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Posts Tagged ‘Manhattan’

Day Six (Monday) We headed downtown to Tribeca to check out the Moomah Cafe. It is a wonderful place where the kids were able to choose and make a craft of their choice. The atmosphere is very relaxed and the staff is friendly and easy going. Best of all, because of the age of our children, they were able to make the crafts on their own and Cass and I sat at a table near by and chatted while drinking yummy caffeinated beverages. The kids also explored the funky forest and had a nutritious lunch.

Making creative masterpieces at Moomah

After lunch we traipsed through Chinatown and went to a very cool park in the neighborhood. Later on that afternoon we went and saw the Disney Nature movie “African Cats”. I highly recommend this movie. It is a beautiful film with a wonderful narrative. Proceeds from the movie go towards protecting the Savannah. A worthwhile cause indeed.

Cool playground in Sarah Roosevelt Park in Chinatown

And now, well, day seven, spring break is coming to an end and both the kids and I have survived. All in all it was a great time spent together and I can say that because my little lovelies are heading back to school tomorrow 😉 Seriously, we could not have had a better day to end the break on. It has been sunny and in the 80’s today. The girls and I went to a total of four parks. They rode bikes, played in the sand, climbed, played ball, had popsicles, enjoyed water fights, raced up and down rock walls and we all sweated! Yes, sweated, for the fist time of the season.

First hot day of the season!

Cooling Off!

They are both currently soaking the grime off in the bath. They are exhausted, I am exhausted and hey, isn’t that what it is all about? Giving them a much deserved break from the daily grind and reminding me how wonderful those precious quiet moments truly are =)

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Yesterday, I finally bit the bullet and went to the DMV office located at Herald Square. It was time to surrender my Ontario driver’s license to get my NY State driver’s license. Two hours later, I left, officially licensed to drive in New York and I promptly got on the subway 😉 Ironically, this trip to the DMV made our move to NYC finally seem official and very real. I now have a permanent piece of ID that has my picture and our address in NYC on it. We live here. Wow. It may finally be sinking in.

But, enough about me and back to Wordless Wednesday. While I was on my way to Herald Square I walked down the very famous 34th St. and took a few pics. Hope you enjoy them. Happy Wednesday!

The view of the mighty Empire State Building as you exit the subway

34th and 7th

Crosswalk

The morning rush

Macy's

Walking across 34th, in the shadow of the Empire State Building

34th and Broadway

Getting ready to get "on line"- ugh, two hours later...

Freedom! And Macy's 😉

Street Vendor

The ever present tour bus... hop on/hop off

Old Navy

For my Canadian friends =)

Love the blue sky behind the buildings

Getting ready to go back underground...

The 1,2,3 Line

Waiting on the platform

Penn Station- Heading back Uptown

Home Sweet Home!

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Controversial Equinox Ad at the corner of 77th/Amsterdam- right beside the playground at an UWS elementary school

Recently in our neighborhood there has been much discussion and debate about the current Equinox Fitness advertising campaign. The heated debates are sparked by the above ad and it’s placement at a street corner that is right beside one of the local public elementary schools on the Upper West Side of Manhattan. Approximately 700+ kindergarten to 5th grade students (with their parents/caregivers) as well as middle school students from surrounding areas walk by the advertisement daily on their way to and from school. Much of the debate has been centred around the fact that many parents think that Equinox acted irresponsibly by advertising in an area that is clearly populated with school age children.

Manhattan is no stranger to this type of shock advertising. In fact you can see it all over the place. I first saw the Equinox ads in the Chelsea area. I thought that they were funny but that they were clearly targeting a different audience than myself. The ads did not make me want to run out and join their gym. At this point in my life I try and stay away from a gym whose ads seems to suggest a workout that involves casual sex, skimpy attire and obsession with body image. No thanks, I like to sweat, make-up free without any judgement on my abs or lack there of.

We actually walk by two Equinox ads on the way to school

I guess this is why I am a little confused by Equinox’ choice to run their ad campaign so close to the school. What demographic is their brand trying to reach out to? Yes, this intersection is a high traffic area but instead of gaining positive attention from the advertising campaign, they have received the exact opposite effect due to the fact that parents have had an immediate visceral “momma/daddy” bear reaction to a depiction of sex on the street corner. I am not sure that this is a wise decision given the fact that there are a numerous fitness establishments to chose from that are within walking distance of the school including the JCC, Pure Yoga, Reebok and NYSC.

As a recent implant to NYC, I find the whole uproar around this ad campaign quite interesting to watch. After all, we are residents of Manhattan, the mecca of advertising. We are bombarded by billboards on a daily basis and well, we all know what Times Square looks like =). I am constantly explaining the meaning of different advertisements to my daughters as we walk down the street. Shock ads are everywhere and unless you intend to live in a bubble, I suggest that you use this type of advertising as a way to open discussion. We have to walk by more than one ad on the way to school that provokes some kind of question. Instead of trying to shelter my children from the ad, I explained why I thought the ad was inappropriate and we also discussed the way marketers target certain groups of people. To be honest, they became bored pretty fast and forgot about the whole thing when we saw a display for Valentine’s cupcakes.

We decided to live in this amazing city with it’s incredible opportunities as well as it’s pitfalls, one of them being the undeniable fact that in some ways NYC kids grow up a little bit faster. Yes, I think Equinox acted irresponsibly in placing a clearly sexual ad right beside an elementary school. But as parents, it is our responsibility to address these discussion-provoking opportunities not avoid them. That being said, I am really glad that my eight year old seemed oblivious to this ad (below) that popped up in the subway not long after we moved here. Some discussions can wait 😉 Have a great day, and alway remember to try and keep a sense of humor!

Ad at a local Subway stop (advertising a movie)

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When we moved to Manhattan, the old time New Yorker’s promised me that winters were mild with very little snow. Well, I am waiting for that weather because so far this winter has been very similar to the crazy and unpredictable weather in beautiful cold and snowy Ottawa. On Thursday we were hit with what the media was calling a “monster” snowstorm. Now, Manhattan is full of drama queens and I was sure that they were over exaggerating. But, sure enough we woke up to find the city covered in 16 inches. A pretty decent storm, even by Canadian standards.

Street View

Riverside Park

The kids were ecstatic because it was a snow day! The schools were closed. I am sure there were cheers throughout the city and a few groans from the parents. I was relieved that we didn’t have to start the crazy morning rush. A snow day, such magical words! I taught for 13 years and had never once heard this much wished for announcement. The girls and I decided to take full advantage of our snow day. First thing on the agenda was a leisurely breakfast of eggs and toast while watching cartoons. We had to conserve our energy because we had a very important playdate to go sledding. No not tobagganning, no one knows what that means here, they call it sledding 🙂

Heading out to go sledding!

The sledding hill

We had a fabulous time. The weather was perfect, not too cold and the sun peaked out every once in a while from behind the clouds. The snow was packed down to perfection on the hill and there was some very fast sledding. A, was caught a bit off guard when she managed to get big “air” but managed to laugh at her massive wipe out. R was content staying on the safer, smaller hills. Rachel and I watched from our snow chairs. The only thing missing was a nice cold beer. Really, some young entrepreneur should really get on that.  Serving drinks to parents at the sledding hill on a snow day could result in some pretty good cash…

Ahhh...snow!!

The super comfy snow chair

Snowman!

We finished the day back at the apartment for pizza, hot chocolate and movies. Everyone crawled into bed that night exhausted after a fun filled day. It was awesome. The girls were hoping for another snow day and I was looking forward to sending them back to school. The weather forecast for this week calls for even more snow. My new friends are starting to blame me saying that I brought the weather with me. I am not quite sure why we are getting soo much “winter”, but I am loving it. If anything, it gives Manhattanites something to talk and complain about. Another similarity they now have with their neighbors up north, eh!

Beautiful!

Beautiful!

Peace

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Ahh, Sesame Street, the good old days!

Yesterday one of the homeless men in my ‘hood saved my life.  Okay, maybe I am exaggerating a bit but he definitely stopped me from possibly being hit by a large truck as I crossed the street outside of my apartment.  I was taking the boys (dogs) out for our daily afternoon walk and I started crossing the street on the walk signal. Stating that I was actually crossing on the walk is important as I am becoming a true New Yorker and hardly pay any attention to the walk signals and usually just cross when the traffic passes. So, there I was trudging across the intersection, dodging the huge slush puddles, in my own little world, when I heard someone yelling “Stop, hey, lookout, stop!” really loud. Now, there are a lot of people yelling on New York streets and if you actually paid attention to all of them, you would get very little done. With good reason, many people tune out and listen to music to avoid the constant noise and commotion.  For some reason I actually looked up at this man and paid attention. I stopped, forcing the people behind me to stop, just as a large truck who was illegally making a left hand turn, barrelled down in front of us, paying no attention to crossing pedestrians. In fact, he barely missed the dogs who were out on the leash ahead of me. The truck passed, I yelled out a thank you to the man who immediately started mumbling about it being cold and dogs and beaches… he barely acknowledged that he had just helped us out, that is the way he is. I continued on my walk, thankful that this man had been paying attention.

I know this man, I see him daily. He is one of the people in my neighborhood. Unfortunately, he is one of the people in our area who is down on his luck. I often see him rummaging through garbage cans, I have had to explain to the children what “homeless” means. It is not an easy lesson to give or learn. My oldest daughter wanted to know why Santa couldn’t bring all of the homeless people homes for Christmas. *Sigh* If only it were that easy… This man is a fixture in our neighborhood, I see him often, he is rarely coherent. He does not beg. He wanders our streets with a sense of community, I have seen him tell people that they can’t park in a certain spot and then in the next breath start ranting about colors. He belongs here. Everyone knows him.

NYC is a place built on neighborhoods and community and I am beginning to explore and get to know mine. There is the guy on the corner who sells fruit, even when it is freezing out. The magazine man who never judges me even though the only reading material I routinely buy is “People” magazine. The nail salon lady who waves at me when I walk by the storefront. The various doormen that I pass on my daily dog walks who go out of their way to wave or say hello. The harmless flirtation with the meat counter man at Fairway. The lady with the little poodle who moves to the other side of the street when she sees me and the big dogs walking by. The Starbucks’ baristas who ask how your day is going and actually listen to the answer. The school crossing card who knows your kids names. I could go on…

My point is, that no matter how fast paced, big or intimidating this city can seem at times, there really is a sense of community and belonging. People do look out for other people in their neighborhood. There is something truly comforting in that. And I for one, am going to be a bit more aware at intersections…have to stop daydreaming and looking up 😉 And I will definitely try to keep the positive karma going and pay it forward!!

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The boys and I heading down to the water.

When you live in Manhattan it is very easy to forget that you live on an island.  I am not sure why this is.  Maybe it is the fact that it is not a tropical island with white sand beaches and palm trees.  It is not like you head on down to the beach and go for a swim in the Hudson River.  I definitely would NOT recommend that 😉 

This week I have been thinking a lot about the water. It must be because it is January, the holidays are over and the weather is a bit gloomy.  At this time of year I always think about a sweet escape to an ocean front getaway. I have also been nursing a nasty head cold and have been spending some quality time on the couch watching the new version of the t.v. show “Hawaii Five-O”.  The beautiful Hawaiian scenery in that show would make anyone want to jump on a plane and fly towards a warmer climate. I have always been drawn towards the water, there is something about it that calms down the voices inside my head and seems to centre me. Maybe it is my Californian roots, I am not sure, but whenever I am feeling down or a little out of sorts, if I spend some time “talking” to the water, I always feel better.

Now, I want to reassure you, I am have not becoming one of those crazy New Yorker’s who ACTUALLY talks to the water. I head towards the water and find a quiet spot and watch the water and the surrounding scenery and let it soothe me. Okay, this may still sound a bit crazy and weird but I never pretended to be totally sane! 😉 At this time of year, the pathways along the river are almost deserted and it really is one of the places you can go in the city to find some actual quiet.  The trees block the traffic noise and it is incredibly beautiful.

A January day- overlooking the Hudson River

The Road Less Traveled

The Boat Basin

I am beginning to realize that in order to survive the insanity that is New York City, you must find a balance.  A balance between jumping whole heartedly into the chaos and finding the strength to jump out as well, to find the places that with re-energize and centre you. I am lucky that I can easily escape to the water.  A quick walk with the dogs gives me the time to re-group, spend some time with my thoughts and pause for a moment. Then I turn around, look at the amazing skyline, smile, take a deep breath and walk back into the city that never stops!

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After a wonderful, relaxing Christmas day with the family, almost if on cue, (a day late) a winter storm started to roll into the East Coast. In typical New York fashion, the first snowfall of the year was not going to be a small affair and the winter storm watch quickly turned into a full blown blizzard warning.  There was much excitement in our apartment.  I think we were all just a wee bit sad that there was no snow for Christmas and we were super psyched to finally experience our first snowfall in Manhattan.

As the first snowflake hit the ground, the girls began to panic as the crazy carpets had not made it with us in the move.  Grandma saved the day by going out to our local sports store and scooping up two magic saucers.  Impatience set in and the girls wanted to head to the park even though there was not nearly enough snow yet for downhill fun.  Out we went, the wind was howling and the snow was already gusting sideways as we made our way down to Riverside Park.  We passed many Manhattanites who were making last minute purchases at the grocery and liquor stores, stocking up for the impending storm.

Our hearty Canadian girls were the only ones brave enough to endure the wintery park conditions!!

Funny, although New York City is located in the state of New York, which definitely gets its share of winter weather, many people in Manhattan seem ill prepared to deal with ACTUAL winter weather.  We passed numerous people whose only defence against the elements were rainboots, ball caps and layered clothing.  Of course, we did see many lavish fur coat/hat/boot combos as well. The umbrellas also come out here… something that you would NEVER see in Ottawa.  Don’t even get me started on dog coats!!

There really is something truly magical about the falling snow and I forced both Paul and Ron off of the couch and made them go for a walk last night. There was barely anyone on the streets, car or pedestrian and it was extremely peaceful navigating the snow filled avenues. The city itself looks totally different covered in snow and there was a sense of calm that is rare to find during the crazy daylight hours.

Subway entrance 79th and Broadway

Even in a blizzard, the bike guys are still delivering- CRAZY!!

After a surprisingly quiet night (very few sirens or anything else going on) we woke up to a true winter wonderland in Manhattan.  No early morning joggers, although a few adventurous types were trying to get in some exercise!

Skiing down Broadway

The streets and sidewalks were barely passable and 20+ inches of snow had fallen, virtually shutting down the city and its surrounding boroughs.  The girls were ecstatic and immediately demanded that we bundle up and head out to find a hill to try out sledding in New York City.  Out we went, the wind was howling but we were determined.  We lasted 30 minutes but the girls had a blast and we all enjoyed a bit of Starbucks on the walk home.

All bundled up and ready to go...

Fun on the hill!

R, taking a break

A, having a blast!

Dopey enjoying the snowy park

Looking down 83rd Street

VERY glad we don't have a car!!

So, what to do for the rest of the day? As the city starts to shovel itself out of the snow, it is a great feeling to be snowed in with no where to go and nothing to do. The kettle is boiling, there are still leftovers and cookies, movies are easily downloaded and worst case scenario, I might have to have a nap 😉 Every once in a while even Manhattan is forced to slow down and I am going to enjoy every minute of it!  Stay warm and safe my friends. If you are in the neighbourhood, I will have the hot chocolate waiting…

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It is an incredibly beautiful day today in New York City.  The air is crisp and cold and the sun is shining brightly.  With only a week to go before Christmas the only thing missing is snow! Every once and awhile I catch myself walking down the street and I think that Christmas in NYC reminds me a bit of what it must be like to live in a movie set.  I know that this must sound strange but right now walking down the streets in Manhattan is very similar to how Hollywood movies portray Christmas. There is a man from the Salvation Army ringing his bell on most corners.  Beautifully done up women in fur coats are stepping out of taxi’s with packages.  Store front windows are decorated.  Carollers are singing on the subway, walking down the streets and in front of stores.  Restaurants are closed for private parties and if you glimpse inside you can see glamourous outfits and decadent meals. Homeless people are asking for money and many are giving, usually with a warm greeting returned with a “God Bless You”. Kids are dressed up in their finest going to pageants and concerts alike.  Men and women in Santa hats spill out of the local bars filled with good cheer. Families are picking out and bringing home trees. There is a definite hustle and bustle.  The only thing missing on this “movie set”  is the softly falling snow.

The Girls Getting Ready To See Their First Ballet! (Part of the Christmas Magic)

Now, don’t get me wrong, there is still the insanity that this time of year brings and not everything is all candy canes and sugar plum fairies.  There just seems to be something truly magical right now in the city. An excitement and energy.  Little reminders that the concrete jungle has a gentler, kinder side.  I know that January is right around the corner and with it the reality of a harsh winter of cold slushy streets, grumpy people and far fetched resolutions.  But right now, I am going to enjoy this movie-like fantasy Manhattan. Yes, I am, and Bah-Humbug to anyone who tries to yell “cut”!!

And, just in case you are wondering, I checked the long term forecast for NYC.  We are supposed to get snow next week on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day… right on cue 😉

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This Barista Makes a New Hat For Every Season- Beyond Awesome!!

 

 

Taking Time Out to Write in Central Park

 

 

Catching Some Rays at the Dog Park

 

 

Patriotic Pee Post (aka Fire Hydrant)

 

 

Cupcakes to Go!

 

 

Did Someone Say Candy?!

 

 

No, YOU are!

 

 

Peace in the City

 

 

The Cathedral Church of St. John of the Divine

 

 

A & R Climbing the Trees NOT the Walls

 

 

NYC

 

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Oh Yes, He Is Stalking Worthy 😉

Yes, there are many celebrities in New York. If you have ever read People Magazine or US Weekly, you will see that they are just like you and I, except for all of the fame, fortune and paparazzi that follow their every move.  Just like us, my ass.  Or are they?  I have now lived in NYC for two and a bit months and I have SEEN some celebrities.  Most notably, the President and his motorcade that just happened to cross our paths as the girls and I were walking home from camp one day.  Oh, and last weekend we walked by Anderson Cooper- gorgeous, but much shorter in real life. Just like Taye Diggs, who my friends and I saw at a Broadway Show once. I am sure that I have seen numerous other celebrities too.  When I say I am sure, I mean, I am not totally sure at all.  Because yes, they are like us. I have been out on the street and walked by a person and thought “Hey, that looks like…” or “I wonder if that was…” There are millions of people in NYC and they tend to just blend in, most of the time. Sometimes they are just too famous to be ignored.

This morning, I received a breathless phone call from my good Canadian friend (living in NYC) who shall remain nameless.  She was beside herself with excitement.  A friend had called her to say that Matt Damon was currently in the park with his children.  This friend of mine had been desperately trying to see Matt Damon (he lives in her ‘hood) since she moved to NYC, a year and a half ago.  All of her other friends that lived around her had seen him but she seemed to ‘just miss him’ all the time.  Today, she was determined.  She raced out her door and ran (not walked) to the park only to get half way there and find out via text that he had just left.  This did not deter my stubborn friend, she decided to wait near his building on the off chance that he would return home.  Her determination was rewarded as she caught a brief glance of the Damon family as their paths crossed.  She was elated.  I mean, who wouldn’t be?  Matt Damon, in the flesh- yummy!

Is this crazy? Maybe. Fun? Sure.  I mean really, if you are going to live in NYC, you might as well try and do a little celebrity watching (err, stalking) from time to time. Would I have scrambled out of the apartment to see Matt Damon?  Hmmm… hard to say.  I guess if I had nothing else to do 😉 After all, I have been known to walk the dogs by the Gossip Girl set when filming or stand on a street corner watching scenes of movies being shot. I think I would prefer my BIG celebrity sighting to be random.  This probably means that I will be picking up a large dog turd and will come face to face with Brad Pitt.  I will keep you posted… Remember, It’s Always An Adventure!

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