We left DC and drove through Baltimore on our way to Staten Island. My favorite part of this drive was stopping to see Nan’s childhood home. It was really fun to see it and imagine her there as a child, playing marbles, staying outside all day long. There was a mannequin on the porch, so that was…different…
We arrived at our hotel on Staten Island too late to take the ferry to NYC but too early to corral everyone in the hotel room (and expect them to be quiet after a long day in the car). It was chilly and rainy, but we found a little park about a fifteen minute walk away and that’s where we stayed until dark. Although we were cold and wet, the kids (especially Cory) said it was the best park they’d ever been to. Win! It was covered in bouncy foam and was slippery enough to slide.
The next day, NYC! We took the ferry in, and made the kids go outside to see the Statue of Liberty. I loved being out there on the balcony. They…didn’t.
We walked to the 9/11 Memorial and it was lovely. So very sad, respectful, thoughtful, and well done. They put white roses on the names of the people who died there, on their birthdays.
We rode the subway a lot, of course. It was a bit confusing. But the kids enjoyed it thoroughly.
One of the main things we wanted to do in New York City was visit the Fire Museum, for this boy here who adores all things fire truck. He was just a little excited. Almost everyone dressed up in fireman gear, we saw a bunch of old engines, saw a heartbreaking tribute to the firemen killed on 9/11, and went through a museum full of gear. I think Mason’s favorite part was the fire hydrant in the elevator that he sat on. He got his big souvenir here–a stuffed fireman dog.
Back on the road. We walked SO MUCH this day. It was exhausting. Fun, but exhausting. Two kids fell asleep on the subway, and another at the Met.
Because we are a family that likes food, especially trying different food from new places, we had to hit up some NYC hot dog carts. Half of us chose hot dogs, several had pretzels, Cory and I held out for bagels (and iced coffee–yum!), and Jeremy waited for pizza for dinner. We walked to Central Park with our goodies and breathed sighs of relief, both for the food (we were all so hungry!) and for the green space in the middle of the city.
Central Park: We were amazed by the rats. We loved Turtle Rock. It was very peaceful and lovely. We wished we had longer to explore. We walked across all of it on our way to the Metropolitan Museum of Art.
By this point in the day, we were all wiped out. But we were so close to the Met, we just had to stop by. One of the boys’ favorite books is From the Mixed-Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler, so the Met was a must.
Although I wanted to see more, the kids were at their limit. Jeremy spent a while longer in the museum with Laina while I took the boys and Ivy outside to wait. As we sat on the steps, a street show started up. And then–they called Iain out of the crowd as a volunteer! (Cory said repeatedly how very glad he was that they hadn’t picked him! Me too…) It was a very long show–Iain did some dance moves and a somersault, and then stood in a long line of people and got jumped over. By this time, Jeremy had found us and we all sat and watched and laughed. Iain was a great sport.
While the street show was fun, it did set us quite a bit behind schedule for getting back to the ferry. The parking garage on Staten Island closed at seven, and if we didn’t make it, we’d have to find another way back to the hotel and return by shuttle to get the car in the morning. But, you know, we were in New York. We had to get pizza. We bought a pie and booked it to the ferry, getting on with moments to spare, and eating as we rode.
Jeremy stood at the front of the ferry, ready to run the half mile or so to the parking garage. I had the kids, the stroller, the backpacks, etc, so we’d follow behind slowly and meet him somewhere. He took off and we disembarked slowly, stopping at a gift ship to buy Laina her big souvenir that she’d been looking for all day: a snow globe of NYC. And Ivy found a little blue bear she decided would be her souvenir. She calls it Snuggly Bear.
So Jeremy was trying to beat the clock, and I was herding the kids through the station to where I thought he’d pick us up. But then my phone died (we’d used the maps all day and then I recorded a video of most of Iain’s street show). We waited a really long time (and saw a crab in the water), and walked up to the very front of the station, standing there until I thought maybe it wasn’t the safest place to be. I decided to herd us all back to the station, to try to find an outlet to charge my phone so I could call Jeremy. Keep in mind it was now after 8:00, my littles are usually in bed by 7:30, and we’d been walking all day long.
We went inside and, by the grace of God, there was Jeremy! He hadn’t made it to the parking garage on time, so he’d come back to find us and missed us somehow. We headed to an indoor DQ to find an outlet to charge the (now both dead) phones. We needed to call the hotel for a shuttle. We sat for a good half hour or more, eating ice cream and being tired, trying to get the phones to charge before an employee told us their outlets don’t work. !!!!
And now, Ivy had a fever. We asked around and finally found a public charging station, got in touch with the hotel, and found out that we had missed the last shuttle by minutes (they had told us some wrong information earlier in the day–arg!). So we had to call a taxi. A very expensive taxi that could hold seven people and take us half an hour back to the hotel. Finally, we crashed, around 11. Jeremy took the hotel shuttle back for the car the next morning, while I packed us up. It was nutty but makes for a good story! And poor Ivy’s fever continued through the next day and night.
And that was the end of our day in New York City!