When my sister used to plan her visits to me in NYC, we spent hours discussing where we would eat. An early love was the French Culinary Institute; later came Buddakan. We went vegan at Candle 79. We gave careful thoughts to desserts, and sometimes decided it would be best to have dessert-only meals.
So it was only natural that when Nancy Botwin decided to bring her 4 kids to the Big Apple, we didn’t worry about what to see or how to get there so much as WHAT TO EAT. In the land of small spaces and advance resos, we were concerned about eating options for the 10 of us. The ten noisy of us. Seven of whom are pre-Bar Mitzvah age. All of whom have a sprinkling of ADHD. What kind of restaurant would be appropriate . . . ?
About 4 weeks before our planned excursion, I solicited recommendations and made a few calls:
Carmine’s, with giant servings of pasta and plenty of loud to go around? No manga.
Mars 2112, featuring Martian food and a spaceship ride? No longer in this world.
Serendipity 3, home of the infamous frozen hot chocolates? Try your luck elsewhere.
Landmarc? Where Marc Murphy has moved his haute cuisine and 300-bottle wine list into the last available restaurant space in the $1.7 billion Time Warner Center? Where one can dine on Foie Gras Terrine and Calves’ Liver while sipping Cristal and chatting about the Fall 2012 Miu Miu Collection? So kid friendly!
“It is!” insisted a friend, “They serve $6 Captain Crunch and PB&Js! Dessert is cotton candy!”
Sounded perfect. I booked it.
You might say we ought to have thought about more than food. Like — the date we were going in. March 17 is not so quiet in NYC. After all, on March 17, everyone is Irish. Which is everyone’s excuse for being drunk.
When we arrived in Penn Station, this is what we saw:
Even the protestors at Zuccotti Park were Irish (double score! Not only was it St. Paddy’s Day, it was also the 6-month anniversary of the Occupy Movement):
The drunks were real characters. So were these guys:
But let’s face it–the Ferris Wheel at Toysrus, talented street performers, drunken St. Paddy partyers, protestors in the act of being arrested . . . our kids primarily had one thing to say: “I’m huuuungry.” This was occasionally interspersed with “I’m tiiiiiired.”
Well, Mother of Exiles, did you ask us to give you our tired, our poor brats, our huddled hungry masses yearning to be fed?
Maybe the kids aren’t so different from us. They, too, think NYC is the land of culinary delights. In fact, they ate so well all day, I had no choice but to cancel our Landmarc reso.
So, if you are heading to Manhattan with a bunch of bambinos, I’m the gal to call if you need a rec. I know all the best places to take kids . . .