Saturday, September 22, 2007

A Grand Day Out

Curt is out in New Jersey with his sailing class tonight. I noticed it's been over a week since we posted any good pictures of Loren (that one from my cell phone is pretty hideous). To start off, a sign of fall: apples from the Wednesday Greenmarket near my office.

Today Loren and I went on an excursion to the Children's Museum of Manhattan. Every time I go to the Upper West Side, I remember why I almost never go to the Upper West Side... lovely neighborhood, but it requires a bus-to-subway combo for us to go anywhere north of Lincoln Center. Luckily Loren was excited about the trip and was reasonably well behaved, meaning she only stood on my lap and jumped up and down rather than trying to run away down the subway car. Yes, I have very low expectations.

The Children's Museum has very impressive ambitions: "CMOM’s three priority areas flow from the strategic plan and are designed to meet specific needs within the community: early childhood education prepares children to enter kindergarten; creativity in the arts and sciences inspires creative and analytical thinking skills for lifelong learning; and healthy lifestyles programs provide a blueprint for a family's physical, emotional and environmental well being. These priorities are met through exhibitions, presentations by artists from authentic traditions, and arts and science workshops." Here is Loren being inspired to think creatively and analytically. The PlayWorks room was lots of fun and had lots of different art and science activities for the under-4 set, as well as a climbing structure, a bus and a fire truck, and a giant dragon that announced the letters as we fed it alphabet blocks. Our visit coincided with one of the "presentations by artists from authentic traditions": a teen-aged mariachi band that played for the 11:30 circle time. Loren wouldn't sit for the circle time but she did bop to the mariachi music as we fed letters to the dragon. All in all, kind of a combination Gymboree/LeapFrog on steroids... I mean that in the nicest way. Loren had a blast and I had to drag her out when it was time to leave for lunch/nap. I'm sure we'll be going back.

We also visited the sellout to corporate funding... I mean the Dora the Explorer adventure exhibit on the second floor. I kind of hesitated to take her there because part of the reason for the excursion was to keep from having to fend off Loren's begging to watch Dora all day long. But I knew she would love it. Here she tries on Boots's boots. Who knew Boots wore fake Uggs?

Did I mention that it required a bus and subway ride to get there? As we left, the skies opened up. The forecast as of last night called for nice weather so I didn't check the weather or radar in the morning and we were caught out without an umbrella. There was no way we were making it the 4 blocks to the subway so I decided on an unplanned lunch out at the first restaurant we passed, which turned out to be Artie's deli, a facsimile of a 1930s Jewish deli that opened in 1999. I'm sure it's normally mobbed on weekends but since 99.9% of the Upper West Side population was occupied with Yom Kippur it was pretty empty. I say I'm sure it's normally mobbed because a) even mediocre brunch places are mobbed on weekends in NYC and b) the food turned out to be quite decent. Loren had the famous frankfurter and finished the entire jumbo dog. Based on the one bite she let me have I could see why she ate the whole thing - it was delicious and it had the nice thick skin I remember from the Sabrett hot dogs we used to get on the way home from the beach (reference that only my family will get). I had the corned beef Reuben. I was expecting a regular deli sandwich, maybe a little heavy on the meat in the NY deli style, but what arrived was an immense open-faced with a mountain of corned beef and a huge slick of melted swiss cheese. In case that wasn't enough fat, they brought an extra pitcher of Russian dressing on the side.

The wait staff was very gracious and cheerfully cleaned up the little white dish that broke when Loren knocked it on the floor. And the pieces of hot dog bun that she threw to announce that she was done.

By the time we finished the rain had slowed down enough that we were able to go across Broadway to the nearest Duane Reade and buy an umbrella for the walk back to the subway. Other than some shoe shopping excitement after her nap (what fun for Loren to pull down 5 pairs of Crocs in different colors and line them up and step in each of them in turn!! what fun for me to find cute blue Mary Janes for her for the fall without dragging around to multiple stores) the rest of the day was uneventful.

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