Sunday, October 30, 2016

Cross Country to New York!

Our New York itinerary (see our entire itinerary here).
Friday August 5

Drove to New York. Be prepared for toll roads.

We'd left a bit late and were concerned the kids wouldn't get to see New York City that night. So we parked at a Target in Hoboken so Dad could take all kids (except the two youngest and I) into the City. I stayed behind because we felt this parking lot wasn't a place we could leave the RV without getting towed.

Note that there is a low bridge to get to this Target. Make sure you know your RV height--including air conditioning unit!!
100 14th St
Jersey City, NJ 07310

They were able to move faster without the littles, and they hit a couple highlights (including Strand (bookstore!!)) and rode the Metro in (the Hoboken Metro stop was a 2 minutes walk from this Target). If I hadn't been so concerned that we'd be towed in this parking lot, I would've taken the littles to the nice playground around the corner while we waited. As it was, when they olders returned, my husband took me to see this awesome view of the city (this is the view on the way to the Hoboken station:

We decided we would park the RV at the Croton Point RV Park and take the train into the city. This was a great idea, and we'd do it again, but driving from Hoboken to Croton was terrible! We discovered there are a lot of low bridges that we hadn't planned on! Use the truck route from the beginning, and you will do better than we did. We finally pulled into the park very late (we called on the way to ensure our spot wasn't taken, and it worked out fine). But it was a tense drive, with a lot of turn arounds or pull offs near low bridges. 
Croton Point Park
Phone: (914) 862-5290
$55/night, full hookups
1A Croton Point Ave
Croton on Hudson NY 10520

Note: The walk from the Park to the Croton-On-Hudson Metro station is about 2 miles.
2 mile walk with a beautiful view, but hot and humid

That isn't a big deal, unless you're carrying a baby and/or returning from a long day walking in the City. We used a taxi one day: J&S Croton Harmon Taxi & Car Servie 914-271-3333. Another day, we drove the RV and parked it in the station lot. We took two parking spaces (there are only a few spots where this works) and paid for both (I think $20 total). I don't know if this would work for overnight, but it was SO MUCH better than walking with littles and a baby. 

Saturday August 6

Took the train into Grand Central Station.
On the train

The train takes around 45 minutes to arrive from Croton-on-Hudson to Grand Central Station.
Arriving at Grand Central
In Grand Central Station

We looked around NYC, ate at a restaurant, and then the olders lined up for Les Miserables on Broadway, while the youngers and I headed to the American Museum of Natural History. We used Uber to get around the city. 

The youngers were so tired after, that we headed home separately. We took a taxi into Croton-on-Hudson to eat (because it turns out Dad had the RV keys!) and ate pizza at Capriccio Pizza 4 maple St. Croton-on-Hudson, NY 10520.

It was a fun day, but everyone was very tired from all that walking! Make sure you bring water bottles or are prepared to buy water bottles. Touring is thirsty work.
Walking in the City

Sunday August 7

We took the train into Harlem and walked from the station to the LDS church there.
LDS church in Harlem

We were meeting family members there too. We picnicked in Central Park with them after church (it was such a lovely day!!).

Extra details:
We really wanted to see Broadway. It was expensive! But it was high on the list for what we wanted. So, we took the plunge and saw Les Miserables. We bought tickets for the Imperial Theatre 249 West 45th St New York NY 10036 through Telecharge. We printed them out before our trip. There is parking for this theater (there will be some info printed on your ticket) and it costs $30-$35 per parking spot, 4x4 and utility vehicles will be charged more. Arrive early as a line forms while security checks tickets.

We did not drive the RV into the City. So we walked (and walked and walked) and used Ubers to get around. Make sure your phone is charged! The worst is ending the day with a phone that's dead and leaves you unable to call an Uber until you figure out how to get it charged. :)

Picnicking in Central Park:
We brought blankets and food and had a picnic in Central Park. Very fun! There is a maze and sculpture garden to see. There's a pond to walk around too. We didn't go in, but there are paid places to go within the park. If you go to NYC, then really, you should take some time to visit Central Park.

I took an 8 year old and a baby to the American Museum of Natural History. It was a fabulous museum!

The line to get in was terribly long and I thought it would take forever to get it. But they moved the lines through quickly. I recommend you buying tickets online because then you just walk in and flash your ticket to the guard, rather than standing in another line to buy tickets.

Other Activities
We love books, and the Strand bookstore was fabulous!

So many delicious restaurants to choose from. I ate at Chopt, a made-to-order salad and soup bar, and my salad was refreshing and filling. Some of the others ate at a made-to-order pasta bar Pret A Manger, which they said was delicious as well.

Recommendations from friends
Although we ended up doing other things, we did receive a lot recommendations on what we should do in NYC. So I'll share those here:

"We did the double decker bus tour and really enjoyed it. You can use it as transportation from place to place or just sit and listen to the commentary the guide gives. My favorite thing was exploring Central Park."

" I really enjoyed Ellis Island. Such a unique feeling there."

"Chelsey Market and Walk the Brooklyn Bridge!"

"911 memorial - even if you don't do the museum just walk by."

"I second walking on the Brooklyn bridge and the double decker tour bus."

" I loved the Met! I highly recommend the Subway over taxis"

"Broadway and the Brooklyn Bridge were our hits there. It's so fun seeing all the artists around the bridge! Statue of Liberty is amazing, but takes some time. You could go see it if you want to, but at least go to the place where they offer tours - you can see the statue from a distance and there are some fun musicians who tend to hang around there. The street artists and musicians were by far my favorite part of New York."

"Don't go to the top of the Empire State building. Go to the top of Rockefeller Center. Shorter lines, cheaper, and you get the view of Empire State Building."

" - for any Broadway tickets!! Ask any questions if you have them."

"We ended up with 24 hours in NYC. We got into town around 4pm and left the following day at around 3pm. Here are some notes I took.

FOOD (one of the main reasons to visit NYC)

John's Pizzeria - Times Square - Best New York style pizza anywhere (in my opinion). Large pizza, order of baked ziti and a pitcher of rootbeer to share for under $40. We stayed very near Times Square so this was perfect. Within walking distance of the subway. Tip: This building is in a converted church and has an amazing stained-glass window. Eat there before sundown for the best "view." Google "John's Pizzeria Times Square" to see how cool the ceiling is!

Friedman's Lunch - Chelsea Market -
This was easy to find from Stop 13 on the Big Bus Tour. The address says 9th Ave, but you can enter Chelsea Market through 10th avenue and it's closer to Friedman's. My husband says it's the best Reuben he's ever eaten in his life - which is saying something. I don't really like deli food (sue me), but the hamburger was delicious. See the link for prices. Tip: If you are in the mood for something else to eat - I still highly recommend Chelsea Market. It is AMAZING and there are tons of delicious places to eat. Just pull out your tripadvisor while there to see reviews. There's nothing like the Chelsea Market food hall. Google it to see photos of it's awesomeness.


We took the AirTrain to the subway. This made the trip $7.75/person ($5 AirTrain + $2.75 subway). We purchased ONE Metro Card (available at the station) so that we only had to pay the service fee once (we just handed it back and forth to one another as we went). We loaded the card with $25 or some such amount and added money as we needed for subways throughout the city. If you don't like the subway - there are many other trains/buses/etc. to choose from. We don't mind the subway. It's cheap and efficient. Tip: Download the subway map onto your phones so you always have it available.

Big Bus Tour -
We purchased 1 Day uptown/downtown passes. Because of our time limitation, we only used the downtown bus. This was a great sight-seeing bus with guides we really enjoyed. They give you earbuds so that you can plug in and hear them very well as you go. We got on at 9:00 a.m. and rode (without getting off) to Battery Park, where we got off and rode the Staten Island Ferry. Then we got back on and rode up to Chelsea Gardens where we got off for lunch. Then we rode back to the end-of-line (48th St & 7th Ave) and rode the subway back to our hotel. We picked up our bags and headed back to the airport. I highly recommend the Big Bus Tour. We will do this again for sure. Tipping is encouraged. Tip: Download their app! It was nice to have the map always available. Also, these buses come through every few minutes - so you're never waiting long to hop back on. If you only have enough time to do Uptown or Downtown, I recommend the downtown bus for those who have never been to NYC before. It has the Empire State Building; Battery Park (Statue of Liberty); One World Trade Center and more.

Staten Island Ferry -

This is a FREE ride from near Battery Park (easy access from the Big Bus Tour stop). It gives you fantastic views of the Statue of Liberty and also of the city. It takes about an hour if you go out and get straight back on the same boat. Tip - Go DOWNstairs (or elevator) instead of up and go to the end of the boat for great views without the crowds. You can also exit the boat from this level and not fight the crowds. They should let you back on without going all the way back up again. We grabbed breakfast at the station - nothing fancy, just a little something to hold us over until Chelsea Market later in the day!"

"Katz's Deli. It's on Houston Strett and it's AMAZING! If you like pastrami sandwiches, this is the best one you'll ever have! I also loved the frozen hot cocoa at Serendipity and the burgers/concretes at Shake Shack. And go to a Museum while you're there. They are incredible."

"Matilda the musical and finding Neverland were our favorites LOVED THEM- highly recommend seeing both shows but at least Matilda if you can only go to one. I heard the king and I revival is also awesome. Skip- phantom of the opera, on the 20th century."

"Just remembered one more thing... The High Line was really cool too!"

"You gotta make a stop at Magnolia bakery, get their cheescake and Banana pudding. It's by the Rockefeller center."

"Max Brennars chocolate restaurant. On 14th and Market I believe. Right around corner from Virgin Records. SO YUM!"

"Go to Levans bakery after you go to the temple. Best and biggest cookies ever. The boathouse in Central Park great food a little pricey but we ate looking right at the beautiful view of the lake."


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