A Family RTW Travel Adventure (2008-2009)
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Category — New York City

The Coolest Thing We Didn’t Do


For many families, a trip to New York City is on the to-do list. It’s a great destination with an endless variety of museums, parks, shows, and shopping – much of it kid friendly.

But New York can feel intimidating. With so many people in a hurry, a huge, sometimes confusing public transit system, and expensive restaurants, the whole endeavor can feel too big, too fast, too expensive to be manageable for traveling with kids.

Imagine the benefit of having a native New Yorker show you around their neighborhood, sharing advice and opinions, pointing out “lesser-known sights, great little shops, and local restaurants.”

A person who would personally guide you around, teaching you the ins and outs of using the subway and bus system, spending from 2-4 hours with only your family on a customized walk around their favorite parts of the city.

What if this New Yorker, this personal guide, gave you his or her time and insights, stories and advice for free?

Hard to believe, but such a service exists.

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May 1, 2008   2 Comments

A Night At The Apollo

Apollo Theater

On November 21, 1934, a 17-year-old girl named Ella signed up to dance in one of the first Amateur Night competitions at the Apollo Theater in Harlem. When she arrived she found out The Edwards Sisters, a popular local dance duo, were competing that night too. Feeling intimidated, she decided to sing instead.

Ella Fitzgerald sang two Hoagy Carmichael songs and won the $25 first prize that night. Soon after, she signed with Chick Webb and his band. The rest, as they say, is history.

I’m not sure we saw the next Ella Fitzgerald at the Amateur Night competition we attended, but we did see an unforgettable show.

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April 29, 2008   Comments Off on A Night At The Apollo

ADIP: Brooklyn, NY

A Day In Pictures
Brooklyn, New York

During our week in New York we house sat for friends in Brooklyn’s Park Slope neighborhood. It’s a wonderfully diverse place with lots of restaurants, interesting shops and plenty to do within easy walking distance.

We could have easily filled a week without ever leaving Brooklyn. We spent a day hitting some of the highlights of New York’s largest borough.

We started our day down by the East River. The Brooklyn Bridge (below) is one of three bridges connecting Brooklyn to Manhattan. Shortly after the bridge was completed in 1884, P.T. Barnum helped prove its stability by marching 21 elephants across it.

Brooklyn Bridge

The Brooklyn Bridge assured the decline of the Fulton Ferry service, but today the views of Manhattan from the original ferry landing are impressive.


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April 24, 2008   2 Comments

Pommes Frites!

Pomme Frites - 2

I’d never had fries like this before, certainly not with a peanut satay, a teriyaki mayonnaise or a wasabi sauce.

We found them in a narrow, half-timbered shop on Manhattan’s Lower East Side, in the kind of place you could easily walk past and never notice. But the locals know it.

Pommes Frites is the kind of place people line up out the door to get their fix. We were in on the secret because a good friend’s sister owns the business.

No surprise, there’s a story behind the store.

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April 21, 2008   1 Comment

Coney Island Adventure

We spent a day exploring Coney Island in Brooklyn and tried our hand at home-made video production.

April 15, 2008   2 Comments

Observed In NYC

Police in Times Square

New York’s Finest stands watch over Times Square.

April 11, 2008   Comments Off on Observed In NYC

Coming to America

Lady Liberty 3

They told me the streets of America were paved with gold.
But when I arrived, I found they weren’t paved with gold.
I found out they weren’t paved at all.
I’m one of the people who paved them.”
— Unknown Irish Immigrant

Some time around 1895, my great-great grandfather Samuel Aiken left County Antrim, Ireland, to make a new life in the United States.

For him and another 12 million immigrants, the benefits of American citizenship came at the expense of a long and difficult journey through Ellis Island.

When we visited the Ellis Island Immigration Musuem shortly after Easter, the trip was considerably easier: Nothing more than a short ferry ride from Battery Park in lower Manhattan, following a brief stopover on Liberty Island.

But the relative ease of our journey was only the most obvious difference.

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April 8, 2008   1 Comment

Overheard in Greenwich Village

In a sandwich shop, a sixty-something man sporting a beret and a stylish mustache, to his forty-something lunch companion:

“When I was young, much younger than you are now, I was all over Pakistan, Afghanistan, Iran.

In those days, you could travel to the ends of the earth. To places full of sultans and shahs. Full of adventure. You don’t have that anymore.”

April 4, 2008   2 Comments

ADIP: 5th Avenue, Manhattan

A Day In Pictures
Fifth Avenue, Manhattan, NYC

On Easter Sunday Fifth Avenue was closed between 57th and 49th Streets for an “Easter Parade” of sorts.

Hundreds of people came out in their finest Easter Bonnets (below), and we enjoyed a scenic stroll from the south end of Central Park to the Empire State Building.

5th Ave, NYC

We ducked into FAO Schwartz, the David Rockwell-designed toy store featured in the Tom Hanks movie Big. After a few minutes taking in the scene, Caroline said: “This store is every parent’s nightmare.”

FAO Schwartz

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March 31, 2008   2 Comments

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