I grew up a mere 40 minutes away from Manhattan. Most of my teenage years were spent hopping on the train and traveling by myself (what were my parents thinking?) to meet up with friends and stroll around Greenwich Village or trying to get into the velvet roped celebrity hangouts - so shallow I was. Nell's was a particularly memorable club, where one evening I sat at a table and talked with Bono. I was so excited I went home and threw up.
When we decided to spend a few weeks on the East Coast to visit family during the month of July, I couldn't wait to explore New York with my kids. At ages seven and nine I figured they could handle the incredible amount of walking we would be doing and the smell of urine wafting through the air. Yes, it's true. New York smells like pee in the hot summer sun. Don't let that deter you though, New York is an incredibly exciting and fun city if you know how to navigate it.
Below you'll find some of my recommendations for a fun time...
- Take the kids for something different for lunch. Skip the Applebee's and head to Momufuku in the East Village for duck dumplings and spicy shrimp rolls. Don't forget to head around the corner to Milk Bar for a confetti cookie or soft serve ice cream.
- Sure, Times Square is a tourist trap. You may want to take a walk through just to experience the madness or if you're headed to a Broadway show, you can't avoid it, but I wouldn't recommend spending more than 15 minutes. I have a low tolerance for crowds full of naked people.
- Grand Central Terminal is an architectural gem that shouldn't be missed. There are restaurants, shops and even a huge grocery store on the lower level.
- The High Line is an elevated public park built on an historic rail line that runs along the West Side of Manhattan. Great views, places to sit and relax, and kiosks that sell food and drinks - even alcoholic ones.
- Metropolitan Museum of Art A favorite of mine and the kids as well. We spent half a day here exploring, eating and taking in the views from the fabulous roof garden. Kids under 12 are free.
- Maison Kayser is a wonderful bakery with authentic French breads, pastries and sandwiches. I first discovered a location in Paris and fell in love with their baguettes. They have several locations around the city.
- Take a subway ride. Anywhere. A quick and economical way to get from Upper to Lower Manhattan.
- Check out the graffiti. Keep your eyes open for some really interesting street art.
- Don't forget Central Park!