I’ve had several friends ask me to recap what all we did on our recent long weekend trip to NYC with our kids! It was Price, me, Wilson (5), Lily Ryan (4), and Dempsey (16 months) taking on one of our favorite cities in a whole new way — with kids!
We let our kids watch Home Alone and Home Alone 2 this past Christmas (and got the pleasure of explaining which words from the movies CANNOT be repeated… Perhaps not our best parenting move, but it is what it is at this point!) and Wilson and Lily Ryan fell in love with NYC. They wanted to go so badly, and since New York holds a very special place in our hearts for many reasons, Price and I decided we should take them!
We had our very own personal Kevin McCallister with us! 🙂
We booked our trip through a travel agent at McGeehee Cruise & Travel and I highly recommend doing that! You may not have known this, but when you book with a travel agency, you do not pay anything extra. In fact, you usually pay less that what you’d pay booking on your own! AND you can rest assured that things were booked correctly (not that I have experience with booking a PM flight instead of an AM flight on my own before…) Travel agencies make their money with a little kick back from the airlines, hotels, etc rather than from the family they’re booking for. I thought that was great info and totally debunked the myth I carried in my head about how travel agencies worked!
(This post is not sponsored by the way! I just love McGeehee Cruise & Travel! They’re awesome! However, I would LOVE to work with McGeehee Cruise & Travel if they’re interested! 😉 )
We flew American with one layover in Charlotte (fave airport) into JFK! American let Dempsey fly for free because he is under two! And although we took all the kids’ birth certificates with us in case they needed ID, we never had to get them out! Might still want to take those with your minors, though, for good measure!
Fun fact for when you’re traveling with a kid with cochlear implants who can’t really communicate with TSA yet– the parent in charge of said kid will get a full pat down at all security checkpoints. And the processors can’t go through the x-ray machines because of the risk of wiping out the programming, so those get tested separately as well. If you are a first time flier with a cochlear kid as a co-traveler, GIVE YOURSELF EXTRA TIME! Thankfully we did, and we didn’t have any stresses, but had we not, it would have been stress.FULL!!
Another praise– Dempsey is a rockstar traveler! He is a bit squirmy, but because our travel agent is awesome, I was never seated next to a stranger with my little wiggle worm and all was well!
Ok, back to the topic at hand!
Once we landed at JFK, we took a cab into the city and paid a flat rate for that. It seemed that most of the cabs had a flat rate for this ride. It took a little over an hour. New York does not require that children be in car seats (which if you think about it is pretty alarming) BUT it made travel easier. We didn’t have to take car seats or anything.
We stayed at the Omni Berkshire hotel, again found by our wonderful travel agent who got us a great room!
We got to the hotel around 5:00 on Friday and had dinner reservations at 6:00 about two blocks from our hotel, so we had time to do something I used to love doing at hotels in far-away cities: EXPLORE! We checked out all the amenities, tried out the flavored water in the lobby, peeked in the restaurant connected to the hotel, found a cool staircase that led to a balcony overlooking the restaurant… Fun times!
OH! And – this was so cool – Joss, the American Girl doll of the year, was in the lobby of the hotel as part of a giveaway. Joss has hearing loss! So Dempsey got to see a doll with ears kinda like his! He wasn’t as impressed as I was! haha
After exploring, we walked to the restaurant, Cellini Italian Restaurant, for our reservation! We thought the food was great, but the service was not very prompt. It was Valentine’s Day, so they were busy. So I’m gonna give them a break! It was overall pretty casual and again, food was great.
I interrupt this itinerary recap to recommend this stroller. It was $20 and very easy to fold up and check right before getting on planes or getting into cabs. I did jack up one wheel trying to force it through a turnstile in the subway, but we learned after that that kids are allowed to go through the doors that people in wheelchairs go through. So DO NOT try to force your stroller through the turnstile as I did. Just simply go through the door 😉 The jacked up wheel didn’t cause too much trouble. It was just a teeny bit harder to keep straight, but since Lily Ryan and Wilson fought over who got to push Dempsey around in the stroller, I didn’t have to deal with that issue too much! 😉
After our dinner out, we came back to the hotel room and ordered some ice cream from room service so they kids could feel like Kevin McCallister in his fancy NYC hotel room! They got three scoops, since they weren’t driving!
The next morning, we bundled up for a several-block walk in the 16 degree wind to a great breakfast restaurant I found via google. Because I tend to skim over details sometimes, I didn’t notice that this restaurant isn’t open for breakfast on Saturdays. Soooo after we all cried because of how cold it was, we just ducked into the breakfast place across from the original restaurant to eat. It was called Rue 57 and it was DELICIOUS! It was a bit nicer, so we felt weird having rowdy kids in there, but the service was great. They had us in and out! And it helped that we were there right when their doors opened at 9.
From breakfast, we hit up Dylan’s Candy Bar and loved just looking around! It is a candy lover’s dream, and I’m not just talking about the merchandise. The decor is incredible!
From there, we rode the subway to a stop close to the Plaza Hotel (where Kevin stayed in Home Alone 2) and walked around a little bit. We met our NYC cousins for lunch at The Plaza, which has a great foot court on the bottom floor! They had tons of options, so everyone was able to find something great!
We then went to explore the lobby of The Plaza, which looks 1000% different from how it did in the movie, but it was still beautiful!
Then we walked to the Central Park Zoo with cousins! The sun was out by this point, so they chilly temps didn’t seem quite as cold.
From here, we went back to the hotel via city bus (which accepts the same MetroCard that the subway takes. So if you get a card with multiple rides, you can use it for busses too!) We let Dempsey catch a quick nap while we warmed up and ate some of our Dylan’s loot. Then, we headed to one of our favorite things on the trip…
This show was so perfect for kids. It’s put on by this family who is just really good at bubble tricks. They hold the world record for the largest bubble in the world, as well as the record for getting the most people inside of one bubble! This show is all about bubbles and lasers and lights and cool bubble tricks. The kids were mesmerized. It was great. There are videos from this in my NYC Instagram highlight!
From there, we went to Shake Shack to get a burger and milkshake. It was chaos getting a table, but once we found one, the food was phenom. Love me some Shake Shack! From here, we went to Rockefeller Plaza and checked out the Lego store. After seeing the Lego movie not too long ago, the kids were in heaven! I cannot imagine the patience required to build the huge displays they have in there…!
Then we went back to the hotel and CRASHED.
For breakfast Sunday morning, Price just went to the little cafe across from our hotel and got biscuits and coffee and brought them back to the room. We took our time getting ready and out the door. Then we went straight to FAO Schwartz at Rockefeller Plaza! Although this location of the store is not the original, it’s the same store that Duncan’s Toy Chest from Home Alone 2 was based on, so the kids loved seeing that! We spent a WHILE in here… It was awesome! It was an absolute wonderland, not only for the kids, but for Price and me too!
From here, we went to Uncle Rob and Aunt Gorgette’s address that Kevin looked up in Peter’s address book! In the movie, this is the house where Kevin set all the traps for Harry and Marv. The address is 51 West 95th Street. It was a good bit north of Central Park, so the movie is definitely very inaccurate on how easy it is for Kevin to get from place to place! But the actual footage in Rob and Georgette’s house was filmed on a hollywood lot. It looks different in person, but was still fun to go see! It’s on a beautiful, quiet street with lots of pretty houses. It’s a nice place to stroll and take it all in!
Then we went to Trump Towers where Wilson met Shaq when he was about 6 months old! We’ve told Wilson the story of meeting Shaq, so he wanted to see where it all went down! Sadly, Shaq wasn’t there this time!
We wanted to eat lunch at The Smith, home of the best tomato soup you’ve ever put in your mouth, but the wait was almost two hours, so we got on the list at Cafe Fiorello next door and milled around for a little while until our table was ready. The service here was fantastic and the food was delightful! It was a tad bit cramped with kids, but they were very accommodating!
After eating our fill, we strolled to Central Park to take a carriage tour! It was really fun and the kids loved it! We got to show them Cherry Hill Fountain where Price and I got engaged! 🙂
From here, we went back to the hotel room and Price changed to go meet some college friends who now live in New York for a drink. Kids and I hung back and rested, then I got really brave and loaded them up to go shop in Zara and the Nike store just a block from our hotel! They mostly behaved, but I think it was because both stores had things for all of them!
Price met back up with us at the hotel and we lounged around and watched most of Mrs. Doubtfire, which was randomly on tv, while the kids ate sandwiches from the little cafe across the street. Then after the kids went down, Price and I got food from the steak restaurant on the bottom floor of the hotel called Bob’s. The food was excellent!!
The next morning, we packed up and checked out of the hotel. They sweetly held our bags for us until time to depart the city later that day, around 2. They even arranged for a car to take us back to the airport for a flat rate! One less thing for us to worry about.
We made our way back to Central Park and enjoyed the beautiful day on our way to Wollman Rink in the middle of central park. (This is the rink where Harry and Marv made their plan to rob Duncan’s Toy Chest in the movie!)
This is where the most hilarious family “ice skating” went down.
I put ice skating in quotation marks because no skating actually took place. Price was a trooper and took Wilson and Lily Ryan down to the rink while Dempsey and I hung back and found a good little perch to watch them. Lily Ryan COULD NOT leave New York without ice skating. She talked about it non stop. So there was no way we could skip the skating.
It was the worst skating you’ve ever seen! Oh, it was bad. If you want to see more from this “experience,” head over to my instagram and peek at my NYC highlight! The footage from this is priceless. I laugh every time! Price Donahoo is the best dad in the world!! And his ankles are very strong. You’ll see what I mean! haha
After this amazing train wreck was over, we went and ate lunch at Tavern on the Green, which is the restaurant where Price and I ate right after he popped the question! It’s been completely renovated since 2008, but I think it is even prettier than it was before, and the food is fantastic!
Then I took Wilson and Lily Ryan to the old carousel in Central Park for a quick ride while Price and Dempsey went to Magnolia Cupcakes to get us a New Yorky snack for the ride to the airport! We reconvened at the hotel, loaded up in the car arranged by the hotel, and made it to JFK with plenty of time to spare. The security line took about 45 minutes to get through, and of course I got the full pat down because of the processors, so I was SOOOO THANKFUL that we got there as early as we did.
We made it back to Jackson late Monday night and got back to real life on Tuesday morning!
Overall, it was a GREAT trip! It was challenging at times for SURE, but I feel like we learned and grew a lot as a family. I’m so thankful we went!
Here are a few more photos from the trip!
Here are some other suggestions we got for kid-friendly things to do that we didn’t have time to do:
CAMP Toy Store, Alice’s Tea Cup on Upper West Side, The Trolls Experience, Sea Glass Carousel, Swedish Cottage Marionette Theatre in Central Park, The Craft Studio, Color Factory, The Intrepid, Museum of Natural History, Top of The Rock, Empire State Building, MnM World, Hershey World, Ellen’s Stardust Diner.
Here are links to our coats, all of which we were very pleased with as far as warmth!
Wilson’s coat // Dempsey’s coat (comes in every color, and I cannot tell you how many compliments we got on this jacket because of the little ears!) // Lily Ryan’s coat (the star pattern is sold out, and sizes are limited in the patterns left, but Lil LOVES this jacket and it’s currently $15!) // My coat // Price’s North Face (<< this is the current version) //
If you want more details or have any questions, let me know! Always happy to answer whatever you got! Thank you SO MUCH for stopping by today. I appreciate it so much! I hope this is helpful for you Big Apple travelers! 🙂