Sunday, November 29, 2009

More New York Fun

I had bought us all tickets to go see The Radio City Music Hall Christmas Spectacular (which Lorne and I saw while we were dating) and I thought this would be a great show for all of us to see. Also, since Jan had to go home the next day and it was a work day for Lorne and myself, we only stayed in New York a half day - the show was the last thing we would see before heading back home.
Since the show didn't start until 2 PM, we had some time to squeeze in a few more things. The first order of business was to give Ava a little bath - the safest place to do that was the hotel bathroom sink. She looked so cute I had to snap a few pics - you know me!Jasmine had been bugging us to take her to the Toys R Us and let her ride on the big Ferris Wheel. Since she had been such a trooper the night before, we decided to take her and let her have some fun. We were happily surprised that the tickets weren't too expensive so we were even happier that our little surprise didn't cost us too much money.While we were waiting for our turn to ride, we walked around the store and looked at all the toys - we were hoping Jasmine would be inspired with what she wanted to ask Santa for for Christmas. Jasmine was so very excited, jumping around and skipping through the store - it was hard to keep up with her.After the toy store adventure, we took a fair walk down to the Empire State building to show Jan and also to see Macy's all dressed up for Christmas and walk their window displays. I wanted to go inside and visit Santa but when we looked at the time, it was time to get a cab and go to Radio City Music Hall for our show.We had amazing seats, since I had bought them at the box office the night before, they had very discounted orchestra seats so I paid very little for some amazing seats. I was so very excited and Jasmine seemed excited too.When the show started Jasmine was amazed, she couldn't stop staring wide eyed at the beautiful Rockettes doing their thing and she kept turning to us and telling us how beautiful they were. She was mesmerized and I was too. I just love the show and it makes me feel all Christmasy inside. We weren't allowed to take pictures and I didn't want to risk getting kicked out so I didn't.
The best part for me was when the show was over. Jasmine - completely unprovoked by anyone, climbed over Lorne to get to me - she threw her arms around me and in a very sincere and strong voice exclaimed, "Mommy! Thank you so so much for bringing us to this show - I loved it so much!" I started crying because it was so very sweet and sincere.
Them we all walked back to the hotel, got our things and the car and left the great city of New York. We had had a full and great weekend and Jan was very appreciative. We wished we could have shown him more but it was too difficult with the kids. Still, I think we gave it a great effort and gave him a great taste of one of the best cities in the world.

Saturday, November 28, 2009

The Great Statue, The Great Walk

We wanted to show Jan as much as we could. New York is full of stuff to see and do and so we had planned on getting an early start and taking him to see the Statue of Liberty. It had been a few years since I had been and I learned a few things. First, when you are traveling with 2 kids, you don't always get the early start you are trying to get. Second, it is better to pre-purchase tickets to see Lady Liberty online so you can get in line and get to the island faster. Third, always bring a hat when you are in New York in winter.We decided to buy an all day pass on the Subway and get to Battery Park that way. It was fun because it is a cultural thing that Jan could experience and the first time the girls had been on a New York City Subway. Lorne named the train Ray-J to entertain Jasmine and it turned out to be a very funny joke all day.It was windy and chilly by the water in battery park and I didn't have a winter hat for Ava - in fact, I don't own one for infants. Jan lent Ava his hat and she looked mighty cute in it with her pink little nose. I bought a hat from a street vendor and Jas looked cute in the hat I had brought her from home.After waiting in line for an hour and a half, and going through security and waiting another half an hour after that, we finally got on the ferry toward Liberty Island. Jasmine had fun looking out of the window and watching the Statue of Liberty get closer and closer.I love the view of New York City from Liberty Island. It is probably the best place to get a good picture of the city. It really was the perfect place to place Lady Liberty.After getting some great pics with the statue and walking around for a while, we sat down, had a snack and fed Ava and forged on. We got back on the ferry and stopped at Ellis Island. I thought this especially fitting because of my ancestry and the fact that I am married to a foreigner and that we were touristing with another foreigner.
Lorne found a 3 D graph that showed immigrant populations during different decades and so he pointed to here he is in the graph. Also, we saw this great big screen where you could type in the name a country and they told you how many immigrants are living here right now from that country and what states they are living in. It is very interesting to see how it breaks down depending on the country. We naturally looked up Australia and Uruguay. You can click on the picture to see it bigger and get a good sense of the numbers.We also watched an interesting film where they talked about what it was like for immigrants that came into the United States and had to stop on Ellis Island before being allowed in. I can't imagine having to go though all the testing and waiting to find out if they would let you get on a boat to go to NYC.There is a great view of the statue from Ellis Island and I can imagine the immigrants feeling like it was the gateway to freedom and a new life.We rode the ferry back to Battery Park and by this time it was starting to get dark. We decided to walk for a while and took Jan past the Wall Street Bull, The New York Stock Exchange, The first Capital Building of the United States and Ground Zero. I hadn't been to Ground Zero since a few months after 9-11 and it was neat to see what they plan on doing with the space. The memorial looks neat and gave me great pause for thought. We talked a lot about that day and where we were and how we felt and Jan got a good sense of what things were like here at that time.We went back to the hotel and freshened up for dinner and then ate at Maxie's Deli. After dinner, we continued our walking tour of NYC by going over to Radio City Music Hall, where Jasmine encountered Santa and was very excited to see him for the first time in the season.I love how New York is decorated for Christmas and I was hoping it would all be out so Jan could see it too. They had some things out but they weren't done decorating while we were there so it was a bit sad that they weren't completed but we did still see a lot of Christmas there.We walked to Rockefeller Center and watched the ice skating and then over to Saks Fifth Avenue to see the window displays. They were really neat and Jasmine loved watching the windows and listening to the story as she walked from window to window.They even had a light and music show with lighted snowflakes on the building that went off every 15 minutes. It was really cool to stand there and watch.We walked up Fifth Avenue all the way to The Plaza Hotel and Central Park. Jasmine was a trooper and I couldn't believe that she made it all the way. It was a lot for a little girl to walk. We rode the Subway back to the hotel and Jasmine and Ava were both exhausted so Lorne carried Ava and Jan carried Jasmine. It was really a great day in the city.