Saturday, March 20, 2010

Toddlertown: the hidden NYC


Boy oh Boyhattan! Who knew there could be so many different New Yorks? There's glam New York of SITC fame: cocktails,  shopping,  shoes, the West Village. And tourist New York: museums,  bus tours, buildings, Fifth Avenue shops, street pounding. Or, even, film set New York: iconic skyscrapers, bustling businessmen, Park princesses. And then there's Boyhattan: or New York with a toddler in tow.... 

Happily, what I thought would be the least toddler-friendly city, turned out to be anything but. It helped that Grandma Penny warned me to prepare myself mentally for a totally different trip. Sionara splashing cash in SoHo, bye-bye new DVF dresses. In short, as she put it: "The key is to forget the things you used to enjoy doing in NYC and enjoy being a kid again!" Easy enough, especially when friends with toddlers from DC were sweet enough to make the trip up to see us. 

What didn't help was the weather. There we were, all set to exploit the many joys of Boyhattan - watching the horses in Central Park, catching the Staten Island ferry, riding the Central Park carousel, checking out the children's zoo, hitting the Bleecker Street playground - when the weather gods turned against us. To say it rained would be an understatement. This was rain like I'd never seen before in a city. The streets looked like a movie set alright: a scene from 2012 when a tidal wave hits Manhattan. Well, that and an umbrella morgue; dead brollies were strewn on every corner. 

Bang went most of my plans. Central Park was out on all bar the first day, which killed me and left Louis distraught since horses sensibly stay stable-bound when it's wet. Happily, however, fire trucks still have to go out in the rain. As do taxi cabs. "Yellow!" taxi cabs. And Moma - or "Momma" as it's now known - has a Friday night window when it's free to get in. Plus, it turns out there's a great FDNY - Fire Department of New York - exhibit/shop just by the Rockefeller Centre, so we didn't run short of things to do even if I did run short of places to push a snoozing Louis in his stroller. (Check me out slipping back into the dialect!) Turns out the elevators in Saks make far too much noise to make it past the army of perfume-squirters on the first floor, darn it. In short, we coped. In fact, for the most part, we thrived. Especially Louis, who didn't suffer nearly as badly from jet lag as I'd feared, even if I was out pounding the streets on day two at 5.30am after attempts to get him to make it past 3am failed miserably. 

Although the obvious highlights were seeing our friends - and especially me sneaking off for a couple of cocktails solo with one of them on the Friday evening while DJ worked in his room and babysat Louis - the trip was pretty much made by a reckless last night back at the Standard, the epitome of cool in MePa that stands astride the now finished High Line. Staying there even vindicated turning in early since the rooms are so amazing: all look out either on to the Empire State Building or the Hudson river. And I got to teach Louis a new word, "funky". Maybe one day we'll get to return. For now, there's always the movies. But I'm staying clear of 2012. 

5 comments:

Brit in Bosnia / Fraught Mummy said...

I like travelling with the kids in cities. You see a whole different side of the city than you saw before.

Glad you had such a good time, and some grown up cocktails!

Planethalder said...

We go to NYC virtually every year. Next time we may even consider taking our toddler. What's the Standard like for toddlers? Did you have a suite so toddler slept in his own room? Do they have babysitting service?

danyulo said...

Ahhhhh great to hear you had such a wonderful time in Boyhattan! So it was very surprisingly toddler friendly city NY, I am very impressed. I wonder if it is a same in Tokyo. (Yoppy and I will stay in Tokyo for few days in summer, a bit nervous) And great that you sneaked into town for cocktails with your girl friend!!yey!x

Natalie said...

I just really enjoyed reading this entry. Having visited NYC lots as a young couple, my husband and I had put thoughts of another trip there out of our minds until our daughter is much older. But you've made me want to go there with her now and discover it in a whole new light!

Babies who brunch said...

I can confirm that kids and cities really do go together well. If the weather had just been a bit kinder we'd have had a truly amazing trip. Go for it!