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Today’s train ride back home to Brooklyn was epic; it had all the elements of a grand journey sans purposeful quest. First there was my suitcase weighted by family gifts because apparently everyone thinks I don’t have enough bone crushing stoneware in my life. Then somehow the strap from my laptop bag tore off half my nail as I scaled the steep steps up the train with luggage in tow. Temperatures inside the cars are at least 30 degrees warmer than outside, so instantly your winter coat morphs into a torture device because even if you manage to wiggle out there’s no place to stash it.

By the time I found a seat my thumb was a sticky shade of red, which did score me more room thanks to a squeamish seat neighbor. There were delays aplenty and loads of standers in ripe perfumes. Once we finally pulled in to Penn Station everyone had that same desperate look in their eyes, like we’d been through something. I attempted to contort myself and luggage to take up only half a step on the escalator and wound up awkwardly tipping backwards further and further until someone who didn’t want me to take him down with me placed a hand on my back and righted me. First and likely only time I’ll ever be thankful for a stranger’s touch. Next time I’ll be sure to throw implied etiquette out the window and take up the whole escalator step.

I fully expected applause when I finally walked through my front door, but then this complainy little tale would be taking a dark turn so, as the only character who bares none of the telltale qualities of a horror movie survivor, I’m glad I was met with a silent, intruder-less apartment.

FYI: If you are planning on coming in to the city for a day of post-holiday fun, kids under 11 ride free “with a fare-paying adult” until January 6, according to NJ Transit.

Rockefeller tree 2013

Rockefeller tree 2013

Pretending that you can magically zap yourself to NYC and avoid all traffic, buses and trains, this is one of the prettiest times of year to visit. On top of the typical stops at window displays, peep shows and ice rinks, do yourself a favor and go to the New York Public Library on 42nd street. Their exhibit on Why Children’s Books Matter runs until March 23rd and it’s absolutely worth your time. Unless, of course, you don’t have a soul.

Highlights for me included Frances Hodgson Burnett’s handwritten manuscript of The Secret Garden.

The Secret Garden manuscript

The Secret Garden manuscript

The original Winnie-the-Pooh bear and his pals and a photograph of Christopher Robin with his bear and father/author A. A. Milne.

Winnie-the-Pooh bear with Christopher Robin

Winnie-the-Pooh bear with Christopher Robin

 

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