Tag Archives: #NYClife

Season of Scams?

The Holiday Season inevitably means you will be asked to GIVE.  Giving is good!  I give my time, my service, friendship, food, money and gifts…. Sometimes we can even OD!  (over donate).

Living in NYC, I am asked on an almost daily basis to “just give a few pennies” or “give any food you might have – even a half a sandwich in your bag”.  People tend to come at me from any angle (I guess I have a certain look)?

However – I tend to NOT want to give based on the many observations made breathing, walking and working over the last two years here.

I hope this serves as a cautionary tale if you visit The Big Apple during the holidays (or any other time of the year)!

  • When approaching a homeless (senior) woman living on the corner of Broadway & W. 73rd (she lives on the sidewalk with her two dogs) I offered a pair of nice sneakers.  (I need to replace mine about every four months because I walk so much).  She looked at them, turned her nose up and said, “No, I am good.”
  • Early one morning — on my way to work, a young man put on a sad puppy-dog face (like that of a six-year-old) and whined in a boyish way that he needs money to get food for breakfast; he’s so hungry.  I snapped, “I have three kids of my own to feed.”  (yes two of my kids are in their 20’s but I still dole out $$$ for their travels, college, or well being).  His face instantly returned to that of a responsible adult and he gave me a look like, “I hear you Girl” …flashed the “peace out” sign, and moved along quickly.
  • Another morning at the subway — I casually looked down the stairway only to see a homeless man harassing each person he sees.  Since there is no train on its way – I stay on the platform above and avoid his presence.  As the train arrives I swiftly move down the stairwell and onto the train without contact from Mr. Touchy Feely Beggar Person.
  • A Desert Storm Vet asks for support as I am coming home late from work (at the theater).  It’s after 11 PM, but I feel for our Vets.  I give him $2.  He replies, “Is that all?!”  He’s annoyed.  He wants more $.  He wants enough money to buy dinner.  He asks me to walk a few blocks up and buy him a “rib dinner” from Chirping Chicken.  (I am guessing I am supposed to walk the dinner back to him while he sits there with his sign)?  I want to take my $ back but I don’t.  I say, “I just got off work, I am tired, I am going on my way.  Best of luck to you.”
  • A man is begging for money on the subway (this happens everyday); He seems hostile.  He is begging for anything… even pennies.  A man across from me gives him whatever he has in his pocket (it looked like a few dimes, pennies, and a nickel).  The homeless man screams, “THAT’S ALL?!”  The homeless man was a little scary.  The other man gives him a little more money, and he moves along.
  • A very skinny – very obnoxious guy paces the subway back and forth in a manic way whining like a two year old for money; he’s having a tantrum; he persists in a most unpleasant fashion.  His voice is incredibly irritating.  After the ride (when we are no longer his hostages) he yells at everyone for not giving him a thing.  Did I just get insulted?  Footnote:  On an express ride the beggars have your uninterrupted attention.  You def feel like a hostage!
  • Countless people have approached me on the subway, in the subway station, or on the streets.  Some hold doors for you expecting $.  (My co-worker told me her strategy for dealing with this one).  She says, “Hi, I am not going to give you money for opening the door for me.  I can do that for myself.  But I will smile at you and be nice to you… and say ‘thank you’.”
  • Some approach you and either ask for a swipe of your Metro Card, or ask for the card itself. Buzz off!  

If a singer or musician(s) perform(s) on the subway and create a feeling of happiness, I usually will give a donation.

If you are in the giving mood, maybe try Go Fund Me, or another organization of your choice.

Sadly all of the victims of the Las Vegas shooting will not be supported.  Click to see the story.

I would think twice before shelling out money to the beggars or swindlers on the streets of NYC though!


Photos below taken on my rooftop during the Macy’s Annual Thanksgiving Day Parade!

Are you a festive holiday lover or a Grinch?  (Yes, that is a Grinch float, not a frog)!  hehe – I thought it was a frog at first!


NY, NY Year-Round!

How do you find family fun when it appears to be hidden inside this enormous city!  

Here’s just a glimpse at what is going on at any given time of the year:

January – March:

If snow is not your thing… hit up a museum or a musical!  There are countless options, but the Children’s Museum is in “our backyard” and it’s my son’s favorite!  Aladdin the Broadway Musical, and Lion King tend to be family favorites… we also enjoyed School of Rock!

Ice skate!  …there’s a few spots around town, but of course, most popular is “The Rink”! Clink the link for more information about Rockefeller Center ice skating!

If it’s snowy… sled!  …families walk to various areas of Manhattan parks to slip, slide and sled!

No snow?  No problem… we hit up one of the many playgrounds in Central Park, (they have even been renovated since this photo below)!  Then warm up with some yummy NYC pizza!

Where’s the BEST pizza?  Ray’s used to be THE most talked about pizza, and for good reason!  However we have found that today various Ray’s locations do not live up to the hype.  We love pizza from Patsy’s, Pappardella, and Little Italy Pizza.  There’s also Sabas!  (just a few of my picks on the UWS)!

A brisk winter’s walk across the Brooklyn Bridge on a clear day or a visit to the Freedom Tower (with its incredible views) with take your breath away!


 …and every March 17th there is the St. Patrick’s Day Parade!

…still slushy outside?  Let’s head to Frames Bowling (near Times Square)!







Spring & Summer!

How about a trip on the Staten Island Ferry or a visit to Lady Liberty?

Explore Central Park…. (near the UWS) there’s Turtle Pond, and the Belvedere Castle…. and OH so much more!  Can you see the little turtle swimming below?

We like to go to playgrounds… Adventure Playground (in Central Park at W. 67th Street) is wonderful!  Another favorite is “Elephant” Playground in Riverside Park (at W. 76th and Riverside Dr.)!

Below: A Spring play date on a chilly morning in Adventure Playground, and splashing around in Elephant Playground in June!

My son loves to turn the scorching hot slide (at Elephant Playground) into a thrilling water slide!  …the only way to go down on sizzling days!

Memorial Day & the 4th of July are very crowded in NYC (lots of tourists) so besides visiting friends, or getting a glimpse of the fireworks from our rooftop we didn’t do too much!  My good friend had a GOOD idea for the 4th of July:  #1.  Find out where the fireworks will be set off (locations vary).  #2  Rent a hotel room facing the view and #3 Enjoy!  Her six-year-old and entire family had a BLAST!  I wish I would have thought of that!

Lots of city people head out to The Hampton’s & surrounding beaches.  (but travel to and from can be difficult and pricey).  We have visited Coney Island & Rockaway Beach.  On my last Coney Island trip, I was baffled by the amount of litter in the ocean (and even found myself cleaning up).  Sigh.  Not very relaxing… but I usually fall into the “good samaritan” category!

After a long day at the beach – a hot dog and fries from Nathan’s is always a good idea!  Lines are long, no matter how many employees are working!  It’s definitely a popular attraction!

Ready for a change up?  Then you’re Brooklyn bound!  (below):

We take the subway to the nearest stop, then walk to Pier 6!  Henry loves it, and there are interactive gears, and water sprays and such!  I find it to be a bit loud at times (when you are surrounded by a bounty of screaming kids and screaming parents sometimes screaming at their kids).  One day towards the end of summer I saw two moms drinking Brooklyn Brewery beers… Hells yeah, I walked a few paces and grabbed one myself.  There’s also food, treats, seating, nearby bathrooms, and more!

September – December

There’s all the back-to-school excitement and even meets-ups with friends at the school…. September is quite busy!

Fall Festivals are all around in October (we even have one right at our kiddo’s school).  Some head out to farms to partake in traditional pumpkin & apple picking experiences.  I have never gone to a farm — but I have gone to Sleepy Hollow for Halloween thrills at it’s best!

Find out if the Legend of the Headless Horseman is true!  The NYC metro system can get you there, and for more info — just click here!

Trick-or-treating has its “hot spots” for sure!  In the UWS, it’s on 69th Street!  It is incredibly crowded and can be overstimulating so proceed with caution!

Cute friends: October 31, and early November at our favorite playground (Metal Park)!

Another advantage of living on the UWS is — it’s the start of the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade!  On the Wednesday evening before there’s an organized “walk through the floats” event (and it’s free)!

Talk about being unclose and personal with a lot of hot air!  This November— I am bringing the wide angled camera lens!  Of course some of our friends attend the parade Thursday morning — but we prefer to watch on TV!


Make sure to treat your little girl (or boy) to tea at the Alice In Wonderland themed cafe Alice’s Tea Cup any time of the year.  The food is truly amazing, and it’s touted as “New York’s most whimsical tea house”!  My kids love it!

If your kiddo loves dinosaurs, and space and sea life… I have got a place for you!  Oh –  the long awaited Butterfly Conservatory is now open too… I have to go back!  My super lucky son gets to visit this museum on school field trips!  (and in the summer we hit up their splash pad fountains)… really cool.  Have you guessed the place yet?

The Museum of Natural History on the UWS… it’s DYNO-MITE!

You are going to need an entire day for this museum — and at the end of your visit — fatigue may set in!  Many head to SHAKE SHACK (across the street) for dinner– then collapse!

December in NYC — there’s just too much to mention, a link here will give you all the ideas!

Remember this was only a glimpse of family fun!  Whew! 



Catch This!

My friend needed help – fast!  Her son’s 10/31 birthday was quickly approaching, and she needed to pull of a Yankees themed birthday party the weekend before.

Cue the party assistant (me)!  I helped make this BOYS & GIRLS party (full of second graders) a HIT, and everyone left with a pretty cool “thank you gift”!
I created a special banner (with photos of the birthday boy), fun framed decor and party bags filled with themed necklaces or keychains …

  …the girls loved the necklaces!    

I used this same idea to create boys’ high quality keychains.  I used blue or steel colored beads along with baseball beads to make a cool yet different design for the boys.  They love to hook the keychains to their school backpack zippers!

Here’s a look at the BASEBALL party…

…his “Bronx grandma” brought an amazing cake, and the kids played at the Baseball Center on the UWS!

      There were at least 25 kiddos, and a few younger siblings tagged along.  Everyone received a party bag — however I didn’t fill it with Cracker Jacks, peanuts, Big League chewing gum and such.  I know NY kids LOVE Air Heads!  Plus I added some Halloween stickers and red, white, and blue pompoms for a little whimsy.    

(my son above right): He would rather juggle than play baseball.  He’s a circus kid, what can I tell ya?

One of the coolest things about this party (besides watching “Manhattan Grandma” cheer on her grandson) was seeing our friends from (ex.) Sweden and Columbia join in, and learn the sport of baseball!  They were not ashamed to admit they never played, didn’t know how, didn’t know the rules, etc., It made me appreciate diverse friendships, supporting and teaching others, and cheering on your fellow teammate!  There is unity in our little world in the UWS.

Above: juggling Henry and “TuTu” (grandma); Enjoying yummy pizza on this super stormy rainy Sunday — what a great day to be inside!



Monsters & Showers!

Could monsters be hiding somewhere in our home?  Maybe in the bathroom above the shower?  Our NYC apartment has a pretty small bathroom with incredibly BRIGHT lights.  Maybe these lights ward off the scary creatures?

I have really sensitive eyes and I am always hitting the dimmer.  Everyone else in the household prefers the bulbs on full blast — and when I step in while Henry is in the tub — I know I’ll get a SQUEAL if I dim them.  But only if he’s in the tub. Hmmmmm, I wonder why he won’t budge on  softer light in the shower?

While brushing teeth, and washing hands, the lights can be dim.  It’s been a compromise 18 months in the making!  (maybe at 5’6″ I am just closer to the bulbs so it’s an eye sore).

Cue me cleaning up the sink area: H is in the tub; a bulb flickers, then goes out.  Henry: (squeal) Mom, what did you do?  

Me: I didn’t do anything.

Henry: What?!!!!

Me: The bulb went out by itself.

Henry: (in sheer panic) AH! AH!  A MONSTER DID THAT!  THERE’S A MONSTER IN HERE!  

He exploded out of the tub with a wave of water and ran for his life.

We talked about this and processed all of the above events for the rest of the evening; he continually checked the bulb too.  Of course I explained that there are no monsters.  Sigh.

The next morning we were sure to make a trip to the hardware store.

OK…. now I know why the lights must be on full blast while he is in the tub!  

At seven years old – monsters (and scary clowns) are “for reals”.



Short conversation of the day…

Henry: (out of no where) Mom, I hope a scary clown doesn’t come into our apartment.

Me: (a little giggle) What?! No, Henry; that won’t happen.  A scary clown will not come into our apartment.  I promise.  It just won’t happen.

Henry: Well, OK.  (not really certain and his face is very serious).

Me: Where did you see a scary clown?

Henry: On Youtube.

Me: OK, that won’t happen.  I am secretly thinking — with all the movie promotions of It and  Halloween coming up… I guess this was bound to happen.

Footnote: We don’t have a TV in our apartment, but we let him watch a few things on his iPad.  He was watching a “family clip” where a dad dressed up like a scary clown.  Yeeeesh!



Pick Your Pumpkin!

It’s FALL!


We have patiently waited a long time for cooler temperatures, new colors on trees, apple cider, sweaters & football…. at this point I think FALL is finally here!  (although football started several weeks ago)!

…and I am a New Yorker… I have no car, and I am OK with that.  However – something very unusual happens to a lot of New Yorkers every single Fall.  Suddenly everyone NEEDS to get to a farm.  Must go to farm.  Hmmmm…. if only the NYC metro system had a farm stop.

Let’s be real… we are not even close to a farm.  Not. Even. Close.  However I am on a couple social media “mom pages” where everyone is looking for recommendations for farms — complete with pumpkins patches and apple trees; apple picking is a must!

Then photos start popping up (on social media) of NYC families (with kids in tow) on farms…NYC kids on farms. What?  How?  Where?  This perpetuates the problem of desperate parents feeling inadequate because they can’t (or didn’t) get to the pumpkin patch (errr farm).

In the words of comedian Lewis Black, “Halloween is a harvest holiday.  And here in New York (city) –  we don’t harvest s_ _t.”

My advice: walk down the street (no more than two blocks); you will find pumpkins and apples.  Buy them, bring them home and don’t worry about the farm.


Remember — living in NYC is hard enough.  We don’t need to complicate things.



Ready, Go!

If you’re an avid runner in NYC — you’re in luck!  There are 5K’s, 10K’s, and marathons offered all over the city year round!  Sometimes two or three races in one day!

On a particular Upper West Side street that I happened to live on– I can both participate and watch a race every morning: Monday – Friday, and it’s a darn good one!  The race to get the kiddies off to school.

We walk our little ones to school in the Big Apple… and on a sidewalk about four feet wide with tons of obstacles in the way (such as carved out tree/greenery areas, slow moving strollers, random garbage, doggie droppings) parents jog, hop over, circle around, slow down, walk briskly then sprint to the finish line!  Forget the racing shorts and tee’s with runner’s number…

Moms dress in almost every attire imaginable from yoga pants to business suits… heels to sneakers, there’s chic NY fashions and sweat pants and loafers; Dads are no exception.  They’ve got business attire with overloaded briefcases strapped across their bodies, or jeans, sweats, flannels, baseball caps….  The chatter ignites all around: Go! I’m right behind you!  Faster!  Almost there!  A little further!  A little faster, we don’t want to be late!  Go!

Then you hear a loud voice coming from the school: PARENTS I AM ABOUT TO CLOSE THE GATE.  SAY GOODBYE TO YOUR CHILD OUTSIDE THE GATE.  ITS ALMOST 8:20.

There’s a manic type of energy now.  Go! Go! Go! Go!  Running is now in full motion.  The kid makes it in the gate!  ….parents inevitably take a big sigh of relief then either retreat back home or start their own journey to work.

I might add — one can walk at a comfortable pace if you’re an early bird.  Considering our fast paced world and often our slow paced kids (getting dressed, eating breakfast, brushing teeth) I happened to see much more of the race!  Henry is somewhere in between.  Not really in a rush but kind of waltzing through.  I have to admit, after Henry is in the gate, I stand back and watch the race before I head back home.

With crazy parents, morning smiles, playful dogs, scooters and so many interesting facial expressions (in addition to those NYC seasonal fashions)  —  it’s morning entertainment at its best!