New York City

I love New York City.  It is a place of endless entertainment.  From children’s museums to art and science museums, many tourist attractions, and of course Broadway shows.  Just walking around the city, especially in the fall, you can feel the energy of it all.  It can be as expensive or as inexpensive as you like.  Five star hotels and restaurants, or a Hilton and pizza and hotdogs.  It is your choice. 

Attractions:

The Empire State Building is the must see in NYC.  Kids love it.  It is wise to buy your tickets in advance online.  This way you avoid standing in the ticket line when you get there.  The 86th floor is the viewing floor.  You will take one elevator up to the 80th floor and then get on another to go all the way up.  The view of course is amazing.  On a clear day, you can see for miles.  BRING YOUR CAMERA!   The background makes for a great family picture, and there is always someone willing to take the photo for you.  A WORD OF ADVICE; wait until you get to one of the hundreds of souvenir shops to buy your Empire State Building mementos.  They are much cheaper and they carry about 90% of what you can get at the attraction itself.

The Statue of Liberty is another must see.  I myself have not been inside, but just going to the island itself puts you in a state of awe.  It is very easy to get there, if you are not on a bus tour.  Just take the subway downtown, to Canal Street.  Once you are off, follow the signs for Battery Park.  It is not hard.  My only advice on this attraction is to not do it on a real hot day, because you are standing outside in line for the ferry for quite awhile.  Once you are on the Ferry, once again BRING THE CAMERA.  The views going to the Statue are breathtaking.  You can get some great shots of the skyline and the Statue.  Once you are on the Island, stay as long as you like.  Have lunch.  The Ferries run every 20min-1/2 hour.

(SECURITY CONSISTS OF BAG CHECKS AND METAL DETECTORS AT BOTH OF THESE ATTRACTIONS).

Broadway shows are in their own league as far as live entertainment goes. Once you go, you will be hooked.   Tickets can be expensive, but do not have to break the bank.  If you are not on a schedule, the best place to get show tickets is right in the heart of Times Square. There is a small building right under the Coke sign.   You can get tickets for as much as 70% off if you are willing to stand through a typical 2hr show.  If you want to sit, you can still get them for as much as 30% off. Most theatres like you to be there ½ hour before show time to get everyone seated.   They are pretty strict with letting anyone in after the show has started.  Don’t think that to see a great show, you have to be right on Broadway.  Some of the best are off Broadway.   

There are so many more attractions to see. Here are a few of our favorites.   Madame Tussauds Wax Museum, The Hershey Store, The Museum of Natural History, Chinatown…….The Intrepid Museum and the Toys R Us are a MUST SEE for kids.

Central Park is beautiful, but unless you are staying for more than a couple of days, it is impossible to see everything there.  There is the zoo, the lake, the carriage rides (minimum $20-$40/person) and so many other things to do.  It can be exhausting.

Planning your schedule  

If you are planning on spending more than a couple of days in the city, my advice is to stay right in the heart of Manhattan.  Anywhere from 34th street to 52nd street is a good location.   Take advantage of having the time to walk everywhere.  Take the subway which is very easy if you just look at the maps found in every station.  It is very easy to figure out what train you need to be on.  Get a metro pass in any amount you wish, and this way all you have to do is insert your card to get through the turnstile.   If you are on a day trip to the city and you want to see as much as you can in one day, the best thing to do is get a city pass on one of the many double Decker  tour buses.  On many of these tours, they have what they call “hop on, hop off” passes which means that when you get on the bus at the appointed destination at the beginning of your tour, you can get off at any one of the attractions that it takes you to.  They will then give you a time that they will be back to pick you up, giving you more than enough time to visit the attraction. Some of them also have passes that include your admission to the attractions. 

Visiting with children 

NYC can be a great place for children.  It can also be very scary. Disaster can be avoided by following these 2 simple steps.   ALWAYS KEEP YOUR CHILDREN BY YOUR SIDE, HOLDING THEIR HANDS!!!  I cannot express that enough.  If your children are older, make sure that they are always in front of you!!  So many times, we have seen 4 and 5 year olds walking behind their parents.  That is asking for trouble no matter where you are.  If they are not big 5 and 6 year olds, if you have a double stroller, use it.  This way they don’t get tired out fast, and you know that they are safe.

When we took our boys for the first time, they were about 6 and 7.  We took them to the Intrepid and they had such a good time.  There are lots of hands on experiments.  Planes, Subs and of course the Intrepid aircraft carrier itself is a sight to see.  We have been going since then, and they have seen just about every attraction in the few years since we started going.  Some of them twice.  There are so many cool places to go with them; I can’t begin to name them all.  As I stated above the Intrepid and the Toys R Us are must sees for them.  The wax museum, the history museum. The history museum is massive. 

One thing I do not recommend is going between Christmas and New Years.  It is beautiful, but it is mass chaos.  I know everyone wants to go on New Year’s Eve.  We always did too, but after being there on December 29th one year with our children for the day, we were cured!

All in all, like I said, I love New York.  As long as you plan it right, you can have a great time. 

Word of caution…hotels will charge a minimum of $25/night parking fee.

Hope this article helps a little bit…..As always have a great trip and stay safe!

Susan

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