Thursday, March 16, 2017

The Statue of Liberty + Ellis Island



We just spent a great long, albeit insanely freeing, weekend in NYC. In fact, it was so freaking cold that I hardly took any pictures -- my hands needed to stay bundled up! Nevertheless, I thought I'd share a few highlights of our trip. It had been a while since we'd taken the kids and a bunch of things just fell in place for a quick jaunt. So we took the kids up last Friday on the train, which was a first for them. It's so much easier than flying or driving (plus, we tested out a bunch of new travel games and activities, so keep your eyes peeled for an update post on those in advance of spring break!).


Joel had to be in the city Friday and Monday for work, so we stayed downtown at new hotel The Beekman. The historical building was gorgeous and I loved that they offered a good-sized (for New York) room with two queen beds. I hate when we have to jam into tiny beds or spring for a suite or adjoining rooms. And even though it is downtown, its super close to several subway stops and therefore incredibly easy to get pretty much anywhere.



After we got up there and settled in, we headed a few blocks over to Wall Street to check out the Fearless Girl statue. It was mobbed, but I was able to snap a few photos of the kids. They didn't quite get why it was so inspiring ... until we walked past the bull and a group of dudes taking pictures holding the bull's babymaking business. That seemed to help them understand a little better the need for supporting women in leadership positions. But the wind was whipping up and everyone was starving. So we headed to nearby Stone Street to grab some pizza at Adrienne's Pizza Bar. Actually, they had pizza while I had a salad. But I was trying to limit my non-Paleo meals and didn't want to get off track on the first lunch -- but the kids reported that the pizza was insanely delicious.

We took a ride uptown to meet their Aunt Veronica in Central Park. The plan was to let the kids run around for a bit before hitting up MoMA's UNIQULO free Friday nights. But the line for MoMA was out the door and around the block. And there was no way I was making the kids stand in line in that weather. So instead we headed back downtown to the West Village to pop in various stores. The kids had a visit to Sockerbit high up on their list, so we went and indulged them in plenty of sugar to keep their spirits up. When that no longer did the trick, we hightailed it back to the hotel to warm up before steak frites at nearby Les Halles.




Everyone was up and early the next morning for our planned trip to the Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island. I'm not normally one for overly touristy trips, but given the current state of our country and political climate, I thought a trip to get some idea what immigrants went through to get here might be helpful. Our visit was a little last minute, so I was only able to get tickets to go into the pedestal, not all the way up to the crown. It was also 28 F degrees as we stood in line to board the ferry to Liberty Island. But the tour was super cool (I thought the audio guide was well done) and the kids seemed to have a better appreciation of how our country was built. As we stood looking up at Lady Liberty and talking about immigration, Kane remarked that he thought all of the gains and freedoms we've made are stacked together like a game of Jenga. Each one built and balancing upon previous wins such that when you start to pick and knock at any of them, you risk toppling all of them. It was a just a tiny conversation, but I was glad our visit spurred it on.



And our next stop at Ellis Island was just as great (also, it was inside!). We spent a while sitting in the Registry Room, on original benches immigrants waited on to hear whether they'd be allowed in or not. We tagged on to a ranger tour for a bit (I forgot our NPS passports again!), which was another great way to get some colorful stories. Eventually the kids had had it with educational information and needed a break.

So we headed back to Manhattan to meet up with some fam at Chelsea Piers. Kane had been dying to play his aunt in some laser tag and I knew the Bowlmor there had that and a little arcade too. It was the perfect way to warm up and let the kids do a real kid activity for a bit. After that, I dragged everyone up to the High Line, but it was just too cold stay up there for long. Plus, no one had eaten in at least 20 minutes, so they were starving for dinner. We took a quick ride over to Brooklyn for the meal I'd been saving up for: deeelish Mexican at Gran Electrica. I can't really explain how good tortilla chips taste after you haven't eaten them in 10 weeks. But everyone else corroborated how tasty the meal was, so you don't have to trust my carb-starved self.

All in all, a wonderfully balanced day!

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