Originally my Date Jar series featured family friendly dates that we experienced in the Columbus Metro Area; however, with this special post I am giving details about a recent trip to NYC that my family took. We embarked early Friday morning and returned Sunday evening. The cause of the trip was to allow my husband the opportunity to be a part of a television series for the basketball free-styling that he does. He was going to travel solo, but in the end we decided that we would make it a family trip. (see my post: My Husband the TV Star for more details about how he got this chance of a lifetime) This was my third visit to The Big Apple, but I still made plans to cram as much eating and shopping into the short trip as possible.
We ended up renting a car and driving to NYC. This drive should have taken approximately eight hours, but with a potty-training toddler on board it was a little closer to ten. I’m not complaining though, because for some strange reason my daughter decided to go the entire trip without using her diaper. She was able to hold it between stops and even while in the city as well. This is something we have been working on for months, but she chose this to be the weekend that she would really show some progress. I’m a proud mama!
After arriving around 4:30pm at our hotel we decided to spend the first night in Times Square. It’s a great place to see in the evening and a good first stop for any tourist visiting NYC. My youngest sister tagged along on the trip and so Times Square was a great place for her to see first. We grabbed dinner at Connolly’s Pub and Restraunt. I ordered a delicious crab cake burger.
Once we had stuffed ourselves with fatty pub food we meandered around Times Square hitting all of the must-sees: The Disney Store, M&M Store, Footlocker, etc. By 9pm we were exhausted from the car travel and decided to call it an early night and head back to the hotel. We stopped at The Bread Factory for coffee and Made by Melissa for miniature cupcake/macaroons.
We stayed in the Hilton at Newark Penn Station. Of all the times I’ve been to NYC before this was by far the shortest and most convenient accommodation. The hotel was attached to the Newark Penn Station by bridge and had quick and easy access to the transit which traveled to downtown NYC.
We were up and at ’em super early on Saturday. This was to be our only full day in the city so we had several events planned for the day. We traveled into the city together, but split up once we got into the heart of town. My sister, daughter, and I ventured toward the Rockefeller Center and my husband walked a few blocks east to meet the filming crew for his television special. His filming would take approximately four hours so my sister and I planned quite a bit of shopping during this time.
Our first stop: Breakfast. If there is anyone in the world who tops me in the love of a good cup of coffee it is my youngest sister. She is the #1 coffee aficionado and I can only aspire to one day have as distinguishable a pallet as she. Nestled into the Rockefeller Center Plaza was a cute French bakery, Bouchon Bakery. It is here that I consumed one of the strongest coffees of my life. The rich, bitter coffee was complimented well with a bit of cream. However, one day I aspire to not require cream in even the strongest of coffees. I also ordered two macaroons (1 for me, and one for my daughter). We sipped our coffees and ate our baked goods in the plaza. The sun was beaming and the beautiful weather had begun.
From the Rockefeller Plaza we were off to do some Fifth Avenue shopping. It was a lot of fun bouncing from store to store and pretending that we could afford some of the designer offerings on the northern end of Fifth Avenue. We journeyed inside the famously beautiful Trump Tower and then ended up on the southern tip of Central Park.
I could have spent the entire trip in Central Park. The weather was perfect and the scenery was so beautiful. We walked around many famous landmarks within the park and grabbed lunch beside the baseball fields at The Baseball Cafe. My sister is a huge JD Salinger fan so we ate our lunch near one of Holden Caulfield’s stops in The Cather in the Rye, the Central Park carousel. After lunch, I took my daughter for a ride. I loved how excited she was to be riding on the mechanical horses. Afterward she even said,
“Thank you for letting me ride those horses, mommy, it was so much fun!”
We disembarked from the carousel and continued with our exploration of Central Park. We found a playground and let my daughter out of her stroller long enough to play around for a bit.
“Mom, I want this to be my park not New York’s park.”
Then, we got the call that my husband’s film session had ended and he was on his way to Central Park. Let me tell you one of the many lessons I learned on this trip: Trying to find someone in Central Park is no easy task. It took a bit of coordination which is a true struggle when one’s husband is directionally challenged, but eventually we met up.
Our next destination was The Strand. This is a world famous bookstore with over 18 miles of books. Once we entered the shop we each gravitated toward our favorite genres and remained separated for about an hour. We could have easily spent days in this shop alone, but we had to limit ourselves as it was nearing dinner time. For dinner we found ourselves searching the streets near Union Square and ended up at Patsy’s Pizzeria. We shared a 17″ pepperoni pizza and it was so good!
We rounded out our trip back at Times Square in search of a graduation dress for my sister whose high school graduation is right around the corner. This search proved a difficult one, but eventually she located an affordable white sun dress.
Here is a glimpse into the fitness level I achieved during this one day marathon trip through NYC.
We were up around 8am on Sunday and on the road by 9am. The journey home was quick and seamless.
Like any trip to the big city there was so much that we did not have time to do. We made this trip about our particular personalities and not so much about tourist must-sees. We traded the museums for literature because with the limited time we had in the city we wanted to search for gems off the beaten path which we did find. For us, NYC was all about the coffee, food, books, and shopping. We each did quite a bit of reading and enjoyed NYC from a new perspective.
I ❤ NYC, but it is always nice to be back home!