I'm going to write a synopsis of all our adventures, but in doing this, I'm hopeful that friends reading this will tell me about more fun (super cheap/free) things to do in the city for when we go back!
Day 1: The city was busy, but there were not a lot of tourists around so moving around was easy! The locals were all so very nice - big surprise for me since I've only gone during holidays in the past and everyone is rude.
We stayed right across the street from Bryant Park and the Library. We arrived in the city, parked a mile away in Times Square, dropped our things in our hotel (we got an early check-in), and set out on an adventure wearing nearly empty backpacks & water bottles for each of us.
We stopped at a hot dog stand where the kids got food, and we found a cozy spot to eat at Bryant Park where we watched people juggle (people were there teaching adults or kids how to juggle).
We walked around the Christmas shops at Bryant park, and I got one of the best empanadas I've ever eaten and ate it watching people skate in Bryant Park. It's free to ice skate there, but the skate rental fee is $15 (wow).
We walked into the library and spent time reading children's books about Thanksgiving together, we walked around the library (it is gigantic), and we checked out a children's exhibit where there was cool hands on stuff.
We had to check out Times Square where we shopped at H&M (I got a sweater for $6 and Andrew got a cool winter hat). We shopped at the Disney store where all their stuffed animals were buy one get one for a $1. Andrew chose a Cruise ship Mickey with an attached Duffy bear while Lizzy chose a stuffed Belle doll. We went to the M&M store and bought $22 worth of M&M's. We walked through some other random stores on our way back to meet Mat, and we bought the cutest penguin hat, scarf, mitten combo set for $15 from a street vendor.
We sat outside of Radio City at a pretty fountain and munched on M&M's while we waited for Mat to get off work and people watched.
We walked to Rockefeller Center where we saw them literally trimming (not decorating but cutting) the tree which happened to be from CT. We watched the ice skaters. We ate dinner at a Irish sports bar with a slew of other Georgia Tech fans. We went to CVS where the kids found a nice cozy seat on some toilet paper, and they cried b/c they were tired. It was only 8:30pm. They are no longer in "theme park" shape - sad. We walked back to our hotel, and even I fell asleep by 9:30pm while I was trying to root on the Yellow Jackets. They lost - also sad.
Day 2: Mat got up and left for work after we ate a free breakfast together at out hotel. I hate breakfast, but I love free stuff! The kids and I packed up all of our stuff and headed out to hit up some toy stores! We walked through Bryant Park, down to the NBC store, The American Girl Store (do you know kids take their dolls to the salon to get the doll's hair done in a salon there - that place is crazy), and to FAO Schwartz where we danced on the piano, of course. That was a pretty good hike, and while I really wanted to have tea at the Plaza or Starbucks at the Trump Tower, we had to book it back to our hotel to check out and lock up our stuff.
We met up with Mat after that and took the subway (which I am now pretty confident that I could get somewhere without getting lost - thanks google) to see the Twin Towers Memorial. That place is beautiful. Someone had places white roses on the names of people they loved. Little Girl had to potty so (per a police officers suggestion) we walked to the W hotel - super pawsh, and we went potty in a unisex potty with a zillion stalls - guess that's how they see the future cause it was pretty futuristic.
We ate lunch at what might be the hands down best Cuban food I have ever tasted AND it was cheap too. All 4 of us cleaned our plate and loved every single bite. I highly recommend Sophie's (http://www.sophiescuban.com/). It was freaking amazing. I got a cuban sandwich, dipped it in their mojo salad dressing and squirted some amazing spicy green sauce on it. It tasted almost identical to Kool Korners (http://www.koolkornersandwiches.com/) which used to be in Atlanta and moved to Birmingham...man, I want it right now!
With our bellies full, we walked to Battery Park and took the free ferry to Staten Island and saw Lady Liberty herself up close and personal. It happened to be at dusk so we say we got a great free sunset tour. We booked it back to the hotel, got our stuff, and walked to get our car before 7pm. There is a parking special from anytime before 10am to anytime before 7pm in NYC - $18 parking. Good to know for the future - and that was in Times Square.
The kids were asleep before we got out of the city - mind you it was only 7pm.
We can't wait to go back! Any suggestions for our next trip???!!!