Wednesday, April 4, 2007

Our First Trip with Three Children--NYC, Part One

I’m happy to report that our first adventure with our expanded family went very well. We descended on Mike’s brother and his family in midtown Manhattan on Thursday, March 22, and departed on Saturday, March 31. Even though we had 8-1/2 full days in the city, it wasn’t enough time to see everything on our list. Chris started moaning about our impending departure several days before we were due to leave. We’ve concluded that we are an urban family…we all love cities! Even Nicholas enjoyed himself…as he peered at the city from his Baby Bjorn vantage point, he often squealed in glee!
Photo at left: family in Rockefeller Center

The highlight of Kieran’s week was hanging out with his 5-year-old cousin Alex…pretending to be chased by dinosaurs or putting on “Alison in Wonderland” as he calls it…or getting into all sorts of mischief. We visited many a playground, from Greenwich Village to Central Park and Roosevelt Island.

Chris loved it all, but his highlight was the NBC Studio Tour that he earned with good behavior on the next-to-last day of our trip. Here is Part One of our travelogue:

Wednesday, March 21: my darling husband’s 44th birthday. I took him out to breakfast at one of our favorite Portland restaurants, Mother’s, and we had a lovely time. Then we raced home to pack and prepare for our departure. We flew out of Sea-Tac instead of PDX for two reasons: (1) it was much less expensive, and (2) we were able to get a direct flight to JFK. After strapping on our two suitcases to the top of our roof in our new Roof Bag, we left for my sister’s house in Puyallup. That evening we celebrated Mike’s birthday with Nadine and her lovely family—complete with yummy food prepared by their nanny Herrera and a white chocolate cheesecake made by Nadine and our nephew Ryan.

Thursday, March 22: We left at the crack of dawn for the airport and flew via American Airlines to JFK. Nadine’s wonderful husband David very kindly drove us through Puget Sound rush hour to the airport. The flight was mostly uneventful, except for a 5-minute (seemed like 5-hour) temper tantrum by Kieran toward the end of the flight. I sat in a row of three with all three kids (Nicholas on my lap), with Mike across the aisle. At one point I decided to swap with Mike because Kieran kept trying to wake up Nicholas…and after about 10 minutes of that arrangement, Kieran threw a fit because he wanted to sit next to me! It was probably due to exhaustion, but embarrassing nonetheless. Fortunately it was short lived.

We arrived at JFK and drove via town car to Ed & Shemara’s flat in Manhattan. Shemara had arranged for an SUV with car seats to pick us up from the airport because I was completely paranoid about riding in a taxi without car seats, especially for Nicholas. Apparently in NY, no one uses car seats in taxis for their kids. Not only are taxis not required to use them, but also it’s extremely difficult to find a vehicle or car service that has them. Shemara’s assistant apparently called several car services to locate one with car seats. We were grateful! It was a long ride into Manhattan because we arrived at rush hour, but it was better than our last trip 2 years ago when we arrived around midnight. Kieran and Alex hit it off immediately, and our 20-month-niece Jessie cautiously checked us out. (Photo below: Jessie, Nicholas, and Shemara)

Friday, March 23: We bought 1-week Metro cards so we could take the subway and bus as much as we wanted. The cards were a great deal at $24/person (Kieran and Nicholas were still free). The subway is faster, but we find that we prefer the bus because it allows us to see more of the city. We headed to Rockefeller Center and Times Square, where we watched the ice skating and the people. We went to the mega Toys ‘R Us in Times Square and rode on the enormous ferris wheel in the middle of the store. Then we had a late lunch at Café Europa in Times Square and headed home, tired from jet lag. (Photos below: us on the ferris wheel)

Saturday, March 24: We hit Central Park! We headed to the zoo first and then met up with Ed & Shemara and kids and wandered around to the various playgrounds and the carousel. Chris made friends with several kids with razor scooters and somehow managed to convince them to give him turns! Central Park is an amazing place, a haven in the middle of the city. That evening we had dinner at a Tapas bar—yummy Sangria and “little plates” of goodies, but like a sushi bar, the bill adds up quickly. (Photos below: Central Park)

Sunday, March 25: We headed to Greenwich Village for some wandering and hit a few more playgrounds along the way. Nicholas had his first ride on a swing, and he loved it! We had lunch at Baluchi’s, which is a chain of good Indian restaurants. That evening, we went out to an Italian restaurant in the Theater District called Baldoria. It was a great New York restaurant with prime people watching! Ed & Shemara gave Mike a very generous gift certificate for his birthday and also watched the children for us. We had a fantastic dinner and enjoyed our night out on the town tremendously! (Photos below: family in Washington Square playground in Greenwich Village)

This was the menu we ordered at Baldoria—along with a bottle of wine and glasses of 15-year-old Port:

Insalata di Mare: Lobster, calamari, jumbo lump crabmeat, mussels and jumbo shrimp, with sprinkles of Gaeta olives, celery and red bell peppers, dressed with citronette (me)

Insalata di Barbabietola: Sliced roasted beets and balsamic vinegar glazed onions, topped with mache greens and crumbled Gorgonzola cheese (Mike)

Linguine con Rucola e Gamberoni: Sauteed shrimp with arugula and fresh cherry tomatoes, in a garlic and white wine sauce (we shared)

Risotto ai Gamberoni: Arborio rice cooked with jumbo shrimp, shallots, and white wine (Mike)

Rao’s Lemon Chicken: Charcoal broiled chicken, served with the classic Rao’s Lemon Sauce (me)
Tiramisu (we shared)

We ate some wonderful food in the city (as I notice that so many of my notes are full of food!), but this was the best one by far!

Travelogue to be continued!

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