Miss Maddie's Manhattan & Brooklyn Birthday Adventure in April 2012

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2013/10/10 22:42:56 (permalink)

Miss Maddie's Manhattan & Brooklyn Birthday Adventure in April 2012


In mid-April 2012 my niece, Maddie,  turned 7 and her parents treated her to a week in NYC with her Uncle Billy and Aunt Dayna as tour guides.  I had been meaning to post this for quite some time but just never seemed to get around to it until now.  Monday April 9, 2012 - Our first stop was at the new location of Grimaldi's in the DUMBO neighborhood of Brooklyn.  I wish I had more pictures to post but it was dark when we arrived at the very long line to get in and many of them didn't come out very well.  Apparently, they get asked this question repeatedly so they felt that putting up this sign would help.  

We ordered a large pie with sausage and mushrooms and it was just a good as always.  The new location is the building next door (a former bank building) and has much more seating as well as a second floor.  I'll definitely need to check out this place during the day.

Tuesday April 10, 2012 - We took a ride on the subway to the Upper West Side to check out the American Museum of Natural History.  One of my favorite indoor stops in NYC.  I could spend a week here and not get to see everything!


The dinosaurs were so cool, even for this 40-year old kid!




This is a the view of Central Park from the Astor Turret.  A nice little spot to take a load off after walking through the museum for a few hours.  

I can't imagine fashioning this canoe with just my hands and no power tools.  Talk about ingenuity!  There are a number of canoe on display in the museum and I'm not sure which hall this one is in or who carved it but...wow!

For lunch, we picked up cheeseburgers and fries at the Upper West Side location of Shake Shack.  It was all very tasty and good until after only three bites my burger fell from its perch on the back of a bench and into the dirt.  I frantically searched for any salvageable portion but it was covered in dirt.  There was a second or two where I thought I might cry, like a child who dropped his ice cream cone during a trip to an amusement park.  However, with a stiff upper lip I made it over to Levain Bakery just a few blocks away to console myself (and the family) with some killer chocolate chip cookies.  

My apologies for the blurry photo.  These are not inexpensive cookies but they are HUGe and very good.  

We munched on our sweet treats as we walked over to the #2 train and 72nd Street.  My niece had a special request this week.  Her class had been reading a book called "The Lonely Phone Booth" by Peter Ackerman.  He is a local author his story is inspired by a man who campaigned to save the booth which is in his neighborhood.  I mean really, where else will Superman be able to change his outfit?  It tells the story of one of the last remaining full glass phone booths in Manhattan and how everyone: ballerinas, secret agents, circus clowns and so many other used it and how it should not be removed!  It is based on the actual last phone booth located at 100th Street & West End Avenue.  I've been living her almost 10 years and it took my niece from Central NY to tell me about this!  And it is an actual working phone booth, so we called "Nana" and Maddie let her know she was calling from the booth and having fun in the big city.

Channeling my inner Clark Kent!  

Wednesday April 11, 2012 - Today was a jaunt over to check out a place I've meaning to see for many years, the Brooklyn Botanic Garden.  These wall sculptures in the exit from the Eastern Parkway subway station and I love how some stations have interesting artwork.  Makes them much more than just a place to pass through on the way to somewhere else.



It was a bit chilly but the cherry blossoms were just starting to bloom so it made for a very beautiful day for a stroll through the garden.

Dayna and I at the entrance.

Stopping to smell the roses, uh, blossoms!

I think I'll leave these pictures from the Garden with no narrative as I think the images are enough by themselves.  I would say though that if you are visiting NYC it would be well worth your while to add this place to your "must see" list.







We took the subway to the Clark Street and then walked through the Brooklyn Heights neighborhood on our way to a rather unmemorable meal at a bar/restaurant on Water Street in DUMBO. 

To cleanse the palate after lunch, we walked a few block to the waterfront and to the Brooklyn Ice Cream Factory.  

Just an adorable little place, though it is much more scenic on a sunny, warm summer's day...

...and the view can't be beat!

A scoop of coffee and a scoop of butter pecan and all was right in my world.  

Thursday April 12, 2012 - For Maddie's birthday we had dinner reservations at the American Girl Cafe on 5th Avenue.  Wow, what craziness!  The place was packed with families buying dolls, accessories and having dinner as well.  

The chicken pit pie was alright...

...and the presentation of the dessert was pretty good but the food wasn't anything spectacular.  It really is more about the experience.  This was evidenced by the fact that Maddie's doll, Ivy, had her own seat and place setting at the table and had dinner with us.  Not much of a conversationalist but she makes Maddie happy so she's got that goin' for her, which is nice.  Of course, Silly Uncle Billy couldn't resist having some fun of his own with his cup of tea and decorative napkin holden earrings.  Oh, there is one thing that totally blew me away.  After we finished our meal, my brother-in-law looked at his watch and said we could probably walk around Rockefeller Center for a bit but that we had to be back at the store at 8pm.  I asked, "What for?"  He said that Ivy (the doll) had an appointment at the hair salon in the store at 8pm.  What??  Are you serious??  I am totally in the wrong business!!!  I couldn't even believe it.  They have definitely got a money-making machine on their hands here!

I always enjoy looking upon 30 Rock and thinking of all the great comedy that has been created there over the years.  

In the festive Easter mood.

And watching the skaters goes by never gets old for me.

Just after dark by Radio City Music Hall.

Friday April 13, 2012 - Facebook had really helped us to keep in touch with our relatives and one of our cousins was going to be in NYC at the same time and her daughter and Maddie come from the same province in China so we made plans to meet up for lunch at Wo Hop on Mott Street in Chinatown.  All this time in NYC and still no respect!!

Luckily, our wait was minimal on this visit.  What treasures await us under the streets of Chinatown??

75 years and still going strong.

The mirrored walls are filled with faded magazine covers and headshots that read like a list of "Who's Who of Who Cares?".  I don't think I have ever recognized anyone on the wall.  May be time to add my faded old headshot to that collection!

This really is an old school place right out of the mid 20th century.  Very sauce heavy, Americanized dishes and I wouldn't have it any other way.  One of those places that just scratches an itch, you know?  I always love the crispy wonton skins with the hot mustard and duck sauce.  Impossible to stop eating!  Apparently, we learned nothing from our last visit here as we again ordered way too much food, however, we made sure to get extra utensils and napkins to go and gave our extra food to someone in need on the street.  

Fried dumplings with black bean sauce.

Broccoli in garlic sauce.

Pork fried rice.

Bok choy.

Sweet & Pungent Chicken.  We had wondered if they had "sweet & sour" when we spied this on the menu.  Not sure why they call it pungent but it was quite tasty all the same.

My personal favorite, Roast Pork Egg Foo Young.

Shrimp & Roast Pork with vegetables.

 A headshot with a beeper number on it.  Talk about a blast from the past!  I wonder if the number still works?

 To digest, we decided to walk through Chinatown and poke in many of the shops selling purses hats, watches, scarves and just about anything else you could could want.  

 Naturally, I made the suggestion to cleanse our palates at The Original Chinatown Ice Cream Factory.  

 I tried a sample and it was pretty good so...

 ...I went for a two-scoop of Zen Butter and Green Tea and it was just what I needed.  We were so happy to spend an afternoon with our cousins and I was especially happy to be able to show them around a little bit in the place I call home.

That's it for this report but I've got a few more in the hopper...stay tuned!!
"Eating is an adventure, enjoy the ride!" - billyboy, 2012, er, 2013
The 411:
1.)  Grimaldi's
      Under the Brooklyn Bridge
      1 Front Street
      Brooklyn, NY 11201
      Ph# 718-858-4300
      Website:  http://www.grimaldis.com
2.)  American Museum of Natural History
      Central Park West at 79th Street
      New York, NY 10024
      Ph# 212-769-5100
      Website:  http://www.amnh.org
3.)  Shake Shack (Upper West Side)
      366 Columbus Avenue at West 77th Street
      New York, NY 
      Ph# 646-747-8770
      Website:  http://www.shakeshack.com.ocation/upper-west-side/
4.)  Levain Bakery
      167 West 74th Street
      New York, NY 10023
      Ph# 212-874-6080
      Website:  http://www.levainbakery.com
5.)  The Lonely Phone Booth
      100th Street & West End Avenue
      New York, NY
      Web info:  http://vanishingnewyork.b...onely-phone-booth.html
6.)  Brooklyn Botanic Garden
      990 Washington Avenue
      New York, NY 11225
      Ph# 718-623-7200
      Website:  http://www.bbg.org
7.)  Brooklyn Ice Cream Factory
      1 Water Street
      New York, NY 11201
      Ph# 718-246-3963
      RF review:  http://www.roadfood.com/R...klyn-ice-cream-factory
8.)  American Girl Place
      609 5th Avenue at 49th Street
      New York, NY 10017
      For dining reservations in the Cafe:  877-247-5223
      Website:  http://www.americangirl.com/stores/location_ny.php
9.)  Wo Hop
      17 Mott Street
      New York, NY 10013
      Ph# 212-962-8617
      Website:  http://wohopnyc.com
10.)  The Original Chinatown Ice Cream Factory
         65 Bayard Street
         New York, NY 10013
         Ph# 212-608-4170
         Website:  http://www.chinatownicecreamfactory.com


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