Thursday in New York was the day I had planned to not plan anything. I knew that in the course of exploring on Tuesday and Wednesday we would come up with something we wanted to do on Thursday, so I left it open, "TBD".
What we decided to do was find a playground. The girls had been gazing longingly at every playground we passed on Wednesday, so we decided to carve out Thursday morning for some quality playing (them)/sitting in the sun (us) time.
Sascha directed us to the really cool playground in Central Park, but Central Park is full of winding roads with no names, and we ended up at the wrong playground. (Luckily Central Park is also full of playgrounds.) The girls played there for a while but then proclaimed it lame, so we set off with a renewed determination to find the right playground, which we eventually did: the Heckscher Playground. It features a cement fortress-like structure beside a giant (like, building-sized) rock, as well as lots of swings and a really tall slide, like I haven't seen since I was a kid.
The girls had an excellent time, Blake got a sunburn, I met a nice Irish guy and his son Finn, and we all watched a drunk girl get taken away in an ambulance (it was St. Patrick's Day).
After the playground we grabbed a hot dog and a pretzel, then walked up to the Museum of Natural History where we elected to pay $40 to get in (did you know it's a "Pay What You Can" museum?) and spent at least an hour in the Discovery Room. The Discovery Room is apparently the Museum of Natural History's best kept secret, because there were, like, five other kids in there. It's bright little room with a well-presented hands-on collection: dinosaur bones, clothes, bugs under a microscope, a cabinet of natural wonders like shells, coral, skulls and rocks. The girls had a great time exploring and Blake and I had a great time sitting.
Our next stop was a bakery at 87th and 1st to get black and white cookies. Now, I swear black and white cookies were everywhere when we were in New York in 2003, but Sascha says they fell out of fashion years before that. To be fair, "everywhere" might just mean "every Starbucks", but they certainly weren't hard to come by in 2003. In 2011, I had to ask Twitter where to get them, and my lovely friend Shawn pointed me at Glaser's Bakery. Not only are their black and white cookies delicious, they also have a fine selection of cupcakes, eclairs, danishes and things I don't even know the names of. It was totally worth the detour.
Dinner was delicious ordered-in Indian food with Sascha and Leontine and Nina, and gulab jamun for dessert, and bedtime was late.