I’ve mentioned my gorgeous bold daughter in the past. But this article will be all about her. Emilie has wanted to see New-York for months. We were supposed to visit last May but my injury prevented us from travelling. Her dream came true last week. She was quite jazzed and was quite intent on 2 days of “gulp” shopping. She may be light as a feather but she’s not so light on the family wallet. I was scared to see her in a shopping frenzy. Like a shark smelling a drop of blood in gallons and gallons of water, Emilie can spot a sale from miles and miles away.
She’s got the shopping gene.
But I also was intent on making her dream come true. So on to NY we went but she had a budget cap. She was not allowed to spend more than $50 and she gave us $20 of her own money to convert to US currency. So, she had 70$ to shop with. I’ve done much much worse in NYC in the past. Ok OK! I’ve done worse in Montreal, Sao Paulo, Hong Kong, etc. Her shopping gene did not fall from a tree. Baby Bear Ben had 50$ to shop with. He ended up spending 70$ on a helicopter with 6 minutes of independent life. But I digress…let me return to our trip and this travelogue entry.
The Drive There
We left at 2h00 AM to drive to NYC from Laval. My son had called shotgun and stayed up with The Driver the whole time. (The Driver is one of the Producer’s key roles in the family) I slept in the back with Emilie. the funny part is that I would wake up every 15 minutes to say: “Are you OK Greg?” It was the big joke of the trip.
We had downloaded car games on our ipad and played quite a bit of car bingo. My conclusion is: “where have all of the yellow cars and orange cars gone to?” They are nowhere to be found on Interstate 87 and pink cars simply do not exist unless you encounter a Mary Kay representative.
We barely noticed the drive. It literally flew past which is encouraging as family trips to neighboring big cities are important projects that we hold dear to our hearts. Boston and a return trip to Manhattan are in the plans for this fall. I also aim to visit DC with the family in 2014.
Getting into the City
We stopped in Albany, NY for a quick breakfast at 7h30 Am and we reached Secaucus, NJ at 9h30 Am. We checked our bags and took the shuttle to the Port Authority bus terminal. Within 20 minutes, we were on Broadway. We then took the subway all the way down to Battery Park to have a quick visit with the statue of liberty. The subway was clean and air conditioned. We felt safe.
She’s so small
Lady Liberty is on an island far from shore. All the cruise tickets to visit her and Ellis Island were booked up for the entire month of July. Emilie saw her from afar and was not impressed. We aim to visit with Lady Liberty on her own island next time we visit NYC.
Here she is in a store:
See Lady Liberty at a tourist shop
Here she is for real:
Lady Liberty on her Island
Notice my bad hair day. That comes from wearing a sun hat. It has unfortunate side effects. I had better pictures but this one was funnier.
And on to the Bull
Of course, the whole point of the day was to walk our way up to Time Square. I wanted the kids to see Wall Street and its brokers. There was a statue of George Washington. Baby Bear Ben had done a report on him in school so we took a picture of the two great minds together. That might be a bold statement but I stand by it. I love my son’s rational brain and inherent sense of justice and ethics.
Ben and George Washington
And then, on to the lucky bull.
We took snapshots of the bull with both shop girl and polar bear cub
The bull for financial fortune accompanied by the great shop girl herself
The Bull and The Boy
The restaurant that never was
After that, we took a gander at Trinity church (being restored but still a thing of beauty)
And continued on to Ground Zero and its Tower of Hope (still under construction)
and then, we walked on to Chamber Street to visit Burritoville (a restaurant recommended by our travel book “Cartoville”.) This book had been borrowed at the Municipal Library of Daddy but was from 2008. Under an uncompromising sun, we trekked on and on only to discover the restaurant did not exist anymore.
Note to self: Always get a recent version of a travel book or look into the restaurants you want to eat at online prior to your visit to make sure they still exist.
I was faced with a very cranky family until we encountered a quaint affordable diner called the “Square Dinner.” We took the time to sit and enjoy our meal.
The Square Diner, air conditioned, good service and affordable. A NY rarity.
The Compromises that had to be made
Some family members had been up since 1 A.M. It had been a very long day and Hell must have been cooler than Manhattan on this scorcher of a day. We were feeling the heat. The first sign that we feel the heat is that I cease to talk. Yes, I know. Some might consider that a miracle on its own but it’s not a good thing. Then, polar bear cub becomes very cranky and less open to compromise. He starts complaining *all the time.* We both become hard to live with.
As the adult, I had to give up a few things:
– No Skyline
– No visit to the UN building
– No visit to the New York Public Library
We just continued on Broadway and visited Tribeca (the Triangle Below Canal), Soho (South of Holland) and further North until we reached Time Square.
Shop Girl got her shop on at the Gap and at the Toys R Us.
Polar Bear cub got his shop on at FAO Shwarz the next day.
To finish the evening off as a treat to the kids, we went to Dave and Busters.
Dave and Busters
The kids got to play some arcades and had a great time.
Inside Dave and Busters
We then walked to the Port authority bus terminal and took the shuttle back to Secaucus, NJ. We stayed at the Hampton Inn Meadowland Secaucus. The beds were really comfortable, the service was excellent, the breakfast buffet was quite voluminous (waffles, eggs, cereal, oatmeal, etc.) Our bellies were full when we headed off to the Big Apple.
We took the shuttle back to NYC and our main goal for day 2 was to visit Central Park and then the Central Park zoo. We stopped for coffee at the Magnolia bakery (beautiful.)
Magnolia Bakery, good treats and in tones of tasteful pastels
Emilie with her new dress in the window of Magnolia Bakery
And then we stayed in the cooling shade of Central Park. We almost reached the reservoir but had to stop because of, you guessed it, the heat. Central Park is gorgeous and my favorite part of the trip. It is much bigger than Ibirapuera Park in Sao Paolo though quite similar.
Our family by the pond
Emilie with Alice in wonderland
We then walked on the Upper East Side to take a look at how the other half lives.
Before circling back to Times Square for a few souvenirs and to revisit our favorite stores.
Ben is a minion
Imagine bringing this home?
We stopped to eat the best pizza in NYC.
John’s Pizza, a slice of heaven on Broadway
On the way home, we did a post-mortem of the trip. We know that next time we intend on seeing the MoMA, the Central Park Zoo, on walking Central Park from East to West as well as North to South, on visiting the NY Public Library, the UN building, on seeing a Broadway show, etc. We know we all want to go back which is the surest sign of a successful trip. We plan on eating at John’s Pizzeria again and on taking the kids to play at Dave and Busters. It’s kind of fun. (don’t tell the kids I said that.)
And what about Emilie? What was her take on the trip? She enjoyed it but wished we would have shopped more. I think we did make her dream come true. I love this picture of her with the famous piano. Can you not feel her joy?
My Princess on the Piano
So, now, the biggest struggle is deciding for the fall: NYC take 2 or Boston take 1? What’s your take on it? We bought the 2013 edition of the Boston Cartoville.
Happy Thursday my Friends! Tomorrow, I will talk about the Dale Chihuly exhibit.