By Guest Bloger Julee Nunley

Today’s blog is a continuation from yesterday’s blog. Note that day one was spent in DC, days two and three in NYC and days four and five in DC again.

New York City

On Sunday morning (day two) we woke up early from our hotel in DC and drove to Union Station to catch an Amtrak train to New York. (Here is the link to book the train.) The train ride is a little less than four hours and arrives at Penn Station. Given that we basically had two half-days in New York, we had planned activities geographically so that we could fit in as much as possible.

We headed south from the train station to grab some lunch at Katz’s Deli, which is famous for the “I’ll have what she’s having” scene in When Harry Met Sally. It is an experience in itself and if you go, be sure to keep your ticket! Even though our tummies were full of deli food, we decided to visit a place in the East Village called the Momofuku Milk Bar for unique and delicious milk shakes and cookies. There are multiple locations in Manhattan, so you don’t have to be in the East Village to check it out.

NYC2After all that food, we needed to do some serious walking. We traveled further south to the 9/11 Memorial. My kids do not completely understand that event yet, but I think they got a sense of the seriousness of it by looking into those vast pools and seeing all the names listed.

Our next goal was to take the ferry to Staten Island, which is a free trip and offers views of both the Statue of Liberty and the New York skyline.

Unfortunately, by that time in the day we had done so much walking that my older son, Alex, almost fell asleep standing up.   So, we opted to grab a snack a restaurant on the Battery called Pier A. Our table had a view of the Statue of the Liberty and that break let us recharge a bit.

Afterward, we took the subway to the Upper West Side to check-in to the Milburn Hotel, which is a reasonably priced (for New York) hotel that offers rooms with kitchenettes. It was perfect for a good night’s sleep so that we were ready to go the next morning!

NYC4Our first order of business on Monday was to visit the Empire State Building. I had read that early morning is the best time to go to avoid lines and we found that to be true. We purchased tickets online in advance and didn’t have to wait at all.  When we got to the top, we quickly made the trip around the building and took pictures. It was so cold out there, but worth it!

Afterward, we headed to Koreatown just a couple blocks over for an early lunch. My husband and I love trying new foods and without a doubt, that meal was the highlight of the trip for the two of us. The kids even enjoyed trying some of the dishes too. The restaurant we visited was Cho Dong Gol.

While our main goal in New York had been accomplished, Jack was determined to visit FAO Schwarz. Now that I’ve learned the flagship store will be closing, I’m so glad we made the effort to visit it.

After we finished there, we took a stroll through Central Park as we made our way back to our hotel to pick up our bags. I loved Central Park even more than I have in the past because it gave me a break from constantly worrying about the kids in crowds and traffic.

NYC3Our final stop was to grab some New York pizza for my pizza hound, Alex. Then we hopped on the subway back to Penn Station for the return trip to DC. Of all the great things we did in New York, I think the subway rides were the highlight of the trip for the boys. It was almost like a roller coaster for them.

There is so much to see in New York that the short time we spent there just barely scratched the service. An older man we met on the subway remarked to us that he’d lived there his whole life and still had not seen everything. For this stage in my boys lives, the short visit worked well however. While we had a great time, it was stressful at times keeping up with the boys in the crowds. Even though I was kind of ready to get back on that train to DC, we all look forward to going back someday to see more.

Please share your tips for visiting NYC below!