2. QUICK GUIDE FOR TAKING YOUR FAMILY TO NEW YORK CITY
NEW YORK CITY DOESN’T HAVE TO BE a chaos-inducing, wallet-draining experience for a family. Go beyond the Empire State Building and the Toys ‘R Us Ferris Wheel with these tips for having a blast with your fam in the Big Apple.
When traveling as a family, think beyond flashy Broadway shows that break the bank. The New Victory Theater has lots of kid-friendly offerings, including select performances for children with autism. Let kids explore their theatrical side with workshops at La MaMa, one of the oldest experimental theater companies in the city.
Hang with other NYC families.
Kids raised in NYC have a different take on the world than kids raised elsewhere. Doesn’t mean it’s a bad thing, but we’re raised with a certain sense of “street smarts” that can be cool to experience in person. Groups like Brooklyn Queer + Progressive Parents, NYC Third Culture Kids, or Cobble Hill Chill Parents, offer traveling families the chance to interact with and learn first-hand what family is like in the big city.
Learning NYC history
Walk among NYC’s oldest natural forest and look for Native American rock shelters at Inwood Hill Park. Learn why Alexander Hamilton was the OG New Yorker at Hamilton Grange. Experience what immigrant life was like first-hand at the Lower East Side Tenement Museum. Pause for reflection at the 9/11 Memorial.
Beyond picnics in the park
Check out the Urban Park Rangers programs, which happen year-round, and are usually free. Kids will go bonkers over the Creepy Insects and Crafts workshop at Fort Totten, or take pride in becoming a Conservation Ranger during some of the week-long programs designed for families traveling to NYC on school breaks.
There are six zoos and wildlife centers across NYC’s five boroughs. The Central Park Zoo with its penguin feedings is an easy daytime activity, but head to theQueens Zoo for interactive evening tours or exclusive zoo campouts.
For some free play (and taking in awesome views), walk along the Highline or hang out in Bryant Park. For indoor quiet time, explore the New York Public Library or the Housing Works Bookstore Cafe in Soho.
Cheap family eats
Grab four dumplings for $1.25 at Vanessa’s Dumpling House in Chinatown. Let kids sample legit hot dog combos at Papaya King on the Upper West Side. Count how many Famous Original Ray’s Pizza shops you can find and then share a slice and soda. Watch rainbow bagels get made at The Bagel Store in Williamsburg.
When in doubt, find a museum.
Culture shouldn’t cost much, and thankfully almost every NYC museum offers free admission for kids under 12; some, like MoMa and the Museum of the City of New York, go as far as anyone under 18. Celebrate diversity at the Children’s Museum of Manhattan with their rotating schedule of culture-specific exhibits, as well as the Jewish Museum.
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3. 28 FEARS ALL NEW YORKERS HOLD
1. Getting pushed onto the subway, or seeing someone else meet their end
One of these days, some maniac is going to come up behind you and shove you, of all of the people waiting on the platform, of all the people in New York City, onto the subway tracks, and you will be smushed. And as if this fear weren’t real enough to begin with, Kate Mara’s fate in House of Cards certainly didn’t help. Now, it’s 24/7 paranoia.
The fear extends to others as well. You’re convinced that if the Heavens shine down upon you and choose to keep you standing, then you’ll certainly at least be there to witness someone else fall to their doom. You get a nervous chill whenever you see people leaning over the edge to see if the lights of the next train are visible. Come on people, the train will come when it comes. Risking life and limb to hover over the edge will make no difference! And all those drunk people tiptoeing, or rather stumbling, along the edge…I can’t watch. They’re just asking for it. It’s going to happen, and you’re going to be there to witness it.
2. The Red Sox winning another world series.
3. The Knicks being the Knicks.
‘Nuff… ’nuff said. ‘Nuff said.
4. The L Train. Just, the L train.
You have to muster up every ounce of mental strength before getting onto the L train during rush hour, but nothing can prepare you for the physical, emotional and spiritual onslaught that awaits you. Picture it now: You’re stuck on the train heading towards Brooklyn at 6pm on a Monday, packed like a can of sardines, smashed against the door with your face in Joe Flannel’s armpit. Oh, and the train will stop, indefinitely. Why? Because it’s the L train of course. “We are being held momentarily due to train traffic ahead. We will be moving shortly”-my ass. You will NOT be moving shortly, Joe Flannel’s armpit isn’t going anywhere, and neither is your anxiety.
5. The subway handrail
Sometimes even the best lines become as bad as the L. If the train is brimming with commuters and you’re not lucky enough to have nabbed a seat (or to be locked in a make out session with the door), chances are you’ll find yourself in a central position with only two options: either subway surfing, or resigning yourself to the horrifying, appalling, nauseating task of grabbing the slimy handrail—the Time-Square-at-rush-hour of germs.
You’re out at a bar and that sad creep just doesn’t get the hint.
If you’re forced to choose the latter, you have to remind yourself to breathe (not too deeply, who knows what SARS-riddled time bomb is locked in here with you), as your brain becomes an angry beehive, swarming with thoughts of giant, green, life-sucking germs. You see people coughing, sneezing, scratching, wiping, rubbing, hands doing god-knows-what else, god-knows where, and it all ends up on that very handrail you are now sharing with 8.4 million New Yorkers. It feels like your hand is burning, or very may well fall off, and you wouldn’t be too upset about it. (No? Just me?)
Death by gentrification (—the horror! There truly is no more dreadful way to go). Say sayonara to your favorite local grocery.
Or, worse yet, you will be associated with gentrification—YOU’RE ONE OF THEM.
7. Convos IRL
All of the dating apps in the world will become magically corrupted, your phone will spontaneously combust, and you will be forced to have a human interaction with someone you find (moderately) attractive in real life. [*Gasp*]
8. Falling into one of those open cellar doors on the street
And be smushed. (Even the closed ones are no guarantee.)
9. Getting stuck in a bar with other New Yorkers
You’re out at a bar and that sad creep just doesn’t get the hint. Your phone dies. Your friend is too busy ordering another round of shots and chatting up the bartender, and to save yourself, you’ll have no choice but to tell him that sorry, your herpes is acting up.
10. Uber Price Surges
It’s 2 in the morning. You’re out in the West Village. You live on the Upper East Side, or hell, Bushwick. All of your friends have paired off with whomever they’ve managed to fall in love with in the last four hours. You’re alone, and you want nothing more than to be in bed with a full box of pizza on your stomach. You leave the club, hating the world and yourself for spending your life savings on alcohol, wondering if you have enough left in your bank account to buy said box of pizza. You open up your Uber app and there it is: “WOAH! Demand is off the charts! Do you accept this higher fare??” the app mockingly asks, as if you have a choice.
11. De Blasio killing Uber
Worse yet, De Blasio will reignite his battle with Uber, and this time he will come away victorious. The only thing worse than surging Uber prices are no Ubers at all. You will be forced to exercise those arm muscles and hail a yellow cab, desperately trying to inch further onto the street than the guy next to you doing the same thing.
Or there’s the classic “walk two streets and one full avenue to find traffic going in the direction that will save yourself a couple of bucks, only to realize that you’re out of cash, you haven’t paid your credit card bill, and your cab driver has no idea where in God’s-name-Brooklyn it is that you live.” That’s always fun. Oh, and it’s raining.
12. Meeting your end at the hands of a biker
You step out into the bike lane (because you have an uncontrollable urge to prove your New Yorker-ness by reading the traffic lights and crossing the street two seconds before the walk sign lights up), and that’s it. That’s your end. A rogue Citi Biker or a courier unfamiliar with the term “brakes.” One careless, hurried step and…donezo. Smush.
13. New Jersey
It might as well be Pluto, except you were excited to see pictures of Pluto this summer.
14. Brunch waits long enough to turn it into dinner
It’s 11:30am on Sunday and you and your friends are crazy hungover, eager to rehash the past night’s mistakes, injuries, gossip, good times and questionable decisions. All you can think about is the guilt in your head and the pain in your stomach, yelling at you: “feed me carbs!!” You have an insatiable craving for pancakes, eggs, hashbrowns, toast, a hair of the dog and everything else on the menu. Nothing can stand between you and your power brunch. Except that 2.5 hour wait. At every. Single. Place. You try.
15. Full fitness classes
You spent the weekend indulging in bagels, pizza, beer and Chinese food with the peace of mind that come Monday, you would start fresh with healthy groceries, human-sized portions and a fitness kick Marky Mark would be proud of. But then, in your weekend’s stupor, you forget to sign up for a spot in that Soul Cycle class on Monday night. You only realize it thirty minutes before the actual class, frantically logging on to the website and realizing that it’s already full. Oh well. Pass the tacos.
16. “Show is sold out”
You actually set your alarm (five of them to be precise), sit at your desk at 11:55 on a Friday, clicking refresh on Ticketmaster two hundred times over the next five minutes, only to read “Sorry, tickets are currently unavailable.” Curse the bastards who invented presale. Curse the people who think a city of nearly 9 million people will only require two shows. A quick perusal of StubHub reveals that, phew! Still tickets out there! You’ll just have to decide between buying them or eating for the next four weeks.
17. That penny thing
A penny will fall on your head and crush you when you’re walking past the Empire State Building. Because that’s a thing, right?
18. A seamless order gone awry
Your seamless delivery person gets lost. Or worse, they get your order wrong. But you’ll eat it anyway. You’ll order from there again, and you’ll realistically still tip the delivery person a respectable amount, but you can be sure as hell you will NOT be happy about it.
19. Murray Hill
Because who doesn’t want to relive all of those glorious college days (you likely spent bent over a trashcan)? You know the fear. Don’t tell me you don’t shudder at the thought. (Unless you’re into that kind of thing—to each his own.)
20. Cultural Ignorance
You’re at a fancy work cocktail party, trying your best to pretend like you belong, that you’re competent at schmoozing, and that you deserve that raise. You find yourself sipping champagne with the Executive Board and you think this may be your chance to finally prove that you’re an adult to your superiors, your mom and yourself. But, alas, your CEO looks at you expectantly and inquires: “Oh, have you seen the new Au Chanté exhibit at the Metropolitan Imperial Gallery of What Was That?” And the jig is up. “Nope, no ma’am. I have not. I was too busy watching Netflix with my pretend significant other and eating ramen because I’m culturally ignorant, poor and alone.”
21. Falling asleep on the subway
I’m sure Ozone Park is a lovely place, but I don’t want to wake up there at 4 in the morning.
22. Getting lost
It’s the middle of who-knows-where Bed Stuy, or Long Island City. It’s dark on a Saturday night, you’re FINALLY going to have dinner with your friend you keep promising you to visit, and when you get off the subway, the signs might as well be in Wingdings. You look down to your trusty Google Maps app and…no service. The makings of a horror movie.
23. The day you realize you’ve aged out of your neighborhood
Sorry grandpa, the Bedford stop is for new graduates of FIT, and you just can’t hack it anymore.
24. Your OpenTable reservation never making it out of the drafts folder.
That moment where you go back and check what time you made it for, realize the email never sent, and your heart drops to your stomach. The one time you were the person responsible for making the reservation! There go your evening plans, and your friends.
25. Local spots going mainstream
Thanks, TimeOut. Hipsters! Yuppies! FIT Grads! Terror, anger, disdain, sorrow—all the feels.
26. Someone calling you a hipster/yuppie…
But… I thought I had settled Brooklyn!
27. Your lease running out
Which means any combination of the following: your rent triples, you’re priced out of your neighborhood, your dreams are shattered, you have to first consider and then potentially execute the dreaded task of moving and all that entails, friendships are broken, you have to find new roommates, and you’re faced with maneuvering the beast that is Craigslist and the crazies.
28. The Trader Joe’s in Union Square line at 5pm on Sunday.
Or, the stuff nightmares are made of. Be careful out there, New Yorkers. It’s a scary world.
Article provided by our friends at Matadorenetwork.com