New York with Kids, Day 2

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Day 2 of our New York trip started out here for breakfast. If you were a Seinfeld fan you should recognize it. The food was good and it was fun for H. and I to eat at the place where  Jerry and Elaine and George and Kramer hung out.

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The diner was only about a block away from The Cathedral of St. John the Divine so we decided to walk down and see it. It’s a pretty cathedral and if finished would be the largest in the world. The unfinished parts of the walls actually made it more interesting, I thought. We had an encounter with an all-white peacock outside the cathedral which was a nice bit of serendipity.

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From there we headed to Central Park. H. took a side trip to photograph some buildings he was interested in and the boys and I meandered to the Central Park Wildlife Center. It was a nice walk and the boys enjoyed playing on the big boulders in the park and looking at the horses and carriages driving by. We met H. again at the gates to the zoo. The zoo was very pretty and I think a favorite of everyone in the family. It’s very small but really lovely and super accessible. The penguins were very fun to watch as was the sea lion feeding. I liked watching the polar bear swim. It’s just amazingly graceful for such a huge powerful animal.

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The Wildlife Center is right beside the small Tisch Children’s Zoo. The boys really had a blast playing there. You can pet goats and alpacas and cows and sheep. There are bunnies and ducks and turtles to look at. And lots of things to climb and play on. We all thought this lily pad bridge was especially cool.

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We lured them away from a big rope climbing spider web by telling them it was time to get lunch. We found a good pizza by the slice place a few blocks away and for dessert we went to Dylan’s Candy Bar. Dylan’s is a three-story candy store with just about every candy imaginable. We’ll just say it’s too easy to spend too much money there.

Next stop was the Metropolitan Museum of Art. We listened to one of my favorite books from childhood, The Mixed-Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler, the week before taking this trip to get the boys interested in the musuem.  We had fun speculating about whether we’d find Claudia’s violin case in a sarcophagus while we were there. I wanted to see the Egyptian wing partially because John will be studying ancient Egypt this fall but also because I’ve always had a fascination with ancient Egypt.

John was really impressed by the Arms and Armor gallery.

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We all liked the Rooftop Garden, which neither H. nor I really knew about before this trip. It gives a nice view of the city. IMG_1105-panoa

Pretty much as soon as we left the museum, David fell asleep in the stroller. It had been a long day for him. We started back through Central Park but happened on a small playground next to the museum. We sat there for awhile and let John play while David napped and we rested. From there we walked back through the park to dinner at a hamburger joint before heading back to the apartment for more ice cream and TV.

One of the guidebooks we read before going on this trip was Frommer’s New York with Kids. The author has a great quote in it that summed up our experience this trip:

” We’ve come to realize that Manhattan isn’t one monolithic city but a palimpsest of different cities sharing the same space…New York with Kids is quite a different place from Singles New York- a sort of parallel universe, like in A Wrinkle in Time or The Chronicles of Narnia. “

This was our 5th trip to New York since 2001. H. used to go into Manhattan fairly often when he was in college. We’re not New Yorkers by any stretch of the imagination but we feel pretty comfortable in the city. But this trip was definitely a different experience for us than the others. We did things than we wouldn’t have done without the kids. It’s unlikely we would have gone to the zoo or been in by 7pm each night. But the things we did weren’t any less fun or interesting…just different. Mostly this trip just whetted our appetite to go back again.

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