September 2009 I felt in love with New York City. That it is gonna take me another 8 years to come back, I wouldn’t have thought! In December 2017 we took our chance of „short distance“. We grabbed the kids, packed the car and drove down! Here is what we did, enjoyed and recommend!
DAY ONE – discover the city by feet
The hotel we stayed at was at the triangle Soho – Little Italy – China Town. So it was very easy for us to enter the fray. The plan was to stroll around, soak up the city vibes while crossing China Town to reach Brooklyn Bridge. Walk over to Brooklyn and take a boat back to Manhattan. Wait and see how much energy will be left and how to continue!
Said and done!
Our walk to Brooklyn
Sun didn’t shine at all, but this didn’t stop our enthusiasm. We started direction Little Italy, taking the stroller out of the car and then turned to China Town. Following a real street map! Just being in the streets again, after so many years I was in my element. I felt my wanderlust, felt alive and free. Big J wasn’t as happy at the beginning, but we bribed her right away with some peanuts at one of the booths. The little one was comfy on my back. NYC is full of street art, which I love. It breathes life into the streets and their buildings! Even on grey days! Those who have been to New York, did you notice, that even fire hydrants are painted?
We took it slow, stopped here and there. Had a coffee and a snack. Followed our instincts, street signs and the map to get to Brooklyn Bridge. The big one wasn’t that amused about walking so much, but sometimes kids have to follow. Her time and interests were meant to be satisfied the next day. Lucky her she is light wait and her little sister was in the carrier, so she could rest every now and than in the stroller. Arriving at Brooklyn Bridge my heart was jumping. I wanted to do this for 8 years with my hubby! Regarding the fact, that it was a weekday in low-season, it was quite easy to cross. Once we reached the middle of the bridge, even Big J jumped out, as she finally had a view at the Statue of Liberty. One thing she wanted to see!
The way back
At the bottom of Brooklyn Bridge stairways we had a hot dog, literally a hot dog – I didn’t expect to get something that spicy when I ordered. Driven by hunger we finished. Turned right and went to the waterfront to catch a ferry. New York is expensive, but there are ways to see it all and save money. One option is to take one of the regular ferries going to Manhattan/Brooklyn. Choose your route wisely and you will see most of New York’s (Manhattan/Brooklyn’s) skyline. Passing Brooklyn Bridge, getting close to the Statue of Liberty and more. Up to 60min boat ride, depending were you get on, for only $2,75 – unbeatable!
And how could it be otherwise, sometimes I am just a woman and mix up right and left, in that special case East and West. We ended up at the other side of Manhattan, different than planned. Fortunately we are flexible and just went to Rockefeller Center from the other direction. Arriving there we only wanted to catch the metro to get back to our hotel. In Little Italy we stopped to have dinner. No recommendation at this point – restaurant was full, normally a good sign, but food was overpriced, salty and full of oil. We bought us a bottle of wine after and enjoyed this noble drop at the hotel. Falling a sleep wasn’t a problem at all, after a full day out.
Day TWO – rainy days are made for ART
Due to the fact our night wasn’t that restful as it should have been, we started slowly. That day it was not just grey, but rainy, too. As if we would have known it before, we planned to go to the Children’s Museum of the Arts. Big J´s passion is art. This is when she is able to concentrate for hours. We researched, that they have a section for the small ones too, so we went. What can I say? It was fantastic!!!! The big one went from one activity to the next. The little one did some colouring and a little drum session. Us became there assistants and we escaped the rain without getting bored!
When we stepped out 4h later, it had stopped raining. Spontaneously we decided to make the High Line Walk. Of course we chose to walk to the entrance. We really wanted to get as much as possible of the NYC vibes. You would not expect otherwise, it started raining again when we reached the entrance. As it were only a few drops we went in. I, we really enjoyed the walk. Nice city views and what I liked most was, that we became short term „voyeurs“ and could have a look into offices and apartments. From time to time I enjoy to catch an eye on how others live. It inspires me and I always go home with new ideas for home decoration. How ever, the farther we went, the more it rained. We took the elevator at 30th street and headed direction Penn Station to get back to Soho.
Conclusion and my personal tips
One day we will come back! I still love this city and feel like I wouldn’t have seen anything yet. NYC is manageable with small kids as there is a lot do. It’s quite easy to strike a balance between your interests and kids needs. Even a walking tour can be fun, if we include little extras. In summer there are so many options for fun outdoor activities and in winter the interactive museums or the Lego store will do it!
What I recommend:
- For smaller kids take a stroller, it helped us a lot to distress! Sidewalks are good and metro is accessible.
- Think about what you wanna do/see before a bit and try to find a hotel close to at least one of your must sees.
- Don’t drive your car. We parked ours for the whole time and got a special rate. Or even better fly in or come by train.
- Better you don’t expect high standard just by paying high prices!
- Keep in mind airbnb has legal restrictions in NYC!!! Booking an airbnb is still an option, but only when you share the apartment with the owner the time you stay there!
- Bring your best walking shoes!
- Do yourself a favour and don’t plan to many activities! Less is more!
- For skyline views, I highly recommend to take the ferries during the day! At night you have great views from Brooklyn!
- Keep your eyes open and you will find many little details along the way which will cheer you up!
Last but not least – come here and enjoy it!