Sunday, March 25, 2012

NYC, Family Style Part 2: Activities—Central Park and Times Square

New York City, Family Style, Part 1 was all about lodging, eating, and getting around. That was really just a prelude to this section. We went to New York to see and do stuff, after all!

I planned out our itinerary well in advance, again by perusing the internet for topics like "best things to do in NYC." I did not order any tickets in advance except for the 9/11 Memorial. The tickets are free, but you'll need to reserve your time and print out the tickets before going. I didn't bother with any of the New York Passes because I calculated ahead of time that they would not save us any money. But if you are there for more than three days or plan to cram a lot more in, a city pass might be well worth the money.

I also borrowed three books from the library that were tremendously helpful once we got there:

 Frommer's New York City Day by Day, Frommer's New York City: Spend Less, See More, and Fodor's New York City (the 2009 edition was the only one available at our library). All three were very helpful for navigating, travel tips, restaurant ideas, etc. They all had maps included, which was extremely helpful. {Also, each one had background information about the attractions. Unfortunately, I totally forgot about this. I had planned to enrich my children's lives by reading history to them, but alas: caught up in the now of the moment, I forgot.}

Amazingly, I planned perfectly. OK, so I could never have predicted that the weather would be so accommodating, and I might be telling a completely different story had the weather been cold and rainy rather than sunny and unseasonably warm (upper 60s) for March in NYC. But I planned our activities with plenty of room for flexibility, and that suits our family perfectly.

So here's what we did with two and one-half days and three nights in NYC!

Sunday afternoon-evening:
We arrived around 4 p.m., settled quickly into our room, and then took the subway to Central Park. We didn't really intend this, but we entered right at Strawberry Fields, which was on our "must see" list.

Then we just started walking, and Central Park behaved perfectly for us: there were several groups of musicians out busking (including a Beatles trio right in Strawberry fields), all kinds of music going on, dancing, and a general thrill that New Yorkers must feel on a sunny spring day in March. Here's a little taste of the sights and sounds of Central Park:

We spent a couple of hours meandering through the park, mostly watching people, and then we grabbed a bite from a street vendor, took a short trip into FAO Schwartz just for the heck of it, and then headed over to Rockefeller Center and Times Square. And wow! NYC at night was everything we expected: busy, colorful, and bright. We loved all the lights and tourists and especially all the people speaking different languages (and the famed Naked Cowboy, or at least a look-alike). What a fabulous experience!

We were absolutely exhausted after this, so we headed back to our hotel by 9 p.m. Total cost for our half-day in NYC: about $40 for food (street vendor and bakery/coffee) and $16 for the subway.

Coming up next: the Brooklyn Bridge, 9/11 Memorial, and Top of the Rock.

1 comment:

  1. Can't wait to hear more about your trip. We're planning to go to NYC in August with dd 15 and ds 14.


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