My family and I recently came back from our trip to NYC. We're from California...I'm a frequent visitor due to my business travels, my wife has been to NY as well. But it was a first for our 10 and 13 year old. Back in Feb 2014, we had plans to go, but the snowstorm put a damper on our trip which ended up getting cancelled. Here's the write-up I did back in Feb tripadvisor.com/ShowTopic-g60763-i5-k7204011…
By the way, this trip was also a reward for our kids for all their good grades and handwork. We timed it perfectly. My daughter had a promotion ceremony on Friday, June 13, and we flew the redeye that night. We left LAX before 10pm and arrived in Newark around 6am.
This trip was a vacation for the family and a business trip for . I work in New Jersey, and chose to stay at Secaucus (Harmon Meadow area). Why? The Courtyard Marriott I stayed at was just across the street from the bus stop that took us to NY. Without traffic, that ride into the city is around 20 mins. With traffic, oh dear heavens, could take 1 hour. I could've stayed in the city, but didn't want to risk all the transportation issues that could happen in the tunnel or at the turnpike. I also need to educate my family with as much as I could with using the subway, st vs. ave, uptown vs downtown, brooklyn - bronx...I need for them a good sense of direction, so when I'm at work during, they're able to go around the city and use the subway with no problem.
What were our goals for this trip? Definitely visit lots of the common tourist spots, watch as many Broadway shows (we're big theatre enthusiasts), and eat good, good food!
Day 1 - Saturday
We arrived at EWR by 6 am, picked up our rental, and drove to Secaucus (about 15 mins drive). Our hotel check in was at 3pm, but the hotel allowed us to check in earlier (thank you, Courtyard Marriott). Knowing that we were tired from the night before, we went to bed and slept, right???? NOPE. We dropped off our stuff upstairs, freshened up a bit, and caught the 830am bus to NY. As expected, for that Saturday, there was no traffic going in to the Lincoln Tunnel. We were in the city sometime after 9am. We were starved so we ate at Au Bon Pain inside Port Authority.
After that, we headed to 42nd St to New Amsterdam Theatre to try and score Aladdin tickets, but the lottery was scheduled around 12noon. We made our way to Times Square and because it's our kids' 1st time, you can imagine that dozens of pictures we took. We walked up quite a bit, and on that Saturday, there was an outdoor market on Broadway so that added interest to the already interesting views that Times Square had to offer. It was around 11am already and I knew that The Halal Guys was just around the corner on 51st St. We ordered Chicken over Rice, and the kids ate their 1st halal street food. Our goal at this time was to eat, recharge our bodies, and phones. We headed to a Starbucks somewhere on 8th Ave I think. We charged our phones, ordered drinks, and also got to eat our food.
Trying our Wicked Luck
The Gershwin Theatre was close enough and we wanted to try our luck with the lottery. The good news, my wife's name got picked, the not so good news, only 2 could go. So my daughter went (she's never seen Wicked), and my wife went with her. She's seen it a few times on Broadway and in LA. My son and I then rushed to 41st St to the Nederlander Theatre and got ourselves 2 rush tickets to Newsies - 4th row side orchestra...SCORE! It was $30 each I think....double SCORE! We had 1 hour to kill, and for some reason got hungry again. I took them to Patzeria Perfect Pizza (on 46th St)., the only pizzeria place I trust in the Theatre District. Good thing is we were also able to do more charging of our phones here. At 2pm, all 4 of us watched separately, and that was okay because we knew we were just taking our chances. Fortunately we are frequent theatre-goers in California so to miss a show wasn't a do or die situation for us. After our shows, we all met up at New Amsterdam to try our luck with Aladdin lottery, this time, we weren't that lucky. Since we are big on theatre, my daughter asked if she could watch Newsies. My son enjoyed Newsies so much that he highly recommended it.
Newsies and father/son bonding
For the evening show, it was my wife and daughter at Newsies (again paid around $30 (this time they were give Mezz seats), I still think it's a great deal instead of paying full price. My son and I on the other hand walked away from Times Square, went to Bryant Park, and people watched. He had ice cream from Mr. Softee, and then we walked towards the nearest Barnes and Noble to read books and magazines. Lo and behold, we found ourselves near the Rockefeller Ctr, and not far away was The Halal Guys, and guess what? We ordered Halal food again :-) We ordered extra for our girls. We all met up at the Nederlander (where they were inside watching Newsies). When we got to the theatre, the theatre manager came out towards the lobby, and asked if we needed assistance, and we told him we were waiting for my wife and daughter. My son told the manager that he watched the show earlier and thoroughly enjoyed the show. Not long after, the manager asked us to go in the theatre, just stand in the back, and he allowed us to watch the last few scenes....very cool!!!!
It was now close to 11pm, and we've been on the go ALL DAY!!! It's time to head back to the hotel in Secaucus. Fortunately, the theatre was near the Port Authority, and we made it to the bus in good time.
That's Day 1 folks..... :-)