In a couple of weeks, my family and I are driving (yep, driving, please pray) down to Manhattan for a long weekend. My kids are excited for the massive Nintendo store near our midtown hotel (my 3-year-old thinks he’s Mario), and we’re definitely hitting the Museum of Natural History and will try not to kill ourselves ice-skating at Rockefeller Center.
However, I also hope to incorporate some Jewish history into our visit. My grandfather’s family originated in New York City, and I know very little about their life here. I’d like to give my kids a small taste of Jewish New York, so here’s what’s on my itinerary so far. I’d love more ideas.
We’re having brunch at Barney Greengrass. I mean, come on. I go here every time I visit New York (and I’ve been known to detour off the highway just to sneak onto the Upper West Side). A recent JewishBoston work lunch touched on the topic of their superior blintzes. I’ll be ordering a whitefish salad sandwich. The bathrooms are tiny and we once had a diapering accident there, but no matter.
Another must: the Tenement Museum. I’ve wanted to get here forever. The Lower East Side was considered the world’s “largest Jewish city” in the early 1900s. My 9-year-old will appreciate it, I think, but I’m disappointed that my 3-year-old won’t be able to go. (The artifacts and tours are geared to kids 6 and older.) Maybe he and my husband can play Nintendo while we pop in! And we’ll definitely stroll past The Forward building on East Broadway, once headquarters of The Jewish Daily Forward, the Yiddish-language newspaper that launched in 1897. (It switched to English in 1990.) Today, the building is all luxury condos and was once home to my personal favorite celebrity, Tatum O’Neal.
And before we stop off at John’s of Bleecker Street for pizza in Greenwich Village, I’m ducking into the Music Inn, last seen in that show everyone loves to hate, “The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel.” It was here that Joel browsed for comedy albums (they still have plenty!), and it’s a rare holdover from the Village’s more gritty, bohemian days. How refreshing to have my kids pick out a few records instead of asking Alexa to play “Old Town Road” for the 90th time. I can dream.
We’re only in town for a weekend, so I’m trying to pack it all in. Suggestions? Should we hit Zabar’s on the way out of town and pack a cooler?