** It’s been a while since I posted a blog. We took a social media break. It was so much work to post a blog and video every week (+ Instagram( that there was hardly any time left in the evenings to enjoy each other. The only thing we do regularly are Insta Stories, so if you want to keep up with our adventures, please follow us on Instagram **
NEW YORK CITY
I have to admit, I don’t really like cities. I am more a nature type of person. Since we have Liv this got even “worse”. The nice thing about cities is sightseeing, eating out, sit on terraces and watch people, stay up late… all things that you cannot do, or that are harder to do, with a toddler, so why even bother to go to a city.
First we thought about skipping New York. We thought it would be too difficult and expensive to go in by car. Then we got offered a home by a host family just an hour outside of Manhattan and we started thinking it might be nice to go in anyway. We came up with different variations, from going in one day and return, to leaving the car with the host family, spend the night in NYC and come back the next day.
In the end we decided to just go one day, since Liv didn’t really like all the other cities. When it was finally time for “our day” in New York the forecast was really bad. Rain, rain and rain. When it’s just the two of you that’s no problem. You just buy an umbrella and go, but then again with a toddler it’s no fun. You can’t go to any of the playgrounds, no where to picnic etc.
Then we got another place offered only 45 minutes outside of Manhattan, lucky us! In the end we just relaxed at the first family and then visited New York from the second family.
We went by train. We parked the car for 5 dollars (!) at the train station and then 45 minutes later we were at Grand Central Station, which by it self is just a beautiful building and right in the middle of Manhattan!
Since we are on a budget (because we are travelling so long) we used the CitiBike system of New York City. It is perfect. You have different places all around the city (12.000 bikes in total!) where you can take a bike. You can use it for 30 minutes and then you have to dock it, before you can use another one for 30 minutes. It’s 12 dollars for 24 hours and you get a surcharge if you don’t dock it within a half an hour. That sounds simpler than it is. You have to make sure to start looking for a docking station after 20 minutes or you might be late 😉
Anway, the only plan we had was eating New York Cheesecake at Junior’s (which we were told is the best) and the rest of the day we explored lower Manhattan by bike. We couldn’t find any state law that said that baby wearing on the bike was prohibited, so Liv was on my back. That drew a lot of attention haha. Although many people said it was dangerous riding a bike in New York City, we found it very easy and felt very safe. We went to Times Square, the Empire State Building, over the Manhattan Bridge, to Brooklyn Park, over the Brooklyn Bridge and back to Grand Central Station. We had dinner in a really cute Mexican place and didn’t get back home till 9.30PM. We LOVED New York City.
We loved it so much that we decided to go back the next day, but that day didn’t go quite as expected. We didn’t get back into Manhattan till 13PM. Because we knew it was going to be a warmer day, we thought it would be nice to just relax and eat something at Central Park. Normally we always pack lunch, but because we saw so many eateries the day before and it’s not like we are in NYC all the time, we decided to get a lunch there. Well, we can tell you now: there are no inexpensive eateries in or around Central Park… We walked for hours in the heat (it was really really warm) and Liv got more cranky by the minute and so did I. She didn’t want to be in the carrier, because of the sweat. We both were so wet every time I tried to put her in. Of course this ended up with Denny being cranky as well. What we did love in Central Park was a band singing under a bridge. They were so good and the acoustics in there were the best!
It took us till 4PM before we found a place to eat and it wasn’t even a place we really wanted to, but we were just starving. By that time we were not even close to Central Park anymore, so no picnic for us. Just a very hot stroll.
After our meal we decided to make our way back to Central Station to be back in time at our hosts to do a photo session. But not without another stop at Juniors for a last cheesecake haha. It was cloudy when we came outside the lunch place and soon there was a lot of wind. We knew they predicted thunderstorms and we saw it coming. People around us started running and hurrying. At that moment we were still making fun of them, because we thought they just didn’t want to get wet. The winds got stronger and stronger and we were just in time in Junior’s before it got worse.
Right after we came in, people started screaming. We looked outside and a bill board came off a building and landed on the side walk. It was a miracle it didn’t hit anybody during rush hour. Right in the middle of Broadway! Right after that it started pouring down, it was awful. But we were inside, so no worries at all.
I sent a message to our hosts saying we were going to catch a train soon and then she messaged back that the trains weren’t going. What?!? We were still making jokes at that point “just a little wind and rain and no trains, that is worse than the Netherlands”. Little did we know the storm was a tornado and just took trees out that landed on the track. After half an hour our host said that she heard trains were running again, so we prepared Liv for the rain. We undressed her, I put her on my back in the carrier, explained what we were going to do, that it would be cold and wet and that it wouldn’t help to cry. It seemed like she understood it very well and she didn’t say a thing while we rode the bike to the train station.
When we arrived I immediately knew there were no trains going. There were hundreds of people on the streets and I saw different televisions stations filming. We docked our bikes (Liv still being very sweet) and texted our hosts. They said they were inside close to the track where the train was supposed to go. At that point you couldn’t get in to Central Station, but then people started moving, so we went in. As soon as we were in I started to panic. There were SO MANY people packed as sardines. I kept saying to Denny: “I don’t want to go in, I don’t want to go in” and I almost cried. I was so afraid someone would panic and people would start running and there was nowhere to go. But our hosts were in there and they know New York very well. So we went through all the people in the main hall (Liv still on my back) and I was just praying nothing would happen. When we finally found our hosts (a miracle if you ask me), we decided to go out and have a drink somewhere (couldn’t wait to get away). At that moment they announced our train was going. So everybody got up to go to the track. It was even worse because there wasn’t that much space to get there. Then suddenly they announced there was also an express train going and part of the people that were on their way to the track for “our” train, turned around. CHAOS! I thought I was going to faint of anxiety. But I didn’t and Liv was so calm the entire time. She knew this was not the moment to fuss.
When we were finally in the train (packed as sardines as well) they announced: “the train is dangerously over loaded so please step away from the door.” So that didn’t help to calm down. I felt better when we arrived at our train station. Safe!
What an adventure. Our host in New York couldn’t have said it any better:
“Sometimes it’s amazing and beautiful and you want to stay forever, and sometimes it knocks you on your ass and you can’t wait to get out. You got the full range in just two days.”
And that’s exactly what I think of New York right now 🙂
Here is some of our photos and some news articles if you like to read more about the storm:
1. Daily News
2. Daily Mail
3. Pictures taken of the storm from different points