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Mondays in Manhattan: Episode 1 – Upper East Side of NYC

Mondays in Manhattan: Episode 1 – Upper East Side of NYC

 

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So in order to get into the city, we have to be up super early and onto a 6:10am bus! That’s early for us; we’re not really morning people over here. Well, Ryan is, but the girls and I are not. I pack a big book bag the night before – full of extra clothes, snacks, and toys. Kids get lots of things on their clothes throughout the day – water, dirt, food, pee, poop, puke, you name it! But I am notorious for over packing, so good thing I have Ryan to carry an extra bag as we get on the bus! He NEVER complains about it either! 😉

The bus ride is 2 hours, due to all of the stops it makes in NJ along the way to New York. The girls both drift in and out of sleep. Vi babbles loudly when awake. I’m not sure that the passengers appreciate her cuteness while she screeches loudly at such as an early hour and I don’t really blame them. Eloise fell asleep on the ground at one point and refused to let us move her to a seat.

It’s an adventure for us and a long day ahead of me with a set schedule of enriching events. It’s good for me to stay busy and it’s really beneficial for the girls to have a change of scenery. Once we reach Port Authority Bus Terminal in NY, Ryan heads off to work in Soho and us girls are on our own!

We take the A train uptown to our first stop, Billy Johnson Playground for Eloise to get her fill of the windy granite slide carved into the hill. We have been to several Central Park Playgrounds, but never this one.

 

Billy Johnson Playground is located in Central Park, enter at the corner of 67th Street and 5th Avenue.

http://www.centralparknyc.org/things-to-see-and-do/attractions/billy-johnson-playground.html

I loved the fact that this playground is so foresty, covered in trees and removed from the noise and bustle of the city. Eloise loved walking over the cute stone bridge and the expansive sand pit! Only one other family visited the playground while we were there! Several benches in shady areas allowed me to nurse Vi under a blanket while Eloise snacked on some graham crackers. We then took a little time to swing on the swings. I have pushed Eloise on NYC park swings probably a million times – no exaggeration! I thought about how strange it was to be pushing two girls on the swings now! I then also thought briefly about how I should be pushing three girls on the swings right now. 🙁 Missing my baby girl always. It’s often at my happiest moments that I think of her. El and Vi had a great time and it’s so sweet to see Vi growing and enjoying things like this now.

Next we loaded up the double stroller (which I’m in love with by the way – I’ll post more info on that soon – but briefly, it’s the Summer Infant 3D Double – see pic below) and head northeast towards the Whole Foods Market at 1551 Third Ave at E 88th Street.

http://www.wholefoodsmarket.com/stores/uppereastside

It’s a 20-minute trek so I definitely got my workout that day. While I was walking, I also had to repeatedly push El back down in the stroller as she begged to get out and attempted to escape constantly. So I worked my arms too. 😉 There are so many healthy selections here for even our recently very picky toddler. We can usually get Eloise to eat soup if all else fails, so she chose the Minestrone soup with watermelon. Vi ate some soup along with a yellow pepper! Every time I go to the city I MUST stop at a Whole Foods. There is nothing like it here in Orange County and I really miss having the healthy selection of food, drinks, vitamins, and all my probiotics too! 🙁 I even contemplated buying a pineapple plant that I saw in the window but surveyed my stroller and unfortunately had nowhere to store it or a way to get it on the bus. But wouldn’t you want your own pineapple plant too!? I LOVE this store!! Before leaving, we head to the handicap stall of the bathroom to use the toilet and change out of dirty play clothes. Eloise keeps asking, “Can I unlock the door?” I repeatedly answer, “No, please don’t open the door while Mommy is still peeing,” but she proceeds to unlock it any way and a woman walks right into our stall! #momlife #whydoesntshelistentome

We headed uptown next to Art Farm in the City, located a 4-minute walk away at 419 E 91st Street, between First and York Aves. http://www.theartfarms.org/afic/

This little gem is EXACTLY what it sounds like! A place where your kids can create arts and crafts and play with live animals, all right in NYC! You enter into the art room, where your tot can color, paint, cut, and glue. Instructors create a sample craft as a guide and your child creates their own look alike. This was a total hit with Eloise and Vi happily chewed on some construction paper while she looked on! They even provide plastic smocks and unlimited baby wipes so that the paint doesn’t get everywhere! Eloise made a lion that she was super proud of. It reminded me that I need to take the time to do more arts and crafts projects at home with her.

Once done painting, we left our art on the table to dry while we headed into the soft-carpeted playroom. Babes and little kids play together with a selection of imaginative role inspired toys. Think grocery store cashier set up, toy ice cream truck, and pretend mailbox full of letters. Eloise had a blast pretending to sell ice cream, while Vi chewed on soft balls. Now, I didn’t want her to chew on the balls really, but we’re in the forever lasting stage of “putting everything in your mouth” and no matter how many times I took them away, she kept getting them back somehow!

Then we were on to the animals in the basement for the some hands-on petting action. Both girls were ecstatic to be able to touch gerbils, chinchillas, bunnies, tortoises, chickens, lizards, and birds. Vi is really excited about animals and screeches and shouts for them. Our cats at home are terrified of her!

We were on a schedule and had to move on to a 4:15pm Prima Ballerina class for El at Kidville at 163 E 84th Street between Lexington and Third Avenues, a 5-minute walk away. http://www.kidville.com

I called ahead and reserved a free trial class for her. This was her first ballet class, but we already had all the gear: A $2 thrift shop leotard, a pair of pink ballet shoes from Uncle Ellis, and a pink leotard from Mimi from when she was just a newborn! In the class Eloise learned actual beginner ballet positions and steps like sashays and relevés, completed an obstacle course, and ended the 45min. class with a bubble party under fluorescent disco lights! I don’t think I have ever seen her so excited as when she was dancing and catching bubbles. All of the kids were delighted. I mean – what toddler doesn’t like bubbles?! Her instructors couldn’t believe this was her first class as she listened and performed really well! She has been begging me to go back ever since!

We ended the outing with a pizza dinner at Gotham Pizza, which was a hit for both Eloise and Vi. I even let Eloise share my soda – which is a real treat for her!

We all had a really good time and were all very tired out (especially Vi – she was DONE with the day.) We then had a two hour bus ride back home. Needless to say, we slept in until 11AM the next morning! Can’t wait to get back down there again next week! Check back for more fun soon!

Below is the link to the new umbrella double stroller I use for our city trips. I am in LOVE with this stroller – post all about it coming soon! In the meantime, check it out!

 

 

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