Live from da Hood Chille’s NYC adventures takes us Tree Shopping! (inner city style)

Chille stops outside the Duane Reade to admire the goods and hear the pitch.

Chille stops outside the Duane Reade to admire the goods and hear the pitch.

Every year, NYC is taken over by the Canadians.  They set up these tree stands on every corner and they make the city smell FANTASTIC.

Every year, at this time, NYC is taken over by the Canadians. They set up these tree stands on every corner, which makes the city smell FANTASTIC.

The sellers are mostly young men who says things like "aboot" and "eh".  They make elaborate tree forts and live at thier stands for weeks right up to Christmas Day.

The sellers are mostly young men who says things like "aboot" and "eh". They make elaborate tree forts and live at their stands for weeks right up to Christmas Day.

Chille knows one thing for sure: he wants a tree his size...

Chille knows one thing for sure: he wants a tree his size...

Since "They Might Be Giants" have a hit song for Kids called 'C is for Conifers', Chille debates the finer points of a Frasier versus a Douglas with ease...

Since They Might Be Giants have a hit song for Kids called 'C is for Conifers', Chille debates the finer points of Frasier versus Douglas with ease...

As a street-savvy New Yorker, Chille drives a hard bargain...

As a street-savvy New Yorker, Chille drives a hard bargain...

They finally agree on 25 bucks, including tax, tip, and delivery... What more can I say other than it's New York versus New Brunswick!

They finally agree on 25 bucks, including tax, tip, and delivery... What more can I say other than it's New York versus New Brunswick!

And although Jean Michel sleeps in his car while selling, he has built an AWESOME tree fort.

And although Jean Michel sleeps in his car while selling, he has built an AWESOME tree fort.

As Jean-Michel saws off the end for a fresh cut, I can't help but fondly recall my father chopping down our family's tree with my brothers, as we plodded through the thick snows of Minnesota...

As Jean-Michel saws off the end for a fresh cut, I can't help but fondly recall my father chopping down our family's tree with my brothers, as we plodded through the thick snows of Minnesota...

Chille, tree, and new friend head through da Hood...

Chille, tree, and new friend head through da Hood...

Once back home, Chille spies our ornaments.  Since New Yorkers don't have attics or basements, our sentiments can be filed away every year in a file folder...

Once back home, Chille spies our ornaments. Since New Yorkers don't have attics or basements, our sentiments can be filed away every year in a folder...

Chille carefully unfolds the homemade 'paper doll' ornaments.

Chille carefully unfolds the homemade 'paper doll' ornaments.

'Homer Kissing, circa 2004'

'Homer Kissing, circa 2004'

We laugh at our older ones, marked with the date, and talk about new designs that we will make this year and beyond...

We laugh at our older ones and talk about new designs that we will make this year and beyond.

Just another ordinary day in an extraordinary city...

Just another ordinary day in an extraordinary city...

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Live from da Hood Chille’s NYC adventures take us to the FDNY Fire Zone at Rockefeller Center

A two year old boy got to try on real fire fighting clothing,  go inside a real fire engine, and speak with real firemen while his  single mom got to flirt with New York’s Bravest.  Could there be a better way to spend an afternoon?!

There's a lot to do in the shops around Rockefeller Plaza.

There's a lot to do in the shops around Rockefeller Plaza.

There's the gaming paradise Nintendo World Store on the corner...

There's the gaming paradise Nintendo World Store on the corner...

There's the skating rink and tree...

There's the skating rink and tree...

There's money to give and bells to ring...

There's money to give and bells to ring...

Tourists and fans who ask Chille to be in photos...

Tourists and fans who ask Chille to be in photos...

There is the Swarovsky Crystal Star that will placed on top of the tree...

There is the Swarovsky Crystal Star that will be placed on top of the tree...

There's the "Must See" NBC Experience Store...

There's the "Must See" NBC Experience Store...

And certainly, for the first time ever, the brand new Lionel Train Store is open for the season...

And certainly, for the first time ever, the brand new Lionel Electric Train Store is open for the season...

Right across from the Radio City Music Hall in Rockefeller Center

Right across from the Radio City Music Hall in Rockefeller Center

But even this piece of action couldn't compete with where we were headed...

But even this piece of action couldn't compete with where we were headed...

With a huff and a puff and no encouragement necessary, Chille ran down 51st street in search of the zone...

With a huff and a puff and no encouragement necessary, Chille ran down 51st street in search of the zone...

Live from da Hood Chille's NYC adventures take us to the FDNY Fire Zone!!

Live from da Hood Chille's NYC adventures take us to the FDNY Fire Zone!!

It's hard to imagine that this tiny storefront holds THIS MUCH fun...

It's hard to imagine that this tiny storefront holds THIS MUCH fun...

Everything is real. All the buttons work and Chille has the time of his life flipping this and pushing that...

Everything is real. All the buttons work and Chille has the time of his life flipping this and pushing that...

The radio is going and an emergency call comes in from Dispatch...

The radio is going and an emergency call comes in from Dispatch...

Firefighter Chille assures his men that he will safely and quickly get them to the scene!

Firefighter Chille assures his men that he will safely and quickly get them to the scene!

Firefighter Chille shows no fear as he bravely climbs down to join his men...

Firefighter Chille shows no fear as he bravely climbs down to join his men...

The men's gear awaits them...

The men's gear awaits them...

So Firefighter Chille dons a REAL FDNY fire fighting coat...

So Firefighter Chille dons a REAL FDNY fire fighting coat...

And wears the shockingly heavy hat of a brave FDNY Firefighter!!

And wears the shockingly heavy hat of a brave FDNY Firefighter!!

There's so much to turn and prepare on the Fire Engine...

There's so much to turn and prepare on the Fire Engine...

There are real FDNY Firefighters to show how the tanks and gas masks are to be worn.

There are real FDNY Firefighters to show how the tanks and gas masks are to be worn.

If you've ever wondered how much the equipment weighs and feels, this is the place to not just SEE it, but to EXPERIENCE it all.

If you've ever wondered how much the equipment weighs and feels, this is the place to not just SEE it, but to EXPERIENCE it all.

Thee is a wall with hundreds of patches representing every different possible fire house throughout the world.  The sign in the center of these patches read "It's the greatest job in the world".

There is a wall with hundreds of badges representing every different possible fire house throughout the world. The sign in the center of these badges read "It's the greatest job in the world".

Of course, the FDNY Gift Shop is not to be missed!

Of course, the FDNY Gift Shop is not to be missed!

All proceeds from the toys and DVDs and clothing and action figures go to support the non-profit FDNY Foundation.

All proceeds from the toys and DVDs and clothing and action figures go to support the non-profit FDNY Foundation.

They even sold life-saving CPR instruction boxes complete with Dummy and DVD instructions for only $40.

They even sold life-saving infant CPR kits complete with Dummy and DVD for only $40.

And, hey, it was the too-steamy 2008 FDNY Calendar of Heroes that made that year's calendar  the last, by order of the commissioner in NYC. So, you know, I think of it as a hot collectors item!  Actually, I'd say it was SMOKIN'!!

And, hey, it was the too-steamy 2008 FDNY Calendar of Heroes that made that year's calendar the last, by order of the commissioner in NYC. So, you know, I think of it as a hot collectors item! Actually, I'd say it was SMOKIN'!!

All the FDNY Firemen at the FDNY Fire Zone were extremely polite and kind and able to educate you at every turn...

All the FDNY Firemen at the FDNY Fire Zone were extremely polite and kind and able to educate you at every turn...

And with Future FDNY Firefighter Chille ready to go home with his well-deserved souveniers...

And with Future FDNY Firefighter Chille ready to go home with his well-deserved souveniers...

And Mama, um, feeling charitable (or something like that...)

And Mama, um, feeling charitable (or something like that...)

We head out of the FDNY Fire Zone, promising to return again... probably a lot, really...  Hey, it's FREE!!

Chille heads out of the FDNY Fire Zone, promising to return again... probably a lot, really... Hey, it's FREE!!

Just another ordinary day in an extraordinary city....

Just another ordinary day in an extraordinary city....

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Live from da Hood Chille’s NYC adventures take us to Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade!!

Ah, to see the world through Chille's eyes....

Ah, to see the world through Chille's eyes....

To get a prime viewing spot, most parade goers arrive at 6:30 a.m.

To get a prime viewing spot, most parade goers arrive at 6:30 a.m.

Like all SUPER DUPER MAMA'S, much research went into finding just the right spot for me and Chille...

Like all SUPER DUPER MAMAS, much research went into finding just the right spot for me and Chille...

Chille was a bit concerned while swimming among legs...

Chille was a bit concerned while swimming among legs... But hang in there, Mama's got a plan...

THAT'S what I'm talking about!  The corner of 42nd street and 6th avenue makes for the PERFECT vantage point to see all the balloons not just head on, but their profile, as well!

THAT'S what I'm talking about! The corner of 42nd street and 6th avenue makes for the PERFECT vantage point to see all the balloons not just head on, but their profile, as well!

Although the parade starts at 9 a.m. from 77th street, 35 blocks takes awhile...  The NBC helicopter clued us in to the Parade's arrival.

Although the parade starts at 9 a.m. from 77th street, the 35 blocks it travels to reach us takes awhile... The NBC helicopter clued us in to the Parade's arrival.

Here it comes!!  YEA!!!

Here it comes!! YEA!!!

Spiderman is so COOL!!  He's coming right at us!

Spiderman is so COOL!! He's coming right at us!

My personal fav - Kermit the Frog has a difficult time making that sharp turn.  Hang on, guys!

My personal fav - Kermit the Frog has a difficult time making that sharp turn. Hang on, guys!

Chille was happily in awe of the entire experience...  I believe he'll never forget this day.

Chille was happily in awe of the entire experience... I believe he'll never forget this day.

Yes, the bunny of the hour.  Often times, I think Chille has the endurance and energy that he has due to his pacemaker.  It gives new meaning to the phrase "Who put a quarter in him?"   We are very proud of the battery inside of Chille, as it has been keeping him alive each and every day...

Yes, the bunny of the hour. Often times, I think Chille has the endurance and energy that he has due to his pacemaker. It gives new meaning to the phrase "Who put a quarter in him?" We are very proud of the battery inside of Chille, as it has been keeping him alive each and every day...

The biggest crowd pleaser of the parade:  Sesame Street!  Go Big Bird!!

The biggest crowd pleaser of the parade: Sesame Street! Go Big Bird!!

Chille gets a lift from his friend as the gang from Sesame Street goes by...

Chille gets a lift from his friend as the gang from Sesame Street goes by...

It's Abby Cadabby, a fairy-in-training!!

It's Abby Cadabby, a fairy-in-training!!

Every new spell she casts turns into a pumpkin.  Keep trying, girl, you'll get it!!

Every new spell she casts turns into a pumpkin. Keep trying, girl, you'll get it!!

Since the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade is shown live on NBC, some of the floats and bands are held back for optimal home viewing.  Sometimes, this could be as long as 20 minutes.  To keep the crowd entertained, hundreds of clowns zipped by on rollerblades capturing our hearts and minds.

Since the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade is shown live on NBC, some of the floats and bands are held back for optimal home viewing. Sometimes, this could be as long as 20 minutes. To keep the crowd entertained, hundreds of clowns zipped by on rollerblades capturing our hearts and minds.

Pokemon illicited another HUGE wave of excitement.  AWESOME!!

Pokemon elicited another HUGE wave of excitement. AWESOME!!

With all that waiting since 6:30 a.m., befriending our neighbors and getting to know those around us unified us all in our common goal:  The Best Experience Possible!

With all that waiting, befriending our neighbors and getting to know those around us unified us all in our common goal: The Best Experience Possible!

After seeing all of the balloons, I was SHOCKED at the size of Shrek.  That is one BIG OL' OGRE!!

After seeing all of the balloons, I was SHOCKED at the size of Shrek. That is one BIG OL' OGRE!!

I must admit that for the adults, much suspense and intriguin entertainment came in the form of "Can they REALLY make that turn?"  All did not go smoothly always and it was fun to watch them loose control and then back up and when they FINALLY got it right, everyone errupted into applause.  Gotta love New Yorkers!  We expect perfection.  Just look at the Yankees!!

I must admit that for the adults, much suspense and intriguing entertainment came in the form of "Can they REALLY make that turn?" All did not always go smoothly and it was fun to watch them lose control and then back up and when they FINALLY got it right, everyone erupted into applause. Gotta love New Yorkers! We expect perfection. Just look at the Yankees!!

In case you haven't noticed, it wasn't just the parade and clowns that made today special.  Getting in touch with this breathtaking city means getting out there, hitting the streets, and engaging in one another's lives...

In case you haven't noticed, it wasn't just the parade and clowns that made today special. Getting in touch with this breathtaking city means getting out there, hitting the streets, and engaging in one another's lives...

The two floats that brought the girls to their knees was this princess float and....

The two floats that brought the girls to their knees was this princess float and....

Mitchel Musso!  (I think the tween gals just fainted...)

Mitchel Musso! (I think the tween gals just fainted...)

Mmmm....  Have you had YOUR break today?  Well, as a matter of fact, I am feeling a bit hungry...

Mmmm.... Have you had YOUR break today? Well, as a matter of fact, I am feeling a bit hungry...

As Chille and I make our way home via the subway, we catch an NYPD Bomb-sniffing Police Dog taking a well deserved rest while watching the balloons parade by...

As Chille and I make our way home via the subway, we catch an NYPD Bomb-sniffing Police Dog taking a well deserved rest while watching the balloons parade by...

Live from da Hood Chille's NYC adventures has us appreciating the arts and stoking the local economy once again...

Live from da Hood Chille's NYC adventures have us appreciating the arts and stoking the local economy once again...

Well, as long as kids fit UNDER the turnstile, they still ride free...

Well, as long as kids fit UNDER the turnstile, they still ride free...

Just another ordinary day in an extraordinary city...

Just another ordinary day in an extraordinary city...

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Live from da Hood Chille’s NYC adventures take us to the Natural History Museum on Central Park West to see the inflation of the balloons for the 2009 Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade!

OUCH!  Roadblock right outa the gate!

OUCH! Roadblock right out of the gate!

If you've ever wondered what those sidewalk grates were, now you know...  They lead to the basement of the business and is where most merchandise is stored.

If you've ever wondered what those sidewalk grates were, now you know... They lead to the basement of the business where most merchandise is stored.

Live from da Hood Chille's NYC adventures take us to the subway!

Live from da Hood Chille's NYC adventures take us to the subway!

Once inside, the 5th avenue station is our favorite.

Once inside, the 5th avenue station is our favorite.

The artwork is stunning and the walls are lined with Childrens' verses...

The artwork is stunning and the walls are lined with Children's verses...

This is where MAMA'S adventure begins.  Here is Chille waiting diligently for the B train...

This is where MAMA'S adventure begins. Here is Chille waiting diligently for the B train...

When I lift Chille over the gap and into the train, he starts yelling "Express, Mam, Express!" and jumps up on the seat to show me the map.  There is a subway map in every car on the subway.

When I lift Chille over the gap and into the train, he starts yelling "Express, Mama, Express!" and jumps up on the seat to show me the map. There is a subway map in every car on the subway.

Chille was still flipping out, so I took this photo.  Yep, that is a D not a B you see in the upper left of the photo...

Chille was still flipping out, so I took this photo. Yep, that is a D not a B you see in the upper left of the photo...

Naturally, when we needed to get off on 81st street and the D express train when shooting through the stations from 59th up to 125th, then, yes, I realized my mistake and we got off to catch the B local going the other way....

Naturally, when we needed to get off on 81st street and the D express train went shooting through the stations from 59th up to 125th, then, yes, I realized my mistake and we got off to catch the B local going the other way....

Of course, I thought that Chille was telling me that he wanted the Express, not that I had mistakingly put us on the Express.  Why would I trust a two year old to tell me where to go on the subway?!

Of course, I thought that Chille was telling me that he wanted the Express, not that I had mistakenly put us on the Express. Why would I trust a two year old to tell me where to go on the subway?!

As we board the correct train, I marvel at the fact that these two passengers are studying the map when all they had to do was turn around and ask a 2 year old how to get where they needed to go.  Lesson LEARNED!  I'll follow Chille from now on...

As we board the correct train, I marvel at the fact that these two passengers are studying the map when all they had to do was turn around and ask a 2 year old how to get where they needed to go. Lesson LEARNED! I'll follow Chille from now on...

Chille finds this entire thing amusing....  I've lived here for over a decade and STILL a native New Yorker will correct you every time...

Chille finds this entire thing amusing.... I've lived here for over a decade and STILL a native New Yorker will correct you every time...

The 81st str. station at the Museum for Natural History is cool enough for a visit itself!

The 81st street station at the Museum for Natural History is cool enough for a visit itself!

The walls are covered with interesting fossils to find, and since we are below ground, it seems completely plausible!

The walls are covered with interesting fossils to find, and since we are below ground, it seems completely plausible!

Since 9/11, if you enter the NYC Public Transportation System, then you waive some of your rights that people may be used to....  A cop at any time can search your bags and ask for identification and throughout NYC, it is illegal not to posses some sort of I.D. on you at all times...

Since 9/11, if you enter the NYC Public Transportation System, then you waive some of your rights that you may be used to.... A cop at any time can search your bags and ask for identification and throughout NYC, it is illegal not to possess some sort of I.D. on you at all times...

Of course, we LOVE the NYPD and they are usually the most friendly people you'll ever meet.  No wonder we call them New York's Finest!  This is adorable Officer Diaz.

Of course, we LOVE the NYPD and they are usually the most friendly people you'll ever meet. No wonder we call them New York's Finest! This is adorable Officer Diaz....sigh....

Once on the ground, we can feel the excitment building....

Once on the ground, we can feel the excitement building....

OOH!  When the antenae is up, that means they are doing a LIVE feed!  We are getting closer....

OOH! When the antenna is up, that means they are doing a LIVE feed! We are getting closer....

WOWZAH!!!  Is that what I think it is?!

WOWZAH!!! Is that what I think it is?!

Live from da Hood Chille's NYC adventures take us to the NIGHT BEFORE the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade!

Live from da Hood Chille's NYC adventures take us to the DAY BEFORE the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade for the blowing up of the balloons!

So cool!  It's Disney's Mickey Mouse!!

So cool! It's Disney's Mickey Mouse!!

This is the debut of the new Sailor Mickey Mouse... and we LOVE fleet week in NYC!  See you later, Sailor...

This is the debut of the new Sailor Mickey Mouse... and we LOVE fleet week in NYC! See you later, Sailor...

This is only the third new design of Mickey Mouse in all the years that Mickey has been in the parade.  Isn't it exciting that we get the first sneak peak!

This is only the third new design of Mickey Mouse in 80 years that Mickey has been in the parade. Isn't it exciting that we get the first sneak peek!

Not to be out done is everyone's favorite Snoopy versus the Red Baron!

Not to be outdone is everyone's favorite: Snoopy versus the Red Baron!

It takes a lot of weights to hold these guys down, and they are always needing more weights added...

It takes a lot of weights to hold these guys down, and they are always needing more weights added...

The entire ordeal is a well choreographed ballet...

The entire ordeal is a well choreographed ballet...

Checking out Chille checking out the balloons...  Too fun!

Checking out Chille checking out the balloons... Gotcha!

Buzz to the Rescue!  Just in time for Disney Pixar's Toy Story 3 opening June 18, 2010.  We'll be there, Buzz!

Buzz to the Rescue! Just in time for Disney Pixar's Toy Story 3 opening June 18, 2010. We'll be there, Buzz!

Here you can see all the people working on Buzz...

Here you can see all the people working on Buzz...

It takes a village to raise Buzz Lightyear!!

It takes a village to raise Buzz Lightyear!!

The truck in the back is holding gian canisters of the helium, which is fed through the hoses hooked up to the balloons.  This is Nick Jr.'s Dora the Explorer...

The truck in the back is holding giant canisters of the helium, which is fed through the hoses hooked up to the balloons. Hola! This is Nick Jr.'s Dora the Explorer...

As the sun sets on Wednesday, Macy's plans to work all through the night until morning.  The bright flood lights are getting ready to be lit.

As the sun sets on Wednesday, Macy's plans to work all through the night until morning. The bright flood lights are getting ready to be lit.

Santa is resting up for the big day.  Unless, of course, he had a tad to much egg nog.  Because THAT will do this, too...

Santa is resting up for the big day. Unless, of course, he had a tad too much egg nog. Because THAT will do this, too...

We had a blast watching the Hello Kitty balloon inflate.

We had a blast watching the Hello Kitty balloon inflate.

hellokitty2

It is hard to believe that I grew up watching the Smurf's and this is the first year that Macy's has ever had a Smurf balloon.

It is hard to believe that I grew up watching the Smurf's and this is the first year that Macy's has ever had a Smurf balloon.

Note to self... STOP EATING!  Is it any wonder that the Pillsbury Doughboy needs the most weights to keep him down?

Note to self... STOP EATING! Is it any wonder that the Pillsbury Doughboy needs the most weights to keep him down?

Uh-Oh!   Chille just can't control himself when he's around candy!  Yummy!

Uh-Oh! Chille just can't control himself when he's around candy! Yummy!

Live from da Hood Chille's NYC adventures bring you so close to the balloons...

Live from da Hood Chille's NYC adventures bring you so close to the balloons...

You can TASTE them!  Ooh!  He spots another!!

You can TASTE them! Ooh! He spots another!!

Even the smallest balloons that we saw are several stories high and larger than a truck.

Even the smallest balloons that we saw are several stories high and larger than a truck.

What can I say?  I can ALWAYS find the catering truck...

What can I say? I can ALWAYS find the catering truck...

Live from da Hood Chille's NYC adventures has us REALLY excited for the big day!

Live from da Hood Chille's NYC adventures have us REALLY excited for the big day!

Since it started to rain, Chille decided to cut through the Museum of Natural History to reach the subway home.

Since it started to rain, Chille decided to cut through the Museum of Natural History to reach the subway home.

But everywhere we turn, interesting things abound!  This is the Times Capsule created by the NYTimes by designer Santiago Calatrava and placed outside the museum in 2001.  It is intended to remain sealed until January 1, 3000.  Yeah, stay tuned for THAT blog... ;)

But everywhere we turn, interesting things abound! This is the Times Capsule created by the NYTimes by designer Santiago Calatrava and placed outside the museum in 2001. It is intended to remain sealed until January 1, 3000. Yeah, stay tuned for THAT blog... ;)

What can I say?  Just walking through it to the subway is awesome...

What can I say? Just walking through the AMNH to the subway is awesome...

And just about as Mama starts feeling like THIS....

And just about as Mama starts feeling like THIS....

I ask Chille to pick up the pace until.....

I ask Chille to pick up the pace until.....

And I thought clean, free, accessible bathrooms with changing tables had become EXTINCT!

And I thought clean, free, accessible bathrooms with changing tables had become EXTINCT!

And just when I thought that Thanksgiving was all commercialized and Chille had no idea what everthing meant....

And just when I thought that Thanksgiving was all commercialized and Chille had no idea what everything meant....

With much sorrow, a reminder to us all...

With much sorrow, a reminder to us all...

Just another ordinary day in an extraordinary city...  PEACE OUT!!

Just another ordinary day in an extraordinary city... PEACE OUT!!

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Live from da Hood Chille’s NYC adventures take us to 5th Avenue and the FAO SCHWARZ Toy Store.

To the subway!!

To the subway!!

Chille chills while we wait for the train to arrive...

Chille chills while we wait for the train to arrive...

It would take this woman juggling heads to get anyone's attention on the NYC subway.  She is wearing a beautiful red kimono and not one person even glances her way...

It would take this woman juggling heads to get anyone's attention on the NYC subway. She is wearing a beautiful red kimono and not one person even glances her way...

I joke that the subway combines two of Chille's loves: stairs and trains...

I joke that the subway combines two of Chille's loves: stairs and trains...

How do you know you are near 5th avenue?  When the bags start saying things like Henri Bendel or Tiffany or Jimmy Choo...

How do you know you are near 5th avenue? When the bags start saying things like Henri Bendel or Tiffany or Jimmy Choo...

Chille knows he is close; he can smell the roasting nuts from the street vendors and picks up his pace...

Chille knows he is close; he can smell the roasting nuts from the street vendors and picks up his pace...

When what to my wandering eye should appear?!

When what to my wandering eye should appear?!

A street vendor who CLEARLY should have an honorary MBA from Wharton, only one block away from the bustling FAO Schwarz...

A street vendor who CLEARLY should have an honorary MBA from Wharton, only one block away from the bustling FAO Schwarz...

I pick.....  THIS ONE!!

I pick..... THIS ONE!!

NYC Street Vendors are AWESOME.  These die-cast metal replicas of NYC taxis and buses and NYPD cars are only $10 a piece!

NYC Street Vendors are AWESOME. These die-cast metal replicas of NYC taxis and buses and NYPD cars are only $10 a piece!

Like all good New Yorkers, he checks to make sure the merchandise is working correctly before taking off.  Doors open?  Check.  Hood opens?  Check.

Like a good New Yorker, he checks to make sure the merchandise is working correctly before taking off. Doors open? Check. Hood opens? Check.

Wheels move along the shiney, clean windows?  Check.

Wheels move along the shiney, clean windows? Check.

No license and already driving a taxi cab....  Only in NY, kids, only in NY...

No license and already driving a taxi cab.... Only in NY, kids, only in NY...

Just waiting to cross 5th avenue with the Taxis whizzing by and the beautiful Plaze Hotel across the street.

Just waiting to cross 5th avenue with the Taxis whizzing by and the beautiful Plaza Hotel across the street.

These street performers work for tips.  If you take a picture of them, they'd really appreciate you dropping a buck in their can by their feet...

These street performers work for tips. If you take a picture of them, they'd really appreciate you dropping a buck in their can by their feet...

Ah, a ride around Central Park in a horse drawn carriage....  these are called "Handsome Cabs" and are such a delight!

Ah, a ride around Central Park in a horse drawn carriage at sunset.... these are called "Hansom Cabs" and are such a delight!

Alright, I'm gonna tell you....  This time of year is the Handsome Cabdriver's busiest season.  This is when they make all their money for the entire year.  There is no official place to grab a ride, but you need to be on the Grand Army Plaza on 5th and 59th.  Tourists stand around and wait for a very long time while New Yorkers jump ahead, never waiting for more than 5 minutes.  How do we do that?  I'll let you in on our secret...

This time of year is the Hansom Cabdriver's busiest season. This is when they make all their money for the entire year.

Crowds of tourists gather and wait around for a very long time to catch a ride while New Yorkers effortlessly grab the first one they spot.  How do we do this?  Alright, I’ll let you in on our little secret.  But first, just let me grab a ride for me and Chille…

There.  That only took a moment and the tourists are all staring at us and are pretty pissed...

There. That only took a moment and the tourists are all staring at us and are pretty pissed...

Although the official cost of a ride is $34 with each additional 15 minutes costing another $10, we know that they really charge $50 and have a bizarre way of adding this up for the tourists, talking tips and surcharges, and what have you....

Although the official cost of a ride is $34 with each additional 15 minutes costing another $10, we know that they really charge $50 and have a bizarre way of adding this up for the tourists, talking tips and surcharges, and what have you....

When it is really just simple economics 101:  supply and demand.  You want it, they got it!  $50 bucks.

When it is really just simple economics 101: supply and demand. You want it, they got it! $50 bucks.

So we walk up to the curb, make eye contact with the Handsome Cabdriver, and say "$50 bucks!"

So we walk up to the curb, make eye contact with the Hansom Cabdriver, and say "$50 bucks!"

BAM!  There you go!  You get to ride!

BAM! There you go! You get to ride!

This is Frank.  Ni Hao, Frank!  He is from Shanghai and is the only Chinese cabdriver in Central Park.

This is Frank. Ni Hao, Frank! He is from Shanghai and is the only Chinese cabdriver in Central Park.

Frank is funny...

Frank is funny...

This is Ceasar!  The Humane Society carefully monitors these horses.  They only work a certain number of hours in certain temperatures, etc.  They have a pretty rocking life.  Hey, we all live in boxes, too!!This is Ceasar! The Humane Society carefully monitors these horses. They only work a certain number of hours in certain temperatures, etc. They have a pretty rocking life. Hey, we all live in boxes, too!!
Chille was completely mesmerized the entire time...

Chille was completely mesmerized the entire time...

The most exciting part was that we got to ride in a horse-drawn carriage along side all of the taxis and trucks and cars and buses....  FEARLESSLY!

The most exciting part was that we got to ride in a horse-drawn carriage along side all of the taxis and trucks and cars and buses.... FEARLESSLY!

Bye-Bye, Ceasar!  Smell ya later!

Bye-Bye, Ceasar! Smell ya later!

Chille sits for his first ever NYC street portrait - a rite of passage!

Chille sits for his first ever NYC street portrait - a rite of passage!

This is Kuy, he's from Korea.  At the very most, in spite of the $90-$150 that they may first quote you, $20 is MORE THAN far for one of these, and expect to pay just a little more for the frame.

This is Kuy, he's from Korea. At the very most, in spite of the $90-$150 that they may first quote you, $20 is MORE THAN fair for one of these, and expect to pay just a little more for the frame. They make really good gifts for Grandparents!

A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man...  Ah, Joyce.

A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man

Back on the other side of 5th, we make our way towards the Mecca of all Toys...

Back on the other side of 5th, we make our way towards the Mecca of all Toys...

Yes, what can I say?  It is even cooler than what you could ever imagine...

What can I say? It is even cooler than what you could ever imagine...

Yes, they have guards and ropes and CONCRETE to prevent people from doing this....  but he is two...  and SO DAMN QUICK!!

Yes, they have guards and ropes and CONCRETE to prevent people from doing this.... but he is two... and SO DAMN QUICK!!

Either he saw the cops through the glass coming towards him or he got bored...  I'm not really sure...

Either he saw the cops through the glass coming towards him or he got bored... I'm not really sure...

MECCA!!  (even our Hajj involved a train and a horse;)

MECCA!! (even our Hajj involved a train and a horse;)

Sure, he is dressed and works for FAO Schwarz, so you expect him to pose for a photo.  But to actually get on his knees to sing the ABC's while Chille danced?  WOWZAH!!

Sure, he is dressed and works for FAO Schwarz, so you expect him to pose for a photo. But to actually get on his knees to sing the ABC's while Chille danced? WOWZAH!!

Ok, for as much as I joke that Chille is famous, HE IS NOT.  Here he is being escorted by the doorman around the velvet ropes and treated like Santa Claus himself.  Why?  Because he is just a kid, and THAT'S what they do here!

Ok, for as much as I joke that Chille is famous, HE IS NOT. Here he is being escorted by the doorman around the velvet ropes and treated like Santa Claus himself. Why? Because he is just a kid, and THAT'S what they do here!

HANDS DOWN, this was the best experience we've ever had, and we are barely through the doors...

HANDS DOWN, this was the best experience we've ever had, and we are barely through the doors...

Right when you enter, there is a staircase for children to climb up to enjoy a view of then entire store!

Right when you enter, there is a staircase for children to climb up to enjoy a view of the entire store!

Although featured in the movie Big with Tom Hanks playing the giant piano, I didn't realize something so fantastic was in our own backyard!

Although featured in the movie Big with Tom Hanks playing the giant piano, I didn't realize something so fantastic was in our own backyard!

Amazing!

Amazing!

The classic toys are beautiful to look at and touch and experience...

The classic toys are beautiful to look at and touch and experience...

It doesn't take long for Chille to see what he would Mama to purchase!

It doesn't take long for Chille to see what he wants Mama to purchase!

Yummy!

Yummy!

Truthfully, when I went up to buy some water and a treat for Chille, the total came to $6.53.  After realizing that I had spent most of my cash and was digging around for change, I said to the cashier "I'm sorry, I guess I'll have to pay with my debit card..."  "How much are you short?"  the Cashier asked.  "Oh, I'm not even close.  I've got like, $5.80."  "No problem!  We have a pile here for when customers are short!  Enjoy your visit!"

Truthfully, when I went up to buy some water and a treat for Chille, the total came to $6.53. After realizing that I had spent most of my cash and was digging around for change, I said to the cashier "I'm sorry, I guess I'll have to pay with my debit card..." "How much are you short?" the Cashier asked. "Oh, I'm not even close. I've got like, $5.80." "No problem! We have a pile of coins here for when customers are short! Enjoy your visit!" ENJOY IT, I SHALL!!

The muppet workshop was really cool....

The muppet workshop was really cool....

But we were on a mission!  We were looking for Chille's all time FAVORITE and we knew he lived SOMEWHERE in the FAO SCHWARZ Toy Store...

But we were on a mission! We were looking for Chille's all time FAVORITE and we knew he lived SOMEWHERE in the FAO SCHWARZ Toy Store...

YEA!!!   EEBEE!!!  Eebee, Mama, Eebee!!!  Every Baby Company's Eebee's Adventures!!!!

YEA!!! EEBEE!!! Eebee, Mama, Eebee!!! Every Baby Company's Eebee's Adventures!!!!

Chille's Eebee doll has travelled the globe with Chille.  Eebee has been in every hospital stay and every room that Chille has ever lived in.  Eebee has been there for as long as Chille has been HERE.

Chille's Eebee doll has traveled the globe with Chille. Eebee has been in every hospital stay and every room that Chille has ever lived in. Eebee has been there for as long as Chille has been HERE.

Chille wanted to hug each and every Eebee doll....  I kinda think we did....

Chille wanted to hug each and every Eebee doll.... and I kinda think we did....

Someone in Customer Service decided that they wouldn't just be awesome, but that at every opportunity, they would "WOW US" with their interactions...

Someone in Customer Service decided that they wouldn't just be awesome, but that at every opportunity, they would "WOW US" with their interactions...

When a store employee saw that the kid who just took every Eebee off the shelf to hug and kiss Eebee is the same kid that is now taking every Leap Frog ABC Learning Phonics off the shelves, the employee said to Chille "Awesome!  Let's sing and take them all down!"

When a store employee saw that the kid who just took every Eebee off the shelf to hug and kiss Eebee is the same kid that is now taking every Leap Frog ABC Learning Phonics off the shelves, the employee said to Chille "Awesome! Let's sing and take them all down!"

And so they did!  I could not have ever imagined such an incredible experience for my son...

And so they did! I could not have ever imagined such an incredible experience for my son...

Live from da Hood Chille's NYC adventures has us scratching our heads, making sure we didn't forget ANYTHING!

Live from da Hood Chille's NYC adventures has us scratching our heads, making sure we didn't forget ANYTHING!

The sign says "thanks for visiting"....  No, no, no, no....

The sign says "thanks for visiting".... No, no, no, no....

.....  thank YOU!!!!!

..... thank YOU!!!!!

Just another ordinary day in an extraordinary city...

Just another ordinary day in an extraordinary city...

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Live from da Hood Chille’s NYC Adventures take us to The Heart Center at the Morgan Stanley Childrens Hospital at Columbia University.

Chille gets ready to ride the rails...

Chille gets ready to ride the rails...

At Times Square, we have a couple of options to get up to 168th street in Manhattan, the neighborhood known as Washington Heights.

At Times Square, we have a couple of options to get up to 168th street in Manhattan, the neighborhood known as Washington Heights.

Although the Express A train will get you there in about 20 minutes, we choose the local 1/9 line, which takes close to 45 minutes, because it goes from an underground subway up to an elevated train when we go through Harlem.  For a subway enthusiast, there is nothing better!

Although the Express A train will get you there in about 20 minutes, we choose the local 1/9 line, which takes close to 45 minutes, because it goes from an underground subway up to an elevated train when we go through Harlem. For a subway enthusiast, there is nothing better!

After a few brief stops, the train heads back underground.

After a few brief stops, the train heads back underground.

The 1/9 line at 168th street lets you off down in the "bowels of NYC".  One of the worst subway stations in NYC, you walk over the trains on a very shakey platform that has been around for close to 100 years.  Chille would live there if I let him.  I always feel like I need a bath when we leave...

The 1/9 line at 168th street lets you off down in the "bowels of NYC". One of the worst subway stations in NYC, you walk over the trains on a very shakey platform that has been around for close to 100 years. Chille would live there if I let him. I always feel like I need a bath when we leave...

There is no way out but for an elevator that has seen so much crime, it has a 24 hour MTA attendant.  Nothing makes you feel safe like a shiney orange vest!

There is no way out but for an elevator that has seen so much crime, it has a 24 hour MTA attendant. Nothing makes you feel safe like a shiney orange vest!

There are lots of street vendors peddling gifts for people recuperating in the hospital.

There are lots of street vendors peddling gifts for people recuperating in the hospital.

Chille spots an adult male fan in matching duds...  The highest form of flattery, Chille knows his urban stylings are sought after by the best of 'em...;)

Chille spots an adult male fan in matching duds... The highest form of flattery, Chille knows his urban stylings are sought after by the best of 'em...;)

Live from da Hood, Chille's NYC adventures take us to Morgan Stanley Childrens Hospital.

Live from da Hood, Chille's NYC adventures take us to Morgan Stanley Childrens Hospital.

If you don't want to venture down in the bowels of NYC, I recommend the safe and clean alternative of the A express train to 168th.  For those who may be driving, the hospital has valet parking, which I also recommend, because finding a spot around the Columbia Medical Center is close to impossible and the hospital does NOT offer a discounted rate.  So you might as well treat yourself with Valet, a very rare find in all of NYC.

If you don't want to venture down in the bowels of NYC, I recommend the safe and clean alternative of the A express train to 168th. For those who may be driving, the hospital has valet parking, which I also recommend, because finding a spot around the Columbia Medical Center is close to impossible and the hospital does NOT offer a discounted rate. So you might as well treat yourself with Valet, a very rare occurrence in the city.

Chille and I have lived in childrens hospitals all over the world, and we have never encountered a better, cooler, more awesome experience than the new Morgan Stanley's Children Hospital in NYC.

Chille and I have lived in childrens hospitals all over the world, and we have never encountered a better, cooler, more awesome experience than the new Morgan Stanley Children's Hospital in NYC.

There is a beautiful gift shop right at the entrance, where I once spotted Oprah's Dr. Oz.

There is a beautiful gift shop right at the entrance, where I once spotted Oprah's Dr. Oz.

At the Maurice Sendak Security desk, you must show your id to get a hospital badge.  If you are a frequent guest, as the guard for a permanant id badge that they give out yearly for children with "extra" needs.

At the Maurice Sendak Security Desk, you must show your i.d. to get a hospital pass. If you are a frequent guest, ask the guard for a permanent i.d. badge that they give out yearly for parents of children with "extra" needs.

We have a rule when we are in the hospital:  "You can't get into trouble here", meaning that anything goes.  This makes the experience much more fun and Chille usually racing into the hospital instead of being dragged in kicking and screaming.  I recommend adopting this policy if you child spends a lot of time here.

We have a rule when we are in the hospital: "You can't get into trouble here", meaning that anything goes. This makes the experience much more fun and Chille usually races into the hospital instead of being dragged in kicking and screaming. I recommend adopting this policy if your child spends a lot of time here.

Live from da Hood Maestro Chille takes a moment to conduct the animal orchestra.  BRAVO!!

Live from da Hood Maestro Chille takes a moment to conduct the animal orchestra. BRAVO!!

The art is top notch, and even if you are walking down a long corridor, you can follow a story as you go!

The art is top notch, and even if you are walking down a long corridor, you can follow a story as you go!

This story titled 'Alexander and the terrible, horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day' by Judith Viorst is about a boy who has such a bad day, he wants to move to Australia.  Not a bad idea!  Oh, wait a minute...  We've actually done that!

This story titled 'Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day' by Judith Viorst is about a boy who has such a bad day, he wants to move to Australia. Not a bad idea! Oh, wait a minute... We've actually done that!

When we go to the hospital, we always bring a special bike or scooter that Chille only gets to ride indoors here.  It makes the transitions from labs to offices to X-ray a lot more fun and I often say "Show the nurse how fast you can go!" to get him there.

When we go to the hospital, we always bring a special bike or scooter that Chille only gets to ride indoors here. It makes the transitions from labs to offices to X-ray a lot more fun and I often say "Show the nurse how fast you can go!" to get him there.

Go Chille!

Go Chille!

Chille shows off his shirt.  Nurses find irony entertaining....

Chille shows off his shirt. Nurses find irony entertaining....

Just a little farther....

Just a little farther....

SO much closer now!!

SO much closer now!!

WOW!  Another elevator...

WOW! Another elevator...

There is not an inch that isn't decorated...  This is the ceiling!

There is not an inch that isn't decorated... This is the ceiling!

Are we there yet?  Good directions are key...

Are we there yet? Good directions are key...

Lo and behold, we've MADE it!!

Lo and behold, we've MADE it!!

Mama may need a vacation after THIS journey!

After that journey, Mama's heart is racing!

Chille and friend take a much deserved break while Mama checks in with Gloria.

Chille and friend take a much deserved break while Mama checks in with Gloria.

Soon we are called back for the 1st phase of the visit, an EKG.

Soon we are called back for the 1st phase of the visit, an EKG.

Chille laughs as the tech explains to him that she is going to "charge him up" so that Chille can "go even faster".  OMG.  No.  Please.  ANYTHING but THAT!!

Chille laughs as the tech explains to him that she is going to "charge him up" so that Chille can "go even faster". OMG. No. Please. ANYTHING but THAT!!

Chille helps by counting them as she goes...

Chille helps by counting them as she goes...

All ready to begin!

All ready to begin!

She sings Yo Gabba Gabba's 'Hold STILLLLLLLLLLL' song and gets Chille to cooperate perfectly.  Well done!

She sings Yo Gabba Gabba's 'Hold STILLLLLLLLLLL' song and gets Chille to cooperate perfectly. Well done!

While we take a break before phase two, Chille celebrates a victory!  The hospital gown he is wearing was custom made by his loving Grandma.  Frustrated with the usual gowns, which are difficult and require a nurse to assist and unplug IVs and the like, I created and designed a gown that can be worn and put on without any assistance or need to unplug anything.  If you would like to order some gowns for your child, email me and let me know what type of material you'd like.  Chille usually wears Thomas and Cars and all things boy, but Grandma can do ANYTHING!

While we take a break before phase two, Chille celebrates a victory! The hospital gown he is wearing was custom made by his loving Grandma. Frustrated with the usual gowns, which are difficult and require a nurse to assist and unplug IVs and the like, I created and designed a gown that can be worn and put on without any assistance or need to unplug anything. If you would like to order some gowns for your child, email me and let me know what type of material you'd like. Chille usually wears Thomas and Cars and all things boy, but Grandma can do ANYTHING!

Chille is called back to begin the next phase and stops for a quick height and weight check.

Chille is called back to begin the next phase and stops for a quick height and weight check.

The doors to the suites are made like farm barn doors.

The doors to the suites are made like farm barn doors.

Each room has a different theme and a television with all the latest kids cable channels.

Each room has a different theme and a television with all the latest kids cable channels.

An echocardiogram is an ultrasound of the heart.  You can see how the heart is functioning and how the blood moves through each valve and chamber.

An echocardiogram is an ultrasound of the heart. You can see how the heart is functioning and how the blood moves through each valve and chamber.

An Echo can take as long as the tech can make it.  Some have been 10 minutes, others can go for 3 hours or more.

An Echo can take as long as the tech can make it. Some have been 10 minutes, others can go for 3 hours or more.

I usually schedule it around his nap time and following a lot of excercise so that he is good and tired.  Go ahead and bring a bottle full of milk and let them veg out to the tv or DVD.

I usually schedule it around his nap time and following a lot of excercise so that he is good and tired. Go ahead and bring a bottle full of milk and let them veg out to the tv or DVD.

Chille is engrossed in an episode of Garfield.  I think it is the one where the cat gets in trouble for eating all of Jon Arbuckle's pan of lasagne...;)

Chille is engrossed in an episode of Garfield. I think it is the one where the cat gets in trouble for eating all of Jon Arbuckle's pan of lasagne...;)

After the echo, Chille passes the time with a lollipop.

After the echo, Chille passes the time with a lollipop.

Even the toilets are kid size!  (Chille is standing next to it for scale...)

Hmmmm.... they've thought of everything. When I stand next to the kids toilet, I feel like Alice in Wonderland. Chille makes it look to scale.

At Phase three, Chille meets with the cardiac nurse for a blood pressure reading.

At Phase three, Chille meets with the cardiac nurse for a blood pressure reading.

The cuff on the left is a normal adult size.  The green one is child sized and the orange cuff is for an infant.

The cuff on the left is a normal adult size. The green one is child sized and the orange cuff is for an infant.

Chille has a Medtronic Dual-Chamber Pacemaker implanted in his tiny abdomen.  He holds the part that connects the pacemaker to the laptop.

Chille has a Medtronic Dual-Chamber Pacemaker implanted in his tiny abdomen. He holds the part that connects the pacemaker to the laptop. (That photograph on his pillow is of Chille when he was a baby. I bring it to remind the staff how far he has come!)

From here, we can see how his pacemaker is doing and tweat its settings...

From here, we can see how his pacemaker is doing and tweak its settings...

Chille flirts with the nurse and tries to get her digits...

Chille flirts with the nurse and tries to get her digits...

It's all good on this front!

It's all good on this front!

FINALLY!  The main event....  Live from da Hood Chille's NYC adventures take us to his Cardiologist, Dr. Leonardo Liberman.  With all the technology Chille's been exposed today, there is nothing like a good old-fashioned listen with a stethoscope by an expert...

FINALLY! The main event.... Live from da Hood Chille's NYC adventures take us to his Cardiologist, Dr. Leonardo Liberman. With all the technology Chille's been exposed to today, there is nothing like a good old-fashioned listen with a stethoscope by an expert who has heard it all...

....just when we thought we were done....

....just when we thought we were done....

Dr. Liberman orders a 24 hour EKG that Chille will wear home as he goes about his life called a Holter Heart Monitor.  It will record every heart beat from 5 different points over the next night and day.  I'd hate to be the one who has to read all that!

Dr. Liberman orders a 24 hour EKG that Chille will wear home as he goes about his life called a Holter Heart Monitor. It will record every heart beat from 5 different points over the next night and day. I'd hate to be the one who has to read all that!

Ah, nurses.  I told you they like to be entertained!  Where would we be without them?  WE LOVE NURSES!!

Ah, nurses. I told you they like to be entertained! Where would we be without them? WE LOVE NURSES!!

With heart monitor carefully secured, we are already to head home...

With heart monitor carefully secured, we are all ready to head home...

As we exit the hospital, we pass by an original Picasso.  The irony that this is now how Mama feels after spending the entire day at the Heart Center does NOT escape me.

As we exit the hospital, we pass by an original Picasso. The irony that this is now how Mama feels after spending the entire day at the Heart Center does NOT escape me.

As we wait for the A train home, Chille consults the subway map which he lovingly refers to as "The Island of Sodor".

As we wait for the A train home, Chille consults the subway map which he lovingly refers to as "The Island of Sodor".

Just another ordinary day in an extraordinary city...

Just another ordinary day in an extraordinary city...

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Live from da Hood Chille’s NYC adventures take us to Times Square for a Double Feature of Disney Pixar’s Toy Story and Toy Story 2 in 3D!

Chille's leads us to the subway, the easiest way to get to the heart of Times Square...

Chille's leads us to the subway, the easiest way to get to the heart of Times Square...

Dressed in his Yankee shades of blue and white, he shows some respect as the boys bring home a World Series Win!

Dressed in his Yankee shades of blue and white, he shows some respect as the boys bring home a World Series Win!

Even the subway lights up in Times Square!

Even the subway lights up in Times Square!

Chille spots where we are going.... The Toys r Us flagship store!

Chille spots where we are going.... The Toys r Us flagship store!

Chille can hardly wait for a turn on the 60 foot indoor ferris wheel.  With the $4 ticket going to charity, how can you NOT do it?

Chille can hardly wait for a turn on the 60 foot indoor ferris wheel.

AWESOME!!
Each car on the ferris wheel has a different theme.

Each car on the ferris wheel has a different theme.

You don't have the opportunity to pick what car you ride, but since each one is totally awesome, it isn't a problem.

You don't have the opportunity to pick what car you ride, but since each one is totally awesome, it isn't a problem.

The staff is all smiles and the individual attention that they give each child is refreshing.

The staff is all smiles and the individual attention that they give each child is refreshing.

Chille was thrilled to ride in the FisherPrice Little People School Bus.  However, he soon forgot what he was sitting in because the ride was so incredible!

Chille was thrilled to ride in the FisherPrice Little People School Bus. However, he soon forgot what he was sitting in because the ride was so incredible!

You could do this every day and still find new things to explore from the view!

You could do this every day and still find new things to explore from the view!

With the movies only a few blocks away, Chille decides to put his toy away for the time being.

With toy in hand, the movies are only a few blocks away...

The old days of dime bags and transvestite hookers are a thing of the past in the squeaky clean safe Disneyification of Times Square.

The old days of dime bags and transvestite hookers are a thing of the past in the squeaky clean safe Disneyification of Times Square.

Lots of New York's Finest patrol on foot, motorcycle and on horses.  The NYPD are always willing to help out a single mom ;)  Catch him!

Lots of New York's Finest patrol on foot, motorcycle and on horses. The NYPD are always willing to help out a single mom ;) Catch him!

Even the US Army is at the crossroads of the world!

Even the US Army is at the crossroads of the world!

Chille stops for a quick dance outside BB King's...

Chille stops for a quick dance outside BB King's...

running

Just another ordinary day in an extraordinary city.

Live from da Hood Chille's NYC adventures take us to Disney Pixar's Toy Story and Toy Story 2 in 3D! Chille's first cinematic experience...

Just another ordinary day in an extraordinary city...

Just another ordinary day in an extraordinary city...

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Live from da Hood Chille’s NYC adventures take us to Harlem

Chille is an El Barrio baby.  He was born and bred in Harlem and for him, it will always be his home. I can think of no better neighborhood than Harlem.  The food, the shopping, the music… but the soul of Harlem lives in the people.  When you go, if you stop anyone to ask them for directions, they may tell you, but chances are they will simply show you.  I cannot think of a friendlier, more inviting neighborhood in all of NYC’s 5 boroughs.

Today's adventure begins with a reminder to us all....

Today's adventure begins with a reminder to us all....

Live from da Hood Chille's NYC adventure takes us to the heart of Harlem.

Live from da Hood Chille's NYC adventure takes us to the heart of Harlem.

Since this is the place to go for Michael Jackson t-shirts and memorabilia, Chille takes a moment to honor the ultimate performer....

Since this is the place to go for Michael Jackson t-shirts and memorabilia, Chille takes a moment to honor the ultimate performer....

Live from da Hood Chille's NYC adventures takes us to Laheem's mixed cd stand on 125th. Chille thought the hip hop blend w the classic R&B soulful interludes made for some mad spins.

Live from da Hood Chille's NYC adventures take us to Laheem's mixed cd stand on 125th. Chille thought the hip hop blend with the classic R&B soulful interludes made for some mad spins.

Live from da Hood Chille's NYC adventures takes us to the Apollo theater. Because every kid gots to have a dream...

Live from da Hood Chille's NYC adventures take us to the Apollo theater. Because every kid gots to have a dream...

Chille reflects on how far he's come and how far he has to go...

Chille reflects on how far he's come and how far he has to go...

One of the treats sold by Hispanci women in Harlem are pineapples and mangoes carved like flowers.  For a buck, you can't go wrong.  There are East Indians selling insense.  Kenyans selling African Art.  LOTS of Obama t-shirts.  All sold by vendors on the street.  The prices can't be beat and bargaining when buying multiple items from one vendor is not only welcomed, it is expected!  Mama indulges in some beautiful jewerly for only $7.

One of the treats sold by Hispanic women in Harlem are pineapples and mangoes carved like flowers. For a buck, you can't go wrong. There are East Indians selling incense. Kenyans selling African Art. LOTS of Obama t-shirts. All sold by vendors on the street. The prices can't be beat and bargaining when buying multiple items from one vendor is not only welcomed, it is expected! Mama indulged in some beautiful jewerly for only $7.

No trip would be complete without stopping for lunch at Slyvia's (where you might run into Bill Clinton) or buying some new kicks on 125th.

No trip would be complete without stopping for lunch at Slyvia's (where you might run into Bill Clinton) or buying some new kicks on 125th.

The wait is worth it for one of NYC's rarest: a working elevator for the subways...

The wait is worth it for one of NYC's rarest: a working elevator for the subway...

Just another ordinary day in an extraordinary city...

Just another ordinary day in an extraordinary city...

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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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