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This summer, after spending a week in rural New York to fulfill a 12-year-old’s baseball dreams on the picturesque fields of All-Star Village in Oneonta, our family of four took an Amtrak train to Grand Central Station in Manhattan. Once there, we embarked on a weekend adventure in the City That Never Sleeps — a place that also happens to be a giant playground for kids.
In New York City, it’s never a question of, “What can we do?” Instead, families have to ask, “What do we have the time and energy to do?”
Since we were introducing our kids — Piper, age 9, and Addison, age 12 — to New York for the first time, we chose a centrally located hotel — the newly renovated Knickerbocker — in the heart of the action.
Foregoing the comfort and quiet of our luxurious hotel room, we dove right into sightseeing on our first night, including charging through the chaos of Times Square to step through the doors of Ellen’s Stardust Diner — home of the singing waitstaff. Our waiter, Danny, sang a rendition of “Feeling Good” that set the perfect tone for the rest of our journey.
Throughout our weekend, under the city’s towering skyscrapers and bright lights, we enjoyed talented Broadway performers in “School of Rock”; breathed in the cityscape from atop the Empire State Building; sailed past Lady Liberty on the (free) Staten Island Ferry; spent a memorable afternoon at the 9/11 Memorial & Museum; and walked across the Brooklyn Bridge for some New York pizza at Juliana’s on Old Fulton Street.
Never ones to shy away from touristic entertainment, we also booked “The Ride” — an interactive motorcoach tour that invites guests to see the city’s most iconic landmarks while enjoying stadium seating and immersive multimedia.
After we returned home to Southern California, we felt like we had taken our first bite of the Big Apple, and we look forward to another. New York City is certainly not a one-and-done destination.