Toddler's 1st visit to NYC--a report

Old Sep 4th, 2008, 11:15 AM
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Toddler's 1st visit to NYC--a report

We recently returned from our son’s first trip to NYC. I read lots of posts on this forum before going and asked some questions too. So, I wanted to share our trip and maybe give others some ideas as well. Thanks to all of you for your help before we left! I apologize ahead of time for the length!

We stayed at the Milburn Hotel on W. 76th (1/2 block off of Broadway). This hotel was excellent--a suite hotel, extra space for our toddler, close to Central Park, a great residential neighborhood, and the price was right.

The neighborhood—a Westside Market was close by on Broadway, as were lots of choices for food. We enjoyed Big Nick’s (great burgers), Beard Papa’s (yummy cream puffs and the chocolate cake/fondue-thing was awesome!), Patsy’s for terrific pizza (not quite in our direct neighborhood but close enough!), and a Chinese/Spanish/Cuban place on the corner of either 77th and Broadway or 78th and Broadway. I can’t recall the name, but we enjoyed the Chinese food here. Oh, we also ate at Sarabeth’s West—good food but we weren’t too crazy about the service. Employees were rather rude. My husband picked up bagels and pastries a time or two at 72nd Street Bagel (I think that’s the name)—yummy!!

My own personal favorite part about our location was the Sephora store that was right across Broadway—I had a lipstick emergency and this was the perfect place to solve that problem! Several drugstores were close by as well, so we had everything we needed.

Our main goals on this trip were to have fun with our son in NYC (his first visit) and to take him to a Yankees game before the stadium closes. We had no high expectations at all, and I think this made the trip turn out so well. We went to Central Park every day and let him play—he loved this! The first two trips to the park, we never even made it to a playground. Just let him climb rocks, run and walk through the park—the things little kids love to do. I think it amazed him that he could get out of the stroller and take off! On a Saturday afternoon, we spent lots of time at an area of the park where roller skaters and roller bladers were at. There were also some guys playing drums, and my son just couldn’t get enough of any of it.

On our last full day, we went to the park in the morning and stopped at the renovated playground that isn’t too far from Columbus Circle. He had the best time—especially in the water sprinklers! He was soaked by the time we left but we didn’t mind. He had such a great time!

The Yankees game was fantastic—even though they lost! We sat up very high, in a top tier, but thought our seats were pretty good. We got to the game very late—we let our son take a nap before heading out—and were losing badly by the time we arrived. Still, we had a blast. Our son kept asking to see “Jeter” and “go down there” as he pointed to the field. We told him Jeter was working right now and we’d see him after the game—ha, ha! As we walked down the stadium to exit, my husband approached a perfect stranger and asked him to pretend to be Jeter and talk to our son for a minute. This guy was great and he did it! What a great story we’ll have to tell him in several years.

Our other main outing was a ride on the Staten Island ferry at dusk one evening. What beautiful sights of the Statue of Liberty all lit up! Almost forgot—we went to the Natural History Museum too. It was crawling with kids—yet another perfect place for our toddler. This is a place that I think suits families with kids well; it might not be so great for people looking for more peace and quiet.

One of my worries before the trip was how we would deal with our son’s egg allergy. He actually solved that problem for us—all he wanted to eat (most of the trip) was dry cereal, so we put it in a ziplock bag and were off. We also picked up rice for him at a restaurant close by. We figured “we’re on vacation” so we didn’t get all bothered about food (plenty of time for that back at home!).

I know lots of people (none of you guys!) think NYC is an unusual choice for a vacation with a toddler. Let me just say---this was the BEST trip we’ve had with our son. We’ve been to the beach twice and done some other weekend trips with him, and none of us enjoyed ourselves as much on those other trips as we did on this one. The city fascinated our son and actually wore him out. He went down for naps and bedtime so easily! He got so excited about seeing taxis and riding on the subway (choo choo train to him). Yes, getting in and out of subway stations was difficult with a stroller and a toddler but since there were 2 adults, we managed fairly well. Yes, we were tired when we came in each evening—but it was all so worth it. I’m already thinking of what we’ll do the next time we go—I could leave today (if I could afford it!). New York is fabulous!

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Old Sep 4th, 2008, 11:38 AM
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Great report! We started taking our kids to NY when my son was about 18 months, and we've returned regularly in the 22-1/2 years since then!! (You confirmed what I've always said, which is, you should always have one more adult than there are toddlers). Glad you had such a great time.
 
Old Sep 4th, 2008, 12:10 PM
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dmlove--I agree--2 adults! I was always shocked when I would see a mom by herself with a kid and a stroller; it's just a lot of work in the subways! Just getting the strollers through the turnstiles can be a real pain. I did notice that some locals seem to use umbrella strollers and carry them on a strap on their arms. I'm sure that helps. We took a bigger stroller b/c it had better wheels and it was more comfortable for our son.
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Old Sep 4th, 2008, 01:57 PM
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Lee4 - I loved your report!!! Having raised two sons here in NYC, I can relate. I can't wait to tell them your Jeter story!!!
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Old Sep 4th, 2008, 06:01 PM
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So glad you had a great time and enjoyed your trip. We were just in NYC last weekend and played in that playground-- I wonder if we were there at the same time!
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Old Sep 4th, 2008, 06:14 PM
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CentralParkGirl (what a great name!)--we are still laughing about the Jeter story! If he grows up seeing that picture and then one day finally notices what the "real" Jeter looks like, I wonder what he'll think?!

emcash--that is too cool that we might have been there at the same time! We were there Sunday morning--maybe 9:45 or 10:00. How about you? He loved the water features the most!
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Old Sep 4th, 2008, 06:38 PM
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Just missed you- we got to central park in the afternoon and took DD to the zoo there and then took her to the playground on Monday at about 10. too funny!
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Old Sep 5th, 2008, 05:20 AM
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emcash, we never made it to the zoo. How did your daughter like it? And, as a parent, what did you think of it? We intended to go b/c we we thought DS would like the petting zoo--but we just ran out of time. Hopefully, we'll save it for a future visit (but before he gets to big too enjoy it). Too bad we missed you!
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Old Sep 5th, 2008, 10:39 AM
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Wer didn't get to the petting zoo and honestly, my daughter could not have cared less about the zoo. She did like the monkeys.

It was just ok to be honest with you. unfortunately we went on a holiday weekend so it was SOOOO crowded, which also took away from it. you didn't miss anything, really.
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Old Sep 5th, 2008, 11:05 AM
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<<you didn't miss anything, really.>>

Most kids I've taken to the CP zoo really love the penguins and the polar bears (if they are swimming).
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Old Sep 5th, 2008, 11:28 AM
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Thanks for posting this Lee! I'm sending it to my sister---I've been begging her to bring my nephew up.

Glad to hear that it was one of your best trips ever with your sun. There's certainly plenty to keep kids entertained...
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Old Sep 5th, 2008, 12:07 PM
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fair enough ellenem. I think had we gone on a less crowded day that wasn't so hot it might have been better. The penguin area reeked and we couldn't wait to get out of there. The polar bears were not swimming, but they were cool to see. I will say though that my DD had a MUCH better time at the Boston aquarium- i just found the CP zoo a little disappointing.
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Old Sep 5th, 2008, 12:34 PM
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Yes, Central Park Zoo is small and can be very crowded with visitors. When it was renovated in the 1980s careful consideration was made to what kind of animals could live comfortable on the limited acreage. Most people are amazed that there is a zoo in Manhattan at all.

NYC's best zoo experience is at the expansive Bronx Zoo, but most visitors don't want to travel that far. Similarly, the Queens and Brooklyn/Prospect Park Zoos are small and offer a limited array of animals appropriate to the acreage.
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Old Sep 5th, 2008, 03:55 PM
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Katie--you've got to get your sister to bring your nephew up--what a fun time he'll have! I've already got a list of things to do when we come back with our son. We hope to come back and take him to Times Square (quick visit!), maybe the South Street Seaport area, Battery Park, Union Square area, more of Central Park, and countless other things I can't recall right now!

emcash, thanks for sharing your honest thoughts on the zoo. Zoos are tricky sometimes, aren't they? Too big and our toddlers wear out, too small and parents feel like we didn't get our $$'s worth!

And, ellenem, thanks for your ideas about what kids enjoy at the zoo and about the other big zoos in the area. We've heard about how great the Bronx zoo is but also heard it's huge. We're not quite ready to tackle that with our 2 year old. Hopefully, we'll get a chance on future trips.
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Old Apr 3rd, 2009, 10:17 AM
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I think you will get more answers if you start a new thread asking about strollers. Sorry - have no info - my kids are in college/law school.
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Old Apr 3rd, 2009, 11:32 AM
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This is an old thread I never saw, and it's a fun read. Although my baseball playing son is an adult now, I really loved this anecdote:

"Our son kept asking to see “Jeter” and “go down there” as he pointed to the field. We told him Jeter was working right now and we’d see him after the game—ha, ha! As we walked down the stadium to exit, my husband approached a perfect stranger and asked him to pretend to be Jeter and talk to our son for a minute. This guy was great and he did it!"
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