As a former homeschooler, the first day of school was always exciting for us. It was the day that all the kids went back to school and we got all the museums and parks back to ourselves. Even though Madeleine is going to "Pre-K" next week, on Thursday I figured we still celebrate by going to an empty museum.
Our awesome library has free library passes you can check out for many of the NYC museums and in true to back to school fashion there were still several passes not booked on Thursday night. I chose to go the Children's Museum of Manhattan. So Friday morning, we jumped on the train at 8:30AM to start off our adventure.
Our first stop was the actual museum. It seemed a bit old and run down but Madeleine surprisingly loved it. I honestly thought she would get bored quickly, especially after we did two of the four floors in less than 15 minutes. But then one of the employees invited us to a music show they were doing downstairs. Madeleine was enthralled with it. She clapped. She danced. She sang with them. She actually sat for most of the performance! It was great!
(After climbing through the digestive system, there was a toilet that taught you about poop! All the toddlers loved flushing it.)
These guys were awesome. Here's a link to their facebook.
After that we headed across the street to Cafe Lola. It's the cafe in You Got Mail. One of my mommy friends had suggested it and recommended the chocolate cake. We ordered lunch though and it surprisingly filled us up. I actually pretty disappointed that we didn't get any cake, but I'm sure we will next time.
By the end of lunch, Madeleine was an exhausted mess, so we then started to do the list of things I planned for me. We hit three bookstores. The first one was literally a small hole in the wall. I loved it. As you can see it was just jammed head to toe with books.
Then we jumped on the subway and went to Strand. I've been following their instagram for months and have been wanting to visit there. I think Strand is pretty much the perfect big book store. (Sam Wellers in Salt Lake was pretty close to that too) It has the big tall shelves and the miles of books, but it was stroller friendly!!! There was plenty of room for everyone and it was fanatically organized. I loved that new books were nested up to the old books. It made looking at any classic book fun, since I could see dozens of different prints and conditions of the book. It kind of made me feel like I could pick which flavor of that book I wanted. Also their rare book floor was incredible. It was kind of like the Princeton University Library but I could actually touch the books instead of having them all behind glass. I'm sure I'll visit there again soon.
Book I bought there. :)
After that we went to the farmer's market on Union Square. I was curious to see what it was like compared to the ones I go to. To be honest, I was surprised to see that the prices were pretty similar and they had a lot more specialty foods. It also was more interesting. People were playing chess, playing music, and just hanging out. It was a people hub, instead of a place to rush and get your organic produce and leave.
Madeleine was thankfully still asleep, so I walked a mile to the last bookstore on my list - McNally Jackson Books. It was a nice bookstore, but most of the books were new. I tend not to like those as much, but this bookstore had something that Matt and I desperately wanted to see, the Book Espresso Machine. It's a machine that will print any book in the database in 6 minutes. I was so excited to see this thing in person. Turns out they print mostly out of print books or self-published books.
I picked Emma. While we were waiting for our book's turn to be printed Madeleine (now awake) ate a cookie in the cafe. Madeleine was super impressed with the book lights.
Then the nice employee informed us our book was next so Madeleine and I walked over to watch it. In just a few short minutes I had a hot book in my hands! It was kind of thrilling. I think next time we will try to publish a book of our own. I was thinking that it would be really handy for printing off some of our blog post to have in hard copy.
After that we went to Penn station and headed home.
A few finial thoughts about NYC. Everyone reads more there. I see more people reading than anywhere else. I think it mostly has to do with the fact that the subway requires waiting. I kept finding books that I saw people reading that looked fascinating.
And lastly, one thing that I like most about traveling is being reminded that most people are wonderful. I hear how dangerous and rude places are but honestly I find that most people are amazing.
In NYC today, there were so many helpful and kind people. Every time I had deal with the stroller and stairs, someone offered to take it so I could carry Madeleine down. Madeleine starting poking this poor lady on the subway, and instead of getting mad, took out her earbuds and started poking her back. In just a few minutes, Madeleine was giggling and behaving. In Penn Station, Madeleine had had enough and took her shoes and threw them at two people. Suddenly two strangers where handing me her shoes back and helping me get the stroller down the escalator.
It hasn't just been this time either. Last time I was in NYC by myself, I got lost on the subway due to construction. Then the subway I thought I was supposed to be taking broke down so everyone had to get off for 20 minutes while they got a new one or something. I ended up asking these nice ladies for directions and ended up sharing cupcakes and macaroons with them while chatting about books. I lost my wallet in Philadelphia last year and someone returned it to the Dunkin' Donuts with nothing missing. I like that the more people I meet the more I like humanity. There are definitely jerks in this world, but I think most people are kind and I like that I get that reminder every time I leave home.
Anyway, I'm starting to feel a bit more comfortable with NYC, so any suggestions of other places to visit there? Especially bookstores?