Wednesday, May 3, 2017

A day in Midtown

The Flatiron building

Our second day in NYC was off to a slightly slower start than the previous, and so we decided to grab a Brooklyn staple for breakfast. This was the one meal I ate on repeat during our stay in NYC: toasted everything bagel with chive cream cheese, lox and capers from Bagel Schmagel. The boys were satisfied with their plain bagels, and we took it all to go as we descended into the NYC subway system. Today’s goal was to meet up with friends of ours and explore Midtown Manhattan.

bēgel šmēgel on repeat the next two weeks...

We got off in the vicinity of Madison Square Park, and headed to our only planned stop of the day: the Theodore Roosevelt Birthplace National Historic Site. Having worked for the US Fish & Wildlife Service (President Theodore Roosevelt was a pioneering champion of wildlife conservation in America and the founder of the National Wildlife Refuge System), I’ve always been interested in the life of our 26th President, and having recently read A Splendid Savage I was hoping to bring Teddy to life for the boys as well. While the Historic Site didn’t completely live up to my expectations (some of the exhibits were empty as things are being moved around), it was still a worthy stop... and free of charge – a rarity in NYC. Theodore Roosevelt was born on the site in 1858, and you can visit five restored period rooms in the reconstructed 1848 brownstone townhouse, but only on a guided tour. In addition to these ranger-guided tours, there are also gallery rooms and a political cartoon collection for public viewing, plus a small gift shop.

Ranger: repeat after me, I state your name
Boys: I, state your name...

We were en route to meet our friends but had some time to kill, and so we stopped in the LEGO store for a few minutes. After looking around, the boys got comfortable in the back room at one of the tables, building to their hearts content. I want to know why LEGO doesn’t sell these bricks by the pound – we would have gladly paid to be able to take the boys’ creations home. Instead we settled for pictures, and headed out to the park to meet our friends and grab lunch at the Shake Shack.

Everything is awesome!

This gourmet burger joint has gotten quite the following in recent years, and while I really enjoyed my shake, the burgers and fries were just ok... not special enough to justify the 1 hour long line and wait. The best part of lunch was snagging a table in the shade of one of the giant Madison Square Park sycamores and getting to know little L.

Stomachs full, we started making our way up 5th Avenue, past the Empire State building and the NY Public Library. On 42nd we turned east so as to reach Grand Central Terminal, and having admired the cavernous main concourse (and its celestial ceiling) we descended to the Oyster Bar. The unmarked archway in front of the restaurant possesses unique acoustic properties that have earned it its name of the Whispering Gallery. The boys tried it out by standing at diagonal arches and whispering, and sure enough, despite the cacophony of a busy train station, they could easily hear one another’s voices.

Having made our way back to 5th Avenue we stopped at the Rockefeller Center. Even with temperatures in the 80s there was ice in the rink (although only a couple of skaters, 2 attendants grooming the ice). Typical of New York, temperatures had dropped to the 40s two days later and the skating rink was full.

A little further past Trump Tower is Central Park, and that is where we spent the rest of the day. Having entered at the SE corner we made our way towards the zoo, then cut west. This end of the park is dotted with large exposed sections of Manhattan and Hartland schist bedrock, and the boys gamely climbed every one that they could reach. After a tumble (that resulted in a goose egg that would serve as a reminder of the day for the rest of the week) we  had to put a stop to the climbing, but it was a great excuse to watch some softball at the Heckscher Ballfields while enjoying ice cream from one of the dozens of vendors. As the sun began to sink we finally said our goodbyes, and after circling The Pond we descended to the subway to make our way back to Brooklyn.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...