We knew we didn't want to drive into Manhattan [we made that mistake once before], so we took the advice of some local friends on how to get there. We drove to New Jersey, parked there, and took the train into NYC. It was much easier and cheaper than driving and parking in the city, and it was kinda fun, too!
waiting at the train station in new jersey
a little chilly, but the train was right on time!
ella was soaking it all in
After navigating two trains and one subway, we checked into our hotel. It was really close to a lot of exciting NYC things, so we walked to Times Square for a couple hours. We found somewhere for dinner, then we walked around and checked it all out. There were so many lights and so many people, and the video screens were much larger than I remember them being. They were just huge! Ella especially liked all the commotion; as we walked around she kept saying "Hi!" as we walked past people.
Saturday morning we headed out to find Rockefeller Plaza. We saw where the Today show is filmed [too bad it was the weekend!], the Rockefeller Christmas tree, and the skating rink. We also walked by Radio City Music Hall and The Tonight Show, and we walked down Fifth Avenue and checked out some shops.
mike and ella by the rockefeller christmas tree, which is from pennsylvania!
ice skating at rockefeller plaza
some lady with limited english offered to take our picture.. what a sweet stranger!
outside of radio city music hall
inside of st patrick's cathedral on 5th avenue. such a beautful place!
we even ran into santa at the hotel! ella wasn't so sure at first...
but a candy cane and sticker helped, and he even got down on the floor for her!
Saturday afternoon we relaxed for a bit and let Ella take a nap, then we headed to the hockey game. We met up with some PSU friends for dinner and drinks before the game, then we headed to Madison Square Garden. We got to sit in the PSU President's Suite [no president there, just his suite] during the game, which was great fun. It was great for Ella too, because she was able to run around and enjoy herself. She stayed awake sdthe entire game, and finally fell asleep on the subway ride back to the hotel. Even though Penn State didn't win, we had a great time!
Sunday we headed to Macy's to see their holiday displays. They set up window displays that tell stories, complete with moving parts and the entire story written on the windows. The top floors of the store were dedicated to Christmas as well, with SantaLand and an entire floor of Christmas trees and decorations. It was just so fun!
they had a station where kids could write a letter to santa
ella mailed her letter... we'll see if santa finds her on christmas!
the front of macy's [recognize it from the parade??] and the empire state building
After checking out Macy's and a couple rides on the subway, we made our way back to Penn Station to catch the train to New Jersey. We had an incredibly fun couple of days. It was great to see so many iconic places - ones that we visited together a few years ago. It was definitely different navigating NYC with a toddler in tow, but it was just as enjoyable. Ella was the best traveling toddler there is! She didn't mind all the hustle and bustle, and she loved looking at everyone and everything.
ready for a nap, but patiently waiting in the train station. what a champ!