Happy Thanksgiving—Don’t Take Things For Granted

Happy Thanksgiving to everyone in the U.S. and a belated Happy Thanksgiving to our Canadian neighbors to the north.

For the last few years I’ve shared pictures of my annual New York trek for the holiday. I was hoping to get some new images of the floats being blown up for the Macy’s parade this year, but the weather didn’t cooperate.

Unfortunately I don’t have any pictures to share, but I realize I’ve never shared why I choose Thanksgiving for my annual visit and how the visit included a walking trip through Manhattan. If you were looking forward to see some images here are some from Thanksgiving past.

Hopefully the weather is better next year and I can offer some new images. I’ll try to do better and take more pictures of the entire week next year, just in case.

Moving to Colorado

For those of you who don’t know, I grew up in New York and moved to Colorado a little over 17 years ago. Thanksgiving became a good time to fly back and visit family. The holiday meant I’d have Thursday and Friday off. By taking three days of vacation from work and including the weekend before and after I could extend the trip to nine days.

I don’t remember exactly when it started, but one of the first years I was back visiting my mom and I decided to take the train into Manhattan to see some exhibits at one or two museums.

My brother joined us and we turned our day trip into an all day affair. Every year we now take the train into Penn Station and then walk through the city until we reach the museums uptown.

It’s about a three mile walk and along the way we stop at various places one or all of us want to see. I stop often as we walk to take a few pictures of whatever catches my eye.

We usually take in a couple of museums and then walk across Central Park to get to the west side. We exit the park a couple of blocks from where the floats are being blown up for the parade and watch for a bit.

After a bite to eat we start to walk back down the west side. Most years we’re exhausted and so we hop on the subway back to Penn Station before taking the train back to Long Island. Some years we’ve managed the entire walk back.

September 11, 2001

Not long after I moved the events of September 11, 2001 occurred. I think I felt like a lot New Yorkers who weren’t living in New York at the time. First was the worry for my family.

My brother worked across the street from the twin towers. He had been on vacation the week before and that day decided to run a couple of errands before taking the train into work. He arrived just after the second plane struck the south tower. He never made it to work. His building was one of those that served as a temporary morgue.

Once I knew he was safe, there was a feeling of guilt for my being safe a couple of thousand miles away. Why wasn’t I there kept running through my mind.

It’s easy to take the things around you for granted, but once something is gone you realize how many other things you also take from granted. Thanksgiving of 2001 we walked downtown instead of uptown to get as close to ground zero as we could. It was a sad and reflective day.

It hit home in many ways and in the years after we added new stops to our day trip such as the top of the Empire State Building and Rockefeller Center. I don’t think I was ever inside either of the Twin Towers and I didn’t want to say the same about some of the other well known buildings in Manhattan.

We’ve seen a lot of the city these last 17 years. The museums have been a mainstay, but we’ve taken in many of the sights New York has to offer. There’s a lot to see in Manhattan and even with a trip every year, I’ll never get to see everything I’d like. Still I’ve gotten to see much of what I’d taken for granted before moving away.

Over the years friends have joined us at times and my mom’s sister has become a permanent member of our traveling crew.

It’s strange how I know Manhattan better now that I live in Colorado.

The Holidays in New York

Aside from not wanting to miss the sights tourists take in and many New Yorkers take for granted, I just like the holidays in New York.

Maybe it’s the Christmas movies set in the city or the decorations on the buildings, or the displays in department store windows. I don’t know the exact reason, but I do know that for me no other city feels as right as New York this time of year.

It could simply be this is the time of year I get to come home and visit family and friends I don’t see as often as I’d like. On this day of thanks, that’s what I’m most thankful for. My family, my friends, and the city I’ve always called home even if I now live a couple thousands miles away.

No matter where you live or where you are take a look around at the people and things around you. Don’t take either for granted. Happy Thanksgiving to everyone celebrating today. Happy Thursday to the rest of the world.

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