Overall Grade: A
Kids' Rating: A+
Fun Factor: A
For: Girls and couples
Date Visited: July, 2010
To reward my daughter for working so hard this school year, I decided to take her away. Was this the reward that she was hoping for? No, a cell phone is what she most desires. Am I going to buy her one...NO! I knew that this trip would be a lot more fun, something we would never forget. It would be extra special because it would just be the two of us. My younger daughter is away at sleepover camp. Shhh, she is still away and we haven't told her about the trip!
The Westin New York at Times Square is located in the heart of Manhattan. At 43rd and 8th, you are close to all the action without being in the centre of it. Full of hustle and bustle, there is a definite energy about being in
Times Square. My daughter was amazed by the large screens and massive billboards. In the hub of the Broadway theater district, great entertainment is only a few steps away.
You can always count on the Westin for its luxurious beds. After hours of walking it was fantastic to climb into their heavenly beds! While a pool would have be a real plus, the cost of real estate does not allow for many hotels in Times Square to offer one. Those that do offer them tend to provide lap pools.
This trip was all about my 11 year old daughter. We did only the things that she wanted. So that meant visiting countless tacky souvenir shops, and endless toy stores. If you can believe it, my girl is not interested in clothes or shoe shopping. Yes, we are visiting the capital of North America's shopping world and we won't be doing any shopping. The truth of the matter is that my daughter is content with a few t-shirts and black capri leggings. Oh well, I'm sure that things will change in time, and I will be reminiscing on these days of wishing I could go back.
The American Girls Place New York
A must see on my daughter's list of sights was the American Girl Store. A mini-theme park dedicated to dolls. These 18-inch doll portrays a 9 or 10-year-old girl at a critical moment in American history, or select from the Just Like You® dolls to match your child's hair and eye color, skin tone, and outfits Be prepared to be amazed and dazzled by this enormous store, located on 4 different levels. Here you will find, a doll hair salon, a doll hospital, a bookstore, a café, and Photo Studio. Be sure to bring your wallets, this store is pricey. Dolls cost $95 and their outfits start at $26. Luckily we had already been to the American Doll Store in Chicago, so the impact to my wallet was not too severe. In Chicago we had lunch in the cafe - what an unbelievable experience! Dolls sit in seats that hug tables. This time our mission was to bring back a few doll accessories for her cousins and friends. Their gifts consisted of adorable ice-skates, cute purple reading glasses, and a sleeping bag. For her own doll, she purchased a collapsible camping chair.
Toy and Candy Stores
What child doesn't love candy? Mine is a huge fan. So why not visit two of the most impressive candy shops in the world? Dylan's Candy Bar has two fun levels filled with every type of candy you can imagine. This upscale candy store was created by Dylan Lauren, Ralph Lauren's daughter. My daughter was completely impressed by the store. Surprisingly I actually managed to sway her to purchase something that wouldn't rot her teeth. She choose a fun squishy candy Jolly Rancher pillow (it came in really handy when sharing a king size bed as it served as the delineation mark for our sides..caution don't share a bed with someone who is used to sleeping alone in a queen sized bed!).
The M&M store was another sweet find. With over 25,000 square feet this is was one impressive store. Choose from an array of M&M memorabilia or fill your cello bag with your own unique combination of M&M candy.
We also visited FAO Schwartz, which my daughter loved...OK, I'll admit it, I loved it too! You won't believe my utter shock when I stumbled across a display of my beloved childhood friend - Monchichi. Yes, they have brought back Monchichi! They have jazzed up the doll with new outfits, but don't fear it's still has the same adorable face and furry body.
Theater and Entertainment
The highlight of our trip was going to see a Broadway show. While my daughter has attended
several stage productions she has never been to a large theater. The New Amsterdam Theater was spectacular! Everything that you could hope for! It had an old world charm and elegance of years past. My daughter marveled at it's beauty. Now on to the show. The play was spectacular. A mesmerizing spectacle of sets, wardrobe, acting, and singing. The Bank children were extraordinary. My daughter was super impressed by the fact that the actress who played the role of the daughter in Mary Poppins was only 9 years old. This Disney production was absolutely perfect!
Some of our funniest moments and best time were at Madame Tussauds. We didn't plan to visit the wax museum but I'm so glad that we did. When I explained that we were going to a wax museum, my daughter envisioned giant candles sculpted with celebrities faces. Imagine her surprise when she saw how life-like these figures really were. Don't miss the 4D movie. It was so much fun!
Be sure to explore the city it has so much to offer. We happened to choose one of the hottest weeks in New York City. This limited our ability to walk through Central Park and take in all the great boroughs of the city. We did go on the hop-on hop-off Gray Line double decker tour. We didn't do too much hopping off, as it was just too hot.
With thousands of restaurants to choose from, deciding where to eat in New York city can be a difficult task. I narrowed down my list by focusing on what would be fun for my daughter, and therefore chose restaurants that had kid appeal. Two of our favourites were Ellen's Stardust Diner, and Serendipity3:
Ellen's Stardust Diner is a retro 1950's themed dinner that features singing servers. The waitstaff take turns belting out songs. A great place to eat if you don't have a lot of say to your dining companion. The food was good, and my daughter thought it was incredibly cool that our waiter sang in between serving us.
Serendipity3 is famous for their outrageously divine frozen hot chocolate. Be prepared to wait if you want a seat at this little restaurant. Don't worry though, it's definitely worth it! Their food and desserts were heavenly.