Friday, October 31, 2014

New York Trip - August 2014

In August we flew to New York for Mark’s cousin Justin’s wedding. It was the kids’ second plane flight and they did great. For most of our trip we stayed in an Air BnB apartment in Kip’s Bay/Gramercy Park/Rose Hill (can I name any more neighborhoods?). Staying in an apartment was very exciting for the kids, and they wanted to know how many stories were in everyone else’s apartments and hotels. Our trip involved lots of visits to Shake Shack and lots of episodes of Super Why? (and we sang the theme song throughout our visit). We kept the kids on West Coast time so that we could keep them up late to go to the wedding. They were often the only kids out and about at 11 p.m.

Yukking it up in the backseat of a town car (because that's how we roll) on the way to the airport.

Day 1 in New York: My 40th birthday coincided with the twins' first day in New York. They rode the subway for the first time. Julia decided to celebrate my birthday with an hour of tantrums for various reasons ("I lost count of how many steps I was taking!"), but playing on a broken ATM machine like it was a video game cheered her up.

We also walked across the Brooklyn Bridge, and blew their little minds with Times Square at night. As a present for me the kids decided - completely on their own - to clean up their Legos. The kids were really sweet and put them back in the box, and to make it a present, wrapped the box with a comforter.

After losing count of how many steps she'd taken, Julia has a tantrum and won't budge from her spot on a Brooklyn sidewalk. Happy 40th birthday, Mommy!
Afterwards, whenever she spots an ATM she says, "it's the fun toy from the restaurant."
Considering our ahem, "difficulties" with Julia before, Mark suggests we have the kids pick out some snacks to dole out at intervals along the bridge walk.
Julia and James emerge from the subway to the lights of Times Square.
During this trip I enjoy how after doing what we think will be really fun and memorable activities with the kids, their favorite moments are super random and usually something they could experience at home.

Day 2 in New York: We walked the length of High Line Park and had lunch at Chelsea Market. At night we met Mark Pilloff's brother Daniel Pilloff at FAO Schwartz, took the Roosevelt Island aerial tram at night (with a spectacular view of the city), and had frozen hot chocolate at Serendipity 3.

Favorite parts for the kids:
James - "Playing at the hotel." (He means the Plaza Hotel where he rode an escalator. And no, we're not staying there.)
Julia - "Seeing a dog with a newspaper in its mouth."

Julia enjoys her first ever popsicle at High Line Park.
James plays in the water feature at High Line Park.

Playing on the piano from the movie Big at FAO Schwartz
Serendipity 3's famous frozen hot chocolate. You realize how big it is when you put James next to it.

Day 3 in New York: We traveled through the secret subway station (more on that later), and ate at Lombardi's Pizza in Little Italy (first pizza in the country) and at Doughnut Plant in the Lower East Side.

Julia enumerated what she hoped Bubby would buy her at Toys R Us (even though there had been no mention of a Toys R Us visit). We met up with Bubby and Grandpa, and then Bubby did take them to the Times Square Toys R Us where she let them each pick something out, and they rode on the store's ferris wheel.

Favorite parts for the kids:
Julia - "Riding the ferris wheel."
James - "Getting costumes." (At Toys R Us they both really wanted Elsa and Anna Frozen costumes. James actually wanted the Anna costume more than Julia wanted her Elsa one.)

We’ve now eaten at Lombardi’s on five trips to New York.
Bubby, James, and Julia ride the Toys R Us ferris wheel in Times Square.

More on the secret subway station:
I've always wanted to see the City Hall subway station, the first NYC station open to the public. It's been closed since 1945 but after reaching the end of the line, the downtown 6 train passes through City Hall as it turns around to become an uptown train. For about 20 seconds we had a darkened view of the old station, including its chandeliers and arched ceilings. More info here.

The closed City Hall subway station (picture not by me)

Days 4 & 5 in New York: We went to the top of the Empire State Building and had a family dinner at 2nd Avenue Deli (and met Mark’s cousin Michelle). The next day the kids met their Aunt Rachel for the first time. I channeled my inner Project Runway fangirl and made a pilgrimage to Mood and Bryant Park where the kids rode the carousel. After we visited the NY Public Library, Bubby took the kids to their favorite place, the Times Square Toys R Us, while Mark and I got a little alone time for a 3-course dessert at Chikalicious.

The kids watch excitedly as the elevator shows the number of our floor at the Empire State Building get higher and higher.
Sharing an umbrella in Bryant Park

Day 6 in New York, er… New Jersey: After one final ice cream run to Shake Shack, we take a car to New Jersey. (By the way, Julia has the most perfect New York accent. She naturally says “Joisey,” “Noo Yawk,” and “brudda.”) The kids are thrilled to have their first hotel room, and to play in the pool. They dress up for a rehearsal dinner and later evacuate our hotel after midnight because of a fire alarm.

Favorite parts for the kids:
Julia - Not getting splashed in the pool.
James - TV in the taxi.

Bubby and James play Slapsies at the rehearsal dinner.

Day 7 in New Jersey: Since we’re in a hotel, James wears underwear to bed for the first time (hey, it’s not my sheets) and wakes up dry. He asks, “Am I ready to be a grown-up?” We grab lunch with Jason Levesque and Jennifer Lang Levesque. The kids attend their first wedding. As soon as the bride walks down the aisle, Julia gets grumpy that the wedding isn’t as fun as she expected, and I have to take her outside where she keeps declaring, “Not even fun! Hmph!”

Favorite parts for the kids: Dancing at the reception

While they talk about one day marrying each other and having a dog (and Julia specifies that it has to be a helper dog and not a "licker dog"), this day they attended someone else's wedding.
Mark and James at the reception
Julia tries on my shoes after the wedding. She then walked up and down the hotel hallway, hoping to show strangers her new footwear.

Day 8 in New Jersey: We attend a post-wedding brunch. Julia is particularly excited about drinking extra milk and eating a blueberry muffin. Then we head to the airport where Julia may have sipped a smoothie left under a chair. She’s not sure.

Favorite parts for the kids of the ENTIRE trip:
James says his least and most favorite were the fire alarm (because he met a woman that he liked).
Julia says, “Bonus milk, muffin, and Times Square because I got toys.”

The kids fall asleep on Mark on the way to the airport.

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