Parents Weekend in NYC – Part One

Hi friends, welcome back! My parents came to visit us last month, and in true Lyssy in the City fashion, the visit included the perfect mix of sights and delicious food. They got pretty lucky because it was the first weekend in seven weeks that it wasn’t predicted to rain every day. I crafted an itinerary, made some restaurant reservations, and on an early Thursday morning my parents flew into Laguardia. While they were stuck in traffic, I was running some last-minute errands including a stop at Dominique Ansel and Popup Bakery. On my way home I felt bad for everyone on the subway that hadn’t had breakfast yet because the bagels smelled heavenly!

After caffeinating and enjoying some delicious bagels, it was time to set off! I gave my parents a briefing on subway best practices and then we were on our way uptown. Our first stop was the beautiful St. Patrick’s Cathedral.

We then headed to Rockefeller where they were setting up the holiday chalets and smoothing the ice rink.

Saks Fifth Avenue had a giant zodiac clock on it for their holiday partnership with Dior. The theme this year is “Carousel of Dreams” and the light show officially opens November 20th. I was trying to find more information online and they’re currently selling VIP access to the holiday light show with a pre-show cocktail party. Tickets cost a measly $5,000 and all proceeds are donated to charity. I’m interested to see how it all comes together this year.

We continued up Fifth Avenue before heading into Central Park. We saw Gapstow Bridge, people watched at the Mall, passed Bethesda Fountain, and saw all the beautiful fall colors near Bow Bridge. It was a perfect fall day in Central Park!

On our way back to the subway I showed them some of the best Halloween decorations on the Upper East Side.

Day one concluded with some delicious pizza from Little Italy.

The following morning I picked up my parents at their hotel and we headed to Battery Park for a trip to the Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island. We had tickets for 10am and the line to get through security was one of the most disorganized things I’ve ever seen. There is airport style security which creates some bottlenecks. We were some of the first people to get on the ferry and got seats in the back of the boat so we’d have a good view of Manhattan as we pulled away.

Jon and I visited the Statue of Liberty in October 2020 and I miss how uncrowded it was.

On this visit we had tickets to go up to the pedestal. You can’t bring any backpacks up but there are lockers to store your belongings. You have to put a quarter in to get the key out, so make sure you have a quarter with you. I was very surprised to get my quarter back when I returned the key.

There are 215 stairs and an elevator, but the stairs are modern stairs and not at all claustrophobic. A welcome change from the domes we climbed in Italy! The pedestal is still under construction but the crown is now open for visitors. You need special tickets and they seem to sell out months in advance.

We then boarded another ferry over to Ellis Island to look through all the exhibits. My favorite part of Ellis Island is the Inspection Room.

This was from our quiet visit in 2020.

We wanted a quick exit on the way back to Manhattan so we stayed in the bottom of the ferry. If you’re visiting the Statue of Liberty, be mindful of where you buy your tickets. This is the message from the NPS website: “Statue City Cruises is the ONLY ferry service authorized by the National Park Service for ticket sales and transportation to Liberty and Ellis Islands. Numerous third-party vendors sell tickets at higher prices or for boats that do not land at the islands. We strongly recommend that tickets only be purchased at Statue City Cruises or by calling 1 877 LADYTIX (1.877.523.9849)”

We were all very hungry so we grabbed some delicious paninis from Pisillo and gave our feet a rest.

For dinner we went to Tacombi and had a delicious, casual meal.

The night was still young so we walked down Stone Street and around the Seaport District after, but it was pretty quiet apart from the pumpkin arch. My parents ended the night with a drink on Stone Street, but Jon and I were too tired and called it a day.

Stay tuned for part two!

36 thoughts on “Parents Weekend in NYC – Part One

  1. A spectacular day, a spectacular tour and a spectacular tour guide. You gave full value for your city in that tour Lyssy. We never did make it to the Statue of Liberty or Ellis Island on our trips. Thanks for sharing Lyssy. Allan

    1. I didn’t even try to upsell on my tour 🙂 They got lucky with only 1/4 days of rain. Both the Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island are worth seeing, hope you make it back to NYC one day. Although the helicopters flying around the SoL reminded me of the mosquitoes on your walks.

  2. That sounds wonderful! I don’t think I’ve been back to NYC since I was in high school (or maybe college?). I used to go into the city with my grandparents; my grandmother was like me and really enjoyed all there was to see and do. Sadly we did not get to go inside the Statue of Liberty at all though I do remember taking the ferry over…

    1. It sounds like you’re long overdue for a visit to NYC 🙂 those are special memories with your grandparents! It seems like the Statue of Liberty inside is closed somewhat frequently over the years. Would’ve made a good field trip for the boys!

  3. $5000 for a ticket? Yikes! Things like this remind me that there’s a whole other world out there I’ll never be a part of. I’m okay with that, though, this looks like my kinda weekend! In fact, we did the Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island tour back when we lived in CT and really enjoyed it. Looks like you guys had a great weekend!

    1. Haha right! I thought they might be like $500, but at least it’s all donated. Before visiting I thought the Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island were too touristy, but they’re both really cool and part of history. It was a great weekend!

  4. A fabulous day! Seems really strange talking about setting up for the Winter/Christmas events, the weather still looks so mild! Also, I’m curious- what is subway best practice in NYC?

    1. You have to stay on the right on escalator/stairs so faster people can pass and not make too much eye contact- Alyssa set me straight! Her Mom

    2. The weather was very unusual for that time of year! I showed them how to use their credit card to tap through the turnstile, always make sure you’re holding on to something, be self–aware of space and people trying to get on/off, and don’t stare at people.

  5. You covered a lot of ground in a few short days, but how fun to show off New York to your parents. I did the Staten Island ferry one year to see the Statue of Liberty. It obviously didn’t stop at the statue, but the ferry was far less busy and a offered a great view of the statue and Manhattan’s skyline. Maggie

    1. It was so fun showing them where I live! I’ve always wanted to ride the Staten Island ferry, can’t beat the price of free. I can see it running all day out my window.

  6. It looks like you had an amazing time exploring New York with your parents, Lyssy! I am glad that the sun was shining, and you managed to spend your time outside – good weather can make such a big difference. You captured so many beautiful photos, I particularly loved the St. Patrick’s Cathedral and the giant zodiac clock – I can feel how New York is slowly starting to grow on me! Thanks for sharing, and have a wonderful day 🙂 Aiva xx

    1. Such a great time and the weather made such a difference! NYC has a lot of museums at least if it rains, but my parents enjoy just walking around the most. I’m very interested to see how the zodiac clock fits into their holiday show. I love that there’s always something new and exciting going on in NYC. You get used to the crowds, noise and chaos after a while 🙂

  7. How fun to be a tour guide for your parents, Lyssy! All of you look like you’re having a great time, and who wouldn’t have a great time seeing the wonderful sights in NYC. As always, your photos are amazing. Of course, I’m now hungry and craving guacamole and pepperoni pizza – not together though. Have a great week.

    1. I had such a great time showing them around! My dad is not a city person, but he did pretty well. I joked I needed a leash for him to make sure he didn’t get lost in the crowds. Haha glad you clarified not together with the pizza and guac, that gave me a chuckle 🙂

  8. Sounds like a solid first day in NYC with your parents! You certainly crafted a great itinerary to take them around the main sites (and with good food to boot)! Can’t wait for Part 2!

    1. It was a great start to their trip! We managed to see everything on the list, so it was a success! They especially loved the food too after seeing all my food blogs.

    1. It is! NYC is a big change from NYC but they did pretty well around the city for not being city people.

  9. I hope the Statue of Liberty tour doesn’t become more of a hassle than it’s worth. My daughter and I waited two hours to climb the Empire State Building, and that was fifteen years ago. Colorado is dealing with similar issues with the popularity of certain (natural) attractions, especially since COVID. Reservations are required (where they weren’t before) and tours are limited to avoid overuse of trails, parks, etc. The world we live in!

    1. The ferries can hold hundreds of people so I think that prevents that crazy long waits. The security started as two lines and then the barriers disappeared and it was one big moshpit of a line, it didn’t make sense to me. It is a crazy world we live in! My sister in Oregon is very annoyed with all the people visiting the national parks since COVID. She used to have no issues with permits or overcrowding.

    1. It was a great start to the trip, the weather definitely helped too! They were very impressed and my tip was my dad painting an accent wall for us. He decided to paint instead of attend Kelly and Mark ha.

  10. What beautiful weather at this time of year, the light seems perfect, transparent and highlighting the leaves on the trees. In such a short time, this can only be a short selection of sites to see, it’s nice not to waste time by being with someone who knows the best way.

    1. We had so much rain so I was so happy to have a great weekend for their visit. You are right and someone that knows where they’re going and how to navigate the subway easily.

  11. Looks like you had fabulous weather for wandering around with your parents. The fall colours in Central Park are beautiful. We’ve been to NYC a few times, but have yet to visit Ellis Island. Sounds like a fun excursion.

  12. Many, many, many years ago when I was in high school during one of the vacation weeks, a bunch of my friends and I decided spur of the moment to go to the Statue of Liberty. It was so nice to go with no reservations, we just hopped the train into the City, took the subway downtown, and got on the ferry. We were able to go up to the crown at that time as well. I’d never make it now.

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