NYC with 5 year old - itinerary help

Old Jan 10th, 2007, 10:58 AM
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NYC with 5 year old - itinerary help

Hi everyone

I am in the early stages of planning a trip to NYC for May or June 2007 and have researched some of the great threads.

This is a first trip to New York for us and we would like to stay for 4 days/3 nights. I was thinking staying at the Radiocity Apartments in order to save on hotel costs. My sister and I (in our 30's) and my 5 year old son will be traveling together.

I have started a prelimary itinerary and welcome any suggestions! As far as dining options, diner food is probably better for us since my son is quite active.

I also wanted to know if it would be appropriate for a 5 year old to see the Lion King or is that frowned upon?

Day 1: Arrival (AM to maximize time)
TBD

Day 2:
AM
Breakfast: Sarabeth's??
Central Park - Belvedere Castle & Zoo
Lunch: ???

PM
Museum of Natural History

Day 3:
AM
5th Avenue
FAO Schwarz
TRU
Dylanís Candy Bar
Rockefeller Center/Top of the Rock
Times Square
Lunch: Johnís Pizzeria

PM
Greenwich Village Tour with Michelle Nevius

Day 4:
AM
Lower Manhattan
Battery Park
Lunch: Katz's Deli ???
Take the NY water taxi (from South Street Seaport) to Fulton St. in Brooklyn.
Brooklyn Ice Cream Factory
Jacque Torres Chocolates

late PM - Depart for Home

TIA!
MelAnderson is offline  
Old Jan 10th, 2007, 11:10 AM
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First piece of advice, relax.

You can not and will not see everything, and your agenda seems a bit unrealistic, to say the least (on day 3 are you planning all that before lunch??).

New York City is not a "check the box" place, particularly with a 5 year old.

Take your time & explore.
Gekko is offline  
Old Jan 10th, 2007, 12:19 PM
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Great advice from Gekko. Listen to him!
The other thing I would question is: How much will a 5-year-old enjoy a tour of Greenwich Village? (Or, is that the one intentional "adult" activity?) How about a ride on the Staten Island Ferry instead? Then, maybe you'd be able to fit everything in on Day 3!
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Old Jan 10th, 2007, 12:48 PM
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The first time we took my son to NYC at 5, it was a much slower pace, and he was an active child. Unless your child is different, they can still tire easily - an adult can tire in NYC with all there is to do ! And I don't know about your boy, but when mine became tired, he became a tad cranky and 'overworked' -

When the trip was over, we asked what his favorite things were, the first thing he said was "those doors that go round and round" - we laughed and laughed - we could have taken him to any hotel in our city and let him go through the revolving doors !!

Some comments based on that trip with my kid:
We couldn't get him out of the Museum of Nat'l History - I would consider doing that early in the day and having lunch after - even if you lunch right at the museum - he might be too tired to do it and really enjoy it at end of day.

Then, if you want to do Central Park after lunch, have you considered one of those pop up umbrella type strollers even if she no longer uses one for some of the walking parts of the trip? (or even to hold bags, etc) - it might allow you to cover more ground esp in the park and even on the streets.
Or consider a carriage ride.

If you flip some some of your itinerary to do the favorite things early in the day, at least if he gets tired, you have time for a late afternoon break/rest before evening.

If you are going to do all those things in the morning before the tour of Greenwich Vilalge, that might be another time the stroller would come in handy for him - he can eat his Dylan candies and play with his FAO toy if he gets bored. You have an ambitious schedule for day 3 AM - that's a lot of ground to cover in my opinion with a five year old no matter how energetic. Their feet just don't cover the same ground as an adults at the same pace.

I like the Staten Isl Ferry ride idea - most kids would love that as well as adults.

At five my daughter could sit through Lion King, but a matinee, - my friends child could not - does he sit through movies? any other plays or shows?
then you could determine if he would last through the show and enjoy it.

Maybe in June there are some other children oriented activities in the city too - check the web sites - is Big Apple Circus in town then? My kids loved that one.

I don't know about RadioCity Apts,, we stayed with them at the Kimberly when they were that age, don't know if that is in your price range but it had a small kitchen which was great for snacks, etc..

have fun !

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Old Jan 10th, 2007, 01:01 PM
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The "movie" sit though is a good comparism. At $120/ticket for Lion King, ask yourself some HARD questions. My 11 year old nephew loved Lion King, but the 9 year old- in advance said he didn't want to go. Worked out great leaving him with my son. They all loved Stomp, and a very cheap option with half price tickets- about $140 for 4.
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Old Jan 10th, 2007, 02:57 PM
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My niece and nephew love the Museum of Natural History every time they visit the city, from the first visit at age 3 to now when they are 9 and 6, respectively. The cafeteria in the museum, while not dirt cheap, has decent options ranging from pizza to hot plate meals to salad bar, and is very kid-friendly. We've found it works best to go in the morning when the museum is at its least crowded and the kids have the most energy, start at the top with the dinosaurs and work our way down to the cafeteria in the basement. After that, they are well ready to run around in Central Park.
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Old Jan 10th, 2007, 03:28 PM
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Having traveled far and wide with kids I believe meals, play time, and rest are the 3 things that if you do wrong can ruin a day. You can plan all you want but you know what they say about gang aft agley.

Breakfast. Do you really want to start your long day dragging the kid to a specific place for breakfast? Either get up, dressed, step out of the hotel door and turn L one day, then stop in the 1st breakfast place. They're all the same, more or less.

The next day turn R and do the same, or go back to the same place as 1st day. Or, since the 5 year old is likely used to rolling out of bed and wanting breakfast quick and easy, eat in the room. 1st adult up volunteers to run out to market, buy a qt of milk, some cereal, fresh fruit, pick up donut and coffee or bagel or whatever. Last thing to do is get a kid tuckered out running around looking for food at breakfast time.

Lunch, especially on a day you're going to Central Park/Nat Hist. Museum: Pack a picnic from a deli near your hotel. (bring along a small soft sided lunch bag if you wish.) Central Park is vast and worth exploring. You don't want to have to cut short play time just to drag the kid somewhere for a sit down lunch. If weather is good, make a picnic while your kid runs around a bit. There are delis on every block in NYC just about, and small grocers for drinks, snacks, etc.

Stock up on your 1st day if you don't want to run out each day. Me? I'm always up early, well before the rest of the family so my daily exploring routine, worldwide, is to browse, pick up some fresh goodies for the day, and bring back to hotel just as the others drag themselves out of bed.

Finding a place for lunch can often take a lot of time and energy, so bring enough snacks to make a lite lunch at least.

Play time: Every day find a place for your son to run, climb, or do whatever he wants. Central park is great for that, but even running around Roc Center Belvedere castle you'll be in and out of in 30min or less, but there are pathways in the woods, open fields, ponds with ducks, etc. Kick back, rest your feet and people watch.

Rest: Be back to hotel by 3 or 4 at the lastest - walking, sightseeing, etc are very tiring, especially for 5yr old legs. Watch TV, read a book, or even nap. That way everyone will be refreshed for dinner.

Pick the things you really want to do and expect to do 1/2 of that.
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Old Jan 10th, 2007, 04:19 PM
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Thanks for the replies everyone. The Staten Ferry sounds like a good idea. I did want to do something adult in nature, but I'll wait until he falls dead asleep (he refuses to take naps anymore and once he's out, he's out) and see what options we have then.
I'll flip Day 2 and just hang out in Central Park for the remainder of the day. He absolutely refuses to take naps anymore. The umbrella stroller is also a good idea.

Sounds like I should skip a play, probably for the best anyway.

I'll go to GoCityKids and see what playgrounds are in the areas that we will be touring for the day. I think I read something about a Hippo playground that sounded cool when I did a briefly looked at the site.
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Old Jan 10th, 2007, 04:33 PM
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We went with my kids, 2 and 6. We did a lot, but the two things that I hadn't planned in advance were 1. We brought Pick-A-Bagel (I'm sure there is something like it near your apartments) to the room each day for breakfast to keep the stress level low as we started our days and 2. The older kid wanted to spend every minute in Times Square, particularly at the Toys R Us. Do you indulge that and take things a little slower or do you pushpushpush? It's a philosophical question, or at least one the depends on your family, but be prepared for little rebellions if the child is having fun, or not having fun, or wants to go back to a certain place. We did a lot, we had a week, but we also went to Times Square every single day. Sigh.
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Old Jan 10th, 2007, 04:49 PM
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I agree with other posters--keep a loose schedule. That being said:
Check on line before you leave to see of there are any free events for children. Buy yourself a copy ot NY Magazine or go online to their website www.nymetro.com
It will contain good info on what is happening that week. Same for Timeout NY kids and gocitykids.com. In May & June NYC streets are filled with fairs and festivals. Check to see if the Big Apple Circus is in town, or something else of that nature. Also, don't count on great running-around Central Park weather. Spring in NYC can be unpredictable! In case of rain--check to see if there are any special children's theatre performances that weekend (Off Broadway or Off-Off). Don't waste your $$ on Broadway when there will be other less expensive alteratives he may enjoy even more. And--how will your son last through the Greenwich Village walking walking tour? I'm a born and bred New Yorker and I find most kids would enjoy simple things that we often take for granted--like riding buses,subways, elevators and chasing pigeons! Forget about planning special meals around your child (although he may enjoy Chinatown). A stroll through the Union Square Greenmarket,where you can buy fresh fruit, cheese or goodies may be a fun alternative to a sit-down meal. He will most likely find something to eat wherever you want to go.
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Old Jan 10th, 2007, 05:34 PM
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I agree that the itinerary may be a bit optimistic. When our son was five, we were in the city for a few days because I had a conference. Here's what my wife found worked really well: Museum of Natural History (go early), ride in a big yellow taxi, Central Park, China town, Times square (bring a leash -- kidding, sort of), hot dog vendor, pretzel vendor.

I agree about seriously re-thinking the Lion King -- way too much risk when revolving doors will probably have the same effect. And the stroller will likely come in very handy when the boy gets tired and cranky. Staten Island ferry ride sounds like a great idea, we haven't done it, but it may be a nice way for him to get a nap if nothing else.


Dan
familyroadtrippers.blogspot.com
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Old Jan 10th, 2007, 05:41 PM
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One more thing: ride the subway. Boys love trains!

Stick with what works and take what they give you. Good luck!
Dan
familyroadtrippers.blogspot.com
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Old Jan 10th, 2007, 06:13 PM
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Go to the observation of the Empire State Building.

Instead of the Staten Island ferry, take the Circle Line to the Statue Of Liberty.

The Lion King has adult themes and some real scares. Save it for another trip.

Have fun.
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Old Jan 10th, 2007, 06:20 PM
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"The Lion King has adult themes and some real scares."

Are you talking about the same show I saw that most 5 year olds sat wide eyed in awe at? Adult themes? If so I guess they went way over my head.
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Old Jan 10th, 2007, 06:21 PM
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I am a notorious power site see-er, not a beach person at all but I have reformed quite a bit. We usually end up doing about 50% of the stuff on my list.
Now as far as taking a cab...can we do that w/o a car seat?
I'm going to look up the Union Square Green Market - sounds cool.

Thanks again everyone.

Off to check activities in May/June.

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Old Jan 11th, 2007, 04:29 AM
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A subway ride my kids always enjoyed was the J train over the Williamsburg bridge. Stand with him in the first car, at the front.
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Old Jan 11th, 2007, 11:07 PM
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I would include taking the ferry to the Statue of Liberty and getting off to see the statue up close. Boat rides are fun in general for kids (and adults) and the statue is quite impressive and something he is likely to remember for a long time -- be sure to take lots of pictures!
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Old Jan 11th, 2007, 11:08 PM
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Oh, if you do decide to do the Statue of Liberty try to get tickets online for the first ferry of the day-- that will minimize your waiting in lines quite a bit.
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Old Jan 13th, 2007, 12:43 AM
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My five year old grandaughter SLEPT thru Lion King. It was a great nap for a kid who didn't nap but rather expensive.
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Old Jan 13th, 2007, 04:48 AM
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For clairfication you can NOT get Statue of Liberty ferry tickets for a specific time, they are open tickets for several months. BUT you do need to get Access Passes into the base of the statue online in advance, UNLESS you want to be in line at 7am for same day passes.

I was there a few years ago, and there were plenty of people who had no clue they couldn't get into the base.
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