New York! New York!
Whew! Where do I start? What didn't we do in NYC?! So, I will recap what we did in NYC day by day for those interested, and I will also do a recap of traveling to NYC with a baby for those mommies who care. I broke them out mostly, so feel free to skip ahead to your cup of tea. A word of warning, this is SUPER long and a little bit TMI so if you are more of a picture person, there are photos for you!
Traveling to NYC with a Baby: This was our first trip somewhere with baby that required an airplane. At seven moths, she took her first flight on Southwest Airlines from Denver to NYC, and she was an ANGEL! I had studied up on blog posts about "traveling with baby" before hand and had heard from friends about their own experiences, and I also had a few ideas of my own, and you know what, it all worked out perfectly fine! She even got a neat certificate from Southwest Airlines for taking her first flight with them! Great momento for the baby book!
First off, we were newbies on this and everyone we know didn't mention this, I guess they assumed we were smart, but you need proof of identification for baby when you check into your airline. Just as you need to show proof of id, well, I guess you need to prove this baby you are with actually belongs to you. Duh. So bring their birth certificate or their passport! We had neither but happened to have her health insurance card. Whew...
Next, not sure what mommies are talking about when they discuss wearing baby in the Bjorn through security...if you are going anywhere where you need the stroller, you will have that, plus or minus a car seat, depending on your stroller and situation upon your destination city transportation. For us, NYC, subways, cabs and strolling long days sightseeing meant we had to bring the stroller. While she is old enough to sit up on her own, we felt she would be warmer and more comfortable in her car seat, with the JJ Cole fleece slumber bag. We thought right. I am pretty sure this baby napped through NYC 90% of the time! So getting the car seat and stroller through security isn't all that terrible really. You do need to flip the carseat upside down, put it on belt and have it scanned as well. One person takes baby through and gets their hands swabbed. You push stroller through and everyone and everything comes out on the other side. At DIA, we actually did not have to remove our shoes and only had to remove winter coats, that helped! I guess it would be trickier if you didn't have an extra set of hands, but in my case hubby was my knight in shining armour! After you get through security, you can put baby back in the stroller and roll her right up to the gate. You check the stroller and carseat at gate and they put it under plane. Easy peasy. I had purchased a nylon bag for my carseat, to protect it from weather, dirt and wear and tear a while back from Right Start in Cherry Creek. It was $15, and worth it! Put the entire carseat in the bag, I wrote our name and what item was on outside, leave the security, baggage claim tag out the hole where the drawstring is and voila! Car seat stayed in one piece! They also sell these for your stroller too, I may get that too later.
Plane Ride: They recommend nursing on the take off and landing for their little ears. Remy was a little distracted at landing, but she was exhausted by the time we got through security, on plane and seated and she nursed and napped like a pro. Other times, we had a bottle of water or the paci for her to suckle. For occupying baby during the awake moments, I had read somewhere once to buy a couple toys child has not seen yet so they are new and interesting. In anticipation of this, I had a couple hand toys I bought and tucked away and our sweet neighbors also gifted her a couple the evening before we left so she had plenty of new stuff and they were all small and compact. We also downloaded a few FREE baby apps for the iPad and had that charged and ready to go. We had one where baby touches screen and bubbles or hearts appear where they touch, and we had a peek-a-boo one with animals, and we had a Baby DJ music one. They came in handy.
Diaper Changes on a Plane: Not that bad actually. They have a fold down changer and it was all business as usual. Remy was super curious and wanted to touch everything in there, but all in all there was plenty of space. I had one diaper change there, wet, and one coming home, wet. Also, flight attendants stood guard when they saw a momma go near bathroom holding a baby and always asked to give you a bag to put dirty diaper in and give back to them so it didn't smell it up. I was courteous and brought those scented baggies, yes I use them, and the flight attendants all seemed so impressed and pleased!
Bundling up Baby in NYC: So NYC was FREEZING! We had sunshine mostly when we were there, but it was frigid! Colorado was actually warmer. So, for our outings, we dressed baby in her clothes, plus a snow suit by Wheat, Carter's hat and mittens, the JJ Cole sleeping bag carseat cover and a Circo fleece blankie for covering her when she napped. She was snug as a bug!
Packing for a Day in NYC with a Baby: Husband carried a back pack with four diapers, a pack of wipes, one tube of Waleeda cream, changing pad, my nursing cover, a plastic baby spoon, a fresh food feeder by Munchkin, three toys, the Bjorn for museums and short visits to places so she could switch up her positioning, and a pacifier or two! (This also happens to be what was in my carry on diaper bag as well.) Yes, yes, I know, I was opposed to the paci, and never introduced at birth, and then she refused, but now she takes it hear and there before a nap, and it was golden on the trip when we just needed to soothe her before we got to a warm, quiet nursing pit stop. The backpack was so freeing not to have to worry about my diaper bag below the stroller getting dirty, wet or worse, stolen! By the way, most blogs recommended NOT to bring diapers or wipes and to purchase them wherever you go, but I put on my mommy thinking cap and knew we were traveling on Christmas Eve, which meant Duane Reade's or places to buy these might be closed Christmas Day, and how much would they cost, and would they have her size...all led me to packing a neatly compressed plastic package of 15 from the Target Up & Up line. Luckily my daughter never had any skin reactions to any brand, but she fits best in these and they are affordable! Sure they took up a little space in our ONE checked bag, but I am glad I took them. I had JUST enough! This may be different for those of you who bottle feed.
What We Did in NYC:
Christmas Eve: We arrived around 10 pm, so once we got to our place in Williamsburg, Brooklyn, we dropped our stuff, did a diaper change and feeding, strapped baby on the Bjorn and then ventured out to find a bite. I struggled to find a restaurant open on Christmas Eve that wasn't going to cost a fortune and knew we would want to eat cheap and close to home, so risked this and we ended up finding a Thai food place and ordered takeout. We put Remy to bed, got cozy, watched some TV and ate our food at home. We wanted to turn in early for our Christmas Day!
Christmas Day: I did make brunch reservations earlier on in December at a little place in the West Village called The Little Owl. I asked ahead if they could accommodate a stroller and they were happy to take us. The night before, we had asked someone at the Thai food place how to get to the West Village from where we were, and after we got out, after a few wrong directions, we managed to find it. Turns out, it was situated at the bottom of the building they use in the television show Friends. When they show their apartment building...anyway, we only knew this because we kept seeing people outside at the corner looking up and taking photos and we finally asked the owner why. The food, the food was incredible! I highly recommend the beignets! They had Nutella and raspberry sauce! I must have read or heard about this rest in magazine or on a website. I keep a little log of NYC places in the event I ever get to go! This was a good pick and a perfect, quaint little place to have Christmas breakfast.
After brunch, we walked west and ran into the river, we strolled south to check out the 9/11 site. We made a pit stop at Pier 40, and it was a diamond in the rough! It was unlocked, had heat, nobody was in there, there was a table to change Remy on, a bench to feed her, AND public restrooms upstairs for Maz and I. Score! Perfect pitstop.
We bundled up and ventured out again. We checked out the 9/11 construction. We did not decide to wait in the huge lines to see the memorial and new fountain area. We continued on and wanted another pit stop to warm up and rest. I spotted a Green circle, could it be? Yup, a Starbucks in the Marriott! Everyone else had the same idea. The line wasn't actually all that long for the coffee, and we even had cushy seats in the lobby by the Christmas tree. Another nursing session, and we were off again.
We caught a cab up to Radio City Music Hall for the Rockettes Christmas Spectacular! We had no real set plans, or tickets, to see it, but hoped to get in last minute at an okay price. Depends on your idea of "okay" price. Maz's eyes almost came out of their sockets, but he didn't want to say no and I felt bad, he felt bad because we waited in a long line, so we pulled the trigger and did it. Remy has napped pretty much this entire time mind you. She woke up just in time for the show! He eyes were bright and I held her on my lap and she jumped, cheered, clapped- LOVED it! Then, she got sleepy. She fought a nap, well, because it was too stimulating, and Maz and I ended up standing up in back for most of show. Our seats were on the main floor near the back anyway and we didn't miss a beat. The show was incredible and there were 3D aspects. Really glad we got to experience that!
A diaper change and bathroom break, a feeding after everyone left the theater, and we were off again. We strolled around the corner and right into the madness of the Christmas tree viewing at Rockefeller Center. It was gorgeous, huge, and impressive. To be honest though, I was a little too concerned with fighting the crowds and trying to fight my way through it with a stroller that I truly don't feel I could appreciate it's beauty fully. That's just me. Definitely NOT the scene from Home Alone where he is standing in front of it all by himself when his mom finds him. We grabbed a bratwurst and chicken kabob and headed back to the subway.
It was a very FULL and festive Christmas Day!
Day After Christmas:
We started our days around 9 or 10. By the time you get ready, and you get baby fed and ready, you're looking at 9 or 10. This morning, we just got coffee and bagels from downstairs. Today we set out to go shopping near the park and see the holiday windows at some of the department stores. Again with the crowds. 5th Avenue was insane and very irritating to pass and stroll with a stroller. Hard to be a tourist and look up at the buildings when thousands of others are tromping on top of you. We did get to see the windows at Bloomies! They were so cool! Their theme was Christmas in different cities around the world- London, Paris, Italy, China and New York.
We made a pitstop to one of my favorites, sort of like a Panera Bread Co., but better, Le Pain Quotidien. We had coffee to warm up and shared a pastry, did a diaper change and nursing session, got dirty looks from a woman as we packed up to leave, and we were off again. New Yorkers are awful people. The nice people who thought Remy was cute, well, they were tourists too. My impressions of New Yorkers, the ones dressed all in black, clicking their teeth and sighing when they wait in lines, they are rude, bitter, awful people.
We don't have the budget for Bergdorf's or Barney's, so we stopped in H&M and Zara. I felt we spent far too much time in both, but the crowds, the crowds. People and chaos everywhere. If you did find anything you liked, the wait to try it on was about 20 minutes. I ended up having to breast feed Remy right there on the couch by the shoes where all the bored hubbies sat. You do what you have to do! Hubby was a SAINT and had her in the Bjorn and let me browse for myself. I was trying to be as fast as I could, and it was all very stressful. I did end up getting a floral sweatshirt.
After our shopping adventures, we took a cab up to the Guggenheim! I did not plan this well, and we arrived 40 minutes before closing! Since we had such a long day, and a short trip, I decided to bite the bullet and pay the dues and see what we could. We started at the top and worked our way down. FYI, they had bathrooms with diaper changers! AND, it turned out to be the BEST time to go in my opinion! There was nobody there! We had no crowds! I didn't think the featured artists was all that impressive either, Christopher Wool...not my fave. There was some other art in other rooms that I enjoyed, and the architecture of course is something to see on its own accord.
After we were literally escorted out, last ones out, we headed around the corner to a coffee shop for a warm up and nursing session. We had a dinner reservation that I had set earlier in the month at another place I had read about, The Fat Radish, this time in the Lower East side. Again, before booking I mentioned we had the baby, and they assured me they could accommodate space. I had the Curry Monk Fish, YUM, and Maz had the flank steak, blah. We shared a cheese plate and mushroom risotto- YUM! I LOVED it, hubby didn't care for it. Oh, and it's one of those cool places where cool people go, and people with babies light linen napkins on fire. Yup, I accidentally tossed my napkin on a candle and it wasn't until the hostess came by and casually put out the flame that we realized we could have been THAT couple. Well, I guess we were... oops! One waiter seemed to think Remy was cute, the waitress, looked super snotty and irritated. They did have a high chair and Remy was an angel! She played, I fed her and then she napped. We were able to eat our food and she woke up by the time our apple crisp FINALLY arrived. Count on that taking a half hour if you order it!
After dinner we headed home! Pooped!
Friday December 27th:
This morning, we took my girlfriend's recommendation and strolled over to Marlow & Sons in Williamsburg. It was a cool place. A dry goods atmosphere where they sold leather key chains for $100 and mohair sweaters for $495 and REAL Breton striped tops. Fancy place. Again, snobby hipsters giving us evil eyes for feeding Remy her yogurt with a coffee stirring spoon and rolling their eyes at us about a stupid order number that they never gave us...I HATE those people. The ones who think they're too cool for school, and probably live six to an apartment in Bushwick and are professional baristas. Give. Me. A. Break. We did NOT like the coffee, or the people. Needless to say, we did not try their restaurant Diner after this sad experience.
We headed into the lower east side and strolled to Elizabeth Street and into Little Italy. We had mini canolis from Ferrara. YUM! I had mint chocolate and hubby had Tiramisu. We saw enough of Little Italy and a touch of Chinatown. basically restaurants. We stopped at a place called Grand Appetito for a slice of pizza. DELICIOUS and affordable! A great recommendation from the girl at the canoli cart!
We strolled and went to my favorite perfumery, Bond No. 9 on Bond Street! After falling in love with the scent Harrod's, and discovering it cost a small fortune, $290!!!, they gave me a bon bon sample, and we skid addled out of there!
We ran right into a Starbucks and decided to pitstop. The line for the bathroom to change Remy was about 20 minutes long. Apparently you don't need to be a paying customer at this location to use the facilities. We nursed, warmed up and headed out.
We strolled around SoHo, and Noho. I wandered into a vintage clothing shop that was terrible and the worker was rude. She snapped at Maz to shut the door behind him, rolled her eyes, and shut it. Man, New Yorker's really know how to get your business. We dashed out of there. I stumbled upon In God We Trust, a very cool store with very cool designs, and very high prices. Shopping in NYC can cause serious depression. After looking at price rage of $295 and up, how about $65 for a knit hat with a pom pom, we decided to take a snack break at Rice to Riches for some tapioca pudding. I had the eggnog, too sweet, and Mazen had Cherry Macerpone- YUM!
We strolled some more, and did a pit stop at Saturday's Surf in SoHo for some tea and a warm up. Again, a surfer guy barista, too cool for school. There was a very cool urban dad who came in and struggled with the door and his stroller too and we gave each other those understanding exchanges of how difficult it must be to have a baby/toddler in the city.
We ran into another boutique I had read about, American Two Shot, again, NYC designers, cool things, high prices. We strolled some more and found Opening Ceremony! A boutique I have wanted to visit and never had. What AWESOME customer service they had! TRULY! The best we had encountered! The nicest people! The best tunes jamming, and some sale! Very fun place! I even had a large dressing room where I was able to nurse Remy and change a diaper! AND I think they LOVED Remy too!
After all the ridiculous browsing in Soho, we wandered up to Washington Square and saw a beautifully lit tree. The Square was empty and it was very nice and quiet. We strolled west to head to Mahmoon's for felafel and schwarma sandwiches- THE BEST! And affordable! On the way, I ran into a San Francisco illustrator I follow on Instagram! What a happy exchange that was! I recognized her because she has a baby girl a couple months younger than Remy, a hubby with curly hair, and then her hair and hat, I just stopped her and asked and it was her! Fun bumpin' into you Chloe Fleury!
After the yummy food, we order three sammies and grape leaves, we strolled down the street and ran into a Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf. Another pit stop to warm up, tea and hot cocoa, and a big, clean bathroom for a diaper change. Nursed and off we went. Subway up to Time Square! We saw the lights, the people, the lights, the ads, the lights! Remy was in awe! We also shopped the H&M at Time Square, apparently they just opened around Thanksgiving, at it was great! It was NOT crowded, they had amazing staff that helped me grab tights off a very high wall with no attitude, and I found interesting things I didn't see at the 5th Ave. location.
We were more than ready for our beds after Time Square, and we headed home.
Saturday December 28th:
We headed to the Lower East side again. This time to try doughnuts at Doughnut Plant. Delicious! We tried several...had really good coffee and even found a seat right by the window with a roomy table. We ran into a friendly couple who lived in Brooklyn and they gave us some pointers about the city. Next up, we headed uptown to the Metropolitan Museum of Art!
I had been once before, but this was husband's first trip. We started on the top level with the Islamic wing and worked our way down to the Roman sculpture garden. We viewed art for a bit, had Remy on the Bjorn when she woke up, then took a break to nurse and do a diaper change. They had wonderful family facilities and a roomy resting area near the lockers and entrance. We viewed more art. I wandered through a contemporary section and then we nursed Remy once more before heading out in the warm sunshine pouring in the windows in the sculpture garden. I had a perfect bench all to myself.
We headed outside into Central Park and grabbed some roasted nuts for a snack. We winded our way through to the west side. I had intended on showing Mazen Shake Shack and if the line wasn't too long, thought we'd get a burger. After walking all the way there, past the gorgeous American Museum of Nature and Science (next time!) and we saw the line was outrageous, we continued on walking down Columbus. I had ate there once before on my last trip and if you ask me, it's a lot of hype for a so-so burger and a REALLY LONGGGGG line. No thanks. We ended up walking right by a place called AG Burger. The poster in the window said Zagat awarded them the best burger in town even! Scratch that...I was sold on the fact that when I peeked inside, there were tables available, and there was even a table outside with our name on it! The gorgeous day allowed us to roll Remy right up to the patio table and get service right away. We actually had incredibly tasty, large, juicy burgers and wonderful fries, shared a banana milkshake and were in and out in a decent amount of time.
I had hoped to make it down to the Highline Park as this was our last day, but the sun was setting and there'd be no way to make it. So we continued our stroll down towards Lincoln Center and Columbus Circle. We ran right into Magnolia Bakery! I had read so many things! Mazen is not a cupcake guy so I ran in to grab one and he waited with Remy outside. I grabbed one to go and we strolled some more until we bumped into a wonderful pit stop point! Time to feed and change baby! We found a great, large, open space called the Theater Cafe, right next to Juliard, and Lincoln Center. We had tea and sat on a wide leather bench and let Remy roll around and play. We warmed up and used, nice, clean facilities- no lines! Great spot!
We headed out and stopped in Zara one last time- this time for Remy. We also hit a year end sale! After Zara, we ventured into Century 21 across the street. This was uncharted territory for me. It seemed very much like a Nordstrom Rack or Macy's. It was a weird layout, I was getting incredibly hot and it wasn't anywhere I wanted to be on my last night in NYC. I was getting irritable. We lost Remy's blanket somewhere in the basement level, they found it, Mazen went to get it and as I waited by the doors near the sunglasses, I did happen to find a perfect pair of cat eyes by Stella McCartney for a VERY good price!
After the shopping, we strolled past Lincoln Center and saw the fountain. We continued on and saw Columbus Circle. We decided to catch a cab here to get to FAO Schwartz in time before they closed. Remy napped but when we got there she woke up! This place was crazy town! We finally made our way upstairs to see the piano. Sorry folks, all the hype and stardust of the movie Big was lost on me. It smelled like pee. The floors were sticky, and there were grimy kids running everywhere making terrible noise. This was not what I had imagined. Yuck. We asked around and discovered there was a baby section in the basement. This level was SILENT! Not a peep or a person down there! We browsed around and got a couple toys for Remy. Just before they closed, I was able to nurse Remy in the family restroom down there and change her before we headed home.
What a day!
Sunday, December 29th, Last Day:
We decided to go back to NYC Muffin on Bedford again before catching the subway into town. We jumped on the L and headed west to the Highline Park. I made a mistake and thought we had to get off and transfer and head north, when in actuality, I discovered this on our return, you could just get off and walk it. Oops. This day was gray, rainy and cold. We had to stop for an umbrella at a grocery store in Chelsea, even though I had packed not one, but two, and left both at the apartment we rented! I would say to throw in a travel size umbrella!
I had been once before, but in September when it was warm and the sun was shining and people were tanning and strolling the walk. Mazen wasn't too impressed with the Highline.
We headed down and through the Meatpacking area. Again, more shops and boutiques a=that are very high end. I did want to pop in Kate Spade Saturdays or Marni, but it seemed since it was a Sunday, nothing opened until noon. The place was a ghost town. I was never impressed with this area, but then again, I haven't ate there and I hear this is the "clubby" area. Maybe on a girl's trip back I can see what it's about.
We found our subway return trip much more easily this time and headed back to Brooklyn. Someone had told us about a place called Egg, so we headed over. It's just off Bedford. The place was as big as a matchbox and the wait would have been equivalent to Snooze's on a Saturday afternoon. No way. We went next door to an adorable place called Juliette's! I popped in to see if we could get a table easily with the stroller, yep, and yep. The place was WAY more charming and quaint and it turned out it is a sister restaurant of Tartine! The staff was SO nice and our food was literally out, hot, in 5 minutes. Not kidding you! Remy sat like a sweetie pie the entire time while we ate a wonderful brunch. I was able to nurse her and we were on our way!
LAST stop! I kept walking past Catbird on our trip. It's a super cool boutique on Bedford that carries incredible jewelry. Some their own line made right there in Brooklyn nearby, and a ton of other interesting designers. Real metals and stones. There were also scents and beauty products. Mazen sat with Remy outside while I poked around. I got a couple special things. One was a pair of letter "r" earrings in gold. I will wear them now and when Remy is older, they are hers, a perfect gift to remember our family trip to the big city.
We headed back to the apartment to finish packing, feed and change Remy one last time and clean up a tad. We managed to get everything back in the one suitcase and two back packs we brought and we hailed a cab back on Bedford to the airport.
We had no traffic, no delays and no lines at La Guardia. it was truly a wonderful trip. Chalk full, but really fun. It was such a treat to be able to take our daughter at such a young age and show her the lights, the sounds, the everything there is to see in NYC. She was all smiles all the time and we just may have planted a city-girl-seed in her.
So have you ever been to NYC, lived there or planning a trip there? How about traveled with a baby? I am always all ears to tips, suggestions and recommendations for the next time!
Thanks for reading!