What a FANtastic day in a really remarkable city. One day doesn't do it justice, but we had a blast, saw a lot and wore ourselves out! We started with a five block walk through Hoboken to the PATH station, a subway route dedicated to connecting Jersey with the heart of Manhattan. We found ourselves at Herald Square where we strove to make Auntie M proud by picking up a hotdog and pretzel from a street vendor as a mid-morning snack while we came up with a game plan.
E spotted Macy's "The World's Largest Store," and remembered it from "Miracle on 34th Street." Of course, we had to go in. Sure enough...it's a HUGE store. We all found things we'd love to have (a sunflower-print Mikasa dishware set was on sale and I was SORELY tempted to have it sent home to replace our dwindling 15-year-old wedding set, but thought better of it). An ice cream counter called out to us, but we paid no heed, opting to save ourselves instead for treats later in the day. A true shopper would have a heyday in this store, and a recovering shopaholic could easily fall off the wagon here and do some serious credit damage.
Then it was off to the Empire State Building, a priority on both girls' wish lists of activities for NYC. On our way to the top, we stopped for the flight-simulation theater for an "aerial tour" of the city. (A nice perk, but I wouldn't return for a second trip nor advise it for anyone with motion-sickness issues or an aversion to the modern camera-shake filming method.) Then up to the 86th floor observation deck along with countless others. I've never heard so many different language spoken in one relatively small space. Truly an international destination, that observation deck.
We meandered up Broadway to 42nd St. where we learned that there are no cheap seats for Disney performances, so we opted to continue walking up the street to Central Park where the entertainment was free, involved fitness and certainly fun. What a tremendous park! There were more than a couple of special events going on, and V spotted the giant-bubble guy. We watched him for awhile before the kids started chasing bubbles, and he ultimately got out additional wands so the kids could play. We considered the carriage ride around the park, but it only covered a small portion, we couldn't get off and explore or play (which the girls were enjoying), there was a traffic jam of carriages following nose-to-tail through the park, and it was expensive. Instead, our meanderings took us to an old carousel for a ride, past the chalk and music Earth festival and rock climbing behind a behemoth playground.
Next up, F.A.O. Schwartz where E reveled in the dollhouse section and both girls ran and slid on the Big Piano before we watched the final Big Piano performance of the day and closed the place. We walked back down Broadway where we picked up mediocre dinner at a cafe (but enjoyed my first canoli), were amazed by the lights and INCREASED crowds of late evening, and found our way to another large toy store which clearly hopes to compete with Schwartz, but which also lacked class (and offered MUCH flimsier toys) not to mention countless toy firearms, of which I'm not a fan.
We considered taking the Staten Island Ferry, but ran out of time, and while I'm sure the evening ride is beautiful, we weren't so sure about walking around Battery Park at night, just the three of us, particularly while protests had people sleeping on the sidewalks there. So we turned for home at about 9, found our way to PATH and our stop on the other side of the river, then marched the last five blocks "home." As V put it in her journal tonight, "we're all a bit footsoar but happy."