This week I write about the joys of a kid-free, guilt-free getaway. As much as I love our kids, it’s important to have a short break from the busyness of parenthood sometimes.
We celebrated our 10th anniversary early with a four-day trip to New York. It was the first time either of us had spent any real time in New York and we made the most of it. We took in plenty of art and culture, including the Brooklyn Museum, the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Guggenheim, and the American Museum of Natural History, where I saw this guy.
The Brooklyn Museum was hosting some very odd tours on the Thursday night we visited. In the Egyptian exhibit we watched a girl serenade another girl dressed as a mummy. They did a duet of “Dry Bones” and then segued into a stirring rendition of the classic Whitney Houston ballad “I Will Always Love You.” It was strange, hilarious and awesome.
Rather than get a hotel we used AirBNB to rent a flat in Brooklyn’s amazing Fort Greene neighbourhood, and I’m so glad we did. Our place was perfect, minutes from every major subway line, a dozen great restaurants and the Barclays Center, which was one of our main reasons for visiting. (More on this in a minute.)
Along with the highbrow artsy stuff, we also did a lot of fun touristy things. We rode to the top of the Empire State Building and walked through Central Park. We visited Madame Tussaud’s, where I challenged wax Yao Ming.
We saw a play off-Broadway, a show called Peter and the Starcatcher that’s based on a Peter Pan prequel we’ve read with all the kids and listened to in the van on road trips. It’s a great story and the stage version was hilarious. We also stumbled into the Brooklyn Book Fair on Sunday morning, where I got myself a Walt Whitman t-shirt.
One highlight for both of us was a visit to Discovery Times Square to see an exhibit called The Art of the Brick. It’s an incredible show, done by a man named Nathan Sawaya, that recreates some of the world’s greatest works of art with LEGO. That sounds like a fun novelty, but up close it was stunning and surprisingly moving.
The labour of love that obviously went into recreating some of these works — like Michelangelo’s David, out of some 30,000 pieces — was impressive. Sawaya also makes original works that are just as cool.
Oh, and he showed up at the exhibit while we were there. So we got to meet him. Only in New York.
But the highlight of the trip for me was the reason we choose this particular weekend: we went to a Vampire Weekend concert in Brooklyn, at the Barclays Center. Vampire Weekend is a band we’ve both grown to love; their album Modern Vampires of the City is my hands-down favourite of 2013 so far. They’re also a New York band and this was their first hometown show on their tour. So I had high expectations, and they did not disappoint.
The band was excellent. They blazed through all their biggest songs and played almost everything off the new album. And New Yorkers really, really love Vampire Weekend. The place was full and the atmosphere was off the charts. It’s one of the most fun concerts I’ve ever attended. During the closer, “Walcott,” I looked over a couple of rows and saw a kid in a Brooklyn Nets t-shirt who couldn’t have been more than 14 or 15. He was with a white-haired couple who might have been either his parents or grandparents. All three of them were dancing up a storm. The kid caught my eye and grinned, as if to say, “Is this not the best?” It was.