Monday, July 11, 2022

New York City Adventure, Day 5 - Fighters and Fire

This trip, Shira's been on a mission to keep D's diabetes in check. One strategy we've been using is to avoid having 'special' food for D and 'regular' food for the rest of the kids. We're trying to have everyone eat the same foods.

To that end, nearly every morning we've had the kids start their day with steel cut oats, fruit and eggs; and lentil pasta and sweet potato has made an appearance at most dinners. To the kids credit, there have been no complaints about the more nutritrious diet. Best of all, the emphasis on low-glycemic load foods has paid dividends with D's blood sugar. It's far more steady and predictable when she relies on these foods.

Today, we were supposed to visit Governor's Island, with its promise of a boat ride, historic sites and hammocks to lounge in. As we finalized our plans, we realized that many of the things to see on Governor's island are only open on the weekend. It occurred to me that if we weren't careful, we'd simply be taking the kids on yet another hike (albeit one on an island!). They certainly needed a break after yesterday's monster day.

So we came up with plan B. Inspired by our recent trip to Baltimore, I suggested we take the kids to visit the the USS Intrepid, an aircraft carrier turned Science Museum. Shira was game and that became our primary attraction for the day.

By now, the kids are experts at traversing the subway system and we had no problem making it into Manhattan where we walked the seemingly endless blocks walk to the waterfront. I keep learning this lesson over and over gain: NYC is huge.

D, with his love of birds, has regularly asked if he could feed the pigeons. We explained, repeatedly, that pigeons are wild animals and that for the safety of all involved, we do not feed wild animals. Period.

So of course, when we arrived in Manhattan we found ourselves on a street corner where some New Yorker decided to show the futility of our stance. Just a few feet from us, a lady dumped two large bags of cereal (expired?) for the birds to nosh on. It was a feeding frenzy, which was quite the spectacle to see. Inappropriate by our standards; but impressive.

I promised the kids that we were visiting a science museum today, but didn't explain that said museum was housed in a decommissioned aircraft carrier. When we finally approached the Intrepid, they were all suitably impressed.

We started our tour of the 'Fighting I' on the flight deck. To T's credit, she overcame her fear of heights, crossing the gangway like a pro to reach the ship. The kids were initially not sure what to make of the array of aircraft on display. But everyone warmed up when we made it to one of the gun emplacements located on the side of the ship. It took a few moments, but the kids eventually realized they could climb into position to play the role of operators. It was at this point that they realized they were on more of a floating playground than traditional science museum.

We explored as much of the ship as we could, with the kids relishing one of the main areas where they could climb into a faux fighter plane, helicopter and pretend to be on the bridge.

I learned that among other distinctions, the Intrepid participated in the space program by retrieving the Mercury and Gemini capsules from the ocean. Tucked away, they even had a mock capsule dangling from a crane to show how this was done. So cool.

The Intrepid also houses the Enterprise, the prototype for the space shuttle. There's also a Concorde on site, which we got a view of but didn't get a chance to tour. Of course D knew all sorts of facts about the Concorde and desperately wanted to tour it, but alas, we didn't have time. We had the same problem with the Growler, a submarine that's available for touring: we were interested, but simply didn't have the time.

Surprisingly, we ran out of time because we had a dinner date. We had a 7pm reservation at Kasai Kosher, a hibachi grill located in Brooklyn. On paper, this all seemed reasonable: we were staying in Brooklyn, so having dinner in Brooklyn seemed sensible. Except, apparently, Brooklyn is huge. When we added up the time needed to make it from the Intrepid to the subway, the subway back to our Airbnb, then the walk back to the subway and finally ride to the restaurant we realized we needed a surprisingly large chunk of time. So we said goodbye to the Intrepid, having toured its decks, and promised we'd come back to the Growler and the Concorde on another day.

By the time we arrived back at the Airbnb, we had just a few minutes to get dressed in our fine-dining clothes and head back out to the restaurant. There had been a mix up, and J had left his nice dress shirt at home. I let him borrow one of my button down shirts, and to my surprise, it fit him perfectly. Yeesh that boy is big.

When we arrived at the Subway station, we found that the train was not running due to an accident. Shira called the restaurant and they promised to hold our table for 15 minutes. I grabbed the boys and Shira grabbed the girls, and we jumped into Ubers to zip off to the restaurant.

We arrived just as our 15 minute window on our reservation was closing. We were seated quickly enough, but then oddly, we sat around for quite some time before the chef came to our table to cook us dinner.

I'm a bit torn on the Kasai experience. On one hand, it was terrific that we could take the kids out to Hibachi. For D, C, T and G, this was their first time seeing a hibachi chef perform as Kosher Hibachi restaurants are not very common. The fire and antics mean that this is more like dinner and show than just dinner. Our chef was personable and they even tried to make some accommodations for D's diabetes.

On the other hand, this struck me as the absolute basic version of Hibachi. No miso soup, no salad with yummy ginger dressing.  The performance and food were carbon copies of what I've had in the past. It's a shame, especially for the price, that they can't get more innovative with either the show or the food offering. I suppose this is common with Kosher restaurants: the fact that the food exists at all is the novel aspect, so you probably can't expect more than that. But c'mon, if you're going to go through the effort of being a hibachi restaurant, at least do something unique.

Still, the food was tasty and the experience was more than worth it.

Tomorrow we're visiting Liberty and Ellis Island. Classic New York tourist attractions, here we come!

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