Monday, April 14, 2014

NYC & DC Trip Details! [Part I]

Whew!  We are settled back in the ATL after a relaxing vacation crazy trip up north!  We were gone one week and as I look back on all of our pictures, we really squeezed a lot in! I called this a trip instead of vacation because it really wasn't very relaxing.  Have you guys ever taken your kids to NYC?  It is definitely a different way of travel. To say the least.  (Somethin' different as my dad would say) 

Good times though and great memories. 
Grab a cup of coffee and sit back....this is a long one with picture overload.
{excitement before take-off!}

We took an early flight to NY Sunday morning so we could meet Ernesto's college buddy, Roman.  Its only and 1.5 flight and Mateo was having fun looking out the window.  It had been several months since he flew last and there was a definite difference in his level of interest.  Riding on trains and buses were equally exciting.  We built up the trip beforehand and he remembered everything we told him.
He understood everything too and that was so fun to see. 
Marcelo, on the other hand wasn't sure what was going on, but nothing phases him.  
Good. Boy. All. The. Time. 
 He slept the whole flight. 
Smooth trip.  Easy bus ride to Grand Central Station, on the Airporter shuttle (30 min and $13pp) which was a couple blocks from our hotel.  ps. Remember my last post...NO automobiles? Does a bus count? We ended up taking two, but stuck to trains the rest of the time.  Well, except for when we rented a van and drove to DC, but Ill get to that later. 

The Westin Grand Central  was perfect.  #1 it was free!!  Thank you to our Starwood Am Ex!  #2 the midtown location was great and #3 they gave us an upgraded corner room (adjoining with Ernesto's parents) on the 27th floor #4 that "heavenly bed" is just, well, heavenly. 
Yep, lots of elevator rides!  And lots of looking out the window.  The Chrysler Building was right across the street.  So cool.
That first day, we arrived too early to check in so we dropped our bags and hit the city baby.  
Dead on. 
Well hello my hot husband and adorable son.

We planned to meet Roman in Bryant Park, just a 10 minute walk from our hotel.  It was a cloudy cool day, but the outdoor patio called Southwest Porch had heat lamps and cold brew.  Both boys were sleeping so we kicked back and had a couple beers while we waited.  That was nice.  (ps. notice my nice blown-out hair! Thanks Beth!)
We were hungry so we stopped in Grand Central Station for some good pizza at Two Boots.  Delish! This building is gorgeous right? The awesome lights, the stone and marble.  There is a reason people say " it's like Grand Central Station in here."  This place is BU-SY and loud.
Roman showed us one little square where the ceiling is arched.  Ernesto and I stood in opposite corners and whispered sweet nothings to each other.  It was clear as a bell.  So weird.
It was nice to see Roman.  The last time was in 2010 when we went to his wedding (on a boat!).  He has a little girl now. We took the subway over to his place in Williamsburg (Brooklyn), picked up little Alisa and made our way to a string of places. (a brewery, cocktail bar and Cuban restaurant) The little Rooskie is adorable and a big girl!  She is like 6 months younger than Mateo but was much bigger.  She is also used to staying up until 10 or 11pm every night.  Little crazy boy is not.  
He got to bed at midnight that night, so that was fun [for him].  That first night Mateo slept with us in the king bed and Marcelo was in a hotel [supplied] crib.  It wasn't until morning that we discovered the little sofa was a pull out bed.  Hallelujah!  
This guy moves around so much when he sleeps.  I love to cuddle with him, but were happy he had his own bed.  

We met abuela y tata day two at the hotel where they checked into the room right beside ours.
They had never been on the east coast so they wanted to see as much as possible.  For the [three] Espinozas, that meant we got started around noon and got in a couple things per day. Ha!


Ok,  late starts all week (except the last day of the trip where we were out the door at 930am!), but for me, even just walking the streets in New York is entertaining...and we did a lot of that.  We would get up and go straight for coffee at one of the three Starbucks Bucky-bucks within one block of the hotel. We drank A LOT of Bucky-bucks.  They are on almost every corner and with the cool weather I wanted to drink it all day long.

 Day 1
Central Park.  What an amazing place!  It is 843 acres, 2.5 miles long and has roughly 21 playgrounds.  We found one called Heckscher Playground on the south side.
It was a beautiful day out and Mateo needed to run run run.  He's not used to being in a stroller that much, and although he wanted "my walk" there was no way in hell we could let this speedy boy out till we were in a no car zone.  The playground had slides and swings, a huge sand area and lots of climbing structures.  All with the amazing backdrop of skyscrapers.  I guess this were we would be everyday if we lived here.
Mis suegras love Chinese food so Ernesto Yelped a good place in China Town.  They were wanting duck, and Big Wong King obviously had it.  (the other dishes were good too!)

Having adjoining rooms was perfect as we were able to put the boys to sleep and go next door to hang out/have drinks/play cards.

Day 2
A stroll through Times Square....with the obligatory pictures.
Mateo spotted Elmo and actually got out of his stroller to meet him and pose for this pic. Its funny how shy this outgoing daredevil can be sometimes. 
As if Elmo wasn't enough to make him happy, we passed right by the Hershey's store.  They were handing out chocolate samples.  There is NOTHING that makes him more happy than candy. (not even Play-doh or Youtube) Ernesto thought he need a Reeces car [full of candy] too. 
"SPRIZE" That is what Mateo calls treats (usually given by papi)  He asks everyday for a Sprize. 
Look at that chocolate induced smirk. This really is his "candy smirk." 

We thought we would let that sugar high run its course in The American Museum of Natural History
Right at nap time! 
I mean what could go wrong?  Im sure these dinosaur skeletons aren't worth very much anyway.
I herded the boys into an empty rotunda with windows and they had fun running/crawling while the other adults looked around.  We may need to save the dinosaur, outer space and ocean life lessons for a couple more years.
Needless to say, it was not a long stay, because frankly, we had to get the hell out of dodge before we were thrown out.  (picture said Reeces car racing down marble floor and hitting other patrons feet) It was just as well because the sun was shining.  (ps.  this museum is one of many in NYC that have a "suggested entry price."  Many people don't know this but you can set your own price, like a donation.  This really helps when there are more people in your group.)

Outside the museum we bought this tired boy a street hotdog and he was passed out in the stroller by the time we hopped on the subway.  "mimi time!"  Marcelo was a hit on the subway, waving to everyone.   He got a lot of smiles for us and even some friendly conversation, which doesn't always happen in NY.
This reminds me of a funny blog post from Joanna over at A cup of Joe.  She has a series called NYC guides.  I referenced it for places to eat and entertaining a toddler, but this one about how to NOT look like a tourist in NYC and was so spot on.  I failed at looking like a New Yorker on many levels, but I did not wear running shoes, no I did not!  Just cool sneakers! I bought a pair of shoes while I was there too.  They were a total NY inspired purchase, as Im sure I wouldn't have bought them at home.  But hey, when in Rome! (They also reminded me of my niece, Kelli-who is 23. ha!  Is that ok?) Oh well,  I felt very fashionable in my skinny jeans, velvet jacket/scarf and new manly shoes.  Oh and a baby strapped to me.  Now that the weather is warm in Atlanta though, I won't be wearing any shoes that cover my feet.  Hopefully I still love them next Winter.  (if not, they are yours Kelli!)

Next, We headed downtown to the 9/11 memorial.  The last time I went by there I want to say there was still rubble.  I can't quite remember.  Still, it was a long time ago.  I do know that I had never been to this memorial and it was quite touching.  Thinking about how horrible 9/11 was while there can really make you emotional.  Two large fountains fill the ground that was once the 2 towers.  The names of all who died are carved in the metal surrounding fountains. 
Here is the new One World Trade Center, soon to be completed and the tallest skyskraper in the western hemisphere (4th tallest in the world!) at 104 stories high.  Visitors will be able to go in/up later this year. 
That tree there has a history.  It is actually the only tree that survived 9/11.  It was charred and pulled from the rubble.  It's called "the Survivor Tree" and it was replanted at the memorial site.  Here is a great little video telling its story.  

We had walked by The Grand Central Oyster Bar several times on our way to/from the subway and thought it looked nice.  Oysters and beer?  Yum!  We ended up here about 5p and were some of the first people here, but the place filled up quickly.  It is really a cool place and they oysters were delicious!

Day 3
One thing on mis suegras "to see list" was the Statue of Liberty.  A loooong time ago I took a boat out there, but don't really remember.  (It was before vivacindy)  I was excited to go again.

It was really cold and wet that day, and once on the water, very windy.  Mateo was already sleeping by the time we boarded the boat (another late start!) but woke up just in time for a snack in the gift shop and the 15 minute boat ride back.  
Included in the entry to the island/boat fee, each person gets the headsets with an audio tour, which would have been great except, it was COLD.  Ernesto told me it was going to be 60 that day, so I dressed inappropriately, and I HATE being cold.  It makes me mad even.  I didn't want to be outside.  I know I missed a lot of history, but looking was good enough for me.  A few good pictures.
For our last dinner in NYC, we wanted to find somewhere kid-friendly and delicious.  Oh! and not too expensive. Otto, located in Greenwich Village, fit the bill.  

It's a Mario Batali restaurant so you know it has to be good.  Some reviews confirmed that,  and also said the noise level is high, so any loud toddler breakdowns would go virtually unnoticed.  Done!  Let's go! As it turned out, there were no breakdowns, but if there would have been, we may not have even heard it ourselves.  LOUD chatter.  Great though.  I loved it.  I love a busy restaurant and the food/wine was excellent.  

Day 3
The idea we originally had was to take a train down to Washington DC, but seeing as how we really didn't plan anything, the train cost was a lot more expensive that when we had checked this option a couple weeks earlier.  ($40 vs $145pp)  So it goes the life of a non-planner.  On to plan B.  We rented an.....automobile for $160, a way better deal.  Also, it came with car seats! We had a late checkout of our hotel (4pm) so we were able to squeeze in one more thing!

No, mijos, you will not remember this, but look! You guys were up on the 82 floor of the Empire State Building.  (aren't you glad tu mama has a blog?!)
The view is just ridiculous from up there.  (Of course I had to think of Sleepless in Seattle) This picture doesn't capture the feeling of being in the middle of all these tall buildings.  Looking down made my knees weak, but it is such an awesome sight indeed!

We drove away from the city is our minivan (ha! so NY right?) at 5p and road tripped it to Washington DC, Part II of our vacation trip.  The boys fell asleep like clockwork at bedtime (thank god they are great car/stroller sleepers!) and we arrived to our nations capital at 930p! 

To be continued..........


  1. wow- looks like you guys had lots of fun! can't wait to read part deux!!

  2. This comment has been removed by the author.


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