Tasty expat Christmas pub lunch

It’s nearly Christmas! C is the most Christmassey man I’ve ever met, mocking up a spontaneous Nativity play using dressing gowns, muslins, and various stuffed animals. He also organised a traditional British lunch at The Churchill on East 28th Street for some other expat friends of ours. The Churchill’s a good British pub, check out the menu here if you fancy a roast with all the trimmings. It also plays recordings of Winston Churchill’s speeches in the loo, which is initially unnerving but then surprisingly hypnotic.

We had a v funny conversation swapping stories of cultural or language barriers, British expressions that can unwittingly derail any conversation with an American. Continue reading “Tasty expat Christmas pub lunch”

Tips for expat families starting New York schools

Many New York schools start term again tomorrow, closed since mid-June (Yes. Summer vacations really are that long over here).

For any expats gearing up for their first New York school experience this term, here are some tips. Continue reading “Tips for expat families starting New York schools”

Exploring the Children’s Museum of Manhattan (CMOM)

The Children’s Museum of Manhattan (CMOM) is the latest in Operation Explore New York. Located in the Upper West Side, it’s a good choice for young kids with short attention spans.

Together with T’s school friend L, we headed first to the new ‘America to Zanzibar, Muslim Clutures Near and Far’ exhibition. T and L made a bee-line for a two-story dhow boat exhibit complete with a fun contraption to haul goods up and down. There were also exotic fruit and spice markets which the kids could examine and sniff. L’s mom and I were drawn to the Turkish tile puzzles. You know, the ones with a square missing and you have to slide the pieces around to recreate the original picture. Loved those as a kid. Continue reading “Exploring the Children’s Museum of Manhattan (CMOM)”

Brooklyn Botanic Gardens – new Discovery Garden for kids

The girls and I went to check out Brooklyn Botanic Garden‘s newly expanded children’s Discovery Garden, which opened recently within the enormous Prospect Park (where T and I once got lost trying to find the zoo).

Meeting up with a school friend of Ts, we had a great time wandering through the gardens, letting the kids charge off at full speed with no concern for traffic or disturbing anyone. It was wonderful watching them let off steam like that, it can be hard to find somewhere open enough to let them really run here. Little B was determined to keep up, stumping along behind the four year olds in her clumpy wellies. Continue reading “Brooklyn Botanic Gardens – new Discovery Garden for kids”

Boston – fab destination for a long weekend with young kids

Yet another day off school last week – this time to celebrate Columbus Day. American public holidays are completely different to the Brits’ – like only one day off for Christmas, but then a day half way through January for Martin Luther King Day. Taking advantage of the fact that this particular holiday fell on a Monday, we took the Friday off too and went to Boston for the long weekend.

Initially we thought we’d like to take the train, until we worked out the return fare for a family of four was double hiring a car. Poor old C ended up doing all the driving, since the whole driving-on-the-wrong-side-of-the-road thing still freaks me out. We took the more scenic I-95 route, stopping for lunch in Mystic, Connecticut – who knew that Mystic Pizza is a real place?
Continue reading “Boston – fab destination for a long weekend with young kids”

Prospect Park Zoo – good for younger kids

Prospect Park Zoo - Golden Tamarind
Golden Tamarind

It was Yom Kippur and Eid Al-Adha last week, which caused many of the New York schools to close for a few days. T and I took the opportunity to keep exploring, so we tried Brooklyn’s Prospect Park Zoo.
Continue reading “Prospect Park Zoo – good for younger kids”

Free kayaking on the Hudson – fantastic family outing

Another New York bucket list item ticked off today – kayaking on the Hudson River. One of our favourite weekend activities is a long walk up the west edge of Manhattan along the Hudson River Park, as the views are fantastic, you don’t have to constantly cross roads, and there are so many family friendly activities (warranting another blog post later this summer). We’ve often stopped to watch the colourful kayaks paddling about on the river. Today we decided to give it a go.

On Pier 26, near the corner of West and North Moore Streets in Tribeca, lives the Downtown Boathouse. Completely free and run by suntanned, friendly volunteers, you can introduce your kids to kayaking with a stunning urban backdrop. The Downtown Boathouse rules are simple – ‘Everything is free. The only thing that we ask for is that you kayak safely.’ Everything is provided, from child size life jackets, sunscreen and ice popsicles afterwards. All you need is to bring a change of clothes and sunglasses, as it can get v dazzling on the water.
Continue reading “Free kayaking on the Hudson – fantastic family outing”

Day out for greedy foodies at Williamsburg’s Smorgusburg

It was C’s birthday last week (well, he claims the whole of May as His Month, but I try to keep it down to the week), and his brother flew over from Hong Kong to celebrate it with us. C’s brother has already seen most of the classic NY tourist spots, so we concentrated on food.

Smorgusburg at Williamsburg (Brooklyn taxis are green. Who knew?)
Smorgusburg at Williamsburg (Brooklyn taxis are green. Who knew?)

Continue reading “Day out for greedy foodies at Williamsburg’s Smorgusburg”

Meeting Egyptian Mummies at the Met

It’s “Mid-winter break” this week – that’s half term to the rest of us – and T is off school. So yesterday we planned a ‘specially day’ to the Metropolitan Museum of Art on Fifth Avenue with one of her school friends.

T’s now old enough to handle a day out without the pushchair, as long as there’s not too much walking (always a risk in Manhattan). The subway is a breeze with one child on foot, and we reached 86th Street station without mishap. A quick five minute walk down Museum Mile along the edge of Central Park, and we met our friends at the museum.

 

The beautiful steps of the Met
The beautiful steps of the Met

Continue reading “Meeting Egyptian Mummies at the Met”

Just my cup of tea – Tea & Sympathy

It’s cold. Minus 5 degrees celcius cold, with winds that T says “steal my air”. We have to allow an extra ten minutes to get the girls layered-up before school, and the doorman now gives a quick check in case I’ve forgotten to zip up B’s fancy 7am Enfant blanket again, before he shoulders the door to push against the wind.

One consequence of this cold snap is that my need for proper tea has doubled. Even headed home for 45 minutes the other day in order to make myself a cuppa before the afternoon school run.

Since being told recently by one local cafe to please stop asking for boiling water, I’ve largely given up ordering tea here, as it’s just so disappointing. Until an Anglophile school mom took me to Tea & Sympathy.
Continue reading “Just my cup of tea – Tea & Sympathy”