When I won the 50 nights free night at the Radisson from Jennie‘s blog, (almost a year ago, I see) I figured it would be a nice get away for me and Patrick. Then I had trouble finding a date to book it, and I almost ended up forgetting about it. Luckily, we remembered, and we decided to take the boys to NYC the night before New Year’s Eve to see all the fun decorations, experience true crowds, and have a mini family vacation.
We ended up driving to New York on Sunday and staying overnight in Ossining with Patrick’s aunt and uncle. It was a lot of fun; so much so that the boys didn’t really want to leave to get back in the car. The cats were so sweet they wanted to pet them all day long. The promise of skyscrapers and a really big Christmas tree didn’t seem to impress them much.
The staff at the Radisson Martinique are really helpful and friendly. We had to store our bag since we couldn’t get back to our car after it was in the garage, so we left it in the hotel. All the greeting staff were so nice. Then we ate some leftover pizza and started walking toward Central Park from West 32nd and 6th Avenue. Denise and John had told us to stop by Bryant Park for a more manageable look at ice-skaters and tree. That was an excellent tip. It wasn’t overly crowded and we were able to watch for a while and have a hot choc while we enjoyed the festive atmosphere.
As we walked along 6th to Rockefeller Center Plaza, the crowds got thicker. It was one of the few times we didn’t get an argument from the boys about holding hands. They could sense they’d be swept away in a crowd of people. Seamus kept stopping to look up and examine the skyscrapers. One thing we don’t have in DC is really really tall buildings bunched together. The big tree at Rockefeller Center was cool, and I’m glad I saw it once in my life, but holy moly–the shoulder to shoulderness. Gilbert had a mini meltdown because he wanted to get close to one of the angels. We saw a very cold bride and groom getting some wedding pictures there.
After that, we walked up 5th Avenue for a block, but decided to move over to Madison where we could actually walk. A cute little fountain tucked in an alley was the kind of discovery I like to make in cities. We stopped for soup at a small cafe and got warm for a while. The boys were agitating to go to the hotel (they had not had a nap and they had not slept like usual the night before), but our room wasn’t going to be ready until 4:00. Luckily we were right across from FAO Shwartz, so we went in and killed some time browsing the toys. They were very drawn to the pirates that are used to set up models. I didn’t even know those things existed, but we stood there a while as the boys had different pirates cut off each others’ arms. Yikes! They were also super excited when an employee dressed as Spiderman walked around the store. It was just thrilling enough that Gilbert wanted to go see it again the next day.
Our next stop was viewing the Plaza and wandering into Central Park, where Patrick was interested in the pedicabs and the boys enjoyed watching the horses pulling carriages. They did the quintessential climb onto the rocks next to the pond.
Then we wandered a long time looking for the entrance to the Subway. We finally found it, and NYC does the Subway well. Flat rate, lots of trains. We got back quickly and hung out listening to some men playing the sounds of the Andes on their flutes. The boys love to put money in musicians’ cases. So we stayed for a while.
On arrival, we got an upgrade I had requested for a king suite (this just meant there was a fold out bed for the boys. Thank goodness!) and included breakfast buffet. It was a good deal for the upgrade, because breakfast would have broken us. As it was, it was a great spread. Seamus had two pieces of French toast, Raisin Bran with blueberries, yogurt and granola and blueberries and bananas, and a bite of a muffin. Gilbert ate a lot too, but not quite as much. We slept a lot in the city that never sleeps. We all went to bed at 7:15 pm and slept until 7:15 am.
It was too cold to want to do much but head home the next morning. We left via the Holland tunnel which meant we got to drive through the West Village–so scenic. I always wish I’d figured out a way to see more in NYC, but this was a great trip.
Gilbert says that he liked the horses best, and Seamus liked the skyscrapers best. The star of the trip was Seamus. He walked all those blocks with no compliant, he was enthusiastic about everything we looked at, he didn’t whine for different food or a toy or dawdle on the subway. He was so pleasant that I’m dying to take him somewhere else.