Well, we finally did it: we took the boys to New York City! It’s been a long time coming, Brandon’s been waiting for this trip since at least 2007! We were able to go on vacation for five days during Spring Break due to some savvy planning. Since we purchased our home last summer, I’ve made it a point to not only put a little bit of money into our savings account every month, but also to not use our credit cards unless absolutely necessary. While we’ve had a few unplanned expenses in the last few months (mostly car related), I was so happy when we were able to fund this trip with minimal use of our credit cards: the only thing we charged were the city tour bus tickets we purchased when we were there.
There were so many expectations with this trip, since it was the boys’ first. Brandon said his Bucket List included visiting Central Park Zoo, the Statue of Liberty and the 9/11 Memorial, seeing the Empire State Building and Chrysler Building, and hailing and riding in a yellow cab. Matthew’s Bucket List included visiting the New York City Library, The Museum of Natural History and Central Park. The one thing they both wanted was to see snow. I was thrilled that during our trip we were able to tick off almost all the items on their lists. The only thing we didn’t do was hail and ride in a yellow cab because we opted to travel by subway instead.
(Lots of pictures below the fold)
On our first day, after landing from a very early flight, we dropped off our luggage at the hotel, had something to eat and headed to our Statue of Liberty reservation. But not before the kids got to play with snow in the park near City Hall on our way to the ferry.
This was there first time seeing snow, ever, so even if it was just an inch or so still on the ground from the storm a few days prior, snow is snow! We spent the greater part of the day at the Statue, with visits to The Nintendo Store (a pleasant surprise that we didn’t even know existed!), Rockefeller Center and Times Square in the evening.
The next day, we spent the entire day in Central Park. Our first stop after breakfast and a quick walk through the beautiful St. Patrick’s Cathedral was Central Park Zoo, followed by long walk through the park to see the Egyptian Obelisk, Belvedere Castle, a trek through The Ramble to get to Bow Bridge, then a visit to Strawberry Fields.
We then walked over to the Upper West Side and had hot dogs at Gray’s Papaya, followed by a visit to Barnes & Noble to just unwind for a bit. After dinner we headed back to the hotel, we were exhausted!
Day three started with a visit to the Museum of Natural History, lunch at a really cool pub in the Upper West Side called the Dead Poet, and some sightseeing on those double-decker tour buses.
I’m sure this will be the day that the boys will most remember as just as we were walking from dinner back to our hotel for the night, it began to snow! It was the tiniest little flurry that lasted a manner of minutes, but their excitement had me in tears.
We spent most of our fourth day being tourists. We took the double-decker bus towards downtown, got off at City Hall, and crossed the Brooklyn Bridge, the one item on my Bucket List for this trip!
We had lunch in the DUMBO area, then took the subway to Ground Zero to pay our respects at the memorial. We took our last double-decker bus tour that evening, experiencing amazing views at dusk.
Our last day consisted of just a few hours in the city before we had to head to the airport. Brandon visits an anime store he’d been wanting to go to, and a quick walk through the first floor of the New York City Library left us wanting more. We gathered up our luggage at the hotel and headed to Grand Central Station to make our way to the airport.
We have decided that we will start budgeting to return to New York City in two years. There’s still so much to see and do…we’re looking forward to revising our Bucket Lists for our next trip!