Saturday, April 18, 2015

Little Crafty in a Big City

Just before Christmas, my daughter's Girl Scouts troop started planning a trip to New York City. The girls have been working on their anti-bullying and drama badges so they were going to a workshop, followed by seeing Matilda on Broadway. My daughter begged me to go with them on the bus, but didn't care if I went to see the show, so in an effort to save money, I decided to take the day to explore the city instead. 

When I first made the choice not to see the show, I contacted Boxy to see if she would show me around the city a bit. She loves big cities and I... well, I freak out when I even think about them. I wanted to go, though, because my daughter had asked. I knew Boxy would make sure I had a good experience. However, due to circumstances beyond her control, she was unable to meet up with me, so I spent the day exploring with another friend who came on the trip. 

We got on the bus at 5:45 AM to make the three-hour trip into the city. When we arrived, the girls were whisked off to the workshop on 34th Street. My friend and I decided we needed coffee and quickly so we walked with the girls down 7th Avenue and then continued a bit until we came across Cafe Metro. We grabbed a quick muffin and some coffee and were on our way. We'd discussed a few things we wanted to make sure we saw while we were there. 

Our first stop was Toys R Us in Times Square. The store is pretty big with four floors, a cafe on the top floor, and a Ferris Wheel inside taking up the height of the store. It is funny, though, because I still had, in my mind, the image of the store from my last trip to NYC, which was almost 20 years ago. I remember it being larger than life with so many amazing things inside, but now it's just a large toy store with some pretty neat displays. Certainly nothing as wonderful as I had remembered.

After Toys R Us, it was on to FAO Schwarz. We made the trek from Times Square to the edge of Central Park, where FAO Schwarz is located. (I don't remember it being there from before. Has it moved?) Anyway, we went inside because my friend wanted to get a picture with the giant giraffe she remembered from the last time she was in NYC.

I will say that FAO Schwarz was a little bit more exciting for me (despite being owned by Toys R Us), because there are entire sections of the store with items that you can't just find at any toy store in your local area. After we explored the whole store, my friend looked at me and said, "Where is the big giraffe?" We settled on a picture of her with a "pretty big" giraffe but not the one she remembered. As we walked back to meet my daughter, we started to wonder if, because we are older, we have a different perspective on things? Is that why the "pretty big" giraffe didn't seem so huge? Had there previously been a giant giraffe there? I am sure you know what I am talking about - when you are younger and you go to the doctor, he or she seems so old, but then you get older and suddenly it seems like every doctor is a 12-year-old!

After we met up with my daughter, her friend, and her friend's mom, we had to decide on lunch. We had a small amount of time to get food, visit the American Girl Store that was at the top of my daughter's list, and get back to the show. We settled on a pizza place, the name of which I can't remember. It's too bad I can't remember, because it was amazing. My nine-year-old apparently thought that she would be able to eat two HUGE slices of cheese pizza so we bought a total of four slices between the two of us and two sodas. The total for our lunch was $20.00, which is impressive for NYC if you ask me. Once we all finished our lunches, it was time to take the two girls to check out the American Girl Store.

Getting there was quite the adventure! We had to cut over to 5th Avenue from 7th and on the way, we stumbled upon a Celtic band in the middle of the street near a pub. They were playing bagpipes and drums, and there were several people in traditional Scottish attire with them. We passed through, making it to the AG store in time for the girls the shop a bit. I was not overly impressed with the store. I think that I like the one in Washington, D.C. better to be honest, but to my daughter, it was like heaven. She explored all three floors of the building before finally settling on a really cute hat that says, "American Girl New York." Since the girls took so long shopping, we had to hightail it back to 42nd Street for Matilda. We passed back through the same area where there had been a Celtic band playing before, only now there were about ten bands and people lining the streets, all in kilts and various plaids. It wasn't until we got home that we realized that we had been in the middle of the preparations for the Tartan Day Parade. I am just bummed I didn't realize it because I would have gone back for the parade after I dropped my daughter off. I didn't, though. Instead, my friend and I went to Starbucks in Times Square and just sat outside, resting our feet for a bit. 

Remember when I said I wasn't a city person? While sitting outside of Starbucks, I used an app on my phone and saw that Ground Zero was 3.3 miles away. We figured we had walked so much already we might as well as head there, right? WRONG. Very, very, very wrong. We made it to Chelsea and Madison Square Park before realizing we were pretty stupid for even attempting that hike. We stopped in the park because I saw these really interesting globes on display and had to take a picture. I did try to find information about them in the park but didn't see anything while I was there, but later Boxy sent me the link. Apparently the display wraps up this weekend!

Since we were in Chelsea, I wanted to go to Blossom, a vegan restaurant that Boxy highly recommended. I found Blossom Du Jour, which is a fast food version operated by the same people. I was disappointed I didn't get to try anything because it was packed and I was worried I wouldn't make it back to pick my daughter up. It was getting later in the day and we had 20 blocks to walk to get back to where we needed to be so it was time to head out. 

We stopped at a bar near the theater where Matilda was showing so we could sit for a bit before having to get my daughter and head to the bus. I think the biggest mistake I made was sitting down because after that, I just couldn't make my feet move. I think I pulled every muscle in my lower limbs and feet. I also came home with two beautiful blisters on my feet. While I was sitting at the bar, I texted Boxy. It was at that point I realized I was completely content, even though in pain. I said to Boxy, "I love this city." Nope, not scared of it anymore.

Is that a perception thing, too? Was I taught cities are bad and when you are young in a city, you learn to automatically fear it? Who knows, but I had so much fun that day. I was happy I got to see my daughter's face as the bus was pulling into the city, giving her her first view ever of NYC. I was happy I got to spend time talking with a friend while exploring, and I was happy that I was spending my free time with my child. This was an adventure I would be happy to repeat again in the near future with the rest of the family. 

No comments:

Post a Comment