Go Back  Fodor's Travel Talk Forums > Destinations > United States
Reload this Page >

Trip Report: A week in New York City with Kids

Trip Report: A week in New York City with Kids

Old Aug 17th, 2010, 08:37 PM
Original Poster
Join Date: Dec 2004
Posts: 105
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Trip Report: A week in New York City with Kids

This is a trip report of our week in NYC with two boys. We have been to NYC many times, but we'd never "done" it with kids or worried about what they would like, so this was almost a new trip for us. So many folks gave us such great advice, so I thought you'd want to know how our journey ended up. In a word: wonderful!

Touring Day 1: We were at Top of the Rock right on time with our 10am tickets in hand. It was an easy attraction with no lines at all. The kids got a real sense of the size of the city, and they liked seeing the "Entire State Building" from this view.
We left the TOTR and walked around Rockefeller Center. We hit Nintendo World (I have boys), the LEGO store (boys who like legos), and then enjoyed playing around the fountains. We walked up to Central Park South and had lunch at DiMaggio's. It was air conditioned, quiet, and tasty, if not inexpensive.
After lunch my oldest son and my husband went to the Yankee's game, and I took my younger son to Central Park. We hit the Central Park Zoo, Tisch Children's Zoo, and played in the Ramble. We also got ice cream and walked along the mall, watching the buskers and declining to have our images sketched.
I don't recall who suggested it, but we did the $.51 penny mementos everywhere we went. The boys now have a nice little collection of different pennies, and I think that was an excellent inexpensive souvenir.
We met back up and had a light dinner in our apartment (we were house-sitting for a friend in Manhattan). Then we went to see LMAO, an off-Broadway improv show. It was a blast! The kids loved it, and got up on stage with the actors. The show was funny for adults and kids alike, and while they didn't use any off-color words, they talked about funny and awkward situations (like things you should never do on a first date). The comedians made up songs on the spot, and even sang in harmony. I was impressed.
Day 2: We walked around lower Manhattan. We started off at South Street Seaport. Yes, I know it's a tourist trap, but my kids like ships and they had several there. We bought tickets to tour the Peking and the Light Boat, and thoroughly enjoyed both boats. (The caretakers for these permanently moored ships actually live on them. Neat, eh?)
After that, we walked to Wall Street, checked out a bunch of cool public art, and saw the George Washington statue and where he became president. We also saw Trinity Church.
We had lunch at the White Horse Tavern (not the one in the village, but the one near the Staten Island Ferry Terminal). The food was excellent and cheap, and the waiter was nice to the kids. We made it to the Ferry and took it over and back just to see the Statue of Liberty and talk about Ellis Island. We'll have to go back and tour these sites in detail when the boys are a little older, but for now, they seemed to enjoy seeing them both from the ferry.
We walked back up to Ground Zero and looked at the construction from the second-floor windows at the World Financial Center. It made us all cry.
We were tired that night and just had pizza, but it was good NY style pizza!
Day 3: We spent the entire day at the American Museum of Natural History. We took the subway and didn't wait in too long of a line. My kids LOVED the dinosaurs on the 4th floor, and we also enjoyed the Gem collection. We stopped for lunch at EJ's Luncheonette (a fodorite's suggestion), and had a great meal there. We had breakfast for the second time that day, and it was better for lunch.
We went back to the museum and spent most of the afternoon at the Rose Center and in the planetarium. We could've easily spent even more time- we never made it to the 2nd floor exhibits at the AMNH, but it was closing time so we left.
We walked across Central Park and ended up at FAO Schwarz. It was the hit you would expect, and we all enjoyed it.
We had dinner that night at IL Cortile on Mulberry Street. The New York Magazine restaurant guide rated it the least objectionable among Italian places in little Italy, and we thought it was expensive but delicious. We slept like logs that night.
Day 4: We had timed entry tickets for the Intrepid Air, Sea, and Space Museum, and were there bright and early. We first toured the submarine and then the Concorde. We finished with the Intrepid itself and the many planes on its flight deck. We could've spent much more time here- I only budgeted four hours- but wish we could've spent the day. My boys loved it (and so did my husband). The tour guides they have in the yellow shirts did a tremendous job. Everywhere we went, they were there asking if we had questions and explaining what we were looking at. They went out of their way to engage the kids, and I think they are what made this so worthwhile. The other highlight of this museum is the "Explorium" for kids on the hangar deck. Kids could crawl all over tons of equipment, from helicopters to space capsules to climbing up a ship's net. That was all very well done, as was the kamikaze multi-media presentation. Well worth hanging out there to watch the whole thing. My only negative comment is that the au bon pain on board the ship was difficult to navigate, slow, and expensive.
After the slow expensive lunch, we set out for our 2pm King Tut tour. We like mummies, and the kids have listened to some of the Teaching Company's lectures on King Tut. They were ready to see his treasures, and while they both liked it, I think my older child got the most out of it. I saw the original King Tut exhibit in the 70's, and while this is not of that order of magnitude, it was still very impressive. I liked the way they had films and maps displayed to give the items context. Tut's family tree was interesting, too.
We stopped at Junior's (off of Shubert Alley) for milkshakes after Tut. Yum.
There was a free show called "We the People" that was billed as a musical for kids, so we hit that in the West Village after the Tut Exhibit. We had time to kill between picking up the tickets and show time, so we visited Cowgirls, and I had a great margarita. We liked it so much that we went back for dinner after the show. The food was tasty and the portions were huge- we over-ordered and I took some back to the apartment. The show itself was very good and age-appropriate for my kids. Afterwards they could name the three branches of government and understood checks and balances (where each branch is represented by a wrestler and the presidential branch trumps congress with a big veto punch, but then congress does a cool move called an override to take down the president, for example).
Day 5: We were tired and got going late. We did stop for bagels at Kossar's bialys and went by the Doughnut Plant for some of the most delicious baked goods on earth. The crème Brule doughnut was to die for, and the person behind the counter was so nice to us! Some rude woman was in line in front of us, and she yelled at this poor man for not understanding her order, even though they both spoke with heavy accents (I think they were not from the same country of origin). I think he appreciated the way the kids were so happy to be getting a doughnut, and he posed for photo with us, with a big smile.
We ended up having lunch at the Carnegie Deli (way way way overpriced and crowded, but my husband wanted to go, and hey, it's vacation) and then walked around Times Square. We hit the M&M store and the big Toys R Us, and the kids loved seeing themselves on the jumbotron. We also said hi to a police horse and had our picture taken with a person dressed as the statue of liberty (for a dollar). We also went back to Rockefeller Center and had some gelato.
That evening we had tickets to the Flying Karamazov Brother's 4Play. These folks juggled everything you can think of, including dry ice, and giant knife, a skillet, and a fish. They also sing and play instruments. It was a hit! We had dinner before the show at Panchito's Mexican. We sat outside and watched the West Village walk by, which for us, was tremendous fun. After the show we had crepes from Creperie NYC. We had strawberry and chocolate, and it was delicious.
With one day of just travel time on either end of our trip, that was our week's vacation. We loved it. Thanks for all your help- we couldn't have seen nearly this much without all the fodorites' advice.
Hope this is helpful to the next person taking young boys to NYC.
RaleighLaura is offline  
Old Aug 17th, 2010, 09:26 PM
Join Date: May 2007
Posts: 1,683
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Sound like a great time. Thanks for posting. Did you get around by taxi or public transit?
live42day is offline  
Old Aug 18th, 2010, 03:16 AM
Join Date: Mar 2009
Posts: 1,391
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Sounds really wonderful - you really found things to do for everyone - nice!
SueNYC is offline  
Old Aug 18th, 2010, 04:45 AM
Join Date: Aug 2003
Posts: 377
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
great post thanks alot--the WTC is very emotional,i agree--did you happen to catch a volunteer docent there ??
bigbomoho is offline  
Old Aug 18th, 2010, 06:45 AM
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 16,715
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
What a terrific report (and trip)! A few queries though...DiMaggio's for lunch? Do you mean Mickey Mantle's?
Can you please explain the $.51 penny mementos? I don't recall reading about that nor do I understand what it is you did.
mclaurie is offline  
Old Aug 18th, 2010, 06:50 AM
Join Date: Mar 2003
Posts: 10,244
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts

At tourist sights in NYC and in Central Park and across the country, there is a person selling these mementos. You provide 50 cents plus a penny, and choose a design if they have more than one. The penny is placed in the machine, the handle is turned, and the penny is squished into an oval shape with an imprint, usually something to do with the tourist locale.

ellenem is offline  
Old Aug 18th, 2010, 07:27 AM
Join Date: Aug 2003
Posts: 377
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
boy that brings back memories--we used to do that at Coney Island and Palisades park when i was a little kid (im 65 now).Nice to see the machine made it thru all these years.When i did it, it 5cents plus the penny--thanks for sharing,made me smile
bigbomoho is offline  
Old Aug 18th, 2010, 07:44 AM
Join Date: Aug 2005
Posts: 454
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Sounds like you had a great vacation! Enjoyed your report!
kansasmom is offline  
Old Aug 18th, 2010, 09:09 AM
Join Date: Apr 2009
Posts: 3,621
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
I love it when people tailor their trips to NYC towards what THEY like and want to do, not what everyone else does. Great report and thanks for posting it.
emd3 is offline  
Old Aug 18th, 2010, 03:34 PM
Join Date: Aug 2003
Posts: 2,637
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts

How nice to be house sitting for a friend - can't beat that. This is a great trip report for anyone visiting with children. Curious as to the age range of your boys.

Thanks for taking the time to post. It sounds as if you all had a wonderful time.

SandyBrit is offline  
Old Aug 18th, 2010, 05:19 PM
Original Poster
Join Date: Dec 2004
Posts: 105
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Sandy, my boys are 8 and 6. Yep, we really lucked out- my friend was a dear even before she moved to manhattan and let us housesit!
McLaurie, you're right! Sorry, got my basesball heroes mixed up. We had lunch at Mickey Mantle's. And yep, the penny mementos described above are the same we enjoyed at Central Park, the Intrepid, and several other places in the city.
We took the subway during the day, and got pretty good at it. We were on the F line and took that to a hub (Washington Square? How quickly I forget!) and usually took another line uptown. We walked alot downtown, and we took taxis at night. I wasn't worried about safety- usually we were just tired, and with four people, taxi fare wasn't that much more from the West Village to the LES than sub fare would've been.
I'm already making my list of what to do "next time"- the UN Tour, Statue of Liberty, the Met, the Bronx Zoo...
RaleighLaura is offline  
Related Topics
Original Poster
Last Post
United States
Jun 24th, 2009 10:53 AM
United States
May 2nd, 2009 07:05 PM
United States
Jul 13th, 2008 10:03 AM
United States
Apr 4th, 2007 03:21 PM
United States
May 13th, 2006 11:37 AM

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is On
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are On

Thread Tools
Search this Thread

Contact Us - Manage Preferences - Archive - Advertising - Cookie Policy - Privacy Statement - Do Not Sell or Share My Personal Information -