NYC/Pittsburgh 2019 (Day 3): More Upper West Side Life

West Side Community Garden.

Afterschool Special
I made some progress with my jetlag, waking up around 11 a.m. and had some breakfast, so I decided to pick up my nice from school. My sister and I walked to the school, where she acquainted me with where the parents gathered and where the kids got dropped off at. After we picked her up, we briefly hung out at West Side Community Garden, which to my surprise is another park built with funding from the Trust for Public Land, just like my local Madison Avenue Park back in East Hollywood. did some shopping at a nearby store called Face Values and Beyond, which confused me because I had never heard of it before, yet it shared the same branding as Bed Bath and Beyond (I later learned that it’s a merger of BB&B and a local cosmetic store called Harmon Face Values). I really only ended up buying some water and snacks there as my sister went off to do some errands and I took my niece to the nearby playground, where she proceeded to play with kids from other nearby schools on the jungle gym, and follow these little boys around who were operating a radio-controlled car.

My nice enjoying the Brio train set at West Side Kids

Later we headed home, but not before stopping by West Side Kids, a local indie toy store where she enjoyed playing with the Brio wooden train set and convinced uncle to get her a My Little Pony doll.

Pies, slices and squares galore at Made In New York Pizza.

Adventures In Babysitting, Part II
My sister and brother-in-law went out for dinner, and it would have been a family affair had my niece not taken a nap. So it was another night of babysitting. Before they left, I made sure to grab dinner at their local recommended pizzeria, Made In New York Pizza, where I had their trademark (albeit controversial) Spicy Pepperoni Square and a slice of plain (cheese). I also went to a nearby market and ordered a Greek Salad to go, and ate them all back at the apartment. The Pepperoni Square was nice and crunchy on the edges, with a more-than-ample amount of pepperoni. The cheese slice was nice as well. The salad from the deli had quite a bit of iceberg lettuce (more than this Californian is used to) and tiny cheese slices. And almost on cue, my niece woke up crying again.

After much negotiation, I tried the walk-around-the-neighborhood method, which also worked. I distracted her by pointing out dogs in the neighborhood being walked, which cheered up her spirits a good deal and made her forget about missing her parents. As we walked, south on Amsterdam this time, I happened upon a restaurant named Playa Betty’s, which touted itself as “Cali-Style Beach Food” to my amusement. I only wanted to walk up to the menu display to see what they had, curiously. As expected, a lot of very expensive tacos, enchiladas, as well as items with avocado and kale in their ingredients. And don’t forget the margaritas! I was very amused. We also passed by a familiar bagel place which my niece told me that her daddy would frequent often, and we paused in front of Amorino gelato, where I floated the idea of ice cream to her, she initially declined, then changed her mind. Success! We enjoyed some gelato which cheered her up even more. Intending to meet with her parents after they were finished with dinner, she suddenly had a craving for pizza, and it was a return to Made In New York Pizza, where she had a White Cheese Square and a plain slice. After texting her mom and dad where we were, they eventually surprised her at the window and everything was cool again. We all went back to chill out, although she became quite the insomniac night owl, opting to play with her toys rather than go to sleep for school the next day. I, too, pulled a late-nighter, mainly to write yesterday’s entry into this blog.

So whatcha think?