Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Playing Tourist : With My Babies

So as many of you may have already heard via my many status updates, I have been playing Mommy this week to my two darling sisters while my Mom and Stepdad celebrate their five year wedding anniversary on a transatlantic cruise (or while they're away on a rocket ship, as Greta keeps telling people).

This was very exciting for me because I adore my sisters, but also quite the challenge, as I've never taken care of any children by myself for more than 24 hours at a time before. Adding to that, New York City has more closely resembled the Arctic tundra this week than the land chock-full of playgrounds to romp on that it is in the summertime.

With a toddler and a preschooler staying at our (small) place for ten days in the middle of a deep freeze, we've had to be creative with ways to keep them entertained and get them exercise. Besides filling our apartment with tons of fun toys, the three of us girls have been playing kiddie tourists around NYC all week. Here are a few of our adventures:

Just getting these Florida girls bundled up on the first day was quite the ride, since they aren't used to wearing so much clothing! Phoebe was pulling pieces of outerwear off almost as quickly as I was putting them on here. I was proud just to make it on the elevator!

Greta and I rode the Ferris Wheel at Toys 'R Us in Times Square, and Dan-Dan and Phoebe roamed the store. Visiting the moving dinosaur and playing with the giant train tracks were also highlights.

We also had a few meals out at our local diner. It's practically a requirement when you visit NYC!

Visiting the Manhattan Children's Museum is always a winner in the cold weather. My tip? If you're visiting in the morning (like most families do), start at the top floor and work down because everyone else is doing the opposite.

The Museum of Natural History is also another good choice for kids in the cold. Between the dinosaurs that were a hit with Greta, the dozens of animal displays that were a hit with Phoebe, and the big hallways that are great for exercising kids of all ages indoors, this place was a good choice for us.

You also can't visit NYC without stopping for a bite at a divey Chinese place...I love that my little sisters both adore Chinese food just like I do!

Another good (but maybe unconventional) choice for a place to take kids in the cold is Grand Central Station. There's lots of room to run around and it's not too crowded on the weekends or during non-peak weekday times. Greta loved the constellations on the ceiling of the Great Hall, and we all loved the yummy cheeseburger we ate downstairs.

One of our favorite things we did all week was go to tea at Alice's Tea Cup. Phoebe stayed at home with Dan because she's still a bit too young for this experience, but Greta always loves the fairy wings and pixie dust they give little girls, not to mention all the "hot chocolate tea" she consumed.

These may not be the exact same touristy choices I would make if I weren't trying to entertain two little girls in the cold (although many of them would be!), but I think I did a decent job of keeping them having fun and warm!

What are your suggestions for NYC places to have fun with kids in the cold?

Friday, January 1, 2010

Ice Skating in the B to the ryant Park

For someone who loves Bryant Park as much as I do (and who lives so ridiculously close by), I can't believe it took me until nearly the end of the second winter season of us living here to get my butt on that ice skating rink.

I guess part of it was the long line to get in, which looks daunting, but actually moved pretty quickly, and the fact that I was terrified that I would fall on my face. That fear isn't exactly unfounded, since I'm pretty sure I fell the last time I was on ice. I look slightly concerned in this picture:

But in the end, I had nothing to fear! I didn't fall down once and was actually one of the better skaters on the Pond, besides the few superb skaters who were there. I have no idea how this happened, but apparently my five-year skating hiatus made me better. Mysterious, indeed. The mister is actually a pretty good skater, which isn't all that surprising, since he is always to be very athletic whenever we do anything remotely sporty, despite his distinctly non-athletic looks. Don't worry, honey, I don't look athletic and I'm also NOT actually athletic, so you have me beat :)

At any rate, I highly recommend skating in Bryant Park. If you have your own skates like the mister, it's free. I had to rent a pair for $12, but anyone who lives here knows that any fun date you can go on for $12 in Manhattan is definitely a win. Oh, and a tip for going? Bring your own locker lock because it's free to use the lockers, but they gouge you $9 for a lock. We didn't have anything of value, so we just gambled and won (our own stuff back, I guess!).

It was a perfect way for us to spend the first day of a new decade! Happy skating, all!