Live from da Hood Chille’s NYC latest adventure takes us to the Disney Store’s Halloween Dress Rehearsal!!

Ah, Times Square in a city so nice they named it twice. Chille feels most at home surrounded by 8 million of his nearest and dearest...

The grit and the grime and the smell of urine mixed with roasting almonds makes this city irresistible. What are these columns of white smoke coming up from the street, you ask? Well, the island of Manhattan is made up of many interesting things. Rivers run under it, there are sunken ships that cannon balls destroyed to create the edge of it, Wall Street was once an ACTUAL Wall, but these columns are much easier to explain: it is steam from boiling hot water that a manhole would ordinarily cover, were it not for the explosive, boiling hot water making steam. That's right. The city didn't used to put a wooden barrier around them. But then too many drunk men got into fights sometime around the bursting of the internet bubble, and would push one drunk guy into one of these columns, which, naturally, made for one-too-many deaths by a 100 foot fall into boiling water. Lesson learned, said the city: GO AROUND!

Either Chille likes being a tourist in his own town, or his Mama likes the public bathrooms at the Times Square Visitors' Center. Either way, it is a cool place to pop into for a minute. They even have a restroom with a changing table that the kind people at the information desk will unlock for you. Good to know, right?!

While there, you can check out the actual ball that will drop live to bring in the New Year!

Sure, you can be distracted by the bright lights of the city, but Buzz Lightyear is on a mission!

To Infinity and beyond!

That's Right! To the Disney Store for a Magical Halloween Dress Rehearsal! Because isn't life just a dress rehearsal?

Upon entering the Disney Store, Chille AKA Buzz Lightyear, is excitedly greeted by Heath. Heath is not a Disney Store "employee". Heath is a Disney Store "Cast Member". Need the 411 on the Disney vernacular? No worries, I've got you covered. Try to follow along... Everyone who works there is a Cast Member and when they interact with your child, these Cast Members make the interaction the BEST 30 minutes of your child's day. No kidding. It IS the happiest place on earth for a reason! Fo shizzle!

The Times Square Disney Store is kinda the headquarters of all things SPEED. There is even a make-your-own car shop that Chille LOVES (and owns three already.) But don't you Princess Fans think that I've forgotten about you! There is an entire Disney Princess Castle on the 3rd floor! (More on that Disney Magical Vernacular floor counting later...)

Everywhere Chille turns, there is something new and magical to explore.

THAT Disney magic coupled with a genetic disposition to shop from his Mama has us hemming...

and hawing...

And finally deciding on a Reserve Your Copy Now of the DVD release of Cars 2 being released November 1! If you order your copy ahead of time, you get a DELUXE gift of a portfolio of authentic, 2011 Disney Store Lithographs from the movie PLUS a $10 Off coupon! Bam! Disney Magic! (BTW, in case you ARE following along, that is a Disney Cast Member helping Chille with his purchase at the Disney Box Office ;) *Big Sigh* I couldn't make this stuff up if I tried!

But that's not the only reason we are here! There's a rumor going around town (and in Time Out Kids New York Magazine) that there is a party on the 3rd floor! So we get on the escalator on the 1st floor which brings us UP ....

...past the bird's eye view of the 1st floor (still on the same escalator)

which, mathematically, would bring us to the NEXT floor following the First Floor which is....

The THIRD floor in Disney Store Vernacular. (Whew! Thanks for following along so closely, yes, you ALMOST got left behind.) I, personally, as Chille's Mama, think that SOMEDAY a Disney Cast Member who is a few pennies short on her till at the Disney Store Box Office will eventually be asked one-too-many times about IF there is another escalator to the third floor or if this is the second floor or if, perhaps, there is a Disney Magical Kingdom within a Quantum Physics-type existence that would make the second floor invisible to either non-Cast Members or to anyone, really, who can count. I suspect that this Disney Cast Member, who was already a few pennies shy at the Box Office, will quit their job of making our children have the best 30 minutes of their day and go and work at a more appropriate place, like the Post Office or the DMV. Jus sayin'...

And the Disney Store Third Floor has even MORE awesome ways to hem and haw or single-handedly do your part to stoke the economy! Or make-your-own car or visit the Princess Castle!

AND as though you don't already have a million reasons to go to the Times Square Disney Store, they ACTUALLY CARRY ADULT COSTUMES for Halloween that DEFY the Slut-ifying of American Halloween Costumes for women! (*Note to Robert Iger: I know that "slut-ifying" is NOT a Disney vernacular, but rather, is the vernacular of this one, specific Mommy-blogger only. PUH-LEASE don't make me give up Chille's stock as a shareholder in your company.)

So, with a salute to all things Buzz Lightyear, the Halloween Dress Rehearsal can commence!

and a crowd begins to gather...

And Buzz Lightyear says "No Pictures!" to the paparazzi (paparazzo, really) as the excitement begins to build!

Cast Members direct all the Princesses and Toys and Superheroes under the Princess Canopy for some fun games and prizes.

And the Cast Members lead the children in games like Snow White (Enter THAT into your Disney Store Vernacular Google Translator and you will get Simon Says, no need to thank me ;)

and games like "Who am I?!" where they gives clues and then the Disney Magic Wall shows them who was correct!

So all the Princesses and Toys and Superheroes settled down to view an EXCLUSIVE video clip!

On October 3, 2011 at the REAL Kensington Palace in London, the 10th Disney Princess was officially crowned! And everyone at the Disney Store got to see the footage of Rapunzel's Coronation. Jealous, much?

So how did all this Disney fun culminate?

With a Disney Store Imagination Parade!!!!! The Disney Parade song (complete with video fireworks) was piped through the store as they followed the pixie dust parade route to lots of clapping along and, well, that Disney Magic that produces what I like to call the Disney Smile!

As Disney Cast Members handed out lots of free games and collectibles, the children bid their farewells.

And as we take the escalator from the third floor down to the first floor, I kinda get that Mama Disney feeling inside me... You know the one. Where I see a sign like this and privately, to myself, think "No, thank YOU!!!" cause I kinda get teared up inside every time I see that Disney Smile on my son...

But for Chille? It's just another ordinary day in an extraordinary city...

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Trick or Treat for UNICEF

Is that Chille or Lightning McQueen?

Is that Chille or Lightning McQueen?

In NYC, we are lucky that Chille's cousins live in a building with over 30 stories of a Trick or Treaters Paradise!

We are lucky that Chille's cousins live in a building with over 30 stories. Otherwise known as Trick or Treaters' Paradise!

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In NYC, you must KNOW someone in the building to be let in by the Doormen, who call up and get permission to let a guest inside. Once Lightning McQueen passes a cool $5 to this Doorman, he passes on the list of apartment numbers that are participating in this year's Halloween festivities.

Like all good New Yorkers, it is best to have a plan of attack...

Like all good New Yorkers, it is best to have a plan of attack...

Lesson learned from visit to the Guggenheim:  Start at the top and work your way down manually!

Lesson learned from visit to the Guggenheim: Start at the top and work your way down manually!

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Trick or Treat for UNICEF!!  Now give me your money!

Trick or Treat for UNICEF!! Now give me your money!

"Weren't we here already?"  After a while, all apartments begin to look alike.

"Weren't we here already?" After a while, all apartments begin to look alike.

So what pranks do kids play if there isn't a scary house someone dared you to approach and ring their bell??

So what pranks do kids play if there isn't a scary house someone dared you to approach and ring their bell??

Someone mentions on the elevator that 3A has the BEST candy around!!

Someone mentions on the elevator that 3A has the BEST candy around!!

Sure, the kids didn't know that MAYBE, just MAYBE, Apt. 2A thought that 3A had one-to-many dogs prancing above their sleepy heads...

Sure, the kids didn't know that MAYBE, just MAYBE, Apt. 2A thought that 3A had one-too-many dogs prancing above their sleepy heads...

But Chille can't be distracted from neighborly pay-back when there is candy to be had and UNICEF coins to collect!

But Chille can't be distracted from neighborly pay-back when there is candy to be had and UNICEF coins to collect!

So a friendly door is found and the night resumes...

So a friendly door is found and the night resumes...

And a heart-healthy treat is given and STRANGELY enough, eaten...  *Note to self: show Chille Disney's Snow White ASAP!*

And a heart-healthy treat is given and STRANGELY enough, eaten... *Note to self: show Chille Disney's Snow White ASAP!*

And JUST ON THE OFF CHANCE that the children didn't QUITE get their risk of diabetes increased sufficiently, we stop by our cousins' for the AFTER PAR-TAY with the peeps.

And JUST ON THE OFF CHANCE that the children didn't QUITE get their risk of diabetes increased sufficiently, we stop by our cousins' for the AFTER PAR-TAY with our peeps.

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Just another ordinary day in an extraordinary city...

Since ExtraOrdinaryCity.com is over ONE YEAR OLD now, I hope you will click on “Select Category” on the top right and select ‘Halloween’ to view last year’s event and see how much Chille has grown!

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Live from da Hood Chille’s NYC adventures take us to Grand Central for Disney’s ‘A Christmas Carol’ Train Tour

I love city living.  One of the things I love MOST about city living are the opportunities that one may not have if companies didn’t think they could reach millions of people every day.  Outside of television, city living does this.  For 2 year old boys, the thing THEY love most is the public transportation system.  On any given day, you could ride in a taxi, train, bullet train, ferry, bus, etc. and for some, there are even helicopters and planes.   This is all terribly exciting.  Is it any wonder then that a train pulled into busy Grand Central Station one haunted weekend to launch the upcoming new Disney film starring Jim Carrey?  The giant, wrapped train and sneak-preview following the exhibit was completely free and when we went, on Halloween evening, there wasn’t even a line…

Since it was still technically Halloween, Chille hopped through the heavy doors of Grand Central.

Since it was still technically Halloween, Chille hopped through the heavy doors of Grand Central.

Although walking through the terminal is NORMALLY like a walk through history, no stage was needed for Disney to do what it does best. From the moment we came in, we were met with Victorian-era performers singing old carols.

Although walking through the terminal is NORMALLY like a walk through history, no stage was needed for Disney to do what it does best.  From the moment we came in, we were met with Victorian-era performers singing old carols.

WHO do you think can jump higher?  Chille braces for his biggest challenge yet!

WHO do you think can jump higher? Chille braces for his biggest challenge yet!

Just when you think you've seen it all, Chille gets more of a buzz from the passersby than the man on stilts...

Just when you think you've seen it all, Chille gets more of a buzz from the passersby than the man on stilts...

Chille points to track 39 and Mama follows as we near the train...

Chille points to track 39 and Mama follows as we near the train...

Like most outings, sometimes it is about the journey and NOT the desination.  Just walking by all the trains arriving and leaving the platforms was worth the trip.

Like most outings, sometimes it is about the journey and NOT the desination. Just walking by all the trains arriving and leaving the platforms was worth the trip.

Finally, the very long, wrapped train was exciting to approach...

Finally, the very long, wrapped train was exciting to approach...

Chille gives his ticket to the workers outside the train, securing his entry on the Disney train.  Like ALL THING DISNEY. ever person encountered had a smile and glimmer in their eye, and everyone was dedicated to making it the best possible experience for each and every child aboard.

Chille gives his ticket to the workers outside the train, securing his entry. Like ALL THINGS DISNEY, every person encountered had a smile and glimmer in their eye, and everyone was dedicated to making it the best possible experience for each and every child aboard.

Walking through the door was ANOTHER experience back in time again.  The decorated train had ornate wood panelling and the display of the costumes and props used in making the film was parallel to the famed displays you'd find at the Metropolitan Museum of Art.

Walking through the door was ANOTHER experience back in time again. The decorated train had ornate wood paneling and the display of the costumes and props used in making the film was parallel to the famed displays you'd find at the Metropolitan Museum of Art.

Each car we walked through showed a different aspect of how the movie was made.

Each car we walked through showed a different aspect of how the movie was made.

Everything was drawn and colored by hand for the production, Disney proudly revived an artform in animation that seemed long forgotten after years of computer animation.

Everything was drawn and colored by hand for the production, Disney proudly revived an art form in animation that seemed long forgotten after years of computer animation.

It was a real treat to see the molded masks created for the movie.

It was a real treat to see the molded masks created for the movie.

Using the latest technology, Chille had his photo taken and then morphed into a character from the movie.  Walmart.com then emailed me the free photo to keep and send to friends.  Chille had a blast doing this and he got to see himself as each character before he finally selected himself as Tiny Tim...  TOO CUTE!

Using the latest technology, Chille had his photo taken and then morphed into a character from the movie. Walmart.com then emailed me the free photo to keep and send to friends. Chille had a blast doing this and he got to see himself as each character before he finally selected himself as Tiny Tim... TOO CUTE!

Seeing the real models used in the film was very cool and QUITE educational.  Here, you can see the "making" of Big Ben in London.

Seeing the real models used in the film was very cool and QUITE educational. Here, you can see the "making" of Big Ben in London.

Chille was MESMERIZED by the models and he spent close to 5 minutes with each one...

Chille was MESMERIZED by the models and he spent close to 5 minutes with each one...

Seeing the art work and the masks and the models used really made me appreciate the detail and time involved in making this new, specatular 3D film.

Seeing the art work and the masks and the models used really made me appreciate the detail and time involved in making this new, spectacular 3D film.

But it's not just Jim Carrey's voice in the film, he's actually the star.  With all the animation, Disney showed us how that was possible.

But it's not just Jim Carrey's voice in the film, he's actually the star. With all the animation, Disney showed us how that was possible.

Besides millions of dots making up their gestures and facial expressions, good old-fashioned mirrors were used for the special effects.

Besides millions of dots making up their gestures and facial expressions, good old-fashioned mirrors were used for the special effects.

The actors became stick figures on a computer.

The actors became stick figures on a computer.

After we learned how the film was made, we had the opportunity to sit back and watch a preview and never-shown-before scenes from Disney's A Christmas Carol.  With 3D glasses and Dolby digital sound, custom smells and vibrating seats, we didn't just watch a movie.  We had AN EXPERIENCE.  There were times when Chille actually tried to reach out and catch the falling snow...

After we learned how the film was made, we had the opportunity to sit back and watch a preview and never-shown-before scenes from Disney's A Christmas Carol. With 3D glasses and Dolby digital sound, custom smells and vibrating seats, we didn't just watch a movie. We had AN EXPERIENCE. There were times when Chille actually tried to reach out and catch the falling snow...

And while Chille is FAR too young for most of the scary scenes in the film, I certainly will not miss this film.  The future of movie-making IS HERE.

And while Chille is FAR too young for most of the scary scenes in the film, I certainly will not miss this film. The future of movie-making IS HERE.

Of course, for a two year old, running into a REAL TRAIN CONDUCTOR in the middle of Grand Central was just as cool as the multi-million dollar production we just witnessed put on by Disney.

Of course, for a two year old, running into a REAL TRAIN CONDUCTOR in the middle of Grand Central was just as cool as the multi-million dollar production we just witnessed put on by Disney.

Even so, Chille still takes some time to meet some of his fans and gather some digits.  Afterall, for Chille, it is just another ordinary day in an extraordinary city.

Even so, Chille still takes some time to meet some of his fans and gather some digits. After all, for Chille, it is just another ordinary day in an extraordinary city.

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Live from da Hood Chille’s NYC adventures take us Trick or Treating!

One of the most common questions I get asked about Urban-Living-With-a-Kid (besides ‘do kids ride in cabs w/o car seats?’ ) is WHAT DO YOU DO FOR HALLOWEEN?!  In NYC, Halloween night is reserved for the adults and most children are finished trick and treating by noon if the Holiday falls on the weekend.  Come along with Chille and find out more!

Since Chille returned after a year in Australia, it seemed only fitting....

Since Chille returned after a year in Australia, it seemed only fitting....

NY's Finest shut down streets and block traffic while the children have their parade in the morning.

NY's Finest (Chille's new BFF, Officer O'toole) shut down streets and block traffic while the children have their parade in the morning.

The crowd gathers for the parade...

The crowd gathers for the parade...

A Kangaroo is about to come head to head with a tiger...  only in NY, kids, only in NY...

A Kangaroo is about to come head to head with a Tiger... only in NY, kids, only in NY...

Okay, so I'm busted....this is the REAL reason so many car alarms are going off in NYC...my needs to touch...every...car....parked...

Busted....this is the REAL reason so many car alarms are going off in NYC...my son needs to touch...every...car....parked...

Speaking of 'only in NY'....ladies and gentlemen of the court:  Amadeus Mozart.....

Speaking of 'only in NY'....ladies and gentlemen of the court: Amadeus Mozart.....

Chille demonstrates the finer points of phonics....

Chille demonstrates the finer points of phonics to his barely-amused BFF O'toole....

It's just that the NYPD combines his two loves in a perfect marriage of Chilledom:  letters AND cars...

It's just that the NYPD combines his two loves in a perfect marriage of Chilledom: letters AND cars...

As the parade winds down, Chille gets excited as he spies where the parade is headed...

As the parade winds down, Chille gets excited as he spies where the parade is headed...

Following the parade, a local indoor children's gym hosts a party...  (this being NY- for a fee)

A local indoor children's gym hosts a party... (this being NY- for a fee, of course)

Yes, New Yorkers take their costumes and helicopter-parenting VERY seriously.

Yes, New Yorkers take their costumes and helicopter-parenting VERY seriously.

It's times like these that I HATE being a single mom....  this father dressed up as the Man in the Yellow Hat for his Curious George infant that he was carrying around....

It's times like these that I HATE being a single mom.... this father dressed up as the Man in the Yellow Hat for his Curious George infant that he was carrying around....

ALright, now that Mama's good and sad, it's time for the main event:  SUGAR HIGH!

Alright, now that Mama's good and sad, it's time for the main event: SUGAR HIGH!

Most inner-city kids get their treats from the local shops around their Hood.

Most inner-city kids get their treats from the local shops around da Hood.

Live from da Hood Chille's NYC adventures take us to bike shops and bodegas, Korean deli's and Kosher markets...

Live from da Hood Chille's NYC adventures take us to bike shops and bodegas, Korean deli's and Kosher markets...

Since my babydaddy was a pro-cyclist, Chille name-drops NY style for some extra grub....shameless, that kid!

Since my babydaddy was a pro-cyclist, Chille name drops NY-style for some extra grub....shameless, that kid!

Chille takes a break to tally up his loot - the Japanese restaurant was even giving CASH!

Chille takes a break to tally up his loot - the Japanese restaurant was even giving CASH=AWESOME!

.....only 2 years old......and already the crack.....walking the streets drunk.....  Stay off the pipe, Chille, stay OFF the pipe!

.....only 2 years old......and already the crack.....walking the streets drunk..... Stay off the pipe, Chille, stay OFF the pipe!

Pausing for a photo-op-gone-toddler-on-me, Chille gets distracted by a crowd gathering...

Pausing for a photo-op-gone-toddler-on-me, Chille gets distracted by a crowd gathering...

....word on the street is that the local bakery is passing out cupcakes...

....word on the street is that the local bakery is passing out cupcakes...

Got one!

Got one!

.....savoring each and every egg-flour-sugar-filled bite.....

.....savoring each and every egg-flour-sugar-filled bite.....

....."anabeeMama?" translates to "Would you like some of mine, Mama?"...Ah, no thanks...

....."anabeeMama?" translates to "Would you like some of mine, Mama?"...Ah,tempting, but no thanks...

...trying to fit it all in...

...trying to fit it all in...

Live from da Hood Chille's NYC adventures has us heading home, satisfied and probably diabetic...

Live from da Hood Chille's NYC adventures has us heading home, satisfied and probably diabetic...

Just another ordinary day in an extraordinary city...

Just another ordinary day in an extraordinary city...

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