living a well tended life... at any age

the same, yet different

As I readied myself to resume my weekly outings with Noah (if you recall, the “actual” first was shoe shopping), I knew that there would be some changes from last year.

Last year I could have easily spent the day at a museum, with Noah content in the stroller for much of the time. Now I knew I’d have a shorter “window”, and would need to plan an additional activity – ideally of the playground variety – to round out the day.

This worked out well as I wanted to see an exhibit at the Whitney Museum, which is only a block away from Central Park. I knew we’d find a playground nearby, and as the day was beautiful and unseasonably warm we headed off to the Upper East Side!

If you read this blog regularly, you know that I’m typically a “downtown” kind of girl. The village, Soho, Tribeca – I much prefer the diversity, culture, fashion and overall vibe of those neighborhoods.

But when I do find myself uptown, I have to say that I really enjoy the change of pace.
new york city, upper east side

It’s so clean. And the sidewalks are wide and flat (cobblestones are totally charming but a real drag when you have an umbrella stroller in tow).

And the buildings, storefronts and tree-lined streets are truly lovely to look at – like walking through a real life “Breakfast at Tiffany’s”.

new york city, upper east side

And, truth be told, there is something oddly comforting about being surrounded by ALL THAT MONEY. I don’t know what it is – it’s not like I can relate to the doormen, “ladies-of-a-certain-age-who-lunch”, or tourists buckling under the weight of their many many shopping bags.

Of course I know that money can’t buy happiness. But it never fails – as I look around I always get a sense of calm and security – like somewhere, for some people anyway – all is right with the world.

new york city, upper east side

The exhibit – “Fireflies on the Water” – was something I thought that Noah would love, but had to be planned carefully. I had read about the lines, the timed entry and long waits. I couldn’t risk an hour in line or a hungry toddler.

So we started the day with lunch at one of the last remaining “real” coffee shops in the city – Viand. It’s the kind of place where you can still count on a tiny paper cup filled with straight up cole slaw, a limp pickle and a proper grilled cheese sandwich. On white bread. With American cheese.

new york city, viand coffee shop

Really, is there anything better?

After lunch I strolled over to the museum.  It was perfect – we were about 20 minutes early and the line was not long at all. Noah was a champ and waited very patiently.

new york city, pretzel

A big NYC pretzel helped a little.

We poked around the gift shop till it was time to queue up to enter the exhibit. We sat in an anteroom and watched as a door opened and closed, in one-minute intervals, and people filed (one at a time) in and out of the exhibit room. Noah enjoyed scooching around the benches as we got closer and closer to the door.

whitney museum, fireflies on the water

Finally it was our turn – and it was awesome. A room completely lined with mirrors and filled with small colored lights. You entered via a walkway suspended over water, further enhancing the feeling that you were floating in space.

whitney museum, fireflies on the water

Noah was mesmerized, and I even got a few pictures in.

whitney museum, fireflies on the water

whitney museum, fireflies on the water

I’m sure those of you with “littles” can relate to the feeling of success when an outing that seems a bit challenging – outcome uncertain – actually goes off exactly as planned.

Score!

After our “minute” we headed over to Central Park to hit the first playground we found.

And lo and behold we wound up in the exact same spot that we visited on our first outing last year.

It was kind of magical.

new york city, central park

I watched Noah climb, run and slide with more confidence. I patted myself on the back for (finally) remembering to pack  a few sand toys on every city outing – just in case. And when I got home, I marveled at the changes in my little guy over the last year.

new york city, central park

I hope that I can continue to “flex” as Noah grows and evolves, so that we can continue to explore the incredible culture that the city has to offer, and have some fun in the process.

new york city, central park, alice in wonderland

2011

new york city, central park, alice in wonderland

2012

If you’re in New York this month, “Fireflies on the Water” runs till October 27th. I highly recommend it. I also enjoyed this New York Times piece on the construction of the exhibit.

I’m curious – how do you manage to plan fun outings for everyone, while keeping up with your child’s growth and changes? Would you share your tips here?

Oh – and don’t forget to enter to win a copy of Dinner: A Love Story? I’m giving away a copy this week!

14 Comments

  1. jodi on October 17, 2012 at 7:42 am

    What a lovely exhibit… on my list for the fall, for sure. How wonderful to read about Viand. My husband and I had breakfast there the morning after our wedding. I miss the UES coffee shops. Nectar, Three Guys. Perfect comfort food!

    • sherisilver on October 17, 2012 at 9:10 am

      Thanks Jodi! xo

  2. Sandra on October 17, 2012 at 7:50 am

    Funny that you write about playgrounds. Well, not FUNNY but it DID remind me of my own NYC playground story.

    Like you, we LOVE roaming around the city and have been dragging the girl since she was 5 months old. One of her first NYC photos is on a blanket in Madison Square Park.

    We’d go back a few times a year and got to know more playgrounds – like you note, they ARE a requirement to burn off some steam after a museum or gallery.

    The one at Madison Square Park was perfect for many years. Concerts and puppet shows in the summer. Water park for those steamy, hot days. And the Shake Shack for a picnic lunch or 11 Madison Square Park when we were feeling “fancy”.

    We went there this year when the girl was six and I was all choked up. All teary because, you see, the girl was now too old for that playground. She suddenly outgrew it.

    We had to find some new favourites that were up to speed (meaning – enough monkey bars to challenge). Sniff…

    And Viand! That was MY first diner on my first trip to NYC. Single girl about town staying with a boy who lived there! The Red Flame Diner on 44th & 6th is a good one too.

    • sherisilver on October 17, 2012 at 8:14 am

      I just love that you have almost as many NYC experiences as I do! I totally get the weepiness too….xo

  3. Leslie on October 17, 2012 at 8:46 am

    I wish I could see that exhibit. It looks fabulous! With five kids well apart in age, we often find ourselves at events that aren’t as fun or meaningful for some of us as for the others. At museums I let the little ones absorb as much as they can and then follow them to the end where we wait for the rest of the family. Some day I will get to take my time and read all the displays again, I suppose. I’ve never let other people’s ideas of what is appropriate or fun for small kids stop me from taking them to concerts, plays, and museums and allowing them to get whatever they can from the experience.

    • sherisilver on October 17, 2012 at 9:12 am

      I know what you mean – we only have 3 but they are far apart in age too – hard to satisfy everyone!

  4. Jen on October 17, 2012 at 8:24 pm

    Oh those last two photos melted my heart!

    And that exhibit looks incredible. I want to see it!

    • sherisilver on October 17, 2012 at 9:02 pm

      Thanks Jen – yes, you would LOVE this exhibit! xo

  5. Christa the BabbyMama on October 18, 2012 at 9:30 am

    I sure do miss the stroller days where going out often meant going where I wanted to go – versus what would be educational and/or entertaining for the P. And, you know, staying places for longer than the average kiddo’s attention span…

    • sherisilver on October 18, 2012 at 10:49 am

      Yes – that’s EXACTLY the spot we’re in now!

  6. Marti on October 18, 2012 at 10:39 pm

    You’re little boy is so adorable!
    I really enjoy your Blog and really look forward to reading everyday or when I’m able.
    It must be so nice to live in the NYC and be able to enjoy as you said either the upper east side or the culture of Tribeca and/or SOHO how cool is that.
    I fell in love with NYC and hope to go back many times again with my wonderful husband.
    As for family outing ideas I don’t really have any we don’t have human kids only furry four legged kids maybe later not sure.
    Take care.
    Marti

    • sherisilver on October 19, 2012 at 6:51 am

      Thanks SO much for your lovely comments – they mean the world to me! I do feel lucky to be so close to the city, and try to take as much advantage as possible. Let me know if you are planning a trip back soon! 🙂

  7. Melanie on October 20, 2012 at 12:28 pm

    I would love to take Nathaniel to that exhibit. He would love it. Looking forward to more outings with Noah. I love this series. xo

    • sherisilver on October 20, 2012 at 1:05 pm

      Aww thanks so much my friend! xo

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