My husband Rob, daughter Amy, son Joshua and I moved to New York just over two years ago, so this is our third winter here! Amy was 3 and Joshua was 10 months old when we moved here from Bondi. We moved here after I was transferred (very willingly) for a 2 year work assignment, which was recently extended for another 2 years. Rob and I find it funny that both our children have New York accents!
Where do you live in NY?
We live on the Upper West Side, right by Lincoln Center. Moving from a house at the beach to a two bedroom apartment in “the city” we wanted to be close to the park and not too far from midtown where my office is. We love the sense of community we have within a 10 block radius of our apartment, often running into friends on a daily basis. More often than not we run into friends at our closest playground (PS 199) which is great for the kids and the parents. There are so many playgrounds within walking distance so we visit them all in the summer months so the kids can enjoy all the different splash pads and water features. Being close to Central Park is also great in the snow to get your sledding on before everyone else! Secretly, I also love that our apartment is so close Trader Joe’s, Fairway and Century 21. When our kids were younger and we were rocking the pram with skateboard attached as our ride, we really appreciated the elevators to the subway at 66th St, 72nd St and Columbus Circle.
What’s a typical weekend for your family in NY?
We spent much of our first year or so doing all the usual touristy things but now our weekends are spent catching up with friends, going to kids parties or play dates, eating out and my husband Rob, who is a cycling enthusiast, generally spends some time on the weekend riding in the NY/NJ area. While Rob is riding, the kids and I often go to activities/events locally that www.MommyPoppins.com has informed me of such as an Easter Egg hunt or one of the kids events in Union Square.
What do you like most/least about having kids in NY?
There is nothing I don’t like about having kids in NY although babysitting can sometimes be tricky! I really think our kids have thrived here, meeting lots of new friends and being exposed to other cultures and religions and a different way of living. We particularly love not having a car and our kids are now old enough that they can scooter when we are heading somewhere on foot. Because we live so close to many of our friends, opportunities for impromptu play dates are plentiful! I also love that we can get anything we want delivered. There has been no lugging boxes of diapers home in NY! Rob and I also really love Amy’s school, Success Academy (UWS) which is one of the city’s charter schools.
How do you and your partner juggle work and kids?
Our decision to move to New York was based on the idea that Rob would be a stay at home dad. We only had 4 months with 2 children in daycare and us both working full time in Sydney before we moved here and we felt like we were always rushing so didn’t want our time in NY to be the same. We are really fortunate that we have the luxury of Rob looking after the kids while I work full-time. Rob does a sensational job keeping everything running smoothly on the home front, which I know is no easy task, so I am enormously blessed on that front.
Funniest NY moment?
On our first weekend here, we were staying in temporary accommodation in Midtown, it was winter, freezing and miserable out. Amy, who was 3 at the time, and I stepped out to do some grocery shopping literally across the road in the morning. We passed literally hundreds of “Santas” on the short walk across the road. Probably an hour later we headed home with our groceries and there were even more “Santas”. I had never seen anything like it before and Amy, who was 3 at the time, was trying to work out which one was the real Santa and why everyone else was dressed as him. It was hysterical. We now know it was “Santacon”.
Any words of wisdom for people moving to NY with kids?
Travel, travel, travel. There are so many great places a reasonable distance away that are epic to get to from Oz so try and get out of the city and see them when you get a chance. We have been to Mexico, Costa Rica, Canada (twice), New Orleans, London and of course Boston and Washington. One of our more memorable trips was visiting the Ice Hotel in Quebec in minus 24 degrees Celsius! They had to keep the beer in the fridge because it was too cold outside! Coming up we have a long weekend in Philly and a week in Iceland.