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Posts Tagged ‘NYC things to do’

At Yankee Stadium

Major League Baseball never was a big part of my life growing up.  Mainly because New Orleans didn’t have a Major League Team.  Plus I grew up with all girls and a Dad that would rather be fishing than watching sports, unless it was the New Orleans Saints.  I first became a Yankee fan early in my sales career when I lived in NYC  and would go to games with clients.  In 1998, my world was turned around and I met my son’s father who worked for the Yankees.  I met him the day before opening day and was married a couple of weeks after the Yankees won the 1998 World Series in San Diego.  Although the marriage was short-lived, I have an awesome son and some pretty cool Yankee memories, like flying with the team on their private plane, victory parties with celebrities and riding in the ticker tape parade.

Of course my son was not around for all that excitement, so I am glad now that he is older he has had an opportunity to make his own memories of the New York Yankees. Since we still are fortunate to know people in the organization, my son has had the opportunity to experience the classic tour and the Inside Experience.  The classic tour is $20 per person which includes monument park and the museum. There is also a lunch option, so we enjoyed steak with our names branded on the bone at NYY Steak ($55 per person).   If you are not into steak, there is also the choice of the Hard Rock Cafe’.  The Inside Experience is a more costly tour at $600 per person which includes meeting a player.  Additional tours include the Twilight Tour & NYY Steak and the Party City Birthday Bash Tour.

Museum

Monument Park

If you are the ultimate Yankee fan or visiting New York City and taking in a game, adding a tour really turns a game day into an unforgettable experience.  Anyone who can quote NYY stats, trivia or history, will love the museum and monument park.  My son of course thought that watching batting practice and seeing his favorite players up close was icing on the cake before the main course which in this case was the game!

Autographs at batting practice.

Watching the game

My son’s friend impressed by the steak.

A Happy Yankee Fan

Have you ever toured the home of your favorite team?

If you are now singing “Take me out to the ball game” and want more information regarding touring the stadium, click on the following links:

 Stadium Tours or The Inside Experience

With Yankee pitcher David Robertson

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The Conservatory Gardens
How cute is that couple in the background?

A spring day in the park.

Today was a good day.  I was in New York City.  More specifically on the Upper West Side and in Central Park, both of which feel like home.  It is hard to believe that it has been almost twenty years since I moved from a small town in Louisiana

into my first NYC apartment on W. 95th St. between Central Park West and Columbus. Surprisingly, I adjusted quickly to my kitchen in a closet, doing laundry in the basement and taking the subway to get around.  I fell in love with New York City. Everyday was a learning experience.  I loved just walking down the busy streets, meeting people from different backgrounds and cultures, trying a different cuisines from one of the many restaurants that existed on every block, seeing pieces of art in museums that I had only seen in books, shopping at cute dress stores and enjoying Central Park.  I did the last two today.

Finding three fabulous dresses at a tempo couture definitely put a little pep in my step, but it wasn’t until I wandered into Central Park at 72nd St. that a feeling of bliss came over me.  This profound satisfaction, happiness and joy might have had a little to do with the ice cream that I enjoyed walking thorough the park, but I think it mainly can be attributed to the flood of memories I had of being in the park over the past two decades.  Below is some of the greatest hits from the reel that rolled in my mind.

Countless Days in the Park with Perdita– Before my beloved Lexie, I had a Dalmatian named Perdita.  Living close to the park was great.  Perdita joined the “dog party” twice a day for a morning and afternoon play date.  Her two best friends were Winston, a great dane and Payton, a yellow lab.  I also remember Betty the pug.  Perdita loved all seasons and would run though massive amounts of snow in the winter and was never shy to take a dip in the lake in the summer.

Perdita in the snow in the winter of 1996.

A furry friend admiring Perdita swimming.

Bethesda Fountain – I have always thought this is one of the prettiest places in New York City and it is a great place to people watch.  The fountain is also known as the Angel of Waters and is one of the largest fountains in the city.  It is no surprise that it has served as a backdrop for many movies.

Bethesda Fountain

The Great Lawn – This 55-acre green pasture is in the center of Central Park.  I have many memories of catching some rays on the weekend, picnicking with friends and going to concerts.

I don't know the guy to the right...who said New Yorker's are not friendly!

Ice Skating at Wollman Rink – One of the happiest memories I have of Central Park is when my family visited me in New York for the first time.  We went ice skating…all of us.  I don’t really remember my family doing activities like that when I was young, but being in Central Park got us all on skates and gave me a memory of us enjoying an activity together.

My Mom and sister.

Back in the 90s.

The Boathouse Cafe’– This is a great place to have lunch especially in the summer. I often would go there with my friends that would be visiting from out-of-town. Another fond memory was seeing Blondi with my friends Monique and Dawn at the New Years Eve Party in 1997 at the Boathouse.  I still remember belting out Heart of Glass and Rapture!

Having lunch with Donna and Rebecca at the Boathouse Cafe'.

New Year's Eve 1997 at the Boathouse Cafe' with Dawn and Monique.

The Conservatory Garden– Two main memories come to mind when I think of the Conservatory Garden.  The first is taking my wedding pictures in the fall of 1998. All I am going to say about that is my friends and I still laugh about the my candid photographer and family drama.  The other memory that stands out is meeting my friend Jill when we would take a lunch break on the days we worked at Mount Sinai Hospital. She had no idea that she played an important role in the healing process of my divorce.  Thanks to her, I still enjoy the Conservatory Garden.

Monique touching up my make-up for my wedding pictures in the conservatory gardens.

All you can do is laugh.

The Conservatory Gardens really does make a nice backdrop for wedding photos.

The Zoo Visiting the zoo with my son will always be near and dear to my heart.  It is just a fun place to be and even more fun to watch his excitement.When he was little he liked the Tisch Children’s Zooand as he became older we visited the Central Park Zoo often.

Tisch Children's Zoo

My son with a Polar Bear at the Central Park Zoo.

Victoria Gardens – When the winter months come to a close, so does the Wollman Rink.  During the summer months Victoria Gardens appears and it is a fun family amusement park for young children.  This was always one of my favorite things to do with my son when he was young.

Victoria Gardens

Rock Climbing– Climbing the rocks located towards the south end of the park has always been one of my son’s favorite things to do.  He learned to conquer new heights at two and a half.  It still is one of his favorite past times when we are in the park.

Taking on the rocks at two and a half.

This past winter.

Playgrounds and Afternoon Snacks– With twenty playgrounds, there is always a place for the kids to be kids.  On a summer day there is nothing like splashing in one of the spray parks after playing in the sand.  Well maybe the only thing better is getting a tasty treat.

My nephew with a tasty treat.

My niece on the playground.

Model Boat Sailing – Between April and October, the best sailing in New York City is at Central Park’s Conservatory Water.  This was a really big hit with my son and nephew.  In the summer you can also sail these model sail boats that are for rent on Friday and Saturday night under the stars.  It is really cool to see the illuminated boats.

Sailing Away

Carriage Rides – Okay, I have to tell you I am really not a huge fan of carriage rides.  I feel bad for the horses and it is expensive.  I did succumb twice.  The first time was when my sister and kids came to visit.  I was recovering from foot surgery and it was a pretty easy way to get around the park.  Surprisingly, we learned a lot about the history of the park.  The second time was when I was in the park with my god-daughter.  Her big blue eyes swayed me and her smile sealed the deal.

A visit with the family.

Carriage Ride

I love Central park because it is a special place.  It has brought me and my family together at different times in my life and also has been wonderful oasis to gather with my friends and spend quality time with my son.

My Aunt who was visiting from Louisiana on one of the bridges with the upper west side skyline in the background.

 Do you have a favorite place that has brought your loved ones close together?

My parents in the mid 90s.

My son in the same spot in 2011.

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Did you know there are 77 floors in the Chrysler Building?

This past Saturday my family decided to kick off the winter break by embarking on a Stray Boots Urban Game in New York City.  What is Stray Boots, you ask?  It is an awesome family experience that is half scavenger hunt and half walking tour with your cell phone as your guide.   We love receiving expert knowledge of tours, but are not big fans of being tied down to a tour.  This urban game which is offered in fourteen cities allows you to “let your boots stray with your cell phone leading the way”.

Stray Boots offers thirteen different game zones.  Since my niece was visiting from Louisiana, we decided to choose the Bryant Park and Grand Central: Movers, Shakers & Skyscrapers since the area had the greatest number of major NYC attractions.  Here is some highlights of our adventure as we found sites by answering questions and completing photo-op challenges!

Ready to get started after a fabulous lunch at Bryant Park Grill

We started in Bryant Park and received our first clue via text message after entering our activation code.  We began looking for the man Bryant Park was named for and happened to be sitting pretty on the east side of the park.

The kids with William Cullen Bryant

Searching, we looked for the plaque on the statue for the middle name to answer the question and then learned that William Cullen Bryant was the driving force behind two other New York City landmarks – Central Park and the Metropolitan Museum of Art.

Moving on, we headed up 6th Avenue to 43rd Street and made a left to answer another clue:  What theater was once home to the League for Political Education?

The Town Hall

The Town Hall hosted many political speakers, such as 1st Lady Eleanor Roosevelt when she spoke in defense of FDR’s New Deal.

Another clue lead us to dbBistro Moderne and we found out that you can eat one of NY’s most expensive cheeseburgers, stuffed with foie gras. Since we needed to find out how much it cost, we headed into the restaurant to ask one of the waiters.  We learned that it was $32!  We soon discovered that the $32 burger was just a drop in the bucket compared to eating at NYC’s most expensive restaurant, Masa, a Japanese restaurant in the Times Warner Center.  Dinner there can cost $300 to $500 per person!

Across the street from dbBistro Moderne, was the Royalton Hotel that was built in 1898.  As we searched to find what color the old-fashioned telephones were in the lobby we learned that the building was one of the first buildings in NYC to enable street-level passage from one block to the next.

Making a call at the Royalton

When we arrived at Grand Central Terminal we had to find something that was worth $10-20 million!  It turned out that the clock that sits on top of the information booth is GOLD…who knew?  We also discovered that Grand Central Terminal is a very romantic place!  The Biltmore Room was known as the “kissing room” since passengers coming off long-distance train rides like the Knickerbocker were met there.  Another romantic area was the rotunda outside the Oyster Bar, which has a whispering corner that is a popular spot for marriage proposals!

Grand Central Terminal

A VERY Expensive Clock!

Central Market where Murray started making cheese in 1940!

I was surprised to find out that after living in New York for almost twenty years that I was not aware of Library Way!  Library Way has 96 plaques in the sidewalk on 41st Street that contains the quotes of 45 writers.  After we found a quote by Thomas Jefferson we headed to the NY Public Library where we answered clues in the Periodical Room and  the Rose Main Reading Room.

Clue on Library Way

The New York City Public Library

The scavenger hunt took us about three hours to complete and at times it felt like the Amazing Race when we ran into other people also playing the game.  This game is great for families! Kids learn things without even realizing and it and the game truly was interactive and SO MUCH FUN!   We can’t wait to check out some of the other game zones in the future!

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Last May when my son was learning about immigration in school we decided to make a day trip to the most  acknowledged symbols of freedom, the Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island.  We took the ferry from Battery Park, New York with tickets that we purchased online.   Ticket prices are $24 for adults and $15.25 for kids. I recommend you definitely visit www.statuecruises.com for tickets, otherwise be prepared to wait in line for an hour and a half.  We purchased a combination ticket with an audio tour.  Unfortunately, we were not able to purchase tickets for crown access and the pedestal museum for an additional three dollars because they were sold out.  They only allow 240 visitors a day to enter the crown, so if this is something you want to do, plan your trip weeks in advance.  Also, plan to start your day early because to visit both the Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island  it will take approximately five and a half hours. If you purchase tickets after the 2 p.m. boarding of the ferry you will only have time to see one monument.

Even though we didn’t go to the Lady’s crown, we enjoyed the audio tour and learned about the history of the gift from France and the making of Liberty.  We also thoroughly enjoyed Ellis Island.  The fact that we we walked through the same doors that twelve million immigrants passed through that were seeking the “American Dream” made us grateful.  The exhibits allowed us to hear personal stories and learn the process that these immigrants followed.  Another fun and interesting thing to do at Ellis Island is visit the American Family Immigration History Center where you can use their database to see if any of your family members from generations ago arrived through the Port of New York.

When visiting New York, seeing the Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island usually ranks high on the “must see” list.  I suggest that you go for the experience.  Don’t be concerned if the kids will get bored.  These monuments are run by the National Park Service, so there are free ranger tour guides, a Junior Ranger Program, and there are two audio tours, one for children and one for adults.  Of course this is a tourist attraction, so there is no shortage of places to eat and gift shops. With a little planning this will be an experience that you and your kids will remember forever.

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