8.4 Million New Yorkers Suddenly Realize New York City A Horrible Place To Live

Y’all, it’s just me and the kid these days, so time has been limited, hence the lack of updates. I’ll be back shortly. (He starts school soon!) In the meantime, I just had to share this amazing article with you.

It’s hysterical on so many levels, I don’t even know where to begin. Enjoy!

8.4 Million New Yorkers Suddenly Realize New York City A Horrible Place To Live

NEW YORK—At 4:32 p.m. Tuesday, every single resident of New York City decided to evacuate the famed metropolis, having realizing it was nothing more than a massive, trash-ridden hellhole that slowly sucks the life out of every one of its inhabitants.

No Strollers Allowed!

I wrote the post below instead of doing what I should have done which was to call the establishment directly and ask them about the sign. Instead, I did what I can’t stand and got passive-aggressive about it on the Internet. (I am currently punching myself in the face for this, btw.)

I’ve decided to leave it as-is. But wanted everyone to know that I was the one in the wrong here. And I apologize for how I handled the situation. Furthermore, I would like to thank Amy 2 for actually doing what I should have done in the first place.

Yay, sweet stranger!

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I usually stay away from topics like this one because I’m too much of a pussy anymore to deal with online backlash, but I can’t help it this time.

My lollipop adventure has me frequenting a baking supply store in Manhattan. This store has everything I need and at relatively decent prices. Plus, they sell in bulk. They’re also fairly convenient for me to get to—a mere 8 blocks from the 6th Avenue stop on the L.

A few weeks ago, Toby Joe, Emory and I headed into the city together. It was a Saturday morning. When we arrived, I saw the following sign:

I was annoyed, but fine—whatever. Toby Joe was there, so they waited outside while I rushed around for what I needed.

Fast forward to this week. I had rush order that had to get out. I wanted to get there quickly and immediately. I was preparing to take Emory into the city on the subway with me (I only have the nanny for a few hours each week) and remembered the sign. Since parking in that area during the week is impossible, I had three choices: I could leave the stroller behind and make him walk the 8 blocks from the subway which, as many of you know who’ve spent time with a 2-year-old, would take us forever; I could bring leave the stroller outside and hope that it doesn’t get stolen; or I could just not go and wait until I had someone to watch him.

I opted to wait. The order would have to wait. This is a “First World” problem. I know that.

But this is what I kept thinking: Why? Why are strollers banned from the store. Would a wheelchair be banned from the store? How about a walker? Why just strollers. And so I started to get upset about it—probably a little too upset because, considering in the grand scheme of things, this isn’t that big of a deal.

Someone suggested I ask the store owner if I could fold the stroller up and leave it just inside the store somewhere. And I could try that. I’m not sure they’d agree but I could try.

A few people suggested I leave the stroller outside and use a bike lock. Which, yes, is a great idea, but that adds one more relatively heavy item that I must carry around with me. Navigating the subway with a stroller and a toddler is hard enough, adding a paperclip into the mix can sometimes tip the scales.

See, that’s the thing: it’s when you start to add it all up—all the hoops you have to jump through when you have kids, that seemingly irrelevant situations like this one turn into the straw that breaks the sherpa’s back.

I understand why bars want to ban strollers. I’ve written about this before. There was a bar here in Brooklyn that put up a sign and were met with quite a backlash from those in the community with children. Granted, on the flip side of that fight (and boy was it heated for a while), there were a great number of people singing the bar’s praises because a lot of people believe that babies or toddlers should not be in bars. And I get that. I may not agree all the time, but I get it. But baking supply stores? There really aren’t many of them.

Here’s the bigger deal, however. I don’t believe this is about strollers. I believe this is about children. And if my cynical assumption is true, that’s discrimination discriminatory in nature.

I know myself. I won’t say a word to this establishment and hopefully once I figure out what I need every month, I’ll start ordering everything online. But I’m still annoyed. I’m annoyed that additional and unnecessary hurdles like this one are out there waiting us when I think we have enough to deal with.

Adopt a Kitty! Empty Cages Event This Weekend.

Hey, New York City! You should come to Williamsburg this Saturday and adopt a cat. Empty Cages Collective is holding an adoption event. It will be held at PS 9 Pets on North 9TH Street. Please? Pretty please?

ECC is a no-kill shelter. They work to trap, neuter and spay Brooklyn’s feral kitties (among other things). But sometimes, the cats aren’t actually feral and so they take them in and those guys need homes. Need a little love in your life? Adopt a kitty! Wanna give a little love?Maybe you’d like to make a donation?

In related news: Matt is a 9-year-old tiger kitty who is set to be killed tomorrow at another shelter. Let’s try and save him.

Overcoming His Fear of the Subway

There was a time not so long ago that Emory was terrified of the subway. All we’d have to do is get near an entrance and he’d begin screaming, “NO CHOO-CHOO! NO, MAMA!” Whenever Toby Joe left for work, he’d ask that he not ride the choo-choo. And on several occasions we’d wake in the middle of the night to him screaming about it. It was a little sad.

Something had to be done. It’s downright impossible to live in New York City and not use the MTA. The subway is a must. My son was going to have overcome his fear. But how?

We’ve been working on him slowly over time. At first we just talked about it a lot. Toby would get home from work and talk about how great the choo-choo was. (Which is hilarious for reasons I’m sure you are all aware.) We’d discuss its tracks and where it would take us. We told him there was nothing to be afraid of. We compared them to Thomas and his brood. And then we started taking him on it again.

At first, he was guarded and pensive. But we talked him through it and once he was on, all was well. That took a couple of weekends of riding it together as a family.

On Saturday, we set out early to see the ice skaters and tree at Rockefeller Center. We rode the L train to 6th Avenue and then the F Train uptown. He loved it. He loved every minute of it. When we arrived at our destination, he didn’t care about the tree or the skaters; he wanted to continue riding the choo-choo.

My son’s fear has folded in on itself and has turned into a passion. Instead of throwing fits for suggesting he ride the subway, he’s throwing fits when we’re done for the day.

Now, Mama has to overcome her biggest fear: maneuvering toddler and stroller all by myself, up those stairs, and safely.

NaBloPoMo: My Fair Lady

If there’s a perfect season to visit New York City, it’s the fall. The sky is alive and vision feels crisper. The trees are raining with color. There’s a leafy crunch on the ground that’s not snow! I love this city in the fall.

There are also some pretty outstanding sunsets. I’m not sure why this is, but every year the fall brings with it a canvas of color. I only wish I could capture them better! Digital cameras just don’t do justice. (Or maybe it’s a user error. Yeah, probably that.)

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That’s the view from our living room window. It’s pretty great, isn’t it? I mean, if you like city life. Believe me, there are many days where I’d rather have this view but this one is pretty great as well—at least for now.

I feel pretty lucky these days, Internet. And I just wanted to write that down.

NaBloPoMo: Lionel Electric Trains At Rockefeller Center.

I’m not sure if I’ve ever mentioned this here before, but my son LOVES trains. He’s obsessed with choo-choos. I know, that’s probably pretty common for kids his age, but trains are his favorite thing ever. That said, I wanted to extend this great opportunity to anyone living in the area. Maybe we can hang out!

Lionel Electric Trains has opened a pop-up retail store in Rockefeller Center for the first time ever! To help spread the word about the store, Lionel is inviting awesome NYC Mommy’s to a special event on Saturday, November 14th at 10 AM. The Party will let you and your kids look around the store, get a demonstration of the trains, a sneak preview of Lionel’s new CGI movie “LIONELVILLE Destination: Adventure!”, have refreshments and leave with a gift bag for your children. The only thing that Lionel asks is that if you have a good time, please spread the word via blogs, twitter or however you think is appropriate.

Space is limited so please RSVP now by emailing Emily_Saltzman [at] dkcnews.com

Lionel Electric Trains Party
Saturday, November 14th at 10 AM
The Lionel Store
30 Rockefeller Plaza
50th Street, near 6th Avenue (directly across from Radio City Music Hall)

I get the feeling my boy’s head is going to explode with awesome.

NaBloPoMo: ING NYC Marathon

Today is the first day of National Blog Posting Month. What does that mean? That means I’m going to try and write every single day in the month of November. I tried to do this once before (right after Emory was born) and I completed all but one day. This year I’m shooting for all 30. Wish me luck.

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Today also marks an amazing international event: The ING New York City Marathon. I get really emotional during large gatherings of people and the marathon is no exception. I weep during live sporting events, political speeches, protests, marathons–you name it. I love the marathon. Every year it’s the same, I stand near mile 12; I weep, cheer, scream and clap. By the end of the day my hands feel like runner’s feet. It’s a fantastic feeling.

This year we took Emory along with us. He loved it. He sat in his stroller and watched in awe, clapping a bit. Then it was nap time and it showed on his face—the sheer exhaustion of it all, like he ran it himself.

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And now he asks if we’ll take him back outside to see the runners.

“Where the runners go, Mama?”

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And we try to explain to him that the race is now over—the runners have all gone home—they are eating, sleeping, celebrating and that they’ll be back next year. And I see it in his eyes as he tries to process this information and I wonder if he’s thinking that the runners aren’t 40,000 individuals running in unison, but are instead a singular entity that exists in that exact form and returns once a year like a comet or a tide of hope and human integrity.

Now THAT'S A Giving Tree.

I promised yesterday that I’d get a picture of the vagina tree of McCarren Park. Thoughts on the matter?

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Usually there’s a great deal of vaginal adornment inside of it. But today it was empty. One big empty vagina tree. I reckon tonight, being a Friday and all, the tree will get some play. (I’ve already taken this too far, haven’t I?)

NYC Mom Takes Her Anti-Sweets Too Far.

It’s possible to take it too far. Just ask MeMe Roth resident of the Upper West Side.

When offered any food at school other than the school lunch, Ms. Roth’s children — who shall go nameless since it seems they have enough on, or off, their plates — are instructed to deposit the item into a piece of Tupperware their mother calls a “junk food collector.”

I am all for regulating what my child consumes, but the occasional cupcake, ice pop, or brownie certainly isn’t going to hurt him, nor is going to make him fat. Telling him it’s absolutely forbidden? That’s where I think problems arise. Have we learned nothing from Catholic school girls?

All jokes aside, NPR recently interviewed Matthew Amster-Burton, author of Hungry Monkey. The segment was called “Let Them Eat Sugar: A New Guide For Feeding Kids.”

I agree more with what Amster-Burton said regarding the sweet stuff:

“If you’re brave enough to let it be, it’s kind of self-regulating. Efforts to restrict sugar in kids tend to backfire and tend to make kids look for sugar anytime the parents aren’t looking.”

Do parents like Ms. Roth exist everywhere? Or are they based solely out of New York City. I know the answer to this question, but I am a little surprised at just how many parents there are like Ms. Roth in the area. (Granted, there are also a great number who suffer from the opposite problem: they ignore their children to the point of neglect and still others are just simply abusive.)

When it comes to sweets, I let my son indulge fairly regularly. He also loves broccoli, peanuts, every fruit grown on planet earth, and eggs. I think the only food we haven’t given him yet is fast food and highly processed packaged food, although, should he one day discover a Twinkie, I certainly won’t take it away.

Her extreme methods have earned her attention before: The police were called to a YMCA in 2007 when she absconded with the sprinkles and syrups on a table where members were being served ice cream. That was Ms. Roth who called Santa Claus fat on television that Christmas, and she has a continuing campaign against the humble Girl Scout cookies, on the premise that no community activity should promote unhealthy eating.

One must wonder if there’s something else eating (or not eating!) at Ms. Roth.

March Of Dimes: Walk For Maddie

The moment I heard about Maddie Spohr’s tragic death, I knew I had to do something. So, whenever Isabel Kallman of AlphaMom wrote on Twitter stating that she’d be walking for the March of Dimes in honor of Maddie, I decided to join her.

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Neil, Isabel, and Jen

It was completely out of character for me to do something like that. I normally shy away from people I don’t know and events full of new faces. And before Sunday, I hadn’t ever met any of these people before. I’m so glad I overcame any anxiety I had, because I had the best time.

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Up until Sunday, I had no idea what I’d been missing. 

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I honored Maddie on Sunday the best way I knew how, through laughter, conversation, and good old fashioned work. We walked three miles through the streets of New York City. And once we arrived at our destination, I gathered every last bit of strength I had left and ran the remaining 5 miles home. 

I thought of Maddie the entire way. Every time I thought about giving up (it was 90 degrees, after all!), I pictured her smiling face and kept on going.

And when I got home and I felt that I could change the world.

So, you’ll have to forgive me if this post comes off as selfish, I know no other way to express my gratitude at this point, and I simply don’t understand what it means to lose a child, but I need to take a minute and thank the March of Dimes, Marinka, and everyone I walked beside that day. 

Most importantly I need to thank Madeline Alice Spohr.

On sunday, I not only felt proud calling myself a blogger, a March of Dimes Mom, and a mother; I felt proud calling myself a human being.

Thank you, Maddie.