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NYC & DC with family of 6

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We're headed to the Big Apple with 4 kids in tow (ages 11, 9, 7 & 6). I'm trying to figure out the best way to plan for the tourist type stuff. I see a lot of walking is suggested but with the little kids I don't know how feasible that will be.

Has anyone gone on the topless buses and liked it? Are you really just sitting there in one place sucking up exhaust for the majority of the time?

Also, what area is best to stay in? I've considered doing a vrbo, but wonder if moving to different hotels in different parts of the city would be better.

Also, my kids are dying to go up the Empire State Building. I've so much negative stuff regarding the lines. Is there a "best time" or "best day" to do it?

As for Staten Island, Ellis Island, etc., what do you suggest? I know the kids want to see the Statue but is it worth going to Ellis Island or just "see" it. Also, any info about the Twin Towers Memorial?

Thanks, any and all suggestions appreciated.

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