NYC – Dinos and Getting Lost

Slept in this morning a bit. Zoe and I are sleeping together on Tyler’s bed – Avi is on the couch, but I push it up to the bed.  After some breakfast we just played in Tylers apartment for a while until about noon.  I got a shower, the kids each took a bath, and I looked up directions to our adventure for the day – The American Natural History Museum and Grant’s Tomb (if possible).  At noon, we headed out the door.  The subways here in New York are just not stroller friendly so it’s good we have a small one.  I have to carry the stroller with Avi in it up and down stairs while Zoe walks behind.  Once up on the elevated rail I bought a $10 pass and we were on our way!  In Astoria the subway line is actually above ground and elevated at about 2 stories up, so there is a cool view of the city before it ducks under the water into Manhattan.  We switched trains once to ride up to the museum, where there is a museum entrance in the subway station!

Odd, though, that the museum has ‘suggested’ prices – they require you to stand in line to get a ticket, tell you how much the ticket should cost, and then ask how much of that you want to pay.  I chose to only pay for my rate, not Zoe too.  Seemed overpriced.  Anyway, we booked it up stairs to the dinos where Zoe was in heaven.  It was pretty crowded, but fun.  We spent an hour and a half in dinoland before going downstairs to see the ‘people’ displays.  Zoe was getting sleepy and Avi was getting bored of the stroller, though, so we left.  Walked across the street to Central park and found a lovely group of boulders to sit on and eat our packed lunch.  I brought along some cheese and crackers, carrots, chickpeas, and pretzels.  Yum.  Avi was less interested in food than he was in was in pushing the stroller around and climbing all over the rocks.  It was good to be outside burning off some energy.  At this point I could tell Zoe was getting sleepy too, so I plopped her in the stroller and put Avi in the carrier back to subway – where there are more stations with elevators – and onto the train.

This morning when I looked up directions I wrote down to get off the C train at 168th street….no idea why….Grants Tomb is nowhere near there.  Wait, wait, I’m ahead of myself.  The fiasco started when we got to the subway platform and there where no C trains coming – construction or something.  So, I hopped on the B train for a bit figuring I could switch at one of the stations before 145th.  I did just that, and it worked out OK.  By that time Zoe was asleep in the stroller and Avi was crying.  Once I got on the train I got him out of the snugli and nursed….then he fell asleep.  So, thank goodness the train wasn’t too crowded, as I laid him on my lap, put on the snugli while sitting and plopped him into it with moments to spare before our stop.  He amazingly stayed asleep.  we got off at 168th street at 4pm – the Grants tomb visitor center closes at 5pm.  I took the elevator up to the street and got out my iphone to navigate where to walk…it showed us 50 blocks away!!! what!?  I looked up the place on the website and I was nowhere near it.  Why the hell I wrote down 168th street I still just don’t know – I guess I was busy this morning as we got ready.  Anyway I lucked out that the 1 train is at the same station so I went back down, got on the 1 south and figured that if it stopped at 116th BEFORE 4:30 I’d get off and try for the tomb, otherwise we were headed home.  Well, it stopped right at 4:30 so I got off and CARRIED ZOE in the stroller up steps.  gag.  A lady helped me up a second set thank god!  It started to drizzle on us as we walked to the site, and actually felt kind of good since it had been so hot.

Let me stop here, quickly, and say that I have a moderate obsession with getting my little National Parks passport book stamped at all the parks in the country.  It’s kind of a life goal, and Grants tomb is one of them.  Hence, the need to go through all this hassle to get there.  I don’t actually care that much about Ulysses S. Grant.

Up on land I booked it 8 blocked to the tomb and it was open!  By this time Zoe woke, so I made her walk up the steps.  We peered over the edge.  There it is.  Now, where is the passport stamp?  The ranger said the visitor center is another block toward the water, so we ran as it was now 5 to 5….and made it!!! yippee!!  Bonus that there were 2 stamps; one for grant and one for another park that is currently closed.  success.

By now it was full-up (to use a Bryan term) raining.  We walked back toward broadway and I used my iphone to find out where the 60 bus picked up.  I recalled seeing online in the morning that that bus went a more direct route back to Astoria than the train.  Amazingly I found it and we saw the bus go by as we waited at the orange hand telling us not to cross the street.  The next should be in 8 minutes, but 30 minutes later it pulled up – FULL – and we got on. Luckily there had been an overhang to protect us from the rain while we waited or I would’ve given up and taken the subway to avoid being drenched. On board, I collapsed the stroller with help from some other passengers and a guy let me have his seat.  So, we were off.  The bus is more interesting as you can see the city as you go, but it’s kind of slow going in traffic.  Zoe sat on my lap for a bit til a seat opened up and then Avi nursed.  The ride was great – straight through Harlem, passed the Apollo, and then over the bridge to Astoria.  It was a 10 minute walk (in the rain) back to Tylers.  We got back in around 7pm and ate some leftover Indian food for dinner.  When Tyler got in after work we went back out on the town!

At what would normally be my kids’ bedtime we walked out into the Astoria night.  This is a great neighborhood!  nice for familys, singles, whoever.  There are lots of parks, restaurants, nice apartments, and even homes with yards.  very cool.  We were on our way to Tyler’s friends yoga studio.  She had just finished a class and we were going to hang out and play some games.  Zoe loved all the lights from the city, and especially from the restaurant across from the yoga studio.  Avi slept in the stroller.  We had fun hanging out with his friends and played a super fun drawing game. Zoe enjoyed running around in the space and rolling up into the yoga mats.  It was fun!  We walked back – and Zoe was a zombi.  Back at the apartment she rolled onto the bed and fell right asleep.  Avi woke and nursed and went back to sleep….I checked the clock….1am!  what!?  wow.  The city that never sleeps in right.

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