After an amazing grown-ups only trip to New York earlier this year, we decided to go back with Ella for mid-term break. It was the perfect time to visit, not too cold (even by Ella’s standards!) and not too busy with holiday crowds yet. While New York doesn’t initially strike you as a place to bring a small person, we found loads of amazing activities to fill our days. One of the highlights for me was that Ella said on our first morning “Don’t bring the buggy. I won’t get tired and I won’t ask for a carry.” She stuck to her word and walked miles, which means no more buggy when we travel. AMAZING!
Recently we have stayed mainly in Airbnb’s when travelling with Ella but this isn’t always easy in New York, so we opted for a hotel on this trip. We had a double room near Bryant park with a kitchenette, which was perfect for early morning cereal demands before venturing to one of New York's wonderful breakfast places.
Ella and I had a very relaxed first morning. Croissants in the lovely Bryant Park followed by a trip to the New York City library to see the original stuffed animals the Winnie-the-Pooh books are based on. The library book store also had a great children’s section so we enjoyed browsing and picking some new books to read when we got back home. Daddy joined us in the afternoon and we took the subway out west to the newly developed Hudson Yards. While I definitely don’t miss taking the subway everyday, on holiday it was a great novelty and Ella loved it. The highlight of Hudson Yards was the newly opened interactive artwork, The Vessel. Composed of 150 interconnecting flights of stairs, the vertical climb offers stunning views of the city and beyond. From Hudson Yards it’s a lovely walk along the highline to a favourite of mine, Chelsea Markets.
This trip seems to have been all about the views because day 2 saw us head to the financial district to explore the One World Trade Center Observatory, though the 45 second elevator journey to the 102nd floor was a lot less leg work than Hudson Yards the previous day! You can see New York from every angle from up here and it is quite spectacular.
Our last day revolved around brunch with friends and Ella’s first Broadway experience – Frozen. I wasn’t sure if she was a bit young for a Broadway show but we decided to give it a whirl. I prepped her for the show by showing her a couple of YouTube clips so she understood we were going to see real actors and not the movie (again!) and explained that it was important to be quiet so we didn’t disturb the actors and other audience members. In short, she loved it and sat entranced through the whole thing. The show is long at 2.5 hours including an interval and dark and very loud at times so I would say appropriate age to see it really depends on the individual. For us it was a roaring success, bring on Frozen 2 in a couple of weeks!
Other great places to take your little ones in New York include the following:
Central Park – go on the gorgeous vintage carousel or take a boat out on the lake. You can also visit the zoo where the movie Madagascar is set. http://www.centralparknyc.org/
American Museum of Natural History– a must for dinosaur fans! https://www.amnh.org/
American Girl Doll – a little girl's dream shop (if she loves dollies that is!). Buy a doll and then treat them to afternoon tea or a new outfit and hairdo. There is an actual doll hairstylist on site! https://www.americangirl.com/
Interactive shop experience https://camp.com/
Great brunch spot with kids menu in the theatre district https://www.theribbonnyc.com/