Ah! New York City, the BIG APPLE! Our little guy has been asking for a while to visit NYC and here we are! What is so fascinating about NYC for a 7-year-old? What he knew about NYC was the Statue of Liberty and eating a hot dog in the park. Obviously that was all he had on his agenda while visiting NYC.
NYC is our first stop on our ultimate family 11-day road trip. So excited to make this our first stop and fulfill our boy’s wish to visiting NYC.
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Our first glimpse of the NYC skyline. WOW!!! We were so excited to have finally see NYC and getting closer to our destination. It has been a long drive.
We arrived in NYC early in the afternoon. Entering NYC through the Lincoln Tunnel was quite an interesting drive. I was quite surprised at how many cars were going into New York City.
I had no idea that this tunnel was going underwater so that made for an interesting drive with the kids. They love driving in tunnels and always play the game of who can hold their breath the longest while going through the tunnel.
The Lincoln Tunnel runs 1.5 miles from New Jersey to the west of Midtown Manhattan in New York City under the Hudson River.
DoubleTree by Hilton Hotel New York – Times Square South
Fortunately for us, our hotel was located close by as soon as we left the tunnel. Set amid Hell’s Kitchen and Times Square South, our hotel is only three blocks from Penn Station and Madison Square Garden. It was central and close to everything we wanted to visit. It was definitely an ideal spot for us.
Upon arrival at the hotel, we unloaded at the front entrance and Vang and Raiden drove the car to the designated parking ramp while Landon and I went inside to check-in.
After we settled in for a bit, we decided to venture out into the city. With our car safely parked in the designated parking ramp, we took on the sights by foot and taking the subway.
That is actually the best way to move around NYC. Either by foot or subway. Taking the car out of parking and into the traffic just seems to be more of a headache.
I had downloaded the New York Subway MTA Map app to help us navigate the subway system.
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Manhattan Chinatown is one of New York City’s reminiscent neighborhood. A place where we walk down busy, narrow streets revealing surprises after surprises for us reminding me of my childhood visiting the shops. There are so many shops and restaurants that we knew that we would not be able to cover it all in one evening.
As a major party of NYC’s food culture, you’ll find excellent restaurants in Chinatown representing the cuisine of virtually every province of mainland China and Hong Kong, plus Indonesian, Malaysian, Thai and Vietnamese eateries. As Chinatown—also notable as NYC’s largest Asian community—continues to grow, it merges with neighboring Little Italy and the Lower East Side.
We had some of the best authentic Chinese food here. We loved it so much that we had Chinese food on both evenings while we were in NYC.
Look at all these yummies from this Chinese bakery! I can eat these all day long. 🙂
Right next to Chinatown is Little Italy. Immigrants from Naples and Sicily ventured to Little Italy, NYC in the 1880s, and the area once stretched from Canal to Houston Streets, between Lafayette Street and the Bowery. Nowadays the strong Italian presence shrunk down to the blocks surrounding Mulberry Street. Regardless, the Italian pride still remains during the annual Feast of San Gennaro.
Can I get a better picture than this? I wanted a picture of us with the Welcome to Little Italy sign but what I got was this lovely truck instead. Thanks a lot hun! 🙂
Our last stop on our first night in New York City is Times Square! It is a major commercial intersection, tourist destination, entertainment center, and neighborhood in Midtown Manhattan.
Brightly lit by numerous billboards and advertisements, it stretches from West 42nd to West 47th Streets. One of the world’s busiest pedestrian areas, it is also the hub of the Broadway Theater District and a major center of the world’s entertainment industry.
It was so lively and fun seeing all the lights, people and entertainment. Running into Batman was definitely a highlight for the boys. It was the perfect way to end our first night here in NYC!
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Statue of Liberty National Monument
The next morning, we ventured out to Liberty Island to visit the Statue of Liberty National Monument. You can not go to New York City and not make a visit to the Statue of Liberty. The Statue of Liberty is one of the most rewarding experiences I have ever experienced. An iconic monument, it is recognized as a universal symbol of freedom and democracy.
We did make advanced reservations to visit not only the grounds but the pedestal. We were not able to make reservations to the Crown as there was no availability by the time I made the reservations. Their website does recommend at least 6 months in advance especially during the summer months for the Crown visit.
We made our reservations through Statue Cruises. According to their website, Statue Cruises is the ONLY authorized official provider of tickets and tours to the Statue of Liberty National Monument and Ellis Island. Please be aware that Street Vendors do NOT sell genuine Statue of Liberty tickets. Avoid Street Sellers.
There are two departures to Liberty Park: From New York at Battery Park and from New Jersey. Since we were already in New York City, we took the subway to Battery Park and boarded the ferry there.
Here is a beautiful capture of the water taxi and sailboat on the New York City Harbor from our ferry boat. We were fortunate to be able to sit on the top floor of the ferry boat and take in the sights.
We had the most amazing time visiting the Statue of Liberty National Monument. We visited in August and it was extremely hot. We took our time visiting the grounds and even though we had tickets to visit the pedestal, we opted out of it.
Their concession stand was an ideal spot to enjoy some ice cream and a mango smoothie to help us cool down.
Ellis Island National Immigration Museum
Our next stop is the Ellis Island National Immigration Museum. Boarding the ferry boat from Liberty Island, we made our way to this iconic museum. It served as the first port of entry for immigrants seeking entrance to the United States from 1892 and 1954.
We walked the Great Hall and felt the spirit of the hopeful arrivals waiting to begin their new lives. We were also able to explore the history of American immigration from before and after the Ellis Island era in the Peopling of America Center.
I was extremely excited to find this wonderful display and video highlighting this Hmong family’s journey to America.
Here is the American Immigrant Wall of Honor. It is a permanent exhibit of individual or family names featured at Ellis Island. It is the only place in the United States where an individual can honor his or her family heritage at a National Monument.
Across the way, you can see the beautiful Manhattan skyline!
On our way back from Ellis Island, we explored Battery Park. The boys had to have their hot dog in the park so that is what they got. 🙂 They are happy campers here.
We decided after a full day visiting the Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island, we would head back to the hotel for some rest before heading out for more sightseeing. The boys definitely needed it.
Fortunately for us, as soon as we got back to the hotel, it started to thunderstorm. We can see people below running/scrambling to seek shelter. As quickly as the thunderstorm came, that was how quick it left as well. After a couple of hours of resting, we ventured out to Herald Square and the Empire State Building.
Herald Square is formed by the intersection of Broadway, Sixth Avenue, and 34th Street in the borough of Manhattan in New York City. This is also home to Macy’s, the world’s largest department store since 1902.
The sky still has some clouds from earlier that afternoon’s thunderstorm but still so beautiful.
What more fun than to be able to stand and eat on the streets of NYC! Shake Shack for the boys. We were saving our stomach for more Chinese food 🙂
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Empire State Building
Our last stop on our second night here in New York City: The Empire State Building. The world’s most famous building. A short 5-minute walk from Herald Square, we were ready to see the beautiful NYC skyline from here.
What I was not expecting were all the fun things they had inside the building. The 2nd-floor exhibits took us back in time as we learned of the journey of how the building came to be.
These boys are having too much fun talking with the construction workers and learning about their day and life.
And King Kong here has nothing on us! We got this! 🙂
Are we ready to pay the construction workers?
Oh, this view is amazing! What a beautiful sight to see! All these lights.
We had an amazing 2 days in New York City. We wish we had more time time to explore but we had a jam-packed itinerary on our 11-day ultimate family road trip and we are off to our next stop in Niagara Falls.
What is your favorite place to see in NYC?