New York with Kids: Top of the Rock, Intrepid and Broadway

Well, Day two of our New York New Year’s trip has definitely been more interesting than day one. Of course the fact that it didn’t involve a six hour flight helped a lot with that. It started out with the family jet lagged and completely out of sync. My son fell asleep at 7:30, even with the three hour time change and stayed asleep for 13 hours. My daughter also fell asleep at 7:30, but treated it like a nap and was wide awake again at 9:30. I crashed at 10:30 and slept pretty well, but my husband was only able to fall asleep at 4 am. The up side to that was that my husband and daughter were able to view the fireworks over Manhattan together from our 11th floor window, so at least part of the family was able to ring in the New Year. The down side was that at 8;30 this morning there were two family members raring to go and two still fast asleep!

We made our way into the city at about 10 am and the kids seemed to enjoy their first subway ride. I was happy to learn that the kids are still free on the subway so that will save a bit of money. We emerged at the north end of Times Square and I was surprised at how normal it looked considering the party that had gone on there only a few hours before. Aside from a few stray hats and streamers you could never tell that a ton of confetti was dumped on the crowds the night before.

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Our room at the Doubletree wasn’t ready yet, but we were able to ditch the bags and head out to the Top of the Rock observation deck at Rockefeller Plaza. The soonest available tickets were for about an hour away but that worked out well since it gave us time to head up the street to a Ray’s Pizza for lunch. The giant slabs of thin crust pizza were enjoyed by three out of four members of the family. Anyone who reads this blog can probably guess who took one look at the unfamiliar New York style pizza and turned up his nose at it.

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After lunch we had time to look at the giant Christmas tree and watch the skaters in Rockefeller Plaza and then we headed up to the observation deck. The elevator had a neat feature; a glass ceiling that let you see the 67 story shaft as you went up. The kids really enjoyed it but I found it a bit disconcerting to actually be able to see the cable that was the only thing between life and plummeting to a quick death. The deck itself was great; more spacious than the Empire State Building with three levels and no glass or wire fence in the top level. Our view also included the Empire State Building of course, as well as a great view of Central Park.

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From there we split up with my husband and son going to the Intrepid Air and Space Museum and my daughter and I going to see Cinderella at the Broadway Theatre. We had excellent seats in the front row of the dress circle and I was glad I had booked well in advance and paid a little extra for such good seats at her first Broadway musical. My daughter was absolutely enchanted with the elaborate sets, dazzling costumes and the entire experience in general. The musical itself was probably one of Roger and Hammerstein’s weaker ones, with a few good numbers and some pretty mediocre ones as well, but it was beautifully done with a nice touch of humour that went well with the fluffy plot. I would highly recommend it ot anyone with young children who like music and princesses.

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My son had a great time with his dad at the Intrepid, as evidenced by the pictures that we got to see. His highlight of the afternoon, however, was a visit to the giant two level Disney Store just a few doors down from the hotel. Oh well, at least he’s easy to please.

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And now we’re settled into our suite at the Doubletree and for the first time in three days I can relax in a separate room from my children while they sleep. Have I mentioned that I love all suite hotels? I have to say that even though I’ve been to New York over a dozen times before, travelling here with kids for the first time is an entirely different experience. It’s certainly not easier, as we learned while trying to navigate the subway and the streets with them. And instead of spending our evenings trying new restaurants and going to shows together, we’re alternating with one staying in with the kids while the other get to see a show each night. But hearing my daughter respond to everyone who wished her “Happy New Year” with “This is the best year of my life! I love New York!” makes it all worthwhile. And I even saw it make a few so called hardened New Yorkers smile when she said it.

So that’s New York day two. And tomorrow will be even better since it will be my turn for a night on the town!

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