Chido in New York City August 23 2011

It always amazes me how much life and energy New York City packs into that tiny island. It's a city that moves, that's always ON, where people of all stripes get their hustle on every single day. It's easy to see how people get sucked into the city and just never leave, even when kids come into the picture. It's home to more than half a million children under 5 years old. And given the choice, I'm sure the toddler K would give anything to be in that NYC mix every day.

She loved the city during our trip this past weekend -- toda la bulla, jumping off the curbs and running across the wide streets with her papa, pointing out the buses passing every five seconds, waiting for the subway, exploring the playgrounds and carousel of Central Park, running down the Big piano at FAO Schwarz, red velvet cupcakes, the Motown streaming out of someone's window on a Saturday night, tea and scones and sandwiches at Alice's Tea Cup and on and on and on. In her eyes, the cacophony and frenetic pace of things was just exhilarating. She's not like me, who was about to collapse from going up and down stairs to the hot metro carrying stroller and bags. And conscious of the rata residents of the city. Life at 2 is just bliss.

The husband and I decided to do this trip on the cheap this time, because when we visited NYC last year we spent an obscene amount between hotel, tolls and parking. We took the Bolt Bus this time and stayed with a friend, and most of our spending cash came from the huge bag of coins I took to the Coinstar machine at the grocery store recently. Cha-ching! We spent nearly all our money on food, but how can you not when there's so much great food around? I was friggin doing flips in the air after finding the most awesome taqueria ever -- Tacombi @ Fonda Nolita, where we had tacos de chorizo con huevo, cafecito and an agua de sandia. Comida de la calle. **heart**

But it wasn't just the good food and drink from my peeps that endeared me to this place. I've got to give major props to whoever designed the place. The thought put into every detail, from the VW van that's been retrofitted into a cocinita to the paletero bicicleta to the wall tiles and tables and chairs that have that bingo hall feel to them. It's the whole package that makes this place super chido. And what makes you want to start calling everyone guey.


Okay, okay, so enough about this taqueria (because I could talk about good Mexican food all day). In the end, this was totally a trip built around a toddler. We were up by 7 a.m., dinner by 6 p.m. and ready to pass out by 8 p.m. But you know, I wouldn't have it any other way. I mean, I had a blast racing my 2-year-old on the big Big piano. And I just fell in love with this amazing and beautiful granite slide built into a hill that was in one of Central Park's many playgrounds. It was seriously like something out of a storybook. Which, if you're visiting New York, is pretty much what you feel like -- like you're walking into a great story being told. And Alicia Keys' Empire State of Mind, Part II would be the soundtrack:

Concrete jungle where dreams are made of/ There's nothing you can't doNow you're in New York/These streets will make you feel brand new/ Big lights will inspire you/ Hear it for New York, New York, New York!