Friday, May 25, 2007

Vicki Caruana's New York

Welcome to my hometown! Beginning May 28 I hope to be able to show you the sights and maybe even the sounds of New York City. My father moved us from NY when I was 14 - but we're the only ones who left. All of my family is still right here (or at least in the tri-state area: NY, NJ, PA). You'll notice as we go along that I'm easy to spot in a crowd. I've always stood somewhat apart from my family because of my coloring. Below is a photo of me at my first Christmas with my mother, cousins, aunt, uncle, grandparents, and great grandmother. I'm the product of the love of a Sicilian man and an Irish woman - what New Yorkers in those days called a "mixed marriage." Can you see me in the red fireman's helmet and pale blue dress? (side note: see the fire truck? that belonged to my cousin Louie above in his father's arms...who later became a NY firefighter and got caught right in the middle of 9/11.)

Hopefully, along with the incredible New York skyline (even without the Twin Towers), I can show you what it's like to walk around the city as if you owned the place. I feel like I belong here more than anywhere else on the planet. It is, after all, home.

We're traveling to NY as a combination family vacation and to attend BEA (BookExpoAmerica) for the launch of my newest book BRAIN FOOD:Recipes for Success in School, Sports, Life (Rowman & Littlefield). I have a blog devoted just to the connection between nutrition and learning.

Here's the plan so far:

Monday, May 28 - way too early flight from Tampa to JFK; check into The Manhattan Club and grab lunch from a street vendor.

Tuesday, May 29 - Free day so far; probably museum hop (our boys haven't been to anything but the Museum of Natural History, need to catch them up on culture), probably the Guggenheim and MOMA. Probably hang out at the world's largest Barnes & Noble...

Wednesday, May 30 - my birthday! Spend the day at the Writers' Digest Writers Conference (part of BEA); travel to Staten Island for a birthday dinner with family.

Thursday, May 31 - tour Empire State Bldg.(again, catch our boys up); reservations at Sardis restaurant for dinner; Broadway show (get tickets from Tix booth in Times Square; only way to do it)

Friday, June 1 - Ellis Island tour (never been); Ground Zero (pay homage); take Staten Island Ferry and go see more cousins.

Saturday, June 2 - all day at BEA; book signing in the afternoon; wine and cheese reception there for us that evening; husband and boys on their own for the day.

Sunday, June 3 - hopefully go to mass at St. Patrick's Cathedral as usual; fly back to Tampa in the afternoon.

I'll try to capture what it is that I love about this place I call home. I always cry on the last day. It feels like I leave bits and pieces of myself behind whenever I leave.