Growing up in the Midwest, I developed a fondness for road trips in search of the world’s tallest, smallest or weirdest building, monument or roadside attraction.

That endeavor that came to a sudden halt when I moved to New York City in 1994. Not only did I not have a car, but my palms sweat just thinking about driving in the dense, erratic traffic of the metropolitan environment. 

One day, while drooling over a road trip Web site, it occurred to me that traveling moms don’t need cars to take a road trip. New York City has the greatest subway and bus system in the country, and plenty of tallest, smallest and weirdest things to explore. A single subway ride from Times Square will leave a traveler utterly alone, surrounded by (mostly) silent nature in the woods of Inwood Hill Park . There are skyscrapers galore in Manhattan, but the subway and bus can bring the overwhelmed to a working farm in Queens. 

A person can join the hordes for a tour at the Metropolitan Opera House, or take the train out to Brooklyn to listen to turn of the century recordings of opera legend Enrico Caruso played on vintage phonographs in the Enrico Caruso Museum of America , on the second floor of a two-family home. The body of a venerated saint, shrines that heal the ailing, and religious relics are located not far from enormous balls of hair coughed up by cows. 

Next time

Sadly, it was time for my family to return to the Midwest before we could explore more places.  When my mom called to let me know their flight arrived safely, she told me that she already made a list of places she wanted to see on her next visit to New York. 

First on the list is the Louis Armstrong House and Museum. "It’s the only home of a jazz musician that is open to the public," she reminded me. 

After that, we’ll put New York City into perspective with the Panorama of the City of New York at the Queens Museum of Art . She’s already planned what she’ll eat at Leo’s Latticini, aka Mama’s.  I can’t wait.

New York Vacations