Goodbye, New York, it’s been emotional

Start spreading the news. We’re leaving today (well, next week). After three exciting, crazy years, we are leaving New York and returning to London. We’ve experienced New York at its finest, and it’s been way beyond our expectations. As the song goes, in New York, concrete jungle where dreams are made of, there’s nothing you can’t do. And anything is possible. We’ve driven in New York traffic.  We’ve lived under the Obamas and the Trumps. We’ve even made a little New Yorker of our own… Fuhgeddaboudit.

I’ve been chatting about this with C, and interestingly, he says he feels like a New Yorker now, whereas I still feel like an expat. He regularly plans his weekend walks to pass specific coffee shops. You drink coffee, I drink tea, my dear. I’m an English girl in New York…

But it’s been three years, and it is time. Six year old T expressed it perfectly the other day. “We’re excited to be going back, but sad to be leaving. It’s like bitter sweet food.”

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Top family friendly cafes in NYC

There are precisely two – TWO – foods that all three of my kids will happily eat. Porridge and pancakes. That’s it. So, like true New Yorkers, we eat out a lot.

I’m constantly on the look out for good places to eat out with the kids, especially now that Baby J, 7 months, is also on the solids. It’s surprisingly rare to find fresh veg or fruit on children’s menus here in New York. Lots of places don’t have kids portions at all, so you have to order full size portions and take home the leftovers in doggy bags.

Here are my top picks for the most family-friendly places to eat in Lower Manhattan. If any of you have your own favourites, please add them in the comments at the bottom. Continue reading “Top family friendly cafes in NYC”

Please help me win MN Blogging Awards!

I’ve decided to follow my own advice to the kids and just give it a go. So I’ve had a cup of tea, taken a DEEP breath, and entered the Mumsnet Blogging Awards 2016, .

Those of you who enjoy my blog, please take two minutes to nominate me in the Best Writer category, here.  All you need is your name, email address, and my homepage, www.toddlingroundny.com

Fingers crossed!

Alex x

UPDATE: Thanks so much for everyone who voted, as I have been shortlisted! Please help me actually win this thing with one final vote; here’s how. Alex x

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”

Brooklyn Bridge and DUMBO – itinerary for a great day out for all generations

Walking along Brooklyn Bridge and DUMBO is a great, cheap day out that pleases kids and grandparents alike, something not easily achieved!

I’ve blogged about it before, as walking across Brooklyn Bridge is invariably high on any New York guide book’s recommended to do list. It’s high and narrow enough to feel quite exciting, with fantastic 360 degree views. It is also free. Continue reading “Brooklyn Bridge and DUMBO – itinerary for a great day out for all generations”

Husband’s guide to surviving Snowpocalypse

Today winter has hit New York. Snowpocalypse turns out to be real, and we’ve had to postpone T’s birthday party as no one wants to step outside in this weather. But as my husband, C, says, “All is not lost.” He has come up with these easy steps to survive the blizzard. Enjoy.

Step 1: Look out of the window and don’t freak out…
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22 helpful things to know before you move from the UK to New York

 

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:

  1. 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.
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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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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?
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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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