Monday, May 31, 2010


I have always wanted to go to New York City. Always. I knew when we had the opportunity to go, that I would really regret it if we didn't go, based on the fact that life with 1 kid is (I'm guessing) tons easier than life with 2! Going with a toddler in tow was not exactly what I had always pictured as my first trip there, but I am so glad we were optimisitc. One person I know has even described the notion of NYC with a toddler as "miserable", but I happen to know for a fact that this person can make any situation pretty miserable, all on their own! But you know what? I can't imagine a first trip without my little man. He provided endless dialogue on everything he saw and was just in a constant state of awe with everything. Yes, we could have gone out for romantic late night dinners and been able to navigate the streets minus 30+ pounds, but it just would not have been the same. I am so grateful for having experienced NYC for the first time at the same time as my boy. Isn't that what being a parent is about anyways? Putting the world at your child's fingertips and seeing them light up..  it's great.
A (long) rundown of our trip!

I sat in first class going there, so I wasn't too nauseated (I only get airsick in coach! haha! but true.) to take some pics as we descended. This was not NYC, but I really thought it was.. I was disappointed for a few minutes, to say the least!

When we arrived, we were met by a man holding a sign with our last name. It took all the composure I possess to not take a picture of him holding our name-sign. When he found us, he ripped up the sign and threw it away.. and I cried inside because I wanted to keep it! He was not very friendly, as I later learned when I rolled my window down in our Towncar. I was on the verge of puking (NYC drivers, like none other) so I needed A/C and the wind... well, he only allowed one or the other, despite Pablo anticipating this and asking him to crank the air. I should have had Pablo tell him the story about me puking in our wedding limo, just to let him know I was not effing around. He had no idea that I have been puking in vehicles for decades, and his was very close to becoming another victim on my list.

 Anyways! We arrived at our hotel - Doubletree Suites in Times Square. Andrew was beyond excited to get to ride in an elevator - and this one required you to ride in TWO elevators before you got to your room, so he was very pleased. If we had only known that the elevators were the most thrilling part of this trip for him, we could have saved a few bucks and just took him to the mall at home instead.

We unloaded our stuff in the room and off we went! I wasn't about to spend more time than I had to in the hotel room.. and first stop was PIZZA. We didn't have a set plan for our first place to try, so we got a referral from the concierge, who recommended Mariella's, 5 or 6 blocks away. So we found it, and yes, it was GOOD. Very good. There was a sign on the wall (should've taken a pic) that said Gayle and Oprah voted it Best Pizza in the World. Seriously. And I very much trust those two when it comes to food recommendations.

I must pause to mention our most awesome baby arrier. I will talk to a complete stranger about the awesome-ness of this product, this is how much I LURVE it. The Ergo. We used it when he was a baby, and packed it away about 7 or so months ago when we thought he was just too on-the-go to want anything to do with it anymore, but on a whim I got it back out and discovered it can be fashioned as a TODDLER-holding-BACKPACK. It. Ruled. The big city just is not that stroller friendly, in our opinion. Just too many people whizzing past in a hurry, too much maneuvering through crowds...  so this little gem was so awesome. As you can see in the pic, however, we weren't too focused on getting him in there picture-perfect straight. He didn't seem to care at all, though! He sat it in and stroked Pablo's hair the entire time..  ahhh.. soothing times for all. :)
After pizza, we made our way to Central Park, just a few blocks up. We stopped to buy a pineapple popsicle, at a bargain rate of $4... and yes, the entire time I thought to myself how I could buy an entire BOX of popsicles at home for less than that. Very much the suburban housewife now..  sigh. Let it also be noted that I brought a handy dandy popsicle-drip-catcher holder with me, ever the prepared former Girl Scout am I.
So we made our way into the park and found a huge playground area. There was a monstrosity of a rock to climb up, so I let them have at it. He later told me that I would have very likely freaked out at the level of steepness of some areas. Good thing I was in charge of taking pictures and guarding the $4 popsicle.

As we made our way back, we ran into some broke college kids making their living...  Andrew was not very sure about Pooh, as we don't have many Pooh toys/books at home, but he was pretty confident around his fave Sesame Street monster, Elmo.

 Then we later went out to dinner at a nice little Italian place called Bella Vita. It was pretty empty, which is never a good sign for a NYC restaurant, but always appreciated when you have a loose-hair toddler with you! And despite the fact that I shun whatever the trendiest technology of the day happens to be, I have to give a big salute to Pablo's iphone. It saved us on many occasion on this trip. Most especially at restaurants when we had to wait for our food. He has several preschool game apps, and Andrew was a whiz at them all. Kid was learning and momma got to relax and eat bread.. all was right in the world.

I snapped this lovely pic of Pablo - I really like it. He's mah love.

That night in the hotel room, Andrew discovered his first full-length mirror reflection. Instant friends!
He was also pretty pooped and fit in some lazy tv-watching. He doesn't get to just lay around and watch tv too much at home, so he lived it up.

That next morning, we set out for breakfast, which was decided upon with much research and thought... in the form of last-minute iphone googling in bed that morning upon waking up. It was pretty cold and VERY windy, which made this little diner in the West Village all the more warm. As soon as we walked in, my first thought was how very much my father would HATE a place like this. It just screamed grubby diner. Which, to me, also screams DELISHUS FOOD!

 We ordered our breakfast, and as we waited (and played educational iphone games), I noted clippings on the wall showing all the famous peeps who love this place. Ethan Hawke and Molly Shannon being the only two I remember.

I didn't have the forethought to take a pic of my amazing french toast & bacon before I devoured it, but it was awesome. And the place was so small that other patrons helped us out when we asked the owner where the nearest grocery was. It felt so homey!

We then made our way to the Childrens Museum, which was still closed when we arrived. It was chilly, so we made a game of staying warm by encouraging Andrew to run as fast as he could up and down the handicap ramp. He had much fun doing that.

 He even stopped to pose! What a good boy!

Once we made it inside and paid the $30 fee, which I thought was nuts, we soon realized that it would be a very well spent $30. There was EVERYTHING for a toddler to discover and play with. So much to do! I could post probably 50 pictures of different activities, but I'll narrow it down to a few.....

Oh yes, this is also where we really saw how many people (mainly dads) use the Ergo carrier, like us. We saw a few here and there throughout the city, just on the streets, but in the Childrens Museum they were abundant! Definitely the sign of an involved, kickass dad. :)

Afterwards, we were off to a Mothers Day lunch! We both love Greek food, so we made our way to a recommended Greek restaurant.. Nikos.

Yup, you know you're a parent when you have no remorse whatsoever when ordering the chicken strips and french fries without even looking at the menu, just to keep the kid happy. His response was an adamant NO when I asked him to try my souvlaki.. imagine that!

For naptime, it was my 'me-time' to go out solo and do whatever I wanted to do, while Pablo manned the hotel room while Andrew slept. I had NO idea what I wanted to do, so I took a last minute tip and asked my cabbie to take me to Canal Street, where I heard the shopping was good. Bad idea. I got out and snapped a few pics... then very quickly tucked my veyr expensive camera back into it's bag, and crossed it messenger style for extra security. This place just wasn't what I had in mind, at all. I walked and avoided eye contact and finally meandered far enough where I felt safe enough to use Pablo's iphone (it admittedly took me 5 minutes to figure out how to make a call). I immediately called my sis.. because I was scared.. and that is what I do. She got on google maps and I told her where I was, and she guided me around the block to a cute little bakery (sidenote: how crazy it is - this day and time of ours - to be walking somewhere and someone literally across the entire country can see on a satellite feed exactly where you

So I ended up here - Once Upon a Tart! A cute little bakery, where I got the most dense, most amazering coconut macaroon EVA. And a coffee. I ate it on a bench outside and people-watched. It was nice. :)

I then used my me-time to clothes shop for my child. Wow. I am lame. I justify this lame-ness by pointing out that I love love love H&M toddler clothes, and we do not have one anywhere near us.. so that's what I did. I bought inexpensive but good quality toddler clothes. Including a bright green windbreaker for him that will be seen in the coming pictures. I also got a pretzel, just to see what all the fuss was about. I enjoyed the charcoal-y smell far more than I enjoyed the teeth-breaking taste.
I did decide to let the little one have a crack at it..  baby teeth.. not as strong as you'd think!

After naptime/me-time was over, we walked a block up the the M&M world store. And for anyone who doesn't just love M&Ms.. well, it was pretty stupid. The M&M paraphernalia? Insane. Who wants a matching M&M hand towel and oven mitt set, really? But Andrew enjoyed seeing his jacket match a large M&M. And so I suppose it was not a wasted visit.
We ate at a place called John's pizza that night. On every waiter's shirt was 'NO SLICES!' in very large print. Yes, I so wanted to be that guy and ask them if they do slices.. but I resisted.

Evenings before bedtime were spent street-gazing, mostly. He pointed out every little thing he saw.

The next morning at breakfast was definitely the least successful mealtime of our trip. The kid was getting a little homesick or just straight up acting his age. Good thing there was no one around us and we were sitting in the back!

We then made our way to FAO Schwarz, right when they opened. (the perks of traveling w/a child - no sleeping in means no crowded stores because you get everywhere when they open!) We had to wait outside for a bit, but at least everyone was warm and cozy.
We walked through a hallway of perfectly placed stuffed animals, that was just BEGGING to be destroyed. Our child was the first kid who had the privilege to knock a few down.

We found the book area, which was SO so neat, and sadly very empty. All the kids there were woefully uninterested in this section of the store.. but not Andrew! He loved it.

And when he saw one of his fave books of all time?? Shock and dismay! WOW!
Then we got to be somewhat cliche, an ode to the great Tom Hanks movie, and run along a little mini keyboard. Burned much energy. :)

Our fave part was the wall of muppets. How great is that??!

For lunch later, we went to the famous Carnegie Deli. There were framed pics of famous patrons covering every square inch of the wall space.
I don't think he even knew I was there, what with the way awesome preschool iphone games...

The BLT that Pablo ordered. We basically paid $23 to take this picture, because it SO did not get $23 worth of it eaten.

Then Pablo had his me-time during the next day's naptime. He did much more respectable things, as far as being a tourist goes. Not that eating a macaroon and shopping isn't respectable, but he got to see a lot more than I did during my me-time!
When he woke up, we hit the Central Park zoo! It was cute and small - just the way I like my zoos! :)
And our last night there we went to our 3rd (or 4th?) pizza place- Patsy's. It was in a very nice neighborhood -near Park Ave- where I informed Pablo that we'd live if we ever get to live in NYC. Oh, and we'd also have a driver named Alfred.. whether his real name is Alfred or not. 

Last morning there...  he is wisely soaking up every last it of tv-watching he can! 

All in all - a FABULOUS trip. We made many many memories and I am a very grateful & blessed woman!