The first stop on our tour of Lower Manhattan was the National Museum of the American Indian at Bowling Green—apparently the red-headed stepchild in the family of Smithsonian museums. You may want to consider a visit here because: A) it is free; B) it is not crowded; C) it is housed in the Alexander Hamilton U.S. Custom House, a masterpiece of Beaux-Arts style (although unfortunately, much of the three-block facade was obscured by scaffolding when we were there), and; D) did I mention that it’s free? Just know that you’ll get what you pay for and don’t expect there to be any signage, employees able to dispense useful information, or actual exhibits.
We hit the museum shop on the way out and managed to get out with only a board book for Jack (my third child, for those of you who may not be aware that there is, indeed, a third child in the mix) and a set of worry dolls each for Charlie and Vivi. According to Mayan legend, children who are having trouble sleeping because they’re worrying about something can express their worries to a worry doll and then put it under their pillow at bedtime. It’s believed that the worry doll worries in the child’s place so that that the child can get a good night’s sleep. I worry that none of my three children will ever sleep through the night at the same time again, so I’m putting these bad boys under my pillow in the hopes that they will bring us some good sleeping juju. Or I may just use them as earplugs so that I won’t actually know if my children are screaming their heads off in the middle of the night.
As you know, all of our family outings center largely around eating, so after briefly checking out some Dutch Revival Buildings at 13-15 South William Street, we made our way to Stone Street, a quaint, cobblestone alley wedged between the skyscrapers of The Financial District and packed with hungry Wall Streeters at the outdoor cafes. We settled on Mad Dog & Beans Mexican Cantina and then stopped off at the tiny Greenmarket at Bowling Green. Here, we picked up a basketful of fat, little strawberries and ate them in Battery Park against the blessedly breezy backdrop of the Statue of Liberty and New York Harbor.
- Mama, Do You Love Me? by Barbara M. Joosse
- On the Day Peter Stuyvesant Sailed Into Town by Arnold Lobel
National Museum of the American Indian, The George Gustav Heye Center, Alexander Hamilton U.S. Custom House, One Bowling Green, New York, New York 10004; (212) 514-3700; www.nmai.si.edu; We took the 1 train to South Ferry from the West Side, but it is also accessible from the 4/5 to Bowling Green or the R to Whitehall Street; Open daily 10:00 AM to 5:00 PM, Thursdays until 8:00 PM; **Free.
Mad Dog & Beans Mexican Cantina, 83 Pearl Street, New York, New York 10004; (212) 269-1177; www.maddogandbeans.com.
The Greenmarket at Bowling Green, 1 Bowling Green, near Broadway, Tuesday and Thursday, 8:00 AM to 5:00 PM, **Cash only.
Battery Park, Battery Place to South Street, New York, New York 10004, www.thebattery.org.