put us in high spirits and prepared us with hand signals of when to applaud and when to subside. Still, our enjoyment of Mario Batali, Michael Symon, Carla Hall, Daphne Oz and Clinton Kelly was genuine and our responses often spontaneous. We left in high spirits…ready to have some lunch and to do some grocery shopping for the days to come.

It’s lovely to be relaxed in a city I love.

The Wanderer