Posts Tagged NYC

The holidays in rewind

**hello**  (((((((echo)))))

I know, it’s been way too long since I’ve updated over here.  Once again, I’ve been neglectful.  Alas, it’s a new year, which basically means I’m going to reshift my priorities again and TRY AGAIN to do what’s important to me, too.
All this mothering and pleasing other people crap is weighing me down, and quite honestly, has me in a funk.  Then again, so is the whole getting dark at 4pm stuff…

My new favorite ornament

So, yes, since I left you, we were gearing up for the holidays.  Oh, I had so many stories I wanted to share…if there was only more time in the day and less tantrums to extinguish—mine, not the kid’s!

I know all of you have had your decorations and trees put away for weeks, so bear with me on sharing a few of these stories so late. It’s almost Easter and all…and I’m just now getting around to talking about Christmas. haha. Story of my life.

Christmas, my most favorite time of year, flashed before our eyes and was done just like *that.*  But what a magical Christmas it was.

At this stage in the game, actually, within the past 2 months Jack has become so imaginative and verbal.  And when I say verbal, it’s beyond the one word sentences and repitition.  He caught on to all the holiday buzz words, like Sansa (Santa), Chrimmas (Christmas) and anything resembling a Christmas Tree was, of course, a Sansa Tree.  He’d see a wreath and say, “oooh a Sansa Tree!”  And in NYC, every where we went, there was some kind of Sansa Tree or Sansa himself.  It was glorious!

This year’s trip to Macy’s was amazing.  As usual, we went the first thing in the morning in mid-December and braved the crowds.  Thankfully, we were in and out of there in less than an hour!  We enjoyed Santaland and the trains and the beautiful decorations while we waited in line.
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Seriously, the line moved so fast and efficiently this year, we almost didn’t have time to stop and gawk at the billion different things to see in Santaland.  Jack adored the massive train displays as much as Sansa himself.  Seeing Santa at the Macy’s in Herald Square is one of my most favorite family Christmas traditions, and I’m so glad we’re able to “give” Jack such fun experiences.

The rest of the days and short weeks leading up to the holidays were spent working on NKT and attending various events.  By the end, I was so braindead and Jack, poor Jack, he was bored and ready to play as always!

The day before we left for Va. for the holidays, I insisted on taking Jack to see the tree in Rockefeller Center.  Because it’s easier to go during the day rather than at night, we didn’t get the full effect, but we did enjoy the massive tree and breathtaking sights around us.  The celebration on TV for the treelighting really doesn’t do it enough justice.  Christmas in the City is pretty awesome and Rockefeller Center is the epicenter of it all.

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And then the next day, we packed our bags into the car, amidst the snow piles and headed south…

I’ll have to do a photo essay thing on Christmas with the folks, so more on that crazy fun later.

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I think I tweeted something about having so many emotions about this past trip home for Christmas, which is probably an understatement.  With our families so firmly planted in Va., I realized that if Jack is ever going to have strong relationships with them, then it’s mostly on us.

It’s our choice to live here to expand our horizons, but unfortunately, the visits will be scarce.  What will that mean?  It could mean, not as many trips to Va so we can maybe focus on OUR family for a change?  The same amount of visits so we can continue spending money that we could be saving for a house, so we can move out before we kill each other in this tiny space?  Or how about just wallow in guilt because we can’t make everyone happy, including Jack?

We’ve stopped asking people to visit because well, everyone has work, life and everything else going on.  Besides, I hear it’s expensive to visit NYC and small spaces are undesirable ;)
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I couldn’t get out of Va. fast enough after I finished college, so it’s kind of ironic that our kid constantly asks to go to Yoyo’s house.  and Papa’s house.  and to see Uncle John.  All the live-long day this kid rips my heart out with this cadence of asking to go to Va.

My life’s conflict is like a shapeshifter—like, now it’s in a stranglehold by a toddler who knows just what he wants.

And right now, it’s 350 miles away at Yoyo’s house.

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Up, up and away

We have so much to give thanks for this year, but instead of naming material possessions or hell, even noteworthy accomplishments, quite simply, I’m most thankful for our family.  Our big, often dysfunctional, but full of love family.

We’re not perfect, but whose is?

This Thanksgiving reminded me of how much I appreciate each and every one of these individuals who are to blame for my neurosis and my penchant for drinking too much.  But if it wasn’t for all of them, yep, you guessed it, I wouldn’t be who I am today. More on that later…

This holiday started out like any holiday with me procrastinating to pack and clean to prepare for our trip home to Virginia.  Except this year, I pushed the envelope even further.  After reading on Twitter that the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade Balloon Inflation started at 3, I announced to the masses on Facebook that I was going to head into the city with Jack.

I thought, we’re forging ahead with trying to move to the suburbs, my chances of being spontaneous and heading into the city are starting to diminish altogether.  *sob*  Since we did the balloon inflation last year, and Jack was just barely 1, I wanted him to see and experience things a bit more now that he’s a year older.

I allotted two hours at the most for commuting and viewing the balloons.  The traffic crushed that agenda.  The bus and subway were all packed, but thankfully, Jack did great with the public transit.  He’s been known to meltdown when traffic takes a bit too long…but we made it.

Once we made it all the way up to the Upper West Side—which, by the way, is a total pain in the ass to do in the drizzling rain AND insane Thanksgiving traffic—Jack was fast asleep since it was his naptime.  The crowds were bearable (for me) since it was Thanksgiving in NYC., but add a sleepy Jack and the rain?  Oh boy.

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He woke up without much fuss and set his sights on Mickey the Sailor being inflated and immediately begged to get up!  Since our subway stop dumped us off into the midst of the balloon inflation fun, we had to follow the crowd and actually started at the second half of the sights.  Jack and I walked around and even managed to get a few pictures, in between accidentally clipping a few heels with the stroller on the way.  Oops!

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Since we arrived right at the beginning of the inflation, there were a few balloons that weren’t quite bloown up yet.  There were signs that helped  us figure out what was what, and Jack even pointed out a few.  Mickey the Sailor and Hello Kitty were two personal favorites. They’re all awesome, who am I kidding!

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I really, truly wish we had more time to see all of the balloons being inflated, but unfortunately, with the crowds and holiday traffic AND our plans to head to Va after Jeff got off, Jack and I only saw half of the balloons.  Still…I’m so glad we did; to be able to be spontaneous and expose the kid to so much fun stuff that I could only dream about when I was a kid, is a special thing.

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Weekend escape to Governor’s Island

The best kind of weekends are the kinds where plans just sort of fall together, usually with little effort at all.  And if you’re like us, free weekends—or close to it—are even better.

On Saturday, my friend invited us to join her family on Governor’s Island for a relaxing day and picnic.  With no plans set in stone, I agreed.  Why not?  We’re always up for something new.  If it involves exploring the City, I’m always game.  The laundry? Yeah, that stuff can totally wait; there’s still so much to see.

After living in this area for over eight years, Governor’s Island was one of the many NYC spots I’d yet to visit.

The problem with getting to Governor’s Island for us would have been logistics, but thank goodness for the Internets.  On Friday night, I Googled “Ferry from Hoboken to Governor’s Island.”  And just my luck, I came across this.  We packed our lunch, the stroller and headed to the ferry slip to make our way to Governor’s Island.

On the ferry

At just 800 yards away from lower Manhattan, Governor’s Island once served as an Army and Coast Guard Base.  In 1996, the island was mothbolled and went dark.  But like New Yorkers do, City Officials sought to maximize every square inch.

Aerial View of Governors Island

In 2003, the Government sold the 172 acre Island to New York for $1.00.    And they say you can’t buy anything for $1.00 anymore!

Ninety-two acres of the island, which is said to be about 22 city blocks tip to tip, is now devoted to public open spaces—picnics, car-free bike riding, historic tours and just like Saturday, festivals and cultural events.

Hanging at a hammock in the picnic areaadirondack chairs overlooking bridge
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We picnicked and hung out with my friend and family for a few hours.  It was so nice to sit in the shade, let the breeze blow and listen to the kids play.  The picnic area was on the southern tip of the island, which overlooked the Statue of Liberty. But when it came time for the kid’s nap, we knew we had to intervene in order to preserve his happy state.  So, we strapped him in the stroller and set out to explore Governor’s Island.

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Asleep within 2 minutes of our stroll, we walked the perimeter of the island and saw tons of people fishing, biking, laying out, picnicking and doing the exact same as us, relaxing with no real agenda.  We found our way back to the middle of the island, where we found the festival.

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Little Matissesculpting

The free ferry that was offered from Hoboken to Governor’s Island was a part of Metropolitan Waterfront Alliance second annual City of Water Day Festival.  As an eco-concious family, the City of Water Day Festival was just our speed.  The festival had various vendors and exhibits set up that celebrated the NY waterfront.  Whether it was sailing or composting, the festival likely had a stand set up discussing it.  There were tons of food vendors that were a mile long.  It turned out several of the food vendors were taking part in the annual Vendy awards.  No wonder people willingly waited in those lines!

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When the kid finally woke up, we checked out the kid’s art tent, which was set up by the Children’s Museum of the Arts.  Jack “sculpted” and played kiddie Matisse, as evidenced by his t-shirt that left a bit more colorful than when we arrived.  We could’ve stayed at the art tent for hours, but alas, there was so much more to see!

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We explored more of the festival and listened to music, but then found ourselves walking around the Island again and checking out all the placards explaining the former uses for the old buildings and even stopping for a moment to enjoy a much newer amenity the NY Water Taxi “beach.“  With such sweeping views of Manhattan, as well as the Hudson River, it was so hard to believe that the Island was left vacant for several years.  Jeff had a great time learning about the old history of the island, some of which dates back to the 1800s.  And I bet if you asked him about what he took in about the island, Jeff could rattle off random trivia, just like he would about anything else that interests him.

Such as this: Using rocks and dirt from the excavations for the Lexington Ave. Subway, the Army Corps of Engineers supervised the deposit of 4,787,000 cubic yards of fill on the south side of Governors Island, adding 103 acres of land by 1912, and bringing the total acreage of the Island to 172.


A picnic with friends, a break from the hustle and bustle, exploring in wide open spaces and a low-key day with the family, Governor’s Island was a perfect excursion for us.  We all got to do something that interested us, but the best part was enjoying another city day without any concept of time.

Lower Manhattan

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Next stop, 30 Rock

Exciting news!  Tomorrow, I’ll be at 30 Rock!  The address, not the show.

Why, you ask?  Well, that’s because I was tapped to be a part of the Today’s Moms Book Bash Breakfast and Diaper Drive.  When I say tapped, I mean I signed up and they selected the attendees for the event.  The event is being held by the authors of Today’s Moms.  Mary Ann Zoellner and Alicia Ybarbo, producers at NBC’s TODAY Show, have been promoting their book, Today’s Moms: Essentials for Surviving Baby’s First Year.

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This breakfast is another one of the book’s publicity events, but this time, it involves “real” moms and mom bloggers.  I might have survived the first year, but just barely!  I guess I met the requirements!  But still, I’m so excited to be a part of it!  Jeff volunteered to play Mr. Mom for the morning, so the childcare situation is all set!  However, I had the chance to bring a guest, only to realize that I don’t have any mom friends.  Okay, that’s a lie.  I do.  But the people that I wanted to bring have work or live so far away.  I have local mom friends, but not good friends, just acquaintances from playgroup, church and such. (I’m such the antithesis from the groups of moms that hang out and socialize with each other in the  park.)  And my other friends, the DINKs?  Yeah, I highly doubt you guys would even want to go to such an event.  (If my assumption is wrong, let me know if you want to go!)  So besides being friendless, I’m super-excited for tomorrow!

The event will broadcast live on their website.  So, tune in to check us out!  Because it’s a publicity event, they’re encouraging us to blog and tweet. I’ll have my MacBook w/ hot pink case–the one like in Shopaholic, but I got mine as a gift before the movie came out ;)   You can’t miss me!  Cool case, yet still friendless.

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A million reasons

Jack and I had a lovely day in the City today.  We met up with two of my friends from my old job, which reminded me how much I miss all of them.  Besides seeing my very cool friends, I had a chance to window shop and enjoy the scant amount of foliage in the city.  Fall in NYC is a thing of beauty for me; hell, all seasons in the city are awesome.  Today was a great way to punctuate an unforgettable week.

Madison Square Park

Macy*s windows in progressDespite the whole ball joint fiasco, the news of unemployment reaching a 14-year high and all the other ominous current events that continue to loom, this was one of the most memorable weeks I’ve experienced to date.  I’m sure there’s never an easy time to be a parent, but I’m sure I speak for many to say that it’s daunting to be a new parent at a time like this.  Instead of thinking, ‘what will Jack and his peers do for college, jobs, etc. with the way things are going…’ I’m hopeful that maybe things will look up in time.  So, based on the way this past week has transpired, I consider myself fortunate to be part of this whole Reason to Believe school of thought.

But while we were in Herald Square today, I noticed how Macy*s is in the process of decorating for Christmas.  So, if I may, let me throw out an analogous scenario [pairing a literary device with Macy*s--I'm sure I make my English professors proud ;) ] At a time like this, the famous window displays might have been a work in progress, but it was the theme that had such impeccable timing.

Millions of Reasons to Believe

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