Posts Tagged ‘Children’

Halloween in New York City is a BIG deal.  I feel as though the whole of Manhattan had been gearing up for THE day for well over a month. As soon as the back-to- school supplies left the shelves they were immediately replaced by scary decorations, pumpkins, gory make-up and those dreaded calorie packed “mini” chocolate bars. Vacant stores were turned into costume shops where you could find a wide variety of get ups for both adults and children.  I was starting to a get a bit nervous, like everything here, there seemed to be a standard for Halloween and I was beginning to feel the newbie jitters.  What exactly happened in NYC on Halloween? How the hell could you possibly trick or treat in this crazy town? Who you gonna call? Ghostbusters!!!  Uh no, your girlfriends of course.  Thankfully, they steered me in the right direction and this is how our first Halloween in New York City took place… And let me tell you, it was slightly different from the door to door rush in the ‘hood of Findlay Creek.

First, the basics. I felt like I had that, at least, covered. We had already bought the girls costumes and they were ready to go.  Cute as can be, our little Minnie Mouse and the Mad, Mad Hatter were rarin’ to go.

A (Mad Hatter) & R (Minnie Mouse)

They grabbed their bags and headed on out the building to our first stop- a Halloween Party at our friend’s apartment.  Unlike our old neighbourhood in Ottawa, where you went door to door and snuck some adult beverages along the way, there seemed to be many pre-parties going on in Manhattan.  The premise is that the children blow off some pre-trick or treating steam and eat some real food before they head out. I believe the real purpose for the get together is so the adults can gain some patience through the lovely liquid warmth and courage of grapes, hops and barley!

As we headed up Broadway to our party, the girls stopped along the way at various stores to trick or treat.  This may sound odd but it is the norm here on Halloween.  Local stores have an abundance of candy and children are encouraged to stop by in costume any time of the day on the 31st to get a treat. It truly was a wonderful sight to behold as children skipped down the street in excitement and ducked in and out of stores filling their goodie bags.

T & T at a Local Jewellery Store

Children in Costume Exiting a Local Restaurant

We were told that on Halloween not every street is trick or treat worthy.  Certain streets are blocked off to traffic and the brownstones are decorated, haunted houses are made and entertainment is planned.  So, for our second stop we headed down to 69th Street. Just to give you a bit of context, this was the 40th year of the neighbourhood block association Halloween party and it did not disappoint.  Most of the decorating is done day of, as it would ruin the surprise otherwise! The celebration on 69th Street is crowded and crazy busy but it is worth it to just get a glimpse of the decorated homes, the abundance of candy and the shows (yes, I said shows) taking place along the block.  After all, NYC is known for its flair for the dramatic 😉

The Crowd on 69th Street

A Decorated Brownstone Courtyard


Those are REAL people putting on a show suspended from the top of the apartment!

Our third and final stop was our apartment building.  We finished up the night by visiting our neighbours in the building.  (A sign-up sheet is posted in each elevator indicating which apartments are participating in Halloween).  It was a nice end to the evening, chatting with residents and meeting many of them for the first time.  The four of us went back to our new home and did the same old routine of sorting through the candy.  Ron and I confiscated the bad things like Reese Peanut Butter Cups (!) and then we tucked two very tired and happy children into bed.

It was our first Halloween in New York City. The newbies had survived. In fact, I think we blended in quite nicely with the rest of the costumed pack =) It was different but not in a bad way, just in a different way.  Learning new traditions, finding out more about our NEW ‘hood and reminiscing a bit about our old.  It was just another crazy, busy, yet somehow intimate and comforting night in the City.

The biggest fright?  Going into the stores today and finding holiday decorations and wrapping on the shelves… Only 7 more weekends until Christmas- BOO!!!!!

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When we were first even considering making the big move to New York City my first thoughts revolved around the children.  How would they deal with such a big move? What would life be like for them? We would be moving from a house in a community surrounded by green space and a big backyard to an apartment with no outdoor space and very little room to run around. What would their new school be like?  Could they handle the constant noise, fast pace and frenetic energy? How would I cope with two young children and the traffic, small spaces, distractions and the crowds of people.

Put quite simply, it has been a learning experience for all of us.  I shudder at the thought that I have actually said “Do NOT lick the subway pole”.  Yet, it was only last night that I came to the realization, that the kids are adjusting just fine.  As I was chilling out in the bathtub (a spot where I do all of my best thinking) I reflected on our NYC day.  That morning we had done our back to school shopping in a very crowded Macy’s, dragged our purchases home on the subway, and then visited a local Asian restaurant for dumplings and noodles.  Back in Ottawa, my children would never have suggested dumplings for dinner. Here in NYC, they seem to have adopted a much more open mind, I think you have to.  After dinner it was a truly glorious evening. Ron and I walked through Central Park while the children rode their scooters up ahead.  They manoeuvred through the throng of people like old pro’s and they never once complained that they were tired.

This is the thought that struck me last night.  The kids are no longer complaining about the walking.  They have found their NYC legs.  For those of you that have ever visited NYC or live here, you will know exactly what I mean.  It is impossible to not come home after a long day of pounding the pavement and not feel it in your tender tootsies.  Over the last couple of weeks the kids have stopped complaining about not having a car and put on their running shoes and go.

A reading to R on a subway ride

Now, trust me, things are not all sunshine and lollipops and I would be lying if I said I did not have days when I feel like having a meltdown because one of them has to pee and there is absolutely no clean place around to do so OR when they have a moment of homesickness for friends OR one of the children just breaks down because they have had a really long day in a City that can sometimes be very unforgiving.  And I am sure that there are many challenging moments ahead. But, all in all, these moments are outnumbered by the many positive adventures and by the fact that I still think to myself, “Holy Fuck,  these kids are growing up in NYC- what an amazing opportunity!”  A truly amazing opportunity indeed.

A different day, a new adventure!

Now, as for the dogs… well it would be going a lot smoother if Dopey would just get over the whole pooping on pavement thing… but I think I will save that story for another day! 😉

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Soo, the other day I made the delicious mistake of walking into Pure Yoga.  Mistake for my bank account that is.  The place is like walking into pure heaven.  It is quiet, relaxing, smells incredible and the people are super friendly.  Did I mention that it is quiet??  A lovely woman at the front desk asked me if I had time for a tour and of course I had time, just by walking in there my blood pressure had dropped and my stress level had decreased.  Ooom, ya! Needless to say the place does not disappoint.  The locker room is gorgeous- brand new, spotless, showers that actually well, work, and there is a STEAM room.  I was sold after the locker room and that was before I had even seen the beautiful yoga studios.  Hell, I didn’t even need to practice yoga, I just wanted to go hang out on the comfy couches and use the steam room.  I walked out with a membership and lets just say that it is a tad more expensive than Hubby’s gym membership- oops!

These gorgeous doors were calling my name...

Now I actually have to practice yoga, I don’t think Ron will be too pleased if I just go there to hang out on the couches and read- then again he wouldn’t really know, would he? I went to my first class the other night.  I had the initial pre-class anxiety of “what if’s”. What if I release a toxic smell during the class?  What if the class is filled with hard body types who look at me with athletic judgement? What if I am totally un-cordinated and can do none of the moves? And worst of all- what if I get into an awkward position that I can’t get out of? And then I walked into the magic cone of silence and did an amazing thing, I relaxed.

NYC can be a pretty intense, action packed, overwhelming place.

Trying to get into Fairway on the Friday before a long weekend. You thought I was joking yesterday, right?

Sometimes you just need a place to go where you can calm the voices in your head and tune out the never ending sirens (not that I don’t appreciate the men in uniform). Oh, and sometimes I just really need to get away from my children too 😉 Did I mention that it was quiet?  Wishing you all a wonderfully peaceful Friday and a fabulous long weekend.

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And here are 10 Things that I have learned about NYC (in no particular order):

1.  If you have enough money you can buy ANYTHING or get ANY SERVICE here.  Case and point:  Your dog is having a hard time adjusting to doing his business on the concrete sidewalk instead of  the cushy grass in a backyard, don’t stress, hire someone to teach your dog to do the deed.  No joke.

2.  People are strange and wonderful, that is what makes this place soo incredibly interesting.  The other day I saw a woman walking her bird in its cage, along the river.  She was talking to it. Who am I to judge?  I talk to myself and wait for an answer.

3.  Do NOT go to Fairway (the local grocery store) at peak hours- EVER!!!! It is a mad house.  People are pushing, swearing, jockeying for position and that is only to get through the door.  Don’t even get me started about the deli line…

4.  Central Park is amazing.  Every time I go into the park I find a new incredible space.  It is a little piece of heaven that is easily accessible to escape to when you need a reprieve from the concrete jungle.

A View of Turtle Pond from Belvedere Castle, Central Park

5. Get out and meet people.  Don’t be afraid to talk to your local news guy, your neighbour, the doorman on your route, the local Starbuck’s barista or the person sitting next to you on the subway.  New Yorkers truly are friendly people and I believe that they give back to you, what you give to them. If you are an asshole, expect a whole lot of attitude back.  And yes, I have actually have heard people say “Fuggedaboutit” as one whole word.  It’s okay, because it makes up for the fact that I still end a lot of my sentences with “eh?”.  I have already met some incredible people who are helping me navigate through the insanity.  To you- you know who you all are, thank you 😉

6.  People in my neighbourhood take their strollers incredibly seriously.  I have seen strollers that cost more than a small car.  This is the mecca for the trendy, cutting edge stroller.  Kids (and dogs- yes, I have seen dogs in strollers!) are riding in style. Check out this bad boy that can turn into a bike for mom or dad if they are getting tired of the whole pushing thing:

All this can be yours for a cool $1500.00

7.  It is HOT in the summer.  And yes, the sidewalks smell like urine, garbage, vomit and everything else that has landed on them in the heat of the day.  You get used to it.  Suck it up princess… the rain will eventually wash it all away.

8.  You need to keep your sense of humour!!  This is essential.  With soo many people invading your personal space it is better to be positive than negative.  If you don’t like people this is the wrong place to be living. I am already finding that I have little patience for tourists and then I remember that this is how I first found my love of the City and yes, it is an awe inspiring place that makes you just want to stop and stare.

No comment.

9. Look UP!!!  There are soo many incredible things to see all around you.  Sometimes I find myself overwhelmed by everything and I forget to really look at what IS around me.  The buildings are truly spectacular.

Empire State Building

10.  Don’t forget to exercise!!!  This might sound strange because you WALK everywhere, but while you are walking there are tooo many tempting things to eat- cupcakes, famous hotdogs, deli sandwiches, pretzels, cheesecake, Shake Shack Burgers, BEER, Margarita’s, ice cream, fabulous restaurants… you get the idea.  So, my September resolution is to pound the pavement in my running shoes, get my relaxation on in the yoga studio and bike my way around the Island.  We will see how it goes… why don’t you come visit me and see how I am doing? 😉

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For those of you who know me, you know that I am a huge procrastinator and can be easily distracted by even the smallest of things. We moved to NYC, see the problem? As soon as I walk out of my apartment in the morning, I quickly forget what I am doing as there is soo much to look at, see and do.  But, I digress.  My mission today was to do some back to school shopping for the girls while they were at camp and would not drive me crazy with the constant “can I have…?”.  So, I set out, determined to get things done.

Back in Ottawa, there are malls where one goes to get back to school clothes.  You wander through the mall, popping in and out of various stores, back and forth, buying different items.  NYC, not so much.  There are stores EVERYWHERE but there is no such thing as a mega mall. I decided that I would head on down to Macy’s (at Herald Square) because I reasoned that they would have a large selection of clothes.  As I got off the subway, I took a wrong turn and ended up in front of JCPenney.  In I went… huge selection of children’s clothes but I soon realized my big mistake of shopping without the kids. While it was nice and relaxing and whine free, I had no idea what would actually fit them. As a kindly woman said to me “It is like going shoe shopping without bringing your feet”.  Right.  Epic Fail.

I decided that I would view my adventure as a recon mission for future weekend with the hubby and the girls to make things go more efficiently and headed on over to Macy’s.  In I walked and was blinded by the purses. It is a woman’s dream come true- rows and rows of beautifully layed out handbags.  I tried to keep my eye on my goal but I just couldn’t resist the wonderful colours and the smell of leather.

A girl can look, can't she?

And is it really my fault that the children’s clothes are on the same floor as the women’s shoes?  I tried to resist, I really did but the escalator was right there!

Dr. Seuss Converse- Educational, no?

In the end, I did manage to remember that I was supposed to be ‘looking’ for the kids and that I had numerous other errands to attend to like ordering dog food, writing my first blog post, getting thank you cards etc.  So, I took the incredibly cool wooden escalator down to the main floor and managed to escape into the searing heat without buying a single thing. (The MAC lip gloss does not count)


Macy's Lobby from the escalator

My plan for tomorrow is to go out and buy school supplies, a job that does not require the children to actually be present.  Hopefully I will not be distracted by something more interesting.  I mean what else more exciting could possibly be happening on this little Island of Manhattan? Excuse me, I just remembered there is a shiny pair of rain boots I want to order online.  What?  There is a hurricane coming, right?

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