Nick has been saying that he wants to live in "Yew Nork" when he grows up because it's the city that never sleeps and "New York, New York" has been his favorite song since as far back as I can remember. We decided to surprise the kids with a weekend trip to New York as part of their Christmas gift. After four years of cross-country road trips and hotel stays we finally had enough Hilton Honors points to cover two nights in NYC. Combined with an awesome military rate, we were able to stay three nights at the Doubletree Times Square.
Jacob got home from work at 3am on Friday, December 14, and we loaded up the car-- surprisingly the kids never even noticed that I packed bags! We woke them up at around 4am and had them get dressed. Needless to say, they were VERY confused and actually thought it was 7am and time to get ready for school. We explained that they needed to get dressed and head to the van and go back to sleep while we drove. Unexpectedly we had to deal with some early morning tears (from Nick and Ben) about missing school (Holidays Around the World and Polar Express/Pajama Day) but they got dressed and we hit the road.
Since we left so early we were able to enjoy the Geminid meteor shower as we made the drive north. The kids were enthralled with looking for "shooting stars" and then after awhile they all fell back asleep. Jacob and the kids dozed (I was driving and awake!) as we crossed over into Virginia and then everyone woke up with the sun and wanted food! We stopped at McDonald's for a quick breakfast and more questions about where we were headed.
Breakfast of champions in Virginia. Heading into Pennsylvania.
We continued dodging the question of where we were headed through most of Virginia before the kids decided we must be headed to Washington DC. We let them run with that idea as we drove through West Virginia, Maryland, and into Pennsylvania. Christopher kept insisting that we were going to Disney World (because that's where he REALLY wanted to be going) so he and Nicholas ended up in a very heated debate about US geography. Lexie finally got tired of their arguing and told them to be quiet for "goodness steak".
The plan was for me to do the driving and we would switch at some point before heading into New York. We were so wrapped up in making sure that the kids weren't reading the "_____ miles to NYC" signs that we forgot to switch. Before we knew it we were near the Newark airport with no good place to trade spots. I got to make the drive through the Lincoln Tunnel and into Manhattan. Let me tell you, driving in Manhattan is definitely an experience-- and one I would be fine with never experiencing again!!
Lincoln Tunnel and the Brooklyn Bridge-- I TOTALLY was NOT driving while taking all of the pics-- Jacob took the last one.
We headed towards the Brooklyn Bridge and crossed over to Brooklyn to get pizza at Grimaldi's. After driving around for awhile (like half an hour!) we finally found somewhere to park and I parallel parked. In Brooklyn. By myself. Unfortunately, it turned out to be a No Parking zone and we had to leave before even making it to Grimaldi's. Since we couldn't figure out where to park we headed back over the bridge to check in at the hotel-- luckily Jacob took over as the driver.
We made our way through the one way streets and into the heart of Times Square. The valet at the hotel was definitely a welcome sight and we didn't have to deal with our car for the rest of the trip! We got checked in and were excited to find out they upgraded our room to a Times Square view-- perk of being military!!
Room with a view!
Since everyone had been cooped up in the car all day we decided to walk the half mile to Rockefeller Center to stretch our legs and see the big Christmas tree. It's been awhile since I have been in NYC but I was amazed by the crowds-- Rockefeller Center was FULL of people-- so many that it was hard to move around, especially with small children. We pushed (politely!) our way through the crowds and finally had a view of the tree!
The boys in NYC
Christopher. Jacob. Alexandra. Nicholas. Benjamin.
The Rockefeller Center Christmas tree
Skating at Rockefeller Center-- we thought about skating but for $35 a person we decided to pass
After checking out the tree and all of the other cool Christmas decor at Rockefeller Center we headed back to the Theater District to go to John's Pizzeria, the hotel's recommendation for pizza in the area. Not surprisingly, since we got there at around 7pm on a Friday night we had to wait about an hour for a table. The kids entertained each other and after awhile it was our turn.
We kept it simple and ordered sicilian wings (totally different from buffalo, but delicious!) and a couple of pizzas. Everything was excellent and it was devoured quickly-- guess all of the walking made the kiddos hungry!!
Excited for pizza in NEW YORK!!
After our delicious dinner we walked back to the hotel and everyone headed to bed. After redoing the boys' sleeping arrangements a couple of times (he's hitting, he has all the covers, etc) everyone went to sleep excited for the first full day in the city!