We had a fantastic time in New York, although sadly we really did not have anywhere near the time we needed to get to know the place and we did find ourselves not getting to see some of the things we would have liked. It was far colder than we expected and that slowed us down a bit as the kids got the sniffles within the first day.
We did though make the most of the time we had and we have vowed to come back when the kids are much older for a far longer visit, although I think we’ll have to start saving as soon as we get back to Australia as New York is a bit of a budget blowing city.
Some of the highlights for us from our visit, which was obviously kid focussed, included:
We probably could have spent the whole week there, luckily our hotel was a short walk from the central west side. It truly is enormous, over 500 hectares and valued at over half a trillion dollars apparently. I didn’t do a check valuation for them as my insurance wouldn’t cover that figure. The kids loved every corner of it, we struggled to get them to move from one point to the next as they didn’t want to leave where they were playing. We spent a whole day here and traversed less than a third of its length. It has a carousel, lakes, fantastic playgrounds, a zoo, a castle, playing fields, baseball fields, etc., etc. Consequently, our photo’s from Central Park are dominated by the Kids smiles. Tess did finally conk out, but Ari kept on going, like the ever ready bunny, surprise!
The Statue of Liberty…….
I did not realise how much of an effort it is to get to see her up close, at least it was an effort with two young kids in tow in very cold weather. We needed to pre-book ferry tickets on line or face a 2 hour queue, catch a metro to the furthest stop south on Manhattan, line up, even with the pre-booked tickets, for an hour or so to get into a tent where you go through airport style security before entering another waiting area and then catch a short ferry to Liberty Island. We did read on line that you should allow 5 hours for a round trip, but thought that must be for a full tour of some kind. The statue is impressive up close and difficult to see in any detail any other way, except for another ferry to Stanton Island, which is free but does not stop at Liberty Island. Unfortunately the inside of the statue was closed for renovations and we could not go up to the torch. I am glad we saw the statue, it was something that Ari could identify with from seeing in pictures from time to time but he was not as wowed as I thought he might be. I am not sure Tess really even noticed the statue, she was pretty interested in some ducks and squirrels and feeling a little sorry for herself for her runny nose.
The High Line Park……
This is a fantastic place and worth a visit. It is a disused elevated rail platform that has been transformed through community effort into a park style walkway and general quite zone amongst the business of the city. Although it is a busy place in itself, it clearly offers respite from the world below it, being for foot traffic only and with plenty of greenery, seating areas and art installations. Both kids were very well received by New York’s people, as they have been everywhere so far. I was pleasantly surprised by how nice and polite the majority of the people we came across were. Ari continued his friend finding here. Again he took off ahead of us (hopefully we will not loose him before our return to Australia) and we saw him conversing with a very well dressed business type man, we have no idea what he was saying as Ari would not tell us, but the man seemed to have plenty to laugh about. He stopped on his way back to us to inform a young lady that she should not be sitting where she is because it is out of bounds, my fault for telling him that earlier. There are so many smokers around that he spends a lot of time stopping to tell people how bad it is for them, luckily they all agree with him and a few oblige him by immediately putting out their smokes and tossing them away. Anyway, just near the highline we also came across the Chelsea Markets, which were worth a visit.
The Children’s Museum of Manhattan…..
This was a great find by Skye. It is a 4 level kid focused museum with a whole level dedicated to The Body, which is right up Ari’s alley at the moment, it had heaps of games promoting healthy eating and larger than life interactive models of the heart, digestive system, brain etc. The digestive system is a series of tunnels that you crawl through with information in each and with the exit being a puckered ‘exit’ hole!!!!! There are displays about hygiene (so no that is not a real toilet that Tess is marveling at), exercise, sight etc., etc. Other levels included a large interactive fire engine with laser hoses for putting out imitation fires, a Metro tram, pulley systems, play forts and so on. There was plenty to entertain Tess also. We managed to fit this in on the day we flew out of New York and we are really glad we did not miss it. Ari has asked to go back to it several times since we have been in Montreal, so it has left a lasting impression on him.
Other time in new york generally involved some wandering and sampling of traditional diners, hot dogs etc. We wanted to get to a couple of diners from the likes of Seinfeld and Rules of Engagement but sadly did not make it, so something for next time. I did like this car park we found where the cars are stacked on top of each other, not as advanced as the rotating high rise parking towers we used in Japan, but a sign of the congestion in the city.
So that is a small insight into our time in New York.
Next we are entering our first non english speaking city, Montreal, which will be interesting to see what Ari thinks of being surrounded by the French language, although being Canada everyone seems to be fluently bi-lingual so I don’t expect it will be too daunting for him.
Will keep you posted.