Walk from Fifth Avenue to Times Square – NYC

Since we had to wait a few hours until check-in began at our hotel, we ate lunch in Times Square after storing our bags with the hotel bellman.

From there, we walked along 42nd to see Grand Central Terminal, then up Madison to walk into the lobby at the Waldorf Astoria Hotel. Afterwards, we walked into St. Patrick’s Cathedral.

Grand Central Terminal

Grand Central Terminal

 

The lobby at the Waldorf Astoria Hotel

The lobby at the Waldorf Astoria Hotel

 

St. Patrick's Cathedral

St. Patrick’s Cathedral

Then it was time to hit Fifth Avenue and all its stores. Not much impressed my daughter. In fact, she was incredulous. “Do people really pay $2,400 for a dress?” she asked at Bergdorf Goodman. Even Tiffany’s failed to elicit a response.

She perked up a bit when walking through the Plaza Hotel, I mentioned this was where “Eloise” and “Home Alone 2” were filmed. At Rockefeller Center, I showed her the ice skating rink and the plaza where the “Today Show” is broadcast.

But we found the jackpot when we entered M&M’s World in the heart of Times Square. Three stories high, the retailer sells every color imaginable, not only in the candy, but in logo apparel, hats and backpacks.

M&M's galore!

M&M’s galore!

 

The M&Ms store

The M&Ms store

Not to be outdone, Hershey’s has opened their own store across the street. Inside, they offered free Hershey kisses to everyone who entered.

Hershey's store is smaller and only one level

Hershey’s store is smaller and only one level

Later that evening, we explored more of Times Square. Her favorite part – the four floors of the Forever 21 store where she spent hard-earned babysitting money on a pair of jeans.

Here I thought I had planned a great walking tour of New York and realized we could have just stayed in Times Square the entire time!


Greenwich Village, Chelsea Market and The High Line – NYC

Chelsea Market

Chelsea Market

I wanted to show my daughter more of the real New York where the residents and locals hung out versus the touristy Times Square and Statue of Liberty from the previous day. Greenwich Village is a great place to start.

We my brother-in-law and his family for lunch at Monte’s in Greenwich Village. As owner and chef, Pietro Mosconi greeted his friends in Italian at the bar, an older, robust waiter seated us. One wall boasts framed photographs of famous people who have dined here since it opened in 1918. In the back corner, a group of 12 people gathered for the Foods of New York Tour.

If you haven’t tried this, you’re in for a real treat. We did this back in 2001 with their original Greenwich Village Tour and loved every minute of it. Now the company has grown to offer five different food tours in various neighborhoods. Monte’s is the starting and ending point for their Heart of the Village Food Tour.

After the meal, we enjoyed the sunny Saturday afternoon in nearby Washington Square Park where people played chess and rode skateboards. Walking up Greenwich Avenue to Seventh Avenue, we entered Chelsea Market. Once the home of National Biscuit Company until 1958, the building was transformed in the 1990’s by making it a shopping and food destination. The day we went, it was crowded so we just walked through.

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Inside Chelsea Market

Inside Chelsea Market

On the back side of Chelsea Market is the High Line – a 2-mile walking path that used to be an elevated train track. The views were outstanding, but again it was crowded due to the weather and the time of day. Even crowded, it’s fun to walk on for a little while and definitely a must-see if you haven’t been before.

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A sitting area off the High Line

You can see all the people walking the High Line

You can see all the people walking the High Line


Tea at Harney & Sons – NYC

Tea at Harney & Sons

Tea at Harney & Sons

I’ve become and avid tea drinker and my family knows I get cranky when I haven’t had my afternoon “cuppa.” What better way to experience a city than to have tea somewhere?

Harney & Sons has a tasting room in SoHo. After a long day of visiting the 9/11 Museum, the Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island, I was fading fast. Fortunately, this location was close to a subway line.

Walls of tea tins flank the long, narrow shop. To the immediate left was a tasting area.

Tea tasting bar at Harney & Sons

Tea tasting bar at Harney & Sons

But I wanted to sit down. At the back of the store was the tea room. Once the hostess seated us, we ordered scones with clotted cream and hot tea. It was the perfect “pick-me-up” and it was all under $20.

Inside the tearoom area

Inside the tea room area

Various tea selections are available for purchase. If you’re in the area and you love tea, don’t miss this place. Learn more about Harney & Sons two NYC tasting rooms here.IMG_0902


Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island – NYC

Lady Liberty

Lady Liberty

Both the Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island are free. But there’s a catch — you have to buy a ferry ticket to get there.

Because of large crowds, purchasing advance tickets online is recommended. The first stop is Liberty Island and you don’t even have to get off. Some find that the best views of the statue are from the boat. However, it you want to tour the pedestal or the crown, you do need to get off the ferry.

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For the pedestal, we had to go through two checkpoints. But you’ll soon be rewarded by great views of the city. After about 45 minutes, it’s time to get back on the ferry for Ellis Island. Click Statue of Liberty National Monument to learn more.

Surprisingly, not many people departed the ferry at Ellis Island. This was the part I was looking forward to exploring, especially after visiting the Tenement Museum the previous day.

Ellis Island Museum of Immigration

Ellis Island Museum of Immigration

The main attraction is the Great Hall (or Registry Room) seen in every documentary about the island. The light-filled space offered excellent views and I had a hard time picturing it with hundreds of desperate immigrants.

The Great Hall at Ellis Island

The Registry Room at Ellis Island

However, we got a better feel for true conditions here by watching the 30-minute film “Island of Hope, Island of Tears.” Next, we explored the 3 floors of exhibits on a self-guided tour which gave us a glimpse into the tribulations and obstacles many faced when arriving at the port.

For example, if an immigrant failed one of the tests (medical, visual, etc.), they had to stay in the dormitory shown below. The people didn’t even have a real bed, let alone any personal space.

Dormitory Room at Ellis Island

Dormitory Room at Ellis Island

After all that, they still weren’t guaranteed entrance into the U.S. Usually a court hearing was scheduled.

Courtroom at Ellis Island

Courtroom at Ellis Island

I could definitely have spent more time at the museum but the last ferry departs at 4 pm. If I had it to do over again, I wouldn’t get off at Liberty Island. Instead, I’d spend all my time here. More information about the museum can be found at the National Park Service website here.

Although we had advance tickets, afternoons are the busiest so there were no seats on the ferry ride back to the city. To learn about tickets and ferry schedules, click here.

NYC skyline from the ferry

NYC skyline from the ferry