Thursday, July 28, 2011

New York - sightseeing hits with kids

When planning our trip, I wanted to make sure DS would get the most of the city's amazing sights and attractions, but it was equally important to find things particular fun for kids, as well as some calm activities.. full on sightseeing can easily get tiring and overwhelming after a couple of days.

A lovely calm place we all enjoyed was the Abby Albrich Rockefeller sculpture garden at the MoMA, just a few steps away from where we stayed.

DS loved Yoko Ono's Wish tree ..

and participated with great enthusiasm (he thinks slightly less of it in retrospect, as a Nintendo DS3D still has not materialised, lol)

the The Modern restaurant in the background, overlooking the sculpture garden

MoMA's little sister, the P.S.1, can be reached by train (line No 7), which presents the great opportunity to make Grand Central Station the departing point of a short trip into Queens, which DS of course loved. We planned to have lunch at the Oyster Bar beforehand, but as it was closed we went to the Cipriani Dolci instead, which had the added bonus of overlooking the magnificent main hall of the station.

The MoMA P.S.1, not a collection, but an exhibiting space for experimental art

the 'Hole at P.S.1' and 'Rooms' expositions

The outside space offers more exhibits, but also places to relax, watergames, ping pong tables and sand boxes, which makes it a great place to go with children of all ages.

Most of the original architecture of the building (a former school) is preserved, the exhibitions take place in former classrooms, and the staircases were left untouched

DS was absolutely dazzled by Times Square, and was keen to have breakfast one day at Planet Hollywood. It was a luke warm experience, we all preferred the 'local' breakfast cafe. An evening show was a must, and if we hadn't already seen 'Lion King' in London a couple of years ago, it would have been on top of the list. Instead we saw Spiderman: Turn off the dark, which DS loved. The flying, special effects and projections were stunning, and overall a great success, even though lacking in great songs. Another hit was the Harry Potter exposition at the Discovery Times Square, featuring props and sets used in the films. The perfection and attention to detail was truly impressive, and for those familar with the books or films it is a fun place to visit.

We all loved the afternoon we've spent in Central Park. We picked up lunch at a deli, rented bikes (you can get them with baskets too, but you have to ask), and did the big round. DS spotted a group of baby racoons on the way, one of the last thing he would have expected to find in a big

The Intrepid aircraft carrier (and Growler submarine) on the west side of Manhattan was very popular with the boys, slightly less fascinating for me though. It was unbelievably hot that day, and when going next door to Pier 84, DS headed straight to the play-fountain, and cooled himself off by getting completely soaked, while DH and enjoyed a cold drink on the shaded terrasse of a cafe. From there, we took the Water Taxi (the hop on and off is great) for a 90 minute boat trip round the tip of Manhatten, and enjoyed stunning waterfront views of the skyline. A fun alternative would have been a Duck tour, but we did not get round to it.

We got off the Water Taxi at Pier 17/South Street Seaport, an area with great views on Brooklyn Bridge, and bustling with shops and restaurants

Looking the skyline from above was a must, and when going to the Observation Center of the Empire State Building, we also went to see the 'New York Sky Ride' (located on the 2nd floor) a motion-animated film which lets you explore New York by zooming through at breakneck speed (a definite hit with DS). In terms of best views, we preferred the Top of the Rocks' (on top of the Rockefeller Center). The ride on the lift up to the top is an attraction to itself, the ceiling is made of glass, and little blue lights illuminate the tunnel all the way up to the top.

Stepping outside the Rockefeller Center, you see the Lego Flagship Store, (according to DS, a kid's equivalent to FSH) which has the world's tallest 'Pick a brick' wall. DS, who has always been a huge fan of Lego, landed in paradise..

Another shopping favorite of DS' was the Apple Store on Fifth Avenue, and of course the legendary FAO Schwarz toy shop (right next door), both a little further down the road, on 767 5th Avenue

The Tiffany shop, only a few buildings further on, was a surprise hit. DS discovered the display with the Tiffany Diamond, (the world's biggest fancy diamond, a stunning 128 carat.) We were all taken by it's beauty and magnificence.

Because of the jet lag we woke up so much earlier than ususal, but made the most of it by visiting the most popular attractions in the early mornings (Empire State, Top of the Rocks, Statue of Libery), when there were hardly any queues. Another great help was to have purchased the New York pass upfront, which gives access to most attractions in a fast lane (no fast lane for the security checks though). Going on a hop-on-hop-off bus tour during the first couple of days is a great way to get an overview of a city without having to walk for miles, and you can get off at all sights of interest to explore them in depth. So far, we have done this in every city we visited with DS, and it has always been a huge success.

MoMA 11 West 53rd Street, New York, NY 10019, Tel: 212-708-9400

The Modern restaurant 9 West 53rd Street, New York, NY 10019, Tel: 212-333-1220

Cipriani Dolci at Grand Central Station, 89 East 42nd Street
Between Park & Vanderbilt Avenues, New York, New York 10017, Phone: 212-973-0999

MoMA P.S.1 22-25 Jackson Ave. at the intersection of 46th Avenue, Long Island City, NY 11101
Phone: 718-784-2084

Intrepid Museum: Pier 86, 12th Ave. & 46th Street

New York Water Taxi West 44th Street (and the Hudson River, next to the Intrepid)

Bike and roll bike rentals: At the Merchant's Gate entrance to Central Park, just NE of Columbus Circle.

Lego Flagship store: 620 Fifth Avenue, New York, NY 10020, phone: 212- 245-5973

Apple Store on Fifth Avenue, 767 Fifth Ave. New York City, NY 10153, Phone: 212-336-1440,

FAO Schwarz,
767 5th Avenue, New York, NY 10153, Phone: 212-644-9400

Tiffany's, Fifth Avenue and 57th Street, New York, NY 10022, Phone: 212-757-8000

New York Pass


  1. Great photos and report! Thank you for sharing! I love NYC! We plan the next trip there this autumn.

  2. Have a great trip to NYC in autumn, dear Tereza. How wonderful to escape the heat, wishing you a most fun time.

  3. Lovely travelogue of NYC! It looks like DS had a blast and a good time was had by all,sans jet lag! Again, thank you for sharing your family time , dear MT. Happy Days indeed,
    T xx

  4. Laura in GeorgiaJuly 29, 2011 at 8:45 AM

    Someday I'll get to New York visit the mothership of my retail world, Tiffany's! I do have a diamond necklace that came from that store so something in the house has resided on Fifth Avenue. LOL

    You really did plan the trip well to fit all of that in despite the heat.

  5. Once again thank you for sharing your family trip with us dear MT. It looks like you made the most of it and that you all had a wonderful time.

  6. Glad you enjoyed the travelogue, my dear Trudye, Laura in Georgia and booksnchoclote. Many thanks for your sweet comments, so nice to see you saying hello. Wishing you a lovely weekend <3

    Here’s to happy days, my dear Trudye. Champagne toasts and warm hugs to you xx

    Your necklace must be so beautiful and special, dear Laura. A little sister of the big rock!

    It certainly was one of the busiest vacations, my dear booksnchocolate. Those idle pre-kid holidays seem to have become a distant memory, LOL.

  7. It looks like a wonderful trip MaiTai, with something for everyone (even though I can appreciate that the aircraft carrier and submarine weren't your favourite! :) ) I've never been to NY but would love to go one day.

    I hope you are having a lovely week relaxing after an action-packed trip! Are you busy with your lavender harvest this year, or was that finished before you left?

    Melusine x

    PS: And I LOVED your capsule travel wardrobe from the previous post. Mr Melusine and I are off to the south of France in just over a week for a little holiday and I'll be using your post as a basis for my packing. We can't wait!

  8. It looks like you saw the best the City has to offer kids, in spite of the weather, which really refuses to cooperate this year. I'm on my way there this weekend (from Washington, DC - not such a long trip). I will have to try Maze. Your photos of the food look delicious!

    As always, your posts are an inspiration! Cheers!

  9. My dear MaiTai

    Thank you for all this precious information about New York, when travelling with a child. You look fabulous wearing the big scarf and your smile while holding your DS tells me that you were enjoying yourself. Have a great weekend! Lots of Summer hugs, Manuela

  10. Oh what a fab trip to NYC it looks great! I totally agree about Top of The Rock - that was really cool because it affords such a great view of the ESB! And yes the lift is amazing too! The Tiffany diamond is indeed fabulous. The racoons look so sweet what a "find"! You brought back some memories. Thank's for sharing, SA:-))

  11. I'll have to join in and say that your trip looked wonderful! I still don't understand how you can still look so lovely in the heat, when I would have wilted.

    Also, thank you for the packing post. They will come in handy real soon.

    Orange hugs, dear

  12. Thanks so much for sharing your vacation with us. Wonderful memories for all of you, and especially your son, I imagine. And you look elegant, despite the heat!

  13. My dearest MaiTai,
    What a very special treat to be able to share your NY sightseeing highlights. I'm so delighted your DS found fun and happy memories for his first trip to the Big Apple. Such a rich and full menu of activities - so wonderful to see and experience an abundant variety from many angles and views. Love the many great shots of your DS - hanging his wish on the Wish Tree is too sweet. And what great eyes he has for spotting the adorable raccoons - isn't NY full of surprises?
    The Tiffany Diamond is truly mesmerizing - the floating display is simply breathtaking. As usual, you look absolutely amazing, my dear. And as dear Manuela said, I especially loved the happy souvenir family photo at the Empire State, so joyful. Thank you for always including the links and the contact infos to the places visited - so very kind of you and helpful for so many.
    Wishing you a most wonderful weekend, sending you much love and happiest summer hugs xx

  14. Many thanks, dear Melusine! The last couple of weeks were action-packed too, but today has been lovely and tranquil. Wishing you a most wonderful trip to the South of France. I’ll be away in about a week too, until the 14th, it would have been lovely to meet otherwise.

    Hope you are having a great time, dear Jocelyn, and that the weather is not quite as as when we were there.. Wishing you a lovely dinner at the Maze!

    Hope you had a great weekend too, my dear Manuela. The big scarf is so light and airy, I love it too. Glad you liked our souvenir pic! DS’s excitement was infectuous, it was taken just before going up the ESB. Hope the infos will come handy one day soon <3

    How fun you enjoyed both rocks too, dear Scarf Addict! ITA with the views on the ESB, it is truly a fabulous sight.

    Orange hugs right back to you, my dear CS. The temperatures were very similar to the South of France at the time we left, so it was not such a huge shock. Really enjoyed the wonderful air-conditioning everywhere though!

    Many thanks for the lovely comment, dear NiniKnows. So glad you enjoyed the post. :)

    My dearest Scarf Enthusiast, your gentle and evocative descriptions brought so many sweet memories rushing back. The trip has made such an extraordinary and strong impression on DS, it was a joy to see the Big Apple through his eyes. Even though we have done so much, it is wonderful to know that we only scratched the surface and there are so many things left to do for another time. Hope you had a most wonderful weekend too <3

  15. Thanks for sharing pics and information about NYC, you and your family look had a wonderful holiday.
    Have a good rest and lovely days.

  16. Just stumbled across this site searching the internet for a perfect wardrobe for Paris. I am totally inspired by this amazing lady! Thank you! x x

  17. Many thanks, my dear Henrika! Very glad you liked the pictures ;-)

    Welcome to you my blog, A. Hope you'll continue to enjoy it here.