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New York Christmas weekend with preteen grandsons

Osprey Florida
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New York Christmas weekend with preteen grandsons

We invited our 9 and 11-year-old grandsons to spend an early December weekend with us in New York. We flew up from Florida, met them at LaGuardia on Friday afternoon, then returned them to Laguardia Sunday afternoon (allowing an extra two hours each time so we could go to the gate to meet our unaccompanied minor grandsons.

We stayed in the East 50's, renting a very bad apartment/room in a very good location. This enabled us to walk to places like Rockefeller Center. Our schedule was as follows:

Friday afternoon, return from LaGuardia, drop off bags and go to Jackson Hole for dinner, where the hamburgers are fabulous and the service is unbelievably quick. We arrived at Serendipity at 7:30 for dessert and were told there was an hour and a half wait!

A few doors away was Dylan's Candy Bar, which was on our itinerary anyway. We got marvelous sundaes at their 3rd floor ice cream bar, but the much-heralded candy tour was a disappointment and will not be included in future trips. The temperature in DCB was so high that my husband had to go outside to wait for us. Returned to the room to crash.

Saturday we ate in so we could get to Rockefeller Center by 8:30 to be among first ones on ice. There was a very long line. We were told by a sympathetic lady from Tennessee that we should have reserved a table for breakfast several months in advance. She had done that, and her granddaughters were able to skate right out as soon as the skating started. Next time we'll know.

On to Top of the Rock, where the views were as good as I remember my views from the Empire State Building. Our younger grandson had a wonderful time trying to photograph pedestrians on the street WAY below.

Got to Sony at 10:00, where the boys and we spent an hour and a half (not nearly long enough) at their museum, having a perfectly wonderful (and free) time exploring the different options. We had to scramble because Jeckyll and Hyde opened at noon and we were due at the Lion King at 2.

Jeckyll and Hyde food was awful (the boys couldn't eat their mac n cheese) but the entertainment was top notch. The boys agreed that even if they couldn't eat their lunch, they were happy that J&H had been on the tour and they'd recommend it for other grandchildren when their time came..

Took the subway downtown (riding in the first car, because it gives a rush seeing the tracks coming toward you) and arrived at Lion King just in time. Absolutely the high point of the weekend! Neither of the boys had ever seen a Broadway show before, and their parents had been doubtful about their response. They loved it, and so did I.

Stopped on the way home to see St. Thomas' church where both we and their great-grandparents had been married. Then back to the room to get a brief rest and let the boys look at a video (the cable was broken in the apartment/room).

Dinner at John's Pizza, another wonderful experience for kids this age. We went to the one on East 64th Street because we didn't want to go back into the wouldn't-fall-down-if you-fainted West Side crowds. Then East to FAO Schwartz (better for younger children, I suspect, but we wanted them to see it) and on to Legoland (big disappointment--wouldn't repeat) and home again.

Sunday morning we walked to Madison Restaurant for a large Sunday breakfast. Wonderful place for kids, full of families, the kids could get their pancakes and I could have my latte. Definitely worth repeating.

On to the Central Park Zoo, which seemed get mixed reviews. My husband and I thoroughly enjoyed seeing all the modernization that has taken place in the last few years, 9-year-old loved it and took multiple pictures of the animals, 11-year-old seemed less enthusiastic.

By then it was time to leave for La Guardia, wait the required two hours (we had lunch out there) and put the boys back on the plane home.

Notes: We had warned them about how cold and windy it could be and how tired they could get walking. They got tired and cold anyway. As the weekend moved along, we took more and more cabs. Perhaps we should have scheduled more down time?

Another winter trip we'd try hard to include a few hours at the Museum of Natural History. Of course, a warm-weather trip would focus on entirely different places, like Chelsea Pier and the Statue of Liberty.

I'd thought the department store windows would be a big draw. We never got downtown to L&T and Macy's, and the uptown stores didn't have the wonder that I remembered from years past.

When we got back, I made photo books of the pictures taken over the weekend for each of them on Kodak Gallery and sent them each a copy. It was inexpensive, and it meant that they each had a memento of the trip to keep.

All in all, a successful trip.

New York City
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1. Re: New York Christmas weekend with preteen grandsons

<<We stayed in the East 50's, renting a very bad apartment/room ...>>


London, United...
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for Wakefield
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2. Re: New York Christmas weekend with preteen grandsons

I'm pretty sure there are GREAT hotels in the East 50's, which would have been much better than a BAD ILLEGAL apartment.

At least you've learned for next time.


Queens, New York
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3. Re: New York Christmas weekend with preteen grandsons

Thanks for the happy recap and good advice for others!

Yeah, sorry about that apartment rental. We could've told you that. The vast majority of apartment vacation rentals in NYC are either (1) against the rules of the bulding (and, sometimes, City laws), (2) complete rip-offs, too-good-to-be-true flea-pits, or (3) outright scams advertising non-existent places.

Anyway, sounds like a fun trip for all!

New York City, New...
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for New York City
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4. Re: New York Christmas weekend with preteen grandsons

The Benjamin, Affinia 50, Best Western Hospitality, the Kimberly, the San Carlos are all legal apartment hotels in the east 50's with lots of space for future visits.


is an apt hotel on the upper west side near the Mus. of Natural History.

Destination Expert
for Israel
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5. Re: New York Christmas weekend with preteen grandsons

Glad you had such a great time in NYC with our grandsons. I am sure they appreciated it and as years go by they will appreciate it even more. It sounds like you put a lot of effort into really planning a great weekend. YOur ideas will help others who are bringing kids to the city!

I felt sad that you wrote that THEY got tired in the cold. Did YOU get tired. Sad when grandparents have energy to keep going and kids don't!

Toronto, Canada
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6. Re: New York Christmas weekend with preteen grandsons

you sound like very cool grandparents!

Lucky kids.

Mississauga, ON
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7. Re: New York Christmas weekend with preteen grandsons

WOW!!! What a fabulous sounding weekend for our grandsons.... and you!!!

I think they need to train for your next trip together. They were probably busier with you than they ever are at home.

Sounds like your younger grandson is a budding photographer. What a great place to study the art. Mind you:

"Our younger grandson had a wonderful time trying to photograph pedestrians on the street WAY below."

made me a little queasy just reading!

Hope you are having warmer weather in Florida!

8. Re: New York Christmas weekend with preteen grandsons

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