New York City Family Getaway

New York City Family Getaway

View from Top of The Rock

Back in the early nineties, when I was still single, I lived in a fabulous studio apartment in the heart of SoHo.   Returning to visit with my family this past school vacation, I saw New York City like I have never seen it before.  We were utterly shameless tourists every step of the way, and it was fantastic.  For starters we stayed in Times Square at the DoubleTree Hotel, I was horrified, but as soon as we stepped into the second floor Mod lobby we were transported into shelter, and all my anxiety melted away.  All of the reasonably priced rooms at the Doubletree are suites, which suits our family of six perfectly.  When we stepped back out of the hotel into the dizzying lights of Times Square, M&M world was only steps away and provided immediate sweet retreat.  Our first night in town was spent with dear friends, Mark and Maria, who live in the city.   The husbands had the amazing experience of going to a Nicks game and seeing the much talked about Jeremy Lin in action, while I had the pleasure of catching up with my treasured childhood friend and her kids.  Spending that time with close friends was the best way we could have began our NYC visit.  There is so much to do in New York City that we knew we had to be concise with our time, no small feat with four kids in tow.   The next morning after pricing out some of the things we wanted to do, we ended up buying the Freestyle New York package with the Grey Line double decker bus tours. This was the most cost effective way for us to see what we wanted,  and incorporate transportation, and respite for tired little legs after long days of sightseeing.  Tickets to the Intrepid Sea, Air & Space Museum cost $20.00 per adult and $19.00 per child, but it was one of the attractions included in the cost of our bust tour, so we did not need to purchase additional tickets for entry.  One of my favorite things about being a mom is viewing the world through the fresh lens of my children’s perspective.   I had never been on the Intrepid in all the years I lived in NYC, so I loved exploring something new with them.  From there we headed downtown to Chelsea One of the restaurants in Chelsea Market to grab lunch at Chelsea Market, at 75 9th Ave., which is basically a very cool, gourmet food court, where you can find something for everyone. There was no way I was leaving without a Fat Witch Brownie for dessert.  My friend Mary Beth, a Screenwriter and Pilates instructor in the city, joined us to walk off our delicious lunch.  We shot over to West 16th and 10th and up the stairs to the High Line, a raised park built on old railway tracks that provide a great elevated view of the city.    We  walked up to West 30th and then caught the last tour bus at the nearest stop back up to our hotel.   That night we took advantage of our bus tour tickets and went on the nighttime tour over the Brooklyn Bridge for a stunning view looking back at the city from across the East River.  The ride allowed the kids to relax and take catnaps after so much walking, while my husband and I enjoyed the scenery.

Walking the High Line

The tour buses left every 15 minutes from right outside our hotel, and we found it was worth waiting for an empty bus and being first in line so the kids could sit right up front on the upper level for a thrilling perspective.  We took the downtown tour that next morning and got off the bus at Battery Park to catch the city sightseeing cruise  for a close up view of the Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island.  The boat also allows you to get on and off at your own pace.  We took our bus back uptown after the cruise to grab some lunch at Shake Shack; I forced my family to stand in the long line because I needed to find out what all the hype was about.  Luckily the line moved really quickly, and the hot dogs and hamburgers were tasty, or I would have had an uprising on my hands for sure.  After lunch we had tickets to see Mary poppins at the gorgeous New Amsterdam theatre on Broadway.  Initially the boys were skeptical, but the entire family thoroughly enjoyed the show.  We had promised the kids a trip to what we touted as the biggest Toy store in the world, FAO Schwartz.  While in the neighborhood, my husband and I were lured into the glowing glass block entrance of the flagship Apple store right next door.  In any case it turns out the Toys R Us in Times Square now claims that title of largest toy store, and the kids thought the Toys R Us (1514 Broadway between 44th and 7th aves) was more exciting. I’m sure the Ferris Wheel ride ($4.00 per ticket) we took in the middle of the store had something to

do with their preference.  For dinner we went to Ellen’s Stardust Diner where aspiring performers are the waiters, and they break out into song throughout dinner.  Our friend had warned us the food was nothing special, which was good to know going in, we just got light food without high expectations, and it was well worth the experience.  The next morning we went to the Top of Rock, which we had heard was a shorter line and better view than the Empire State Building.  The line did go quickly and the perspective was fantastic, of the Empire State Building especially.  We headed over to Brooklyn to visit our friend Tim, and got to check out the trendy Williamsburg neighborhood, before spending our last night having a wonderful dinner all together with great friends, Caroline and Stuart, and seeing their beautiful children.  The perfect end to a fantastic trip, yet with so many other things to do in New York, we are sure to come back for more.


(Unfortunately, none of this post was sponsored in any way, if anyone was wondering)

6 Responses

  1. Thanks Kristin, all of the things we did were recommended by friends and turned out to be great advice!

  2. After my parents separated as young kids we spent endless summers in Park Slope Brooklyn at my Dads open air corner flower stand. Your article brought back wonderful memories of NYC. On my dresser sits a glass apple given to me by my Dad to remind me of all the wonderful times we had. The Big Apple will always hold a special place In my heart after all the fun me and my sisters enjoyed.

    • Wow, thanks for sharing that Kelly! How cool that your dad had a flower stand there, it must have been an exciting place for you and your sisters to experience. It is always amazing to go back and visit those places that evoke forgotten emotions. Thanks for reading!

  3. What a great post. As a fellow New Yorker, you nailed this post! My parents and sister both have apartments in the city. I happen to love Stardust dinner. We frequent there a lot before we go see shows. Isn’t Chelsea and the areas near the lower part of the FDR, truly terrific! I would love if you would feature this post on my blog when I am on vacation. I can list you as the author and link back to you. My readers would love it! Truly great post my friend.

    • I am so happy to hear that from a New Yorker!! Of course I would be honored if you re-posted! Thanks! Love, Love the Hi-Line & Chelsea Mkt., I think Jeffrey is down in Chelsea too….(but of course did not dare to drag my family there!) so yes, Chelsea is so cool, highly recommend!