It’s Up to You, New York, New York. Day 9 of The Mint Chip Mama’s Favorite Things: Manhattan

The Mint Chip Mama - Manhattan

I lived in Manhattan for thirteen years. During this time, I had the wonderful honor of having her provide for me exactly what I needed at each stage of my life. This included what many loved ones need at some point in the relationship – to be set free. Today’s post is not about a product, but it is about a place – a place close to my heart which I once called home – Manhattan.

The Mint Chip Mama - Belvedere Castle, Central Park,Manhattan

Manhattan Is One Special Place

I recently drove into the city for a camp reunion. This alone was wonderful (thanks again SL!) but it was just one of those days in Manhattan. You know what I’m talking about. One of those day that if you – at some point – lived there, you know what I mean. The weather was perfect, the sun was shining, the hustle was bustling, everyone had a dog or stroller, and the city reigned. It was one of those days I use to long for – a day where one spent their time sitting on the Great Lawn with friends, your paramour, your thoughts, or just alone enjoying the view.

It felt like heaven. I wanted to freeze that moment of perfection. It reminded me of the hundreds of days like this I has as a Manhattan resident. Days where I would sit in the park all day, then go home, get ready for dinner, find a restaurant outside, and just sit and people watch. It didn’t matter if it was uptown/downtown/all ‘round the town, you watched people while you sipped a glass of Riesling/Sangria/water/beer on the streets of New York. Those were my favorite Manhattan moments. Ones I would like to last forever.

Young And Single In Manhattan

After graduating from The University of Michigan I couldn’t wait to move in to my first apartment – on my own. When I was young and single I took advantage of all that Manhattan offered. This meant going to hot new restaurants, clubs, bars, lounges, shopping, museums, shows, you name it.

The Mint Chip Mama - a couple who just got engaged in central park in the fall in anhattan

Young And In Love in Manhattan

Then I fell in love (awwww) and my interests changed. We still did many of the above, but we also added in long walks holding hands, romantic sunsets, special pictures taken for a future wedding montage (I will admit, I tried to force my husband to take black and white pictures “Mad About You” style). As a result of our nesting , we moved “on up to the East Side” right before we got engaged. Our weekends were spent in “the park”. We had great commutes to work – I used to walk over to The Met and take the (fingers crossed Limited) bus down Fifth Ave to 56th street. Next, we got engaged, got married, got pregnant. Our love affair with Manhattan began to shift.

The Mint Chip Mama - A baby in front of the Great Lawn in Central Park in the snow inManhattan

My daughter’s first walk as a New York City resident.

Young And Now A Family In Manhattan

We welcomed our daughter during a huge blizzard in February of 2010. I thought having a kid in the city would be a nightmare but it was the most amazing thing in the world. Instead of only seeing pictures of Jackson Pollock art in Fancy Nancy books we could show our daughter the actual paintings. The entirety of culture was at our fingertips. In truth, we took advantage of every second.

The Mint Chip Mama - A little girl at the reservoir in anhattan

My daughter’s last walk as a New York city resident.

We welcomed our first son in October of 2013. With his arrival, we realized we had outgrown our 750 square foot apartment. Consequently, our knuckles holding on to Manhattan got more white. She had to let us go. so with that, we left in the midst of a terrible winter and we had had enough.

Sayonara Manhattan

Even though I have been back a few times in the last eight months, I haven’t “looked back” until yesterday, when that perfect summer day reminded me how much I loved Manhattan. The crazy thing is – going back – you realize the city doesn’t miss you. The city doesn’t know you. You were a rat in her race and life goes on without you. Turn, turn, turn.

I thought of this as I drove up Third Avenue – a street I walked up and down countless times and saw so many new things. All of these things I would have known about the second they opened, if I still lived there.

The Mint Chip Mama - A little girl in front of a Jackson Pollack painting at the MOMA inManhattan

My daughter in front of a Jackson Pollock painting at The MoMa.

No Looking Back

I think the key to leaving Manhattan is feeling one lived the full “New York life” every moment along the way. My approach was to do everything 110% so when it was time to go I had no regrets. When that time came, I was proud to say I left feeling fulfilled.

The Mint Chip Mama - High Tea at The Palm Court, Plaza Hotel, Manhattan

Strong City. Strong Partnerships

Even at her darkest time, we all banded together and showed the strength of our city. One of my favorite memories (from 2001) was a campaign NYC & Company had to get New Yorkers out of our holes and pump life back into the city. Even after a decade has passed, it reminds me of the strength the eight million New Yorkers have when operating as one. NYC & Company’s commitment to this was something that stayed in my heart for a long time. Because of this, it was my pleasure to watch their success over the years. Much like us, as we evolved, they evolved. We loved their different “Family Ambassadors” campaign – The Muppets, Where’s Waldo, and 2014’s Curious George.

I also really love their current social media campaign asking people to share their special moments in NY on Twitter with the hashtag #ThisIsNewYorkCity.

The Mint Chip Mama - A little girl at The Met with a marble lion inManhattan

My daughter and “baby”, her favorite thing at The Met. To me #ThisIsNewYorkCity

Thank you New York City for the last thirteen years and for introducing me to the world – around every nook and cranny – of your five boroughs. Thank you for showing my children the most important works of art and culture in the world. Thank you for your strength and your constant inertia. You have been – and always will be – one of my favorite things!


NYC & Company has offered to give away a gift bag filled with NYC goodies to one lucky reader!

To win – please post in the comment section below:

What was your most special moment in NYC? (Mine was being proposed to in Central Park next to a little waterfall).

Winner will be chosen Sunday, August 17th, 2014.


NYC & Company Brand Heritage

NYC & Company is New York City’s official marketing, tourism and partnership organization. Their mission is to maximize travel and tourism opportunities throughout the five boroughs, build economic prosperity and spread the dynamic image of New York City around the world. With an array of major communication channels—including, our digital kiosks, Official NYC Information Centers and publications—NYC & Company becomes the ultimate resource for visitors and residents to find everything they need about what to do and see in New York City.

Visit me on FacebookInstagramTwitterLinkedIn & Pinterest. Love me forever. #MintChipMama31DaystilBTS

Published by Stacey Wallenstein

Stacey Gish Wallenstein created The Mint Chip Mama blog in 2013 to share her love and passion for giving children meaningful life experiences and helping moms like her navigate the challenges and benefits of raising children in the New York metropolitan area. Before becoming a full-time mom in 2010, Stacey spent the better part of the preceding decade as a high-end customer relationship management (CRM) professional for some of the most well-known brands in the hotel, luxury, fashion, and beauty industries, such as Harrah’s Entertainment, Chanel and Christian Dior, Inc. She managed customer loyalty programs for thousands of clients around the country and created social media strategies for a span of industries including healthcare services, restaurants, consumer packaged goods, specialty foods, local attractions and retail locations. After 13 wonderful years in Manhattan (the last three of which spent as a city mom), Stacey and her husband moved to Long Island in 2014, where they now reside with their three children (13, 10, and 7). There, she is a founding member of her local Parenting Center, which provides classes and coordinates events designed to educate and inform parents while fostering an environment of support and friendship within the community. A graduate of the University of Michigan, Stacey has been active in the New York area alumni organization for nearly twenty years, serving as a board member on the school’s University of Michigan Alumni Club of New York City. She also holds a Masters in Psychology from The New School in New York City. Please check out The Mint Chip Mama in the Press: The New York Post, Psychology Today, NY Metro Parents, New York Family, Parents Magazine, Newsday, News 12, NBC Nightly News with Lester Holt: Kids, NerdWallet, Big Apple Kids Guide, and more! The Mint Chip Mama was also nominated as "The Best Blog On Long Island" for 2022, 2023, 2024, one of the Top 20 New York Mom Blogs & Websites, and one of the Top 100 Mom Lifestyle Blogs on the web! For more updates, follow her on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, TikTok and Pinterest.

8 thoughts on “It’s Up to You, New York, New York. Day 9 of The Mint Chip Mama’s Favorite Things: Manhattan

  1. What a fun giveaway! My favorite NYC moments have been walking my kids home from the hospital when they were just 2 days old each. No cars for us – we bring our babies home like real New Yorkers!

  2. I got engaged in CP too–August 12, 2006! On a bench that said “For Lisa” near the lake at the southern end of the park. My husband took a picture of the spot recently when he had to have oral surgery and the dr’s office was overlooking that spot on CPS!

  3. mine was giving birth to my son in a taxi, in the brooklyn battery tunnel – true story! AND the help we got from the NYPD and NYFD after he was born, before we went to the hospital.

  4. As a born and bred Manhattanite, it’s tough to pick just one moment! One that stands out is the night of my wedding. My husband and I went out to do some photos in Times Square. It was after dark and all of the lights were on and shining. It was like a rainbow of lights! We shared a kiss right in the middle of traffic and, to me, it was a true NYC moment.

  5. My most special moment was probably the first trip I ever went on with my fiancé before we were dating, he took me to a little ramen shop in St. Marks and I really fell for him 🙂 5 years later and we still frequent it!

Leave a Reply