Saturday, October 05, 2013

New York in 5 Days with Teens - Part 2

NYC with teens day 1 - the first full day

Liberty Statue Cruise and Museum of Modern Art. Then Dinner and a Show.

It was supposed to be a fairly simple day. Take the train to do a harbour statue cruise. Have lunch. Check out MOMA (Museum of Modern Art). Dinner Out. Then a show.

The best laid plans of mice and men.

But it all worked out. And it IS important to have a plan.

However one can't be too attached to the plan. And when the plan veers off schedule, one must flex. Flex I tell you. Sometimes that is hard to do with teens, as they can be pouty and brooding. Its in their nature. Don't take it personally.

It started at Grand Central Station. We were really excited to actually be in it!

We were there nice and early, lots of excitement and eager to go. We purchased 7-day unlimited ride Metropasses for $30 each at machines located right near the trains.

We took a wrong subway train and ended up in Brooklyn. Like, waaaaaay out in Brooklyn. All I will say is, confirm your plan with a local, like the friendly hotel guy or the Metro information guy. Just say, hey, this is what we think we'd like to do. That way, maybe you won't take the wrong train despite thinking you *know* how to take the subway in NYC.  It kind of blew the morning and recovery was very slow.

We finally did end up on the Harbor Statue Cruise, which was part of our New York Pass, and it was WONDERFUL. Its only an hour in length, the perfect amount of time to hold everyone's attention. Get off at Bowling Green on the subway and then follow the signs to Battery Park and the statue cruises. Don't pay ANY attention to all the guys in your face, along the path to the harbour, wanting to sell you their specials. Just go straight to the official ticket sales right on the shoreline and don't let anyone get in your way.

There it is, our first glimpse of Lady Liberty and Ellis Island!! At our time of travel, both attractions are closed so we couldn't actually go in. But in retrospect the cruise is perfect. And while we could have taken the free Staten Island Ferry to see her, I'm glad we did the official cruise. It's nice to hear the recorded audio tour as you take in the sights. 

It really is that fabulous in real life. The boat comes around in such a way that no matter what side you sit on you will have a turn with your side towards Liberty.

The harbour cruise scoots slightly under the Brooklyn Bridge then back to its starting point at Battery Park. We will be walking that bridge tomorrow. The kids really enjoyed this cruise and the weather was perfect. 

After getting off the boat we headed back uptown for lunch and MoMA. We didn't have a *specific* place in mind for lunch, didn't *plan* for that. We thought, hey, there's gotta be a million places for lunch around there.  Except that there weren't really. We didn't want a burger joint or Starbucks, we didn't want a big sit-down meal, so we were kind of wandering aimlessly and didn't really communicate and people were still crunchy from the botched up start to the day. Got a little frustrating. It ended up ok though, we found a Europa Cafe and ate there. This is only a few blocks from MoMA.  My big tip? Have a few possibilities in mind for lunch if you're out touring all day. 

Onto MoMA. We wanted to go there mostly for Van Gough and Monet. And it was sublime. Our admission was included with the New York Pass - which allowed us to go straight to the information desk for tickets and bypass the actual ticket sales line. This is a nice museum to see in an afternoon. I would suggest, with teens, to make sure you pre-teach a bit. We have studied Van Gogh, Monet, Warhol, Klimt, in our homeschooling so we headed straight for them on the 5th floor.

I don't care what you think of Warhol, his Marilyns are fabulous. 

But Van Gogh - to see it in real life - words can't do it folks. And neither can photographs, but I had to take this one. There are a ton of people all around the Van Gogh so its hard to sneak a shot. I was thankful, however, that MoMA allows non-flash photography. Here you go. 

And Monet, of which there are several. This is the full-length expanse of his mural:

And a close-up of one teeny part, so you get an idea of how he pushed the paint around:

We didn't actually spend much longer than an hour here. I know we could have seen more, but our goal was really just to give our kids a taste of the best offerings in the short time we had. I know the Met will be a different story because of the sheer volume of masters there. That's scheduled for Monday. But MoMA was really fun.

From MoMA we sauntered down 5th avenue towards our hotel and let the kids peek in whatever shops they wanted. Dawson and Tom decided to scoot over to the NHL shop on 6th, and Brittany and I poked around Urban Outfitters. I think its wise not to overdo the attractions each day, so our goal was to get back to the hotel around 3-4pm each day to recharge before dinner. And partake of the wine/cheese reception at 5pm before going out.

Our evening entertainment? We purchased tickets for shows a couple of months ago. We let the kids each pick one Broadway show they wanted to see and Brittany picked Newsies. Tonight was her turn. I'd highly HIGHLY recommend this show which is based on the Disney movie. Its got a really young cast, its set in New York in the early 1800s, and its essentially about youth fighting for a cause. This is totally inspiring to teenagers! The Newsies are the "lowest class" boys in town, they sell papers, but they are at the mercy of the papers and are treated poorly. They rise up and strike! There is also a love story in the mix. Ooooh, its wonderful. 

And I forgot to mention where we had dinner - we reserved online for Angus' Cafe and Bistro, right in the theatre district. The atmosphere was really fun. The food was served very quickly, our waiter was awesome. But the food wasn't all that great in our opinion. Still ... nothing is perfect and it did the job.

keeping sane
I have to admit we're feeling overwhelmed in this city. You're living and walking and moving on narrow sidewalks among millions of people in every direction and the skyscrapers close you in. You don't really know where you're going. Everyone smokes here, and I think its necessary just to keep sane. This is not supposed to be as busy as other times of the year but I cannot imagine it more-so. 

Things will go wrong. Its where you have to make a choice. Am I here to simply see the main attractions and go through the motions? Or am I here to build relationships and memories with the people I'm with? When your plans go wrong, don't get too discouraged. Pick up the pieces. Dinner solves a million problems for teenagers. Well, and adults too. Eat.

Want to check out Part 1 of New York in 5 Days with Teens? Its right here.

Part 3 of New York in 5 Days with Teens is here.

Find Part 4 over here.

And Part 5 is found here.

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