Can it be that our endless summer is actually coming to an end? Time to get my head back in a New York frame of mind. Although we’re leaving so much stillness and beauty in Greenwood Lake, there is culture and excitement, chaos and adventure that lies ahead. In some ways I can’t wait…

Before school ended, the kids had a half day at school and I wanted to share a few pictures from our day since the weather was perfect for a Red Bus tour. If you’re ever in NYC for the day, do not miss this activity– I could ride the bus a dozen more times and still be content.

I’ve mentioned it before on the blog, so it should come as no surprise that I love to be a tourist in New York City. There’s so much to see, and the best thing about a Red Bus tour is that you can see so much of it at once.

I’ve taken Lauren on the tour before, but this was Sam’s first time. Lauren fell asleep 10 minutes into the last tour, so I was hoping that Sam wouldn’t do the same since it ain’t cheap to ride the Gray Line, but fortunately they were well-rested and up for some fun.

Starting with lunch at Westville, or “West Village” as Lauren likes to call it, not realizing that there’s an actual West Village and that this isn’t it.


(I felt the need to include a ketchup action shot since that’s how we roll there…they have my kids’ favorite fries in the city, lightly breaded to make them extra crispy.)

We started our tour on 8th Ave with some frustrating non-kid-sized headphones, but once we squashed and pinched the ear buds enough, we finally got them wedged into position.


And we were off….cruising first through Times Square past the Neil Simon theater…


…then on to Columbus Circle where Lauren stole my old lady hat.


Finally, we rode up along Central Park West and through the Upper West Side to Harlem.


We weren’t long into our trip when we passed 110th Street and our guide pointed out the Cathedral of St. John the Divine. Although I’ve taken the bus tour a few times, I must have always tuned out at this point because I didn’t realize that it’s the biggest cathedral in North America.


The tour guide asked if anyone wanted to be dropped off at this stop, and my kids surprised me by jumping up to volunteer.


Not only is the exterior impressive in its detail, but there was so much to see inside, from beautiful stained glass windows…


…to the two Phoenix sculptures that are on exhibit by the Chinese artist Xu Bing.


Although you don’t have to pay to enter, there’s a $10 suggested donation, which we were happy to donate. “Just be quiet as you near the East Wing” the ticket lady cautioned as we walked off. “There’s a funeral happening right now.”


This was by far the most exciting detail to my kids, whose experience with funerals to-date (fortunately) has been limited to Halloween and fake coffins. One day we’ll have the life and death conversation, but it wasn’t the time, so I stayed mum. I’m not sure whether they were expecting to see vampire bats or mummies but I’ve never seen them be so quiet and respectful.

After a little more exploring, we were all ready for some sunlight again, and made our way into the Children’s Garden, which features a sculpture of the Archangel Michael, surrounded by tiny animals. My kids felt the need to introduce themselves to every single one, which took 30 minutes in the sweltering heat.


Our immediate need was then water and frozen yogurt….so much for the rest of the bus tour. But the cathedral visit was worth it, and Sam has been egging me to go back. Not with actual eggs, that’s my husband’s department.

We made our way home, and finished up our day as we so often do in the summer, with a visit to 16 Handles.


So cheers to summer, fro yo, and off-the-beaten path adventures. Hope your summer is full of all of the above…

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