Friday, 16 March 2012

A child's view of Manhattan New York

It's our first time to visit Manhattan with the kids in tow. It was a walking tour because taking a car is complicated - high parking fees, attractions are scattered everywhere and the subway is more challenging. Lito and I already did this 3 years ago with Irvin and Faye but this walking tour considering what would be interesting for our children ages 10, 6 and 3 is another adventure. This blog post can also be called "What to do in Manhattan, NYC with kids" but it's more of seeing the city from a child's perspective that I opted to use the title above. It's also a Toy Tour as we visited toy stores in the city. Our first stop was Rockefeller Center. We ended up exiting from the 5th Avenue coming from the subway and it was pure luck that the first store we saw in the Rockefeller Plaza was the LEGO store. The kids had a great time looking at the different toys formed out of Lego blocks from their favorite Disney Cars, Star Wars and Harry Potter. The replica of the Rockefeller Center was amazing that when it was time for them to see the real thing just outside the building, they can identify the parts from the miniature Lego creation. My kids were playing "Guess the flag" and took turns in identifying as many flags as they can around the center. Of course, they didn't miss the US, Philippine and Canada flags. Kyle even asked me why is the US flag in the center, LOL! Next destination is the Apple Store so we walked towards north in 5th Avenue. The Rockefeller Center is at 50th St. and our destination is at 58th St. so we had to walk 8 blocks to get there. The kids had fun seeing the busy street with people, some with shopping bags, some in business suits and mostly tourists like us but in groups and with a guide. There were food carts and those selling I Heart New York souvenir items in some corners. What attracted them are the tall buildings some shaped differently with American flags everywhere. Most of the time, I saw them looking up and staring at these buildings. I remember telling them about the Chrysler building and the Trump Tower. Aloysius said "I want to have my own building named after me." Hahaha, parang ang dali lang bumili ng building ano? So maybe in the future when you see a building called ALOYSIUS, it's probably his. hahaha. My wish! When we get near the Apple Store, they already recognized it because I already told Aloysius that it is an all-glass building. He was telling me, it's not a building because there's nothing in it. His comment is valid but when he saw where the people were going and all the Apple products on the floor, he said, Now I get it. Kyle and Lex were overwhelmed at the all-glass elevator and stairs. There were lots of people at the time we entered and there were also some people lining up for the next day's sale of the new IPad. We just stayed at the IPad station and the kids automatically got hold of a demo unit and played to their hearts desire. Even my youngest was shouting, they have Angry Birds here too Mom! One lady customer looked at them one by one as if saying, "Ang babata pa nito, mga addict na sa IPad!" After the encounter with the glass building, we went to the store next door - FAO Schwarz. This toy store is the oldest in the US founded in 1862. This part of the trip was a treat to our children. This store looked small on the outside but upon entering, a vast array of toys await the kids, grouped and displayed in a different way that attracted tourists like me. By the door stood a man dressed in an English Royal Guard attire and greeted my kids in a fancy manner, sending them to giggles. On the mezzanine, Spiderman and Captain America are waiting for customers who wanted their pictures taken. We had stolen a shot when Spiderman came near Lex because we didn't want to pay, hahaha, cheap talaga! We lingered in my boys favorites spots: Star Wars Station, Thomas the train area and the LEGO area (again, they couldn't get enough haha). The Big Piano experience made an impact to my kids because when I asked them the Top 3 memorable in this trip, this was one of them. Central Park was one of our stops but we opted not to go anymore because it was cold and they can see the mouth of the park from the Apple Store (59th Street). The horse-driven carriages that will tour you around the area make a nice photo opp but the kids couldn't stand the smell of the horses so we just proceeded east to Lexington Ave to take the No. 6 train that will bring us to our next destination. Grand Central Terminal is a popular NY attraction because it is always featured in Hollywood movies even in animation. For the kids, they remember this place as where the Madagascar animals went and broke the clock. By the time we got to the Grand Central Terminal, it was alreay past 5 and we experienced Rush hour. We were carried away by the surge of passengers getting in and out of the trains. When we reached the Main lobby, we had a picnic in the middle just in front of the clock. While nibbling on cookies and chips, we were looking at the ceiling to watch the constellation of the stars. After that, we went to the East Balcony where most part become the Apple Store. After posing, we tried the Macbook Air and the kids tried the IMac. Whispering Gallery - I discovered this in another blog and it was amazing after truly experiencing it. The arch just outside the Oyster Bar is an area where you can hear the whisper of another person from the other end of the arch. The kids enjoyed this but Aloysius just listened to his dad and never whispered. Kyle on the other hand heard the whispers of a couple from the other end asking for his name, he replied once but after that, asked us to go na. It was truly awesome. My pictures are not clear but you can see the arch on the background and maybe try it on your next visit to the Grand Central because not too many people know about this. Grand Central and Times Square are both on 42nd St. so we just walked towards west to get to our next destination - Times Square. On the way there, we already see people coming out of the buildings and walking past and fast - the New York Rush. I think we reached our destination early because we were walking in the same pace as the New Yorkers hahaha. The main reason why we had this trip to Manhattan is because Aloysius wanted to have a picture taken at the street in New York where all the buildings have big TVs. That is how he described the place when he asked me if it's in New York and if we can go on our next visit. We chose to make this our last stop so the kids can appreciate the lights more at night and we were right. The moment we turned right from 42nd street to Broadway, they were awestruck. Our pictures show that they were looking everywhere because of the flashing lights in the buildings. The kids had an opportunity to have a picture taken with NY Police Officers and with a police car, but Lex was not too interested, he just wanted to check out the buildings. hahaha. Aloysius' request was granted. He had pictures with the billboards. My six year old Kyle's description of the place was a street with big TVs, people walking in the middle of the street, carrying a camera and taking a picture of the buildings. Lex who is 3yrs old described Times Square as Big TVs with Spiderman, Iron Man and M&Ms. On the street, there are mascots everywhere, Elmo, Mickey Mouse, Woody and Iron Man. Later did we realize that there's a big Toys R Us store along Broadway and guess what we did next - we went inside for more Toy visits. In this store, there's a big ferris wheel inside with the different character in each wagon. As usual for the kids, a toy store trip is not complete without going to Star Wars, Lego and Disney Cars areas, but the Transformers and Angry Birds got their attention that they had a photo taken there. It was tiring but a fruitful trip to Manhattan knowing that the kids enjoyed it. Here are the Top 3 Manhattan Trip Favorites of my kids: Aloysius (Age 10): 1. Rockefeller 2. Times Square 3. Whispering Gallery - Grand Central Ceiling Kyle (Age 6): 1. The Big Piano 2. The Glass Building 3. The Street with many lights and our video in one of them (My favorite too) Lex (Age 3): 1. The Big Piano 2. Toy Store with man in red (FAO Schwarz) 3. Lego (Star Wars and Iron Man) My favorites: 1. Whispering Gallery 2. FAO Schwarz 3. Times Square (our own billboard hehehe) Here's the picture and video taken while we are being shown in one of the billboards in Times Square. Kyle's and my most memorable and favorite Manhattan experience:

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