I am 22. I don’t have any children and neither do any of my friends. The word baby to me at 22 sounds a lot like boogieman did at 4.
So, this may sound strange, but I am OBSESSED with the mamablogger community. I read stories of these women—these amazing moms—as they work through their everyday lives and raise their children, and I am fascinated. I probably don’t need to explain myself to Mamalode faithfuls, but still, here is my rationale: they are just the coolest. Period. Need I say more?
One of my biggest mama-crushes is Mommasgonecity. For those of you who don’t know, Jessica Shyba began her blog as a way to keep in touch with those she left behind as she and her husband moved their young family from California to NYC. My Mamalode-official, professional position: her blog is full of great writing and stunning photos of her tots growing up in the concrete jungle. My nineties-boybandesque, obsession-driven opinion: she’s a girl-crush worthy mama whose stories I shamelessly devour.
So when my boyfriend suggested that we take a weekend and see the sites in NYC, my first thought: “absolutely,” my second: “what would Jessica do?” Scanning through her posts, I made a list of the ways that she turned Manhattan into a playground for her three young children (because, lets face it, the things most appealing to a child have to be the things most worth seeing) and we made a play date with the big apple.
Our Mommasgonecity-inspired NYC bucket list:
1. See the Statue of Liberty
Let me start by saying, this is harder to do than they let on in the movies. First of all, you have to figure out which island said statue resides on. Contrary to popular (and by popular I mean my) belief, she does not proudly announce “Welcome to America” from Staten Island. Guided by this misinformation, we inadvertently hopped on a random ferryboat headed to Staten Island. We soon discovered that the ferry to Staten Island does not in fact take you to the Statue of Liberty (because the now infamous statue can actually be found on Ellis Island), but you do get a great view of her as you cruise on by.
2. Look out over Manhattan from the top of the Empire State Building
Manhattan is an enormous place. And you feel its enormity as you walk along its crowded streets and filled with tourists, vendors, and Park Avenue Princesses. Enormous is redefined as you look out over the city from this bird’s-eye-view and think of all of the different people, cultures and ideas that populate this island.
3. Pay our respects at the World Trade Center Memorial
As beautiful as the memorial itself is, the earth-shaking reality of what it stands for casts an eerie feeling of remembrance over its visitors. Even as horrifying news images resurfaced from the depths of my memory, I couldn’t help but feel a pang of patriotism and of empathy for those most touched so deeply over a decade ago.
4. Central Park
Scenes from Home Alone played in my head as we strolled past the Plaza and found shade from the hot July sun under the trees that cover this truly magical park tucked away in the middle of it all.
5. See a play on Broadway
There is nothing more magical than Broadway. Let me repeat; nothing. There is something about being able to connect to the performers in such a personal way—being able to reach out and touch them—that makes theatre an amazing art indeed.
6. Grand Central Station
Indescribable. It’s JUST like it is in the movies.
7. Time Square
Bright lights and flashing signs, the towering buildings and a meshed gridlock of people overflowing from the sidewalks make up this glowing square. Ironically, it is a place where time seems to stand still. When the moon has risen and neon lights radiate throughout the streets, it’s anyone’s guess as to whether the sun has just set, or if it will soon be dawn.
8. Brooklyn Bridge
The bridge that spans the East river, connecting Manhattan to Brooklyn, is one of the oldest suspension bridges in America and it provides and entirely breath-taking view. If you can make the hike to the middle of this long (longer than it looks) bridge without getting hit by a bike zipping by at an alarming speed (STAY IN THE WALKING LANE), the view is more than worth your trouble.
I grew up in the ‘burbs. And I had a storybook upbringing; one that I wouldn’t trade for anything. But even after only a few days in the city, keeping Jessica Shyba and her brood in mind throughout the weekend, I can totally see the appeal of raising children in a place filled with more history and culture than anywhere else in the world. The children that push their scooters down 5th Ave are living a life of Eloise and learning their social studies lessons not from their textbooks, but rather on their walk to school.
Need further proof that NYC is really just one big playground? Sandcastles in the street. Need I say more?