Tuesday, November 13, 2018

The Big Apple!

By Kathy

Dates: August 31st – September 5th

Our hurricane season adventure begins in the big apple. Dan and I have both been to NYC but this would be the first visit for the kids and they were very excited. But there was a little catch to our visit. Out of all of the places we would go during the next two months, New York would be the easiest to get back to in the future, so we told the kids we would need to have a tight budget for this leg of the trip and save more fun money for the other locations. We quickly realized that the typical attractions like the Empire State Building, a Broadway show, 30 Rock would be out of budget when you multiplied everything by 5 people. We know they will come back another time to experience these parts of NYC. They did a great job researching and making a list of things to do while we were there. 

Here is their list of the top things they wanted to do. These lists made us realize sometimes we need to simplify the list in our adult heads. 

Emma – eat some cool desserts and take some pictures in Central Park, Times Square, and the Brooklyn Bridge

A Cool Dessert  - A big Lollipop Passion goblet from the Sugar Factory

Enjoyed by all!
Another Cool Dessert - A little unicorn ice cream treat from Takiyaki
Central Park
Times Square
Brooklyn Bridge

Jack – eat some great street food

First hot dog in Soho!

A Central Park Dog!

Pretzels in Chelsea!

Sam – ride a bike and have a great birthday

Biking on Governors Island

A boy and his bike!
A Double Merlin ice cream cone on your birthday. 

It was really good!

Where would we stay???
It is easy to say you will keep a budget but your budget in NYC can quickly go under with lodging. The price to stay in the city for 5 nights was pretty steep. So we looked at other areas and ended up in the Bay Ridge neighborhood in Brooklyn. We stayed on the first-floor apartment of a traditional Brooklyn brownstone. After reading so many books set in Brooklyn I was very excited to see Brooklyn and to actually stay in one of the brownstones. Our hosts, Rob and Gino, did a great job restoring the brownstone and we were within walking distance to restaurants, stores, bodegas and the subway. They even had a razor scooter for the kids to ride around the area. Click here to see it on Airbnb

Our Brooklyn brownstone

Bay Ridge was really beautiful
The local Brooklyn FD invited Sam in for a picture when they saw him walking through the neighborhood

Our hosts - Rob and Gino

Coney Island
Since we were in south Brooklyn we decided to spend our first day in Coney Island. The kids had a great time picking out a few rides and all of us rode the iconic Wonder Wheel and with $5 burning in their pockets that had a great time with the arcade and carnival games.

The Boardwalk
The Thunderbolt - this was the ride Sam picked out

Look closely and you will see Sam in the front row
Sam was the only one of us that wanted to go on Thunderbolt - hmmm...I wonder why!

The Original Nathan's
Jack can't visit without trying one
Great Daddy and Emma pic!

The iconic Wonder Wheel - we rode in one of the swinging cars in the middle
Can't leave without some cotton candy!

The Emma!

A little arcade fun!

Jack and Sam won lots of tickets!

A little Sam and Mommy pic!

City Highlights
We learned that there are some really great things to do around the city that are free or very close to it and it turns out they were more fun for the kids than the typical attractions.

Bike Riding in Central Park –
This was a huge highlight of our trip. Central Park is beautiful and if you are on a bike you can ride through the whole park. We rented 5 bikes for 2 hours for the same cost as a 10-minute horse and carriage ride. After living on a boat for a while the kids were very excited to get on some bikes. ($55)

A little ice cream stop during our bike ride

On the road again.....
Beautiful day in Central Park!

The kiddos!

City Walking & Times Square–
New York is a great walking city. You can see some cool buildings, good people watching, and maybe even run into an event. When we were there they had Brazilian festival that covered several blocks right downtown. When you reach Times Square you can spend some time just taking in the scenery and people. (Free)

A little love!

Sam finding his inner peace

The boys
The streets of NYC!
We found the festival food!

Peking duck at the Brazilian festival - only in New York!
Fun in Times Square

Super Emma!

Jack doing some Dr. Strange moves (Dr. Strange is a Marvel character that protects New York)

Walking the Highline –
This was a very cool elevated walking trail around the Chelsea neighborhood. It was an old train track that has been converted into an elevated garden and art trail. (Free)

Walking the Highline!

911 Memorial –
This was the first time that we have been to NYC since the memorial was built. It is a beautiful memorial that brought back a lot of memories of that day in 2001. (Free)

The 911 Memorial

Governors Island –
We didn’t even know that this island existed in NYC. It is an old military island that has been turned into a park and is just a small ferry right from the terminal. We found it when we were looking for bike riding options for Sam’s birthday. There are no cars on the island and they have bike and walking trails, container restaurants, playgrounds and even some glamping tents if you want to stay there. Not on the normal tourist itinerary so we primarily saw locals taking advantage of the island on Labor Day (aka…Sam’s Birthday). (Ferry cost: $3 round trip per adult and kids are free. Bikes $55 for 2 hrs)

Heading to Governor's Island

Walking around the island before picking up our bikes

This is not our bike.....but a cool art sculpture made of car bumpers

There were lots of container restaurants on the island

We found our bikes

The kids and Lady Liberty

Mommy and Daddy pic!

The bike trail around the island

Staten Island Ferry –
Right next to the Governors Island Ferry is the Staten Island Ferry terminal. We decided to take the ferry to Staten Island to see the Statue of Liberty. Another plus for the kids was that they had some of their favorite snacks onboard. (Free)

At the ferry port!
The ferry - lots of Marvel movie talk about Spiderman and Iron Man during our ferry ride.
The girls and Lady Liberty

Enjoying the ferry snacks

Walking the Brooklyn Bridge –
This was a big item on the list and something none of us have ever done. It was very cool to walk to the top of the bridge and see the cars driving below you, the city skyline and the water. (Free)

The bottom of the bridge -  Sam is not a happy camper

Making our way up!

It is really a beautiful bridge

From the top - Sam is still not happy!
Found at the bottom of the bridge - Things that make you go hmmm...

Good Eats –
To our surprise we did really well with our eating out in the city. This can be a pretty big expense in the city but if you look around you can find some great places to eat that cost a lot less. Street food is a given in NYC. We had some good gyros, hot dogs, etc.. We also ate quite a bit around our Brooklyn neighborhood and the prices were very reasonable. Chinatown and Little Italy were two of the spots in the city that we ate dinner. Joe’s Shanghai in Chinatown was the biggest surprise and proved to be our favorite restaurant throughout our trip and we ate big dinner of soup dumplings, noodles, and drinks for under $50.

Street food in the park

Our first pizza in Brooklyn
Soup dumplings at Joe's Shanghai. Emma is not sure Dan can pick it up without the soup pouring out. It is a skill of concentration picking up dumplings filled with soup.

Jack working the chopsticks trying not to break the dumpling


Rated #1 dinner on our trip!

How did we get around?
The subway and lots of walking. New York is such a great walking city and I do not think a day went by when our feet were not sore at the end of the day. The subway was easy for the longer trips from Brooklyn into Manhattan and we even ended up taking it all of the way to the airport when we left NYC.

The NYC subway!

Riding the subway on your birthday  - September 3rd

Provisions –
Besides seeing the sights of the city we also had some things we had to do to get ready for our trip abroad. Everyone needed a backpack for their luggage and we all need a few clothes (long pants, long sleeved shirts). Everything you took had to fit in your backpack. No rolling luggage or big duffels on this trip.

Sam and his new backpack with a little chipmunk hat thrown in!

Emma getting fitted for her backpack at REI
One of many trips to Duane Reade (aka Walgreens). We had long list after being in the islands for a while.

This was a great first stop on our trip and it surprised both Dan and I how much fun we had in the city. The kids had a blast and they voted that the favorite thing they did was the bike riding in Central Park. When we head back to Grenada we are going to try to do another bike ride in the park (if it is not too cold) and eat another round of dumplings at Joe’s.


  1. What a wonderful trip. It looks like so much fun. You guys should be travel agents because you do such a great job of planning the trips you go on. I wouldn't even know where to start.


    1. Hi Aunt Sharon! You guys could definitely pull together a great trip. We know you would LOVE South Africa! I can help get you started if you ever want to explore it!

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  3. Such a great post Kathy! So interesting and so well written I felt I was along on the trip. the photos are fantastic! I copied a bunch of them to our computer. The Brooklyn brownstone looks like a total "find".