Even ex-New Yorkers need suggestions every now and then and I was certain someone had taken it upon themselves to write an innovative guide book of interesting things to do with children that didn't include all the usual suspects. It's entirely possible that book, blog or website exists but if it does, I didn't find it.
In lieu of guidebook suggestions I decided we would wing it. Instead of planning our days I decided to wake up every morning and ask the kids what they felt like doing. The result is we created our own quirky guide to NYC.
Before I write about it I feel like I need to add a precaution (it's the lawyer in me). This isn't a guide for someone on their first trip to NYC. It might not even be a guide for someone on their second trip. To be sure, we hit lots of famous landmarks, but we skipped a lot of them too. We also didn't pack as much as we could have into our days. However, if you're looking for the offbeat relaxed guide to seeing NYC with kids...you might have come to the perfect spot.
Day One: My husband had to be at his office bright and early but the kids and I slept in. When we woke up downtown was already in high gear. We made our way through the business clad bustle of Wall Street to Leo's Bagels and stood on line with the locals.
"This is New York. You can't take too long to make up your mind," I whispered to decision-challenged Child #1 as our turn approached. We took our bagels, that rivaled the defunct H&H in deliciousness, and sat on the steps of Federal Hall next to the George Washington statue while I tried to explain what happens in the Stock Exchange.
Fully sated, we hopped on the subway and headed all the way uptown to Central Park West. Child #1 had set our day's itinerary by asking to visit Strawberry Fields. Child #2 was a little disappointed to discover there were no strawberries to be picked at the John Lennon memorial, but he was mollified with promises of ice cream.
From Strawberry Fields we wandered through the Shakespeare Garden, reading quotes from his plays and then climbed the stairs of Belvedere Castle where we enjoyed a view of the entire park.
By this time Child #2 was beginning to wilt but a chance encounter with a singing group near Bethesda Fountain perked him up enough to make it across the park and catch the downtown bus that deposited us not far from Dylan's Candy Bar.
Not wanting to push my luck, or my kids, any further I hustled them out of the store on the wings of their candy high and we caught the subway all the way back downtown.
Later that night, after a SpongeBob Square Pants marathon, we headed up to Lombardi's Pizza on Spring Street. After dinner we wandered through Soho.
Stop by on Wednesday for more of my quirky guide to NYC with kids.