Museum of the City of New York

DSC_0012Today we went to the Museum of the City of New York on 5th Ave at 103rd Street. I had came across it because my husband and I enjoy Street Art (AKA Graffiti), and I saw awhile back that there was an exhibit there called “City as Canvas: Graffiti from the Martin Wong Collection.” So we decided to check it out.

DSC_0010Just a few things to know before you go…$10 admission, kids under 12 are free. It is SINGLE stroller friendly at the gallery guards discretion according to the website (so I would call ahead if you have a double stroller and ask.) The staff there was super friendly so they may let you slip by or have a place to store it. We thought we would be touristy and bring a backpack instead of a diaper bag. They do make you wear your backpacks on the front of your body…so may get awkward if you are trying to hold your child (or you’re prego.)

DSC_0016We started on the first floor and spent a good amount of time in the City as Canvas exhibit since that was our main reason for going. Luckily, it was not that crowded and we let our son out of the stroller.  I’m loving this ghost town thing going on in NYC in the summer. Totally working to our advantage so far.  We heard that there was breakdancing sessions on Wedsnesdays, Fridays and Saturdays (conditions permitting) at 11:30am so we wondered around the 1st floor waiting for that. The staff told us wherever we were in the museum that you would hear the music blasting from outside so you can’t miss it. Sadly it never happened. We never heard beats dropping and my dreams of being discovered as a breaker are over.  But…the dancing is right on the courtyard before you enter the museum. There are tables and huge umbrellas out there as well.  So if you are craving a little breakdancing, and are in the area…you may want to snoop around and see if they are there on those days! I will be lurking there again. DSC_0022

DSC_0053We did the second floor (cute cafe area…plenty of seating with cafeteria style tables) and then the third floor and then it was time to head out as you can see by the photo to the left. I get it Buddy, its not a children’s museum, and this exhibit is waaaay more boring to a child then the colorful art downstairs and wall of sprays cans. We will end the torture. We got back down to the 1st floor where we heard music and THOUGHT is was the break dancers but it was actually a bus tour getting a little talk from their tour guides and starting a little dance circle. DSC_0072So, we started one of our own right next to them. From what I picked up it looks like a Hip Hop Tour called Hush Tours. Looks like a cool idea if bus tours are your thing.

We went back out to the front of the building, grabbed a table and noticed there was a lot of children on the other side doing a project. Obviously, the teacher in me had to scope this out. It was called “Style My Ride” where you were given a brand new bike helmet to decorate in the stylized writing and imagery inspired by the art of City as Canvas. You can obviously tell that was a snippet of the program explanation and not my own words! DSC_0056Pretty damn cool….now if only he will keep it on his head! All in all, I loved this museum. It was 3 simple floors, with no confusing maps and you are not overwhelmed by the size of it. Easy to finish within an hour with kids. Great outdoor area in the front to chill or even eat lunch. Pretty much child-friendly in the aspect that everything is really out of their reach and there DSC_0062are no $1,000,000 statues for them to knock over. Although, I don’t know what future exhibits hold so don’t mark my words on that one. I would suggest signing up for their emails for upcoming events and family programs. There were seven programs alone just as part of the City as Canvas exhibit (all kid based).  

 

As for now…Peace Out.

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On a bicycle built for two!

IMG_6808I don’t want to jinx it but summer 2014 has been waaay more beautiful weather than summer 2013. Although, I was probably still postpartum last summer, still getting use to no sleep, and thinking of things to do with a 4 month old…so who am I to judge? This summer I knew I had to be “on.”  With a little boy who could now walk, weighed in at 25 lbs, and just wanted to explore and experience as much as he could….I better get moving!

On Sunday of 4th of July weekend, when the city still seemed like a ghost town, we decided to rent bikes. Now, I LIVED on my bicycle growing up and haven’t owned one probably since I went to college. In some weird way it seemed like a special treat to actually go for a bike ride again. We checked out some places on the Upper East Side and asked for suggestions from some mom groups and settled on the closest place to our apartment. The prices were almost the same across the board within a difference of $5 here and there. We figured if we went further than a 10 block radius we’d pull the lazy card and end up taking a cab home afterwards …so theres the $5+ we tried to save anyway.  Plus, if my son screamed bloody murder and really wasn’t loving it…we probably would have to turn around anyway.

We settled on Danny’s Cycles/Metro Cycles on 87th and 2nd.  Each bike was $10 an hour to rent and to add the baby seat to one bike, I believe..don’t quote me on this… was a $15-20 flat rate.  At that location they have 3 baby seats from what the staff told me and its a good idea to call ahead to make sure they are available, and that they can set them up for you before you get there. They were very accommodating and let us lock up our stroller outside their shop with all the other rental bikes that are there. The baby seat we used was the Rolls Royce of baby bike seats.  I also don’t have much experience (ok, none) in this area, nor anything to compare it to. All I know is that I was probably strapped to the back on my parents bike back with a cooking tray and some rope. And it was acceptable. It was the 70s.

not loving it.We got my son settled in the seat with the help of one of the guys at the store and he was in HYSTERICS. We also had him in the direct sunlight at the time, and there was no movement yet so I kind of don’t blame him. So, to make things “better” I started smearing sunblock on his face and arms. I was ready to give up already and then my husband started pedaling and all the tears quickly went away. By the time, we got up the ramp from the store and turned onto 87th I could hear him from behind shouting “WEEEEEEEEEEE!!!” God, I want to be a kid.

IMG_6804We headed to Carl Schurz Park and turned left on the promenade by the East River. We cruised along the water past the beautiful and breathtaking site of the soon-to-be garbage transfer station (totally makes the moment) and took the path all the way to the footbridge for Randalls Island.  Warning: the ramps going up are a bit steep with a bike…so get your speed up beforehand OR walk it like my lazy butt did.  We took the trail to the right when you get over bridge and followed that all along the water.  I don’t know if it was because it was still 4th of July weekend or this happens all the time on weekends but it was BBQ Central on either side of us while we biked through. Tons and tons of families had chairs, tables and food set up everywhere!

I absolutely loved renting the bikes and we plan to do it more often. Although, I would love to do it every day and night like I did growing up.  We have time for that later on though! Right now, these “City Folk” will rent and explore when we can.IMG_6801

New York City Transit Museum

I went here on a school trip and fell in love with this place myself! I couldn’t wait to go back and knew it would be right up my husbands alley and a good place for my son to wander around and enjoy as well. Getting there is pretty simple too. I have to say…every time I find out about a place in Brooklyn I immediately think its going to be a hike and a half to get there. And yes, some parts of Brooklyn are…but so many neighborhoods are 15-20 minutes away and just to get out of the “city” is a nice change. We decided to drive in which took all of 20 minutes and was right over the Brooklyn Bridge.  We parked about a block away at a garage that was a participating location and gives free parking due to us having a yearly spot on the upper east side. Does that make sense? If you have a yearly spot for your car…check with your “home” location for deals and other garages they let you park at for free. Other than that…we noticed that most garages were like $8-10 for the whole day. If you decided to do the subway in…check their website for details but it is a pretty quick ride that way too! Now, we walked past the museum entrance 2 times and missed it. How?…I have no idea. There is a huge banner hanging down that says “New York Transit Museum” with a picture of a old school conductor on it.     Banner we missed.But needless to say, it does look like a regular subway entrance other than the banner that is larger than life. There is a sign too a wheelchair entrance which is a block away. We thought we’d go down that way with the stroller.  We got down the block and a museum employee was inside this Willy Wonka type elevator and she made it VERY, VERY clear it was for wheelchairs only. We didn’t even put up a fight, but she let us know right from the get go that it was not for us. So, we walked down to the regular entrance and carried the stroller down ourselves. No biggie. Admission is $7 per person, kids over 2-17 are $5, and kids under 2 are free.  When you go to the left of ticket booth when you walk in there is a little walk through with some great pictures, and history of the MTA on the walls. I will say this part is probably really boring for kids. Then when you get through that to the more hands on area thats when my son wanted out of the stroller. He had a ball wandering around especially when he was able to climb up on a NYC bus and be the driver.Beep, Beep! After spending about 45 minutes in the upstairs alone, we made our way down another level to where all the subway cars from different eras were. It truly is awesome to see the changes through the years. My son was in and out of the cars, feeling the seats, sitting on them and wanting to look at everything. He really had the whole place to himself.  I will warn you though…”WATCH THE GAP!” Just like regular subways, there were gaps. So, as much as my son enjoyed the freedom down there…we were on him like white on rice. Yes, we were the helicopter parents that day. Helicopter MomThe downstairs, downstairs All in all, we were there a little over an hour, paid $14 for our visit and had a great time. There is a cafeteria-style room to have lunch there if you would like although they do not sell food…you bring your own. Plus, they have special events for kids here and there too, so check their website for dates. And although I’ve never been to one…it looks like an awesome set up for a birthday party too ( I took a peek at one being set up while we were there.) We went on a beautiful Saturday during the summer which was a perfect time to go because it was dead!! There were about 20 people in the whole place. Most people would think “Why would you want to be inside a museum down in a subway on a beautiful day?” Well, like I said…it was an hour out of our day and then we spent the rest of it roaming around Brooklyn in the sun and enjoying a change of scenery. (There was also a bunch of cool restaurants on Atlantic Ave to check out) We will definitely be back with AND without our son. Although he loved it, my husband did mention he wanted to come back again and really take the time to actually read all the displays and exhibits. NERD. (I did too though.) So whether you are looking for a fun little trip to Brooklyn to a unique and not too lengthy museum trip, or a little kid-free outing…this is the place!

Me, Me, Me!

Hello all! Why I am I starting a blog with millions and millions of other people in the world?? Well, because I have time. For the amount of time I spend at night looking at peoples posts and photos on Facebook and just randomly 2-day ordering something on Amazon Prime for my son, I thought my time would be better spent writing something useful!

So, heres a bit about me: My husband, son (16 months) and I live on the Upper East Side of Manhattan. He works in finance and I am a teacher. I have lived in the city for almost 6 years and my husband more than ten. We are both from Long Island and plan to go back to live there in a few years as we miss it and want more space, and a lawn, and be close to family and friends, and not have our stuff in storage at our parents, and to open our wedding registry gifts from 4 years ago, and a million other reasons! We just really want to have a place we can call home and call OURS. I want to paint walls the color I want, I want to make holes in the wall, scratch up the floor, and all the while not worry about whether we are “getting our security deposit back.”

In the meantime, we want to be tourists in our own city. I don’t think we realize sometimes that we are smack dab in the greatest city in the world and not taking full advantage of the things we can do here! Im embarrassed to say some of the things in my 37 years on earth that I have NOT done yet in NYC. I think when we move that we may never do these things and making that trip into the city to do something will become a chore or a hassle. Dealing with traffic or the dreaded “change at Jamaica” will be a major pain in the a$$ and then we will stay in our little suburban bubble and never leave. I hope that doesn’t happen, truly I do…but in the meantime while everything is right here and a cab or subway ride away…I want to make it happen. So this is my NYC Bucket list of sorts.

A lot of my reviews, ideas, rants and such will have to do with both child friendly places and non-kid related in NYC and surrounding areas.  Please take everything I say with a grain of salt…just like any review you would read anywhere.  I once read a review on a hotel we were thinking about and the man gave it one star because he got mugged while he was on vacation in the town the hotel was in. Other than that his review had decent things about the hotel. So, yes sir…TOTALLY the hotels fault. NEVER stay there ANYONE!!! So, yes….I may have a bad experience somewhere for whatever reason…doesnt mean you shouldn’t do it.  Bad experiences are the best sometimes because it gives you a great story to tell and laugh about later!

I would also like to have a full disclaimer that I still do have Mommy brain, and always will. So, there will be posts in here about a product here and there, a personal story, a paper cut I got, God…really anything! My brains all over the place in the last 16 months! So, just bear with me and give me a virtual hug when I need it.