Oh New York, New York. I love you New York. I lived there for 10 years and have called it home more than once. As Marcelo is the only true New Yorker in the family, he had a good excuse to tag along my recent trip to the Big Apple.
Following our Mom-and-Son escape to New York City, here’s BozAround 10 New York Faves in Five Days with a Family:
FAVE #1. Climb up (so to say) the Empire State Building. A tourist cliche, yes, but the best way to kickstart any stay in the city.
– Choose your day and check that the sky is rather blue before going up the ESB otherwise you’ll end up in the clouds.
– Buy your ticket online here and spend extra for the Express to avoid the (frequent) 1h30 queue. Don’t pay extra for going higher than the 86th floor observatory, it’s not worth it.
– Even if it’s normally a no-no, let the kids chew a gum in the elevator to soothe those little ears and they’ll feel sooo cool about it.
FAVE #2. Devour a cheese burger at J.G. Mellon. All the way Upper East Side but it’s one of the best in town. And the place is very authentic and atmospheric.
– They’re not particularly child-friendly at J.G. Melon although the restaurant is packed with families at lunch time. If you come in with a stroller, be prepared to fold it, or plan on eating on the terrace (we’re talking New York terrace ie. the sidewalk!)
– And while you’re all the way Uptown Manhattan, visit the stunning Guggenheim Museum (we were too early for the Maurizio Cattelan upcoming exhibition, which is sure to be a hit with children too. Opening Nov 4th), the Metropolitan Museum (no fixed price ticket, recommended donation instead. Good to know when you’ve run low on $$) or the Whitney Museum of American Art. They’re all amaaaazing (with that New York accent on the aaaaazing).
hmmm…my New York cheesecake, above, at J.G. Mellon. Lucky me Marcelo was full after his burger.
FAVE #3. Learn about the Big Bang theory at the Rose Center. This addition to the Natural History Museum is one of the most impressive planetarium on earth.
– Read this beforehand if you don’t want to sound as clueless as I was.
FAVE #4. Amaze in all the cranes and constructions going around in the Financial District and at Ground Zero
And while you’re there, pay a visit to Occupy Wall Street and tell me how to explain a 5 year-old what Become Your Dream written on a garbage bin really means. You’ll be right by the Memorial to the September 11th victims, which can be visited too.
Marcelo hiding behind his very cool new Bat Hat from Oeuf
– Don’t bother buying that New York City Pass. You’ll waist money as you still have to queue for the ESB and for the Statue of Liberty even though you buy the tickets in advance and you’re forced to buy a bunch.
FAVE #6. Let them indulge in a $2 hot dog. Marcelo had one for breakfast as we walked past the Occupy Wall Street site, and another one for lunch at noon at Bubby’s. And I am French and I said Ok. Oh la la…
– If you can’t bear the thought of having a street hot dog, go for lunch to Bubby’s, a TribeCa (downtown Manhattan) institution for yummy homemade meals 24/7. Hot Dogs and other goodies on the kids menu, and a very good Chicken Caesar salad for the health-conscious in you.
FAVE #7. Play in Central Park, preferably on a sunny w/e if you want to feel like a true New Yorker. There is a big playground just off the 6th Avenue entrance but beware, it’s not securely gated. There’s also the ice skating rink in winter, the zoo…
at FAO Schwartz above left, and reuniting with friends in the Park, right.
– If you want nice and clean restrooms before heading to Central Park, the Plaza Hotel concierge won’t even notice you taking the 2nd floor elevator! And you can say to your daughter, this is where Eloise at the Plaza took place [instead of indulging in this extravagant (and slightly ridiculous??) experience, designed by Betsey Johnson, for $1,500 a night. This is New York, where anything goes].
– And just across the street from the Plaza, on 5th Avenue, you can pay a visit to F.A.O. Schwartz (no strings attached) and also check your emails with free wifi at the beautiful Apple store (glass cube) underground.
FAVE #8. Turn and turn and turn on Jane’s Carrousel in Dumbo, Brooklyn (Down Under the Manhattan Bridge Overpass). There’s been a lot of additions to the New York landscape since I last visited, but this is my favourite one by far. Jane’s Carrousel is a completely restored old wooden carrousel, donated by a New York lover to the city. It seats right by the water, on the Brooklyn side, with stunning views to Manhattan and it’s enclosed in an incredible glasshouse designed by French architect Jean Nouvel. Amaaaazing. The whole revamp of Brooklyn Bridge Park is worth a visit. Dumbo is a wonderful little neighborhood not so far from Williamsburg and Brooklyn Heights and it’s nice to combine a visit to these 3 areas – they have a lot to offer and the views on Manhattan are stunning. My favorite time of the day is at dawn.
– Marvel at the art installation currently on display behind the carrousel.
FAVE #9. Shop til you Drop at any of those places which I visit each time I am in the city (it’s all children’s as you can see…thats what being a mum is about i guess).
– In TriBeCa (which is family-territory): Bu and the Duck (well, don’t actually start there because you’ll drop immediately! but it’s oh so beautiful), Steven Alan across the street (a one stop shop for the family), and the new Crewcuts around the corner.
– In Nolita: the little Sweet William Manhattan outpost. And many more which you will just stumble upon and won’t resist…
FAVE #10. Walk up and down Midtown Manhattan and look up in the Sky Oh So High
BozAround tip: if you can still squeeze in one, visit the MOMA, one of my favourite actually (udner 16 don’t pay).
and that’s when I heard:
Maman, these are just scribbles, my feet are hurting. i wanna go home.
And off we went back home. Five days in New York gave Marcelo a great overview and feel for his city.
One last tip…Be prepared with good walking shoes and some $$ in your pocket!!