Saturday, October 12, 2013

New York in 5 Days with Teens - The Wrap-Up Post

I last left you on the eve of our final morning in NYC, and at that point we weren't quite sure how to spend it.

Sure, there were still a whole bunch of possibilites. Like an NBC studio tour. Or go and spend more time in Central Park. Check out the High Line. Go to the Guggenheim.  Actually, what we REALLY wanted to do was go to the Lower East Side Tenement Museum, but that was closed to the government shut-down. It didn't matter though. You just can't see it all, so don't expect to. 

Maybe it was time to see NYC through a different lens? We wondered what a New York neighbourhood might be like, just to wander through. Our hotel staff suggested SoHo (South of Hudson Street), as a neighbourhood worthy of spending some time in. Funny, in a 2011 Frommer's guide, the editor didn't seem thrilled about SoHo, in fact wrote that some people thought of it as a has-been neighbourhood. So I was surprised when that's exactly where the Library Hotel staff suggested we go, with enthusiasm!

We went. It was lovely. Quaint area, less skyscrapers, a bit less crowded and some interesting little stores to poke through. We just leisured our way around. Had a coffee. It was relaxing. In one store, a guy asked me if I had a points card for that store and I told him I wasn't from here. He said, "Honey, nobody's from New York." We laughed.

We spent our last lunch hour visiting the NY Public Library, and had lunch at the outdoor Bryant Park cafe, directly behind the library. It was so pretty! And the library? Amazing. Wish that were my local library.

This is the outdoor cafe at Bryant Park (not to be confused with the Bryant Park Grill, directly beside it and much fancier). You can see the library building along the left. 

The following pictures were taken of the NY public library the evening before. This is a side view:

And this is the front. Impressive, no?

And since I'm showing some evening shots, I have to show you the Library Hotel at night. We're on the 8th floor. We just loved our hotel. Oh oh oh. On the last day we noticed a sign in the hotel business centre that if you use social media and tag the library hotel (#libraryhotel on IG), you would get a free book or a bottle of wine. Did that and chose the free book (the wine was free at happy hour, so you know, choose something that lasts). I was so pleased because the selections to choose from were all classics. I picked one of my very favorites, The Count of Monte Cristo by Alexandre Dumas. A nice hard-cover edition too!!

some final random thoughts

We are so glad we were able to do this trip with our big kids. When our littles get big, we'll take them too. 

NYC is an amazing city with an incredible history and many significant world-class attractions; but it was very overwhelming! Sensory overload with all the horns honking, constant traffic, constant street construction, crowds crowds and more crowds, flashing lights, subway trains, bad smells, I mean, its a wild ride.   

The art alone was worth the trip for me. I wonder what it would be like to have so many original works in your own backyard. 

The kids say their highlight was the Broadway shows. We're really glad we did two of them. We wish we could have done more! 

Definitely don't pack a bunch of clothes and stuff. Our rule was each person could take one carry-on, the kids and I each had a backpack. Well, I also had a largish tote-bag but we did want to bring back a few souvenirs. Still, not checking any luggage and bringing what you can easily carry made life soooo easy. But do pack good walking/running shoes and disregard fashion in favor of comfort. Nobody really cares, ya know? I happily wore my trusty old runners with my Barcelona skirt. It worked.

Expect expense. This is not a cheap city to visit. Do your homework and prioritize where you want your cash to go. It will dictate where you stay, what you eat, what you do. Our New York Passes paid for themselves by a long shot, but I've read that for others it wasn't worth it. Not everyone wants to visit a wax museum. Not everyone wants to rent bikes. So consider whether something like a NY Pass will really work for you.

And finally, I've said this before, but it bears repeating. Be flexible and roll with the punches. No family is perfect, and yours won't be either just because you're on an exciting vacation. It was eye-opening for us to see how we all travelled together on this type of go-go-go excursion. I think I probably prefer our month in Phoenix where we spend time together mostly relaxing by the pool. And yet. There is something  broadening about experiencing another view of life that is so very different and still awesome in its own way. 

And that, my dear friends, wraps up this mini-series on travelling to New York City with Teens. I would dearly LOVE to hear from other families who have ventured to NYC and lived to tell about it. How was it for you? 

If you missed Part 1 of New York in 5 Days with Teens, find it here.

Part 2 can be found here.

Part 3 of New York in 5 Days with Teens is here.

Find Part 4 over here.

And Part 5 is found here.

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