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Palm trees & sunshine!
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I've been to NYC more times than I can remember but I've never once been there on anything but business where I'm usually too busy to notice much. I need to make another run into the city but I only have to be there for about 30 minutes. I have a boatload of Amtrak points that should score me round trip tickets for my wife and daughter so I'm thinking about going up late on a Friday and staying until Sunday night. I can do a quick run to the office to get the work out of the way and the rest of the weekend is mine.

So.... what would be good family activities that the wife and 7 y/o daughter would enjoy? I figured I definitely want to do Central Park and the zoo and I know my daughter would love to go up to the top of the Empire State building and perhaps see the Statue of Liberty. Any other recommendations? Places to eat (kid friendly)? The kid loves the Air and Space museum, maybe the USS Intrepid?

If we go, it'll probably be early April.

Thanks!
 

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What the Hell is going on
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Shakespeare in the Park

I went to New York in the mid '90's and got free tickets to Shakespear [sp] in the Park. Be warned you have to arrive at the ticket both early because the tickets go fast.

http://www.publictheater.org/view.php?mode=shakespeare

Sorry 'bout the bad post but Shakespeare in the Park starts in June. :(
 

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Soon to be banned
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KenB said:
I've been to NYC more times than I can remember but I've never once been there on anything but business where I'm usually too busy to notice much. I need to make another run into the city but I only have to be there for about 30 minutes. I have a boatload of Amtrak points that should score me round trip tickets for my wife and daughter so I'm thinking about going up late on a Friday and staying until Sunday night. I can do a quick run to the office to get the work out of the way and the rest of the weekend is mine.

So.... what would be good family activities that the wife and 7 y/o daughter would enjoy? I figured I definitely want to do Central Park and the zoo and I know my daughter would love to go up to the top of the Empire State building and perhaps see the Statue of Liberty. Any other recommendations? Places to eat (kid friendly)? The kid loves the Air and Space museum, maybe the USS Intrepid?

If we go, it'll probably be early April.

Thanks!
This is a very good website that can help you put together an itinerary: http://www.nycvisit.com/memberSearch/searchCategory.cfm?pagePkey=12

Definitely the Empire State Building.

Take in a play. You might still be able to get Sunday matinee tix. I'm sure the ladies would love "Beauty and the Beast" or "The Lion King."

Dinner in Little Italy.

No Money Fun: Take the Staten Island Ferry. Last time I took it was during OpsSail2000 and it was free. It's the poor man's CircleLine.

FAOSchwarz, then a carriage ride through the park.
 

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i don't know
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spyderman said:
FAOSchwarz, then a carriage ride through the park.
FAOSchwarz most definitely with a 7 yr old...
 

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Roadie with unshaven legs
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My co-worker and I went to NYC a little over a year ago for business and we decided to go a day early to do some sightseeing. We stayed at the Hyatt, right next door to Grand Central Station. From there, it was walking distance to Times Square, The UN building, The Empire State Building (a bit long, walking-wise but do-able), probably Central Park (we didn't go north of 42nd). If you are willing to try taking the subway then you can go to the southern tip of the island where you will find Wall Street, the NYSE, Ground Zero, the ferry terminal that takes you to the Statue of Liberty, and you are walking distance (long walk) to Chinatown. I'm sure there's more but we only had one day to see all these places/things so this is where we went.
 

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In addition to the other extremely good ideas posted already:
- Surprisingly fun but extremely touristy: Taking a row boat out on the lake in Central Park. Quite fun.
- The new Moma
- The Met
- The Frick (small but terrific)
- Walking stroll of the Village
- Dinner in Little Italy
- Movie in Bryant Park (I'm not sure whether they still do this, but a fun thing to do with the kids). In case you're wondering, Bryant Park is no longer the pit it once was.
 

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I used to go to New York a lot when I was young to visit my grandparents. Then I lived there for awhile in college. Here are the things I remember doing when I was young and my impression of them:

You could take her to any one of the many theme restaurants, such as the Hard Rock or Harley Davidson restaurant - they tend to be kid friendly. Jeckyll and Hyde was a neat restaurant, though possibly too scary for a 7 y/o (lots of singing skeletons, pictures with moving eyes and when you first get in, you are in a room with no door and the walls start closing in.) If she likes that kind of stuff, and knows its fake, it could be a lot of fun.

If you want to spoil her, you can take her to Tavern on the Green for an early lunch - before the crowds. It's a cool restaurant inside with lots of mirrors and huge chandeliers that she might like.

I know my little sister always wanted to go to Tiffany when we visited NY when we were young (Now she works there).

The South Street sea port is fun. They have old ships you can go on and usually there are a bunch of street performers. Plus, the food court there had some of the cheapest beers in town.

The museum of history is pretty neat. There is a huge dinorsaur exhibit and an Egypt exhibit that is pretty neat.

Another free thing to do is walk across the Brooklyn Bridge and back.

Definitely hit the top of the Empire State Building. The Statue of Liberty is cool, but its really tough to get to the top of it, which means you basically take a boat to an island and look up at a tall statue. It's almost just as cool to see it from across the harbor. And if memory serves me, it's almost an all-day trip.

Wall Street isn't interesting. Most firms aren't actually on Wall Street anymore. It's kind of just a narrow, dark, dirty street.

If you can, the Bronx Zoo is way better than the Central Park zoo.

If you go to ground zero, you should check out Century 21. My wife loves that store.
 

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Just Riding Along
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We like Chinatown too.

My 7 y.o. daughter loves it. We go in several times a year. It's a great place to eat and shop. My kid's favorite purchases from CT include Chinese silk pajamas in beautiful colors and patterns ($15) and a New Year's papier mache dragon mask (head with long cloth runner attached - first person puts mask on head and second covers self with cloth runner; the pair then dances around the house), another huge bargain ($20) with great entertainment value. The fresh fruit, veggie and fish stalls are amazing if you've never seen them. Also, the restaurants with the roasted ducks hanging in the windows waiting to become your dinner.

We also like Rockefeller Center - see the skating rink and St. Patrick's cathedral. And since you're in the neighborhood...

YOU MUST VISIT THE AMERICAN GIRL DOLL STORE.

Your girls will love it and you will feel like you're on an alien planet. Trust me, they know about it and will think of it sooner or later. Be the hero; suggest it. Don't forget to bring your Visa card.
 

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I would skip the Statue of Liberty

When my daughters were 8 and 11, we took them to New York for a long weekend in March. They really enjoyed Chinatown/Little Italy, taking the subway, window shopping (and some real shopping) in midtown (the jewels on the first floor of Tiffany's always impresses little girls -- and some big ones, too). The one negative of the trip was our attempted visit to the Statue of Liberty. The boat ride over to the Statue was very windy and cold even though it did not seem that bad in Manhattan. When we got there, the lines were extremely long -- we waited about two hours (it was a Saturday) and eventually gave up before we made it into the Statue. Also, our visit was in 2000. It is my understanding that access to the Statue is more restricted now than it was then.

One word of caution: Do not overplan you trip. A seven year old who is used to driving places, eating mall food courts, etc., may react very differently to walking, taking the subway and generally taking in life on the streets of New York. One of my daughters was exhausted from it all and needed breaks at the hotel; my other daughter was energized by her being in New York and never wanted to stay still.
 

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Skip the Empire State Bldg.

Go to the observation deck on the GE Building (formerly RCA Building) in midtown instead.

Advantages:
Less crowded than ESB (at least it was over New Years, when we sent some out-of-town visitors there) and fewer security hassles.
Midtown location, near Rockefeller Center's skating rink, 5th Ave., St. Patricks, etc.
You get a better look at all the midtown skyscrapers, and look at the ESB a mile away.

Best time to go, in my experience, is late in the day, when visibility improves, the setting sun over Jersey puts on a show, and the lights coming on in the buildings & on the roads are spectacular.
 

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Palm trees & sunshine!
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Discussion Starter #12
Thanks all for the great ideas! I'm bookmarking the thread. :)
 

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Strained coccyx etc etc
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third FAO.

staten island ferry was $ when i went in '99, and they packed 'em in like cattle.

maybe not so good for a 7 yo.

washington park (square?) is nice...

don't leave anything in a taxi. word.
 

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ps, another vote for central park. amazing!!!

just be...aware of your surroundings, at all times.

always, everywhere, but...particularly in manhattan.

hey, don't forget, CBGB's in on the island!
 

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i've lived in manhattan for five years and have a 2-y.o. daughter. as a ny'er, i'm going to sound jaded, but...don't try to do too much. manhattan is exhausting, especially for a family. you will walk--A LOT. the bklyn bridge, for example, is 6,000+ feet long, so if you walk across and back, that's 2+ miles. most people walk halfway to bklyn and come back.

you've got 48 hours, and you'll be sleeping for at 16, so pick one or two parts of the city and stick to them. stay in midtown or near central park, somewhere between 42nd and 72nd streets. explore there on saturday, then pick one other neighborhood to explore on sunday.

saturday
--wake up at 6 a.m. april 8 and come watch us race bikes in central park. probably 150 men and women in four divisions. (joke!)
--get room service breakfast. kids love it.
--take a carriage ride in central park. or, better yet, a pedicab. pedicabs are cheaper and don't smell like horsecrap. plus, the carriages only cover a tiny portion of the park. watch the pedicab driver blow out his quads on cat's paw hill! the view of manhattan looking south across the reservoir is one of the most beautiful sights in the world. visit strawberry fields and john lennon memorial. tell your daughter what a great man he was.
--i hate times square, but toys r us there blows fao schwartz out of the water. ride the indoor ferris wheel. they've got a 30-foot-long animatronic t-rex.
--if you can see a broadway show, do it. it is expensive, but you can try for discount seats at the tkts booth in times square. tkts lines can be very long. you'll never forget a good b'way show.
--head over to 50th st and 5th ave and see st. patrick's cathedral. spectacular.
--visit the skydeck at the nearby GE building, especially at sunset as the city lights come on.
--for dinner, avoid theme restaurants, such as jekyll & hyde, like the plague. overpriced. bad food. poor service. eat like a new yorker. pizza. hot dogs. pasta. noodle shops. near the GE building, i recommend american girl cafe, soba nippon (noodles) or the sportsclub/la restaurant called pulse (only if you can get a table with a view of the skating rink). i recommend carmine's, ruby foo's or 45 bond, near times square.

sunday
--little italy and/or chinatown (they are adjacent) are fantastic. they do get crowded on sundays though, especially along canal street.
--the bklyn bridge is not too far away. but the manhattan bridge is closer to chinatown, tourist-free and offers views of the bklyn bridge.
--i understand the lower east side tenement museum is very well done. rooms set up like real tenements.
--from chinatown, take a $10 cab ride to battery park on the southern tip of manhattan, where you find...
--the staten island ferry is still free, and a great little ride. it won't be crowded on a weekend. you pass within 400 yards of the statue of liberty--which is a lot smaller than it looks on TV. the ferry is near wall st., but, like someone else wrote, wall st. is just a bunch of big buildings.
--as far as i know, liberty island is open, but visitors are not allowed into the statue. on an april weekend, you will have to wait in serious lines to board the ferry.
--adjacent ellis island is very cool. old buildings where the kid can run around. amazing views. excellent displays of immigrant life.
--as a ny'er, ground zero is just really depressing to me. it's just a big hole in the ground now. (http://www.earthcam.com/cams/newyork/groundzero/index.php?cam=3) i'm not sure if people still leave flowers, etc. on the construction fences.

if you need any more advice, just send me a PM. have fun, but please don't stand in the middle of sidewalk and look up at the buildings! :)
 

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My favorites

Zabars: Broadway aroud 54th? Great deli / grocery store. Woeth the people watching
Tom's Restaurant: Broadway, 85-90? The coffee shop from Seinfeld fame and that damn annoying song from the 90's.
The View: Marriott Marquis, mid-town in Times Square area. Revolving restaurant w/o cover charge. Very cool as two drinks is usually one lap around town.
Diamond District: 47th? Great slice of life microcosm of capitalism in action.
UN: Very interesting and under visited. The Ivory sculpture given by China is simply amazing.
Roosevelt Island tram way: Next to 54th street bridge on East side. There was some hostage movie filmed on it and it's cool to be in the tram over the East river. Nothing to do on the island, but the ride is cool for the cost of a subway token
 

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couple other ideas to add to the good ones already mentioned.

If you've got a 7 year old girl and wife with you, the first thing you do is take them to Bloomingdales to look at the clothes and visit the makeup counter. This will confirm your status as the world's greatest dad and earn you major street cred in the future.

One fun place to go if you happen to be around 14th Street is the Forbes Museum. Free entry, and they have tons of old toys that the Forbes family collected, including some of the original Monopoly sets. Easy in, easy out, and you'll be done in 20 minutes. They used to have the Russian faberge eggs there, but I think they were sold.

If you don't get to NYC often, they you really owe it to yourself to go to the Metropolitan Museum. I'd go early Sunday Morning, definitely before 11 a.m. You will find staff members there looking out for people with kids, and they can hook you up with a free kids tour. Otherwise, the Egyptian stuff, the armor, the gold jewelry, etc. will keep you busy for quite a while. Have lunch in the cafe.

After (or before), have bagels and coffee in central park and let your daughter run around on the Alice in Wonderland statues.

Other ideas --- Lunch = Pizza. Hey, this is new york -- use it. Make sure you take the subway and a taxi. Take your picture in front of Trump Tower pointing a finger at the camera and saying "Your fired!" or at the back end of the bull on lower broadway -- why not? Everyone else does.

If you really plan in advance, you could get tickets for a tv show taping, though that might be only during the weekdays..... A Broadway play would be great also, if you can swing it. There are lots of children's theatre productions in Manhattan as well if you don't often get the chance to go.

Don't bother taking the boat to the Statue of Liberty. Staten Island ferry is free and more fun/less time. It ain't crowded either.
 

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team_sheepshead said:
don't try to do too much. manhattan is exhausting, especially for a family. you will walk--A LOT.
This is the best advice so far. Two of us, both adults, walked all over lower Manhattan from 42nd Ave south to the tip of the island. After about 9 hours I was hurting really badly.
 
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