Monday, February 15, 2010

NYC in Winter

How do you enjoy NYC in the winter? It's too cold to walk up and down long avenues. It's too cold to shop outdoors. It's too cold to even wait for the subway underground. After staying out of the city for most of the holiday season, J. and I finally got a chance to venture outside.

We started out with a trip to the Natural History Museum which is always packed but fun. I'm not sure when they put up the space center because I don't remember it at all. It's the first section we stumbled upon after entering the museum from the subway. One of the fun features that we got a kick out of was the "weight yourself on __". Apparently we're incredibly heavy on Jupiter but super light on the Halley Comet! J. says he doesn't remember the whale room. I've always liked that ocean room so he clearly missed that section when he was younger. The museum is incredibly big and most kids probably only remember the dinosaur room (my favorite!).

Some of my favorites at the museum are:
gem and minerals hall - dazzling rocks and gemstones. I've always loved the star sapphire there.
meteorites - one of the few museums that lets people get a hands-on experience on meteorites
north american forests - look for the giant tree trunk cross section.
ocean hall (whale room) - almost as good as an aquarium. impressive displays.
fossils (top floor, dinos) - stegosaurus (see pic)

Not sure where everyone else goes for food after the museum, we decided not to go for dino-nuggets (even though we were both very fond of them when we were younger) at the museum food court (do they still have them?) If you walk west you can find the Upper West Side Shake Shack (all indoors). If you walk west and north you can find plenty of diners (very crowded for weekend brunch as expected) and other eats. Note to self, there is a Hale & Hearty's nearby if I crave soup one of these days. J. and I went to Arties and ordered a pastrami and corn beef sandwich each. Also enjoyed the potato pancakes with apple sauce immensely. Their pickles were as good as I remembered but the pickled tomato wasn't as impressive. We really wanted to split a huge poppy hamentashen for dessert but they only had prune flavor that day. Have to wait for Purim...

After the last snow storm that came through midweek, most of NYC already melted and cleared up. Luckily Central Park still stayed cold enough to keep its beautiful winter scene. We walked along a path on the west side and saw a bunch of kids with sleds. Apparently the park offers some nice slops. If the path got icy, I would go on the main road (along with runners/bikers etc) which had been cleared much better. Most people probably visit the park during summer (great concerts) and autumn (famous orange leaves), we actually have seen the park in winter for the past two years. When there's snow on the branches and ice over the lakes, it's very easy to forget that we're in the middle of the city. 

When we reached Columbus Circle to catch a subway downtown, I found the best booth in the park: Ferrara! Who knew they had a outpost in the park? A chocolate cover cannoli was a real treat after walking in the cold. If I wasn't freezing my fingers off eating the cannoli, I would have gotten a latte or something warm too. 

Go out and enjoy the sunny and icy winter!

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