This line sums up our trip. We did it. It was awesome. So awesome, we'd do it again. Annually. I'm so excited, I can't wait for next year!
But first, let's go through this year.
It was awesome.
We started by driving through pouring rain.
Of the 11 hours it took to get there, it rained for about 9, and about 4 were monsoon-like conditions. Not the best vacation weather, but better in the car than walking on the street.
We parked overnight in NJ and took the ferry across the Hudson. Not only did we save almost $50,000 in parking, but the boys got to ride a FERRY!
After a bus ride to the hotel and immediately scarfing down the city's best pizza (with a glass of wine for mommy & daddy - we made it!), we hit up Times Square. In the, you guessed it, rain.
Times Square was 16 blocks from our hotel. We walked it. Fast. And the whole time, I kept asking them if they were too wet. They adamantly said NO. Then after this picture, they begged me to take the subway back to the hotel. I happily agreed.
We ran into some street performers when we got off at Penn Station. To say the boys were enthralled is an understatement. They absolutely loved it.
The next morning, Steve ran out to get a NYC staple.
|Coffee & Bagels|
Then we hit the street for our first tourist adventure. The Top of the Rock.
The weather was GORGEOUS! We totally lucked out. We didn't luck out in the ticket department, though, so we had to kill an hour before traveling to the top.
I could have pre-purchased tickets online, but I wasn't sure if the kids were going to be up for everything I planned to do. So although we had to wait for this attraction, their disinterest in other attractions saved me hundreds of dollars. I win.
What to do when you have to burn time with 3 littles? Lego store. They were so into their Lego keychains, they completely missed out on the bronzed statue in the plaza. Kids!
But they loved the climb to the top.
George stayed in his stroller (thank god), Henry refused to hold anyone's hand while creeping in and out of crowds behind us, and Jake kept saying "I don't feel so good right now."
|Empire State Building|
I snuck George out to get a good view of the Empire State Building, though. He found it in the sky everywhere we went all weekend long.
Then came the time when we split up. Steve took George back to the hotel for naptime. And I took the big boys out for a few hours. I don't know who lucked out more.
|In His Element|
Steve's mom calls our boys her "City Kids." Bang on. Their refusal to hold my hand at all times -because we're in NEW YORK CITY, gosh darn it, and anything can happen, you know!!!!- led to me just letting go and trusting their eagle eyes on me. It worked. We came home with three kids.
Saturday was our shopping day downtown. Jake got the new shoes he was obsessing over. Henry got Skylanders at the Toys R Us with the ferris wheel inside. And I got to walk up Lower 5th, my old 'hood.
If there was a better weather day in the city, I don't remember it.
|Friday vs Saturday|
Saturday was also amazing because we got to see old friends. There's nothing like reminiscing about the good old days before you had kids...at a dinner table full of crazy kids (ours, not theirs).
|Gelato in Little Italy!|
The next day, after I started obsessing about moving back to NYC, we spent the day doing only half of what I planned and all of what the kids wanted to do.
We took the subway up to Steve's old neighborhood to visit the Museum of Natural History. After trying to corral the kids unsuccessfully to read them the riot act before entering the building, I decided to ditch the tourism and go for the nature.
Best $0 I ever spent.
|George in a Bubble!|
I can now officially direct anyone to all playgrounds in Central Park. We hit them all. Nonstop. Well, stopping only for bubbles, turtles and all street performers.
We did, however, sneakily wind our way back to the Upper West Side for daddy. He loves burgers. And Shake Shack delivers on the best burger in the city (when you have kids with you), hands down. I snagged Jake to wait in line for 1/2 hr with me, while Steve and the little two snagged a park bench across the street. Worth. It.
At naptime, I managed to get a little tourism in.
|The Blue Whale|
I shouldn't have gone with the "extra exhibition" tickets. These guys have zero attention span. Lesson learned: General admission = Blue Whale = Full Stop.
Then, after naptime, we hit the...park. Again. Why mess with a good thing?
|They Are Up There Somewhere|
We found the very best playground for all three of our boys, aged 9, 6 and 3. Just inside the SW corner of Central Park, at Columbus Circle, was this enormous play area with regular slides, swings and climbers...but more structures integrated with the natural rock, too. It was mostly enclosed, so you could let your kids go free in some areas. But there were open enough spaces so you could man your kid without getting in everyone's way.
I may have gone down that slide myself during a game of tag. I was it, and the kids loved it.
But the best part was the fact that we were there. In it. NYC. And loving it.
We hit up a chocolate store before heading back to the hotel...and took a ride in a taxi. How can you visit NYC without riding in a taxi?
|#1 Is Just Getting Started|
While the ride home was a little longer than we expected, and LOTS longer than Google expected, we loved the trip. I can't wait until next year.