I took my daughter, Cassis with me to New York for a week after Halloween. This was our first girls' only trip and it was priceless. I had a impromptu notion to go to New York. I was going to go alone at first but then the thought of walking around the city, watch a broadway show and stopping at coffee shops with her seemed irresistible.
We usually travel as a whole family, but now the kids are a bit older and it feels like they are growing up even faster. It is a good thing to spend some time alone with each kid, which I don't do very often. We talk to one another without interruption or destruction - usually fighting with her brother or wining - during the trip and it was nice! We just walked around the city, stopped at playgrounds, bakeries, monuments and did pretty much whatever we wanted for 6 days. Total freedom from everything. New York is a good place to just jump in without planning ahead too much. It's so easy to come across so many interesting places, people, restaurants, streets, arts, everything. I definitely loved not have to worry about my car and just hop on the trains like I used to do when I lived in Osaka, Japan. I am a city person. I feel more comfortable surrounded by noise, lights and strangers walking around everywhere than quiet suburban streets.
But I was a bit nervous about taking subways with her since I knew I might be distracted by street photo opportunities. But I guess I was paranoid enough to keep her tightly close to me all the time. Also what surprised me the most was how friendly and kinds everyone was. I don't remember that when I was in town the last time. Maybe because I was with my daughter? Everywhere we went, we chatted with locals and some people went out of their ways to be kind to us. People almost always tried to give us seats in trains. This actually was one of the highlights of our trip.
I most likely avoid towers, monuments and touristic places that you have to pay a lot of money and stand in long lines. It's not for me. But this trip was exceptional because of Cassis. This was her first time in New York and I wanted to take her to historical places. She often wanted to go inside or near the buildings. We took Staten Island Ferry, which took us to a roundtrip ride around the Statue of Liberty. Though it doesn't stop at the Statue, you can still see it close enough and it's a nice short free ride. I told her that the building on the other island is where her grandpa, her dad's dad, arrived from Norway 50 years ago to live in America. She was really disappointed that we didn't stop at the Statue. Shortly after we were passing by Empire State Buidling. I was telling her, "Do you remember the movie ELF? You love that movie! Remember the Elf's mean dad? He works inside this building in the movie! Ok, let's move on now." She didn't want to move on. She wanted to go inside. Then I ended up feeling guilty for all the things I told her she can't do. We went in, stood in line and saw the whole city in the big wind. It was worth it! For her!
I needed this quiet but inspirational trip to catch up and breath a little bit. The family vacation is of course fun and important but I usually end up worrying about taking care of the family and the kids do start fighting which is not relaxing at times. It was one of my best vacations ever and I'm thankful that I got a little time off from my daily routine. Now I'm back refreshed than ever and already daydreaming my next trip... Actually I would go right back to NY and head to Brooklyn since I didn't get to explore there much this time.
I'll list the sites I used to plan this trip if anyone is thinking about having a similar trip. I spent most of the planning on flight and accommodation. I did notice that the prices change and rates go higher as I spent more time to look around and visit the sites too often. If this happens to you, you can erase the browser history (Safari) by clicking the tab Develop < Empty Cache in Safari (clicking clear history won't really erase the history from the browser).
Flight: Delta Website. It is waaay better than other airlines for the prices. I love how they stepped up to improve services, and the fares are reasonable.
Accommodation: Expedia, TripAdvisor, Airbnb (we stayed at an Airbnb House, HGU Hotel, Hotel INNSIDE).
Places we visited: Empire State Building (forced to go in by my daughter, otherwise...), Alice in Wonderland Statue in Central Park, Carousal in Central Park (also playground), New York Library (chess!), Broadway (Matilda highly recommended with kids), High Line, Staten Island Ferry, Brooklyn Bridge (night time recommended), DUMBO, Washington Square, Madison Square (playground), Grinich Village.
Places we stopped for food, drinks and souvenirs: Birch Coffee, Buchon Bakery, Chelsea Market (souvenir), Eataly (Italian and souvenir), Shake Shack (burger), Her Name is Hen (Korean), Maison Kayser (pastries), Ippudo (ramen), A Little Taste (coffee), $.99 Pizza (must).
You can also see some photos on my Instagram feeds.
Love the $.99 cent greasy pizza. This one was next to the Broadway theater Matilda.
Cookie and Cream Macaron from Bouchon Bakery in the shopping mall at Columbia Circle.
We walked into Eataly and ended up spending a few hours. All kids if goodies from Italy.
Pappardelle with lamb ragout.
Bucatini with tomato sauce.
Carb cake sandwich at Chelsea Market.
We got a few caked from Maison Kayser during the walk.
A quick lunch at Shake Shack by Brooklyn Bridge.
Korean dinner at Her Name is Hen in Korea Town.