How to Survive the Subway With Kids

 

By Helen McWilliam

I had lived in New York for 18 months before I ventured onto the subway with my two children. I had no trouble catching it by myself, but for some reason I was terrified of travelling on it with both my children. Once I began taking them on the subway, I realised how much more it opens up the city to me on weekdays. To be honest, it is occasionally a very average experience, but it is worth it to get away from my regular four blocks, which contain the park, school, and grocery store. My children love the adventure, too. So here’s my 5-point plan for surviving the subway with children.

#1 – Hand sanitiser

Make sure you have litres of the stuff. One touch of the slimy poles and you’ll regret not having any. It can also buy you time until you can wash the children’s hands properly in a sink post-subway. Despite my best efforts, my children tend to touch every part of the subway car: poles, seat and even sometimes the floor. Touching a handrail on the New York Subway system is like shaking hands with 10,000 people. Children are germy enough without adding more into the mix! I also strip the children once we get home and wash (burn) their clothes.

#2 – Plan your journey

If it’s your first time on the subway, allow yourself plenty of time to get to your destination. As I am rarely without a stroller, I like to plan my journey based on where the elevators are. I use the ‘Subway: NYC’ app, which indicates the stations that have disabled access. Even if there is no elevator at your destination, you can at least prepare yourself for having to bump the stroller up or down the stairs. Or prepare to smile sweetly at passersby until someone offers to help.

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#3 – Be prepared for angry people

People catching the subway are going to jobs they don’t like, appointments with people they don’t like, doing the school run, running late etc. During the week, travel on the subway is rarely a fun occasion. My rule of thumb is to keep out of the way, smile widely and apologise as much as possible. Fellow travellers are generally not angry with you, just at the world in general, so don’t take it personally!

#4 – Take no prisoners

Stand up for yourself. You need to get on that train and there’s always room. It is a lot more difficult when you have a stroller, but if six people can mash in just as the doors are closing, there was room for your stroller.

#5 – Bribery works

What I would consider the most important thing to take on your journey are bribes. Find something that will keep your children quiet or entertained for the journey. My two are generally happy on the way there but tired and cranky on the journey home. What works for me are apples – they take ages to eat, and lollipops – totally worth the sugar high if it keeps them quiet. In desperate circumstances, my smart phone helps! Timing the return journey with my younger child’s naps also helps so I only have the elder one to worry about who is more easily entertained. I’ve tried toys, however they largely get dropped, lost, or forgotten about early on. It is just more to wash (burn) when we get home.

Finally, I have no advice on how to avoid the horrible smells in the elevators. I’ve no idea how people find the time to use it as a bathroom but just hold your breath and advise your children to do the same.

Happy travelling!

Helen was born in South Africa, grew up in Brisbane, but calls Sydney home.  She is a social worker who is currently a stay-at-home mum to her two boys in the ‘burbs’ of Manhattan, the Upper West Side.

AWNY Art Nights at The Dwelling Place

Each year, AWNY chooses a New York charity to support. For the past two years our chosen charity has been The Dwelling Place of NY – a privately funded transitional residence for homeless women run by the Franciscan Sisters of Allegany.

Located in Midtown, the Dwelling Place has provided shelter, sustenance and support to thousands of women since 1977.

At any given time, 15 women call The Dwelling Place home. Each woman gets personalized care, support and guidance to help her build a sustainable, self-supported life. There is no time limit on how long women can stay at The Dwelling Place, meaning women have a place to call their own until they are ready to move on.

This year, AWNY decided to extend our support beyond financial contributions and began to volunteer at The Dwelling Place. On Wednesday evenings, a dinner is held for Dwelling Place residents, former residents now in permanent housing, elderly neighbours living on fixed income and women living on the streets. Once a month after this dinner, the AWNY team has been holding an “art night”.

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AWNY volunteer, Tanya McCaw, chats to a resident during art night.

Led by our resident artist Jacinta Stewart, the AWNY team brings art materials, ranging from watercolours to adult colouring books. The idea is that art provides an opportunity for self expression, creativity and even meditation.

Doing art can contribute to psychological well-being, yet for many women on the streets and in shelters, they do not have the opportunity or resources to create or enjoy this type of activity.

The team has been overwhelmed by the level of interest the women of the The Dwelling Place have shown in the art nights, with over 20 women participating each time. The talent in the room has also blown us away, although for those who are not artists, Jacinta is on hand to provide helpful hints (some members of the AWNY team need this the most).

But most of all, we have loved getting to know these fascinating, warm women who have opened up to us with their stories and with whom we have shared many laughs.

Join us for the Fall Gala

If you would like to support The Dwelling Place, their annual Fall Gala will be held on 19 October 2017. You can find information on how to buy tickets here.

We would love it if you could join the AWNY team for what promises to be a great night in support of an amazing cause.

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One resident’s masterpiece.

What’s on in New York—October 2017

By Allison Jurjens

Settling back in to the swing of work and the city after summer “vacation”, we can at least still enjoy the mercy of warm weather – and a massive line up of events, from AWNY as well as all the city has to offer.  You could be out every night of the week and every weekend!

Here’s what’s on in October:

October 1 brings the Australian time change. If you are calling home, it’s the start of daylight saving – one hour forward Down Under.  Here in New York, we won’t be “falling back” until November 5, when the clocks go back at the end of Daylight Saving.  So currently there is a time zone difference of +14 hour in Sydney, but after the two changes, it will become +16 hours ahead in Sydney.

The changing of the seasons will bring some interesting adventures for those who like to travel outside the city and see the leaves change over these next few months.  Read all about it with AWNY’s Fall Foliage Tips.

Month-long Archtober celebrates architecture around Manhattan, Governors Island and the boroughs.  At least one building per day is highlighted by a tour – some old, revered, new, green, but all amazing in their own right.  Go to the website for tickets.

October 2 – AWNY joins together for a small group gathering to discuss the Emotional Transition of Moving to New York.  This evening event in Chelsea at 6.30pm will be a unique opportunity to explore the psychological issues amidst the thrill of the adventure.  On October 27 there will be the same event in the East Village at a 10am time slot. Get further info from our Facebook events pages here for the pm event and here for the am event.

October 3 – Get your ticket today for the 1.15pm tour with AWNY of the JP Morgan Museum and Library at 225 Madison Avenue.  Connect with the group for a coffee nearby after the event as well. All information and ticket details can be found on our Facebook event page here.

October 4 – Join our Australian friends for their free short film festival, Focus on Abilities, celebrating and supporting those with disabilities.  This Midtown West event promises to be a great night out with AWNY friends, though please do RSVP ahead for catering.

October 5 – Australian artist Jacinda Bayne presents Merging Landscapes Opening Reception from 6-8pm at Anderson Contemporary (180 Maiden Lane, New York). To RSVP, please click here. The exhibition is open to the public from October 6 – December 5, 2017.

October 6-8 – The Big Chocolate Show is over 5,000 chocolate fans, professionals, chefs, food editors and industry buyers gathering in Chelsea for the one indulgence that seems to unite the world. About 100 exhibitors are expected over a 3-day period to showcase their chocolate expertise and commitment to global cocoa sustainability.

October 12-15 – NYC WFF Wine and Food Festival. Tickets start at $100 and many are $350, but once you have your ticket, there’s nothing more to pay.

October 13-15 – NY Coffee Festival. America loves coffee and that can’t be argued. This Chelsea festival gives you access to unlimited cups of coffee, seminars and demonstrations from world-class baristas, live music, art exhibits, food and Coffee Masters NYC, the face-paced barista competition.

October 14-15 – Open House New York Weekend unlocks the most extraordinary buildings in NYC every October for an opportunity to meet people who design, build and preserve New York. Most sites during OHNY Weekend are Open Access and can be visited during open hours without reservations.

October 18-November 15 – The White Light Festival, based out of the Lincoln Center UWS, focuses on uplifting faith in humanity to inspire and design a better future. In over 12 luminous concerts, internationally acclaimed choirs will perform all 150 psalms as a part of The Psalms Experience.

October 19 –  The *GALA evening at the Dwelling Place* is the AWNY’s Charity Event of the year. Please click through for your ticket, and ensure you note “AUSSIE” in the registration to be seated with the AWNY group.

October 21 – Dogs in CostumeWith Halloween around the corner, the pooches get first cut in the largest dog costume parade in the world, held in Tompkins Square Park in the East Village from noon to 3 p.m.  Dress your dog in the most creative costume you can imagine and compete in a runway competition for a thousand dollars in prizes.

October 31 – Halloween!  The Village Halloween Parade runs up 6th Avenue from Spring Street to 16th Street, and typically runs from 7-10.30pm. If you haven’t been, check the weather, get your full on costume together, grab a buddy and do it! If you have kids of any age, you must go out and join the American candy culture for a night. It is an experience you shouldn’t miss.  Almost every neighborhood can be good.  If you need a recommendation, hit the townhouses on the Upper East Side.

 

 

 

The Best New Aussie Restaurants in NYC

There’s a thriving Australian community in New York—and nowhere is it more apparent than the city’s dining scene. Want a good coffee? Find an Aussie café like Blue Stone Lane and you’re golden. Brunch? Antipodeans conquered it with avocado toast and flat whites—now on every breakfast menu. And while we’ll be forever loyal to stalwarts like Ruby’s and Flinders Lane, which did a bang-up job introducing New Yorkers to our culinary prowess (Outback Steakhouse is not Australian, people!), there’s a new bunch of Aussie-owned hotspots receiving rave reviews.

Here are some great places to check out:

BANTER
GREENWICH VILLAGE169 Sullivan St
This very good-looking newcomer originally opened as a café, but now offers a full dinner menu. Owned by two Aussies who met while working at iconic NYC café, Two Hands, there are plenty of healthy options, and the requisite avocado toast. Fun fact: a very well-known Condé Nast personality lives nearby, so you might get a celebrity spotting on the side.

Your favorite brunch spot is now open for DINNER! Full menu online at http://www.banternyc.com/bantermenu CRISPY SHRIMP SKEWERS 🤤

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THE FLOWER SHOP
LOWER EAST SIDE – 107 Eldridge St
It’s been variously described as looking like a 1970s living room, a grandma’s basement, and “a ‘Cheers’-type place”—so you know it’s gonna be great. The Flower Shop, owned by two Aussie expats and their American business partner, has a restaurant upstairs with a bar/lounge/pub hybrid downstairs. (And Tony Hawk—yes, that Tony Hawk—is an investor).

The table is set…. we are open for dinner from 5pm 🍽 visit the website for reservations (in bio) #seasonalspecials 🍷

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CHINESE TUXEDO
CHINATOWN – 5 Doyers St
Another Chinese restaurant in Chinatown? Yes, but this one is special. Opened in November 2016 and housed in a two-story former opera house, the restaurant focuses on contemporary Asian cuisine, with an Australian influence (it’s co-owned by expat restaurateur Eddy Buckingham, and the head chef used to work at Sydney eatery Ms. G’s).

Little small plates of heaven, from our new Fall menu dropping tomorrow! #tuxedoplates

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COCO & CRU
NOHO – 643 Broadway
You’ll recognize the kind of fresh and healthy fare we’re used to back home. And you’ll feel even more at home with the cheeky Vegemites-as-décor. The light-filled cafe has a fantastic casual menu, with an Aussie-inspired burger or two, and is open til 9pm every night. Look out for the “Made in USA With Aus Parts” sign.

How to Go Leaf Peeping

By Julia O’Brien

And just like that, summer is over.

In its place comes the transformative season of autumn – or, if you’re already Americanised, fall.

Unlike in most parts of Australia, New York treats its residents to four distinct seasons. Fall in New York (and the broader north-east coast of the United States) is spectacular and warrants some exploring to see the patchwork colours of the changing leaves.

Whether you only make it as far as Central Park, or head north to New England, becoming a leaf peeper (that’s an actual term) during fall is a wonderful experience you can’t replicate back home.

But to do it right does take some planning, so here are some tips to help you make the most of one of Mother Nature’s ultimate gifts.

Step One: Know When to Go

Every year is different, depending on what the weather’s been like, so your best bet is to keep an eye on one of the many fall foliage maps, which show when certain areas are hitting peak leaf peeping time. The further north you head (such as Maine and Vermont), the earlier the leaves change, and peak time can be as soon as mid-September. The further south you go, the later the change happens, and leaves can still be turning as late as November.

This September has been unseasonably warm and so the leaf peeping season is likely to run late. But many weather factors play into how intense the colours will be and how long the vivid leaves will be around.

Step Two: Plan Ahead

Leaf peeping is a popular activity, so sadly you’re not going to be the only one trying to catch a glimpse of the tress, especially when they hit peak colours. Crowds swell on weekends, making roads crowded and accommodation both expensive and hard to come by. Our tip is to make any reservations well in advance, and if you can, plan for a mid-week excursion to avoid the crowds.

Step Three: Pick Your Destination

Purists would argue that you need to visit New England to see the best leaves – but there are also plenty of places to go that are much more conveniently located to New York City. The New York Botanical Gardens has a vast collection of Maple Trees that are worth a visit, while Fort Tyron Park is a just a subway ride away and can be combined with a trip to the Met Cloisters. The Metro North also offers a number of discounted excursion packages to the Hudson Valley during fall. Why not combine your leaf peeping with some wine tasting for the best of both worlds?

If you’re willing to rent a car, then make a beeline for Kent, Connecticut. It will take you less than two hours to travel and there are plenty of photo-worthy red barns and white steeples to stop at along the way. Head to Kent Falls State Park for a picnic lunch and then pop in to the Kent Falls Brewing Co. for a hard-earned beer.

If you’re happy to drive a bit further, Arcadia National Park in Maine is pretty perfect. With Cadillac Mountain set against beaches and lakes, your friends will be begging you to stop posting all the leaf photos on Instagram. Stay in Bar Harbour – possibly the cutest and coolest town in New England.

Some of the best and most picturesque spots are off the major highways, so don’t be afraid to take a turn off every now and then and get a little bit lost.

Step Four: Eat all the Foods

It’s easy to get distracted by the leaves, but there’s plenty of food to be had and no time to waste. Fall is apple and pumpkin season and Americans certainly make the most of it. You’re going to come across plenty of apple cider, doughnuts, pies and crumbles (or cobblers), and you’re going to want to try it all! Make sure you stop at one of the many pick-your-own produce farms or a road-side market – you won’t regret it.