I wasn't sure how I was going to top Mazzy's All Pink NYC Extravaganza from a few weeks ago, but Uber gave me two full days to get chauffeured around Manhattan, so I wasn't about to let this opportunity go to waste.
The first step was to revert back to my original rained out plan— take Mazzy to the top of the Empire State Building for the first time. Then I picked the most kid-friendly classic NYC spots, creating the perfect family day to experience the Big Apple. (Listen up, residents and vistors, alike!)
On Friday, we woke up to glorious blue skies and our plan was a go.
Our uberFAMILY car pulled up at precisely 10:30am and Mazzy and I piled in. The new uberFAMILY service outfits Uber's best drivers with an on-demand carseat. (If you'd like to try it yourself, download the app and enter the promo code MOMMYSHORTS for $30 off your first ride.)
All participating drivers have been specially trained by The Car Seat Lady, so I felt confident letting our driver buckle Mazzy safely into her seat.
My friend Seri and her son Gavin (aka Mazzy's boyfriend #3) had never been to the Empire State Building either, so they decided to meet us there. Seri happened to have a friend who works in the building and scored us express passes to the top (normally $60) for free. WHEEEE!!!!!!
On the way up the elevator, Mazzy kept her eyes glued to the rising floor numbers as I counted along, "78, 79, 80…" DING!
The observatory deck was another short elevator ride up and then we all stepped out into the open air.
"WHOOOOOA….. We are so high!!!!"
I love seeing kids witness things for the first time. Mazzy gets excited over mundane things like a low hanging branch and an oddly shaped ravioli, so it was even more awesome seeing her reaction to something that actually warranted it.
Mazzy and Gavin wandered around the deck, holding hands and climbing the quarter operated viewers like two four-year-olds in love.
Seri and I followed them around with our cameras and took photo after photo.
After photo after photo after photo.
This one was taken after we told them Spiderman had climbed to the top.
Mazzy and I searched the downtown skyline to see if we could find our apartment building.
We can see the Empire State Building from our apartment, so was it so crazy to think we could see our apartment building from the Empire State Building?
I didn't think I had a shot in hell (I'm notoriously bad with this sort of thing) but suddenly, my brain started working, landmarks began to make sense and I found it!
Yeah, Mazzy didn't see it either, but I SWEAR, it's there.
Next, we were off to the gorgeous Bryant Park for a picnic lunch with two suprise guests— Mazzy and Gavin's dads, who both work nearby. The kids were so excited to their dads, you never would have guessed they had each seem them just that morning.
Next to us on the grass was a group of jugglers. It looked like one guy had brought a big box of balls and pins and the group was growing as strangers (all bonded by nothing but their random juggling ability) joined in.
You know who knows how to juggle?
It just so happens that Gavin's dad can juggle too. That's him in the suit.
I stood there amongst the jugglers showing off my skills. I wowed the crap out of Mazzy, who had no idea I had hidden circus talents. (FYI- I can juggle three balls of equal weight for about one minute. I can't juggle ten pins lit on fire or anything.)
Mazzy cannot juggle, although this picture makes it look otherwise.
I hadn't taken Mazzy to Bryant Park since she was a baby (I associate it more with suits taking their lunch break) so I didn't realize how awesome it is for kids.
Besides the jugglers, there's a carousel next to a section of kid-sized tables and chairs with a big cart of children's books supplied by the adjacent New York Public Library.
On our way out, Mazzy spied a putting green on the west end of the park and asked to play. Access is free so I let her do her thing. Mazzy grabbed a mini club and a pink golf ball (obviously) and made sure to hit the ball into each hole before we were allowed to leave.
Then I called our car to pick us up (have I mentioned how ridiculously awesome it is to have a car and driver in the city?) and take us to Times Square for a little photo shoot with the cracked out Disney characters.
They are fake and incredibly creepy, but four-year-olds don't seem to know the difference.
We posed with Minnie Mouse, Mickey Mouse, Spiderman and Cookie Monster before I had to hurry her out of there.You have to tip each character per photo and they all try to run into your pictures to claim a payday.
"Hey, Sonic the Hedgehog— my daughter doesn't even know who you are. GET OUT OF MY SHOT!!!"
After Times Square, I took Mazzy on her first trip to FAO Schwartz. I hadn't been there since BIG made it famous in 1988.
Mazzy ran on the big piano, made friends with a bear (FAO Schwartz is famous for their huge stuffed animals), hid behind a giant LEGO Batman and then picked out a first birthday present for her cousin Jack, who's birthday party was the following day.
We were exhausted and it was time to call Uber to go home.
I wish I had a different ending from last time. But the truth is, it's the same.
We both passed out in the car.
I really want to thank Uber for partnering with me. The two days I spent being driven around the city with my daughter were probably two of the best days Mazzy and I have ever had together. You made a jaded New Yorker feel very spoiled and lucky. Thank you.
If you already have Uber, enter the code FAMILY to unlock the uberFAMILY option in your app.
For more details on uberFAMILY, visit: blog.uber.com/uberfamily