Over summer vacation with an okay from my mother that I was ready to break away, my dad and I took the Long Island Railroad to Manhattan for one of his business trips. That's the day that I came down "the bug" and frankly, I have never recovered.
The sounds and sights of the bustling city fascinated me as a ten-year old, and I was overwhelmed at the stylish way women and men dressed, too, just like in mom's magazines. It was all very, very different from the small town I grew up in on the eastern end of Long Island. My dad sold imported linens and lingerie in a boutique store near the Hamptons, and his buying trips would involve going to showrooms on Seventh Avenue.
One of my favorite afternoons - if there was time before the train - was a visit to Radio City Music Hall for a movie and a live show all included in the price of the movie ticket. The glamorous Rockettes were dazzling in their precision drills, and no expense was spared on the elaborate set designs for an assortment of other acts. My mind would be in a whirl for days recreating the magic, and anyone who would listen would hear every tiny detail. I believe my mother and younger sister took the brunt of it.
After a late lunch at Schrafft's - the place was best known for its ice cream and candy - with his close friend, the manager, there would often be a little time for sightseeing before catching the train at Penn Station back home. I would say that by the time that I was eighteen, I had done the "tourist" sites, not that I wouldn't return periodically throughout my life.
Even today as an adult, a quick trip to "the city" is exciting. All the possibilities - theater, art, restaurants - are right there.