NYC With Your Babies

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New York! The City that never sleeps… so not totally unlike your child, right? 

We have been to New York countless times. We have very close friends there and since it is an easy layover between Latin America and Toronto, we love stopping in. Most recently, we brought Hawksley for his first taste of the big apple. It didn’t go as expected. 

You know how you have this amazing vision of what a trip will be like? You anticipate a certain amount of unexpected occurrences but generally know what you are getting yourself into? Well, we did NOT know what we were getting ourselves into. After five weeks in Toronto staying at different grandparents houses and visiting loads of new faces, our then one and a half year old was apparently 100% DONE with travel. 

Upon arrival in New York we should have realized that it was not going to go as planned when Hawksley began to scream “NO” at random strangers. Yikes! So, rather than throw in the towel and hibernate in the hotel room, we decided we would strategize a little. We tossed our plans of museums and long days of wandering and decided to enjoy a primarily walkable and mostly park oriented experience instead. You know what? It was lovely. 

So here are my tips for doing NYC with a toddler.

  1. Book Central (it is worth the price)
    We booked Nylo Hotel in the Upper West side for our trip and we could not have been happier. The rooms are a great size and for the area, the prices are super reasonable. Better yet - you can get spaghetti from a great little Italian restaurant right downstairs for when a certain little person becomes unexpectedly ‘hangry’ post nap.

  2. Bring a Stroller
    All you do is walk in New York. It is lovely, easy and so much better than the hot subway in July. Plus you see way more and your little one may just end up having their nap along the route. After living in Panama for almost eight years, the state of the sidewalks alone is a thing of awe and wonder for us.

  3. Think PARK PARK PARK
    Everything we did involved a park. If we were popping out for breakfast, we chose a place on the way to or from Central park. Want a great lunch somewhere fun? No matter where we were or what we were doing we would look up parks in the area and make sure that we popped in for a bit to let our little one run free and explore for at least a half hour before wandering the streets some more. 

  4. Sleep When They Sleep
    Walking takes a lot out of you. We would cruise back to the hotel at around one each day to snuggle up for a nap. All three of us.

  5. Book Airport Transportation (with carseats)
    We were so happy to discover Kid Car. It is a convenient car service with incredibly friendly drivers, big vehicles and car seats that meet your every requirement. Plus from our research it was the most reasonably priced options.

  6. Eat Early
    Not only is it a lot easier to get a reservation but it allows you to go and enjoy a touch more day light time, even a park wander before tucking in for the night. We loved eating by 5:30. Hawksley was more likely to stay happy seated at a restaurant and we took leftovers for him to munch on at the park or on our way back to the hotel. 

  7. Pre-book Tickets
    If you are going to the natural history museum or other landmark attraction, make sure you book online ahead of time. You will get a discount and avoid long lines. 

  8. Take the Staten Island Ferry
    It is free, fun and relaxing. You can enjoy the views without worrying about a strict timeline and get on and off as you please. Think of it as a free boat trip. No frills but lots to see - including the Statue of Liberty.