Vera was still away in China and we had a completely free Sunday. A completely free day of any kind is really quite rare and precious. The kids also know that when mom is away, we tend to spend some days out pretty much all day long. It’s a day to enjoy, a day to explore, and a day to kill some time. I need to keep them active, you know? We go all around the NYC area…The Hamptons, North Fork, Upstate, NYC. Whatever seems to make sense that morning, I’m game to do.
This past Sunday, we hit up NYC, and Battery Park City (BPC) in particular. If you are not familiar, BPC is at the very southernmost tip of Manhattan, right next to the World Trade Center and Wall St. It was created on top of old pilings and from the rubble from the original World Trade Center buildout. It was and still an a pretty impressive project…to basically add land to NYC. It took years to build out and just pretty much finished the last couple of years or so. It’s an awesome mix of office, retail, (mostly) residential, museums, hotels, public art, schools, and parks. It’s basically a…city…duh. It’s very “green” in how it’s built and almost, gasp, suburban in design. There are parks everywhere it seems. Kids and families live there in force and it’s an pretty idyllic place to be honest.
We had lunch at the local bagel place and headed into the city. It’s a Sunday, and while there is some traffic, we live pretty close and it’s not too bad. About 40 minutes later, we are in and looking to park. As with most of NYC, parking is a scarcity. I just bit the bullet and didn’t even waste time…parking garage and $45 for the day it is!
The garage was in a perfect spot actually. It was literally next to this awesome little rock-filled pocket park called Teardrop Park. It was great. It’s basically an oval, hilly park, with a few grassy areas. The main focus is a, maybe, 15 foot high old-school metal straight slide that lands in some sand. That was it and that’s all they needed. They could have spent the entire day there. They had a blast but I didn’t want to take Caleb down the slide at first, so after some time there, we made our move to the water and the larger, more traditional playground.
From Teardrop, it was literally a half block away from the impressive and beautiful Nelson A. Rockefeller Park. This place was awesome and had it all. Green lawns, a waterfront esplanade, views of the Statue of Liberty, Ellis Island, and boats. Playgrounds were there. So were goodies like Nok Hockey and random playthings on the lawn to use. The area was busy with many kids, but not overcrowded to the point that it was annoying. It was really just about right.
We could have spent a week at the playground…there was something for everyone. Climbing, bridges, nets, little hippos to ride, a bike-powered merry-go-round. It was awesome, and the kids weren’t bored for a moment.
After 2 1/2 hours, I wanted to take them for a snack. Less than a 5 min walk away is the impressive Brookfield Place development (formerly World Financial Center). Vera and I worked here back in the day, before 9-11, which wrecked the development. The rebirth seems to be worth the wait. Shopping, outdoor fun, a marina, and some awesome food awaits. We checked out TWO food halls in the space. The first is a restaurant hall called Hudson Eats with outposts of all the latest and greatest NYC noshes…bagels, BBQ, chinese, sandwiches…everything. Awesome. If that’s not enough, just downstairs is the equally beautiful all-French “Eataly-like” Le District. This place is awesome…butcher, baker, candlestick…well, no, not that. How about patisserie, rotisserie, charcuterie, creperie, 3 restaurants, fleuriste, and more. It literally has all that you could ask for…and more. We picked up some awesome French cookies and candies and hit the road.
We hit up teardrop again, then the playground again. Caleb was playing with some borrowed dump trucks in the sand and no one wanted to leave. Before we left, we hit the Teardrop slide again and I took Caleb down twice…he loved it!
We left the park around 6:45PM and looked to dinner. There are a ton on places, and a block away we decide on the awesome Mexican El Vez. The kids LOVE IT. Fun, cheeky Mexican motif. Lots of families. It was great. We each had dinner…my fish tacos and corn on the cob was awesome, topped with some fresh Churros. Hit the photo booth on the way out and grabbed the car.
Hit some traffic on the Brooklyn Bridge, but made it home ok. Kids went straight to bed and Caleb was a dead-asleep transfer to bed (this is rare, so he had a good day).
A wonderful day for us and a must-try for anyone in the area. Do yourself a favor…you’d be happy you did.