Over the Remembrance Day weekend, I had the opportunity to go to New York City with my dad who had come from Alberta for the occasion. We usually try to make a habit each year of doing some sort of trip together for a weekend each year. In the past we have done such things as visiting Tofino on Vancouver Island, camping in NY state, or hiking in Canmore but he had never been to New York so this seemed like a great opportunity to show him around my favourite city.
He flew down to Ottawa on Friday and we left pretty early on Saturday with our rental car. We were lucky enough to get a one-way rental for an incredible rate so we would both be able to fly home on Tuesday to our respective cities. I haven’t done this drive without kids in quite a while so forgot how quick this trip can be – 7hours and 15mins from our door to the drop-off at Laguardia airport.
We would have about two and a half days in NYC – and while I wanted to make sure my dad saw all the stuff you ‘should’ see in New York, I also wanted to ensure that we explored some of the neighbourhoods, and ate at some of the restaurants, that you probably wouldn’t find in a ’48 hours in NYC’ guide.
By the time we got to our hotel, booked on Travelpony and centrally located near Penn Station, it was about 5pm but our dinner reservations weren’t until 8:30 so we set off walking. This would be a major theme of the trip – we walked everywhere! We plowed through the crowds in Times Square and then walked across to Rockefeller Center where the famous tree had just been placed but was still being prepared until the revealing of the lights on December 3rd.
We hit one of the best restaurants I have been to in a while for dinner on Saturday. Contra, on the Lower East Side, opened up about a year ago and in the small space they serve only a five-course tasting menu. I wasn’t sure how my dad would react to whatever came out of the kitchen but we both enjoyed the meal immensely. Highly recommended!
On Sunday, we woke up and headed down to our breakfast provided at the hotel – something I knew my dad would appreciate since he wakes up earlier than me and enjoys a coffee and the paper right away. From there, we took off walking and wouldn’t stop until supper. You can see our approximate route to lunch here – I tried to map it out to show my dad as much as possible of the different neighborhoods and it seemed to even be semi-efficient as we ended up at Pok Pok NY, Andy Richter’s great Thai spot. On the way we managed to take in the High Line, Chelsea Market, a lot of the West Village, Canal Street, the Brooklyn Bridge and parts of Brooklyn.
After lunch, there was still more to see as we headed back to Manhattan to take in Wall Street, the World Trade Memorial before boarding the Staten Island ferry for what I consider to be the best views of Manhattan.
We ended up walking over 14 miles on Sunday, also hitting over 30K steps on my dad’s Fitibit – a record I’m told!
On Monday, after heading south the day before, we headed north to Central Park and actually spent quite a bit of time wandering through the park – it was such a beautiful weekend and so enjoyable. We then exited through the southeast corner of the park and although it is always crazy-busy, I think that 5th avenue is something everyone should at least see when visiting New York. We walked along there and found what has to be one of the best lunch deals in the city at Cafe China. Ten dollars for lunch at a Michelin-starred restaurant seems crazy but it was delicious and we were really glad we went. It was also perfectly located to go visit one of my favourite spots, the New York Public Library, right after. My dad’s eyes lit up when he spotted their special exhibition on the use of propaganda in the first world war!
After going on Monday night to watch my Knicks lose (again!) we hit another NYC staple – pizza by the slice!
On Tuesday, we had to leave for the airport just after lunch but we still managed to get a good walk in through Soho and the East Village and another great lunch at Momofuko SSam Bar.
All in all, it was a really fun experience to go with my dad and show him around the city. He was game for anything and we made the best of the perfect weather we had all weekend. Next year we even talked about incorporating the big guy in our weekend – three generations together seems like it would be pretty cool!