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Expats In Manhattan: Week 1 Of Our Short Stint In NYC

I thought I wasn’t too jet-lagged last week and then I look back on how I traipsed the streets collecting baby items in a blur and realise that I was in here in body but not necessarily spirit.

I wake on our second week in Manhattan, however, with a big smile on my face. As the baby, who has kindly slept until 7.30, coos in the crib besides me and Justin gets ready to head off for a day of work in the Financial District, I’m just so happy to be in New York that I don’t mind that all I’ll probably do here today is laundry.

expats in NYC
Our new neighbourhood – bit different to Berkshire!

Our Sonder Apartment

We’ve set up quite a comfortable temporary home here. We found our apartment via a company called Sonder, a start-up who specialise in stylish short to long-term rentals and bridge the gap between Airbnb and a hotel by offering a central concierge service. We had a few hiccups when we arrived, mainly that a set of keys hadn’t been left in the apartment for us, but we borrowed a set from the building concierge to get in and he was happy for us to keep them until someone from Sonder arrived with ours the next day.

The apartment not only looks good but has all the essentials you need for the first few days of living in it – loo roll, washing up liquid, dishwasher tablets, condiments, coffee machine, Malin & Goetz toiletries. You could probably stay a week without needing to buy any household items but as we’re here for 2 months (and have a baby) I’ve topped up a lot of stuff up via Amazon deliveries and added some fresh flowers, a throw, giant mugs and fragrances to make it proper homely.

Sonder apartment New York
Feels like home – even comes with trashy TV!

A super nice touch from Sonder though was a box of Eataly groceries left on the counter to make our first meal with, even, if I’m honest, we ended up ordering pizza. The truffles went down a treat afterwards mind you!

One of the great things about being in a proper home is how much storage space we have. There’s a walk-in-robe and further 2 closets so our 5 (!) suitcases and various baby paraphernalia all have a home. It would have driven me mad to be tripping over those things for weeks.

Sonder apartment New York
There’s plenty of room for Miles’ travel cot in our Sonder Apartment

The baby needed a few more things before he could comfortably stay here. Sonder provide a travel cot but as the base doesn’t raise it was doing my back in leaning over the sides to pop Miles’ dummy back in. So we bought a Graco Pack ‘n Play with adjustable base that packs up small enough to take to The Hamptons with us (more on that later) and the baby has slept in it like a dream from day 1. I also ordered him a bouncer, contoured changing mat (with handy straps), Baby Brezza Formula Pro (our Tommee Tippee didn’t survive the journey) and a bath tub. What we can’t bring home we’ll have to sell but as I’ll spend a lot of time in the apartment with the baby we figured it was best investing in a few bits rather than me moaning for the next 7 weeks :p

On Subways and Strollers

A lot of you told me that the Subway wasn’t stroller/buggy friendly, and you weren’t lying. I had no idea how accessible the London Underground was until I tried to take public transport in New York City. Elevators at stations are as rare as white Crème Eggs and as there are no stroller-friendly turnstiles you have to go through an annoying charade to get through the barriers by grabbing an attendant’s attention, swiping your card in the turnstile, pushing it to show you paid and then waiting for them to release a gate – all of which you have to do without losing your belongings, baby or sanity. Basically, it’s best done in pairs or with the baby in a carrier.

New York with a baby
New York with a baby is a breeze if you avoid the Subway!

New York with a Baby

Luckily, our apartment has so much for me to see, do and eat within walking distance, which is essentially why I chose it. We’re close to supermarkets, chemists, Aussie cafes (a brunching essential) and walks along the High Line or Hudson River Park. Now the sun has made an appearance it’s easy to take the buggy to outdoor cafes or grab takeaway to eat in parks with fab views of the city.

It’s hard to get anywhere fast with a little one in this city though because my goodness New Yorkers like to chat to the baby. I honestly cannot believe what a hit Miles is in Manhattan, and not from people you’d expect either, as its mostly men losing their shit when they catch sight of him. An old gentleman stopped me in the supermarket to tell me he’s gorgeous, a jogger ran past us and waved hysterically and just this morning in Starbucks a man with an impressively long beard lost his mind when Miles smiled back at him. It seems everyone in this city loves a happy baby and mine is only too glad to lap up the attention.

Foreigner faux pas

For a country that speaks the same language it’s amazing how many times I’ve baffled everyone with my vocabulary. Best one to date has to be my visit to a chemist (drug store) where I asked 2 members of staff for nappies only for them to stare at me blankly. It was only when I came away empty-handed it occurred to me they are diapers over here.

expats in NYC
Feeling so lucky to have this adventure with my little family

What else we’ll be up to

Last week was mainly spent settling in and finding good local coffee. (I rate Bluestone Lane, St Kilda Coffee and Joe in case you’re wondering.) Miles and I strolled the High Line and all 3 of us had a picnic in Central Park – if you can call iced coffees and a giant slab of cake from Magnolia Bakery a picnic! The baby and I brunched with New York based travel blogger Adventurous Kate who gave me lots of helpful advice and we’ve also strolled around the Flatiron District checking out the historical buildings.

This weekend my sister is coming to stay for a few nights, so we’ve saved Brooklyn Flea, walking the Brooklyn Bridge and visiting the newly opened Vessel at Hudson Yards to do with her.

Bluestone Lane Cafe New York
Slowly touring all the Aussie cafes in NYC

Then mid-June we’ve booked a weekend in The Hamptons where it will be the first time Miles sees the sea and hopefully has a little swim. I’m so excited to escape the city and see a little of Montauk, the more laid-back end of The Hamptons where they filmed a lot of dreamy scenes in TV show The Affair, but my goodness is it expensive. I’ve found a cute studio near the beach but the two nights are setting us back $1000! That’s just accommodation, so excluding food and car hire – it’s like private villa in the Maldives prices for officially 3-star standards! I don’t think we’ll get this opportunity again so we’ve bit the bullet, but this literally will be a once in a lifetime thing coz who wants to pay those prices for room only basis?!

If you’ve got any suggestions for things we should do, see and eat in NYC (with a 4-month-old baby) please send them my way.

I’ll try to check in again next week!

See also:

We’re moving to New York (for a bit)

Tips for flying long-haul with a baby

Note: This post contains Amazon and hotel affiliate links – click here for details.)

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