We’re back. House intact, snake alive.
We did almost everything I wanted to do with them. They’d been to New York City before, but had little memory of it. It was hot, but not unbearably so. It was crowded, but once you were away from Midtown, Times Square and Fifth Avenue, it was a lot better.
It’s expensive, though, I’ll tell you that – as if you needed to know, as if I needed a reminder. Really, if you want to do a biggish city with lots of culture with kids and not spend so much money, and you don’t have relatives or friends to crash with in the area, Washington DC – where almost all the museums are free – is the way to go. (Also Chicago if you have local museum memberships – our McWane membership got us into both the Field and the Museum of Technology and Industry – FREE.)
Even attempts to save money here can be problematic. We spent a big chunk of Wednesday in the American Natural History Museum – they surprised us by having an extensive and good ancient Americas collection, so yes, we spent more time than we thought there – and we went in and out a couple of times (btw, at no time did anyone look carefully or scan our tickets….). The ticket line was horrendous – every time – first thing in the morning, when we left for lunch, and when we left for good around 3 – probably a hundred people on both sides – but I had just walked up to a kiosk and purchased ours, no wait. I’m sure the lines were all about redeeming passes of one sort or another…too bad people have to spend part of their short time in New York waiting in lines like that….
Food? Well, nothing super memorable. Shake Shack met with approval (especially by me when I discovered they serve alcohol), the arancini we snacked on in Little Italy were very good – unfortunately the way we ended up spending that day took us away from Chinatown before I could find the hand-pulled noodles I’d been hoping to get. Excellent pizza at this by-the-slice place. Good sandwiches from a deli behind the Natural History Museum, eaten in Roosevelt park.
No fine dining for us, but they weren’t too hungry that often.
Favorite things? I think Governor’s Island, the Brooklyn Bridge and Central Park (where we wandered – saw wildlife – Look! It’s a RAT!” – did the rowboats and the remote control sailboats) and the Tenement Museum would top the list for all of us.
Every counter person, sales person, museum attendant, bike rental person we encountered was very friendly and helpful. The only rudeness was from a taxi driver who heard where I wanted to go (longish story) and scoffed. Someone told me later not to tell them where you are going until you actually sit in the cab – then by law they have to take you. (All’s well than ends well – the subway station was closer than I’d thought….)
We did see Newsies which they enjoyed but which was ultimately meh because it was, of course, the usual homogenized, musically pedestrian Disney stuff. I couldn’t help be amused by the irony of a Disney show having as a central theme the exploitive greed of a business – as we sat in a theater where the full-priced tickets went for $300 for a little more than 2 hours of entertainment.
(I got ours at the TKTS booth down at the South Street Seaport – decent discount.)
(On their last visit, we went to see The Thirty Nine Steps which was so inventive and delightful and held their interest, even though they were four years younger than they are now – in a more deeply engaged way than the in-your-face eardrum busting hoofing of Newsies.)
The dancing was great, the vibe was a good one for the boys, but all I can say is that last night when I got home, I watched, for the zillionth time, the opening number from On The Town…no comparison, as if anyone would expect there to be.
(BTW – a revival is coming! )
We went to the World Trade Center Memorial – not the museum, but the striking, huge downward-flowing fountains constructed on and in the foundations of both buildings, both surrounded by walls in which have been etched the names of those who died there. I found it so very moving and quite fitting. They are fountains, rather than the cool stillness of stone, and so they powerfully convey a subtle message of hope and life.
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