Monday, September 1, 2014

Parks, Picnics, and Play-dates…How We Spent our First Days in NYC

When we first arrive in a city, we like to get our bearings and establish some routines before we hit the streets too hard.  Our first week in New York City consisted of learning how to play the parking game with our car, scouting out the good playgrounds & grocery stores nearby, and meeting up with friends who now live in the city.  

Bobby's college roommate and his family live in NYC.  The last time we visited NYC, Amelie was a couple months old and we actually stayed with Matthew.   Many New Yorkers like to get out of the city for a bit in the summer, Matthew's family being one.  Since they were leaving shortly after we arrived, we spent our first day with them.  We met in Central Park after lunch and let the kids play at the Billy Johnson Playground.  Unfortunately, we were busy talking and I didn't get any pictures.  The main part of this playground is a 45 foot long slide made of granite.  Not only did they love the slide down, but they also loved getting to the top of the slide.  It's fun because they get to follow a wooded and rocky path that looks like it was carved into the side of a hill.   Someone had brought a cardboard box that Amelie and Liam both were allowed to take a turn with which made the experience down even more faster and fun!  After running around for a while, Liam was ready for a nap.  We headed to a nice grassy patch and Bobby & Matthew allowed the girls to play together while I stayed a distance away reading a Harry Potter book.  I loved that I was already fitting into the New York mom scene as I was stopped a couple of times for directions to places around the park.  Ha!  The peace and quiet in the shade of the trees was amazing.   All good things must eventually come to an end and when Liam woke up we went to FAO Schwarz Toy Store.  The AC felt amazing so we did not mind letting the kids drool at all of the fun toys.  Once we started to get hungry for dinner, Matthew took us to Anable Basin Bar & Grill.   After walking through some industrial zones, we were skeptical of his choice.  However, once we were there we were pleasantly surprised.  Since the restaurant was in Long Island City, we had amazing views of Manhattan.  The atmosphere was relaxed and kid friendly.  We had a full and fun first day in the city!

Eating a quick picnic lunch in Central Park before meeting Matthew.
My view while Liam napped.
Amelie and Jasper having fun on the giant keyboard.
Meeting superstars!

View from our table at dinner.
The following day was much more laid back, but we did meet up with friends who were in our first small groups in Athens.  We met them for a picnic dinner in Central Park's Great Lawn.  The kids loved having the space to run, do cartwheels, play baseball & soccer while we were able to catch up with our friends.  They moved to NYC at the same time that we moved to Paris.  I have loved learning from them and watching their journey of learning how to live well in a busy city with small kids.   We had hoped to spend a lot more time with them, but life is busy!  We were thankful for this laid back evening.  To top off the good company, we also enjoyed waffles with Nutella from the Wafels & Dinges Food Truck.  Yum!!

Our third day in the city we were on our own without any friends. ;)  We took the kids to Grand Central Station and watched the hustle and bustle.  We then went across the street to the Main Public Library.  We went straight to the kids section and read with the kids.  Afterwards, we went through a really cool exhibit.  It was the ABC of it:  Why Children's Books Matter.  Bobby and I were fascinated looking at original books, the history behind them, and how they continue to shape culture.  The exhibit had some interactive elements which Amelie and Liam loved.  Amelie's favorite was seeing the original Winnie the Pooh inspired characters on display.  Since this took up a lot of our kid's attention span.  We headed straight to grab lunch.  We had intentions of making our way back to explore more, but sadly we never did.  Next time, I really want to see the Rose Reading Room.  After a soup & sandwich lunch, we let the kids run around Bryant Park before heading back to the apartment.

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