Musical swings in Battery Park City – last chance

It’s the last week of the free musical swings installation in Battery Park City’s Brookfield Place – if you haven’t had a go yet, rush over quick. Continue reading “Musical swings in Battery Park City – last chance”

10 reasons to live in Battery Park City with kids

Teardrop Park
Teardrop Park

One of the most daunting things about moving a young family to New York (especially as an expat) is picking where to live. Manhattan, Brooklyn, or way out in Connecticut? If Manhattan, which part? Each neighbourhood has a really distinctive personality, and you want to get it right. After a great deal of street-pounding and house-hunting by C, we ended up picking Battery Park City.
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Three great carousels in New York

Carousels are endlessly popular with our two girls, it is their ultimate weekend treat. In case any of you are in a similar boat, here are three of our local favourites:

Seaglass Carousel in Battery Park
SeaGlass Carousel, Battery Park
  • SeaGlass Carousel – Battery Park, Manhattan. $5 per ride, or $45 for a pack of 10

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Our favourite playgrounds in Lower Manhattan

In a city where hardly anyone gets a garden, playgrounds are essential. Luckily, they’re everywhere, squeezed into unlikely corners between busy roads or empty building lots. The water fountains have just been turned on, so Summer is just around the corner. (Spring and Autumn are ridiculously quick seasons here). Have now added swimming costumes, flannels and suncream to the general clutter under the pushchair, ready for impromptu drenchings in the fountains.

I love this about New York playgrounds, almost all of them include water play. The kids are entertained for hours, joyfully skipping under the cold water and rushing out again with shocked expressions, before heading straight back in again. B’s nappies get so waterlogged, they drag around her knees. It keeps the kids in one place, too, so much less stressful for me trying to keep track on where each child is at any given moment. On the downside, it’s even harder to get them to leave. Resorted to striding into the water to catch slippery, giggling children and frogmarch them home for supper, covered in wet sand. At home in England I could have hosed them down in the garden, but that’s not possible on the 38th floor. Instead it’s gritting your teeth and holding them in the water stream as you get completely soaked too.
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Snowstorm Juno

Today is Snowstorm Juno, our first official snow day here. Although I must say, New York shuts down in a v methodical way, none of the grinding-to-a-startled-halt you get when it snows in London.

We had heard about Snowstorm Juno on the news, but frankly the American media is so sensationalised, we didn’t really pay much attention until we got text alerts from the girls’ school and day care warning that all kids must be collected by 3pm and to prepare for no schools the next day (today). Then a rather startling text with a siren ring tone from New York City itself (seriously) saying all vehicles must be off the road by 11pm whilst the snow ploughs get to work. Just tried to find that message and it’s gone from my phone. Sinister, do they have a list of every New Yorker’s cell phones??
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Learning the modes of transport

Been here nearly four weeks now, and have been trying out the different modes of transport. There’s a brilliant free, air conditioned Connection Bus which runs a loop Downtown through Battery Park City, Tribeca and Sea Port. V handy for nipping around with the girls when it’s hot. Only downside is you always have to collapse the pram, even if the bus is practically empty – not cool when it’s heaped with bags, scooters, and a sleeping toddler. But despite that, it’s still our favourite. T loves to pull the yellow bell rope to request a stop, and solomnly calls out “Thank you, driver” when she clambers down to the pavement.

The Metro is our least favourite, so far. It feels grimy, far too hot, and borderline scary when the trains whizz past on both sides of your narrow platform. While the trains themselves are (usually) air conditioned, you get pretty scorched by the hot winds on the platform. It’s particularly hard to navigate with a pram – most stations have flight after flight of steep steps, and precious few elevators. The ticket barriers are also really hard. Apparently you’re supposed to leave the pram, swipe your card, nip through the  turnstile and then rush back through the emergency exit gate to retrieve your child, holding it open with your foot so you can push them through. Luckily I’ve had C with me each time so one of us has stayed with B, but I’d be really uncomfortable leaving her in the pram while I ran round. The answer would probably be to unclip her and carry her with me, but either way it’s difficult and stressful.  In fact, I think I’d use my beloved Ergo baby carrier if I had to do it on my own.
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Checking for horns

We flew our three year old to New York to meet the schools. Interviews seemed to go well, since both offered her a spot.

C and I had flown out earlier to view four schools that still had places available for this September, and narrowed it down to two. They were all incredibly warm and inviting, but explained that they would need to meet the child before they could offer a place. Presumably to check for horns.

T loved spending three days and nights alone with both her parents, while her little sister stayed behind. Found her a hilarious set of black Hello Kitty children’s headphones for the flight. They were so big C had to wad up some paper hand towels to perch them on her head. She never blinks when watching TV, so that giant tears well up and it’s astonishing she can see anything at all.
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