Okay, so I found the time to post (I wanted to post every day while we were there, but the hotel charged $16 a day for the internet connection - I don't think so!). I'm in between loads of laundry, the kids are in bed and Ryan's out with a friend. It's now or never....
Sunday: We flew to La Guardia Airport. It was Sydney's first plane ride. She was quite excited.
Monday: Ryan left for work and we ventured out into the city. We got lost. But I eventually figured out where we were and we found our way to Rockefeller Center. It was cold and Sydney was hungry, so my photo op didn't go so well:
A quick snack beneath the 30 Rock building had Sydney back to her jovial self:
She really enjoyed watching the skaters, too:
We visited the American Girl Store and oohed and aahed over all the dolls and their accessories. We had lunch with Ryan, went back to the hotel for some rest time and then met our friends, the Saksons (friends from home who happened to be visiting NYC at the same time), at their hotel, the swanky Waldorf Astoria. Sydney was quite impressed with the decorations there:
Ryan met us (me, Sydney and our friends) at Radio City Music Hall where we saw the famous Rockettes and their Christmas Spectacular. Dinner followed at a yummy, but less than hospitable Italian restaurant.
Tuesday: Sydney and I headed out in the right direction on Tuesday. We visited St. Patrick's Cathedral ("It's just a really big church, Mommy") and once she spotted the big Christmas tree, we had to head back inside Rockefeller Center for a snack. I had my only (semi) celebrity sighting when we saw NBC reporter Hoda Kotb enter the building as we were leaving. We headed to Bryant Park where Sydney finally saw enough snow to actually do some playing:
She also liked watching the ice skaters there (it's free to skate there, versus Rockefeller Center where it cost about $30 a person):
Sydney was thrilled to see some old friends (they were there promoting the release of their movie), and wanted a picture, but didn't want to sit next to Homer for the photo op:
We walked next door to the famous public library, but Sydney was only interested in two things: the big lion outside and the free bathrooms within:
I decided not to take a picture of the bathroom.
We took a quick trip through Grand Central Station and had lunch with Ryan. After all that walking, Sydney took a 2 hour nap that afternoon. Yippee!
That evening, our friends, Stacey and Shiran, picked us up and drove us out to Brooklyn eat yummy Israeli food with his mom and sister's family. Sydney had fun playing with their niece, Naomi. Naomi had fun playing with Sydney's camera!
Wednesday: We made our way toward Central Park and saw the Disney store on the way. She begged to have her picture taken with, who else, but Cinderella:
We found ourselves at Central Park's Zoo where we had fun watching the penguins and the bats. Their habitats were indoors and dark so the pictures didn't turn out so well, but the polar bears were outside napping in what was likely balmy weather for them:
We met Ryan and rode the subway ("It's a big train with lots of people!") to Union Square to meet my friend, Jill, for lunch:
Another subway ride and another two hour nap followed.
Thursday: We met our friends, the Saksons, and rode the subway downtown to Ground Zero. The girls didn't quite get why we were looking at a giant hole in the ground and I didn't quite know how to explain it, so we quickly walked toward the water. Sydney and her friend, Zoe, posed in front of the Statue of Liberty (on the left) and Ellis Island (on the right):
Ryan happened to be working downtown that day, so we met him for lunch, rode the subway back to our hotel and rested that afternoon.
On our way to dinner with the Saksons, we stopped in and drooled a bit in the M&M store. We ate at a diner with singing waitstaff and had milkshakes with dinner (a real treat for us). We then tagged along with our friends to the Top of the Rock, or the top of the 30 Rockefeller Center building. It was quite chilly, but we got a good view of Manhattan and the Empire State Building (or the "Vampire State Building" as Sydney likes to call it):
While there, we even got a rare picture of the three of us in front of the big Christmas tree:
A quick trip to the NBC store had Ryan laughing at the Dwight Schrute bobble head dolls. I wish I'd had the forethought to snag one for his stocking!
Friday: The Saksons left for home, so Sydney and I were on our own again. We headed out toward Central Park again, but got sidetracked by FAO Schwartz. She had a blast seeing the giant stuffed animals and walking on the giant keyboard:
We visited the Hershey Store ("Look - a giant Hershey Kiss!") and the big Toys 'R Us store. We rode the ferris wheel inside (too dark for good pictures, though) and met Ryan for lunch again.
Our friends, Stacey and Shiran, met us at the hotel that afternoon and took us another subway ride ("My feet hurt from all the walking - can we ride the subway?") toward Central Park. Sydney finally got to see Belvedere Castle (I'd been promising her all week that we'd see it):
The tour guide inside (who also plays Santa there on the weekends), made Sydney an "official princess of Belvedere Castle" and absolutely made her week:
She made us call her Princess Sydney the rest of the afternoon. We visited one of the many playgrounds within Central Park and then went to the Metropolitan Museum of Art. She enjoyed seeing the Egyptian mummies and temple (an entire temple inside the museum!) and I really enjoyed the medieval exhibit with the magnificent tapestries.
One last subway ride later, we all met Ryan and ate some yummy Lebanese food for dinner.
Saturday: We packed up, checked out and left our luggage in the hotel storage closet while we had one last walk around the city. All of us were pretty walked out and tired, so we went back to Bryant Park to buy some souvenirs at the market, ate some pizza, enjoyed a cup of hot chocolate at Starbuck's and rode in a fancy town car back to La Guardia for the long flight home.
I loved watching Sydney light up with excitement and wonder at all the things we saw. If you asked her, she'd tell you that her favorite parts were seeing the castle, riding the subway and going through the "silly revolving door" at the hotel:
We had a fabulous time and I hope that she remembers it for the rest of her life. I know I will.
Short Course on Tips – What You Need To Know
2 weeks ago