A New York Minute

Sometimes you need to treat yourself to a $25 cocktail.

In New York City.

My kids and I love reading about New York. That does not mean we took them on our 10th wedding anniversary trip to the Big Apple.

But we thought about them a lot (but had fun without them.)  I had to take advantage and visit some places we had read about.

Upon arrival, after walking in the wrong direction for several blocks, we visited The New York Public Library. It was a thrill for me to see the Library Lions and visit the children’s section.

In the children's section of the NYC library, these Lego lions reign.

In the children’s section of the NYC library, these Lego lions reign.

Oh my Lawd, I also had to go visit The Plaza where Eloise lives.  (Read about her in a past blog post.)

We explored the magnificent structure and visited the Eloise gift shop where the shop attendant told me the parents are usually more excited to visit than the kids.

I found Eloise at the Plaza.

I found Eloise at the Plaza.

We then had that $25 cocktail. I sipped a pink cosmopolitan, so I could channel Sex in the City and Eloise.

Eloise lives in the tower with Nanny.

Eloise lives in the tower with Nanny.

I don’t know if Max and Calvin were that impressed that we visited the home of Eloise. They were mostly concerned with finding out what we bought them. (An Eloise highlighter and New York City bus for Calvin; a Lego Chrysler Building and Yankees hat for Max.)

I can’t wait to go back.

Here are a few of our favorite NYC books:

This is New York by Miroslav Sasek (I’ve mentioned this one a lot but we love it!)

Eloise by Kay Thompson, illustrated by Hilary Knight.

B is for Brooklyn by Selina Alko (Read a past blog post.)

The Wicked Big Toddlah Goes to New York by Kevin Hawkes (Read our thoughts on Toddie here.)

Statue of Liberty

Just for fun, here’s my shot of Lady Liberty.


B is for building cities

Max uses B is for Brooklyn as inspiration.

Max uses B is for Brooklyn as inspiration.

At our house, it’s pretty common to trip over traffic jams or cities. Calvin is constantly lining up vehicles in his room, the bathroom, on the treadmill, in the kitchen, on window sills, you get the picture. Accompanying the traffic jams are signs and buildings.

I found B is for Brooklyn written and illustrated by Selina Alko at the library and thought it had all the ingredients that make him happy – buses, bridges, traffic, signs.

B is for Brooklyn has all this and more. It takes you through the alphabet with beautiful illustrations of all that Brooklyn has to offer.

While reading it, Calvin and I talked about using a newspaper like Alko did to create buildings. My boys love building cities: Lego cities, box cities, paper cities.

Inspired by B is for Brooklyn, we go to work. The brotherly fighting ceased the day we built our latest city. They spoke to each other the way I imagine they do at school saying, “Please pass the glue.”

“Who are these kids?” I thought to myself, as I listened to their polite tones.

Calvin does his favorite thing: city building.

Calvin creates his favorite things: traffic and cities.

They were still bossy. If I stopped to survey my work or take a sip of coffee they would both direct, “Mama, get back to work.”

Using the Sunday New York Times, we cut up the travel section. Calvin was thrilled to see the Paris Metro. We also found a map of Arizona and New Mexico. I pointed out where their cousin Rahsaan was born and where he lives now. That was a big hit.

The final product – an unusually peaceful morning and a cool piece of art.

Where to find the book and other info

You can find the book and more on Alko’s website.

Alko’s created many beautiful books. This includes The Case for Loving: The Fight for Interracial Marriage. She illustrated this with her husband Sean Qualls. According to her website, “It is the true story of the interracial couple Mildred and Richard Loving, and the courage they needed to have to fight to get their

My view of the city builders from the porch where I took a coffee break.

My view of the two foreman from the porch. I was sneaking a coffee break.

marriage legally recognized in the 1960’s in the state of Virginia. Alko felt a personal connection to the Lovings’ story, being half of an interracial couple herself.”