Tag Archives: NYC

Dear Diary, In Conclusion….

Standard
That's alotta people just standing under that No Standing sign. NYC Broadway types are the epitome of anarchy.

That’s alotta people just standing under that No Standing sign. NYC Broadway types are the epitome of anarchy.

So, we didn’t get back to the hotel until well after 2:30am and that is past my bedtime, by like, alot. I did shower before I got into bed though and here is why : NYC is grosser than gross. Or maybe I am grosser than gross when I am in NYC…that is a possibility. I walk fast and sweat. I do not understand these people who are wearing scarves and long sleeves in the summer, in the city, in the summer, in the city (It’s a song ya know?). Plus, I had three pairs of shoes in my purse, all had been worn at some point during the day. Add to that a bra wet with sweat and smelly socks. It’s a long story, but trust me when I say that there was no avoiding touching the bottom of shoes that had been worn all over Manhattan.

Here is how our day went : We got up, found a bagel shop and a Starbucks and the train station. Now, we parked in this very, very , very old parking lot that happened to be about 5 blocks from the actual station. To park in this lot you had to fold up 15 dollars very small and shove them through a slot on a board. Yes you did! We stood there for a bit with another couple debating the pros and cons of how we thought the contraption worked. Finally, a criminal came over and informed us that yes indeed the situation was what it looked to be. So, the other couple stuffed their money in, we stuffed ours in and then we walked. I have no idea why the hell we had to park 5 blocks away from the station. Down a long, dark alley, under an overpass with broken glass scattered all over the sidewalk and then along a fence with razor wire at the top…it’s VACATION!!!!!!!!!

Got to the station and hopped right on the train! Sat down and immediately realized I was having a gallbladder attack! So, that was 2 hours of making a plan on what to do if I needed help and googling gallbladder attack remedies. Got off the train, went to a couple of flea markets, then to the movies. The kids were dying to see some cheezebag movie that had just come out and I knew the bathrooms at the movie place would be nice enough to change into our evening clothes. Met a lovely older lady and had a great discussion about the movie. Charged my phone, changed our clothes, took my 15 year old to the Broadway show she had tickets for. Her friend met her there. My 11 year old and I hopped back on the subway, and went to Ninja Restaurant. That was SO. MUCH. FUN!!!! Jumped on the subway, met my 15 year old and her friend at the stage door and got autographs and pics with the stars of the show!

Parted ways with her friend, jumped on S to get to Grand Central to catch the train back to New Haven. That sounds like an easy thing but if you read this you will understand that nothing is easy. We were exhausted.  And I had to pee. So, the train leaves the platform and I head to the bathroom. I check before I squat that there is tp. There is NO tp. I pull myself together and go back to our seat. I rummage through my purse (touching dirty shoes and sweaty bras) looking for a tissue or napkin. Nada. How is it possible that I have been a mom for 20 years and I don’t have a crumpled up tissue in the bottom of my purse? Oh that’s right…I skipped my Mommy Club dues to be able to afford this frickin trip. My only option? A smelly sock. I decided to check the bathroom two cars down. Same sitch. But, I noticed this pull down table thingy next to the toilet and just in case it was a secret tp stash, I pulled it down…It wasn’t. It was a place to put potato chip bags filled with vomit. And as I closed it back up, I got a strong whiff of someone’s vomit along with a splash that landed on my thumb. Now, I have to pee, no toilet paper, stranger puke on my thumb and all I have is a sock. That about sums up my life. Listen, I did what I had to do. You have no idea what it’s like living on the edge…Let’s all just be impressed with my resourcefulness and leave it at that, OK?

We hopped off the train, hopped in a cab (because there is NO WAY I was going to spend money on a better motel in a better area and then get killed on the way to my car. THAT would be such a  waste!!!!) jumped in our car, locked the doors and drove back to the motel. Stumbled into our room, the kids fell on the bed and were out before I could say goodnight. I immediately showered HOT to rid myself of the memory of chip bag vomit and socks…

Crawled into bed and was out.

It was a wonderful day. We met alot of people. Most of them were asking me for directions. Which I gave out like I knew what I was talking about. Because people are just looking to have an adventure, they don’t really want to know how to get there! Today we got up, found our bagel and Starbucks and hit the road for home. But on the way home is the Basketball Hall Of Fame. So, we had to stop…took the tour, played the games, had a blast! They have a Cold Stone Creamery and so, we had a treat. THEN we were on our way home. Over all it was an epic vacation, but every vacation we take is epic in some way.

And now I know what happens to the “missing” sock….

That's my FAV guy right there!!!! So close I could throw a sock at him!!! Good thing I didn't as it came in real handy a little bit later!

That’s my FAV guy right there!!!! So close I could throw a sock at him!!! Good thing I didn’t as it came in real handy a little bit later!

Dear Diary, Come ON!!!!

Standard

Drove to Connecticut. Dropped the kids off to a concert. Went to the mall. Went back to get the kids and found a great parking spot at the closed gas station on the corner. But…I had told the kids I would pick them up in the overflow parking lot. I texted them. They didn’t answer. So…I went to the over flow parking lot to wait in case they didn’t get my text. Kids came and then it took over half an hour to get out of the parking lot. That’s annoying. But that was only the beginning.

This is what we looked like when we saw the hookers and guns....

This is what we looked like when we saw the hookers and guns….

The next day we drove to the train station to take the train into NYC. We drove to the closest station. There were drug dealers and hookers with guns just walking around outside the station so we decided to go to the next town over and get the train there. Good thinking. Using the gps on my phone we got lost. Ended up in a very nice suburban area with pretty homes and manicured lawns…no hookers with guns but no train station either. So, I use my daughter’s phone’s gps. We wind up in a very rural area still with nice homes still no hookers but still no train station. One of the kids calls the train station that we are trying so hard to get to and asks for the exact address. The other kid uses her phone’s gps and eventually we get there. It is a nice train station….no hookers, no drug dealers and no guns. We hop on the train (after I double check with everyone else on the platform that we are indeed headed to Grand Central). General consensus was yes, that is where the train is headed. Good. We were finally on the right track (Don’t roll your eyes at me…that was a perfect joke).

We get on and start going…but slowly..very slowly…the conductor comes on and apologizes for going so slowly but there has been a fatality on the tracks at the station we are headed toward so they are trying to clean that up…that sounds about right. I mean for me, on vacation…of course there has been a fatality on the tracks. Horribly sad. But we get past the station, the train and the mood picks up.

Going soooooo slowly...

Going soooooo slowly…

We get to Grand Central and I am so motion sick from not eating and riding backwards and reading I was about to vomit. We find me a pretzel and coke and walk on my brotha…to the subway. Now, here is how I take the subway. I figure out the train I need using the exact wrong app, I go down, swipe my metro card…walk down some more stairs, look around, over-think it, go back upstairs, exit the subway, rethink it, go back down, re-swipe my metro card (which will only let me swipe it 3 extra times after the first 3 times because it knows I am an idiot and it doesn’t want me anywhere near the subway) so I make one of the kids sneak me in thru the door with alarms going off like I just won the lottery or something. Take the subway to the hotel.

Hotel only sleeps three. That’s what they think but I have a blow up bed in my suitcase! So, we put on a big act about our friend meeting us here and going up to the room to get ready as if anyone cared….threw on our fancy clothes and went back to the subway to get to the restaurant. This time we hopped on the subway, on the correct train but apparently going the wrong way. We simply needed to go about 5 blocks…instead we went to Brooklyn, got off, went up the stairs, down the stairs and back on the subway to get to 5 blocks from where we originally started. Had dinner. It was so lovely and perfect and wonderful. We started walking towards the theater to see Rocky the Musical and I made it about a block and a half in my Coach high heeled shoes and that was it for me. We ducked into a tourist trap and bought 12 dollar flip flops. And it was raining which was making my hair ginormous. So, I started out pretty cute, but riding to Brooklyn by accident, the mist frizzing my hair and flip flops in an evening dress….yeah…well, this about sums up my life. We go to the show and it is FANTASTIC best show I have seen in many years!!!

Yes, that's me on Broadway in flip flops...my friend Dave would be so grossed out. But a girl's gotta do what a girl's gotta do.

Yes, that’s me on Broadway in flip flops…my friend Dave would be so grossed out. But a girl’s gotta do what a girl’s gotta do.

Leave the show, get autographs, the kids see that skeevey guy I don’t like and run over to get his autograph…that takes forever but I entertain myself by taking pictures of the NYPD…There is definitely something about a man in a uniform…..we get lost trying to find the subway. We find it, take it successfully and go up to the hotel room in shifts so we don’t let on that there are actually 4 of us not 3. The room is so small, the blow up bed just fits on the floor next to the single bed. When you sit down on the toilet the sink is in your lap and your feet are in the shower. It was small. Went to sleep.

Woke up dead tired exhausted.Took a handsome cab ride around Central Parksort of a downer because our guy only told one joke.  Oh Bloomberg, you outlawed humor too?

At the "Friends" fountain...the 2 groups before us posed nicely...we almost lost the oldest backwards into the fountain

At the “Friends” fountain…the 2 groups before us posed nicely…we almost lost the oldest backwards into the fountain

Took the subway with minimal screw upedness to the fashion district because we love it there. Then got lost looking for the subway we needed to get to Grand Central. We needed the “S” train. Finally find the “S” train go down the stairs (carrying 4 heavy suit cases and a blow up bed) swipe metro, go thru and down another few flights of stairs and there is a bench where we sit and wait for the S train. For 45 minutes we wait for the S train. While we were sitting there waiting I saw my friend from home…how random…I screamed her name and waved and we laughed and off she went and there we sat. We asked the lady next to us about the S train, she replied something about stairs and a board. We didn’t know what she was talking about. We asked a guy and he also mentioned something about stairs and S being a shuttle not a train. Ok wize guy. Whatever you say. We finally made the kid go push the button on the intercom on the wall and ask where and when to catch the S train. Pretty sure that button wasn’t really connected to anything so she was just standing there looking at the wall….which we found hysterical.

I know, we were literally maybe 2 blocks from Grand Central. We could have just walked. We could have actually paid attention to the people who tried valiantly to help us. Instead, we sat there for almost an hour discussing when the S train would get there. Then one of us had a lightbulb moment and said “Maybe we should just go look up those stairs…just to see what is up there” Ok, what the hell, we ain’t got nuthin to lose. And as we reach the top step, there sits the S train with doors wide open a light shining down and angels singing (there were no angels…there was a violin player tho) We got on, sat down and laughed until we cried. You had to have been there but it was so damn funny! 3 people told us to our face, in English, that we needed to go up the stairs and all 3 times we nodded and thanked them and then turned back around and said “I have no idea what they are trying to tell me”

Literally one stop…total of maybe 1 minute and we get off at Grand Central. We get some food, use the rest room, check the board and see our train is leaving in 10 minutes from track 18. We walk over to track 18 and sit on our luggage and wait for the train. We are the only people ON the platform…hhmmm…..After about 15 minutes we decide we should ask someone. We ask the Sneezy, the guy who has been there as long as we have but is waiting up near the entrance. He says he is waiting for his friend coming in from CT so yes, we are in the right spot. We wait another 10 minutes and decide to ask someone with a little more authority. Ya know…some one in an orange vest.  They said yes yes, we are in the right place for the train to CT. Okkkkkk,….20 minutes later a train guy comes down in his cart and says we are NOT in the right place that there was a fatality on the tracks and a fire so this train is not coming and we need to be over on track 24 and that train is leaving right now. Isn’t this the perfect ending to the perfect beginning? I really never knew train riding was so deadly. We haul ass over to track 24 laughing all the way, not because of the fatality stuff but because really….this doesn’t happen to other people ever. Just us. We walk the whole length of the train and finally find seats. Settle in. All is well.

Until……….until the conductor calls the West Haven stop. Then, we are suddenly all confused about if we parked at West Haven or New Haven… I decide we parked at  West Haven but just as I jump up and run for the door…the train pulls away from the platform. Now at this point, the kids start freaking out. I wasn’t. It was dumb, but so far I haven’t gotten anywhere the smart way so no biggie. We get off at the New Haven station which is very beautiful….we get some food, we get back on the train and ride for about 3 minutes and get off at West Haven. Get in my car and proceed to get lost going home because gps is something Satan himself controls.

Overall, it was a very fun trip with TONS of laughs. Memories made, mission accomplished.

Our Super Model pose....nailed it.

Our Super Model pose….nailed it.

No Sleep Till Brooklyn

Standard

me and hopeWell, I did it again. I took the kids on vacation. And actually, we did great. I suppose 7 years into single motherhood, I am starting to get the hang of it…My bff (the one I told you about in this post) and her bf went on vacation (like a real one…to a tropical place, with scuba diving and no kids and alcohol….) and offered me her place in Brooklyn for the week! Being as I am broke this is completely in my price range!!! Plus, my bff has excellent taste and lives in DUMBO which is so beautiful…the view from her roof is AMAZE. Anyway, the kids and I get 6 days and 5 nights in NYC!!!! My kids love NYC. Especially my 14 year old who is Broadway Bound. Between me and you, I think my 10 year old and myself could sit on a beach and read Harry Potter and be completely content for weeks if not months…but when I was a kid, NYC was where I wanted to be. Off we go!

Not before my 14 year old wakes up vomiting with some sort of stomach bug. Because, as you know from this post our vacations always involve puke. Oh and the place where I usually board my dog called to say they are having a bout of kennel cough. Excellent! Now I KNOW it is vacation!!! Regardless, we pack and go. I have three rolly suitcases except one doesn’t have a handle so to actually roll it, one has to stoop over in a hunchback fashion to use it. I won’t say which one of us got that job. I drove to Albany because, after much thought and worry I decided that we should take the train rather than brave the bridges into Brooklyn. Having made that decision made me feel loads better. We hopped on the train in Albany and my 14 year old was still feeling rather ill. I wouldn’t let her talk directly at me because if I got sick then the world would end. So, everytime she tried to talk to me I would make her look straight ahead and speak, which would crack me UP because to look at her it looked like she was talking out loud to herself.

We got off the train, found the subway we needed and almost passed out lugging our six heavy bags (screw you and your 50 pound a bag limit Amtrak!!!!!) up the stairs then down the stairs then up the stairs then down the stairs again (rolly bags don’t work on stairs. They just bang along and make really loud crashing sounds which makes other people jump out of the way.) We wound up in Brooklyn! And wheeled our way the 6 blocks to my bff’s apartment.walking in brooklyn Her friend who has the Gorilla Glue duct tape appeared holding 3 bottles of cold water and the keys to the 4th floor walk up! The water brought some color back into my poor, sick 14 year old’s cheeks. The looming 4 flights of stairs drained it right back out. We country folk ain’t accustomed ta all this here walkin around. It only took about a half hour to get the key to work and voila! We are IN!

I took the kids up to the roof to see the view.

Start spreadin the news.....

Start spreadin the news…..

We took a walk around DUMBO and stumbled upon a family fun night down under the Manhattan bridge. My 10 year old played in the really nice playground and got wet in the sprinkler, we got ice cream and took some great pics.

DUMBO

DUMBO

We went back to the apt, showered and passed out. We got up the next day and went to Coney Island.

Coney Island Crack.

Coney Island Crack.

I don’t think I have ever been to Coney Island and I am pretty sure once is enough for me. We went swimming, I saw a shark, a lot of broken glass and some body parts that are not legal in Upstate. The kids rode almost every ride

The little girl sitting behind my 14 year old was a little scared and was holding on to my kid for dear life!

The little girl sitting behind my 14 year old was a little scared and was holding on to my kid for dear life!

and we ate Nathan’s hot dogs because that is what you do. I was raised in Liverpool, NY so really anything that is not a Hoffman’s hot dog is just shit. Not being mean, just stating a fact. But when in Rome…

We went home and showered and passed out. The next day we went exploring Manhattan.DSCF2455 I am not a fan of Times Square. I mean, it is fun for the kids and all now that it is Disneyfied and Giuliani kicked out all the hookers, drug dealers and homeless.

Like these dudes have homes...obviously. They are wearing them...

Like these dudes have homes…obviously. They are wearing them…

But I will always have a special place in my heart for the Times Square of peep shows and street magicians and pick pockets and not looking up. Regardless, we wound up in Times Square a few times during the week. We also went to The Village and China Town and Little Italy

Where all the men are good looking, the women are strong and the children above average. And the men are good looking...did I say that already?

Where all the men are good looking, the women are strong and the children above average. And the men are good looking…did I say that already?

and the Garment District which is my FAV place. I LOVE buying clothes for 5 bucks from racks on the street.  And we did eat at Jekyll and Hyde restaurant which was a blast! It was a Tuesday evening so it was not crowded and it was dinner and a show. Perfect for kids who have been walking the island of Manhattan all day.

Getting a mind reading from Dr. Jekyll himself!!!

Getting a mind reading from Dr. Jekyll himself!!!

We went to the New York Public Library (as featured in Ghostbusters…no really, that is what the cop said when we asked him how to get there “oh you mean the one with the lions from Ghostbusters?”) because it is free and so beautiful. DSCF2291 They have free tours which I LOVED because it is all about the history. And their bathrooms are so lovely and clean!I guess I should stop here and tell you that my goals beyond making sure the kids had a good time and not catching my daughter’s stomach bug were to find free fun things to do and to find free clean bathrooms to use. Turning 40 has really narrowed my priorities. The bathroom at the Jekyll an Hyde restaurant was so INCREDIBLE. I won’t tell you the whole story but you have to walk through a fireplace

Just thru the fireplace and take a right....

Just thru the fireplace and take a right….

and then find the right book to push, in a hallway that is top to bottom books, which will open the door to the restroom.

Hope you don't have to pee real bad cause this could take a while....

Hope you don’t have to pee real bad cause this could take a while….

And the only way to tell if you are entering the men’s or the ladies is if you happen to notice a man standing at the urinal…which didn’t register with me as I had to pee…whoops! “This is a family joint lady, not Studio 54!”

We went to MoMa (Museum of Modern Art) I can’t remember exactly why we went there. But it was 25 bucks for me to get in and the kids were free. And I got to make the kids imitate the art, because life imitates art in my world.DSCF2259 DSCF2260 DSCF2274 DSCF2247 DSCF2249 DSCF2257 Most of the other museums in NY are only a suggested fee. So if you don’t have their suggested 25 dollar donation then you give what you can and go right in. Kids are generally free anyway. MoMA was ok. I don’t care about modern art really, or Led Zeppelin or gaucho pants which isn’t to say I don’t own a piece of modern art, a Zeppelin song or two and a pair of gaucho pants. I can appreciate that which does not thrill me. MoMA had a very nice bathroom, but nothing to write home about.

Wednesday evenings in the summer Central Park has free concerts at Rumsey Playfield.

Almost to Rumsey Field to see Martha Graham Dance Co!!!!!

Almost to Rumsey Field to see Martha Graham Dance Co!!!!!

Wednesday night was Martha Graham Dance Company…for FREE! Wow!! I studied up on the specs of exactly how and when to get there to get in line. And we did it! The show started at 8 and lasted until about 10. It was outside with the breeze blowing… incredible. It was so refreshing to see dancers trained in a technique performing that technique to perfection. The artistic director was there and gave a short talk before the show about the history of Graham company and Martha and the technique she created. It was really so fulfilling for me to hear and for my kids to listen to after all of the SYTYCD  and Dance Moms crap that they are exposed to which is so far from the art of dance. Ok, I won’t get into it here. Suffice it to say, it was inspiring to be surrounded by people who love dance, not that crap on tv and to see such beautiful dancing by professionals (and not a single illusion or switch leap or crotch shot in the entire performance).

Thursday we went to see Potted Potter, an Off-Broadway musical parody of the all 7 Harry Potter books.DSCF2467 It was HYSTERICAL! A must see even if you aren’t a Potter geek like we are. We had orchestra center. We picked up our tickets at TKTS booth in Brooklyn the day before for half off. So, basically we paid the nosebleed price for the best seats in the house.potted potter Although, it is a small theater and any seat would be good for the show. But audience participation is optional and sitting closer is better for that sort of thing. My 10 year old, who has read the entire series twice thru so far, was in heaven!

And last but not least, we got to see Selena Gomez in concert for FREE as part of the Good Morning America Summer Concert Series!!!!!DSCF2496 I had NO idea I like Selena Gomez as much as I do! For that experience we had to get up at 4am, get on the subway by 5am, get to Central Park before 6am and queue up. We did it, and we had GREAT standing places (there are no seats…not even for old people who have been walking around for 5 days in bad shoes and have been up since 4am. Nope. I checked.) We were directly behind the VIP section!  That was very much alot more funner than I would have imagined it was going to be. And yes, it made me that much dumber. Whatev, it was free. And I spotted Sam Champion who is my favorite.

The REAL reason I got up at 4am.

The REAL reason I got up at 4am.

We did lots of  other stuff like the Whispering Wall in Grand Central and Metropolitan Museum of Art for the Punk exhibit (which sucked ass and was so lame I gave it the finger)

Sucked.

Sucked.

We stopped for every street performer

Yup. That's just a G-string and yellow paint...

Yup. That’s just a G-string and yellow paint…

, we did eat at a few nice places

A nice Irish Pub mac and cheese...

A nice Irish Pub mac and cheese…

. We talked to some fun people on the subway and I got punched in the eye by a pigeon. No lie. Over all it was a great trip. The best free bathrooms are NYPL, ANY hotel on the Upper East Side,  and The Bottom of The Rock (Rockefeller Center). There are others but I have a NYC hangover and can’t think of them at the moment. And I didn’t throw up at all. The End.