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A day in the city with my son and work friends

Updated on June 26, 2012

Big trip into the city

Spending time with my son and work friends

I know the importance of family and friendships and I try my best to spend as much time with my son as I can since I work and am not always able to spend time with him during the week. The weekends are very important to me since that is the most likely time I will spend with my family and I will tend to do more things with my son then. It is very important to expose him to many interesting and exciting experiences and teach him self confidence and try my best to help involve him in opportunities that will enable him to grow, mature and develop healthy relationships.

I have had the pleasurable experience of meeting many nice people in my working life and sadly have lost touch with many as we all have moved on over the years. I have recently had the opportunity of meeting and working with associates from the India office of the company I now work for who are here visiting and training and I find it to be a great opportunity both culturally and professionally.

I believe it is very important to always make someone feel welcome especially if they are far from home. I understand and realize that they are most likely experiencing being away from their family and loved ones for the first time and they are working hard and probably feeling a bit lonely and missing their family. I enjoy meeting and talking with people and although I consider myself relatively shy I can converse with people and extend my friendship with sincerity and warmth. I learned from my parents the importance of respecting others and appreciating their company and friendship.

I find that if you extend your friendship to others it will make your life more fulfilling and complete and you will benefit from the opportunity of sharing fun and exciting experiences together. I have a son who is autistic and I find his condition is misunderstood by so many and he sometimes lacks the social graces we are accustomed to and therefore has difficulties in establishing friendships. He is truly a wonderful kid and very intelligent but he has his challenges that hinder him from experiencing the bonds of friendship with his peers. We are working on providing him the love, support and encouragement to help him through his difficulties and stand by him each and every day. Our son is a great kid who is often misunderstood and looked upon sometimes as misbehaving and uncooperative. The reality is that he sometimes can not be helped for his difficult behaviors and since he is on the spectrum it seems to be a common problem with autistic children. My son has so much potential and I truly have faith in him and know he will make progress and do much better even though this time in his life is a bit of a rocky road that we will travel together.

I have met some very dedicated, hard working and kind people from my office who are here from Bangalore, India and we have dined together in restaurants and I have started to experience Indian cuisine and developed some nice friendships and have been exposed to new cultural customs. I feel it is an honor to help in making someone feel accepted and comfortable while they are spending time here far from home and I had the opportunity of spending some time this weekend with my friends from India and my son.

Friday night was fun as we were invited by the office manager to dine in a fine Indian restaurant amongst our coworkers including our friends from India. It was a nice opportunity to spend time together as a group and experience fine Indian cuisine. Saturday we worked part of the day and I had the opportunity of spending time with 2 of my coworkers from India afterwards. We went to a cozy Indian restaurant for a late lunch and I received a call from my wife saying my son wanted to do something so I asked my coworkers if it was ok to pick him up and we would include him in our outing and they were very receptive and understanding.

I was very happy because it gave me the opportunity to spend time with both my son and my friends from India. Upon picking up my son we decided to take a trip to the mall and stopped at a popular store, Target. I know my son was happy and it turned out to be a positive experience as my friends from India enjoyed walking around the store and buying toys for their children. We spent about 1 3/4 hours there and I enjoyed seeing my friends selecting toys for their kids with such excitement.

It reminded me of Christmastime when I found myself doing the same thing. My son was very good and he was talking with my friends and they were very kind to him and made him feel very comfortable. After almost 2 hours of shopping and a shopping cart full of toys my friends from India felt it was time to go even though they probably could have spent more time there. They really enjoyed the experience and so did my son and I. After we packed all the toys away in my car we were ready for the drive back to the hotel.

The night drive was a bit difficult due to a low lying fog and the remnants of snow left over from the blizzards we encountered this winter season. After returning them to the hotel we discussed our plans for the big trip into the City for Sunday and they also insisted that I take my son as well. I was delighted and so was he. We planned a full day there to visit the Statue of Liberty, Ellis Island, the site where they are constructing the Freedom Towers where the former World Trade Center once stood and the Empire State Building. They were very accommodating to us at the hotel and my son was happy to be with me and my friends from India. They really took a liking towards my son and were excited that he was joining us. I was very appreciative for that and for the office manager suggesting that I bring him when we told her our plans for the weekend.

We said our goodbyes and planned to each take the train into Penn Station and meet by 10:00 am. On the way home I treated my son to pizza as we discussed our plans for Sunday. I could sense the excitement as he looked forward to a full day in Manhattan. Matty was up in time and was looking forward to our planned trip and the train ride. We caught the 9:16 am train from Hicksville and were unable to see our friends on the car we entered so I called and said we would find each other in Penn station when we arrive.

Matty was enjoying the ride in to the city as he announced all the stops along the way and captured the ride from his flip video camera from the train window which was hazy looking but that didn't bother him. He was just so excited to take it all in and I enjoyed watching him and seeing his enthusiasm as we both enjoyed the ride in to Manhattan. I almost remember the last time we took the train into the city which was more than a few years ago.

As we arrived and exited the train we walked up the stairway and walking behind us was my work friends who we were happy to see. After a brief discussion of our plans we headed to the subway to see the Statue of Liberty. I was glad to be there with my son and my work friends and enjoyed seeing the excitement on my son's face and my work friends from India who were experiencing the views for the first time. We took the ferry ride to the Statue of Liberty and captured some really great photos of the Manhattan skyline and the Statue of Liberty but it was sad knowing that the emptiness where the World Trade Center once stood was on my mind and my son kept asking when we were going to see the World Trade Center.

It was a sad reality that we were reminded of. Having lived in New York my whole life this was the very first time I was visiting the Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island and Matty's also. Obviously it was the first for my friends from India as well. I don't remember walking up so many steps as we took the tour from inside the Statue. It was very interesting and we got to appreciate the exhibits and the history behind the Statue and recognized the generosity of the French as they extended their friendship to the United States with this truly wonderful gift. I had to make sure Matty was doing ok and my friends were so kind and very understanding. He was having a great time but with all the walking we did he did have to rest from time to time so we took breaks as needed.

We took many pictures outside and around the statue including inside the statue as well and we enjoyed reading the history and seeing the exhibits. After we climbed inside the statue we then descended and headed outside to the ferry to take the 2nd part of the tour which was Ellis Island. We got to see a very historical site where the immigrants would come into New York from 1892 thru 1924 and enjoyed seeing the old fashioned photographs displayed inside the building where lines of immigrants once stood to enter this country from their native land. After we toured Ellis Island we did some souvenir shopping and then headed to have lunch and then head back to the ferry to take us back to where we started. The ferry ride was fun and we sat outside on the deck and enjoyed the views of the skyline and occasionally took photos along the way back. Once we arrived back we planned to stop at the World Trade Center Ground Zero site which was emotional and a difficult thing for my son to comprehend as he so wanted to see the Towers as they once stood. I had to console him as my work friends were compassionate and felt sad as well.

After leaving the site we walked towards Wall Street, took a photo by the Bull and headed back to Penn Station where we then headed to the Empire State Building. I was happy to see that we all were having a great time and also was glad to see Matty smiling and enjoying the day and the company. He was well behaved and learned some important history. It was like a school field trip for him without the school. When we arrived at the Empire State Building we were eager to see the view of the city from the Observatory deck. We took two elevator banks up to Floor 86 and we headed outside to catch some wonderful views of the Manhattan skyline. It was quite an experience for all of us and we also tried as best we could to capture those same views in a photograph.

We walked around the deck to see the view from each side. It was pretty cold outside and Matty was getting tired so we decided to go back inside and stop at the souvenir shop before descending to the lobby. Matty managed to find a license plate with his name and a replica Empire State Building and World Trade Center that he wanted so I bought them for him as he truly earned them with his good behavior and patience throughout the day. My friends enjoyed his company and we enjoyed their company and Matty was very happy to meet my work friends. As we exited the Empire State Building my friends wanted to go to time Square and we said our good byes for the night as I knew Matty was tired and wanted to go home. We had a tremendous time and we thanked them for including us in their plans. This is my gift to my son and my friends for making the day and the weekend so special.

Edward D. Iannielli III


Matty, my work friends and I at the Statue of liberty

Statue of Liberty visit with son and friends

Inside the Statue of Liberty

Subway ride from Statue of Liberty to Penn Station

View from atop Empire State Building


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