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’ve had interesting conversations about the value of earning a medal in our household this week, as T has just earned her very first medal for completing a four-month gymnastics course.
Families were invited to watch a display on the final week (normally B and I hang out with all the nannies, coats and strollers until class is finished). C left work early specially, and B was bursting with excitement to finally watch T on the trampoline, bars and floor. At the end of the display, each gymnast was called to jump up onto a box, arms raised, and receive a medal. B begged for a turn. The coach agreed, so B clambered up onto the box, raised her arms, and beamed expectantly. Nothing happened. “But where is my medal?” she called reproachfully. Continue reading “And this chocolate coin medal is awarded for…”
There are many similarities between London and New York. There’s also a whole lot of differences. In no particular order, here are some really useful things to know before your own move to NYC:
Tips. Everyone gets tipped here. Restaurants expect 18-22% for good service, taxi drivers like you to add a dollar, hairdressers, supermarket check out staff all like tips (not obligatory). Clothes shop staff work on commission, so don’t get tips. Schools may well ask you to contribute for staff and teacher tips at Christmas. Doormen, concierge and janitors in your building also bank on a generous tip at Christmas. There’s a sliding scale for how much you give each person in your building, factoring in how long you’ve lived there, how much help each one gives you throughout the year, and how fond you are of them. It’s not unusual for a friendly Manhattan apartment doorman or concierge to get $100 tip at Christmas. Continue reading “22 helpful things to know before you move from the UK to New York”
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. Continue reading “10 reasons to live in Battery Park City with kids”
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.
Had an unusually smooth ride to Brooklyn on the subway, somebody offered to help carry the pushchair at every single staircase (and there are a lot), and managed not to get lost once. Good job. Have found the secret is to write down in advance exactly which line you want and its final destination, since once you’re on the platform there are no maps or lists of stops. Oh for the London Underground signage system…
The museum is easy to spot as you walk from Kingston Avenue subway station, tiled in the brightest yellow, with crimson walls. Entry tickets cost $9, babies under 1 go free, and the pushchairs can be stowed away for free too, so it’s a pretty economical day out by New York standards. Continue reading “Exploring Brooklyn Children’s Museum”
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. Continue reading “Learning the modes of transport”