23rd December, 2018
New York’s always been a dream. One I didn’t think would come true until perhaps my 40th Birthday a few years down the track, for a girls trip…
As it turns out – plans change and we made it to the BIG APPLE!!
We drove through to New York from New Jersey – an easy 2 hour drive. Returning our rental car after a brilliant 2 months together, but our time had come to an end…(no need for a car in NYC..)
Our list of see and do’s was pretty long and we amazed ourselves with all we got through in 5 days.
It was a stunning day as we took the 10 minute walk from our hotel to the park, stopping at Bluestone Lane Upper East Side on our way for Coffee and Iced Milo for the kids. This cafe is gorgeous. Run by Aussies, and naturally the best coffee we’d had in weeks! We also had brunch here on our last day which was great!
Central Park was all I had hoped for and SO much more!
It was incredibly beautiful. So green and lush. Buskers and live music dotted along the walk paths. Baseball being played in the field. Families enjoying picnics. EXACTLY like the movies – and it was just so darn special to be there and see it with our own eyes!
Of course we had to visit Turtle Pond. Spencer LOVES turtles and we couldn’t believe how many there were swimming around – friendly too.
We also stopped by The Met – such a busy spot and I quickly realised I’d dressed like a NYC taxi cab in black and yellow…
We hired a row-boat from The Boathouse. $15USD for an hour and it was SO much fun! The kids each had a go at rowing, and although we came close to capsizing – we all stayed dry thankfully!
There were a few other stops in the Park – the famous Home Alone 2 Bridge, the Bethesda Fountain, and we taste tested our first NY pretzel…not bad.
(Thanks to the Aussie couple who offered to take our photo at the top of the fountain too!)
CRAZY town! This place was incredible. So colourful and bustling with locals and tourists alike. Checking out Broadway and a spot of shopping in the square. We also spotted where they do the New Years ball drop, and promised each other we would come back one year for Christmas and New Year.
Time square was indeed a very cool spot to sit and take in all that New York goodness!
Taking the subway and then a short stroll, we wandered over the Brooklyn Bridge as we chatted about all the movies we had seen it in.
We made our way to Dumbo, the neighbourhood just over the bridge, and taking the tip from one of our Uber drivers – we had lunch at the Front Street Pizza place. What a brilliant recommendation! The best pizza we had in the USA, and such a great place.
After lunch, we explored the waterfront. It was so warm and gorgeous, and there was a great park for the kids to play and burn off some energy.
We also tried the famous Brooklyn Ice Cream Factory. Once again, another ripper find! Happy kids = happy parents..(even if we did just pay $24AUD for 2 ice creams!)
Rather than doing the walk back over the bridge, we caught a quick ferry across back to
the New York side for a few dollars each.
STATUE OF LIBERTY AND THE FREE STATEN ISLAND FERRY:
With full bellies and two children who were happy to keep exploring, we decided to make the most of the sunny afternoon and the FREE Staten Island Ferry – taking the round trip to see Miss Liberty.
The Ferry runs 24 hours a day, 7 days a week and trips are every 15-20 minutes.
Being free – it’s usually pretty full, but we were able to get a seat.
Incredible views of the city skyline and of course the Statue of Liberty is a sight for sore eyes. Quite the pinch me moment. We all loved it!
GRAND CENTRAL STATION:
We couldn’t visit New York without stopping in at Grand Central Terminal. Famous for SO many movie scenes. It was just beautiful. Busy as we’d expected for a weekday – but not too crazy. There was a camera crew filming at one end, and at the other was a photography workshop. It was just so wonderful to stand there and take in the energy – and that architecture!!!
What an incredibly moving experience it was to visit this special place. So much devastation and loss. So much sadness. As we walked up with the kids hand in hand – a flood of emotion overcame me. It was just so incredibly heart breaking. All the names. So many names. We spent some time here, talking with the kids. Explaining the events that had occurred here the morning of September 11, 2001.
We stood together and said a prayer, then continued on our way, and our conversation.
Our time in New York City had come to an end. As much as I could have stayed another week – we had our next leg ready to go!
On our final morning, we took one more walk through Central Park. We found the perfect quiet spot on the lush green grass under a gorgeous shady tree and soaked it all up. We sat for hours reflecting on our epic time in the USA. Almost 8 weeks. So incredible.
New York is huge, with so much to see and do. We packed our days full to the brim, getting back to the hotel late every night and we still didn’t get to see everything.
Walking over 18kms on our biggest day, the kids were little superstars!
We were excited for our next stop – LONDON baby!!
We stayed at the Courtyard Marriott Manhattan
Room rate for 2 adults and 2 children was approximately $240AUD per night. The only time we spent in the room was to shower or sleep, so this hotel was perfect for us. Walking distance to Central Park and easy access to the subway, taxis or Uber.