What to do in NYC … with teenage girls
I still have my “L” plates on when it comes to parenting my teenage daughters. At 13 and 15 they are into stuff that, well, I simply will never understand. Thankfully, my wife Kate, “gets” them but even so, we still had to work out what to do with teenagers in the Big Apple. The four of us arrive into JFK Airport late one evening. We grab a cab for the ride to our 6th Avenue apartment in Chelsea, which we have rented for the week (cheaper than two hotel rooms for the same period).
Over the week I learn that travelling teenage girls just want to do one thing – shop … and shop … and shop … and this is particularly the case in NYC. It’s all about clothes, make-up and stuff for their hair. Icons like the Empire State Building, Statue of Liberty and Brooklyn Bridge pale into insignificance when shops like H&M, American Apparel, Sephora and Brandy Melville are calling.
At one point we stand on Broadway and stare at the iconic, triangular-shaped Flatiron building built in the early 1900s. I tell the girls it’s a masterpiece in architectural design, one of the Big Apple’s most iconic sights. They laugh at me! Teenage girls just don’t care about this stuff. They want to shop. How dumb of me not to know this.
By day 4, it’s dropped to 0 degrees Celcius and on occasions, it snows. We take cabs everywhere because it’s too cold to walk or even to get the subway. We are not really prepared for the intensity of December’s freeze as we’d arrived from the tropics and our cold-weather clothes are simply inadequate. The answer to such cold is … more shopping of course! The kids can even rationalise this practicality – the shops are heated!
Food is the only hobby I can share with them in this great city. My 13-year-old loves the burgers, the 99c pizza and Starbucks. We Google the latter’s name and find over 200 of them in Manhattan alone. The 15-year-old is into a healthier, vegetarian diet so she sources salad cafés (yes – they do exist) and we also visit a vegan restaurant. Between us, we have some great family times together over food.
When it’s time to go home (read: stop shopping), the girls tell me they loved their NY experience and can’t wait to come back. I guess as they get older they will appreciate more than just the shopping. But then again …
Story and photos by Brett Goulston