Family Travel Review – New York City, Part 2 of 2

<<Continued from Part 1>>

4. Things to do:

* Apple store.  Toy store for adults.  🙂 Plan to spend some time in here, but there are many hands-on displays to keep the kids occupied.

* Hershey World in Times Square.  If you need a chocolate fix.  They offer varieties not often found in stores, give free samples, and if you agree to take their survey they pay in chocolate. Kids love this stop!

* Midtown Comics comic book store.  A secret hidden away off of Times Square.  Take the small stairs up to this amazing haven for all superheroes.  It feels like something out of a movie.  Very cool.

* LEGO store and Nintendo World in Rockefeller Plaza.  Go here when parents are ready to decompress for a while.  It’s also a good diversion from the site-seeing for kids – if they brought their spending money. J

* American Girl store.  This store has multiple floors, and you’d better like the color pink.  They have a restaurant with all the bells and whistles.  Nice bathrooms.  Pricey, but fun to do once with a special little girl or young lady or those wishing to relive their childhood. ;0

* Grand Central Station.  Fun to walk through and say you’ve been there.  Who knows, a flash mob may break out any time!

* We rode the escalators in Macy’s.  I’m not a shopper (and definitely not for those prices), so we just looked and left.

* Little Italy.  Prettiest at night.  A small strip that packs a big punch.  Lots of places to eat and shop.  Product prices are negotiable most places – great for a good deal!

* Chinatown.  We got lost here and wound up on a back street that smelled like rotten fish.  But, on the front side of the street it is amazing to see the different foods offered.  Definitely worth visiting.  Once, we approached a fire truck decked out Chinatown style and asked for a photo.  The firefighters were more than happy to let the kids jump up on the front bumper and these community heroes hammed it up for our photo.

* Ice skating – Wollman Rink versus Rockefeller Plaza.  Rockefeller is nice, but is small and always crowded.  We prefer Wollman Rink (owned by Donald Trump).  It is nestled in a picturesque setting in Central Park a short walk off the beaten path.  Typical skating prices.  Food is expensive for what you get.  There is a fee to watch and not skate.  This is a great rink and very fun to do in NYC.

* Staten Island Ferry cheap and a break from walking.  Nice water tour – much less that the “official” water tours.

* Ground Zero – we visited in 2006, so there was still a lot of damage and construction was under way.  It bothered us that vending carts capitalized on this tragedy selling patriotic paraphernalia around it.  This is something very humbling to pay respects here, and we look forward to going back and seeing what it looks like now.

* Central Park playgrounds.  There are many playground scattered throughout Central Park.  A great way to let the kids run off some energy.  Map them online!

5. Accommodations:

If you can do it, stay in Times Square.  That’s where all the action is.  Our favorites…

We also have family nearby, so staying with them and day-tripping in is the best financially and more fun with more people!  When driving in, we take the Lincoln Tunnel, which spits us out at the mouth of a public parking garage “Park & Lock” on 42nd & Dyer St.  From there, we walk or take the subway.

6. Transporation:

Walking is cheapest and good for you. J Wear comfortable shoes.  I love my Lands End all-weather mocs (I have both brown and black – goes with anything I wear in NYC).  In this case, I think brand name does make a difference.  Then I add memory foam insoles in them by Dr. Scholl’s and I can walk the entire day without tired feet (which is typically 12hrs of walking with our crew).

Subways – we’ve personally never had an issue on any subway.  Some are definitely nicer than others, like the express subways, and some are pretty gross.  Once my shoe actually stuck to the floor and wouldn’t lift up.  Bleck.  But, as we make the most of our ride time discussing our next target stop, New Yorkers are very happy to help give us the best route, offer suggestions on where to eat, etc.  They are also very helpful picking from the myriad of subway routes.  Be prepared to get on at least one wrong line.  You get off and start over.  No biggie.

Taxis – We have only taken one taxi just to save a very long walk from upper Manhattan to lower, and yeah, it was kind of fun.  The taxi driver laughed at me as I was feeling all Law &Order-ish zipping in a taxi  through the streets of NYC (that was on first trip there – now we plan our routes better).

Personal vehicle – when we drive in, we tour the city at the end of the day at our leisure.  It’s free except for gas and lets us get a scope on what we want to further explore next time.

7. Dress code:

Yep, anything goes.  On our first trip, I asked my husband, who periodically travels on business there, what I should pack to “blend in.”  I didn’t want to stand out as a tourist.  He smiled and said, “It doesn’t matter what you wear, because the camera hanging around your neck gives you away.”  Rats.  He also said, anyone who walks down the street looking up and around at the sites – tourist.  Oh well.  Still, I dress seasonally, but try to step it up a notch to help camouflage the camera.

Useful Apps – Have2P (it locates nearby restroom facilities) and subway apps.

We’ll add more as we return back to this beloved city as we tend to return to our favorites and add one or two new things each time.  We hear there is a great fish market and zoos to visit.  Can’t wait to go back!  We’d love to hear your favorite finds!

Next review, Orlando, Florida.

2 thoughts on “Family Travel Review – New York City, Part 2 of 2

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