While we planned on getting up bright and early to head out into the city, everyone was tired from the night before and slept in. Our room had great black-out shades-- a necessity since Times Square is so bright all night long. Once everyone was up, dressed, and fed, we began walking towards Macy's Herald Square. We saw a Coffee Bean and Tea Leaf on our way and HAD to stop for a vanilla tea latte!
Lexie hijacked my tea latte and enjoyed it in front of Macy's
Macy's Herald Square
It was unbelievably crowded inside Macy's-- really only room to move in the same direction as the rest of the crowd. We made our way to the escalator and up to the eighth floor for Santaland. What we thought would be about an hour line to see Santa was really a THREE hour line. The kids voted and decided not to wait that long since we had limited time in NYC so we headed back down the escalator and back outside.
These guys were very friendly when they walked by-- and when they realized I was taking their picture, they turned around to smile!
Empire State Building
Since seeing Santa at Macy's was a bust we decided to hop on the subway and head over to 5th Ave to check out Central Park and the oldest toy store in the United States. Ben has been fascinated with "the metro" since we went to Washington DC a couple years ago and I think that going on the subway again was one of his favorite parts of the trip.
Fun on the subway
I think Nick may have a new career prospect......
We got off the subway and headed up to 59th Street so we could walk along Central Park for the few blocks to 5th Avenue. We ventured into the park to take a few pictures and chat with a puppy on a potty break before heading back towards 5th.
Cuties in the park :)
We enjoyed our walk-- the highlight for the kids was seeing the "Ding Dang Dong Plasma Hotel" (butchered Home Alone 2 quote). They were upset that we didn't stay there instead-- much like I was upset when my parents took me to NYC 20 years ago. Though in my defense we did stay in the city-- my parents made us stay in New. Jersey. :)
We finally made it to FAO Schwarz and got in line for a picture with the iconic toy soldier out front. After our picture we headed to the line around the block to actually get into the store. The line moved surprisingly quickly and we were inside in no time. The kids were enthralled with all of the toys-- especially the giant stuffed animals-- and wanted to take EVERYTHING home. Since it was a week before Christmas we said they could each pick out one thing but it had to be less than $15 and something they couldn't find at Target. Christopher ended up with a Spiderman, Nick with a light up top, Ben got a collection of NYC vehicles (garbage, taxi, fire, etc), and Lexie picked a stuffed alligator.
FAO Schwarz and the Toy Soldier
We waited in line for the kids to play on the BIG piano. While they had a great time, I would make sure they've seen "Big" before we do it again-- it's much more fun when you're remembering the scene as you're playing!
Dancing on the BIG Piano
Several hours later, once we'd played with everything that FAO Schwarz has to offer, we headed back to the subway-- this time in search of a late lunch! It was short ride over to Broadway and 72nd St-- too short if you ask Ben-- for lunch at Gray's Papaya. We ordered four of the Recession Special's (2 hotdogs and a drink for $4.50) and enjoyed them on the sidewalk.
The boys and their dogs!
After our late lunch we realized that if we hurried, we could probably hit Top of the Rock at Rockefeller Center before it was dark (yes, it was a VERY late lunch). We hopped back on the subway and made our way to Rockefeller Center to get tickets. They offered a GREAT military rate which we graciously took advantage of though we were unable to get tickets for before/during sunset. We checked out the shops and stopped for a drink and people watching while we waited for our turn. The kids had a blast going up the elevator up to the 67th floor and checking out the nighttime views of NYC. While the building itself is not quite as tall as the Empire State Building, it is the only way to include the Empire State Building in the view.
I tried to get a nice group picture of the kids. The boys were cooperative; Lexie not so much.
NYC at night. I knew that Times Square was bright but I didn't realize just how bright until we saw it from above. And you can even see where the ball drops on New Year's Eve.
Closest thing to a family picture that we got on the trip.
We spent about an hour on Top of the Rock before the kids were ready to move on to the next thing. It was starting to get late so we walked back to Times Square in search of dinner and ended up at Hard Rock Cafe. Even though there was a pretty long wait for a table (almost two hours) it's one of those places that the kids like to make sure we hit every time we go to a new city.
Since it was about 11pm we made our way back to the hotel- after a quick stop at McD's for ice cream cones. The kids went straight to bed and we people watched from our window for awhile. It was pretty entertaining watching the Naked Cowboy and Naked Cowgirl interact with the people in Times Square. And then it was time for bed after a BUSY day in NYC.
The Naked Cowboy and Cowgirl from our hotel room
Chris, Nick and Ben thought that the aerie.com ad that played continuously was the most hilarious thing ever. Our room was right above the TKTS booth and had a great view of Times Square.