Sinking our teeth into the Big Apple / by Susie Lubell

T-Rex

We are back. We've been back since 2 am on Tuesday morning but we're still in recovery. It was a trip of epic proportion! Huge! Urban! Filthy! Exciting! Nostalgic! We took many forms of transportation. We endured a heat wave. We ate a lot of candy. We walked a lot and my feet are disgusting. So much for my biennial pedicure. But we did it all - the arranging, the flight, the trains, the museums, the Long Island Expressway to the Meadowbrook to the Southern State to Sunrise Highway to Country Road 16, the Atlantic double red flag rip tide, the three hour delay at JFK. All of it. Solo.

It was not such a gargantuan undertaking. It's not like I have two year old triplets. Nonetheless, there were a lot of logistics and a lot of coordination so that we could see our family and indeed spend much of the trip traveling with my brother's family who also flew out from California. The first day my cousin picked us up and took us to the train station just as our train was arriving. This is apparently her M.O. Why waste time waiting for public transportation when you can jump onto the train with your two kids and your stroller as it's pulling out of the station? We arrived safely at Penn Station and caught a subway uptown to the American Museum of Natural History where we met my brother and his family in the whale room. We eventually made it to the dinosaur room but my own kids were a little nonplussed, which I found annoying. I guess once you've seen one hundred and fifty MILLION year old reptile the size of ten elephants, you've seen them all.  The buttons on the elevator continue to trump all other marvels. Maybe next year.

We headed out in the 100 degree sun and found our way to a clean and inexpensive burger place with an air conditioned downstairs big enough for a party of seven and a flat screen playing world cup soccer . I highly recommend the shroom burger. Here's where it would have been nice to have an iphone, which I decided not to buy before the trip for fear of completely neglecting my children. Even though the burger place was a block away, like a schmuck I convinced everyone to follow me up and around the museum so we walked an extra twenty minutes in weather I can only describe as a sauna inside an active volcano on Mercury. All the while accompanied by the constant drone of the sun is too hot, the sun is too hot. Really? Huh. I hadn't noticed while I was bending over to pour out the pool of sweat that had formed in my cleavage.

Central Park Spa

After lunch we walked south to a section of Central Park with big splashing fountains and joined a group of intrepid NYC summer campers for a little cool down.  We spent more than an hour running around pouring water on each other before we bid farewell to our cousins and headed on the subway back to Penn Station. Well first we mistakenly took an uptown train one stop but then we got off, stood dazed while two express trains created a sudden wind inferno on the platform, then dragged the stroller up the stairs, crossed over, and down the stairs to the downtown platform. I don't know how NYC mommas do it. I imagine they don't take the subway if they can help it. And taking the train back to Manhassat at 6:00 was a little claustrophobic. But we survived and my uncle picked us up, brought us to my grandmother's for pizza and we called it a day.

Some observations:
  1. Car seat coordination while traveling is annoying.
  2. New York pizza beats the crap out of all other pizza in the universe and beyond.
  3. Having a home base is key. My kids were so happy to go back "home" at the end of every adventure.
  4. Bringing a bag of snacks from home meant we didn't have to waste the first day of our trip looking for a supermarket. And incidentally, eight juice boxes fit perfectly in a small flat rate box from USPS and can be packed in a suitcase without fear of crushing/exploding.
  5. New Yorkers are not as familiar with protective swim wear as Californians.
Tomorrow - Dylan's Candy Store, 30 Rock, the subway elevator where we almost perished and the Second Avenue Deli.