The founder of Kodomo.com, a luxury holiday resource that’s aimed at families, Cass Chapman finds that New York can be just as thrilling to visit with kids as it is solo. Below, she’s selected her top Big Apple recommendations designed to please the whole family.
New York is a city so many of us associate with impeccable restaurants, world-class clubs, and parties that bleed on well into the next morning. Having spent many wonderful weeks working in Manhattan in my twenties, I covered that gorgeous island from the Upper East Side and Greenwich Village to the Meatpacking District and Harlem with fierce gusto. And I loved every second of it. But today, being a mother (and several years into the next decade), I’ve found there’s no reason not to hit New York with the same enthusiasm when my young daughter is firmly by my side.
Let’s begin with hotels. For a seriously luxurious and very family-friendly place (that’s perfect for resting one’s head after a long day shopping on Fifth Avenue), The Surrey is a fantastic option. Conveniently located on the Upper East Side, this 1920s residence is, today, a stunningly renovated and seriously hip hotel with cascading views across Central Park. With a ‘Clef d’Or’ concierge team on hand, you don’t need to worry about coming up with inspirational ideas of what to do in the Grande Pomme all by yourself. They can recommend family-friendly attractions, restaurants, museums and shopping districts, and will even arrange tickets for you where necessary. Always keen to promote the innate gallery culture of the city, the hotel even provides young guests with two complimentary passes to the family programme of The Whitney Museum of American Art.
Of course, there’s no shortage of fun eateries to choose from in New York, and a wealth of them welcome children with open arms. The Standard Hotel (another fabulous option for accommodation) is home to the wonderful Standard Grill, which we highly recommend for family-friendly dining. Wedged in the achingly cool Meatpacking District (also great for shopping) and a hop from the fantastic Chelsea Market, the restaurant has high chairs ready for tiny diners and a menu that, though not replete with specific kids’ options, simply doesn’t need them: offerings of buttermilk pancakes and homemade cheeseburgers will keep everyone happy. The banquette seating is ideal with toddlers, giving them room to roam at the table without aggravating other diners and busy waitstaff (a gift only parents of two-year-olds can appreciate).
Once you’ve filled up on such culinary delights, head to the High Line above the Meatpacking District. If you’re in town on a balmy spring or summer’s day, there’s no better place to run around in the New York sunshine. A public park, the High Line runs along a historic freight line high above the streets of the city’s West Side. With expanses of greenery, children’s activities, and pit stops along the way for great coffee, this is a magical outdoor escape. If you visit in winter, the Standard Hotel also has an ice rink, which is popular amongst locals and tourists alike.
If it’s world-famous shopping you’re after, there’s much to please even the tiniest of retail lovers here. Little Marc on West 4th Street (yes, that’s Marc Jacobs for boys and girls) is a Mecca of floating sundresses, skull-covered graphic tees and even baby bibs. If you’d rather keep everything under one roof, the havens that are Macy’s, Bloomingdale’s and Saks Fifth Avenue all have children’s departments. And when your heeled feet are retail weary after a day pounding the pavements, amble back to The Surrey and head upstairs. There’s surely no better place in the city to relax with a cocktail (or mocktail) in hand, panoramic skyline views in the background, than the hotel’s private roof garden.
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