Tooth decay in the Big Apple / by Susie Lubell

Here is my daughter trying to grab the pieces of candy that are embedded in the floor, looking herself like a piece of candy.

On Day Two we headed back into the city by train and met my brother's family at Dylan's Candy Bar in midtown. Dylan is Ralph Lauren's daughter and the story goes that her dream of owning a giant candy store began at her fifth birthday party when they watched Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory, the best movie of all time. Dylan and I are obviously kindred spirits, except the part where she's the daughter of a fashion legend and probably had a pony growing up. And since my own son is obsessed with Willy Wonka (more on this at another time), it seemed like he would fall over and die in this kind of place. Which he did. It was awesome. And we bought a ton of candy. Mostly of the Pez and Gobstopper variety.

Central Park

Empire State

Then we walked to Rockefeller Center where we went to view the city from the top. Another cousin had given us a tip not to visit the Empire State Building because it's way too crowded and overpriced and, most importantly, it's not, by definition, in the view. So we went to the Top of the Rock and the views of the city were as promised. Once again, my kids were more awestruck by the elevator. Youth is really wasted on the young.

After grabbing a slice of pizza we navigated the subway system to get over to the Second Avenue Deli, a family tradition, to meet my grandmother and aunt. This required three subway transfers. So imagine the two families schlepping our strollers up and down the stairs and me trying to figure out how to connect the dots. At one point we were trying to get on a train and, like the two stooges, pushing our strollers on while the doors were crushing us closing. These are not like elevator doors. They are non-retractable. The kids were on board with my sister-in-law, all of them screaming. So much for blending in with the locals.

At our stop we decided to take the elevator up and this proved to be a major miscalculation. It was the world's slowest moving elevator and at 110 degrees it was like being in a microwave. When it reached the mezzanine the doors didn't open for about thirty seconds and I started to have a panic attack. As did my brother. Not pretty. Finally we emerged.

Second Avenue Deli

After a short walk to the Second Avenue Deli which, incidentally, is now on Third Avenue, we met up with our people for a delicious meal of matzah ball soup, egg salad, roast beef and the like. The piled up pastrami my brother was eating made me wish I hadn't recently become vegetarian. Bad timing. Thankfully my aunt drove us home because by this point we'd had our fill of public transportation.

Next up - navigating the Long Island highways, a pool party for my niece and a trip to Westhampton.