Coming to New York

People find it hard to believe when I tell them I’ve never been to New York. Maybe that’s because most of the women to whom I teach English have been there at least once. They thought it strange that I hadn’t been there. So this month while visiting my kids in Philly, my husband and I went up to New York with them!

On the first day, we took a ferry over to Brooklyn to get to the Brooklyn Flea Market which is held on weekends. I was disappointed because everything was so pricey. If it hadn’t been such a hot day, it might be nice to walk around and look, I suppose.

Ferry to Brooklyn









The best part of that excursion was going under the Brooklyn Bridge in the ferry. I had read David McCullough’s The Great Bridge recently and was excited to see this famous suspension bridge completed in 1883 at great cost and some loss of life. I recommend this highly readable account of how it was built and the eccentric man who designed it.

Brooklyn Bridge

We were so tired when we got back to Manhattan, but since it was Mother’s Day, the kids took us out to dinner. I wanted someplace quiet so we had great grilled burgers and onion rings on the Lower East Side.

Tenement Museum, Lower East Side NYC

On the second day, Eri and I went to the Tenement Museum, which was the best thing I did in New York. Some of my ancestors are from Ireland and Germany and certainly must have come by way of Ellis Island. The Tenement Museum gives us a  very vivid look at  the lives of these immigrants . We toured this tenement building which was built in 1863.

It had no running water and the toilets were outside on the ground floor.  We could see the many layers of wall paper put up over the years and view the objects  used in daily life. Through photographs and censuses, we can learn about  the actual families who lived there. Most of them had small factories set up in the narrow front room, particularly garment making.

Levine family kitchen

For lunch, we shared an amazing wrap sandwich at Wolfnight’s and also a Basil and Chocolate Milkshake!! It was one of those places you are lucky to stumble into by chance and the food was so good.

While waiting for our tour, we had time to kill and discovered the Bluestockings Bookstore.  ( ) I found Emma Goldman’s Living My Life, a book I hadn’t known about. The shop is geared to Women’s Studies, Human Rights, social issues and Vegan eating. They had a nice selection.

To top off that perfect day, Eri and I went to see a Broadway musical at night! It was so much fun to get dressed up and ride in a taxi to the theatre. We saw Priscilla, Queen of the Desert, and laughed a lot! In the lobby bar they sold pink Priscilla Margaritas, so Eri gave me another Mother’s Day treat!

Out on the town, Broadway!!

The final day, we all intended to visit the Metropolitan Museum of Art, but I hadn’t realized they won’t let me in with a small carry-on bag. Young people had backpacks larger than my bag, but they have a firm rule and there was no place to check your things. They told us one of us would have to stay outside. It was sad! So Eri and Rob went off together assuring us they’ll have another opportunity to visit there.

We had too little time to see the collection and I never could find the  Bosch paintings I wanted to see nor  Georgia O’Keefe. I felt like I was wandering in a giant maze! I recommend a guided tour if it’s your first visit! And plan to spend the whole day. We had to line up for restrooms and for over 30 minutes at the cafeteria.

We left in pouring rain and Hiroo managed to figure out which subways to take to meet up with the kids at the bus terminal. We all got soaking wet for a grand finale to our NYC trip! Most of us slept a little on the 2 hours bus ride back to Philly. I may never visit New York again, but I am so glad that I got to go. I will have a more definite image of the area and distances as I read Emma Goldman’s book and other historic works and biographies.

The Subway Angel

We are always led to think that New Yorkers aren’t friendly, but I found out that isn’t true. I want to thank one person in particular, a 50-something woman who led us through the subway to make a change of trains when Hiroo and I were on our own and confused! She appeared out of nowhere and said, “Where do you wanna go?” and then “O.K. Follow me!” I had to almost run to keep up with her but she got us there! I think she is a subway angel. Maybe you’ll run into her in NYC someday!!


2 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Becky N
    May 26, 2012 @ 15:33:11

    Leah, am so happy you had a good time in NY, only sorry that I didn’t get to meet up with you. I”ve wanted to go to the Tenement Museum, so was happy to have this reminder. It sounds like you made the most of your time there!
    Hope the rest of your 2012 US tour went well, also!


    • leahmama1
      May 27, 2012 @ 04:14:50

      Thanks! We did have a good time. Next time I go, I need someone to show me around the Metropolitan! How was your trip?


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