Another perfect day in New York City. Anyone who can will do whatever it takes to enjoy it. Whether it be during lunch, or on a sudden sick day. And the fact that it is a Friday makes it that much better, or worse, depending on where you stand.
I was awakened by the sounds of battle between a man and a 4-year-old.
“But I don’t want to wear those pants!”
“Why not? Why won’t you? It’s going to be hot today!”
“NO! Everyone will laugh at me!”
“No one is going to laugh. C’mon.” Followed by a strong sigh of frustration that not even the dramatic cries of the 4-year-old could drain out.
I hate waking up early. With every fiber of my being. I am not exactly sure how late I can sleep in till, but I am pretty sure I can make it past 11:00am if left to my own devices. But for my son, and mostly for my poor husband, I got up, and sleepily started the soothing mechanics of bribery. I bribe my kids all the time. It works well. You do this (what I want). I do that in turn (what you want, that isn’t too annoying or expensive for me). And you are happier for it (because I am). Works like a charm.
The bribe du jour? Wear the (dang) shorts and Mama will take you somewhere special. Where? The “Mario” store.
And with that the shorts were on, and we even managed to get a clean t-shirt on the kid out of the deal.
That is how the adventures of the day started. And though I am not a video game lover, my boys are. And taking them to the Nintendo World Store at Rockefeller Center was a better excursion for me today than the daily routine of playground visits.
As soon as I picked up my 4-year-old from Pre-K, we got on the train, and the boys were wide-eyed the entire way. I took a longer path and walked along Fifth Avenue and back down 48th Street to the store entrance on 10 Rockefeller Plaza. I stood outside and asked the boys to please stay near me and not run. “Ok Mama,” they both promised and as soon as I opened the door they bolted in, in separate directions, with me choking on the dust behind them.
The Nintendo World Store is 2 stories of whatever the latest and greatest Nintendo gadgets and games are. Both my boys wanted one thing mainly, and it was “the bad guy” from their Mario Brothers video game. Who that was, what he looked like, and whether or not they had him was unknown to me. It mattered little because when the sales clerk approached us, my 4 year described in full detail what he wanted. He also successfully managed to carry on the discussion of whether or not the store even carried the wanted toy, which they didn’t, but my son accepted the alternative offered to him during the discussion.
They played a few games, and posed for a few good photos for me. I watched as both children and grown ups set themselves up in front of one of the screens and played the various Wii game options. There was a man, dressed in a business suit, playing tennis on the Wii, and I am so bummed I couldn’t sneak a photo because I swear this man’s smile made it seem like he was having the time of his life!
We walked out without too much damage: $30.00 in toys. It could’ve been much worse. Especially if my 12-year-old had been with us.
I was obviously on a “this is your day boys, whatever you want” kick. So I asked, “What do you want for lunch?” not realizing that I had asked this question clear within view of the Golden Arches themselves. “HAPPY MEAL!” they screamed in unison, and not wanting to disappoint, I grabbed my boys’ hands and walked right in towards the cashier yelling, “NEXT ON LINE!”
After consuming 3 days worth of calories from a burger I had been craving for about as long (dang internet ads!), we decided to walk towards Fifth Avenue again, by way of the diamond district.
Walking through the diamond district in the middle of a week day will expose you to two things: the hard sales attempts of the diamond world and second-hand smoking. And though I could feel my lungs hardening by each passing second I was there, I had to smile when my little ones kept stopping to admire one precious stone or another telling me how they were going to buy it for me.
You don’t see a lot of people with kids walking down Fifth Avenue, and I wouldn’t recommend taking a stroller down there either, but my boys have me as a mom, and I just love window shopping for things I can only dream of owning. My kids on the other hand, oooh and ahhh over the Marilyn Monroe trinkets, or huge I LOVE NY anything they see. If it were up to them, we would’ve been in every single gift shop along Fifth Avenue between Rockefeller Center and Bryant Park.
When we finally arrived to Bryant Park it was crowded (because it was a nice day, remember?), and my kids kept running off, but would somehow manage to find me again, because I think they knew the chances of my splitting in two and running after them, in their separate directions, were slim. And because neither of them knows who of the two is my favorite, then they are unsure of which one I would end up chasing after for safety.
We did the carousel a few times. Met a lovely Upper East Side mom, who, poor soul, attempted to lift my 3-year-old on to a wooden horse and almost snapped her size 2 frame in half. I apologized for her pain, as I do to anyone who unexpectedly picks up my child, then blamed my husband’s Irish/Scottish heritage for the lead weight of our children. Though it’s clear, to look at me, that I might have something to do with it as well, but that’s neither here nor there.
Bryant Park has tons of activities, like chess, tai-chi, yoga, and, just for those like us, a little book stand, called the Reading Room. We sat on the little chairs, next to a little table, and just read and read books. My absolute favorite was The Very Hungry Caterpillar by Eric Carle because aside from the fact that it is a wonderfully illustrated children’s book, it also had a personal inscription from Mr. Carle for those who enjoy the book there. I thought that was just priceless and felt giddy to be holding a book once touched by someone who is such a huge part of my children’s evening story time.
We took a stroll to the library steps, where we sat for a cool drink, and talked about everything that had to do with monsters and heroes, Mario and friends, pigeons, and something about my getting them a dog. We headed home with the working crowd who was doing the same.
My boys later asked to be sent to bed before we even suggested such a thing, and were snoring minutes after. I, exhausted from the adventures of walking around the city with my boys, feel a smile in my heart wider than my tired face can muster. It was, in the end, the best bribe to date.
For more information on the various activities that are taking place in Bryant Park, please visit their website here.
For more information on the various activities, restaurants, and shops in Rockefeller Center, please visit their website here.