Yep, I ventured into the city for my first time, and decided to do it solo with both kids. I wish I could say that hilarity ensued and there were so many misadventures I have to break it into multiple posts but sadly, for a city with such a reputation for crazies and congestion, my day-trip went off without a hitch. I was frankly far more impressed by the purple mowhawk-sporting punk rocker that was walking a rooster on a leash in Eugene, OR when I was 12, but that's just me. This could have a lot to do with the fact that we were on the Upper East Side, too, though.
I was helped greatly by Alex's husband who basically created a tailored list of directions for me to drive to Yonkers and then take the train to Grand Central Station; complete with a list of terms that would 'immediately and irrevocably alienate me from all New Yorkers', and a brief but concise explanation of the street/avenue orientation of Manhattan that came in handy more than once.
I was meeting my sister-in-law LuLu, who was visiting "the city" (should that be spelled like a proper name, as in discussing Him?) from Oregon and had joked that I should get in the car with the kids and meet her for lunch. "Umm...okay." I think she thought I'd just laugh it off, but people don't quite get the level of my unrequited "NYC as seen on SATC" obsession.
The utter lack of freaky people, wall-to-wall noisy pedestrians and situations in which I felt uncomfortable was a little disappointing, but I got over it. H was a trouper as we walked for almost four hours, which is really about twenty-four in pre-schooler time. I borrowed an Ergo carrier (definitely going to invest in one now!) from a friend and had H on the red-neck
We ate lunch outside near Grand Central, then got on the subway and explored Central Park, capping off our stay with Tasti D-Lite which I have to say, as a soft-serve fan, was mighty tasty indeed.
Seriously, the biggest people watching shocker I have to report was when I deduced that the lovely girl sitting across from us on the train back to Yonkers was quite possibly a "dancer/entertainer"...and I don't mean at the Met.
What first appeared to be dewy, glowing skin under the harsh lights of the tunnel was revealed in the sunlight of Harlem to be body glitter over a fake-n-bake tan. The phone conversation in which she proclaimed to a friend to have "went in, made some money, and bounced" and that her plans for the rest of the day were "Heading to Westchester...but don't worry, I'm bringing us back some 'presents'...you'll see tomorrow..." as she smiled coyly and sipped from the pink straw in her clear plastic cup. The cup she'd filled with wine from a small bottle in her purse after wryly proclaiming to me while flouncing in the seat "Long day!" further served to prove my suspicion. But she was nice to, and tolerant of, my kids and I really don't ask for much more than that.
Saving the best for last, I debated about this one's retelling but in the spirit of fairness here goes...I didn't want Charlie to feel left out in later tales of humiliation, so I decided to get uncontrollable diarrhea about an hour and a half into the trip(what?! I'm an anxious driver when the destination is unfamiliar, so I can't have breakfast and consume lots of caffeine!), during which he had to be on my lap in the bathroom, as I was without aforementioned stroller. (note to self; okay to still bring stroller in the car).
Yep, same thing that happened with H when he Charlie's age...only that time, I was at the sketchville rest area at Dead Man's Pass, not a clean and comfy gas station in Connecticut. But, Potayto Potahto.
Now that I've got my first city-bound trip under my belt, I'm thirsty for more. Going with a 'non-tourist attraction' agenda probably helped in the stress-level, as there were no rushes or deadlines (other than just leaving the city by mid-afternoon, which turned into early evening; read: rush-hour). Also, a trip sans kids and into Greenwich Village may up the SJP sighting quotient, no? And they really do strut around the city in those fabulous shoes!