Saturday, January 4, 2014

Sights and Sounds and Smells of NYC

Manhattan view from J. Owen Grundy Park 

Our December trip was our longest New York adventure yet, and possibly our last (who knows what the future may bring!) And since I've found that I'm not going to have any long focused time any time soon to write all about it, but I really do want to remember...  here's a really long list (put together in spare minutes over the last few weeks!) with lots of pictures mixed in :)

My favorite sights, sounds, smells, tastes, and feelings of New York:

I loved the sight of:

- Owen and Ellie standing up on their seats, watching out the ferry windows at the bubbles in the water as we rode to the Statue of Liberty.

- Jordan and the kids all bundled up against the snow as I dropped them off at Rockefeller Center for a return trip to the Lego store (to build a few more of their own lego guys - so fun!)
On their way to the Lego store while I take a driving tour of the city in search of the Sarah Jane Studios Nutcracker display

- Christmas trees for sale at corner stands all through the city

- Garlands and bright red bows decorating the row house buildings. 
- Owen standing at the 'ball machine' activity for about 30 minutes at the Liberty Science Center, sending balls up through the maze of the machine (just exactly like Landon did about 3 years ago!)
Owen 2013
Landon 2010
- Bags full of M&M's in our favorite picked-out colors. Jordan and Landon with one of each color, Ellie with pinks and purples, Owen with light blue and dark blue and regular blue.

- The Manhattan skyline from our apartment, buildings disappearing right up into the clouds on the snowy/rainy days.
View from our Jersey City apartment
- Taxis. Driving around Manhattan (!!!) just felt so cheery with all the bright taxis surrounding our little minivan, like we ought to be a part of a children's illustration.

I saw this picture just before we left... it made the crazy traffic on our trip in more bearable to imagine us as one of those funny little legos (this is exactly what traffic is like at that spot!)
- April and Landon loving the animal exhibits at the American Museum of Natural History
(And Owen too!)
- J. Owen Grundy Park, and the stage I've often taken the kids to play at on previous trips  (right by our apartment.)
(Poor sick Ellie "I want to go home!" Owen not understanding why he keeps falling down on the slippery ice, Porter happy in the stroller, and Landon thrilled to run and play and slip and slide in the ice and snow)

- All the kids best colored pictures that April hung up on the door to decorate.
- Crate and Barrel everything
- Jordan (amazingly!) piling all of our luggage onto a cart at the airport to get us from one spot to the next
Our crazy circus caravan - welcome to NYC!

- The policemen directing traffic near Times Square, stretching caution tape between 2 officers to hold people back from crossing the street as the cars drove by one way, then stopping the cars and yelling a  "go! go! go!" to the rush of people making their way across -- suddenly crossing the street was a big event!
- And similarly, the so funny ridiculousness of pushing 3 strollers through the super tightly packed crowds in Rockefeller plaza.
On our way to the Lego store on the other side of the plaza, we made it halfway across through the crowd before we could even see that the ice skating rink was there in the middle of our path! 
- Watching a few minutes of a  firework show on the Hudson from our apartment living room.
- Santas - hundreds of Santas, all around downtown one Saturday morning (for a less than noble event -  but still such a funny and festive sight!)

- The little plaza by the Statue of Liberty where someone took a few pictures of Jordan and me dancing in the rain on our first trip to New York, 9 years ago. (I wouldn't have ever thought then that we'd be returning again and again!)
-  The Max Brenner's kid menu with things like (our choice) "Max's Palace Famous Chocolate Mess Party" (which sadly, our poor sweet treat-loving Ellie was too sick to really enjoy!)
- A spray paint artist who painted a city skape picture for April in about 5 minutes with only spray paint and a couple of regular old tools.
(Porter hiding out in the backpack snuggled right up in Jordan's coat)

- Landon playing with his 'paper city' nativity on a stay around the apartment day

- Watching out our apartment window at all the boats coming and going, night and day. We listened to the song at Christmas time  "I saw 3 ships come sailing in" and Ellie said "We would have to go back to New York on Christmas day to see the ships!"
- A few extra enthusiastic Salvation Army bell ringers, complete with a fancy little dance.
- Watching the Radio City Christmas show (from the comfort of our apartment thanks to Netflix!)
- Landon and Owen reading at the Strand bookstore (while Ellie sweetly slept)

-Owen and April playing with the bubble wall at the Science center
- So many missionaries coming and going on our flight home

And the sounds of
-April reading to the kids, especially "Miss Rumphius" to little Owen.
- The Christmas program at church on Sunday at the Manhattan ward. Each time we've visited, I've been amazed at how strong and loud and joyfully and beautifully the congregation there sings its hymns. And their Christmas program was like attending a professional Christmas concert (I had to google the chorister afterwards and sure enough she was a former broadway performer!) What a powerful missionary tool for any who stop by to visit - to hear so many testimonies shared just through the sacrament meeting hymns.

And the smells/tastes of
- all the 'Nuts for Nuts' carts with their yummy cinnamon almonds.
- an ice cream cookie sandwich from "Mighty Quinns" BBQ - molasses/gingerbread cookies with pumpkin pie ice cream - yum!
- our Max Brenner kids dessert
- Mama Sbarros pizza (another favorite from our first NYC trip years ago)

And the feel of
- excitement and busy-ness and creativity and possibility of the city
- and some nice calm, quiet time at the apartment

- and smallness and wonder at how big the world is, of how many, many people there are in the world - so many different lives going on, of how wondrous it is that  Heavenly Father still somehow knows and loves each of us.
- familiarity and remembering and not feeling worried about getting lost
- of not losing Landon (!!!)
- Meeting many of Jordan's coworkers and friends and getting to see how much they value him and think he is so great.  Having faces to put with names now, and also seeing familiar, friendly faces.

And also
- All the super kind and helpful people - I'm amazed every time we travel to New York how often people stop to help out with the kids.  Stretching out their arms to hold elevators, helping carry strollers up and down stairs at the subway stations, offering what they can to cheer up tired kids... I always find such kindness.
- A friend of Jordan's from work inviting him over one night for dinner after work. So nice!
- Spending time with April! And all of her amazing help with the kids, too.
- Having extra time before and after Jordan's work week to do things all together.