Monday, May 6, 2013

New York 2013 - Part I

I'm back! Did you miss me?  Don't answer that.  Even Little A said no, and Adam and I were gone for 5 whole days!!

This was probably one of the best trips to New York City I've ever had.  Unfortunately, we had drama here before I left.  Adam left a day before me because he was going for work reasons.  So Sunday I was on my own with the girls.  We had a playdate with Big A's friend C in the afternoon.  C's mom, a friend of mine, suggested we bring tennis rackets and balls to hit against the wall at the school.  My kids have never used rackets before and I was eager to see how they'd like it, because I love tennis.  Little A gave up after a few minutes, but Big A, C and I continued to play and Little A was happy to be our 'Ball Girl'.  I turned my head for a few seconds and suddenly heard shrieking.  C had accidently wacked Big A in the nose with her racket and blood was pouring out of Big A.  C turned white and Big A and Little A started bawling their eyes out.  I had one tissue in my purse which quickly got soaked and Big A continued pouring blood EVERYWHERE.  Somehow I stayed calm, gathered up the 3 girls and the equipment and dragged them back to C's house.  Thank goodness C's mom is a doctor, I knew she would be able to examine Big A.  Even she was pretty shocked by all the blood.  We had to take off all of Big A's clothes, including her shoes because everything was filthy.  Once the bleeding stopped, C's mom examined her and, determined that it was most likely only a soft tissue injury.  Good grief, it was awful, especially since I was leaving for New York the next morning!  My mother-in-law ended up having to take her to see her pediatrician on Monday because Sunday night her nose started bleeding again quite heavily.  Luckily the doctor said she wasn't too concerned and she just needed to ice her nose for a few days.  The poor kid!


I got to New York Monday afternoon while Adam was working.  We stayed in the Best Western Plus President Hotel at Time Square because Adam got a good deal on Hotwire, and it was located near the UN Archives where he was working.  It was alright.  Time Square is a noisy, busy area and probably my LEAST favorite part of the city, but hey, you can't look a gift horse in the mouth!

After I dropped off my bags at the hotel, I walked down to the Chelsea Whole Foods to grab dinner for us.  This actually ended up being my favorite meal of the trip (we weren't going to any hoity toity restaurants).  There was this sesame seaweed salad that was awesome!

Tuesday, I rented a bike for the day and rode up to see my grandma Ruth first thing.  I have to say, I am now addicted to renting a bike when travelling in other cities, it is simply the very best way to go.  You get to do so much more than you otherwise would on foot or even by public transport.

I don't advise riding a bike in Manhattan, however, if you are not already experienced riding in a big city.  But it was insane, even compared to Toronto, which is not a terribly bike-friendly city.  Here, you just have to worry about the cars: most drivers are oblivious and/or hostile to cyclists.  In New York, the pedestrians are just as much of a potential risk!  Although most streets have bike lanes, nobody seems to follow ANY rules.  Cars and trucks block the lane, pedestrians jump out into them without looking, and other cyclists, joggers, and skate boarders ride frequently ride in the bike lanes going in the wrong direction.  While I rarely use my bell here, I had my finger on it at all times there, although, nobody really paid any attention when I did ring it.  Nevertheless, I loved riding through the city it was awesome.

Sadly, my grandmother is in the same state as she was last year, that being very sleepy most of the time.  I guess the good news is that she hasn't deteriorated at all.  I brought her some Jelly Belly jelly beans, which she loves, and at 94, she no longer seems concerned about nutrition (remember, she is the originally health nut, before there even was such a thing!).  I suppose if I'm still around at 94, I'll eat whatever I want, whenever I want too.  When I came back the next day, they were gone, but she swore she didn't eat them.  We looked for them everywhere but they were no where to be found.  I brought her another bag the day after that and she was very pleased.  Surprisingly, she remembered 'losing' the first bag.  The whole thing was very cute!

After our visit, I rode over to the upper west side, since I haven't been to that area for a while, and grabbed a wrap from Energy Kitchen, my go-to place in New York for a quick, healthy bite.  Then I rode all the way down to the lower east side for my Lower East Side Tenement Museum tour.  I had over an hour to kill, but I was incredibly hot and thirsty so I was thrilled to find Top-Hops right across from the museum!  A cold beer or two?  Yes please!

I tried the ginger beer they had on tap, which was dry and had just a pleasant hint of spice.  Very refreshing.  I met one of the charming owners who admitted they are frequented by many a thirsty museum visitor.

Then I went for a walk around the neighbourhood and was lucky enough to stumble upon The Sweet Life treat shop.

I bought Adam a house-made, dark chocolate almond and fruit cluster, and discovered Coco Polo stevia-sweetened chocolate from New Jersey!

I got the milk with almonds and dark with dried cherries.  It was so good, I wished I'd bought more, but I was unable to find it for sale anywhere else in the city. 

Also stumbled upon PopKarma, a gourmet popcorn shop, almost right beside the museum.  I'm not much of a popcorn lover, but Adam is, so I picked him up a bag of their interesting sounding Kyoto Mix.  He said it was yummy.

As always when I go to the U.S., I popped into as many health food stores as I could, to see what yummy treasures I can find that are unavailable here.  There were tons and tons!  Unfortunately, I was in no position to bring back perishable items, so I stuck with two things:  New flavours of stevia:

One place had so many, I was overwhelmed!  I have several types of vanilla, lemon, dark chocolate, and toffee, but this place had a lot of the SweetLeaf brand flavours that I'd never seen before.  I decided to go with coconut, and it's great in my ice coffee.

I also hoarded some Quest protein bars, which I've been dying to try!  The only place I've seen them in Canada is online through Low Carb Canada, and each time I've tried to purchase them, they've been sold out. 

12 Flavor Sampler Pack

Most protein bars are either filled with crap or taste like crap.  These are all sweetened with either sucralose or stevia, use 100% whey protein, and clock in at around 200 calories or less.  And Adam and I both thought they tasted pretty yummy.  My favorite was the cinnamon roll.  With all the walking and cycling I did during the trip, I found myself constantly starving.  I must have eaten at least 2 of these a day just to get me from one meal to the next without gnawing off my arm.

Anyways, back to the museum.  The tour, like the other one Adam and I did years ago, was fascinating.  Nonetheless, I bet you could take any old building in New York and you'd find it has an incredible history.  This is why I freakin' love this city so much!

After the tour, I returned the bicycle and met Adam back at the hotel. We grabbed a quick bite at Fuel Grill and then sugar-free, fat-free soft serve from World of Nuts and Ice Cream.  Then we collapsed into bed.

Stay tuned for New York 2013 Part II tomorrow...

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