I've never been to Dylan's candy bar or Bowlmore lanes

Today made me appreciate how difficult it must be to be a parent in general, and how expensive it must be to be a parent in New York City. I officially apologize to my parents for all the times I begged them to "buy me this thing I don't really need" and pouted when they said no. And I had two little girls with me who didn't beg for anything and who were incredibly well trained and well behaved. I can't imagine having kids who constantly throw tantrums!

I thought it would be fun to take Kate and Emma to Coney Island because it seems like a place kids would like. I had only been there once before, and I was with a friend who was a summer associate at a law firm, and the law firm had given them free passes to everything there, so I had no concept of what things cost. When we got off the subway (it took about an hour to get there) our first stop was Nathan's famous hot dogs, where I fed the girls ( I ate a very healthy lunch of french fries since I'm not currently eating meat) and we went into the various amusement parks. It turns out both girls are afraid of roller coasters, so the Cyclone was out, and then I discovered that the rides cost $5-$6 per person per ride!!!! On weekdays you can buy a one priced pass for all the rides, but I didn't think they were going to want to ride that many rides. So I bought a book of 5 passes (and convinced the guy to let me on free for the second ride) and we rode the Wonder Wheel twice, once with the stationary car, and once with a car that slides back and forth. Price; $24. Even the girls, ages 11 and 15, had enough sense to say to me "Jenny - are you sure you want to do this - it's really expensive!" But I couldn't bring them all the way to Coney Island and not go on ANY rides!!! We left after only about an hour and a half.

The next stop was to be Serendipity the restaurant because Kate had been really curious to try frozen hot chocolate. We marched in there ready to assault our taste buds and discovered it was an hour and fifteen minute wait (at 3:45 on a friday afternoon). To kill the time, we wandered in to a store on the corner that I had never been in; Dylyan's candy bar. This place is like Willy Wonka on candy crack - it's seriously a dentist's nightmare and a kid's dream. There are two floors of every kind of candy, and you can buy it in any kind of bulk - the store workers helpfully hand out clear plastic bags - even to the small children - in hopes that they will fill them up with the sweet stuff. After perusing the two floors of candy, we stumbled on the cafe on the top floor, and low and behold, they also had frozen hot chocolate and we could have it right now! We ordered our drinks ( I had a milkshake - my food intake for the day so far had been french fries and a milkshake - I wasn't winning any nutrition prizes, nor was I winning any parenting awards for what I was feeding the girls) and the drinks were so outlandishly sweet, none of us could come close to finishing them. The people working behind the candy bar also seemed to be drunk on candy-crack because they forgot our order and then took longer to make the three drinks than it took us to drink them. However, Kate did get her frozen hot chocolate, and I got to see them make it, so now if anyone asks me why it's called frozen hot chocolate, I can tell them that they steam the milk like they would real hot chocolate, and then add the cocoa, and then put in in a blender with ice and more sugar - and that's why they call it frozen hot chocolate.

After I dropped the girls off at the train station exhausted and nutritionally-depleted, I actually had a date, and got to try two more new places just for grown ups. The first was the Blue Water Grill in Union Square, which is not only a restaurant but has a jazz room, where a live jazz trio plays while you eat your dinner. This is restaurant week, so they had an excellent prix-fixe menu, as well as a special cocktail with "organic" tequila (watch out for that stuff). The dinner was really good, and afterwards we went to another new place for me - an actual bowling alley in Manhattan called Bowlmore Lanes. It was fun - but talk about expensive!!! For two games for two people and two pairs of shoes, the price was $50!!!! Ugh - how does anyone live here? But I totally won both games, and the second time I bowled a 124, which is pretty good - for me. Especially after the organic tequila. Actually, maybe that might have made me a better bowler.