I promised my children that I would show them the Statue of Liberty after two years of lockdown

statue of liberty new york city nyc rosa silverman family vacation lockdown kids hotel – rosa silverman

Taking my mind back to what seems like an era ago, before we became parents, I recall that when we traveled in the US my husband and I were never great planners. We were going somewhere random with nothing booked so were struggling to get a room. One particularly somber night was spent in Spartanburg, South Carolina, in a motel so shabby that cigarette burns were the least concerning adornment of the sheets.

Now, with two kids in tow, military-grade planning is essential. I learned this as soon as I decided my six-year-old daughter and eight-year-old son were ready for a long-haul city break. In New York. For almost a week.

Too ambitious, you say? I was convinced this would work as long as I prepared our itinerary in advance, down to the last lox and cream cheese bagel.

It started out as a block fantasy. I rashly promised that “when this is all over” we would visit the Statue of Liberty. I could tell they kept my word, but I really did: I desperately wanted to go back to America, a country I never get tired of exploring.

Landing in the wee hours at the start of the October semester, we were equal parts broken and thrilled. The excitement coupled with the jet-lag had the kids up by 5am the next day, eager to indulge on the buttermilk pancakes at the airport hotel buffet.

Statue of Liberty New York City USA Manhattan Vacation Travel - Getty

Statue of Liberty New York City USA Manhattan Vacation Travel – Getty

First stop, a beautiful brownstone Airbnb apartment in the lovely serene and stately neighborhood of Park Slope, Brooklyn. The eye-popping Halloween decorations alone would keep us entertained here for days, but I’d made another promise to the kids: the old-fashioned pleasures of seaside amusement parks. I suspected a few rides at Coney Island would help keep the six-year-old on the sidelines.

So, after downing strong espresso (us) and pastries (the kids) at the chic and bare-bones Blue Bottle Coffee on 7th Avenue, we took the subway to the Brooklyn coast.

Luna Park (lunaparknyc.com), which first opened in 1903, was as cheeky and lively as we’d hoped, with the famous Cyclone wooden roller coaster looming over it. My husband drove it so the rest of us didn’t have to. In a scorching autumn sun, the children rushed from one carousel to another, stopping midway for the ever-present hot dog at Nathan’s on the waterfront, where we encountered a busker’s parrot whose party joke was perched on the spectators’ heads .

Rosa Silverman Children New York City - Rosa Silverman

Rosa Silverman Children New York City – Rosa Silverman

The next morning we got up before dawn again, taking too literally New York’s reputation as the city that never sleeps. He gave us plenty of time to explore Prospect Park, a superior slice of urban green space, designed by the same team behind Central Park. It turned out to be dog time. “The dogs can be off-leash until 9am,” explained the first owner we met, and my son had a joyous time frolicking among them, throwing balls and sticks, while my husband and I peeked at the leaves (it’s good for the soul), before heading over to the tiny café in the park, which mercifully served hot chocolate and good coffee.

Another rule I made for the trip was not to cram too much each day. This I broke quickly and paid the price as far as my daughter was concerned. Leaving Park Slope, we headed to Brooklyn Heights Promenade for what is indisputably the best view of Manhattan from across the East River. It took my son’s breath away, even as he quickly retrieved it to point out landmarks he recognized from his picture books of him. My daughter insisted on being carried for most of what would have been a pleasant walk to the Brooklyn Bridge.

We walked across because, well, you have to for effect, then took the subway uptown to the palatial but family-friendly Loews Regency hotel on Park Avenue. Once we entered our comfortable 12th-floor room, with its dizzying window views of the East 61st Street skyscrapers, it became difficult to convince the kids that we had to leave. But we had a city to explore.

family vacation in New York - Rosa Silverman

family vacation in New York – Rosa Silverman

Given the six-year-old’s distaste for walks, I had taken the precaution of booking transport which would enable us to sightsee without incurring objections. We covered a lot of ground on a Big Bus tour (bigbustours.com), supposedly a hop-on hop-off service, but disembarked only to go from uptown to downtown loop, taking in the Empire State Building and Times Square among other attractions.

My son was mesmerized, sitting on the open deck despite the drizzle, his eyes glued to a streetscape on a grander scale than anything he had seen. My daughter fell asleep.

The next day we hit the water, setting off on a great 90 minute Circle Line cruise from Pier 83 Midtown (circleline.com). We glided along the Hudson River in an instant, the edge of Manhattan on one side, New Jersey on the other, then everyone rushed to the railing to photograph the Statue of Liberty: always smaller in reality than in your mind, yet somehow impossibly engaging, like a movie character brought to life. Even my daughter stopped by her magazine to look.

More to her liking was the Central Park Zoo (“It’s the one from Madagascar, Mom!”), where children craned their necks eagerly for a peek at grizzly bears and snow leopards. We ended the day with a trip to one of Central Park’s many playgrounds.

Central Park New York City USA - Getty

Central Park New York City USA – Getty

For the remainder of our stay, we moved downtown to the Four Seasons Hotel, where the view of the city from our spacious 12th-floor suite was so absolutely breathtaking, we could hardly drag ourselves away from the floor-to-ceiling windows. With children allowed in the pool at all times and a wonderfully varied children’s menu available from room service, we were less concerned than usual about introducing noisy little ones into a sacred space.

We’ve even managed to get them to hang out in the Seaport Historic District (home of the lovely South Street Seaport Museum); in Chinatown for steaming bowls of noodles; and for a walk on the High Line, a disused elevated railway transformed into a linear park. By then we were all, of course, exhausted.

“When can we go home?” asked my daughter, whose legs had had enough.

“When can we go back to New York?” my son asked. “I want to do it all over again.”

Essential

Rosa Silverman and her family have been guests of the Loews Regency New York Hotel (loewshotels.com) and the Four Seasons Hotel New York Downtown (fourseasons.com). British Airways, Virgin Atlantic and American Airlines fly direct to New York from the UK.

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