Summer’s sweet end… holiday weekends in NYC… and beyond.

Despite it being well over 90 degrees (as I write this the sweat is pooling under me), I’m told summer is unofficially over. Aria begins pre-k tomorrow, and I’m trying to wrap my head around that, and the fact that the lazy days of summer are virtually behind us (not to mention that I’ll be a mother of 2 next month!).

We spent a good part of the Labor Day weekend in the city, taking full advantage of it being a bit emptier and the weather being absolutely beautiful– a perfect combination of warm sunshine and cool breezes. Aria had her dad chauffeuring her all over Manhattan via bike– with trips up and down the west side highway bike path (the Hudson River Park has so many amazing kid-friendly spots).

Saturday stops included the carousel just north of Chelsea Piers, and plenty of time at her go-to neighborhood playground. We even made a last minute run up to Turtle Cove Golf Range in the bronx, for some extra daddy-daughter time. It was so sweet to get to see them have so much time together– and both enjoy it so.

turtle cove golf

Sunday the biking twosome even journeyed around the tip of southern Manhattan, catching the ferry across to Governor’s Island. They romped around, hitting the playgrounds, eating lunch in the shadows of the old fort, and capped it all off with ice cream cones and silly selfies. She was spoiled, and so was I since I got  a few hours of time to just to relax my increasingly limited pregnant-girl body.

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We all dined out, trying places we’ve long been meaning to– like The Clam on Hudson (scoring a sidewalk seat with no reservation). We didn’t do quite as well when we attempted to drop in at Grand Banks (a cool schooner turned oyster bar) at sunset. Apparently, there were enough Manhattanites left in the city to leave the line winding longer than our limit with a toddler in tow. It was a gorgeous time on Pier 25, the sun setting low casting a warm glow over all,  so no hard feelings. And obviously (pic below), Aria was sleeping off her fun hangerover, so perhaps it was best.

Screen Shot 2015-09-08 at 2.34.58 PMOn Monday, we got the treat of being invited out to a friend’s beautiful golf club, where the guys got in a round, and a good girlfriend and I had the chance to catch up over a leisurely lunch, followed by a cart-ride along the back nine to join the boys. (She also took the beautiful shots of my girl below — thank you Ana Photo!)

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Of course Aria had a blast– taking every opportunity to run through the greens’ sprinklers when they popped on (ah- to be a kid) and, of course, soaking in her dad’s golf skills (we’re hoping it all rubs off and she’s the future of the LPGA).
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She also insisted on “driving” the cart on my lap, which resulted in a few near misses, and far too many pushes of my hands off the wheel. She was adamant she could do it herself.  Little Miss Know It All is not quite the master driver…yet. hamilton farm golf feast

We capped it all off with an amazing seafood feast overlooking the course, and watched the sun (and summer) fade away over the greens.

Adieu summer. You will be missed.

See more of our weekend pics (and my lounging belly!) on my Instagram page @vanessaalfanotv

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Looking forward….

Our last snowy pic of winter 2015 by the amazing Ana Photo!

Our last snowy pic of 2015 by the amazing Ana Photo!

It seems unbelievable that just a week ago we were taking snowy pictures with the amazing Ana Schechter.

It feels like Spring is finally on the horizon now. We hit the playground for the first time this week, and despite slushy puddles and wet pants and socks by play’s end, it was nice to be out, feel the sun on our face, and feel hopeful that winter (and snow) is just about past!

In teaching yoga this week, I’ve been paralleling the natural elements around us, and asking students to consider what we need to let thaw in our own lives. What can we let go of in order to prepare space, and prepare ground where new seeds (and we) can grow?  It’s necessary, and worth considering for anyone who wants to bring in the new, fresh and better stuff in life.

In a practical sense we’ve also been preparing, thinking about next year and our plans for living in the city (or not). Kelcey Kintner, who I adore and seem to be living a parallel life of some days (minus 4 kids of course),  recently wrote about how she lost a piece of herself in leaving NYC (her blog Mama Bird Diaries is a must follow). I’m sure many of us NYC moms battle with the question of going or staying. I know I’ve been for quite some time.

For now, we’re still keeping our love (some days hate) affair with NYC going. Pre-K applications open on March 16 for all the NYC moms out there, and I’m hoping the process is not too painful. Apparently, with the new Pre-K for all initiative, there are many more seats available, but it’s still important to get the application in ASAP.

So, here’s to Spring and many new things on the horizon. Let the sun shine on your face today, and enjoy it!

City Eats: Le Pain Quotidien

Aria ana photo

So, the other day I met my fabulous friend Ana for lunch at one of my-go spots in the WV (top photo courtesy of her– she just has this way of capturing the best pics!)  My lunch and coffee dates have not ended now that baby is in tow, but they definitely require a bit more thinking.  Suddenly I gravitate towards the “baby friendly” spots that I know will have room for the stroller, high chairs, etc, but still have good food and  some degree of atmosphere.

On of my favorite lunch w/baby spots here in the West Village is Le Pain Quotidien on Hudson. The Belgium bakery chain has a wholesome menu of good salads (my fav is the quinoa salad), tartines, organic options  and breakfast items . They also have a kid’s menu with great healthy options including hummus, turkey, guacamole, etc. Aria is a fan.

le pain quotidienLe Pain quotidien bakery west village kidsle pain

The thing I like best about this spot is that it indeed is very baby friendly. There is a ramp to access (steps and double doors are my biggest stroller annoyance here in the city), plenty of room to park the stroller table side, high chairs, crayons and a usually cooperative & friendly staff (no noses in the air when mom friends and I truck in with 3 little ones — although I waitressed in my younger days so there is no way I am leaving behind a mess). As an added bonus they also have a very large & clean private bathroom with a changing table (suddenly, and somewhat sadly, now a very important detail in my dining life). Oh, and in summer they also have nice sidewalk tables outside. Très bon indeed.

I’d love to know your favorite spot in the city. Please share!

le pain quotidien west villagestaticmap