A Family trip to New York City has always been on our bucket list. Due to the kids school schedule we had to go on Spring Break in March so we were somewhat concerned about the weather until we got there….they were having above average temperatures! Awesome!
We stayed at the Best Western Plus Hospitality House on 49th and Lexington. We had a one bedroom suite with a full kitchen. They also offer a complimentary breakfast…it was pretty good….eggs, waffles, bacon, etc. For $150 roundtrip they hotel arranged a car service to pick us up and take us back to JFK. JFK is about 45 mins from the hotel…depending on traffice. The hotel is in an excellent location. Walking distance to Times Square, Central Park, Madison Square Gardens, Rockefeller Centre….we pretty much walked our feet off.
We were lucky enough to arrive on St. Patrick’s Day so we were able to see the parade. That was really fun….New Yorker’s take St. Paddy’s Day celebrations very seriously!
Our first visit to Times Square…on St. Patirck’s Day…people are everywhere! It was an amazing site…all lit up and so much energy!
We had pre-purchased a 48 hr hop on/hop off bus pass before we went to NYC. The office to exchange the tickets was only about 15 mins from our hotel. So on Sunday we started the tour. It was an overcast day and slightly chilly in the morning but it did warm up. We saw so many sites that I can’t even name them all! We went past Central Park and saw where lots of famous people live, that was fun for the kids.
There is also a night tour included with the pass so we did that Sunday night as well and just about froze to death. We had to sit on top of the open air bus to get the whole view but wow…needed scarves and mits! This was the only cold day that we had. The night tour takes you over to Brooklyn as well.
Our second day of the hop on hop off tour we were able to catch the bus just up the street from our hotel instead of walking back to Times Square as we had already exchanged our vouchers. So convenient! This time we headed to SoHo where we got off and did some shopping. We went to Little Italy where we had pizza or pasta and wine for $10! Well, I was drawn in by the wine!
We also headed over to China Town before we jumped back on the bus. China Town is huge…2nd largest in the world. Vancouver is 3rd…just FYI! The tour takes you through the Lower East Side, the East Village, Battery Park and Ground Zero. We also went through Greenwich Village which is one of the safest areas of NYC. I would have liked to have time to go back to this area, Little Italy and SoHo.
Tonight Jamie and Tyler went to a hockey game at Madison Square Gardens. This was Tyler’s first hockey game…pretty lucky to be seeing his first live game at MSG!
Tuesday was spent at Ground Zero, Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island. The Memorial was very sad as you can imagine and tons of police wondering around. Going through security is worse than the airport! You have to pre book visitation times to the 911 Memorial. The new Trades Centre is almost complete now….that is it in the background of the photo below.
Above is one of the original sites of one of the Towers. The foundations have been turned into waterfalls and all the way around the site are the names of everyone who died in 911. There is also a museum but it isn’t open yet.
It was a short walk to Battery Park to catch the boat over to the Statue of Liberty…more security and helicopters flying around. The Statue is under repair so we couldn’t go in but it was enough just to see it.
From here you can take the boat over to Ellis Island. The museum here is huge…4 floors…we spent a couple of hours here. It was surreal to be in the same building where so many people came to America for a better life. Their stories were amazing. Outside the museum is a huge wall that goes in a big circle with all the names of the immigrants…amazing.
Off to Wall Street…..just another short walk again. I wasn’t that impressed with Wall Street but Josh was really excited to be there. We took the subway from here to Grand Central Station…that was an experience in itself but to see Grand Central Station…WOW…it is so huge!
Wednesday was just a shopping day and wandering around the city on our own. The buildings are so amazing and the architecture is incredible.
Tonight we went to see Death of A Salesman starring Philip Seymour Hoffman and Andrew Garfield. It was playing at the Ethel Barrymore Theatre which was absolutely stunning! Unfortuntely, no cameras allowed! We bought our tickets before going to NYC…there is a 1/2 price ticket stand at Times Square but we didn’t want to waste any of our time standing in line.
After the play, which was incredible, we waited outside to try to get autographs….we saw Andrew Garfield up close but not close enough to get a signature. But…Liza Minelli, Alan Alda and Tony Danza all came out the stage door too so that was cool to see! We walked back to our hotel at 11 pm and didn’t feel uncomfortable or nervous.
The next couple of days were spent touring the city and shopping. The day we went to Central Park it was 80 degrees….so nice! It is a beautiful, amazing place…in the daytime. Not safe at night. We saw John Lennon’s apartment where he was shot and in Central Park there is a memorial to him.
One thing I really wanted to do while I was there was to go skating in Rockefeller Centre. So…Tyler and I went on our last night. It was so fun…expensive but fun! Even in 80 degrees the rink was still open!
I would definitely go back to New York and it is a fantastic family vacation. There is so much to see and do for everyone and all ages.