After a giant egg and a slice of Belgium in the USA, we drove down the Hudson to the USA’s cultural leader, New York City. My sister lives up the Hudson from NYC, so we timed our trip to coincide with Thanksgiving. Before meeting up with family, however, we wanted to check out The Big Apple as a family.
The Statue of Liberty
The last time I visited this site was in middle school as part of a fantastic trip one of my teachers planned. Shiz had never been, so we decided to go. Planning more than three weeks out is not our forte, however, so all tickets to the crown were completely sold out. It’s easy enough to grab tickets to the base day-of from Battery Park, so we popped down to the craziness that is Battery Park.
So many people visit this icon of freedom that as soon as you exit the subway, guides assault you with information. It reminded us immediately of getting off the bus in Asia or Africa and our response was immediate: we’re not getting fooled by these suckers. We’d been assaulted too many times by guides trying to ween money from tourists right off a bud, but these guides were simply there to provide info and make sure that everyone got where they needed to go safely.
Guided to where we needed to go, wee spent some time checking out Battery Park. The monuments and attractions there were pretty neat (including one of the most unique carousels I have ever seen), including a wonderful vista of The Green Lady.
I guess we’re kind of crappy tourists, because in the end we decided that we were good with the view from the park and didn’t need to take the boat out. We were happy with our visit to the statue, though, and given the chance again I don’t think we would have done anything differently.
With the sight seen, we decided to walk North through the financial district into Chinatown, stopping for our favorite thing along the way: french pastries.
The Financial District / Brooklyn Bridge
Walking through this global powerhouse of commerce, you don’t really feel the full force of economy in the buildings. The buildings look tall, but the first floors are filed with little lunch spots and stores that wouldn’t be out of place in any smaller borough. While it might not have the power of Wall Street, Pearl Street was a fantastic row with gorgeous buildings.
We eventually reached the Brooklyn Bridge and, being so close, had to walk up. Before that, however, we stopped to watch a group of breakdancers trying to attract people to their show. The show featured some nifty moves and the leader was packed with personality. Everything culminated in a guy jumping over six people lined up side-by-side (though touching their toes) and I was chosen for the line! First time and everything.
We dropped some cash into their bag and headed onto the bridge.
For the rest of the day we wandered North, passing through Chinatown. We ended up walking to Grand Central, where we caught our subway home. We walked a lot that day and with tired feet and tired child stopped by a pizza restaurant for dinner. It was a classier place than I wanted for New York pizza. The stuff was really good, mind you, but I wanted the cheap, wide, flat slice and we went to a place that used the word “local” as much as possible when talking about ingredients. I knew from looking at the place that it was not New York New York pizza, but something about it spoke to me.
One sunny day we decided to visit Central Park and really take in some of this majestic place. I’d been through some parts before, but had never really explored much. I knew that there was no way we were going to explore the whole park in one day – much less with a toddler in tow – but we wanted to make a real go at seeing the place.
I had never even seen the castle before, so there was lots to see.
Central Park is just a phenomenal place to walk on a crisp winter day and a superb place to people watch any day of the week. From relaxing paths to grassy fields, anyone can find anything they want there.
New Yorkers have a big debate about whether Central Park or Prospect Park is better, but I kind of think the question is moot. Both parks are phenomenal, but both offer different things. I think Prospect Park appeals to the New Yorker looking to escape away from the big fucking city the New York is, but Central park is so New York at its core that one can’t help but love it.
Here are some photos from the day, including an $8 tart that we bought (oh, New York).
It was a phenomenal tart, though.
Macy’s Day Parade
As we were in NYC for Thanksgiving, my sister floated the idea of seeing the Macy’s Day Parade. It meant taking a train for an hour and standing in the cold and all, but it was our one time to be in NYC during Thanksgiving and we would still have time to cook dinner, so we figured “what the hell?” and did it.
Thankfully my sister helped with planning, because otherwise we would have been screwed. We arrived early and near the end of the route, but we still were twenty rows back. My experienced sister brought a step-ladder, so we did get to see more than just the balloons. Plus, we received the warm fuzzy feeling of having several people tell us it was a great idea.
My 7-year old niece could stand about 45 minutes of parade before she was just done with the whole thing, so we warmed ourselves in a hotel lobby before taking the train home.
I don’t think I’ll even try to see the parade live again, but I’m happy to have seen it live once. That’s enough for me. Plus, I don’t want to stress my mom out again trying to find us on tv when we were nowhere near a place that would be broadcast.
Other Random Photos
These photos have no real category to me, but are just things that we saw while walking around. New York is filled with all sorts of crazy, random things (including a turmeric latte; What the fuck?) that create a wonderful smorgasbord of a collage.
Also, if you ever want a really good food truck and you are near Times Square, Kwik Meal on 45th and 6th was amazing.