Meeting your first dinosaur – the American Museum of Natural History

Natural History Museum
Defending our young from the Allosaurus

There’s something magical about introducing a child to their first dinosaur. We went to the American Museum of Natural History last week, a truly brilliant day trip.
Continue reading “Meeting your first dinosaur – the American Museum of Natural History”

The Mysterious Bookshop

The Mysterious Bookshop
The Mysterious Bookshop

Have found such a beautiful bookshop in Tribeca, it warrants a blog post all to itself. Called The Mysterious Bookshop, it only stocks crime, mysteries and thrillers. Floor to ceiling shelves, with those tempting old school wooden ladders on rails so you can reach the very top. There’s a huge section devoted to Sherlockiana (that’s Sherlock Holmes to you and me), and much of the stock is signed by the author.
Continue reading “The Mysterious Bookshop”

Our first American Halloween

T's black candle
T’s black candle

Fall is celebrated much more than our Autumn. Shops stock golden-leaved wreathes from September, celebrating Harvest Festival, Halloween and Thanksgiving.
Continue reading “Our first American Halloween”

High walks – Brooklyn Bridge and the High Line

Continuing the ‘exploring at height’ theme, we’ve recently had two brilliant family walks above street level. Brooklyn Bridge and the High Line are both great family days out, offering exercise, fresh air and world-class views – for free.

Brooklyn Bridge

Brooklyn Bridge is that world-famous icon with the gorgeous stone arches and the suspension wires that often appears in footage of New York.

Several friends had recommended walking across it for the best views of Manhattan, and they weren’t wrong. There is a narrow, two lane footpath above the traffic lanes, with highly photogenic views of Manhattan and Brooklyn, and of course the bridge itself. Found the route fairly clogged with people taking photos the whole way along. Rather wished we could copy the cyclists, and blow whistles to clear the way.
Continue reading “High walks – Brooklyn Bridge and the High Line”

We’re Going On a Bear Hunt – Bear Mountain State Park

We went on a bear hunt – and actually saw a bear. Two bears, in fact.

An hour’s drive from Manhattan is Bear Mountain State Park, which we’d happily recommend to families of any age.

We had such a brilliant day. Got up pre-dawn (ugh) and drove our rental car up the motorway deceptively called West Street, over the George Washington Bridge… and suddenly you’re in the countryside. The leaves are just starting to turn golden and orange, astonishingly beautiful.

After two months on one of the world’s busiest islands, it felt wonderful to see such long distances with practically no sign of man. You could just glimpse the Manhattan sky line in the very far distance, and the occasional suspension bridge crossing the Hudson River. Apart from that, just densely wooded hills and misty valleys. Brilliant. Both girls loved scrambling over the rocks at the summit, Perkins Memorial Tower.
Continue reading “We’re Going On a Bear Hunt – Bear Mountain State Park”

Spotted – dainty red shoes for the dog

It’s been a week for spotting strange sights. Yesterday both girls went potty over a little fluffy dog, Bella, who was twinkling along in – wait for it – red rubber shoes. 

Have been teaching the girls to first ask the walkers, “Is this dog friendly?” before swooping in for strokes and pats. We couldn’t resist making a fuss over Bella, who enjoyed the attention and even rolled over to wave her little red shoes in the air. All most extraordinary. Her dog walker explained that the three large black “English Labs” with Bella were all part of the same household, but that only Bella needed the shoes. Apparently her paws “act like swiffers“, and bring all the New York street muck into the house.

I’m still snorting.
Continue reading “Spotted – dainty red shoes for the dog”

Found a good baby kit shop

Good news – have  found a seriously good baby kit shop, called ‘Buy Buy Baby’.

Recommended by a friend of B’s godparents, it seems like a bigger, better Mothercare or Kiddicare, with loads of stock. The store has ramps where needed, plenty of open cashier desks, and lots of tempting presents for young relations back home. You can also bulk buy diapers (that’s nappies to you and me) at what I think is probably a pretty good price, but confess am still getting my eye in to New York prices. Loved this window display outside.

 
Continue reading “Found a good baby kit shop”

Learning the modes of transport

Been here nearly four weeks now, and have been trying out the different modes of transport. There’s a brilliant free, air conditioned Connection Bus which runs a loop Downtown through Battery Park City, Tribeca and Sea Port. V handy for nipping around with the girls when it’s hot. Only downside is you always have to collapse the pram, even if the bus is practically empty – not cool when it’s heaped with bags, scooters, and a sleeping toddler. But despite that, it’s still our favourite. T loves to pull the yellow bell rope to request a stop, and solomnly calls out “Thank you, driver” when she clambers down to the pavement.

The Metro is our least favourite, so far. It feels grimy, far too hot, and borderline scary when the trains whizz past on both sides of your narrow platform. While the trains themselves are (usually) air conditioned, you get pretty scorched by the hot winds on the platform. It’s particularly hard to navigate with a pram – most stations have flight after flight of steep steps, and precious few elevators. The ticket barriers are also really hard. Apparently you’re supposed to leave the pram, swipe your card, nip through the  turnstile and then rush back through the emergency exit gate to retrieve your child, holding it open with your foot so you can push them through. Luckily I’ve had C with me each time so one of us has stayed with B, but I’d be really uncomfortable leaving her in the pram while I ran round. The answer would probably be to unclip her and carry her with me, but either way it’s difficult and stressful.  In fact, I think I’d use my beloved Ergo baby carrier if I had to do it on my own.
Continue reading “Learning the modes of transport”