I go to New York often. Not like all of the time. But enough that I have “people” in NYC, like the woman who does my laser hair removal, a manicurist, and a hairstylist I actually trust to cut and style me up. In Girl World, that basically makes it my second home.
So when my kids cried because I was leaving for another trip to the Big Apple without them in September–for fun–I decided it was time to plan a trip for them to come along in October. It would be their very first time in New York and my mom was coming too.
People asked me how the trip went down with my kids, who are 5 and 6-years-old. Well, it was AWESOME! Here some reasons why…
Where to Stay
Hotel. We stayed at the Langham Place Hotel. If you get an opportunity to stay at a Langham Place Hotel, you must stay at a Langham Place Hotel. The New York Langham Place Hotel is on Fifth Ave. It’s gorgeous, located right smack dab in the middle of the city, and the entire staff, from the lovely greeters at the door, to the wonderful folks behind the front desk, to those in the restaurant, went over and above to make sure our visit was perfection.
I’m not talking clean sheets and extra towels.
I’m talking chocolate milk and candy bars upon check-in, high-fives for my kids every time we walked in and out of the hotel, quick (and very appropriate) games of tag in the lobby with my antsy kids while I checked in, and “of course,” “what can we do for you,” and “is there anything else you need” as regular vocab. Add that to the beautiful decor, spacious room (seriously, shockingly huge for NY), and delicious restaurant and in-room dining for the meals when my kids just couldn’t deal with another restaurant, and I honestly couldn’t imagine staying anywhere else. Ever. Again.
Also, for the holidays, they are hosting a special brunch called Tunes with Tina-Holiday Hit Parade featuring acclaimed musician Tina DeVaron, during which kids are welcome to decorate Xmas and Chanukah cookies. The food is delicious and the atmosphere is festive.
Oh yeah. And they have a spa that you will NEVER want to leave, but you’ll have to, because you’ve brought your kids with you and you have to go back to them at some point.
Where to Eat
Because I am who I am, eating is a big part of my travels. But because my kids are who they are, we have to negotiate all food options. I have one kid who loves to eat and another who won’t eat that much. That being said, we still hit some tourist goodies, such as…
Serendipity 3. Everyone knows Serendipity 3. The lines are long. I’m not going to lie. But we had a secret weapon, so my kids walked in like Disney Channel celebrities and sat down at a nice round table in the back. The place is a fun ol’ pile of
kitsch and my kids couldn’t have enjoyed themselves more. Especially when they brought out the frozen hot chocolate. And the french fries. And the foot long hot dog. And the chili. Let’s just say we had to do a little rearranging to get all of the plates on our table.
Max Brenner. If you hate chocolate, do NOT come here. Because this place is hands down the best place to PMS. The drinks. They’re chocolate. The breakfast. It’s mostly chocolate. Lunch? You got it, chocolate. You can order eggs, and somehow, they manage to slip chocolate into the dish somehow. And you know what? I think it’s genius. But that’s probably because I freaking LOVE chocolate. Even my son, who eats almost nothing at all, ate close to an entire bag of chocolate chunks, so everyone on Team Aaron was happy! We were also with our cousins, so that ruled. Excellent pick, cuzzies!
What to do for Play Time
Now, you’re probably thinking, ok, Jo, once you’ve slept and eaten, you’ve taken up a very short period of time in NYC, but what else are you supposed to do with your kids in the Big Apple?
Well, let me tell you, there’s plenty! Of course, when I’m with my lady friends, we shop. We spa. We eat lunch at 4 in the afternoon. These are not things that kids are willing to do, right? Well, maybe the shopping, but in very different stores. So let’s start there. My mom, who was the main event of this trip as we were celebrating her BIG birthday (I won’t give you up Mommy, don’t worry!) and I decided to hit the stores with the kids first thing.
Toys-R-Us. We walked into Toys-R-Us in Time Square, and I only wish you could have seen my kids’ faces. See, the store is 110,000 square feet and they have a 60-foot Ferris Wheel right in the middle of the store, so it’s pretty amazing. They also have an entire LEGO area–perfect for my LEGO-freak son–a life-size Barbie Dream House, a wandering magician who my kids couldn’t get enough of, a woman giving sparkle tattoos, a huge Willy Wonka Candy Store, and so much more. We probably spent 2 hours there and I’m not going to say how much money but it was worth every cent.
Disney Store. I know these stores are everywhere, but there’s something pretty awesome about being able to walk into the Disney Store after seeing those characters who wander around Time Square, charging parents to take pictures. We didn’t pay to take pictures with anyone, but we did hang at the Disney Store for a bit because they have a Mickey Mouse Clubhouse that you can climb in and out of…basically, they made the place a little interactive and our local one is not.
Broadway. My kids happen to enjoy going to theater and for months, my daughter had been begging me to take her to see Wicked. So when a friend who is actually in the Broadway production offered us the opportunity to come backstage before the performance, I jumped on the chance. It was a highlight of the trip. We showed up a little early and got to sit inside the area where all of the actors enter before the show. So of course, as each actor came inside and checked in with the manager, they were also made to check in with my daughter who asked each and every person, who are you and who do you play in Wicked? Gotta love a 5-year-old with no shame! The backstage tour was an experience of a lifetime, especially for my mom. Special doesn’t begin to describe watching her with my kids in her element–she was an opera major who should have go onto Broadway. Her voice was that good.
Plaza Hotel. Although there’s not much that could have topped our Wicked experience, we went to the Plaza Hotel to see Eloise. My kids adore the Eloise movies, so we thought it would be so much fun to see her house. We would have loved to have done tea at the Plaza, but we didn’t have time. Instead, we did a little shopping in the perfectly pink store they have in the basement of the Plaza Hotel, after walking through the lobby, checking out all of the sites of the movie–our favorite is Eloise at Christmastime–we split up.
Central Park and Akiko Hair and Nail. My son, mom and best friend went for a walk through Central Park where he played on the big rocks and had the greatest time, and my daughter and I went down to the village for mother-daughter nail art manicures. If you remember my crazy-amazing nail art from Akiko Hair and Nail in the Village, then you’ll understand why my daughter insisted that she needed to have a mani just like mommy’s when she got to New York. And when you see what they did on her nails, you’ll understand that her nails were totally worth skipping a walk in the park. I’m sorry, but they just were. She sat for 2-hours. I’m not kidding. My 5-year-old who can’t stop for anything for 5-minutes, sat still for 2-hours straight to get Alice In Wonderland nails on one hand and princess themed nails on the other. She’s just like her mama. Anything for beauty.
How to Get Around
We took cabs and walked everywhere. If you really feel strongly about boosters, bring along one of those blow-up boosters, if you don’t mind carrying it with you. Or you can avoid pain-in-the-butt carseat issues altogether and take the subway or do like we did, and use those things below your ankles…you know, your feet! New York is a fantastic walking city, so you can drink your frozen hot chocolate and eat foot longs without one ounce of guilt.