Our first day in NYC

Trip Start Jun 26, 2013
Trip End Jul 28, 2013

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Where I stayed
DoubleTree Hilton at Tarrytown
What I did
The Plaza, Rockefeller Centre, 5th Avenue, Central Park, Boathouse restaurant, John Lennon's House, the Ghostbusters building

Flag of United States  , New York
Tuesday, July 2, 2013

Our first day in NYC got off to a relatively relaxed start (given that it was 2:00am before we got to sleep the night before?!).  We had a lovely buffet breakfast here at Tarrytown to fill us up before heading into the city around 11:30am.

Our first stop was at Grand Central Station, and while we didn't stop to tour all the historic sites (given that this year is its centennial celebration we have that earmarked for another day), we were all very impressed with it living up to its name as a 'Grand' station!  It was great to watch the girls' faces as they came up from the track into the main concourse to see the grand 'sky' view on the ceiling.  After a few quick photo snaps we headed out and made our way to 5th avenue.

Our first stop was at the Rockefeller Center, where we got to explore the whole 'city within a city', including the Plaza, the Rockefeller Building itself, and all the surrounding sites, including the Prometheus statue and the promenade of flags.  Bella won the award of finding the Australian flag (after a long search!), right by where I had brunch at Brasserie Ruhlmann with GranAnne and Pa the last time we were here! 

We also had the opportunity to take in the Lego Store while we were in the Rockefeller Center.  I had such a ball watching all my kids (including the biggest one - Andrew!) soak up the amazing atmosphere of this store.  From the incredible Lego displays that are scattered around the store, to the 'candy store' of Lego pieces and finally to the 'create your own Lego character', they were all in 7th Heaven!!  It was hard to drag Andrew out of there without purchasing a ($US500!) Star Wars Death Star Lego kit!

We were finally on our way to our teenage girls' Mecca - shopping on 5th Avenue!!  Andrew was extremely patient, while they wandered into all the stores from Zara to H&M and Juicy Couture (way out of their league!).  We missed out on the chance to do Saks and Tiffany's but have earmarked that for another day! 

We finally made it down to The Plaza, which was sadly under the 'shroud of renovation', however they have done a great job of creating the illusion of how the original building looks while they undertake this major renovation (unlike St Patrick's Cathedral, that is also under a multi-million dollar and multi-year renovation project - we just had to rely on our imagination and the glimpses of this gorgeous architecture that is such a landmark of NYC!).  We meandered through The Plaza lobby and looked at the possibility of 'high tea' but was out of our price league for a family of 6! We also took in the sights of The Plaza fountain that was the inspiration for the Friends opening credits (it was re-created without the top statue) - the first in a long-line of Friends sites for my crazy children - we stopped short of Friends tour and decided to create our own throughout our trip!!

Then it was on to Central Park for a lovely relaxing afternoon. After dodging all the people trying to sell us a horse and carriage ride (with a half-dead horse) or the hiring of bikes or a bike taxi, we finally managed to make it into the Park (only to realize you couldn't ride bikes or anything else around the paths anyway?!). We finally made itup to The Boathouse, past many historic sites, for a late lunch-dinner (a 20 minute walk, which Gabrielle probably asked at least 20-30 times 'how much longer????!'). Once we got up there we were lucky enough to be the last ones allowed in for this seating. This was an amazing experience to soak up eating in this famous site - it was a spectacular afternoon to soak up the atmosphere of Central Park.

After a leisurely luninner or dunch (our new words for the combo lunch-dinner, not quite as eloquent as brunch?!), we made our way around the lower half of Central Park, taking in the Bethesda Fountain (for my girls most memorable for the scene in Enchanted "how does he know you love him...." - sadly no-one wanted to join in our musical scene?!).  However, we did spend significant time here soaking up the live entertainment of massive 'bubble-blowing' and the most incredible celloists amongst a stunning vista of old frescos and mosaic tile ceiling and arches.  I could have stayed there all afternoon!

However, we eventually needed to make our away around the rest of the area to take in Strawberry Fields (the Garden of Peace dedicated to John Lennon), John Lennon's apartment, the Ghostbusters building (for Andrew) and then the awesome rock formations for Gabrielle to play on!  We also stumbled across a brilliant water park, which all our kids - big and small - took advantage of given the stifling heat!

Finally, it was time to make our way back to Grand Central Station, past Park Avenue, and with a brief stop off in FAO Schwartz (OMG big and little kid playground central!!)  Although not sure that we had the budget to shop in there, with an exclusive FAO Schwartz Etch-a-Sketch selling for $US1,499 plus tax!!!  Gabrielle's innocent, yet spot-on comment was "Mum this place is crazy - look this tiny teddy is selling for $154 - that's just stupid?!"  All the kids, including Andrew, had their photo by their favourite Lego character and Mikaila and Bella got to spend some quality time in the baby nursery (Jac you would have been so proud!!!).

Then it was on to Grand Central Station and back to Tarrytown before heading out for our next adventure in Times Square - more on that tomorrow!!
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