NY roads are…

Like Kevin Spacey’s career. Absolutely rooted.

You don’t notice much about roads until you drive on them. When we hired an SUV recently, we firstly went upstate to the FDR estate before stopping in Poughkeepsie and then Cold Spring on the way home. That was day one. The next day we drove down to the New York Aquarium and Transit Museum in Brooklyn. Day 2 was a bit of disaster, but more on that later.

I was stunned by how rubbish the roads are here. Pocketed in pot holes, lanes barely discernible as if they can’t be bothered re-painting them, and when it rains, they immediately flood. When you consider the wealth in this city, it’s a bit baffling. It’s definitely embarrassing. I can’t say any of the other big cities I’ve been to share this problem, even those with similar weather patterns, so it seems that the local and state legislatures are probably just a bit useless.

The trip north was rather slow. The max speed on the highway is 55mph (88kph) and most of the time it’s lower, so you don’t really get anywhere too quickly. But it was awesome to get out of the city and within no time at all the concrete fades away and the forest takes over. At this time of year – fall as they call it – the trees are all changing colour. There’s even a website that monitors ‘peak foliage’. It is pretty stunning.

Readers will know about one aspect of my FDR experience, but the rest of the visit exceeded my expectations. The grounds are enormous and the history of the estate and FDR’s presidency, which is covered in a dedicated museum, is thoroughly engaging for anyone interested in that era (1932 – 45). Worth the trip alone. The tour wasn’t exactly child friendly mind you – Chaos wanted a drink of water, which was not allowed in the main house, so we were ushered away until she ‘calmed down’. Calm meaning seen and not heard. Like that was going to happen.

In Poughkeepsie we made a quick stop to walk on a converted rail bridge that is now a public walkway across the Hudson River, then drove on to Cold Spring which I had been told was worth a visit. It was packed with tourists when we arrived. We didn’t know it, but Cold Spring has an annual Halloween parade and we turned up just before it kicked off. The town itself is basically just one street running downhill to the river. Very much a boutiquey kind of feel to it, like a Greytown or Arrowtown back home. Cool place.

On Day 2 of our driving adventures the weather turned on us. Sunny and warm became cold, wet and windy. BB needed to get some study under her belt, so Nana and I decided to take the hour trek to the aquarium with the kids. Hurricane and Chaos love a good aquarium. Unfortunately, the NY Aquarium was woeful. We had no idea that it was currently going through a rebuild – a rather important piece of information that was buried in small print on their website instead of being made clear on the home page. So we turned up in the rain to discover only one display was inside and the rest of what was open was outdoors. If they were a respectable outfit they would only be taking donations to go see a few animals in a construction site, but no, they just reduce the cover charge a bit. Hurricane got to see a shark though, so he was all good. We thought we’d be there 1-2 hours. We were gone in under 30 minutes.

The day got worse from there. We got lost trying to find the Transit Museum, and then when we did find it Hurricane had a bit of a hangry meltdown because he wanted the trains to be moving, not staying still. We left. Then as we were just about to cross the Brooklyn Bridge the little guy announces from the backseat ‘Ouch, I need to do wees’.

Hurricane has the bladder of a camel. He can hold on for hours, so when he says he needs to go, he means it. There was nowhere to pull over, so we asked if he could hold on for a bit. ‘Nope’ came the response. So Nana, doing what all good Nanas do, promptly found a bottle that could act as a receptacle. Chaos immediately recognised it as her drink bottle, and plaintively began calling out ‘No that’s my bottle’. I promised her it would be ok as we would wash it out before she had to drink from it again. She was thoroughly unconvinced.

Hurricane decided, in the spirit of sibling love, not to abuse his sister’s drink bottle and hold the hose. At this point as a parent, you just have to go with the flow. Sure I had to return the car in 2 hours, so if he unleashed I would be employing the hairdryer and deodorant fix, but he is pretty reliable ol Hurricane. Except he was now starting to fall asleep, leaving Nana to employ all her tricks to keep him awake. We made it across to Manhattan and found a suitable exit where we could pull off in relative privacy for Hurricane to pee on some stacked crates.

It was a good thing he held on, because the bottle would not have been sufficient for the volume he was carrying. And so our care hire adventure came to a close with Nana applauding loudly from the passenger seat as Hurricane pulled up his pants, congratulating him on the ‘biggest wee’ she had ever seen. He was so proud, he chatted all the way home.













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