By Diane PetersUpdated Jun 18, 2013
Back in that other life, before the kids came along, my husband Tom and I were New York City regulars. Now, it was time to show Leo, 8, and Hazel, 5, our favourite city. We had four days, divvied the city up in sections, aimed for just one big destination a day and strapped on their walking shoes. We pooped them out but they already want to go back.
The street food — from falafel to breakfast sandwiches — is almost always delish, as are most of the takeout pizza joints. Find more top-notch on-the-fly grub at the five Manhattan locations of Shake Shack with its fresh-cut fries, frozen custards and burgers (including an amazing one with portobello mushroom). S’Mac features an entire menu of mac and cheese, including classic, Buffalo chicken and Cajun. Stuck in your hotel and can’t make it to the East Village? They deliver, bless them.
Photo by ozmafan via Flickr
We parked ourselves at the New Yorker Hotel, which had great rates, spacious (for NYC) double rooms and a location oh-so-handily beside Penn Station (we took the train to and from Newark).
New trend: family-friendly hotels featuring bunk beds. The TRYP Hotel near Times Square has a sleek modern style, plus suites with bunk beds and a family room (where you can hang out after kidlets are in bed!).
Photo by richiebits via Flickr
The Central Park Zoo has the most awesome animals, including showy sea lions, a red panda (Shifu from Kung Fu Panda is one — super cute) and a freaky number of bats. The 75 minute Liberty Cruise with Circle-Line Sightseeing was a trip highlight: the kids gawked at the Statue of Liberty (and made me take a million pictures of it) and we enjoyed seeing and learning more about the Manhattan waterfront.
Photo by jastrow75 via Flickr
There’s nothing like Central Park and nuggets like the Heckscher Playground, which features a climbable rock structure with water running through it — both gorgeous and fun — can amuse the fam for a day at least. We also strolled the High Line a park/path built on a raised rail line in the meatpacking district.
Photo by Randy Le'Moine Photography via Flickr
Kids ride the subway for free if they can duck under the turnstile — odd but true. There’s free WiFi in the square in front of the Apple Store and FAO Schwarz, which is great for plotting your next stop or, if you have sporty kids, checking the score on the big game.
Photo by Kevin Coles via Flickr