The last day of our vacation was long, but still seemed to go by much too quickly. We went back to Katz's Deli for breakfast, and the waitress remembered us from our first visit on Monday. Better than that, one of the managers, an older Jewish grandmother type, bonded with Henry over a plate of pancakes. When she overheard us asking for one order of pancakes for each of the three kids, she immediately advised against it. "Too much," she said. "Better just one for all three." We split the difference and ordered two. Henry, afterall, has a man's appetite. When Kate bumped her head on the table a few minutes later, our new grandmother listened to Kate instead of us and scurried off to the kitchen to get some ice. Later, when the food came and she noticed that Henry was waiting while Leslie and I tended to Alison and Kate, she jumped right in to butter and cut Henry's pancakes. In the week we were in the city, we didn't see any of the yelling or rudeness so often associated with New Yorkers. People obviously recognized us as tourists, and they were universally pleasant, welcoming, and helpful. The deli manager was only one example of this.
After breakfast we took the train out to the American Museum of Natural History. The museum has a subway stop on the bottom floor, so you go straight from the train to the museum in about fifty steps. We weren't sure how much time we wanted to spend there, so we went straight to the dinosaurs in the fourth floor. As much as Alison and Henry have read about dinosaurs, there's nothing quite like seeing an actual Tyrannasaurus Rex skeleton up close. Even I was impressed.
We made the time to wander around the rest of the museum, but soon enough we were walking through Central Park again, and it was just as beautiful as it had been on Monday.
After we left the park to emerge back on the east side, we stopped at a sidewalk bookstore, watched some street performers, and bought Henry a new cap at the Yankee Store. Finally we arrived at the Roosevelt Island Tram. Roosevelt Island is a tiny stretch of land in the middle of the East River. Its isolation was once used to house a prison, a small pox hospital, two mental institutions, and a virus research facility. Thirty years ago, though, all of that gave way to residential zoning and the tram was put in. The kids loved the short tram trip, which was our fourth different mode of public transportation after cabs, the bus, and the subway.
We finished the day with a trip to Serendipity 3, a restaurant favored by Oprah Winfrey and known for Its Frozen Hot Chocolates. After a quick stop at Dylan's Candy Bar, we finally headed home.