Ah! If I had to pick just a few of my favorite books on our shelves, one of those I’d certainly choose is Symphony City by Amy Martin. The illustrations in this book are so gorgeous, and I love the way the story winds its way through the layers and levels of the subway, reemerging occasionally, listening to the sounds of the city and revealing those in images.
The girls were very excited (and curious) about the subway system in New York, particularly F, who just finished up a study on transportation at school. Other than our car ride to and from the airport, we stuck to walking, trains, and busses for the trip. We weren’t always perfect with our navigation, but we did a fairly decent job of getting around. We loved seeing all the different tiles in the stations. These fish reminded me of Symphony City as soon as I saw them.
I found this book on our bookshelves a few weeks before we left. M’s mom had found it and sent it to us years ago – they purchased it when they visited with the boys when they were younger.
We opted not to do the full tour of the Statue of Liberty – F wasn’t old enough to climb to the top, and we had a lot of sights we wanted to see. We took the advice of reader Andrea (a lot! and thank you!), and after dropping off our suitcases, we headed off to catch the Staten Island Ferry – it’s free! We took the round trip, and if you go in the off-commuting hours, it’s not crowded at all. A great view of the statue, Ellis Island, and Lower Manhattan. The weather was fabulous, and we got lots of great photos.
I’ve mentioned this book before – The Man Who Walked Between the Towers by Gerstein – we love this book, and it ties in nicely with a visit to the former site of the Twin Towers. M and I told the girls about our visits to the towers when we were younger. We visited the outdoor portion of the 9/11 memorial, but chose not to visit the museum. E was at an appropriate age for the visit, but we felt like F was a little young – not that she isn’t aware of the events of that day, but just that she isn’t really at an age where she needs to be immersed in it for a few hours straight.
It was also exciting to see the newly opened Calatrava Transportation Hub – both in the daylight, as well as at night.
Instead, we booked group tickets (cheaper in four’s!) for the observation levels of the newly opened One World Observatory. It was such a cool experience, and checked the box for “Tall Building Experience” that E had requested. We enjoyed the construction focus of the presentations, and the elevator ride up is super cool – the cab transforms into a sixty-second viewing session of the transformation of the city over the course of at least 400 years. Way cool.
We got the iPads they offer on the observation deck – you can point them at the view and touch on various landmarks to virtually “zoom” to them and learn more about them. The girls really enjoyed those. Tuesday afternoon wasn’t too busy – they don’t rush you out, and so we stuck around and watched the sun set. The drinks at the bar are overpriced and weren’t that great, so maybe skip those. But the rest of the visit was a real highlight of the trip.
Back outside again, we tried to book a table at a few recommended restaurants in the area, and finally settled on a quick train ride over to Farmhouse Restaurant, located on the Lower East Side, on the edge of Chinatown. It was a perfect choice – a smallish neighborhood spot with good food, friendly service, and, most importantly, it was relaxing. We had been up since 4:30am, had traveled halfway across the country, played sightseers for several hours, and were sitting down to dinner somewhere south of 9:00pm. We were ready for relaxed.
The last book of this post – City Alphabet by Schwartz and Beam – has been our bookshelves for awhile. We had grand plans to photograph our own city alphabet on our trip, but we sort of forgot about it after the second day. But this is one of my favorite alphabet books – I think we picked it up years ago at the AIA office here in town.
After dinner, we hopped on the R train back to Brooklyn, and called Day One a success – a roaring 20-hour success.
Find these titles at your favorite local independent bookstore. Happy reading! And feel free to comment or contact me directly with questions about our trip.