New York in a Nutshell
New York, New York, New York. You chewed us up and spit us out in the best way possible. We technically spent our first three days in Wyckoff and Ridgewood, New Jersey getting acclimated, aka: taking car naps, eating challah brunch casserole, having diving board competitions, and hanging out with first, second, and third cousins. Who knows, maybe in the next couple of years we might even have some fourth cousins to traumatize (hint hint Jared).
Our last three days were spent in Manhattan and for the first time in five visits I was finally able to orient myself and found my inner Manhattan neighborhood compass. I can now confidently say “we stayed on the Upper West Side, ate dinner in SoHo, and we successfully nailed the subway with two kids and seven pieces of luggage”. Usually, like a country bumpkin, I tell everyone I went to New York and hung out all around “downtown.” New Yorkers look at me as though I’m a leper speaking a foreign language. Actually I might be speaking a foreign language – quick digression story.
Let me set the scene: walking to Central Park and I stopped in at a Starbucks which you should never do because you don’t want to have to pee (as a female) while in Central Park. Take my word on this.
Barista (male): Decaf Americano for Alishuh
Alishuh: Thanks! Could you add a splash of soy for me as creamer?
Barista: no comment (efficiently adds the soy and puts lid back on, makes no eye contact)
Alishuh: Thank you! Have a good day!
Barista: (laughs/chuckles) Where you from?
Barista: Of course you are. (chuckles) You too.
I was then later told by some fellow New Yorkers that Oregonians do indeed have an accent. It’s called being friendly.
We spent one big day kicking Manhattan’s rainy ass. First we rode the subway down to the Theater District and Times Square. Paige was entranced by the buildings, video billboards, and shops. So much so that Tim took her back the next day for more of his living nightmare.
We then walked all the way to Grand Central Station and had the most simply satisfying lunch at Shake Shack. In n’ Out who, what? It’s true I’m prone to hyperbole, but their burger and fries completed me Jerry McGuire style. After our life changing lunch, we rode the subway down to the tip of Manhattan to Battery Park to show the kids the Statue of Liberty through the rain and clouds. The Statue of Liberty is one of those kid bucket list items from learning about it in school I assume. Paige informed us all that the statue is actually copper in color but has turned green over time due to oxidation from the air and ocean water.
Next, we rode the subway back up to the Museum of Natural History for a quick perusal of the main attractions, mainly the new Titanosaur fossil, taxidermied animals, under water sea critters, and the HUGE blue whale. Energy was fading fast and we were saved just in the nick of time by 5:00 dinner reservations at Pizzeria Sirenetta. Their pizza was great but it’s their roasted carrots that will bring me back.
I, on the other hand, sought the opposite type of experience as Paige, and went for a mind-clearing run around the reservoir in Central Park. Check that off the Alishuh bucket list. I then took Parker back to Central Park as well and we spent the afternoon on a great playground watching people do parkour (his mind was blown), riding the carousel, not drinking any liquids so as to not need a restroom, climbing all the rocks, and eating popsicles while enjoying a violin busker who Parker gave a $1 to for playing Let it Go.
It only seems fitting that we ended our trip to NYC with a rush hour subway ride with all our luggage from the Upper West Side all the way to JFK.
p.s. we also ate dinner at Cafe Altro Paradiso. Their beef carpaccio with potato chips was also life changing. Again, trust me on this one.