The group journeyed across the Brooklyn Bridge last week. This was our group’s first excursion into Brooklyn & we hope to return soon to take advantage of the numerous child-friendly destinations over there. This week’s “guest blog” post is by Ezra (pictured far left with the shades), devoted NYC Dads Group member from Riverdale, and proud dad to a four-month old daughter. Ezra, thanks for taking the time to share your perspective…
On a clear, but chilly Wednesday morning, our group of about a dozen dads (and one Grandma) gathered on the Manhattan side of the Brooklyn Bridge, next to City Hall. As we waited for everyone to arrive, making conversation with dads we had met before and meeting others for the first time, we were joined by a crew from the local ch.11 WPIX news, who were filming for a news feature we hope they will be running in the near future. They interviewed a few of the dads in our group, and hopefully it will be edited together well enough to make us seem like a decent bunch of guys (which I believe we are). Eventually, we departed for our destination on the other side of the bridge, Brooklyn Bridge Park & Playground, which New York magazine voted Best Playground for 2009. There, we would meet up with some of the Brooklyn-based members of our group, and their kids. The walk across the Bridge was invigorating: the sun kept us just warm enough, we were able to enjoy the gorgeous views of Lower Manhattan, the Statue of Liberty, Governors Island, and the Verrazano Bridge to the south, and Midtown Manhattan, the Manhattan and Williamsburg Bridges, Queens, and Brooklyn to the north. As an added bonus, the mile-plus walk across the bridge was enough to overpower all, but the toughest of our children, as at most two or three were awake by the time we stepped foot into Brooklyn. A note to parents who want their kids to nap – take the plunge and walk over the bridge!
Our first stop was the famous Grimaldi’s Pizzeria, voted one of the top 5 best pizzerias in the US by the Food Network (and who’s going to argue with them?). After picking up some pies to go (as any Grimaldi’s veteran knows, they only serve whole pies, no individual slices!), we headed the few short blocks to the picnic tables on the waterfront in the park. I couldn’t help, but remember the last time I was at this location – the “semi-private” U2 Concert a few years ago. Though the pizza had cooled somewhat by the time we sat down (the mystery is if it was really hot when we picked it up or not), most of us were still able to savor the taste of perfection. What was undeniable, however, was the greatness of the homemade cookies group member Jeff was handing out.
We relaxed and enjoyed some relative downtime during lunch, most of us taking the opportunity to feed our now-awake-and-hungry kids as well, while discussing dad things with the other adults, and hearing about our fearless leader Lance’s trip to the At-Home-Dads Convention the previous weekend. Lack of indoor facilities meant many of the kids had to endure 50-degree diaper changes, but I guess this is the price one pays to enjoy a fun park on a brisk October day. Finally, we made our way over to the playground section of the park, where the kids had free reign to run around (another benefit of the weather was a relatively empty park). Those kids old enough to run around really enjoyed the Pirate Ship theme of the playground and all its slides, while the younger members, including my 4-month old, also seemed to have a good time watching the older kids and checking out the unfamiliar digs.
Eventually we left the park to head back to our respective homes, and I and a few others chose to maximize our exercise (and our kids’ naptimes) by walking back across the Brooklyn Bridge to Manhattan instead of taking the quicker way out and hopping on the subway. Sure enough the walk back knocked my child right out in her stroller, and I was able to enjoy some nice conversation. Can’t wait for the next meetup!