We are very fortunate to have willing grandparents who jumped at the opportunity to watch the kids for a week while we went away. Without them, we would not have been able to do this trip.
Secondly, I am beyond grateful that my business with Rodan + Fields funded this trip. NYC is not a cheap city, travelling is expensive, kids are expensive and without this extra income we likely wouldn't have been able to plan such an expensive trip. So a huge thank you to all my customers, consultants and my friend who introduced me to the business for allowing this dream to come true!!
We dropped the kids off at Grandma and Grandpa's on Friday night since we had to get up early for our flight Saturday morning. They didn't even bat an eye that we were leaving them for a week!
Apparently Saturday morning is the time to travel since the airport was pretty quiet! We went through customs and security in no time.
Reading up on the New York City travel guide while waiting for our flight.
Our flight was good. The plane was pretty empty so we had the whole row to ourselves.
We watched a couple movies and read our books. Travelling without children is fun!
We arrived at JFK airport around 5pm. We quickly found a taxi and headed into Manhattan. So much to see along the drive! So much traffic! The honking!!
We arrived at our hotel, Hudson New York. It was only a couple blocks from Central Park. I was a bit worried that the rooms would be incredibly small but we were upgraded to a deluxe room so it wasn't too tiny. Space is a luxury here! It was clean and the location was great which were our most important factors when booking.
Since our room wasn't ready when we arrived, the hotel offered to pay for our dinner. There was a Kentucky Derby party going on so that was entertaining. We felt out of place without our big hats!
After we got into our room and settled in, we explored around the neighbourhood. We headed to Central Park which is not your average urban park. It's pretty impressive.
As the evening continued, we ended up at Times Square. It is bright and very busy down there! So many tourists. There really wasn't anything going on but lots of people had congregated there.
Sunday morning we had booked a bike tour so we headed for breakfast fairly early. It certainly isn't hard to find a place to eat or a coffee shop in Manhattan. On every corner there is one or the other!
It was Mother's Day so there were lots of people taking their Mom's out for brunch. I was a bit sad to not be with the kids on Mother's Day but exploring New York City made that sadness end quickly!
While walking to the bus stop, we wandered by the Lincoln Centre. It was drizzling a bit early in the morning but nothing we weren't prepared for.
I told hubby to do a dancers pose in front of Juilliard. I don't think he will be accepted there any time soon!
We headed to the Upper East Side for the bike tour with Bike the Big Apple. We love exploring new cities on bikes so this was one of the first things we booked when we started planning our trip.
I was a bit nervous about biking in NYC- it's dangerous just being a pedestrian! Our guides were great though and I never felt nervous once we were out there.
We had people from Australia, New Zealand, Ireland and Germany in our group.
Our guide, Marc was great. He had so many neat stories and pieces of information to share. Our tour started in Central Park. It was pretty busy there being that it was Sunday with all the runners, cyclists, and tourists.
We came across the statue of Fred Lebow who was the founder of the New York Marathon.
Our next stop was Harlem. It used to be a not-so-great area but it has been revitalized. Our tour included a visit to a Baptist church service. It was a very small church and the congregation was very inclusive. They were interested to know where we were all from and had us participate in their service.
We had lunch at a Soul-food buffet-type restaurant. It was delicious and we were hungry from biking for 3 hours.
We continued our tour through Harlem- learning all about the history. The big white building below used to be an exclusive fancy hotel called Hotel Theresa. Fidel Castro stayed there in 1960 because he wasn't allowed to bring his own chickens to one of the fancier hotels in mid-town close to the United Nations. He was afraid he would be poisoned so he brought his own cooks and food!
These brownstones in Harlem couldn't be given away in the 1980s- no one wanted to live in Harlem so they were pretty much abandoned. You could buy one for $1. Now, they go for about $2 million.
We stopped at Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis Reservoir in Central Park. The weather was starting to clear up and we had blue skies!
Another stop in Central Park was to Strawberry Fields, a memorial for John Lennon. His apartment building, the Dakota that he was shot at and killed at, was right across the street.
Our tour guide brought out a speaker, turned on the song, had us stand in a circle and sing Strawberry Fields as a tribute. It was pretty funny!
Since it was Mother's Day, our tour guide's mother showed up so we took a picture with her.
After the tour was over around 3pm, we walked to Times Square to see what kind of show we could catch that night. Sundays and Mondays a lot of the theatres take the night off so there weren't as many options to choose from so we decided on Finding Neverland.
We grabbed some street food (lamb gyros) before heading back to our hotel to get changed. They were so good!! I think we had worked up an appetite from our day of touring on the bikes!
Stay tuned for more of our adventures in New York City!!