Just as there are 8 million stories in the naked city, there are probably 8 million ways to visit New York with children — this is just one of them. Despite regular trips back to the metropolis my wife and I called home before moving to Richmond in 2002, we made our first visit with both kids last spring, and heading to Yankee Stadium to see Derek Jeter play one last time before his retirement provided the perfect excuse.
COURTESY HOTEL WALES
We took up residence at the Hotel Wales (hotelwalesnyc.com), an Upper East Side establishment featuring a charming rooftop terrace and plenty of neighborhood conveniences. The much-loved breakfast spot Sarabeth’s (sarabethsrestaurants.com) has a location on the hotel’s ground floor, but most mornings, I walked the five blocks to Bagel Express (1804 Second Ave.) and brought breakfast back to our room. On the same block as the Wales is the Corner Bookstore (cornerbookstorenyc.com), an independent shop that’s small in stature but large in literary knowledge. The staffer helping us offered numerous suggestions for our son and daughter, and every one was a hit.
Julie Larsen Maher
Glorious Green Space
Perhaps most important for anyone traveling with children, the Wales is only a block from Central Park. In addition to mapping out the park’s numerous attractions, the Central Park Conservancy’s super-useful free app will direct you to the nearest restroom and (perhaps even better) the closest playground. At the Central Park Zoo (centralparkzoo.com), we were lucky enough to catch a sea lion feeding. Watching them jump, swim and frolic was a highlight of our trip.
NEW YORK YANKEES
Under the Lights
I wish I could hate the new Yankee Stadium (yankees.com), but the much-improved food beverage offerings have won me over, even if I still miss the old place — and its friendlier ticket prices. The Toronto Blue Jays topped the Yanks 5-4, but Jeter got a hit, we stopped by the stadium’s Sweet Frog stand, and the kids got introduced to the magic of rally caps (albeit defective ones in this case). A couple days later, we took the children to their first Broadway show, Aladdin at the New Amsterdam Theatre. They loved it, and despite repeated viewings of the Disney film leaving me feeling like I’d seen it all before, I have to admit that the Genie still made me laugh.
With apologies to Richmond’s booming restaurant scene, my kids aren’t foodies, at least not yet. As a result, our New York dining was more about function than form, with meals at my old pizza standby, Two Boots (twoboots.com); Hill Country Chicken (hillcountrychicken.com), a fried-chicken spot with tasty pies and old-school video games downstairs; and whatever I could find when hunger hit by calling up New York magazine’s informative, organized-by-location restaurant guide (nymag.com/restaurants) on my smartphone. Our one attempt at culinary elevation was a dinner at Landmarc (land marc-restaurant.com). Helmed by Marc Murphy, a judge on the Food Network’s Chopped, the restaurant offers a kids menu with comfortable options like PB&J without being patronizing, and every child’s meal finishes with cotton candy. Meanwhile, my wife enjoyed a well-deserved (and well-made) cocktail, while I tucked into a 22-ounce, grass-fed, bone-in ribeye.
Day at the Museum
My daughter had From the Mixed-Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler assigned for summer reading, and given that the book’s protagonists hide out at the Metropolitan Museum of Art (metmuseum.org), we had to stop by. Unfortunately, many of the displays the book references are now gone, but the Egyptian artifacts and an impressive collection of armor held our kids’ interest, while a brochure connecting the museum’s holdings to the mythological origins of the popular Percy Jackson novels was another huge hit.
When I lived in New York, the Staten Island Ferry (siferry.com) was one of my go-tos for out-of-town guests — it’s free, it gets you out on the water, and it offers great views of lower Manhattan and the Statue of Liberty. There’s a Dairy Queen at the terminal on the Staten Island side, so we enjoyed some soft serve during our trip back to Manhattan. For our next visit, I’m hoping to catch the Staten Island Yankees (siyanks.com), a minor-league affiliate that plays home games at a stadium just steps from the ferry. Who knows, maybe I’ll spot the next Jeter before he makes it to the Bronx.