[Trip plan] One week of family vacations at New York…


I begin with a series of photos posts about my great trip in New York this last September.

In this first post, I will detail the planning of the vacations week as it could be usefull to anybody that plans to visit this great city ! I took a lot of hours before travelling to organize and list all the things I want to do. So let’s share it now.

I need to mention that we spend one week with our little boy of 3 years old… so we have adapted the schedule/planning taking into account his preferences and needs of course…

Here is what we finally do during the week depending on the mood, weather… (initially the plan was a bit different but quite similar…) :

Sunday afternoon :

We arrived at the airport around 1:05 pm and probably at the hotel around 3pm. We took subway to go to Time Squares, shot few pictures… and took the bus line 42 to go to Pier 84.

Indeed, due to a special celebration day, we could use free Water Taxi until 6pm:

Depart Midtown West 44th ST -> West Village -> Battery Park -> Governors Island -> South Street Seaport -> Dumbo Fulton Ferry Landing at Brooklyn
This boat trip was really great, the view of Manhattan was fabulous.
We arrived around 5:30 pm in Brooklyn, we visited the parks around Brooklyn bridge, and did Brooklyn Heights walking that is really nice, especially when there is sunset on Manhattan…
The Brooklyn area was quite residential, we did not find easily a restaurant for the dinner.


We went to Top of the rock at Rockefeller center quite early in the morning (around 8:30 I think) and there was almost nobody at this time. I should mention and insist on the fact that September seems a perfect month to visit New York ! the weather was great and it was not crowded…
The view from Top of the rock is superb !! I will post pictures soon in next posts….
We can see Empire State Building on one side and Central Park on the other side. I strongly recommend to do Top of the rock, it is less crowded than Empire State Building…
Then we visited St Patrick Cathedral, a great cathedral, we walk on 5th Ave and have seen NY Library but did not enter inside. We tried a small japanese restaurant. What is great in New York is that you could find a lot of nice and different restaurants, cuisine from all around the world.

In the afternoon, we walk to Flatiron Building (I like this building!), Madison Square, Grand Central Terminal (you can pick up a tourist guide at the visitor center), Chrysler Building (really nice building), Bryan Park, Times Square (“Crossroads of the world”, Red steps, , MMs, Toysrus…).
We also went to 5th Ave to see Apple Store and Fao Schwarz Toy Store (unfortunately this one was closed when we arrived).
We had dinner on Time Squares to see the ambiance and lights of the evening… it is really a great experience.


We went to Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island.
We booked our tickets on Internet but it was not crowded around 8-9:00 am that day. Concerning the visit of the crown, you need to book several weeks in advance on their website.
Staten Island Ferry is a free ferry that goes to Staten Island and where you could take pictures of statue of liberty, but we did not try, we prefer to see the statue directly on Liberty island. Then we have stopped on Ellis Island, immigration island. We really enjoy these 2 islands and the great views that you have there.
The boat trip is good for children as well…

After our full morning of both islands (we eat on Liberty island), we went back to Battery Park, we did not see the children playground…
We continue to walk visiting the nice Trinity church, Wall street financial district, St Paul Chapel, and finally eat at South street seaport on the evening.
At the origin we planned to do water taxi by night from South street seaport to see Statue of Liberty by night… but it was a bit late for our little one, a bit expensive, and we were all tired… so we did not do that finally.


We went to Bronx Zoo in the morning. The zoo is a great park because animals have a lot of space and without cages… at the origin, we planned also to do Bronx Botanical garden… but we decided not to waste too much time there because we already know this kind of nice zoo (Miami Metrozoo) and we would like to focus more on Manhattan

We went to Fao Schwarz Toy Store for a distraction of our little one… and had a very quick look of Central Park next to the store, at the end of the day.


Since it was raining a little bit this morning… we decided that it was a great day to visit Museum of Natural History, and even if it was not in our top-priority list of things to do, we really enjoyed a lot this museum… we probably spend more than 4 or 5 hours there ! there are so many things to see there!
Then we decided to visit Central Park next to the museum. It was around 4pm and the weather was sunny again at this time (no more raining). It is a lovely park with a lot things to see there… : Conservatory Gardens, Bethesda Fountain, the pond, the Great Lawn and Loeb Boathouse, Gapstow Bridge with its view of The Plaza, Shakespeare’s Garden… We did not go to the small central park zoo or try the horse carriage tour…
Initially we plan to walk along Hudson River (Riverside Park South to North and to visit Cathedral St Jones The Divine (in Harlem)… but unfortunately we had not enough time to do it…
We had dinner near Washington Square Park.


We went to Battery Maritime Building on the morning to take the free ferry at 10:00 a.m to go to Governors Island (castle williams, fort jay, picinic area). But we miss the departure and needed to wait the next one at 11:00 a.m.  We were during a special event : New island festival.
What is great is that you get one hour of free biking on every Friday (before 3:30 PM). So we did the tour of the island biking and enjoy the nice views of Statue of Liberty, Manhattan and Brooklyn bridge…
In the afternoon, we decided to go back to Central Park to finish to visit deeply this lovely park…


Last day of our trip, we needed to see: Greenwhich village (market day on Bleecker street), Soho (artists), Little Italy (Mulberry Street), Chinatown (Canal street, Mott street)… we walk a lot around the streets, on Broadway… and enjoy a special event on Little Italy : it was completely crowded and full of animations. We eat at Lombardi’s Pizza… if you love pizzas… it is a restaurant to try!!
In our initial plan, we targeted to visit Williamsburg area, but we have preferred to go back to Brooklyn to do the Botanical garden (especially the japanese garden as we are fan of this kind of garden), and then walk on Brooklyn bridge by night. It was such a beautiful and wonderfull experience! really something to recommend!


New York was a great experience for us, we enjoy every day and it is worth the trip… Even if I do not imagine to live there… I think that one week of vacations is perfect to be fully busy of full of unique experiences! 🙂

What we did but we will not do it again:

Bronx Zoo (maybe as we live in Miami and enjoy Miami Metrozoo… and because some animals (tiger, girafes…) were not available, we were a bit disapointed to go there (quite far from Manhattan).

What we did not do but we would enjoy to do: (maybe next time? 😉

Top of the rock by night
– Walking on Hudson River Park
– Cathedral St Jones The Divine

Hope that you like the details of this week… Stay tuned to this blog to see photos of this trip in next posts… !

Written by on November 18, 2009 under Cities.


  • Isabelle Toche

    November 18, 2009 at 8:36 pm

    Merci pour ce beau récit !