Visiting New York city with kids can be overwhelming there is just so much to do and see and where do you even start? There are guidebooks and web sites in abundance filled with day-to-day activities and events and a quick google search will reveal all. NYCGO is a good place to start though. We recently spent 25 days in the city and what I wanted to do was share some tips and secrets that would make your visit so much more fun and relaxed for everyone. It’s a three-part adventure so stay tuned and maybe even sign up for an update.
I lived in NYC for a number of years and so I feel I have a pretty good grasp on the energy and challenges this city has. Returning as a visitor and a mum was such a different experience and it was all just as good as the first time when I came here as a tourist (read club kid!) in the 90’s. Here is what to expect from this post incase you look at it and think oh god its going to be about the flipping Zoo and Central Park and galleries and the damn Statue of Liberty. Well it’s not sorry to disappoint you. Here is what I want to talk about Maps. Omg did you just snooze off there for a second. No really I love maps and I love them even more when they are useful and point out some intrinsically lifesaving stuff like a bar, a coffee shop or convenience store. Not necessarily in that order but you get what I mean. My journey around New York took in all the regular sites including the 9/11 Memorial, a trip to the statue of Liberty, a walk around Chinatown and the Lower East Side, a trip to my favorite nail salon in the East Village (not a top destination but you should know its excellent!) as well as some uptown adventure at the Barney’s, sorry I mean The Zoo in Central Park, the Chrysler building etc. etc. You see I really did go everywhere. We were there for almost a month after all. So here is:
One of the biggest perils of traveling with kids is overload and this is the place to experience it. It’s a sensory overload from food to noise to the sheer vibrancy and energy of the city. the cliché is that NYC never sleeps and this is the truth. In my experience a park or playground of any description focuses my son. It’s a familiar environment anywhere in the world with the usual swings (Oscar Chang is obsessed with swings!) slides and of course children. Imagine spending the day with 6 million giants running around you and then getting to spend 30 minutes with some peeps your own size yep makes more sense now. I am experimenting here and I would love to know what you think and even more importantly I would love your contributions. I have made my first Custom Google Map. Im hoping it will be downloaded and shared and that one particularly harrowing meltdown day you will send me a quick message to say how awesomely useful it was! Click HERE and it will take you THERE.
The map features 7 parks with a small description and handily integrates with google so you can locate A. yourself or B. your destination and spot a little oasis of kid prozac.
My love for this place is boundless, right by our place in the West Village this was a pit stop almost every day. Sprinklers, trucks, tons of kids and lots of assorted sizes of climbing frames. The fact Magnolia Bakery (its ok there are better), Marc Jacobs and the Van Leeuwen Ice Cream truck are stumbling distance is just an added bonus.
PIER 25 WATER PARK
Full disclosure we were visiting in the warmer months so this is probably a bit of a seasonal special. It’s a watermark and its free and the views are breathtaking. We came at sunset a few times and it was just magical. Oscar loved it. Good for Tribeca adventures.
Located on Houston just over the road from Wholefood’s. This for me is a marks the intersection for an East Village coffee, a New Museum browse or the Lower East Side vintage shopping session. The park is pretty colorful with its cliantele. Oscar loved watching the guys shooting hoops and skating and I loved the fact we had finally left Wholefood’s (a black hole for time!)
If you’ve just dragged your kid shopping in Soho ( and I know you will) then get a cab and get over here and do yourself and him a giant favor. This park is amazing and it used to be the sketchiest, weirdest NYC hangout. We met a friend here for coffee and we both reminisced on some rather unsavory characters that we used to see in this spot when we were students. Its right by NYU so the people watching is still stella however the gentrified children’s areas are brilliant. Bravo NYC Parks!
Im sorry if this has existed for forever but who knew? Mini golf, a carousel (which I gather is new) a games rental station, a beautiful lawn home of Bryant Park Summer screen of course. This park is only a few blocks away from Time Square, The Rockefeller Centre, Grand Central and Moma of course so it comes in very handy. It’s really an oasis and has a few sites dedicated to what is going on here so check it out.
NELSON A ROCKEFELLER PARK
This is getting a bit boring now. Its a cool park and its close to the 9/11 Memorial and boats to The statue of Liberty. Its good, thats pretty much all you need to know. Oh and ALL the nannies bring there kids here so if you fall in love with the city and your on the hunt for a new nanny this my well traveled friend is the place to go.
A mums guide to NYC with kids
STAY TUNED FOR PART 2 SOME LOCALS SHARE SOME TIPS AND WE GO COUNTRY