Chicago – New York City – Montreal

Just back from a crazy week of travel. For those of you that follow my inane ramblings on Twitter, you’ll know that I was in Chicago for a conference, back for only a day, then off for a weekend in New York City with the family. Whirlwind!

First off, I have to say I was bowled over with Chicago. What a beautiful city. It was my first visit and I had been eagerly anticipating the four hours of free time between touch down and the first meeting at 3.00 p.m. I had one firm goal: go to the top of the Willis (formerly Sears) Tower. As for the rest? Just walk and enjoy the Windy City.

The Chicago River from the 17th floor of the Trump Tower & Hotel

I did get to the top of the Willis Tower and bloody hell, what a thrill. 103 floors in 60 seconds and a view that is one of the most impressive I have ever seen. The truly awesome part was standing in one of the glass ‘cages’ that hang out over the street below.You cannot help but feel your stomach lurch the first time you look down.

That’s 103 floors of down you’re looking at there. And yeah, those are my feet.

My brief stay confirmed that this is a city that I would love to visit again, this time with Marie and the family. It is small enough to walk around, the food is truly awesome, and it has some inspired shopping along Michigan Avenue.

Looking back into downtown Chicago from the harbour front. You can see the Trump Tower & Hotel just to the left of centre.

New York City is not new to me, or the family. We love visiting, in fact Marie and I would live here if we could. Of course, to live in NYC the way we fantasize about it, we would need to win the lottery or rob a bank, but it’s still fun to dream. We were in town for a long weekend to celebrate the wedding of our good friends Rafael and Claudia, but before we got as far as the ceremony on a beautiful, if surprisingly so, beach in Queens, we had reserved some time to explore the city.

Arriving at dusk, the view on the city is second to none. The tallest building you see is the new Freedom Tower, still under construction.

We walked miles. I didn’t keep track of the actual distance, but I can tell you that from the exhausted and slightly cranky expressions on the kid’s faces by four o’clock in the afternoon, I could tell that we had tested them enough.

Bergdof’s is celebrating 111 years, and has wrapped itself up!

There is something about walking around NYC that I have not found anywhere else. I suppose it is a combination of the people, the millions of people, the noise, the smells, the lights…you cannot help but ‘feel’ something just by being there. I’ve often wondered that if I lived there, would it still feel as exciting? I think it would. It’s just one of those places that pulses with something very special.

The kids outside the flagship Apple store on 5th Avenue before fatigue kicked in.

You can’t do all that you want to do in a city like NYC in only 3 1/2 days, but we tried. Of our original plans the only one that had to be changed was visiting the Whitney Museum to see the Yayoi Kusama exhibit that was running through to September 30. The line up, on a Thursday morning no less, was around the block and we estimated that we would be standing in line for at least a couple of hours. As disappointing as it was to abort, it was not worth sacrificing two hours of our time to sit on the same block and count the paving stones. Next time.

And so following a beautiful wedding ceremony we packed our bags, which seemed to have multiplied over the visit, and scrambled into the car on Sunday morning to drive back to Montreal. I love where we live here. It’s quiet, a great place for the children to grow up, and we’re close to our own vibrant and multi-cultured city, but it is no New York. And that’s probably a good thing. For a start, it guarantees that every visit we make to NYC will always be very special. And I can tell you this, we’re already looking forward to the next time.

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6 Responses to Chicago – New York City – Montreal

  1. Marie Warne says:

    It was a wonderful trip.

  2. Grant, UK says:

    James, I couldn’t agree more. The wife and I adore NYC. But the lotto comment is correct although I would live there an work as a bin man if I could. Great photos on Instagram too!

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