NYC 2013

NYC this year was a blast.  The boy is almost 8, which meant that we could really be tourists and DO things, which was so much fun. Also, he can read, which makes travel time that much easier too. Instead of worrying about what to do on the plane or trains or anything, we could both spend our time reading peacefully as an option, especially when our flight was delayed by an hour. (Don’t you worry, I came armed with an iPad, iPhone, and plenty of downloaded videos too.  I’m not THAT virtuous. But battery life is limited, right?) The plane flight was actually easy.  Those of you with younger kids who have flown with them-there is hope, light at the end of that long, dark tunnel.

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We got to Brooklyn late and headed straight for dinner: Ethiopian food, which was very tasty.

Breakfast: Konditori, every day.

breakfast

breakfast

Then we headed to Central Park and rented bicycles.  I tried to rent from a local bike shop but they don’t rent to kids because of insurance issues.  Luckily, the central park boathouse has no such qualms and gladly gave us 2 wheezy bikes. This was one of those things I’d always wanted to do and we enjoyed every minute.  Future reference–get a bike from one of the real tourist places because then you get a lock and can stop and explore.  We would have loved to stop at the north side nature center but couldn’t because we couldn’t lock up the bikes. (side note for facebook friends, you may have seen some of these pics already but I find it’s easier to find them again if they’re here. Besides, I just love some of these)

by the lake

by the lake

After the bike ride we strolled up to Belvedere Castle-which was less of a castle then expected but did have cool views.  There was a school group there and it became a bit like “Where’s Waldo” trying to find the boy, since they all wore orange shirts too!

can you spot him?

can you spot him?

After this it was off to the Met!

yikes!

yikes!

The boy loved the Egyptian section and we spent a lot of time in Arms&Armor too.  We then wandered and came across American section and the period rooms where they have recreations of different rooms from different eras in America’s history.  I just loved this and didn’t even know they had such things! We pretended that that was where Claudia and James Kincaid would have slept had they come to the Met now, since their original bed has been taken off display. After this you might imagine we were getting tired-I wanted to head to the painting galleries before we left, but we just didn’t have the heart to enjoy them.  Hopped the subway to Ippudo where we got in without any wait (which I’ve heard is tantamount to magic in New York), though it might have helped that we were eating at 6.  Dinner: Ramen noodle bowl, delish.

We took a little tourist break the next day and went up to New Jersey to visit Kara and her adorable little toddler, who was just enamored of the boy. Kara and I studied abroad in Ghana many many moons ago, and it was so fun to see her and meet her little one.  Then it was back to the city for the MOMA.  I love the MOMA in NYC.  Busy and crowded, but who cares? I downloaded the free MoMA app so we didn’t have to wait in line for the audio tour (tip!) and set out.  I just love that feeling of turning the corner and oh holy moly there’s Starry Night! I mean, Starry Night! Even though it’s so famous and we’ve seen it a million times, it is just mesmerizing in person and even more beautiful.  Some of the other highlights for me were Sleeping Gypsy (didn’t realize it was so big!) and the Picassos. They had a exhibition celebrating modern design from video games to minesweeping that was so, so cool to see. Here’s a link to his website-check it out. Then to dinner: Sushi and off to see Matilda on Broadway!

matilda set

matilda set

Times Square is one of those insane tourist traps that I love to visit.  I know all real New Yorkers turn their nose up at it, and the lines at ridiculous places like the Bubba Gump Shrimp Co. are bizarre-I mean, I don’t understand why anyone would eat there when there is actual good food not too far away, but there is just no place like it that I know of and it’s something to behold.  For a half hour or so anyway.

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clearly staged as the boy is staring in a different direction than the point

Next day off to Westchester to spend time with my friend Rebecca from med school, which was wonderful.  Dinner: delicious home cooked salmon.

And then, off to Long Island for my sister’s Engagement Ceremony!

Something funny on the way to the mandap

Mawashee and the boy

Mawashee and the boy

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Sapana and her fiance Sachin

Sachin’s parents threw such a great party! Everyone had so much fun and it was great to meet so many people on his side of the family. Dinner: well, duh, Indian food.  New to me: Tikka Paneer and Gobi Manchurian, which I will order any chance I get.

The next day, back to the city for us to spend time with cousins and Lady Liberty.

standing guard over the harbor

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cousins!

The statue just opened on July 1st, and it was packed.  We couldn’t get tickets for crown access, but visiting the pedestal was just great and I loved learning more about the history of the statue and the building of it. Dinner: pizza.

Almost done! You might think that we’d take a break at this point, but you’d be wrong.

Next day was Empire State Building-this is one of those tourist things I could personally skip, though the view is spectacular.  I also used it to teach the boy about what he now calls, “Art Gecko” style architecture. I’ve never been at night, though, so maybe that’s something for next time.

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And then off to the Intrepid Air&Space Museum. This place was awesome.  I could take or leave all the fighter jets on the aircraft carrier-I’m not really a plane person, though I did like the stealth plane. And then inside was a SPACE SHUTTLE.  As someone who grew up in the 80s, I have a mythical love of the space shuttle-we all watched as they took off, we all watched the Challenger disaster.  To go into a hangar and have one there was incredible.

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We also took a tour of the nuclear era submarine which was cool and entirely claustrophobia inducing. To imagine the hundred + men living in that space, filling it with cigarette smoke, deep underwater-I was happy to get to fresh air.

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Porthole crawling.

Dinner: Pho.

Last day we just wandered around Brooklyn, did a little shopping and had our last NYC meal: Veggie burgers at BareBurger.

My beautiful little boy.

My beautiful little boy.

Coming home was bittersweet-we did so, so much and had such a great time.  It’s also going to be the last time we stay in Brooklyn since by the time we have our trip next year, my sister will be married and probably living on the UES. I’m going to miss Park Slope-I know all the stores and restaurants in my sister’s near vicinity and it feels familiar now when we go, so knowing we’re not going back there makes me just a little sad. Of course, it’s New York so there’s a new adventure out there just waiting for next year.

New York, end

The next day we went up and went to 4 and 20 blackbirds to have pie for breakfast, which is hands down my all time favorite breakfast.

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There is nothing better than apple pie for breakfast. I dare you to disagree.

The girl, of course, had to be contrary and get a cinnamon roll instead.

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Then it was off to Central Park to spend a day with Rebecca and her two kids.

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ImageWhy I thought it would be a good idea to have the girl wear white pants is beyond me. We first went to Belevedere Castle, but it was sadly closed for maintenance.  I told the girl that we couldn’t go inside because the princesses were sleeping (I know, I know) which was apparently an acceptable reason and we wandered off through the ramble, pictured above.

I can’t believe that in the picture above we’re in the middle of New York City.  It felt like  a lost forest. All 6 of us (Rebecca + 2 kids, Me + 1 kid, Sapana) imposed upon an unfortunate but muscle-thighed pedicab driver to take us to the carousel, which was such a hit we went around twice!

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Wave everybody!

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Outside was a juggler (NOT a juggalo, that would be terrifying) who put on a near private show for us.  As we all sat down to watch, many others hurried by.  It’s too bad because he was pretty funny.

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All the kids got to try out balancing a spinning ball.  The girl was VERY serious about this.

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Then there was time for a bit more rock climbing.

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It’s tough to tell from the picture, but that was a BIG, BIG rock and the kids ran all over it, completely undaunted by the height. I love that my little girl is so fearless and unafraid to get dirty.  Though I should note that Rebecca’s daughter ran exactly where my girl did and yet managed to stay pristine, so maybe there’s a skill there my little one is missing.

Then it was time to say goodbye to Rebecca and friends and board the train for a trip to…LONG ISLAND! Woo-hoo!

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Just kidding! We were on our way to meet Sapana’s boyfriend’s family, who were so sweet and nice to us. They handed the girl a doll when she got there and she was in heaven the rest of the evening.  His mom’s cooking was so delicious, too-it was so nice to have a traditional Marathi dinner that it made me resolve to cook it more for my kids so they grow up with the same love of those dishes that I do.

The next day was the last one for me with the girl in the city.  Her grandparents came to whisk her away to Allentown for the weekend. I looked at her before we left the house and said, “I’m going to miss you so much when you’re gone, little one.” She looked at me, reached out and touched my chin, and said, “Don’t be sad, Mommy.  I’ll be back soon.” So much for parental attachment.

That morning we had fun at the Park Slope playground

This piece of playground equipment took no less than 4 adults to figure out.  After we did, it wasn’t all that fun anyway.  It was too much like exercise trying to be disguised as fun.

The climbing structure, on the other hand, proved irresistible to grownups as well as kids.

After that, it was time to say goodbye to the girl. Sapana and I wandered around New York for the next two days rather aimlessly.  It was so fun to spend time with her, though I did feel a bit too aimless at the end of it. That evening we had delicious sushi and went to see “Battle Royale” at the IFC film center, which was…an experience.  The best part was the previews, which featured this GEM of a short from the New York Times op-video.  Please spend 2 minutes of your life watching it (link below).  If you do not guffaw at least once, email me privately and I will send you a $5 Starbucks gift card.

Mitt Likes Music

Sunday morning, Sapana had a race.  In kindness to her I will not post pictures of her running, because with the exception of that one genetic freak, all pictures of us running are horrible. It was the Portugal day race, and can I say that people in New York were all about Portugal, except for the race announcer who only knew a few fun facts and kept repeating them in an elated tone. “Did you know that Portugal is where Port comes from? I didn’t know that! Buy some!”

After that was more aimlessness and then the plane home, back to Denver, to a joyful reunion with brother and Daddy.

Oh, right…brother and Daddy.  Where were THEY during this week? Off mountain biking and fishing! Next post all about the boys.

And as a final note, it was so great to travel with the girl.  I’m already looking forward to next year’s trip with the boy, and wondering if we should go to New York again (which you could visit every year and have a different adventure) or think about branching out somewhere more adventurous, requiring a passport stamp, for example.