How could it have been different this time – also to NYC we had a late arriving flight. We arrived in Newark around 12 pm and just got a cab into the city. We arrived at the hotel at 1 am in pouring rain and wanted to check in – but there was an unpleasant surprise waiting for us: the girl at the desk told us our reservation got canceled and she has no room left! WTF?!? – we had booked the hotel via hotels.com and received a confirmation and everything, no word from them anything was wrong. So the odyssey began, we called the hotels.com hotline and got transferred to some English speaking agent (I don’t know where), the German hotline was not available. It took them 2 hours to locate another hotel in the area for us – it was super annoying. So we could walk over to the other hotel, which was just 2 blocks away and the girl at the reception was the sweetest and informed us that she had prepared a suite for us – so nice! So finally we got some sleep around 4 am! We slept a bot longer the next morning and then went back to the Cambria in 46th street (the hotel we had originally booked) for the last 3 nights. The hotel and the location was really good, room was not big (typical for New York, but okay for the 4 of us). We choose the location to be central and able to walk to a lot of things. Especially when you only have a few days in NYC I think that is the best option.
So after we settled into the hotel we had a yummy breakfast at Gotan, which conveniently was just next to our hotel. We then went on a stroll on 5th Avenue up till Central Park, explored the Park a bit and the girls had some fun at the Heckscher Playground. We then took an Uber down to Soho to do some shopping, even though we didn’t buy that much. We walked all the way back to the hotel, stopped to have some dinner at Mighty Quinn’s BBQ and at the Flatiron Building, where we had some Ice Cream at Chloe’s Soft Serve Fruit. And then we where tired and ready for bed.
On Wednesday we bought a MetroCard which is super convenient to ride the subway. The girls have been totally exited to go on the subway, even though they have been on subways (e.g. in Singapore) before. We took the subway to the High Line Park and walked all the way beginning at 30th street. I really love this park, it’s such a gem, tranquil and so much to explore. And it’s also perfect with kids – they just can run and can’t really get lost. We went of at the Chelsea Market, a nice indoor market with lots of different dining and shopping options in the Meatpacking District. Daddy Frei had some street food and I was saving my appetite for our next stop: Magnolia Bakery. Even though they have several branches now everywhere in NYC, I still like to visit the original store in Bleecker Street ( there is also nice playground near the bakery). We had some cupcakes in the park and then took the subway back to Rockefeller Center.
We went up to the Top of the Rock Observatory, in my opinion the best option with the kids. I also have been to Empire State Building twice and I really love it, but the fact that you have glass everywhere at the Top of the Rock, makes it just perfect for kids. And if you go up on the 3rd level platform you can take great pictures. I also have read some reviews about the One World Tower Observatory, but the fact that you can’t go outside sound a bit unattractive to me. After taking tons of pictures – the girls got a bit annoyed by mum and dad for wanting so many poses for the camera, they where really hungry and pasta was requested quickly. So we just went to the Barilla Restaurant, which is around the block, and isn’t a bad option. We had pasta and pizza and both tasted good (even though the pasta sauce tasted a bit like the Barilla sauce from the glass ;-).
After dinner we went to Bryant Park – one of my favorite parks in midtown (even though it was a bit crowded that evening). The girls went to ride the carousel, which is really cute and afterwards we walked back to the hotel.
Another day with lots of walking – we walked 20 miles that day and the girls managed it so well (most of the time ;-)), we were really proud. I know a lot of people are not sure if they should bring their kids to New York, but I would say if your kids likes to walk a bit, or is in a stroller why not. I would not recommend it for first time New York visitors though. If it is your first time, come with a friend or just your partner to explore. There are a lot of nice playgrounds, parks and a lot of family friendly food options as well. Our girls behaved really well – stopped at every crossroad waiting for the lights to turn and pointing out to all the others that they did it wrong when they walked on red ;-). We didn’t plan to much for the day, just watched the girls moods and then took breaks, the subway or if they liked we walked more. So if you love New York: go and show it to your kids, they will love it too! Oh and if we would have received money for every comment on how cute the girls are (they were a bit showing of, walking arm in arm or holding hands) we would be rich by now :-)!
On Thursday we met our friend from Miami, it was a coincidence that he was in town as well. We met near Wall Street and first got some coffee at Bluestone Lane Coffee – they serve really good Australian Coffee, something we had learned to appreciate since our travels there. Afterwards we walked to the 9/11 memorial to spent some time there and to soak up the impressive atmosphere at the pools. We wanted to have a quick dinner somewhere in the area, but since the cue at Shack Shake was crazy, we went to a nearby Chipotle.
We walked back to lower Manhattan and made a stop at the Dominique Ansel Bakery, I have to admit I was a bit curious about the place after all. They didn’t have Cronuts left that day, but I had a salted caramel eclair, which was okay, but not outstanding. For the girls I went for their special: Smore Ice Cream. They didn’t like it at all – and I have to admit, I didn’t either. It was way to sweat and the burnt marshmallow tasted strange. So one of the girls drank lots of water afterwards and then calmly announced: mommy I’m sick and I have to through up, I thought she was kidding me, but no – so I took her out and she through up at a tree just in front of the bakery – sorry Dominique Ansel! She was totally fine afterwards, I guess it was the strange combination of the sweet ice cream and too much water.
We said goodbye to our friend and took the subway down to battery park to get on the Staten Island Ferry. The girls couldn’t wait to see the Statue of Liberty (they always listen to a German audiobook “Bibi Blocksberg” and in one episode she is in NYC and flying around the Statue of Liberty on her broom – she is a witch). The ferry ride was nice, you have a good view on the statue, the skyline of Manhattan and its absolutely free. In Staten Island we just went off – rushed to the other side and went back on the ferry again.
Back in Manhattan we went to Battery Park and discovered a cute carousel: “SeaGlass Carousel” – it was a bit expensive, but we girls went on a ride and it was nice (not a must do though). We took the subway back to midtown, went to Macy’s and then to Times Square to cross that off the list ;-). A nice walk back to the hotel on Ave of the Americans and 5th Avenue and then straight into bed.
Friday was already the last day in NYC and we started with a nice breakfast at Gotan next door again. We walked to the Central Station to show the girls the star painted ceiling and then had to check out of our hotel room. We could store our luggage and took the subway to Chinatown to walk to the Brooklyn Bridge. We walked over the Bridge, unfortunately it was a bit crowded, but I think it’s still nice to do it. You get a nice view to Manhattan and I really like the architecture of the bridge.
On the other side we went to Jane’s Carousel, which is just right under the bridge. It’s an really old wooden carousel from 1899and it’s a lovely ride with a great view. It’s also really cheap – 2 Usd per ride and parents ride free.
Since the Shake Shack in Brooklyn didn’t had a crazy lane, we went there for lunch and then took the subway back to Manhattan and back to the hotel.
Our taxi picked us up to get to JFK. Our flight back home was booked with Iceland Air via Reykjavik and then Zurich. We had seats in Economy Premium and so we could use the lounge at JFK, which was very convenient. Unfortunately we left the lounge way to early to find out that due to bad weather conditions in NYC all flights had been heavily delayed. We started 3 1/2 hours to late with not much hope that we would catch our connecting flight to Zurich. And of course we were right, our flight home was long gone and we got informed that we were booked on a new flight via Munich to Zurich, but only at 12 pm (we arrived in Iceland at 11 am in the morning). So they booked us into a hotel, gave us coupons for food and hey we had some time to see Iceland. We had a really nice taxi driver that told us a lot about the country and at the hotel they had a junior suite waiting for us. So we slept a bit, had lunch, slept again and then had a nice dinner and the chance to watch the soccer game German vs Italy – which luckily Germany won!!!
So we went back to airport and just wanted to ask about the lounge, when the girl at the desk was asking about our luggage. She couldn’t see anything in the system. In the morning we had been told that we don’t need to pick up our luggage, everything will be taken care of. And they also took our baggage receipts and we didn’t reclaim them back. It took some time figure out what happened to our luggage, in the end we where informed it would be on a different flight then we where and would arrive later in Zurich then us ;-(.
But there was also a good thing happening, for the flight to Munich we got upgraded into Business Class, that was nice. We went to the Lounge again – oh boy that is something I could get used to, specially with the kids (usually only Daddy Frei has the pleasure to go to all the lounges on his business trips).