December 25, 2006

NYC: Teen itinerary

We're off to New York soon for our annual post-Christmas visit.

As the kids get older, keeping them entertained, even in the most amazing city on the planet, gets harder. Skating at Wollman Rink, walking across the Brooklyn Bridge or seeing the lights on Fifth Avenue and Rockefeller Center don't quite do it for them anymore, so here's what we've got lined up:

-- Spamalot -- Monty Python and the Holy Grail on stage. It's been sold out our last few visits (causing us to settle for OK shows like The Producers and boring bombs like Mamma Mia). But the buzz has died, and tickets are to be had. It's expensive, but we hope the Broadway incarnations of Arthur and his silly men and the shrubbery-seeking Kinghts of Ni will give us enough laughs to justify the exorbitant cost.

-- Spirit Cruise -- We'll board a big boat at Chelsea Piers for a three-hour dinner cruise in New York harbor and stretches of the East and Hudson rivers. If the weather's clear, the view of nighttime Manhattan from the water should be spectacular. There's an all-you-can-eat buffet, a floor show and a DJ.

-- Brooklyn Museum -- We'll take in an exhibition of Annie Leibovitz photography that includes portraits of Nelson Mandela, Nicole Kidman, and a pregnant Demi Moore. We'll also see the weirdly fascinating, super-realistic work of Australian sculptor Ron Mueck, including Dead Dad, the piece that made him famous. (It's a 2/3-scale lifelike model of Mueck's father's corpse, complete with bits of the artist's hair. The kids'll have something to tell their friends about when they get home.)

-- Morgan Library -- We'll have a look at the Gutenberg Bibles, the compositions in Mozart's and Beethoven's own hands, and the Dickens and Twain manuscripts, but what's really drawing us to the Morgan is "Bob Dylan's American Journey 1956-1966," a multimedia exhibit we hope the kids will like or at least mildly relate to: they've been listening to Dylan on Mike's car stereo all their lives. Dylan is Mike's idea of road trip music.

-- Hearst Tower -- Manhattan's first "green" skyscraper, it's 46 stories of eco-friendliness that soars above Columbus Circle. Adam's going to study architecture when he heads to college next fall, so we're hoping to take a tour so he can get an up-close look at Lord Norman Foster's innovative designs and details.

-- Canal Street -- What's New York without a little shopping? We'll take the subway to Chinatown, eat great, cheap food, then peruse the knock-off DVDs.

-- Central Park Reservoir run -- One of my favorite New York experiences is to run Manhattan (20 blocks equals a mile) about 6 a.m. when the streets are virtually empty. It's a heady feeling having a city of millions seemingly to yourself. Dana's a runner now, and I'd love to get her out there with me. If she's got enough steam, I'll take her over to Central Park where we'll join other early risers for a lap around the Reservoir, the quintessential New York running experience.