Times Square in NYC is one of those iconic tourist spots that you just have to see at least once in a lifetime. Even if you normally avoid crowds I suggest braving the horde just to be in the centre of it all. It's very surreal to just stand there, surrounded by towering stacks of flickering billboards and the sounds, sights and smells of thousands of people all around you. This experience is available any day of the week. It's manic, a bit frightening, and weirdly wonderful. Which is exactly the kind of environment kids belong in, right? Hey, why not?
After all, we did promise that they could visit the big Toys R Us in TImes Square that had a ferris wheel inside it. What we didn't entirely count on was that we'd be trucking them through the increasingly congested sidewalk well after dark at the tail end of one of the longest days ever! It was a schedule that just kept unfolding, driven by our desire to take in as much of the city as possible within 3 days. Thinking back on the day, it felt like a weeks worth of sightseeing packed into a 24 hour period. The day began with a morning walk along the Highline, followed by a lunch at Chelsea Market, followed by a subway ride and hike across the Brooklyn Bridge, a walk through Brooklyn Bridge Park, a ride on Janes Carousel, Dinner at Grimaldis in DUMBO, and a Ferry Ride back to Manhattan (links go to each individual post). After all that, we decided that walking from the ferry dock to Times Square was totally do-able. Good thing we all ate a lot of pizza, because we were in for a LONG haul.
I only got a couple of photos of the beautiful Manhattan brownstones of the Upper East Side (bordering Midtown). At dusk their ornate and stained glass windows glowed like jewels in the fading light. Walking for blocks and blocks wasn't in our plans ahead of time, but it ended up being quite enjoyable. The elegant, historic beauty of the neighbourhood offered strong contrast to what lied ahead. Before we knew it, the sidewalk started to fill up and we entered the belly of the beast! So there we were, Eve in her rickety, too small stroller and Luke, being forced to hold my hand as we tried our best not to become separated in a sea of humanity, intent on joining the TImes Square experience.
I have to give huge credit to Luke and Eve. They're so used to long travel days that they weren't even that fazed at wandering through the Toys R Us at 11:30 pm. Eve is too old for a stroller now but in the spring she could still cram into it when we wanted to walk for a whole day. I'm not sure what we're going to do now that she's on her way to 5. No more free rides sweetheart!
It being nearly midnight didn't deter a lot of other families either apparently. The 3 floor toy store was so packed that we ended up getting stuck on the top level just waiting for the elevator to get down. Our day packs were wrapped around the umbrella stroller so tightly that I couldn't fold it up to go down the escalator. Meanwhile, Todd and Luke had already exited out on the street, only looking back afterward to wonder where we had gone. With one drained battery, we couldn't message each other. It took a good half hour to get out of the store after we had decided that we wanted to leave RIGHT NOW! I was sweating bullets. ARGH! Trapped in a Toys R Us. Never thought that would happen.
After a bit of riding the wave of people, we suddenly hit our breaking point. Like, really hit the wall to the point where none of us thought we could bear to take one more step. But, instead of trying to get out of the mess far enough to hail a cab back to our hotel in Chelsea, someone (I think it was Todd) convinced us to walk another 20 blocks or so. I can't remember any other time where my feet hurt so badly that I had to focus on the fleeting moments of relief each time my feet raised off the pavement, instead of the shooting pains I felt when they touched the ground. By now, I know no one is surprised that our family would push ourselves like this while on "vacation". Hey, how else would I manage to create 7 full travel posts out of one day? That must be some kind of record. We returned back to the hotel near 1 am and collapsed into bed and honestly, all I could think of was how this might have been one our best family travel days EVER!