Recently, the Cannady's split into two groups: the Cannady girls went down to Panama City, FL and the Cannady guys went up to NYC. It was the first trip that I got to do with Trey alone and I loved it! New York City is my absolute favorite city in the world and I think that's rubbing off on Mr. Trey. Since he's now six going on seven, we were able to walk (and walk fast) everywhere. The only crazy thing was how hot and muggy the city was. We had to stop a few times at a few NYC 'cafes' to sit and get drinks to cool off. Growing up, my family and I really only traveled to North Carolina during the summer to visit family. I never had a chance to travel to a city such as NYC or even DC. But it wasn't the location that I remember the most, it was definitely the bonding moments that I had with my mom, dad and sister on our cross country trips. Since we drove and didn't fly, those were some LONG trips, but looking back, it was perfect for us. The kind of bond that I currently have with my parents and my sister is what I'm trying to emulate with my family and so far.....I think that its working!
The first day began with Trey and I making our way to Union Station in DC. We had to take the bus out of our neighborhood to the Metro to the Greyhound bus stop. For some reason, Trey always finds a way to make me nervous in D.C.'s Metro station. Whether its him bumping into people and not saying anything like 'excuse me' or him getting way to close to the edge of the platform. I usually have to physically hold him next to me just for my own peace of mind. When we finally got to Union Station, we came across a few guys that were 'hanging out' next to McDonald's asking for money. Now Trey being the awesome kid that he is IMMEDIATELY and loudly was like 'Daddy! Give them money!' and of course when I snuck a peek at the guys....they were all looking right at me. At the time, I only had a twenty dollar bill so I told Trey that we would go back to give a little something after I got change. I actually knew that we wouldn't have enough time to go back and give them money, but I definitely almost made an effort.
This was a theme that weekend ....Trey's big heart teaching me as a dad to remember others and kindness. I truly believe that Trey will do something that serves others when he gets older. Along with his mom and my big brother-from-another-mother Leon, Trey is the nicest and kindest person I have ever known and it's awesome. It's what I prayed for. I sort of make sure I have cash in my wallet whenever I know I'm going to be walking with Trey just in case.
Fast forward to us actually arriving in NYC. We get to NYC's infamous Port Authority bus station. There are characters everywhere, but instead of avoiding them, Trey is drawn to them and he actually ends up talking with a random guy in the bathroom while washing his hands. I think even the guy was surprised that Trey didn't avoid him on the way to the sink. We ended up walking out and the guy shouts, 'I like to see that man! Black man with his son showing him how to be positive in the s---hole we call America.' I think he was taking a jab at our President with that statement.
We then made our way to a few spots in Midtown: the M&M Store where Trey picked up a new stuffed M&M named 'Manny' short for Manhattan, Juniors Restaurant for some lunch, and our last stop...the NBA Store (hey, this trip was for me to have fun also!). We had our first 'bonding' moment here. There is a pop a shot game in the store and these teenagers were hanging around the game and not really letting others play by blocking one of the 'stations'. So you know me....I'm 6'2 and 200+ pounds so I'm usually not intimidated by anyone....especially some touristing teenagers. So I body one of them out of the way and say loud enough for them to hear 'I'm pretty good at this game Trey.....I don't remember the last time I lost head to head in one of these' So....the teenagers who I believe were speaking German started peering over at us and waiting for me to hit the start button so we could play head to head. I hit the button and the game starts. Trey yells out to me, 'Daddy....they have two people shooting against you!' and I kinda knew that's what they were going to do, but I wasn't kidding.....I'm pretty good at pop a shot basketball. I'm hitting at a really good clip and Trey keeps yelling out 'You're winning daddy! You're winning daddy!' and I have to admit, Trey standing there hyping me up made my week. Final tally: the good guys (me) = 45, the touristing teenagers = 31. I made eye contact with one of the teenagers and gave a 'you see it' nod. He gave me the teenagers salute by checking out my gear...which of course included my dad heat....the Nike Air Monarchs!
We make our way to Brooklyn for the night. I notice Trey getting a little tired so I try to pepper him with some random BK facts about me and Ayren when we stayed there. I told him that while we ended up in Fort Greene, Brooklyn, we have also stayed in the Bed Stuy section of Brooklyn and the Flatbush section of Brooklyn. I didn't think he heard me until he said 'Why do they call it Flatbush? Another thing I notice about Trey on the trip is how much of the little details he notices on things. We had to transfer trains to get to where we were going in Brooklyn so we got off. Another train that wasn't ours came and went. Trey then looked at me and said, 'Daddy....why do the train captains always point at the strip on the wall when the train comes into the station?' I thought maybe he just caught a conductor doing that being funny, because I've caught them doing it, but I googled it and it turns out that the conductor at every stop has to do that to show that he or she is paying attention. Wow....totally blew me away that Trey noticed that as a 6 year old. That night, we stayed with our friends who, by now, we consider family. Trey didn't come out and say it, but he loves hanging out in BK with BK kids. Most of the kids that he knows from NYC/BK are SUPER friendly and they have that 'big city' coolness about them.
Once I finally had a chance to sit down and relax for the rest of the night, I started processing the trip so far. Trey just reinforced a lot of stuff I already knew about it, but he definitely enhanced it. I was so proud of all we accomplished on the first day of the trip, I probably would have been ok with just hanging out in BK for the rest of the time. But I promised Trey a few surprises in NYC and he didn't forget. So.....
Day 2 was the busiest day I've had in NYC since Ayren and I actually lived there. I had a whole day of stuff planned and we got to all of it. I won't go detail for detail like I did above but we did hit the Kellogg's breakfast spot in Union Square, watched 'Teen Titans Go To The Movies' (which was super funny), and even caught the bus in Brooklyn. The most important things we did on this day was met with two people I consider 'in my close friends circle'. We first met up with hip hop super producer Rich (you can check out some of his stuff here, and a dope interview with him here) to have lunch on the Upper West Side. When I described Rich to Trey, I made the mistake a lot of adults do with each other....I tried to tell Trey how impressive Rich was because he produced music for so many hip hop stars including my favorite dude, Prodigy from Mobb Deep. But Trey, like his mother, isn't overly impressed with stuff like that. Trey just kind of nodded and asked me other things about Rich. 'Is he taller than you daddy? Does he like to ride his bike?' (The answer is yes to both of those questions). I think I was nervous on both ends because I wanted Trey to like Rich as much as I did and I wanted to show Rich that my son is cool! I can say that both things I was worried about, I didn't have to worry. Trey REALLY like Rich and right away because he was tall and I think Trey likes people who are calm and speak with a calm demeanor like Rich. Also, when we had lunch, I never noticed before, but Rich listens a lot more than he talks (which is a good thing)--another thing Trey responds well to because he is the same way. Long story short, we had an awesome lunch and Trey now tells people that Rich is going to make him a song.
The other friend we made a point to see is my good friend Alicia Quarles (you can check her website out here). Alicia is really cool and is super connected within the celebrity and entertainment world, but you wouldn't know it by hanging out with her. She is super chill and makes you feel welcome and treasured...especially if you are like family to her. Plus, Alicia loves kids and is good around them. Anyway, Trey already knows her pretty well and loves him some Alicia (because she usually gives him toys and candy....and it also helps that Alicia has a super fun and warm personality) but we haven't really spent a long time like we did on this trip with her. We just had fun hanging out on her awesome NYC rooftop (with killer views) and met some new people up there. I was super impressed with Trey because while we all recognized that he is only 6, he was hanging with everyone like he was a part of the grown-up group. Plus, as an added bonus, Trey LOVED Alicia's dog, Beckham. I caught him taking pictures with people, looking at the scenery and just being cool among the adults. I didn't make a big deal to him, but it definitely was a proud dad moment for me. It showed me that Trey (and Eliet) are taking steps into becoming awesome humans, which as a parent, is all you can ask for. Trey was the perfect travel companion and he even taught me another thing or two about giving to the homeless. All and all, the trip to NYC was an awesome experience I will never forget and I'm glad I got to share a little bit of the city I love with my son Trey.
Please remember to take care of yourselves.