We start school TODAY here in the desert.  And I’m sure there will be lots to say about that, but for now I’m in denial, so let’s go ahead and continue with the adventure in NYC with my bookend children.

Part 1 is HERE.

This trip was a little tricky because we were constantly trying to find a balance between showing Lucy all we could, yet helping her enjoy it all at the same time (not rushing and trying to go more at her pace).  That’s a tough balance to find but I think we found a happy medium.  Max is a master at that and I was so grateful to figure all that out together.  When I try to cram in too much he sometimes looks at me and just smiles in a way that says “you’re crazy mama”…but in a nice way that makes me realize that smile just might be right 🙂

We paid a visit to the lovely STATUE OF LIBERTY.

Lucy became the photographer again to distract her from the fact that she was, indeed walking.

So now all that “walking-distraction” has gotten me and Max our own little collection of mother/son pictures 🙂

I like this angle of the Statue of Liberty she got too 🙂

By the time we walked around that lady and talked all through her history, I had two kids who were much more interested in going get a burger at the Shake Shack than than they were in stopping at Ellis Island.

And I had committed to “going with the flow” so we googled all the history of that place as we sailed  right on by, and thought about all those immigrants coming through.

Loved that I got to stop there with my girls last time I was here (back HERE).

This was on our walk to Shake Shack:

That city is so chock-full of tourists (including us!) you could hardly even see the bull.

We walked by the beautiful TRINITY CHURCH:

And past the Oculus Mall…

…to the 9/11 MEMORIAL MUSEUM.

I had never been there.  It is a very beautifully done, and incredibly somber.

I didn’t take many pictures, but here are just a few:

These are the stairs that they call “survivors’ stairs” since so many people escaped the horror through them:

They were preserved because they symbolize survival to so many.

This exhibit was beautiful.  If I remember correctly, each of these squares of blue are meant to represent what color different people said the sky was on that fateful day.

This (below) is the “slurry wall” built to hold up against the Hudson River and keep the foundation safe.

The amount of objects and mementos they have preserved in that museum is quite phenomenal.  And so very sad.  Everything from crushed fire trucks to shoes worn by survivors to newspaper articles, etc.
I think probably one part that hit me the most was a little section dedicated to Flight 93–the one that crashed in Pennsylvania.  There were recordings of the voicemails sent from the passengers to their loved ones, and it really put you in that situation in such a poignant, heartbreaking way.
It was a haunting afternoon that made all that loss so much more real.
We walked from there to the OCULUS MALL just to check out that amazing architecture (at my brother’s suggestion).

It is so gorgeous.

Black & White:

vs. color:

I just love the intersection of all those lines mixed with humanity.

We let Lucy dictate the rest of the day from there on out.

She directed us right to the Lego place she had heard was awesome.

En route we got to see the FLAT IRON BUILDING.

More spectacular architecture right there.

And then there’s the architecture of those Legos:

Oh yeah.

Lucy was in hog-heaven.

Her next agenda item was back in TIMES SQUARE where we grabbed dinner at this taco place (also recommended by my brother):

And man alive, that place did not disappoint.  I’m dreaming of those tacos.

We found a little semi-quiet street corner to sit and enjoy those puppies.  It was a moment where all was right in the world.

I hope I’ll always remember that little spot.

And then we walked on past all that craziness…

…on to the REAL reason Lucy chose Times Square as our next spot…


Oh yeah.  See those sun rays coming through up there?  It was like angels were singing and the world was glowing for Lucy when that place came into sight (we had stopped by there real quick en route to Wicked a couple days before but she didn’t get enough).

Milk chocolate m&ms are like mana from Heaven in her opinion.

Max and I just had to smile at each other as she examined everything she could get her hands on.

(Got some good ideas for her birthday next year 🙂

I snapped this picture when we went a couple days before…have to include that one because that shirt suits her well right now…

Then it was time to bid goodbye to all that hustle-bustle…

…and head back to Eli and Julie’s for card night with Lucy’s beloved golden cards we had picked up after crossing the Brooklyn Bridge the day before.

Oh yeah, again.
It was a good night.

I let my two travel companions sleep while I headed out for a run/walk the next morning.

I LOVE my brother’s neighborhood.

There is so much energy and I felt so alive exploring that place.  I love New York!

How I hope Dave and I can live there some day…even just for a summer.  How cool would that be?

I found myself at the AMERICAN MUSEUM OF NATURAL HISTORY and I was on cloud nine I tell you!

That place ROCKS!   I had never been there and it quickly became one of my favorites.
Check out some of the stuff I saw:

(I was madly snapping pictures because I figured I could kind of “take” Max and Lu there that way since there wasn’t time to bring them back 🙂

I’ll let the pictures tell the story:

Can you believe all these creatures??

…don’t skip past that GIANT squid up there above.


Loved seeing some of the stuff from the Night at the Museum movie.

I had to drag myself out of that place to meet Max and Lu for breakfast/brunch at Sarabeth’s:

(So good)

Then Max and I left Lu to finish watching the Wizard of Oz so we could run check out the MoMA before our flight.

What’s that everyone is crowded around in that picture up there?

Oh, there we go:

The modern art exhibits this time around weren’t my favorites, but the floor with these good old stand-bys didn’t disappoint.

Love that I got to study so much of this stuff in my Boston University art history classes.

I love that even the walkways are works of art:

This was one of the modern art pieces that kind of spoke to me:

I love when they have a description of the artist’s intentions.  This one talked about how the beautiful art is only peeking through…you have to seek it.

Isn’t that how life is sometimes?  There is so much beauty, but sometimes we have to be brave enough to dig through the tough stuff to find it.

Sometimes we have to be content and patient enough to be satisfied with a peek of the good stuff.  And have faith and trust that the whole big picture will all make sense some day.

I liked this too:

And this other one below…looks like a scattered mind, shifting off in a million directions of good intentions.  I can relate to that one too 🙂

There were some tough parts mixed into those beauty days in New York.  Lucy struggles and we all do right along with her in many ways.  But just like that picture with black plastic covering the beauty, we are always able to get so any peeks into the good stuff that it makes the rough things so worth it.
I am a lucky mama.  Sure love these two travel partners.
I learn so much from them as well as the other three every day.

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  1. What a great trip, but a HOT time of year to be in NYC with the humidity.

    The granite for the base of the Statue of Liberty and the Brooklyn Bridge are from Stony Creek, CT, which is right next door to me.

    I believe the person sculpture at MOMA, which you describe as scattered mind (so true!), is made up of found objects. I too find that sculpture fascinating 🙂

    I love that Lucy wanted Max to come on the trip – her sense of fairness but also of the special relationship they have.

  2. What a neat trip–good mix of world class sites and time to relax. As a fellow lover of art and architecture I'd love to visit NYC someday. We have the TEFAF here in my hometown in the Netherlands, which is amazing! And I understand TEFAF now also exhibits yearly in NYC.

  3. I could explore New York forever! I love your pictures, Shawni. What is the top piece of art in this post called? The one about Starry Night? Happy Back to School, kind of 🙂

  4. I'm planning a trip to Hawaii and tried to find your previous posts from your trips there but only one post comes up when I know there are more. Can you add them to your travel section? I need to know all the best places to go. Thanks!

    1. A handy trick when you can't find something on a website is to google "site:nameofwebsite.com topic I'm looking for" – i.e. "site:71toes.com hawaii" 🙂

    2. Yes, Anna wrote exactly how I look them up…just google 71toes and whatever topic you want to find. One Hawaii post is here: https://71toes.com/2017/03/oahu.html but if I google "71toes hawaii" this whole list comes up: https://www.google.com/search?q=71toes+hawaii&oq=71toes+hawaii&aqs=chrome..69i57j0j69i64l2.19390j0j7&sourceid=chrome&ie=UTF-8 …and you can check out whichever post you'd like.

      Hope you found what you wanted from Anna's tip if I'm too late!

  5. I am a huge fan of your blog! I've been reading for a few years and you inspire me ALL THE TIME! I also have 5 children (2 girls and 3 boys) we are few years behind you, my youngest will be starting preschool this year and my oldest middle school. I loved this post because I call my oldest and youngest kids "bookends" too. Ha! Thanks for the time you take in your posts, especially all the technology ones and paying kids for jobs (I love that one!). Oh! And I love all the traveling you do! Wow! We love to travel too (mostly in the states) but you have inspired me to take my kids everywhere we can. Thank you! Thank you!

    Jessica Deceuster (Logan, UT)

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