Jaded Optimist

Mothering, making, and generally blathering on

Whirlwind NYC trip April 9, 2011

Filed under: Kids,Travel — bonniep @ 10:23 pm

The girls and I headed to NYC for C’s spring break to see some fun stuff, visit some family, and experience the American Girl Store. Of course, a week or so before we left I discovered that an American Girl store is opening in a mall about 20 minutes from our house. Sigh.

Day 0 + 1:

We took a red-eye flight, landing in JFK on Sunday morning after a brief 4 hours of sleep. Uncle D was up and awaiting our arrival at his apartment. The girls were quite excited to see the dog we affectionately refer to as “Cousin” Rory. Breakfast, walking around Battery Park City, viewing the Statue of Liberty from afar, two playgrounds, fancy Soho lunch, hands on art museum, souvenir trip for me to Purl Soho, and ice cream for dinner at the Chinatown Ice Cream Factory. M took two naps in her stroller (SO glad I lugged that thing to the city!) and I crashed for an hour at D’s apartment while he entertained the kids, but C stayed strong until collapsing at our hotel (the quite nice World Center Hotel, with a small kitchen that we didn’t use enough and a small separate room for the girls to sleep in, enabling me to stay up past their bedtime. Well, at least after that first night!). Whew.

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Day 2:

Uncle D had to work, so we were on our own. Breakfast at the hotel, subway to Central Park, short walk, bad pretzels, Belvedere Castle (closed on Mondays, natch). Natural History Museum—butterflies, evolution, lunch, dinosaurs, hall of minerals, store. Short walk (M napping, C whining). Subway to dinner at S’mac a mac n cheese themed restaurant, happenstance dessert at Momofuku’s Milk Bar.

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(Not many pictures from inside the museum except C in front of a meteorite…and lots of crappy butterfly shots.)

Day 3:

Uncle D available again. First of two breakfasts at Kitchenette. Central Park for the Dairy and attempted Carousel ride (undergoing maintenance). Met up with Cousin P + family for lunch and wandering at the Central Park Zoo, including attempt by a snow leopard to attack and eat M. Thank goodness for glass barriers. Quick visit to petting zoo, walk through rain, dinner at Chat N Chew. Aborted trip to Max Brenner (sadly, no time to stop for dessert). Back to apartment to see cousin Rory and recently returned from China Auntie J. Whew.

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Day 4:

Met up with Auntie J for 2nd breakfast at Kitchenette and long playtime at Rockefeller Playground. Returned to apartment to get Uncle D, delayed by kid snack and subsequent outfit change for M. Times Square for Uncle D snack and long awaited trip to the American Girl Store. Tea, birthday present Bitty Baby for little M, doll ear piercing for C[‘s doll], arguments over how much they could each get. Times Square Toys R Us to see the wall of Barbie—escaped without spending anything! Dinner at much hyped (by Uncle D!) Mars 2112 and late night crash at hotel. Although I cannot say enough bad things about the restaurant ($2 cover charge for everyone just to get in?? 30 minute wait just to see our waiter—after I complained—when the place wasn’t even busy?? $10 for plain noodles kid meal—and that doesn’t include the cost of milk??) C is still talking about visiting Mars and how cool the fake Mars News was. Kids.

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Day the Last (travel day—and M’s birthday eve):

Plenty of time to get up, finish packing, eat breakfast at hotel, and take car service to JFK. Checked bags without too much issue, although agent not able to switch our seats so C is with us instead of four rows back. Then…over one hour in security line. Quick bathroom trip, get to gate to find all rows boarding. C begins crying in line about not sitting with us. Gate agent able to switch her to row in front of us, and luckily aisle passenger in our row was willing to trade. Phew. Sadly, did not have time to buy food or water in airport. Wouldn’t matter, except sit on ground for 1 hour for them to rebalance luggage. Finally take off, all starving, and await JetBlue snack packs. M mentions need to potty right before snack service arrives at our seats…chose to wait for snack service and lived to regret it. M spends rest of trip in socks, t shirt, underwear and training pants. With my scarf between her and wet car seat. Next six hours “fly by” especially for C who watches hours of questionable cartoons. Exit plane to multiple compliments on girls’ behavior on plane (guess no one noticed the underwear?) and finally home to empty house at 7 pm. Whew.

Great trip overall, even if the travel parts themselves left something to be desired (haven’t even told you about M’s baby doll setting off alarms at security on the way there and the resultant toddler pat down followed by my full pat down plus search of all our carry on luggage…well, I guess I have told you now). M napped everyday, even if it was often preceded by about 30 minutes of crazy behavior (i.e., crawling into one of the exhibits at the history museum). We got to about 60% of the items on my list (somehow I thought we would make it to an art museum on Day 4) which is about right for how I plan. The girls were ecstatic most of the time, loved seeing family, didn’t whine (much) about wanting to buy things, and except for a runaway incident in Soho and several temper tantrums right as we went through turnstiles and boarded/exited the subway (all this M, by the way) were quite well behaved. Hopefully G will be able to go with us the next time.

A few thoughts for future trips…I hauled that camera around every day and barely took pictures. In retrospect I wish I had more. Extra toddler pants are a good thing to pack for the plane. Toddler size ear phones would also have come in handy. A travel neck pillow filled with Bucky Balls accessible by zipper should not be left where kids can get it.

One last comment…I picked up a little journal for C before we left on the trip and every day when there was time on the subway or a break at a park she would ask to write in it. I loved to see her little notes and drawings (“Going to Central Park is not easy. 1. You need to take a long train. You should go to the bathroom first”) and a little writing practice never hurt anyone!
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