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tourist in your own town: part 1

I'm here to report that it can be done: with less than 3 full days in NYC, we covered all major tourist landmarks, thank you very much. We did SO much I'm splitting my account of our activities into several posts.

Perhaps I should back up just a bit, despite still being in "pat myself on the back" mode.

My 15 yr old cousin -- last seen at age 10 when she was a junior bridesmaid in our wedding! -- came to visit us this past weekend, making this her first trip to the Big Apple.  She has travelled internationally quite a bit (her mom is the lovely Sonja from To Europe with Kids), but this was her first solo flight, so that alone was exciting. With a few evening hours to spare upon her arrival, we headed off to show her around our neighborhood... for a few more weeks, anyway.

The Highline, a former above-ground railroad turned above-par walking path, is really becoming a must-see destination for tourists and locals alike, and at dusk, the views of city and Hudson River are truly striking. The new section is even better and more creative than the first (IMHO), and I can't wait to see what else the architects have in store for us as the transformation heads further uptown. 

Afterwards, we took a stroll through Chelsea Market, a foodie paradise that holds a special place in my stomach (I've written about my love for it here). I'm trying not to think about the fact that soon enough, I'll be a mere 166 blocks away instead of 9.  Sniffle, sniffle.

We ended the night with dinner at The Grand Sichuan, our corner Chinese restaurant. Order their famous crab and pork soup dumplings and you really can't go wrong. Sure, if you're bringing a toddler, things might get a little "interesting" but the waitresses love kids and didn't seem to mind our Sweet One's "antics" at the dinner table.  Whew.

NYC Trip, the NYC "vacation experts" graciously offered me a complimentary tour of the World Trade Center and Statue of Liberty, and I was fortunate enough to share it with Husband, my cousin and Toddler S the next day. While the pouring down rain was disappointing, our tour guide remained enthusiastic and full of interesting tid bits along the way. First, we visited St. Paul's Chapel (a haven for first responders and now a makeshift 9-11 memorial), and St. Peter's Parish, another quiet escape for emergency workers. Both institutions were spared major damage during the collapse of the World Trade Center towers. Circling the WTC site, we were able to see two overhead views of the damage and re-construction efforts from the World Financial Center.  While it still BAFFLES MY MIND as to how it's taken ten years to settle on a fitting memorial for 9-11 victims, there was a certain peace in knowing progress is finally being made... and that I got to see it with my own eyes.

Next, our group headed over to Battery Park to board the ferry for Lady Liberty herself. Toddler S isn't really a big fan of waiting in line in the rain (she made that abundantly clear) but somehow we managed to get ourselves on the boat in one piece. Our tour included tickets to the pedestal level of the Statue, which also allowed for museum access. I'd highly recommend both when visiting the Statue of Liberty, based on my first experience about 9 years ago, when I only had time to circle the island a few times before heading back into the city. Despite the dreary weather (which didn't seem to stop any of the other tourists from coming out, either) we enjoyed both sections of the tour.  I really believe having an expert on hand to answer questions and share history enhances your experience rather than doing it completely on your own.

*Speaking of toddlers, I don't really think a Statue of Liberty visit is condusive for children under 3. While they did offer stroller parking before access to museum, they do not allow you to bring any snacks in that you might need to pacify a cranky little one.  And there are LOTS of stairs... not all parts of the statue have elevator access.

That evening, my cousin (a talented ballet dancer) and I headed out to see Savion Glover at The Joyce. I've loved tap dancing ever since I saw my first Fred Astaire movie as a child, and Glover is no doubt the best living "hoofer" there is. I was exhausted watching him dance, and yet at the same time, anxious to dust off my tap shoes as soon I got home. Truly an amazing performance, and if you're curious to check him out, the last show is tomorrow evening!

And yes, I do own a pair of adult-sized tap shoes.

Day 2 recap coming soon...


Samantha K @ said...

I love New York City. I'm so excited to read your stories, especially with a young one. I have been wanting to visit NY again but we have a 5 year old and a 15 month old. I don't know how well that would go so I'm looking foward to your posts.

Sonja said...

Bravo, bravo, you deserve more than just a pat on the back! As the mother of the precious 15 year old cousin you so kindly hosted, I can attest that your 3 day tour of NYC was an unforgettable one. My daughter is still beaming. She recounted every minute of every day to us and we can't believe all you accomplished. Many, many thanks!

Sammie said...

Savion!I grew up with him =) Amazing!

jeanne @ Inspiring Ideas said...

Terrific! We just spent about 3 days there with our two little ones. On our last visit #2 was "in my tummy" so he didn't remember it. :-)

Steph Lind said...

Hey Ellen. I love the post about touring because sometimes I forget where to take people when they come in to town! Chelsea Market is also one of my favorites. I think it's funny when I read your comments that a lot of your readers are not from NYC. I write a blog specifically for moms in the city and I think I have yet to have 10% of the comments actually be Manhattan moms =)
Thanks for your blog!

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