2013 Grandmas & Kids to the Big Apple Trip

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

We made our third annual trip to the Big Apple with the grandmas and kids in mid-November.  (to read about our previous trips - check them out here for 2011 and 2012).  After the last few years of taking the 7hour (one-way) train ride from Johnstown, PA to NYC,NY - we decided that maybe this year we'd spare some of our sanity and drive most of the way.  Let me assure you:  it was the right choice.

We all piled into our car early Friday morning and made the drive to Newark, NJ, stopping along the way for breakfast.  We left early enough that the kids slept most of the way and we didn't hit much morning commute traffic in Jersey since we arrived after the morning rush.  It was sort of great timing.

We stayed (and enjoyed!) the Holiday Inn Newark Airport and received shuttle service to and from the airport to catch NJ Transit into the city.  I am NOT a city driver, so it was important to be able to catch public transportation in and out of the city.  (Plus, we saved a pretty penny staying outside of the city versus inside).

airtrain to NJ transit
This year on our trip, as in past years, the kids got to enjoy all kinds of transportation.  We rode a car, bus/shuttle, elevated train (at the airport), actual train (NJ transit), subway, and on foot/stroller!

subway passengers
After taking NJ Transit into the city, we hopped onto the subway to Soho for a quick lunch before making our first stop of the weekend at the Children's Museum of Art.  It wasn't exactly a cheap place to visit ($11 a person), but the kids had a blast making crafts, checking out the bird exhibit, and most of all -going crazy in the ball pond.

floam station

CMANY also had this really cool installation in the hall near the ball pond that my kids loved running through.  It was a great spot to spend some time burning up energy that was pent up from spending the morning on the road. 

Afterwards, we headed outside to walk the streets and made a stop at Vesuvio Playground on Thompson street between Spring and Prince.  My kids are definitely playground kids and they loved running and climbing and swinging well into the dusk. 


We spent the rest of the evening visiting shops along Broadway.  The kids and I spent quite a while browsing the Scholastic Store!  We caught dinner at Kelley & Ping (delicious, even after I knocked over an entire bowl of noodle soup- oops) and then we headed back into Jersey to rest our weary bones.

We started Saturday bright and early and made our way into Brooklyn to meet up with my dear friend, Elena and stroll the Brooklyn Heights Promenade.   We grabbed bagels at Le Bagel Delight then ate and caught up with Elena at Van Voorhees Park while the kids made new friends with little playmates.

Elena and tab :)

photo credit:  Greyson
Afterwards, we walked along the Promenade until Brooklyn Bridge Park where we made our way into Brooklyn towards our next stop.  It was quite a walk that we took from Brooklyn Bridge Park all the way to Prospect Park Zoo, but we made it with a stop for coffee and the kids snoozed in the stroller for a bit.  Sidenote:  The grandmas have vowed to not return to NYC until we get a new stroller (hah!) - any suggestions on a sturdy, easy to push double stroller?  eek!

Prospect Park zoo was absolutely wonderful.  It was so kid-age-appropriate for my kids and very entertaining for all of us, actually (ask the grandmas about how they cracked up at the baboon exhibit!)  It is a fairly small zoo, but wasn't crowded in the least, so the kids got to explore and observe without any issues.  We had a fantastic afternoon checking out the animals and exhibits - we even caught the last sea lion feeding show of the evening!

The indoor exhibits were awesome - honestly, can not say enough about how much we enjoyed the Prospect Park zoo! It was a great stop for my very young kids.  There was even a petting zoo section and the kids had a staring contest with the geese.  


After a great time at the zoo, we met up with one of my favorite people on the planet; Sabrina, at Gino's Trattoria for dinner.  Sabrina and I taught together at PS27 when I lived in Brooklyn back in 2005-2007 and we haven't seen each other in about three years.  Oh, it was a joyous reunion and full of laughing and catching up.  Miss her everyday.

Brina, Tab, and grumps ma-gee (aka Gemmer)
After a long dinner, we all loaded up in the subway to go from Brooklyn to Penn Station in Manhattan and then waited around for our NJ transit train to arrive.  Then we took NJ transit back to Jersey to pile into the car and drive two hours to King of Prussia, PA where our hotel was reserved for Saturday night.  

The trip seemed daunting after spending the entire day Saturday, walking all over Brooklyn - but it was actually a big relief to be heading back into the direction of home on Saturday night instead of having the whole distance to travel on Sunday.  We made it to King of Prussia without any issues and fell happily into our beds at the Hyatt House that night.

this is what we look like waiting at Penn Station at 9:00p for NJ Transit after a day of walking - Hahahhhah!
We had a great night of sleep (we loved the Hyatt House!) and took our time in the morning packing up and even hitting the indoor pool that morning!

Then we headed out to the King of Prussia mall to walk and check out the shopping.  We stopped at the play areas so the kids could burn off any last energy, and luckily for us one of the play areas was situated right outside of H&M which meant we could take turns watching the kids and shopping.  I was even able to do a little damage to my Christmas list! 

The drive home was mostly painless as the kids slept the majority of the way and we had decent driving weather.  We made it all the way back home in time for Sunday supper.  It was a great year for our NYC trip!

I am so lucky and grateful to be able to make our annual visit to the city with my kids and their grandmas since it's such an important piece of my history.  I love introducing my kids to a place that helped make their mum who she is - showing them such a different world than the one they see everyday growing up.  Thank you Abba & Gigi for going every year despite miles of walking and not ideal strollers and very long drives.  I am the luckiest.


  1. Hi Tabitha, I have been wanting to make a comment on your previous posts for a while now. I just really enjoy reading your blog posts. I appreciate how well you are raising your children and teaching them kindness. The Tacky Box was brilliant! I remember you when you were quite younger and was always kind and smiling back then. So it is only fitting that motherhood for you would be the same. Keep up the good work, your husband and children are truly blessed to have you in their lives. Looking forward to more posts! Lynn Birk.

    1. hi Lynn, thank you so much for you kind comment, it made my day! it is always so wonderful to hear from readers, especially those that knew me when I was younger. (thanks for reading!) I contribute a great deal of my happiness and desire for kindness to my family and community in which I was raised (you included!) I was lucky to grow up in place that everyone cheers each other one and continues to keep tabs as they continue through their life. thank you again for your kind words and support. xxxox