Wednesday, April 26, 2017

New York, New York

Just as we did for Eli when he turned 10, we gave Maddux an extended weekend trip for her first two-digit birthday. It was not as easy to pick a destination for our girl; Eli's love for history made DC an obvious win. Lehr and I ultimately decided on New York because of all of the sights and sounds (and food!) it has to offer. I think we picked a winner.
Because we have had some crazy weather in Atlanta this spring, our flight (meaning our trip) was impacted. The week before our trip we had bad storms and tornadoes. Then things calmed down for five days before picking up again big time. Two days before our flight was to leave, we had severe storms and winds to the point where many flights were delayed, rerouted or cancelled that afternoon. So when we arrived at the airport for our flight (two days later!) they were still sorting out the aftermath, meaning over 700 flights cancelled, just that day. Ours was one of them. Because Lehr is quick to recover, he hopped on the phone and stuck it out for 3-4 hours on hold to get us on the next available flights. Unfortunately that ended up being a full 24-hours later. And because our trip was already a short one to begin with, that forced our hand to extend our trip by a day also (meaning the kids missed two full days of school).
Once that was behind us, we had a great time. Just the big kids went with us; NYC is a little harder to navigate with a stroller and a toddler, and we wanted to cover a lot of ground and let Maddux see as much as possible. That first morning, we were in Grand Central Station by 9am. Not too shabby!
The weather was cold and really windy the first two days, but we walked enough to keep ourselves warm. We visited the 9/11 memorial (which includes a water feature that was shut off due to the high winds) and the museum the first day. The kids handled it all pretty well, not getting upset by the images and videos. We were not plugged into the audio tour though, and I think that helped them keep it all at an arm's length distance from affecting them too much. That night we went to Ellen's Stardust Theater where actors frequenting Broadway playbills keep their lights on by serving food and entertaining patrons with Broadway tunes. The wait was insanely long (just over 3 hours!) but the kids really enjoyed it.
The next day we hit the Freedom tower, where we got to take an elevator up 100 floors and walk around the observation deck. This was REALLY cool. The kids enjoyed looking out over the city and seeing all of the buildings from the top. We then went to Central Park (another favorite of theirs mainly because of the cool acrobats and music we saw) before going home to change for a Broadway show. We chose School of Rock because we knew Eli and Maddux would love the cast of kids. They were amazing. AMAZING! These kids not only nailed the acting and singing and dancing, but many of them also played instruments live on stage. This was the best thing of the whole trip for both kids. After the show, we walked through Time Square so they could see all of the lights and screens at night. Another favorite for Maddux (lots of those, obviously!).

The last full day, our main goal was the Statue of Liberty. Maddux's one request was Lady Liberty, but we could not get ferry tickets from the Manhattan side. So we rode a small ferry over to Jersey, then caught the Ellis Island ferry to the statue. We did not go up inside of the structure, but we walked all around and got to take in her beauty from the outside. The kids loved all of the boats and trains we took that day. That night we walked the High Line. This was probably my favorite! The elevated trail was a great way to enjoy the awesome weather that night, and grab food along the way. We ended at Chelsea Market where we had more food before walking through some neighborhoods on our way to the subway.
The final day we only had until noon before we had to head to the airport. I wanted to walk the Brooklyn Bridge with the kids since that was the most enjoyable thing I remembered from my brief trip a few years ago. We ended at a pizza shop in Brooklyn before taking the subway under the river back to the hotel.
We covered a lot of ground. We ate a lot of good food. We took the subway, the ferry, uber and a cab. We visited many neighborhood playgrounds/parks. We ate lots of good food. We saw a totally different way of living from what we're used to in the burbs. We ate and ate. (Did I mention the food?) The kids had a great time and Maddux thoroughly enjoyed herself.

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