They call New York City the city that never sleeps for a reason. There is so much to do and see that you could go for days, without sleeping and still not see everything. Picking and choosing for a two day itinerary in New York City to focus on specific neighborhoods or a theme is one way to make a trip to NYC manageable, especially when traveling with children.
Having explored Midtown…from Times Square and Broadway to Fifth Avenue (can you say American Girl Place) and Central Park last fall, my tween daughter and I embarked on a mission to discover NYC as a destination to grow global citizens. Knowing that time was short, we arrived at Penn Station by train ready to take the city by storm.
The most important attractions on our two day itinerary were the Statue of Liberty and the United Nations. I wanted us to explore some of the diverse neighborhoods as well to get a feel of how global NYC really is, but knew that we would have to play it by ear because of the heat wave that had taken residence over the Mid-Atlantic.
Day One in NYC
I had BIG plans for our first day in New York. In my mind, we would arrive late in the morning into Penn Station, check in at the Millenium Hilton in the Financial District and then walk through Chinatown (with a stop for lunch), explore Little Italy and then continue on my foot to the United Nations for an afternoon tour.
The reality though, was that the heat had already set in and the usually fabulous and flexible traveler that is my daughter, was becoming grumpy. On any other day, (or on a full stomach) seeing the produce and offerings at the many shops in Chinatown would have been an adventure that she would thrive on…but noticing her tired eyes and verging on whiney comments, I quickly realized that I needed to rethink my master plan if I wanted our mother daughter trip to end well.
Which for us meant- instead of eating in Chinatown, we went to our “home” neighborhood of Little Italy and Osteria Morini (I had originally planned on going for dinner). The good news is that the change in plans worked. Pasta for my hungry tween, an Aperol Sprtiz for me and my favorite travel companion who is up for almost anything, was back.
At some point when you are traveling, despite whatever you think you can and cannot do….you get smart. Having thwarted a lunch time meltdown, I made a strategic decision to take a taxi to the United Nations instead of going on foot. More than anything, this decision was a tactical one for the big picture and success of our trip.
I imagine that had we walked from Little Italy to the United Nations that day, instead of learning about the Security Council and disarmament, we might have needed peacekeepers of our own.
The day ended with another executive decision, to play at the pool at the hotel and order room service for dinner so that we would be ready for day two…. a decision that proved to be exactly what we needed.
Day Two in NYC
The good news was that heading to see the Statue of Liberty bright and early meant that we would be able to see Lady Liberty before the thermometer spiked in the day, or so we hoped. The good news is that we got to Battery Park early and were able to line up without waiting for our exact ticket time. The bad news is that the lines were already long and the sun and heat was already unforgiving at 8:45 am. Even still….you cannot help but be awed standing under the pedestal of the Statue of Liberty.
The decision of what to do with the rest of our day, since our train home was not until much later in the day, was a big question mark. There is certainly not a shortage of things to choose from and we thought about exploring the High Line, heading into Brooklyn to explore another part of the city, immersing ourselves in ancient Egyptian art at the Metropolitan Museum of Art…or, spending a few hours at the Museum of Modern Art.
We settled (happily) on a taxi ride to Midtown to have lunch and stay close by with an afternoon at MOMA. Part of our decision was not wanting to schlep all over the city in the heat. More than that, my tween considers herself an artist and we thought that the modern and varied exhibits at MOMA would be particularly exciting for her.
By the time we made it to Penn Station to wait for our train, it felt like we had conquered the city…even if, we barely scratched the surface. Even with the heat and a taxi rides, our two day itinerary in New York City to explore what it means to be a global citizen…from an iconic symbol of liberty to a symbol of global collaboration and everything in between was the perfect mother daughter trip.
The best part was…we were not even out of the station when the obvious question was asked…”when are we coming back?”
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