The Nana Cometh…

Nana turns 80 this November. To celebrate this momentous occasion, my mother has planned a trip for her, Nana, and Nana’s sister (my Great Aunt Mary) to visit me in New York City.

Nana has never been to NYC, so I’m trying to come up with things that these women would like to do. Keep in mind that Nana is from central Texas (that’s her on her tractor above), and has never had Indian food, Thai food, sushi, or even Mediterranean food. Basically anything that I decide to eat or do that week in the city will be all new to her, but… what in the world does an 80-year-old like to do?

Now, Nana’s pretty spry with an amazing sense of humor and a taste for scotch, so I’m assuming she’ll be up for almost anything. I figured that I need one activity per day seeing as I don’t think they’d be game for running around the city too much withouth rest. That means I need seven 80-year-old-friendly activities. So far I’ve got:

1. High tea followed by a Broadway show
2. Lunch at Serendipity (but I think we’ll forgo the Golden Opulence Sunday, retailed at $1,000), the Met, and a walk in Central Park
3. Bus tour
4. Ellis Island
5. Teach me how to make pie in my apartment
6 & 7…. I’m lost. I have no idea.

I need some more ideas. I need about a week’s-worth of sleep before they get here. I need an extra bed, and I need to stock up on my supply of scotch.

Nicole Smith is an author, editor, designer, and instructor who lives in Brooklyn, New York. Check out her latest book, Skirt-A-Day Sewing, out now at your local bookstore, or online.
  1. This might be too late and sound cheesy, but my father who is only a few years younger than your Nana, chides me every time I visit NY for not visiting the Empire State Building. A trip to the top my take on a trip down memory lane!

  2. Hi Alison. Nana isn’t coming until November, but the Empire State Building might be a good suggestion. Thanks! For some reason that hadn’t dawned on me as a possibility.

  3. How about a museum? You have dozens to choose from in NYC; some of my favorites are the Metropolitan Museum of Art (especially their clothing collection) and the Guggenheim. Too bad your Nana wasn’t here this summer – a great exhibition of Paula Nadelstern’s quilts just closed at the American Folk Art Museum.

  4. The quilts would have been great! We’re definitely going to the Met. I should check and see what other exhibits are going on while she’s here. I can’t believe I missed the quilts!

  5. Bargemusic!
    It’s a re-purposed barge that has a permanent home at the foot of the brooklyn bridge on the bkln side, right next to the ice cream shop. they host classical music most nights, sometimes jazz, and once a month there’s a free concert. so fun! great views, unique setting and beautiful music! it’s run by a 90 year old woman who renovated the barge herself (with some help of course). bargemusic.org

  6. Your Nana might get a kick out at least seeing Radio City Music Hall! Since I’m only twenty years younger than she is, I bet still has some memories of radio shows that originated from there. Also being from Texas, I was amazed in seeing the differences in Brighton Beach and places such as Galveston along the Texas coast before Hurricane Ike. I couldn’t get over the geographical differences- especially in the cultural context of what seemed to me like the midst of a city! Perhaps she would like to see where you work; I bet it would mean a lot to her. Why don’t you tell her some of your plans, and let her make some choices. She may have ideas of places she would like to see! You are lucky to have her, and she you. Enjoy the visit.!

  7. Susan–
    I’m from the Galveston area, too! I grew up by Surfside/Lake Jackson so Ike did quite a number on my old neighborhoods. RCMH is a great idea. I wonder if the Rockettes show is showing that time of year.

    Becky– Barge music!? I’ve never even heard of that! I’m so stoked to check that out, Nana or not.

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