This morning Zoe and Avi enjoyed a relaxing time at Tylers apartment. Avi woke early even after our late night, but then fell asleep for a nap just as Zoe woke up. So, she played happily with her animal toys for a while until we were ready to head out for the day.
Our first stop: Kiddo Yoga with Tyler’s friend Jodi. We walked to her place and had a great time! Zoe loved that the class had a lot of songs and a story. In fact, later in the day she started singing “yoga clock”. Avi crawled around on me and helped me participate too. After yoga Zoe got to meet jodi’s super chubby fluffy cat, which was a huge highlight for her.
When we left Jodi’s we walked to the nearest train stop and started our next adventure: get the National parks stamps in lower Manhattan! Tyler navigated the subway today, thank goodness, because there was a lot of construction going on with certain routes closed. It was also alot nicer to have him along for the kids – Zoe had a hand to hold and lap to sit on while I pushed Avi and entertained him in the stroller. Both of them seem to get a bit groggy on the subway so by the time we arrived at Wall street they were napping. We had switched Zoe to the stroller and I carried Avi in the Snugli. Tyler helped lug the stroller up the steps of Federal Hall and we went in the check out the rotunda and stamp the passport. This is where George Washington was inaugurated since NYC was the capital briefly after the revolution. I chatted with the lady at the desk about getting to our other destination -you know, the BIG one in New York – and we left. Luckily, it wasn’t a far walk south to the Battery Park so we popped in a deli along the way and grabbed a few sandwiches for lunch. the kids were still! asleep! As we continued down to the waterfront area we passed the statue of the Bull and saw some kids doing a little show out front of the Castle Clinton monument. Here was my next stamp! yippee.. but …. where is my book? … oh no…… can’t find it.
I almost panicked before realizing I MUST HAVE set it down on the counter at the Federal Hall visitor center when I chatted with the park ranger. Well, now we were strapped for time, but I wasn’t about to board the Statue of Liberty boat without my passport book!! I had a half hour – so I booked it back up to Federal Hall and made it in 7 minutes (Avi still in the snugli, but very awake now and squawking at everything!). Tyler stayed with Zoe at Battery Park and watched the little kid acting troupe do their show. I suppose it was entertaining enough. When I walked into the visitor center the ranger must’ve seen the panic in my eyes as she said, “I knew you’d be back” and pulled that precious little blue book out from under the desk. RELIEF. I thanked her and then hustled out and down the stairs and back 5 blocks the Battery Park. Tyler was also very relieved that I found my book. That could have been devastating. I rushed in to the Castle Clinton visitor center and got my stamp. This was an old fort built during the war of 1812 to keep the Brits out of New York. It really is a cool brick fort, but mostly it a housing place for the Statue of Liberty ticket line.
I booked our Statue ferry a few days ago to ensure we didn’t have to stand in line and that we got on. Being a Saturday and sunny it was packed!! Even with pre-bought tickets we waited in the security line for a good half hour. Neither of the children enjoyed this. Zoe was whiny and was still in the stroller for a while, and Avi started to really fuss. He needed to nurse. It was hot. Tyler, though, stayed calm and chilled as we dealt with the kids. He is great with them! especially Zoe. After we got through the security line it was another gaggle of people in a line for the next boat. We lucked out and were some of the first to get on, so we grabbed seats inside on the bottom deck. Tyler agreed it was completely unnecessary to lug the stroller and kids up onto the hot sunny topdeck. We could see just fine out our big window. I nursed Avi while the rest of the crowd boarded – and raced past me to go up top. Tyler took Zuzz up to see what all the fuss was about. We made a good choice to stay low. The boat sped along nicely with my kids hanging out the window. Zoe loved seeing the sailboats out on the water and Avi kept reaching for … something …. and chatted at the breeze. Tyler, of course, documented all of this like a good videographer. He said it was nice to get his new video cam out, and he sure used it alot. Every time I turned around he seemed to be videoing again. It will be fun to see the footage of our trip with a nice quality cam – like our own little reality show!
As the boat neared the Statue of Liberty we got a lot of pictures and got ready to get off. However, we noticed two things: 1. the line to get back ON the boat was humongous and all exposed in the sun. AND 2. the last boat to leave the statue and continue on to Ellis Island was at 5pm – in 40 minutes. There was no way to do both. Well there isn’t much actually AT the statue of liberty. The visitor center for the park and all the immigration info and museum are at Ellis, so we stayed on the boat. I know. No pictures from the bottom of lady liberty, but truly it would have been miserable and not worth the hassle. We got some great shots from the boat and from Ellis. Ellis island is a nice tree lined place. After gaggling off the boat with the hoard we made our way into the building and got our stamp! Yippee! Three in one day, and 5 for the weekend. That was the last one in NYC, too, except one park that is currently closed.
At Ellis we filled our water bottles. Tyler is really good at reminding us all to drink water and seek out a fountain for a refill. We wandered around the exhibits – incredible that people immigrated with all there possessions in duffel bags or maybe on a small wheel barrow. Zoe liked all the pictures of people and pretending We were just off the boat and moving to America. She wanted her picture with these people and wanted to be called ‘kid’ and given her ticket….but she soon bored of the museum. Avi was also getting restless in the stroller so we went outside for some ice cream and time under the trees. The vendor was about to close, but luckily, allowed us to make the final ice cream purchase of the day! Zoe promptly dropped hers on the grass. She seemed satisfied with the cone. Tyler and I sat down in the grass ready for a rest. No luck. Avi now wanted to walk about and Zoe ran amuk. We spent a while on the grass before getting in line for the next boat back to the city. We hopped on a train and zipped up to Central Park for the evening.
In the park Zoe had a blast running around on a big boulder. There were also musicians, dancers, and giant bubbles to play with. We found a great big fountain that Zoe put her feet in and Avi splashed for a bit. The park was buzzing with people, but still so relaxing and nice. It is truly a great place. Zoe raced me and played “shark” with Uncle Tyler. Of course that involved her being chased as usual, and Tyler was over it well before she was as usual. That’s OK, there was more park to see on the way back. She liked seeing the horses and carriages and spotted a raccoon!
As the sun set we walked back to the subway and rode to Astoria. Tylers neighborhood is very eclectic with lots of restaurants and ethnic variety. many Greek, middle eastern and asian places all together. It’s great. We decided on middle eastern for dinner and walked up to that area, found a place, and sat down for dinner. It was a bit awkward…I guess this place wasn’t used to kids. They didnt have a high chair, warned us they’d be smoking hookah, didn’t take credit cards, and then didn’t have what Tyler wanted. Even after that, though, the falafal was good and the berry juice was delicious. It was late by the time we walked home, so Zoe rode on my back and Avi took in all the lights from the stroller. He seems to really like light and noise and will make his own noise to match! We all crashed hard after a busy day.