Where do tour guides go on vacation?

Central ParkThe plan last spring seemed simple: head to New York City for a couple of days I had free in mid-August and see the sites.

Who knew it was going to feel like 107 degrees?

I know, it was even a touch worse in Washington, but who wants to spend good money on vacation on the sidewalks to hell?

Actually, we had a good time despite the inferno.

Growing up in Washington meant thinking New York was some crowded place of different people that we wouldn’t like. But, I’ve been to the city about 50 times over my life and must say it’s a nice place. Maybe too cold and crowded for me to live there, but I’ve always found the people to be nice and the city to be amazing.

In recent years, we started going to Manhattan. I hadn’t been there since a school field trip in 1972. But, everyone should see the sites of New York City. The Statue of Liberty, Ellis Island, United Nations, Times Square . . . it goes on and on.

This time, we did new things. We saw our first Broadway show — On Your Feet, the story of Gloria and Emilio Estefan. It was awesome. The theater was a little smaller than I expected and the crowd was more casually dressed than the old days, but it was a top-notch show.

Now I run my own photo tours of Capital Photo History Tours, but one can always learn something so my wife, an avid photographer and I tried a photo tour of Central Park. Again, an excellent experience using Citifari. I’d never been inside Central Park — what a grand combination of music, arts and recreation. The tour guide was a funny local with some jokes I can, uh, borrow.

We also visited the 9/11 Memorial. A large black hole with water running down into it without visible end on the site of the old Twin Towers. Pretty impressive.

Overall, I’m saying when you’re done visiting Washington, don’t be intimidated over going to New York. Yes, everything is big and crowded, but that’s part of the charm.

Oh, and one last thing, Amtrak is a civilized way to travel.

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