NYC with a toddler--questions

Jun 21st, 2008, 05:21 AM
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NYC with a toddler--questions

Hello Fodorites,
I've got a few questions about going to NYC in late August with our 2 year old.

Flying: the last time he flew, we used his car seat and it worked well--he fell asleep quickly and was contained the whole time. We needed the car seat for that trip b/c we rented a car, but for NYC, we won't need it once we arrive. We're wondering about flying without it--if anyone has done this, how did you keep your child safely contained in the airplane seat?

Transportation from airport (don't yet know which one): if we get on a train or bus to come into the city, are we required to have him in a car seat for that trip?

Strollers: we'll have one to use in the airports and we'll also need it in the city. Do you think a small umbrella stroller works better in the city or should we use our bigger Britax stroller instead?

Things to do: we're looking at going to a Yankees game--very cheap seats and we don't expect to stay the whole time. I'm trying to remember if I can bring a bag into the stadium (like a diaper bag). Anyone know?

Restaurants: Do most places have high chairs or booster seats (we're not planning on any fancy meals!)? I'm assuming they do since so many babies and little kids obviously live in NYC but I never really paid attention to this when we visited pre-kid.

Any other suggestions/advice for a short trip with our toddler? We don't expect to do nearly as much as we have in the past but we do want to have a good time with our son. Thanks!!
Lee4 is offline  
Jun 21st, 2008, 06:39 AM
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Hi Lee4 ... I'll try to answer the questions I can, and I'm sure by Monday others will chime in with their own opinions and answers I can't give you. I don't have kids, so I don't have any first-hand experience and will leave the car-seat question alone.

However, you do NOT need a car seat on the bus or train. There may be a law about cars, and it may apply to taxis, but I'm not really sure.

I'd strongly encourage a light-weight umbrella stroller for the city. Our sidewalks are very crowded, and it's going to be difficult enough to get around. It also makes a big difference if you take the subway.

No bags of any kind are allowed in Yankee stadium. There are stores and restaurants near the ball park that will (for a fee) check your bag.

Some restaurants (perhaps even most) have highchairs, but they may be limited.

Take advantage of the parks and the Central Park Zoo if the weather is good. There are a lot of toddler friendly places and activities in NYC. Kids love the natural history museum.

I hope these answers help. Enjoy.
doug_stallings is offline  
Jun 21st, 2008, 07:47 AM
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Do you already have the Yankee tickets? They are selling out quick and are not very cheap anymore.
tchoiniere is offline  
Jun 21st, 2008, 09:10 AM
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When flying with our toddler we use the CARES harness. It clips into the airplane seatbelt but still holds them like the seatbelt on his car seat. We love it.

You don't mention where you're staying. If it isn't too late I recommend looking into renting an apartment. We always do this when traveling with our toddler. That way there is a separate living area from the sleeping area so you don't have to go to sleep when your child does. You can keep fruit, cheese, milk, juice or other snacks in the fridge. We never cook in our rentals, but it's so nice having a few things to hold him over until we're all ready to leave.

Have fun!
BKP is offline  
Jun 21st, 2008, 09:22 AM
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I second the recommendation for the airplane harness. We flew to Hawaii with an 18 month old and it worked like a charm. The little one thought he was in his car seat and sat right in his seat with no problem.

Have you considered hiring a car and driver in advance to pick you up at the airport? That would be considerably easier than trying to manage a child and luggage on a train or bus and they could bring a car seat with them.
bfrac is offline  
Jun 21st, 2008, 10:07 AM
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Public transit - as in buses, subway or commuter trains have no facilities for car seats. You hold the child on your lap (strollers must be folded to get them out of people's way since often there are many people standng). Same for cabs -strollers go into the trunk. (If you want to hook your own car seat up n a cab you can do so - but the meter will be running the whole time and it could get expensive depending on how easy it is/long it takes.

Also - when deciding what stroller to take you must be able to easily carry it up and down stairs (many subways have no elevators, and train and buses also have stairs).

I would avoid the most crowded parts of the city (Times Square and midtown) as much as possible since there are so many pedestrians that your child will be surrounded by packs of knees - and some people may not see a stroller and trip on it. Again, you're better sticking to residential areas in which the sidewalks are less crowded.

Also - avoid sights that have very long line - or you'll end up with a cranky child. Do Top of the Rock (advance timed tickets) versus the Empire State Bldg and see the Statue of Liberty from the Staten Island Ferry versus the Parkservie visit - which takes hours.

And plan on spending plenty of time in Central Park - the zoo (including small petting zoo), carousel, boating on the lake and children;s playgrounds - to do some things your child will enjoy. If the weather is bad head for the museum of natural history - which is always packed with kids/nannies on bad weather days (rain or heat or whatever).

As for restaurants, family places in residential neighborhoods often have booster seats - but not always. And more upscale places will not have them, since they don;t really want small children. If you want to be sure you need to call to ask. Also - you will probably do better eating early (dinner at 6 or 6:30, when the places will still be fairly empty).

Frankly - with 2 adults plus luggage plus a toddler and stroller I would just take a cab in from whatever airport. Too much schlepping otherwise.

With a child they will probably let you bring a larger bag in the Stadium - but expect them to inspect the contents.
nytraveler is offline  
Jun 21st, 2008, 10:10 AM
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Thank you for all the replies/ideas, etc.! I really appreciate them all. I'm going to check into the harness for the plane.

We are looking into staying at a suite hotel--this has become very necessary for us since beginning to travel with our son. We're not opposed to apartment rentals either (the two of us have used apartments twice in NYC in the past). I just wasn't sure we'd be able to find one for only 3 nights. If you have any suggestions of websites to check, please let me know. It's been several years since we rented apartments, and I just used google to find websites. I've since become a little cautious of doing that since seeing so many problems talked about on this forum.

Here are the hotels we're thinking of: Milburn, Beacon, Buckingham, Eastgate Towers, or Embassy Suites. I like the idea of the ones on the UWS so we'd be close to Central Park and be in a residential area. We're not opposed to Embassy Suites, however, since we know what to expect with them. We're not looking for fancy on this trip--just clean and comfortable. Any comments on these hotels/locations? I'm ok with what I've read about all of them on tripadvisor.

As for the Yankees tickets, my husband has checked stubhub and we'll probably go with that. We're spending the next few days trying to check into hotels, flights, tickets for game, etc. and will then make a final decision once we have an idea of total cost.

I thought I recalled that you can't bring bags into the stadium--too bad. I like the security of a diaper bag! We'll figure something out, I'm sure.

The car idea is a good one--that would be be my choice! My husband is leaning towards the train (if we fly into Newark) b/c it was fairly easy when we did it a year or so ago. Of course, we didn't have a toddler with us, so this will be a whole new ballgame. I hope the Yankees appreciate all the trouble we're going to for them--ha, ha

Thanks again for your help and please keep the comments coming, Lee
Lee4 is offline  
Jun 21st, 2008, 10:26 AM
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nytraveler--just saw your comments after I posted mine. I had wondered if the CP zoo had a petting zoo--thanks for letting me know. My son will love that! We are more than happy to eat early--we do that now anyway. Thank you for all the other suggestions as well. Lee
Lee4 is offline  
Jun 21st, 2008, 12:15 PM
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Years ago, when we started traveling with our son, we bought a McLaren umbrella stroller for just that purpose -- and I never went back to the full-size stroller. It was amazingly easy to fold and unfold, maneuver and carry. I highly recommend it.
Jun 21st, 2008, 03:57 PM
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I didn't stay there but visited someone who did and I would recommend the Milburn on the UWS, especially since you have a child. They are very kid friendly and the hotel is in a great location near grocery stores, restaurants, shops, etc. And it's an easy walk to Central Park. It was also very quiet. We stayed close by at On the Ave and loved it. But, I really don't consider it very kid friendly. The only thing I didn't like at Milburn was the view, or lack thereof, but I'm all about hanging out in the window (when I'm in the room!) and watching the world go by.

AustinTraveler is offline  
Jun 21st, 2008, 05:30 PM
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Thanks for information about the McLaren Stroller and about the Milburn. The Milburn is leading the pack right now--what a super location!

One piece of good news--I mentioned the possibility of hiring a car to pick us up and my husband started comparing prices. We can get a car for about the same price as what train tickets would cost for the 3 of us--YEAH! No hauling all that luggage (plus the toddler)!! Thanks, bfrac, for mentioning that!!
Lee4 is offline  
Jun 21st, 2008, 08:44 PM
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You can bring a "purse" into Yankee Stadium. Women get away with bringing in fairly large bags and while I would not bring the diaper bag, you can bring a large purse and fit a lot of the stuff you need in it. No backpacks, no briefcase, no coolers but shoulder bags are just fine.
elysag is offline  
Jun 22nd, 2008, 03:13 AM
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We have stayed at both these hotels that you are considering:

Milburn: It is not a fancy hotel, a bit outdated furniture but comfortable There are lots of places to eat close by and close to Central Park

Embassy Suites: Breakfast is a huge plus. Lovely walks by the river.

We saw lots of families at both hotels.

BKP: Thank you for sharing the site for CARES restraints. Keeping that in mind for my grand children.

SandyBrit is offline  
Jun 22nd, 2008, 03:59 AM
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Thank you for posting this-- I have never heard of the CARES which I am ordering right now for our trip to bermuda coming up! we usually use our "sit n stroll" when we travel with DD but in bermuda we won't have a car so that would have been bulky.

Our DD is 2 as well, and i have ditched the diaper bag a long time ago, b/c i found she really didn't need all that much stuff. Like many women, I travel with a very oversized pocketbook (much more stylish than the diaper bag!) and before Dd was potty trained, I'd just put an extra diaper and portable wipes in it, along with a sippy cup and snacks. I love the gallon clear storage bags as carriers for all that stuff. Other than that, can't think of much more she would need for a few hours.

As the others posted, a good umbrella stroller (we have the Inglesina swifty) is the way to go. My only issue with our unbrella stroller is that the shade isn't very big. Your 2 year old will love central park!

Finally, you are wise to choose a suite hotel, which is what we always do when travelling with DD. we like having her crib or pack n play in the living area. Makes for a more restful night for everyone! The Benjamin is a great hotel which has a little kitchenette and someone here recommended the Blakely. Wherever we go, we ask for a microwave to be brought up to teh room if the hotel has one--it's come in useful for some quick meals for DD. Not sure how those hotels compare pricewise to the ones you're looking at, but some other options. have a great trip!
emcash is offline  
Jun 22nd, 2008, 05:22 AM
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More great information--thank you all! That's great to hear about being able to bring a large "purse" into Yankee stadium. My main concern with having a "diaper" bag for my son was to keep his sippy cup,some snacks,a diaper, wipes, and an epi-pen (has a food allergy). Sounds like I need to come up with a large purse!

I will look into the Blakely and Benjamin hotels as well--thanks for mentioning them. Thanks for the comments on the Milburn. The reviews on tripadvisor also implied that the decor was dated, but still clean and comfortable. I think the Embassy Suites would be very nice, but we're leaning towards being closer to Central Park.

I'm looking into the CARES harness--what a great device! I have checked e-bay and discovered that there are several ladies who are "renting" theirs out. It's $75.00 to buy one and right now, I'm not sure if we'd get enough use out of it--still trying to decide. So many decisions to make when traveling with a child!

The stroller--ugh! We have a small, cheap umbrella stroller but it's not that comfortable for him to ride in or for us to push (it's rather short). Our britax stroller is bigger, easier to push, and has bigger wheels, so it's more managable. We do realize we'll be in a huge city with tons of people, so we need to move quickly and not hog all the space. The britax is not huge, but we'll play around with it some before the trip to see if it's easy enough to fold up quickly. I don't want to buy another stroller just for this trip.

One more thing I'll mention for other parents of young kids--we've purchased the "aero bed for kids" for our son to sleep on. We found it on Amazon. It's a blow up bed that has raised sides on it so he can't roll out of it. We've used it three times and he's done well with it--even though he still sleeps in his crib at home. It comes with an air pump and a soft cover that the child sleeps on. It inflates and deflates quickly. We're going to put it in a suitcase and take to NYC. He's too long for a pack-n-play these days and this seems to work better.

Thanks again for all the help! Lee
Lee4 is offline  
Jun 22nd, 2008, 09:42 AM
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According to the Yankees' Web site, you can take a diaper bag:

"No backpacks, briefcases, large purses, bags, coolers, glass or plastic bottles, cans, laser pens, video cameras, laptops, firearms or knives are permitted in the ballpark, and there is no claim check area to store any such items. Beach balls, blow horns and all other distracting noisemakers are also not permitted.

Diaper bags, small children's backpacks, small women's purses, and backpack purses will be permitted but are subject to inspection."

takemealong is offline  
Jun 22nd, 2008, 10:17 AM
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Hi Lee4,

I personally think you should bring the car seat - just in case. If not, you might have to rent or buy a car seat.

My best bets for strollers is to bring the lighter one - unless you are thinking of carrying around a large amount of stuff.

I think you should call Yankee Stadium and see if you can. They might sell diapers at the stadium - but I doubt it.

I recomend for your toddler to go to a restraunt for Mars 2112. You can go to their website - but it is a little pricey. Your child may be scared, you go on a long line to see a movie with moving seats (but you can skip it, even if you skip it you must pay). There is dark lighting and aliens in scary costumes.

I also recomend if your child is into Pokemon, video games, etc. to see Nintendo World.

You should also see the big Toys R Us.

Have fun!
hibyeperson is offline  
Jun 22nd, 2008, 11:01 AM
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Hi Lee,
We have three kids, and by the third I figured out that a diaper and mini-pack of wipes were all we needed for short-term activities. Great idea from the previous poster about putting them in a ziploc.

Regarding the carseat: IF the taxis don't require a carseat by law but you are worried about it anyway(rightfully), you might consider getting a booster seat. It would put your child up higher and help the seatbelt go across his waist more properly.

These little boosters are about $20-$30 and you will use it in two years or so, depending on the growth rate of your son and your home state's carseat laws. Booster seats do not meet airline rules for him to sit in on the plane, and must be a carry-on or checked luggage. Some might even fit in a large backpack.

We just took a trip and found out that a carseat or booster seat can be checked as a second piece of luggage at no charge under the new fee schedules. Not sure if that is true for every airline, but I would hope so.

5alive is offline  
Jun 22nd, 2008, 11:04 AM
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First on hotel, the Blakely and the Benjamin are both really nice but will be much more expensive than the Milburn. The Benjamin is part of the group (the nicest of their group) so all of their other hotels are options. Closest to Central Park would be the Affinia Gardens or the Surrey (which might be closing by August). is a good website for finding age appropriate activities. There's a Children's Museum on the UWS that I think would be good for a 2 yr old.

mclaurie is offline  
Jun 22nd, 2008, 12:03 PM
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Lee4, you obviously know your son better than anyone, but my DD would be frightened out of her mind at anything dark with aliens! i'm afraid to even take her to the Rainforest Cafe! 2 is still pretty young for that stuff.

a thought for you if the aerobed is hard to pack. there is a great service called babysaway that provides many things that children need in different cities. If you are staying for an extended period and want your son in a crib, they rent out full size cribs- that they put together for you. We have used the franchises in Boston, the Cape, nantucket and florida. They are fantastic. you can also rent a stroller from them. The general website is

I believe that in NY taxis are exempt from the car seat law.
I will say in all our trips to NYC we never used a taxi when we had DD, but we always drove in. It seemed that whenever we got to the city we stayed in our general hotel area with her.

takemealong- that is interesting about Yankee stadium rules! sounds like you should pack a diaper bag Lee for that trip then.

McLaurie is right, I just checked out the Milburn and it is almost half of what the Blakely costs. sorry about that- but she's right, the affinia group is anotehr good group of hotels to look at.

have a great time!
emcash is offline  

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