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Secret NYC | T+L Family

Ericka McConnell David Strah, stay-at-home father and author of the book <em>Gay Dads</em>

Photo: Ericka McConnell

The Upper East Side

It's a Beautiful Day in Tiki Barber's Neighborhood

With its Park Avenue triplexes, brass-buttoned doormen, and Madison Avenue boutiques, the Upper East Side is the Apple at its most polished. And this pricey territory east of Fifth Avenue is certainly well situated: the restaurants, the museums, Central Park—it's all at your feet. Plenty of boldfaced types reside in these parts (keep your eyes peeled). But locals take the celebrities in their midst in stride. After all, if you live here—or even just visit—you have the satisfaction of knowing you've truly arrived.

Our Guides

Tiki Barber, recently retired New York Giants star running back, correspondent for NBC's Today show, coauthor (with brother Ronde) of children's books, and author of the just-published autobiography Tiki.
Ginny Barber, former fashion publicist, current full-time mom and charity volunteer.
AJ, 5, a natural athlete who outruns everyone on the playground track—except Dad.
Chason, 3, a preschooler whose favorite toys are his drums and electric guitar.

Home Base

A 3,000-square-foot apartment with a suite for Ginny's parents.

Why Tiki is New York's Biggest Fan

"Even though there are maybe four million residents in a ten-block radius, you see the same people over and over. I grew up in the south—in Roanoke, Virginia—so I'm used to greeting people on the street. That's one reason I love it here."


The Barber boys' favorite part of Central Park is the Zoo (Fifth Ave. at E. 64th St.; 212/439-6500; centralpark.com), where they visit the penguins and polar bears. But for just blowing off steam, AJ and Chason hit the lawn inside the 69th Street entrance. "Sometimes all boys need," says Ginny, "is a patch of grass."

At Make (1566 Second Ave.; 212/570-6868; makemeaning.com), a decorate-your-own ceramics studio, you pick a plate or mug—or robot or frog—paint it, and they'll fire it. Not for kids only: Ginny and Tiki made coasters for each other on their eighth anniversary.


Before or after seeing an exhibit at the Metropolitan Museum of Art (1000 Fifth Ave.; 212/535-7710; metmuseum.org), or even if you skirt the galleries altogether (we won't tell!), head to the Iris and B. Gerald Cantor Roof Garden, a fifth-floor terrace offering fabulous views of Central Park and the Manhattan skyline.

When AJ came home from preschool saying he wanted to go see the Jackson Pollocks at the Museum of Modern Art (11 W. 53rd St.; 212/708-9400; moma.org), just south of the Upper East Side, "our jaws were on the ground," says Tiki. He and Ginny quickly recovered, took the kids to see the Abstract Expressionist's works, and found the exact painting AJ had studied in class. "That's when you really feel glad you live in New York."


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