Adventure, Baby, Family Travel, Motherhood, Travel

Doing New York City – The Baby Way

When I first moved to New York City I got lost at least a dozen times. . . in my first three days! I would walk off the subway, confidently walking in the direction I was sure was correct, only to end up calling my husband to come find me on his way home from work. Once I at least got my sense of direction I then had to navigate my timing of when I would leave for things, how much time it would take (always give yourself an extra 30 minutes at least), and of course, my husband’s favorite, pre-walking to the ideal spot on the subway for the quickest exit.

After a year I felt pretty confident in Manhattan. I even knew my way better than my husband who always knows where he is going ;). And then I had a baby and everything I had learned, had taught myself, was gone. Now almost another year has gone by and I feel like some of that confidence has come back. With that confidence I would like to share the best I have learned, as it can be just slightly overwhelming to figure out what you are doing, how to get there and what to take with you when you have miniature people traveling alongside you (yes, for those of you who are Manhattanites, you have your ways down I’m sure, but for those coming for a visit, it may help).

  1. Subway No-Go Hours: the subway is a wonderful, easy way to get around the city. However, traveling this way during peak rush hour is very ill advised. Traveling at this time is almost certain to induce nausea, anxiety and overall unhappiness. Not to mention that if you are traveling with a stroller (more on that decision in a moment) you will be looked down upon and few, if any, will offer you help. So between the hours of 9-10:30AM and 5:30-7PM be warned.
Subway baby

Roo has her subway riding skills down.

2. Stroller Travel: I have been pleasantly surprised with the ease of which this city can be navigated with a stroller as well as how accommodating almost everywhere is with them. Almost anywhere you go will have either a parking spot for them or will just let them be, no fuss. And while having a stroller with you is a great thing, there are definitely times when you do not want one if you have a carrier to use instead

  • The Subway: Really, it is so much easier to travel the subway with a carrier. Think about your trip – if you can get around with a carrier, use it!
  • Chelsea Market: Unless you are in the city at a more slow paced time of year, this place is a mad house and is much better off just walking though, navigating with just your body, baby attached and all. But I highly recommend this place, I love going there and then adventuring along the Highline for a bit!
Stroller Chill

We make this stroller travel look good!

Carrier baby

Mom, can we go for a walk now!?

  • Museums: Ok, so this one is a bit of a toss up but I have found, after doing some museums both ways, that the carrier is much easier. For example, the Museum of Natural History has A LOT of stairs. Sure, it has elevators, but those things take forever (really, I waited for 10minutes at one). It is also much easier to navigate around some of the displays with just yourself and not a stroller.

3.  Breastfeeding: This one is easy. Anywhere you need to. Nobody cares or bats an eye. Besides, there are plenty of other crazy things to look at besides a woman taking care of her child 🙂

4.  Other Food: There are markets everywhere, Whole Foods, Food Emporium, D’Agostino, etc. There is also a Duane Reade on every single corner, maybe even two of them! For those who are not from the East Coast these are Wallgreens/Rite Aide. They have those fantastic food packets for kiddos of all solid food ages. So if you realize you forgot to pack your mini’s food, pop into one of these and hangry crises is averted!

Soccer baby

Taking a little food break down in Battery Park

Some other things I have learned from other moms that I think are great are just general rules. Being such a large place, the thought of being separated is probably very real (my child is 10-months-old so I fortunately don’t have this fear yet). Moms tell me that establishing meeting places is key. For the subway, tell your child that in the off chance you get separated, they are to either stay at the station right where they are (if you get on and they don’t) or get off at the next stop (if they get on and you don’t) and wait right there. If a cop is nearby at the station, point them out and tell them to go hang out with them until you return. A police officer is always a good person to go to if separated. While walking around, introduce your kids to them for an official NYPD picture! Hold hands always walking across the streets, but let them hail a cab for you, or run loose (by like 10 feet haha) in Central Park.

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My husband and nephew being too cool for school.

This city really is great for children and moms and dads and families of all sizes. There is so much to see and explore, and it is all so accessible.

These are my little tidbits from what I have gained thus far. I have no doubt that I will learn 1,000,000x more things in this next year as my daughter goes from 10-months to 2-years as this city shows me more and more with every day. If you happen to be traveling this way and there are other questions you have, please don’t hesitate to comment and ask!

For a mountain town who keeps hoping for a mountain baby, she does well with the city (much better than her mountain mama) and makes this city even more of an adventure than it already has been!

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NYC, NYC Subway

My Internal Compass Needs Work

I have grown up always knowing that east was where the mountains were, therefore, I could (almost) never get lost. In the last three days I have been yearning for those mountains so I could pretend to have some sense of direction. I have none.

wasatch uofu

Who needs an internal compass when you have this!?

My first day coming back from work I took the 1 express down. All of a sudden everyone is getting off and they are announcing that if you want to get off at South Ferry you MUST be in the first five cars. I don’t want to go to South Ferry. 40 minutes later I am still walking around, hoping somebody will notice this lost looking person walking and turning on the same street – nobody does, and I’m too stubborn at this point to ask for help, I can do this damn it!

Subway map

Day two I get off at the 9/11 Memorial. I think, “I’m home early, I’ll go see Ground Zero then just walk home”. So wrong. Almost 45minutes go by and my husband calls to make sure I’ll be home. He left his keys at the office. I inform him that he may just have to come find me and then we can both go home together. He chuckles, reminding me that I told him I was on my way home at least an hour ago. Thanks for rubbing it in, I feel slightly more inept now, ugh.

Today I head out feeling confident. I now know I have to transfer from the 1 to the 2 or 3 to ensure I get to Wall St. I know that the Kilarny Pub is just two right turns from where I get the subway. All I have to do is get off the subway at Wall St. and I’m safe, right? Haha don’t make me laugh. I am talented enough to walk out a completely different area than where I entered. Why can’t the Wall St. stop just come out on Wall St. only!? I am proud to say that it did only take me 15 minutes this time – and only one frustrated phone call to my husband. I’m getting better!

wall st sub

Wall St. is very neat for many things. The Bull the Bear, more suits than you will ever see in your life (and at all hours of the day too – who goes to a bar at 10:30 with their suit still on, briefcase still in hand!?). You can almost feel the power pushing on the doors. The flags almost seem to fly a little stronger, a little harder – they know they are somewhere important. But Wall St. you are horrible at giving me a sense of direction. No grid, no numbers, just a million streets, all getting smaller and smaller as you reach the tip of the island at Battery Park.

Now you may say, ‘you have a smart phone Chelsea, use it’s smarts’. This is true, and I have used it. But when Siri tells me to go north on Pearl St. I turn in a circle and realize I don’t know which way is north.  I must also admit my stubbornness here and say that I want to think I can find it on my own. Foolish in this smart technology age? Probably.

I huff down on our couch, venting to my husband about how I have decided I really don’t like this area and all it’s confusion. ‘Did you know the two bodies of water used to be referred to simply as the East and West Rivers?’ I gripe. Too bad from the middle of Manhattan (at least in the Financial District) there appears to be only towering mountains of metal. He just smiles and tells me I’ll dominate it come Monday.

I knew I would miss home, but who would think the first reason I would miss those mountains was because they provided me with my ‘internal compass’?

Bring it on Monday. Bring. It. On.

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