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NY is NOT for toddlers

Galway, Ireland
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NY is NOT for toddlers

hey all,

well I'm back from my trip to the US with my partner and 19 month son. We stayed in NY for 3 nights at the start of our trip and 2 at the end of our trip and went to Sth Carolina in between.

Just a few pointers:

1. The New York Ramada is the WORST hotel I have stayed in ever - even the hotels in communist russia were better than it! I was sooo disappointed in the hotel as it was filthy, dingy and completely unsuitable for a toddler. The only positive things i have to say about it is the staff were nice and the diner next door was a lifesaver. If this is considered a mid range hotel in NY then I am shocked. It wouldn't even get 1 star in Ireland. It was so bad it nearly ruined our trip for us.

2. NY is not for toddlers. Trying to feed our son was a nightmare. Now at 19 mths he will eat mostly anything except premade sandwiches and the day we went shopping on 5th ave was a nightmare as we couldn't find any eateries (he's too young 4 starbucks!) and ended up eating in the overpriced and slow slow slow cafe in FAO schwatrz. The child was eating his hands by the time the food came they were so slow but we were stuck.

3. Dirty pavements - there was so much rubbish and dirty puddles at the intersections with the ramps for strollers (buggies) / wheelchairs that we just avoided them. I know the population on NY is massive and it must be hard to keep it clean but we felt the dirty paths really took from NY.

4. Manners - everyone that we met in the service industry in the US was amazing (except the hostess in FAO Schwartz cafe! Too long a story). They were so helpful and polite and seemed really genuinely interested in our son so he had a great time with all the attention. Irish people could learn a lot from the US in this area. The general population in Sth Carolina were the most polite I have ever come across in my travels but then the South is much more laid back I guess.

5. Our son was really good which meant we got to see a lot of the top 10 list. Top of the Rock stands out as a great followed by Central Park & the National Museum - the butterfly section is amazing!! Am so jealous of you NYorkers! On the staten Island Ferry we were sorry we didn't research transport in Staten Island more as we would have visited the historic bits if we had enought time... next time!

6. Leave the babies at home! I would have to say NY is definitely for adults who want to shop all day and party all night so my advice is to really appreciate NY leave the babies at home and go on adult only trips. Maybe teenagers would appreciate it more and allow you to spend less time in your hotel room!!

Thanks to everyone for the tips and advice.


New York City, New...
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1. Re: NY is NOT for toddlers

Thanks for posting bounty12. I have to agree with you on the Ramada. I keep telling people it's the worst and there are always some who say it's fine, it's not so bad etc.

I do think it's possible to do NYC with a toddler, but maybe not at the tourist venues at such a busy time of year. I do think it's easier without kids, but not everyone has that luxury.

What were you doing in South Carolina?

County Clare...
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2. Re: NY is NOT for toddlers

Bounty12. Sorry to hear about your experience.

We have come to NY with the kids a few times (once when the youngest was 16 months, a 3 & 5 yr old) and enjoyed it so much, have returned.

Probably would not have enjoyed it without the use of a back pack for our smallest - did not experience any problems with feeding or any service providers, apart from our flights back home.

Was returning to a property that I had been to a few times previously, so that was not going to be a factor.

West Palm Beach...
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3. Re: NY is NOT for toddlers

Sounds like you made the best of it, even with a few bumps.

New York can be wonderful with a toddler, but it's probably better without little kids if you want to see all the tourist attractions. Kids would always rather play in a sandbox than wait on line to see the Statue of Liberty, or go shopping.

New Orleans...
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4. Re: NY is NOT for toddlers

I think if you want to vacation in New York with any sort of limitations, ie the needs of a toddler, you need to do better planning.

For example, there are plenty of places to eat near 5th Avenue- they're just not located on 5th Avenue. For instance, there's an entire block of restaurants located on 56th Street between 5th and 6th Avenues- you'd just have to walk another 50 yards.

Sorry, but if you're planning to be in the area for lunch, and you don't want to deal with a hungry child, that's something you should be aware of.

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5. Re: NY is NOT for toddlers

I really can't understand why you couldn't find anywhere to feed your son at 19 months. I used to order my food with eye toward what a toddler could eat and shave off some of mine (portions generally large enough) to share i.e baked potatoes, pasta, steamed veggies, roasted chicken cut up . I also carried yogurt or applesauce or cheese or cereal pieces which also filled voids. I also don't understand why you didn't pop into Starbucks. My kids loved the steamed milk, they also have hot chocolate for a pick me up, sit down have a cookie and recharge! After all there are plenty of New Yorkers raising thousand of children in the city everyday and they aren't starving!

New York City, New...
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6. Re: NY is NOT for toddlers

Sorry to hear your trip was so bad!!

You say the hotel wasn't fit for a toddler....I don't understand that comment.

I stayed there a few weeks ago and thought it was a great place to stay. It was very clean and although a bit dated, it was the age of the place that added to the building's character. For us, the linens were new and the baths were kept spotless. I too was a bit apprehensive, but it turned out great and I have said on another thread, I don't see why this hotel has such a bad rap with some people. If you read the reviews, many people cite the age of the hotel, but find it a suitable place to stay otherwise. There are far worse places to stay but they don't get the same bad rap.

It seems the food for your toddler isn't the citie's fault, but your own. Why couldn't you buy things that he/she could eat from a grocery and feed him BEFORE you went out? That showed poor planning on your part.

As far as the city being a bit grimy, yes it may be in some parts but that shouldnt have affected your trip! If you thought the stroller wasn't idea (I agree, you shouldn't have taken it as I am sure it was more of a hassle than a help) you should have carried the child where ever you went. On previous visits I noticed, unless you are in the UWS, you really dont see strollers there....and never on the subway.

Friends of mine who have a toddler went to the city last year, but they considered all these things (before they went) you pointed out and didn't have any problems at all.

I do have to say, NYC is geared more to adults as it moves so fast and is so busy. I am sure if you had left your child with a sitter or a relative, you would have had a better time yourselves!

Again, I am sorry you didn't have a good time but I don't see how blaming the hotel, the grimy streets and the lack of proper timing for a childs food is the reason for it!

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7. Re: NY is NOT for toddlers

I stayed at this hotel in JAN 06. Having read the reviews i was dreading going however when i got there all was fine!!! i must of had a good room!!! It was small and packed in but was clean, not the best view ever but if you leaned a bit could almost see the empire state!!! your trip is what YOU make it!!!!

New York
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8. Re: NY is NOT for toddlers


Sorry about your difficulties, but bear in mind there are 8 million of us here. Surely a few must have managed to have happy toddlerhoods, no?

Seriously, I don't mean to be flippant, but sometimes visitors seem to forget that NYC is not a theme park. It's a living, working city, and one has to anticipate the same challenges here that you'd encounter in Dublin or London... Travelling with a toddler can be quite the chore any place in the world.

Having said that, as somebody who just moved out of Staten Island after 10 years, I'm glad you enjoyed the ferry ride. It can be really spectacular at times, something that's difficult to explain to residents of other boroughs. As for the island itself, I wouldn't worry about missing much. There are nice parts, but you'd really need a car to see most of the them. Most of the place is bland residential suburbia.

Finally, I'm a tad jealous myself: Galway is beautiful!!!

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9. Re: NY is NOT for toddlers

I agree with other comments - travelling with a toddler requires planning but it is very possible. There is plenty to do in New York with a toddler - we had an 18 month old with us and she LOVED the zoo in Central Park and the Natural History Museum. She also loved the lift at Top of the Rock!

I agree that New Yorkers are very friendly and do seem to show huge interest in children. Special mention to the waiters in Niles restaurant beside the Affinia Manhattan - our toddler loved them!! And we had literally just arrived at the Affinia Manhattan when a cute little yellow taxicab was presented to her....very nice touch although she did try to eat it!!

In terms of dirt on the pavements - can't say I noticed any. Compared to the litter in Ireland, New York was very clean. Sure, puddles formed during heavy rain - at one point we were up to our ankles but since we were on holiday we just laughed and ran through it.

I think the key is to be organised, chill out, don't be on the look-out for problems and just enjoy yourself!!! It's a fabulous city........can't wait to go back for visit number five.

Norway, Michigan
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10. Re: NY is NOT for toddlers

Hm... to bad that your toddler didn't enjoy your stay!

We were in Manhattan twice in 05, when my daughter was 12 months and again when she was 17 months and we both had a blast. Yes, of course we did some heavy planning before we left (that's when i found the tripadvisorforum :) ), and we did spend a lot of time on different playgrounds - but we also did a lot of adult stuff, like peoplewatching, the ferry, a little bit of sightseeing - but of course not in adult speed... We thought that FAO schwarz and ToysRus would be a hit - but we liked it so much more then her - haha. She slept in the stroller at restaurants some nights, and we stayed at the hotel some nights (we were very happy with the hotel).

The only problem we had was that we were stuck on a subwaystation with the stroller.

Otherwise the stroller was no problem at all. Taxi-drivers were understanding and patients, people were so helpful carrying it up escalators that didn't run, guiding us to a different station when needed.

New York is so easy to walk around with the stroller, if you walk walk walk. Maybe it depends on what you're used too? It was much easier than at home!

Ok, i guess i should have posted my own review.... We are coming back - now with a three year old - we can't wait! And yes - we are planning ahead!

And food - there was always a sbarro around ;)

Hopefully you will go to NYC again and have a blast! Bring your then your toddler, buy New York City with kids from frommer's and plan plan plan (coming from someone who before having babies never planned a thing!) ;)

I am sorry your trip wasn't great!