After several earlier inadvertent attempts at abandoning my daughter in the Big Apple, this year I nailed it and finally left my child in New York city.
As she is a budding actress, it wasn’t too difficult to lure her back to New York – the mecca of acting – where she was accepted into the prestigious Stella Adler Studio of Acting to undertake the intensive summer conservatory course. It then just became a matter of logistics (and enough money) to get her there and leave her there for 10 weeks of her young life.
In order to ‘leave’ her in New York I had to travel there with her so I purchased 2 seats on a United Airlines flight from Melbourne to LA, through to New York.
But we were forced to cancel our reserved flights the evening before departure due to the fact that her passport, complete with US Student visa, had not returned from the US Consulate in time. Luckily our travel agent arranged replacement flights (that cost yet more money) scheduled to depart 24 hours after the original flights, in the hope that the passport would be with us by then.
Then we received a text from United Airlines to say our new flight from Melbourne to LA was cancelled due to ‘airport maintenance’.
Several more hours on the phone to our diligent travel agent resulted in alternative flights on the same morning that would take us to Sydney with Qantas, where we would then catch the connecting United flight to LA and change there for the flight to New York.
How this travel agent manages to do her job every day without any obvious alcohol abuse remains a mystery to me.
The passport eventually arrived and so the following day we awoke at about 4.00am in order to catch our 6.00am flight to Sydney that was inexplicably delayed in leaving Melbourne. Approximately 2 and a half hours later we did take off and, you guessed it, we missed the connecting flight to LA, along with 19 other angry passengers.
Neither Qantas nor United Airlines seemed terribly repentant and both blamed the other for the stuff up. Consequently, we spent the entire day inside Sydney’s international airport before boarding the next United flight to LA that left at about 5.40pm.
We made the most of the day by duty-free shopping, eating and making plans for our stay in New York, including booking our first Broadway show of the trip on my iPad.
We finally arrived at our Brooklyn hotel around 1.00am, almost 36 hours after leaving Melbourne. You could say we were tired.
After a few nights in that hotel it was time to check into the student accommodation. This concrete room in the old St George Hotel in Brooklyn Heights was to be my daughter’s home for the next 2 and a half months while she experienced the life of a New Yorker.
I kept myself busy for that week in New York whilst my daughter settled into her new home and her new school. I walked, watched and wondered at the marvels of Manhattan and I even got to catch up with my friend, Michelle, whom I’d met on my European backpacking adventure, 29 years earlier.
I didn’t want to leave this town but the day arrived when I had to fly back to Australia, and this time I really left my child in New York city.
See what happens next in Part 3 of I Left my Child in New York City…