New York City Family Trip

I can tell I've been on my annual family trip to NYC because there's more "doing" than there are photos that document any "doing". Thank heavens for Instagram, right? The perfect on-the-fly capture.

When I'm with the man and the girl I want to be WITH them enjoying the experience rather than stopping here, there and everywhere to compose this shot or grab that moment. So less than 10 DSLR shots on this trip compared to about 150 on my trip last May with a pal from London.

Once a year we take a family trip to NYC. It's the Harris family annual "arts enrichment" when we see theater, visit MOMA and other museums & galleries, eat out at amazing restaurants, walk around, and hear live music. We're all about experiences over stuff. (Visit the Matisse exhibit at MOMA if you can - it's excellent).

The girl is turning 9 and this is her eighth trip to NYC. Of course we had brunch at American Girl Place! I love planning our trips and making sure that everyone is happy.

We spent an evening playing billiards, shuffleboard and ping pong while listening to live jazz at the basement Fat Cat bar in Greenwich Village. What a great way for kids to hear live jazz! What I love about NYC is that you'll find all types at a venue like this: university students, old people, families, kids, singles. Back at home it's not that common to mix with such a diverse group of people.

We wandered about later and ended up at Sockerbit for Swedish candy.

Subway skills are a must. Happy to report that we had a real life example of who NOT to engage with while traveling on the subway! Never too young to learn to avert your eyes and have the mildly bored disdainful look while on public transit in a big city.

Soul food! Well, Jewish soul food. Love love LOVE the newish Russ & Daughters Cafe. Listen to Grace Bonney's podcast with the third generation of owners talking about rebranding. Founded in 1914 and STILL a family business. And it's the Lower EastSide - landing 'hood of many different ethnic immigrants. Check out the LES Tenement Museum for excellent tours Gotta know your roots.

Times Square. The crowds drive me crazy. The mall-ification isn't pretty but you've gotta wade through if you're seeing anything on Broadway. Take a deep breath and be patient. 

We saw the Band Wagon, the Fantasticks and Patti Lupone at 54 Below. When the girl was little (and even up to last year), we'd do matinees with her and the man & I would alternate evening performances on more adult fare. This year was the first time we were able to do all shows together. What a pleasure!

If your kids are small, there are theater companies pitched at littles - Galli NY Childrens' Theater and the New Victory Theater. The Merkin Concert Hall at the Kaufman Music Center has a variety of music series for families. 

Jack's Wife Freda on the edge of SOHO doesn't take reservations so put your name in and walk up a couple of blocks on Lafayette to La Colombe for a latte. I had the poached eggs with grilled haloumi and tomato, the man had eggs with green shakshuka, and the girl had rosewater waffles. A perfect breakfast!

Missed our standard poodle Pepper even more when we met a black standard named Wilma outside of the cafe. Her owner and I traded tips on how to prepare brussel sprouts that don't involve boiling the heck out of them!

Bagels. I live on the west coast and it is impossible to get a proper bagel. Those fluffy large bun-like things? Not a bagel. I want the boiled-then-baked dense, chewy, fragrant Montreal bagel.  Black Seed Bagels in Nolita is a lovely hybrid of the Montreal bagel and the less dense & slightly larger NYC bagel. Brought back a baker's dozen.

Tip: bring along ziploc bags for bringing back baked goods. Really!

And we got to see Sheri Silver and her delightful son Noah who JUST turned six! I met Sheri a few years ago through blogging and I remember meeting her for the very first time in the Village. I was so nervous! Do you ever feel like you're back in middle school when you're meeting someone f2f for the first time?  

I've said it before and I'll say it again and again - one of the benefits of social media is that you are no longer limited by geography for making friends. Love that.

I'll be back in NYC at the end of April to hang out with friends and we'll be back as a family later in 2015. Fiddler on the Roof is on deck. And I already have tickets for the RSC productions of Wolf Hall & Bring Up the Bodies. Can't wait.