The Subway Escape: When “You” Become The Story

We had just moved to the Toronto area.

It was time to explore the city and time to bond. With four girls, Chris tries to ensure he has special times with each.

This was one of those times… or it was meant to be.

Our daughter spent a lot of time getting ready (as teens tend to do) and finally they were off on their way… headed to the subway to find a great place to eat and maybe even a hockey game to go to. Downtown Toronto was waiting.. anything was possible.

Now our girls LOVE the subway, always have. In fact the subway is a highlight of most of our trips; we have a picture to prove it.

The girls on the Toronto subway... during happier times.

The girls on the Toronto subway… during happier times.

So Chris and daughter get onto the subway. And sit down… and blend in… with all the other subway dwellers that are in the same car. Nothing out of the ordinary… at least Chris thinks.

Daughter is a little quiet but not unusually so. She maybe isn’t feeling so great but refrains from letting Chris in on that little secret.

Until the secret is released… now everyone knows… now everybody sees… now everyone who can, backs away in horror. Including Chris, who is beyond shocked.

Daughter is surprised too. She didn’t really know. She didn’t see it coming. Her aim… less than fortunate for some.

Grabbing daughter, Chris and she flee the subway scene before a word is uttered (or at least that is what they recall) but a few looks have been cast. Well maybe more than a few.

They make it to the subway garbage can; a more subtle alternative to the previously packed subway car.

What to do? This is not Chris’ s scene…. not one tiny bit.

So they do what Chris does best. He gets his hair cut under the guise of a free bathroom where she can “undo the damage” that has been done.

Sadly and even a little silly, they return home by taxi and by car; deciding to leave the subway for another day.

We wonder how many people in Toronto heard the gory details that day. Forlorn, but funny…depending on whose perspective. Personally, I was very happy to have stayed at home.

A better bonding moment.

A better bonding moment.

New York City: The Best Kind of Apple for Families – Our Top 7 Must Sees

Thinking of New York City? Go…immediately… it is the perfect city vacation for families of all ages.

Here’s why.

1. Central Park

It is a playground for everyone; little kids, tweens, teens and adults. We spent literally hours there from roaming the pathways, to playing on the oldest carousel, to boulder climbing, to getting wet in water fountains, to hanging with famous Balto (read the book on Balto ahead of time), to getting lost and then rediscovering something new awaiting us. Central Park is a mystery for visitors; you never know what is around the corner and when you do, it never fails to delight the kids.

Free water fun in Central Park; perfect for families.

Free water fun in Central Park; perfect for families.

Then after you are wet, you run to the playground and hang out for a while.

Then after you are wet, you run to the playground and hang out for a while.

Then when your energy returns, you climb a few boulders and look out from the top.

Then when your energy returns, you climb a few boulders and look out from the top.

One of the largest carousels in the United States is fun for everyone.

One of the largest carousels in the United States is fun for everyone.

Read the true story of Balto and find the statue in Central Park.

Read the true story of Balto and find the statue in Central Park.

2. FAO Schwarz Toy Store

This is the most fun toy store our family has ever visited and yes, the adults loved it too. It has it all: they can dress up, they can play on the piano from the movie, Big, they can eat candy, they can ride escalators, they can spend hours in there! Think a ton of fun for as much money as you want to spend; in our case, very little – a few candy treats on the way out.

Even the entrance to the store is fun.

Even the entrance to the store is fun.

Yes, we all dressed up but we think this photo is the best.

Yes, we all dressed up but we think this photo is the best.

If there is a line up, wait, it is worth it.

If there is a line up, wait, it is worth it.

A sweet ending to a sweet store.

A sweet ending to a sweet store.

3.The Free Ferry Out to the Statue of Liberty

Kids of all ages love ferries and this one is free. It takes you out into the harbour where you can see the skyline of NYC and goes past the Statue of Liberty. For us, this is all we needed.

The free ferry to go past the Statue of Liberty.

The free ferry to go past the Statue of Liberty.

An easier Statue of Liberty to get close to.

An easier Statue of Liberty to get close to.

4.The Bronx Zoo

We took the subway out to the Bronx Zoo and that was half the fun, just getting there. I remember Jade asking me why a man was speaking to himself and another was wearing winter clothes in the heat of the summer. There is always something going on in NYC – the unplanned stuff just unfolds around every corner. We are not usually zoo kind of people and I remember researching this zoo before going to ensure it was as humane as a zoo could be. I guess it fit that bill, as we went and the kids loved it. The monkeys and chimpanzees were the biggest hit. We could have stayed there for hours (and we did) just watching them.

Entering the zoo our first time. We later went back a second time on another visit. Yes, it is that great.

Entering the zoo our first time. We later went back a second time on another visit. Yes, it is that great.

5.Eating in NYC

Eating at Lombardi’s, America’s first pizzeria, was a highlight and bonus, the pizza is great. We have to admit; we have been a few times.

Pizza at Lombardi's - an affordable family dining out option.

Pizza at Lombardi’s – an affordable family dining out option.

Jade loved this restaurant so much that we returned again when Allyson and Abby came with us to NYC. Mars 2112 is a restaurant geared for kids; particularly those obsessed with outer space and aliens. You get into a space shuttle to experience a space trip as you arrive to the restaurant. This could be kind of scary for little kids but ours fared well enough. Then inside the restaurant alien waiters serve the food. Yes, the kids died and went to alien heaven while the parents cringed a tad at the bill.

An alien at Mars restaurant with Abby.

An alien at Mars restaurant with Abby.

A little coconut water for some refreshment and something new to try. NYC’s streets are filled with food and this is a cheap and fun way to eat; we did a lot of ice cream, hot dogs and pretzels.

They tried coconut water; always fun to sample something new.

They tried coconut water; always fun to sample something new.

6.Times Squares (and M&Ms store)

Of course, you have to go to Times Square and experience the lights and the action. This was even more fun to do in the evening… although the kids are a bit tired at the end of the day. If tired, like ours, some sugar and excitement at the M&Ms store is sure to wake them up. I have to admit that it is a lot of fun and that even I wanted to know what colour of M&M personality I was.

Abby hanging out at M&Ms store and she doesn't even like chocolate!

Abby hanging out at M&Ms store and she doesn’t even like chocolate!

And Allyson is pink... not a surprise.

And Allyson is pink… not a surprise.

After a great day in NYC, we head for Times Square.

After a great day in NYC, we head for Times Square.

7.The Streets of NYC

Wandering around, a little aimlessly, is also fun, at least for a while. You never know what you will find but likely buskers, food, a few odd-looking characters, and even a random park might be around the next corner.

Determining strength.

Determining strength.

And at the end of your stay in NYC the kids will be a tad tired but filled with great memories. At least that is what you tell yourself. 🙂

Very tired girls as they wait for the shuttle to cross the bridge to go to New Jersey ( a cheaper alternative for accommodation).

Very tired girls as they wait for the shuttle to cross the bridge to go to New Jersey (a cheaper alternative for accommodation).

Home sweet home or hotel sweet hotel.

Home sweet home or hotel sweet hotel.

Chris Chooses Boston!

What? After all the places you have now been, you still said Boston was your favourite destination. How could that be? Well, it often is the memories of trips we had when we were younger that stand out so maybe that is why? I like the city but would still pick New York or San Francisco over Boston as a favourite American city but each to their own. However…we have had a lot of great family memories in Boston and so here are some visuals that clearly resonate with Chris and me as to why this city is so special.