If you missed Part 1 of our family trip to New York City, you can find it here.
The thing I miss most about New York City is Central Park, so it was the next thing on our Must Do list. We started our day at the park at the Dairy, then the Carousel (celebrating its’ 100th birthday), and next the Chess & Checkers house where my son proceeded to kick my butt in checkers.
On the way to the zoo we stopped at Billy Johnson playground to take a few spins in the huge granite slide built into the ground, my daughter was more interested in climbing every rock that we passed; it made for a very slow trek through the park, but a great view. Central Park Zoo is small—easily seen in an hour or so—but inexpensive and worth a tour just to see the polar bears, who were in a playful mood that day and put on quite a show. The penguin house was great too because it was very cold and a welcome retreat from the humidity.
Leaving Central Park we walked down 5th Ave to FAO Schwarz, another place my daughter was eager to explore. It was as big and inviting as it had been in the past, with a few modifications. There is now a huge candy section on the first floor (no doubt trying to compete with Dylan’s Candy Bar) and the Big Piano has been moved upstairs to its own room.
While an orderly line manned by an employee gave visitors a chance to dance for quite a long time alone, and mandatory shoe-less feet no doubt helps to keep the piano in working order, the experience was less fun. Part of the magic of the Big Piano used to be the spontaneous discovery of it in the middle of the store. However, FAO is still a very hands-on toy store; my kids had a ball playing with everything. The newest thing seemed to be custom-designed toys with design-your-own-doll by Barbie and design-your-own car by Hot Wheels.
After a quick dip into the coolest Mac store ever and a wave to Eloise at The Plaza Hotel, we met Husband and friends for dinner at Primehouse New York for the best steak. My choice, the sea bass, was excellent and the décor was very fabulous. My son particularly enjoyed viewing the aging beef on the way to the restroom.
On Wednesday we started our day at The Metropolitan Museumof Art, one the best museums in the world and impossible to see in one day, so we got a map and planned our adventure. And what an adventure it was because we were perpetually lost, dazed and confused. Some of the highlights were the musical instruments, the Temple of Dendur, the suits of armor, Degas’ ballerina statue and the bed that Claudia and Jamie used in From The Mixed Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler. There is actually a museum publication that helps you find all the art mentioned in the book; it is not displayed but if you ask at the information desk, they will give you a copy.
In addition to the regular galleries and exhibition halls, there were two special exhibits at the museum. An installation of sculptures by Jeff Koons was displayed on the Roof Garden with a gorgeous view of Central Park and surrounding Manhattan skyline. The sculptures looked like big mylar balloons and the kids loved them.
My favorite exhibit was Superheroes: Fashion and Fantasy. As explained by the Met: The symbolic and metaphorical associations between fashion and the superhero are explored in this compelling exhibition. Featuring movie costumes, avant-garde haute couture, and high-performance sportswear, it reveals how the superhero serves as the ultimate metaphor for fashion and its ability to empower and transform the human body. Objects are organized thematically around particular superheroes, whose movie costumes and superpowers are catalysts for the discussion of key concepts of superheroism and their expression in fashion.
I do enjoy superheroes and loved looking at original superhero movie costumes, but I was particularly fascinated by how the fashion designers captured the essence of the superhero in their designs. The social commentary that accompanied the costumes was thought-provoking and analytical. The exhibit was spectacular and a MUST SEE by anyone living in or visiting New York. But go quickly as the exhibit ends on September 1st.
I managed to escape going to the American Girl store right next to Saks (whew!); instead we ducked into St. Patrick’s Cathedral for a bit and continued down 5th Avenue stopping at my favorite stores. We looked for gifts in Takashimaya and not finding anything (although just being in there is a treat), went to H.Bendel’s. Here I must stop for a moment of wistful sighing…..I just love Bendel’s. When we lived in NY/NJ, my girlfriends and I frequently went to tea at the St. Regis and then shopping at Bendel’s. Many of my great make-up discoveries were made in Bendel’s (Laura Mercier, Tarte) and I always found fabulous accessories from young, new designers. Since I had kids in tow, I couldn’t linger as much as I wanted but I managed to buy a little something for myself.
Sometimes the ladies pushing the latest beauty products at Bendel’s can be a little over-the-top. As we were leaving I stopped at a Tarte display; one of Tarte’s newest products is Inside Out Vitamin Lip Gloss and the representative was eager to tell me all about it. She went into a monologue about the antioxidant, anti-aging and anti-inflammatory properties of Inside Out (“anti-acid too” my son whispered). But she really lost us when she started spouting statistics about the amount of lip gloss women consume in a year and—seriously—suggested that instead of taking my vitamins, I can just eat the lip gloss. Huh?
We left the store laughing and ended this full day at GoodBurger “Home of the Good Burger”. It was a good grilled burger, sort of smallish, but very tasty. Good shakes too. We were disappointed that besides the name, it didn’t have any ties to the movie Good Burger. That movie is hilarious.
Manhattan is a blast! We certainly took our bite of the big apple and we’re still not through; to read part 3 of our adventure, click here.