This summer’s visit to the Big Apple (a saying I finally learnt the meaning of – more on that later) was to be my 3rd in 5 years. Having done a lot of sight-seeing on my previous two visits we really wanted our 12 hours in NYC with CityPASS this summer to show us a side of Manhattan we hadn’t seen yet.
CiryPass, for those of you who aren’t familiar, is essentially entry tickets to the city’s top attractions bundled into one easy-to-use CityPASS ticket booklet, costing up to half off what it would to purchase those same admissions separately. And, because CityPASS limits the number of attractions on each city’s pass to five or six of the most popular sights, visitors have more than enough time to enjoy their destination city without feeling the need to rush frantically from attraction to attraction to get their money’s worth.
12 hours in NYC with CityPass
We started our 12 hours in NYC with CityPASS on a NJ Transit train from Summit to Penn Station before heading to Times Square for a long promised visit to the M&M store (my children LOVE this place – personally I don’t get it) on our way to 46th and a visit to the Intrepid Air and Space Museum. This military and maritime history museum, included in a NYC CityPASS, is home to an impressive collection of ships, aircraft and even a submarine. A fascinating visit, and one I would remind to all visiting Manhattan, this was the perfect way to start our day of sightseeing in the city.
Following our visit to the museum we made the short walk (approx 5 mins) from Pier 86 to Pier 83 for another great attraction included in our CityPASS, a Circle Line Sightseeing Cruise. We chose the Landmark Cruise, a 1.5 hour harbour cruise that helps you tick off seeing many of the New York attractions on your bucket list including getting within 100 feet of the Statue of Liberty and cruising under the Brooklyn, Manhattan, and Williamsburg bridges, however there are many more options available.
This was such a wonderful way to see the city from another angle, plus the tour guide we had (born and bred in Hells Kitchen) couldn’t have been more entertaining and informative if he tried! I learnt more about the city in those 90 minutes than I have on my previous two visits put together, including that The Big Apple is called just that after Jazz musicians referred to getting a gig in New York City as the ‘the biggest apple on the tree’. Add that to the fact that you can take some amazing shots of the city from the water and I say you have a trip that is worth every penny of the ticket price!
After disembarking the boat we were planning on walking to Hells Kitchen just a few blocks away and grabbing some food from one of the many recommendations our cruise guide had given us, but once it was decided that none of us were really that hungry we kept on walking north towards the Strawberry Fields area of Central Park. Having never explored up this far in the park before we didn’t really know what to expect, however, thanks to us accidentally finding the Central Park Tourist Information Centre, we were soon in possession of a map and heading straight towards the boating lake.
Being a STAC fan I was more than a little giddy to realised that the Loeb Boathouse was the actual location where Big and Carrie falling into the lake was filmed! Once I got over that geeky moment (didn’t take long as no one else in the family really cared) it was agreed that, as long as it didn’t cost more $35 for the hour, we would hire a rowing boat before dinner and tick off a another thing from my bucket list. So imagine our surprise on finding out that it actually only cost $12 for the hour (you will need to leave a $20 cash deposit though).
We had a real fun hour on the lake (mostly laughing at Mr L’s inability to row in a straight line), and it was made all the better by a glass of wine in the boathouse afterwards while we basked in the early evening sun. Moments like this, the four of us sat together laughing about the days events and having an impromptu drink in the sunshine, is what I live for. It’s the reason I travel, and the reason I love to take my little family with me. These memories will last a lifetime – and are much more important to me that having a big house or fancy clothes. This is what makes me happy.
With stomaches rumbling we walked towards a park exit in search of food but, as happened so many times on our trip this summer, we stumbled across something even better to do! SummerStage, a series of free concerts in Central Park, was hosting a Latino music event that tempted us in! As the girls danced the night away we ate wood fired pizza and drank warm beer pinching ourselves that this was really our life.
All that was left for us to do was end our 12 hours in NYC with CityPASS having a Yellow Taxi ride back towards The Empire State Building for one last look at the city before heading back out to our New Jersey home from home.