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Suggestions for last minute trip to NY City with 2 toddlers! Please Help!!!

Suggestions for last minute trip to NY City with 2 toddlers! Please Help!!!

Old Dec 13th, 2005, 07:11 AM
  #1  
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Suggestions for last minute trip to NY City with 2 toddlers! Please Help!!!

We are a short drive or train ride to NYC. And, my husband is heading to NYC for a 1 1/2 day business trip. Call us crazy, but we are ready to pack up the kiddos (age 2 and 3) and see the city at Christmas... We haven't lived in this area long and i've been anxious to get to NYC.

We will have 1 full day and a half day in the city. We are not ambitious about what we see. Really just want to see the city in all its holiday glory. My husband has been to NY many times, I have never been. Husband's business meeting is near Chinatown, would be wise to base our one night stay near there.

So, does anyone have any suggestions on must see/do experiences? I am a HUGE travel planner (have spent many months in the past developing itineraries for our european holidays...). So, I am a bit hesitant about making the trip. Though, the excitement of just being in NY at Christmas and seeing the department store windows, having our kids experience the toy stores, seeing the skaters at rockefeller center (is this the right spot?), and maybe even picking up some knock off bags in chinatown as last minute Christmas gifts... would be fantastic!

I really would appreciate any advice (even the kind that says, you must be crazy to even consider such a trip) on what to see and where to stay with 2 small children who are generally very good travellers . I thank you for taking the time to read my post and look forward to any responses full of fodorite wisdom! thanks!
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Old Dec 13th, 2005, 07:18 AM
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I don't think you're crazy to take a 2 and 3 yr old to the city, so long as you scale back your expectations. For cheap Chinatown type shopping, try Pearl River Mart.

With toddlers, I'd do the Christmas windows along Fifth Ave -- Lord & Taylor, Saks, then Rockefeller Center. I'd also see the huge Toys R Us Ferris wheel in Times Square and maybe the American Girl store (if you have girls). If the weather is nice, a stroll in the park and ride on the carousel could be good.

There are plenty of easy eats in Grand Central and some good holiday shopping there in Vanderbilt Hall. I just visited the food court downstairs last week with my almost-3-yr-old and she had the mac-n-cheese from Brother Jimmy's while daddy and I had pulled pork sandwiches. There is also pizza, Junior's (fancy diner -- I'm sure they have grilled cheese, chicken nuggets, etc).

My daughter also loved the toy train display at the Transit Museum in Grand Central.

Enjoy!
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Old Dec 13th, 2005, 07:21 AM
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I would say that you'd be better off staying someplace in midtown. Best areas for holiday glory is 5th Av from Rockefeller Center to Central Park. You will walk by the Disney Store and FAO... great places for the kids.

Mind you, it will be PACKED.
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Old Dec 13th, 2005, 07:26 AM
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Ditto on staying Midtown.

I would highly suggest if at all possible to take an umbrella stroller. The subways aren't stroller friendly at all and the buses just a little more so.

All I can say is just be patient. The streets will be packed.

Go very very early to see the store windows otherwise you'll have a hard time seeing them at all.
 
Old Dec 13th, 2005, 07:41 AM
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THANK YOU!!! I really appreciate the suggestions and am getting very excited. I am off in search of a hotel in midtown. I welcome any specific suggestions for accomodations...

Also, regarding strollers... we have a double maclaren stroller (side by side) that folds down rather compact. And, we have a kelty kids backpack carrier that converts to a stroller for one child.

So, of the three options, what would you recommend: 1) take double stroller; 2) take backpack carrier/stroller for 2 year old and 3 year old walks/is carried; or 3) purchase 2 cheap umbrella strollers???

lisettemac,

what you have suggested sounds perfect! thank you. if we hit the spots you mentioned, will we be able to walk, cab it, or subway?

thanks so much. i am always amazed by this site! you have helped me tremendously (mainly with building my courage to go). thanks!

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Old Dec 13th, 2005, 07:53 AM
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If you follow the route I suggested, you should be able to walk most of the way. If you plan to have the stroller (we have the same one, btw) I would strongly urge you to take the bus, rather than the subway. Last Friday was my first time in the city with my daughter in some time. I wished I hadn't brought the stroller at all. I mostly carried it while she walked because I knew I could only use it for a short distance, then I'd have to fold it up to go down stairs, etc. But, with two kids, I don't know if you can do without it.
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Old Dec 13th, 2005, 08:16 AM
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lisettemac, thanks again. i am a bit concerned on the stroller issue... as mentioned,we'll need lots of patience...

btw, where is the pearl river mart? thanks again!
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Old Dec 13th, 2005, 08:16 AM
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No, your three year old will not be able to walk.

People walk very fast and the three year old will be out of their line of sight and runs a risk of being run over by pedestrians.
 
Old Dec 13th, 2005, 08:18 AM
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I also agree on staying midtown. Check the Affinia Shelburne Murray Hill. It's an all suite hotel with kitchenettes and well located for you. Check prices on quikbook.com and affinia.com Another good one is the Affinia 50 owned by same people.
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Old Dec 13th, 2005, 08:20 AM
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Since it will be both you and your husband I suggest two collapsable umbrella strollers unless your double one is super light weight and easy to manage.

I've found you really need to be a quick draw with a stroller in NYC.
 
Old Dec 13th, 2005, 08:20 AM
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Pearl River is in Chinatown/Soho. Not necessary on this trip imo, unless you're already downtown. Concentrate on midtown things for kids already mentioned.
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Old Dec 13th, 2005, 10:17 AM
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I think it's great that you are bringing your family to the city for the holiday, you'll have a wonderful time! I realize there aren't a ton of options, but I would seriously re-think the double side-by-side stroller. The sidewalks are VERY crowded this time of year and people are moving quickly - maneuvering might be extremely difficult for you and those you are sharing the sidewalk with.
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Old Dec 13th, 2005, 10:30 AM
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thanks again for the suggestions. i think i will take two umbrella strollers. i think this will make it much easier on everyone.

i've checked out the affinia 50, looks like a great spot for us. now, i just need start the packing process... looks as if it will be a bit chilly! layers upon layers upon layers...

looking forward to it and i really appreciate everyone's time. your posts were invaluable! thank you!
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Old Dec 13th, 2005, 10:37 AM
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Be aware that there are some areas of the city that are unbelievably crowded during the holidays - and that these may be frightening - or at least difficult - for the children. (People are packed so close together that they are likely to trip over either strollers or small walkers since they can;t see them.) Near the Rock Cener skating rink you often need to literally use your elbows to get through the crowds - and the only way kids that small can see anything is from your shoulders.

So - I would plan on going to the crowded places (Rock Center, Times Square and the store windows on Fifth Avenue) really early before the worst of the crowds turn up.

Also - a lot of restaurants are not prepared for kids that young (booster seats etc) so you are better off staying out of midtown and eating in more residential neighborhoods (upper west side, village etc) where eating with kids is more common.

If the weather is good you may want so spend some time with them in/Central Park - perhaps a buggy ride - or a visit to the zoo - or even the Museum of Natural History.

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Old Dec 13th, 2005, 11:11 AM
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some more good advice, thanks! how early should we hit the most crowded spots like rockefeller center and times square and fifth ave shops?

also, i am considering going to fao and disney in the late afternoon, early eve hours to keep us out of the cold and the crowds. or maybe american girl store. any other suggestions? maybe grand central station with train display as a previous poster suggested. i'd like to stick with holiday oriented activities as opposed to museums.

thanks so much!
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Old Dec 13th, 2005, 11:12 AM
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another thought... is there a good spot to see santa? macy's? how long is the line? are you waiting for hours????
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Old Dec 13th, 2005, 11:26 AM
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You have gotten GREAT suggestions by everyone else so I'll chime in with just a few more ideas.

STAY OUT of Chinatown with the kids. This time of year you will get run over. The sidewalk is very narrow there and the crowds are very large, so I would forgo that area and stay midtown.

You might try Macy's early in the day to see Santa, and there was a Santa at Manhattan Mall, not sure if they are doing that this year, and there is a HUGE tree there as well.

I'd also suggest doing the bus with the kids vs the subway. All those stairs up and down and navigating with toddlers and strollers is going to be more headache than a help. Cabs and in a pinch the buses will be alot more helpful.

ToysRUs in Times Square will be a huge hit with the kids, the ferris wheel there is very popular. Also do the carousel in Central Park. Even on a cold day it is fun. The Central Park Zoo is also open and the kids will like that as well. There is a restaurant on site that is geared for kids.

Have a great time and enjoy the city.
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Old Dec 13th, 2005, 11:58 AM
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If you can get the windows and Rock Center done before 8AM you'll save yourself a lot of grief.

You can hit Bendel's, Sak's, and Bergforf Goodmans windows in one pass and cut the corner for Rockefeller Center. Saks is almost across the street from Rock Center.
 
Old Dec 13th, 2005, 09:20 PM
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We just stayed at the Affnia 50 over Thanksgiving. Don't know if they still have it, but when I was booking they had a special American Girl Doll rate that I noticed at the last minute on their website. It saved us about $50/night.

We liked staying there, the room was a good size, although the bathroom was a bit small. It did have a small kitchenette. It is on 50th between 3rd and Lexington, but closer to Lexington. Ideally I would have preferred to be just a bit closer to 5th, Madison or Park, but I think we got a good price so It was worth the extra block or two. I am just mentioning this to you as you will have the strollers.
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Old Dec 15th, 2005, 11:11 AM
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If you were actually going to go ice skating, I'd recommend Wollman Rink in Central Park over the one at Rockefeller Center. It costs less, tends to have shorter lines, and more local NYers, from my experience. Wollman Rink is steps away from the entrance on the SE side of the park.
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