April 23, 2023 | Sunday

We landed at LaGuardia

Day 1 of 7: they invited me to New York for work. If you know me, you know I brought the family.

What a day.

With an early morning flight out of San Diego, we had to get up around 3:30 AM becuase we still had to drive to the terminal, park, and do the whole check-in routine.

My wife and I both set alarms on our phones, then as a backup, we asked the front-desk for a courtesy call just in case.

Good thing the boys woke up without a fuss. I can’t blame them. The excitement of travel only lets you half-sleep anyway. I remember back when I first visited New York as a kid, I couldn’t sleep the night before as well1.

Anyway, we checked out by 4 AM, packed the car and made it to the terminal with the morning still as dark as the night.

It gave us plenty of time, thank God.

The layover in Charlotte

About 4.5 hours after departing from San Diego, we touched down in Charlotte, North Carolina. That last half-hour of the flight involved heavy, continual turbulence; I think we all felt a little nauseous after off-boarding.

Although I do have a few colleagues and previous mentors that live in the Research Triangle Park area, I’ve personally never set foot in NC. I don’t know much about the state other than the little we learned back when my wife and I were considering moving there, due to a decent cost of living.

Nothing much to mention about the layover aside from giving a shout out to Bojangle’s Famous Chicken and Biscuits. I wasn’t sure if I was just hungry or what, but their food was a hit.

Hello LaGuardia

With the Developer Forum2 taking place in Tarrytown, we had options of flying into White Plains, LaGuardia, or the JFK airport.

The beautiful rainy sunset view from LaGuardia terminal
The beautiful rainy sunset view from LaGuardia terminal

I wanted to arrive in LaGuardia for my own personal bias3. But we also chose LaGuardia knowing that our team was scheduled to work out of the Manhattan office in the latter part of the week, and because of that we booked a hotel for a couple of nights in the city.

Our descent into LGA wasn’t half as bad as downing into Charlotte, but I braced for turbulence anyway. I remember looking at my wife and kids across the aisle, and just thinking about how long of journey we’ve been on as a couple.

I couldn't believe that after all these years together, here we were, traveling as a family, and just minutes away from landing in New York City, with our two grown boys accompanying us.

Such a dream come true.

After we landed and got off the plane, I pulled my phone out becuase I wanted to capture the boys’ first steps on New York ground. It was a cool moment, hopefully one they’ll cherish for years to come.


We gathered luggage and took an airport shuttle to the car rental facility — we were the only ones on the shuttle.

After a short wait, we picked up a car that unfortunately smelled like the previous customers might’ve celebrated four-twenty the previous week4. My wife questioned if we should request a change of cars, but we were already situated and fairly certain that the whole fleet smelled the same.

So we rolled down the windows to air out the car, adjusted the rear views, and entered the Tarrytown Estate House into her phone’s map app.

We made the Sign of the Cross as we normally do, then hopped on the 678 en route up to Westchester County.

It rained on the way up, but that’s alright — we made it.

  1. Only other time I’ve been to New York was in the late 80’s. My parents took us all to visit my mom’s younger sister, Auntie Myrna — God rest her soul 🙏🏼.
  2. The initial reason for going to NY was the Quantum Developer Forum — a collaborative event with IBMers and external partners from all over the world.
  3. When my Auntie Myrna married my Uncle Jorge, she took on his last name: LaGuardia.
  4. It smelled like weed.