Top Five Kid Friendly Stores in NYC Times Square

 

 

Top Five Kid Friendly Stores in NYC Times Square pin

New York City is the number one destination for many travelers, and with all it has to offer it is easy to see why. Since the Big Apple is famous for its bargains and souvenirs, here are our top five shopping spots around Times Square for kids and parents.

 

nyc shopping macy's

 

Macy’s on 34th

The first place to take visiting kids is the most famous store in all of New York City, Macy’s. Built in 1902, Macy’s was originally a dry-goods store that continuously supplied the American population. It eventually became part of American culture.

Featured in numerous movies, this flagship store was considered the largest store in the entire world until 2009 when South Korea opened up Shinsegae. Despite the loss of their title, Macy’s is still the largest store in the US and its popularity grows with each generation.

Top Five Kid Friendly Stores in NYC Times Square macy's

Children can explore and ride the original wooden escalators while parents shop for fashionable clothes at unbeatable prices. Those who decide to visit New York around Christmas time will be amazed at Macy’s famous window displays. Each year the Macy’s staff comes up with a different animated theme with elaborate scenery to get people even more in the holiday spirit.

 

Top Five Kid Friendly Stores in NYC Times Square american

American Girl Store

Next stop is the American Girl store, located in the heart of Manhattan. American Girl features all of the characters including the classical favorites and the current Girl of the Year. While visiting the Truly Me section children can design their very own American Girl doll with different skin tone, hair color/style, eye color, and clothing options.

Top Five Kid Friendly Stores in NYC Times Square dolls

Visitors can also stop by the doll hair salon to give their American Doll a fresh look. In the ‘Dress like Your Doll ‘ section, kids and their dolls can share the same outfit and hairstyle.

Top Five Kid Friendly Stores in NYC Times Square injured

 

The store features an exclusive Doll Hospital for dolls who get sick aka need repairs. Depending on the severity of the ‘injury,’ recovery can take anywhere from two to three weeks. However, they will ship the toys home.

Top Five Kid Friendly Stores in NYC Times Square brunch

 

Travelers feeling a little hungry should check out the café serving a themed brunch, lunch, afternoon tea, and dinner. After dinner, visitors can swing by the bookstore. Here, all of their children’s favorite characters and their stories are on display.

 

Top Five Kid Friendly Stores in NYC Times Square sweets

M&M Store

Families in the mood for something sweet should make a pit stop to the M&M store.
Located in the heart of Time Square, the store offers three floors filled with delicious little m&ms.

Top Five Kid Friendly Stores in NYC Times Square liberty

The store is New York’s biggest candy store with a fifty foot, two-story high wall of chocolates containing seventy-two tubes from which guests can fill containers. Of course, guests can also purchase themed clothing, dishware, watches and piggy banks.

Top Five Kid Friendly Stores in NYC Times Square hersheys

Hershey Chocolate Store

For more chocolatey goodness, families can make their way across the street to the Hershey Chocolate Store. This store specializes in the brand’s favorites like Mr. Good Bars, York peppermints, and Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups.Those who can’t get enough of the stor’e merchandise should check out the entrance lamps shaped like authentic kisses.

Top Five Kid Friendly Stores in NYC Times Square lamp

Like in the M&M store, there are plenty of logoed souvenirs here for fans to purchase. These include a giant-sized kiss ideal for birthdays and Valentine day gifts.

Top Five Kid Friendly Stores in NYC Times Square kiss

Disney Store

A trip to New York wouldn’t be complete without experiencing some Disney Store magic. From the up and coming movies to the classic Disney films, this store has something for everyone who has ever grown up watching Walt Disney animation.

Top Five Kid Friendly Stores in NYC Times Square diz

Visitors can find stuffed animals, games, costumes, travel cups and movies in this two-story marvel. Kids needing a rest after the extensive shopping spree can relax in the castle, read a Disney tale or watch a short animation clip. Also not to be missed is the NYC souvenir section with items that are sold in this store only.

Top Five Kid Friendly Stores in NYC Times Square castle

Autism Travel Tips:

  • Parents should advise kids to stay close to them while walking the streets of New York City, especially at night.
  • For travelers wishing to fly with less luggage, most stores offer a ship to home option.
  • Parents wanting to partake in any American Girl activities should book tickets ahead of time. They should also mention any necessary accommodations to staff.
  • Parents of children with noise sensitivities might wish to avoid the area during peak hours.
  • Hershey’s has a strong smell of chocolate throughout the store that might present a challenge for smell sensitive patrons.

 

Top Five Kid Friendly Stores in NYC Times Square street

Family Fun on New York’s Coney Island

Family Fun on New York's Coney Island pin

Visitors from all around the United States and the world stop by every summer to soak up the sun on Coney Island’s beach. However, besides  the sand and water, New York’s Island boasts old-fashioned amusement parks along with a popular boardwalk that all family members will like to explore. For those who haven’t visited yet here are our recommendations on how to have some family fun while visiting the iconic area.

Family Fun on New York's Coney Island duck

History

Coney Island was originally slotted to become a beach resort area after the construction of the Coney Island Hotel was completed in 1829. The island likely got its name from an old Dutch word for rabbit, “conyn,” which makes sense with the many rabbits that once roamed around the island. Other possible sources of the name include the island’s Native American tribe, the Konoh, or the  family surname of the first Dutch settlers in the area.

Family Fun on New York's Coney Island walk

The island saw wealthy vacationers in the 1830s and 40s who used Coney Island as a way to spend a holiday without actually need to travel far. By the 1880’s the area became a local attraction with three large parks – Luna Park, Steeplechase Park, and Dreamland operating. Today, Coney Island still has the Luna Park as well as Deno’s Wonder Wheel Amusement Park- a nod to bygone glory days.

Family Fun on New York's Coney Island wheel

What to See

As mentioned, Coney Island’s two amusement parks Luna Park and Deno’s Wonder Wheel Park are still operational. The island also features several rides that aren’t a part of either park, as well as other attractions and events.

Historic Rides

The Parachute Jump a  bonified New York City Landmark. The ride, originally constructed as the Life Savers Parachute Jump during the 1939 World’s Fair, was the first of a long line of similar rides. The ride has been closed since 1968 but is still a landmark worth gawking at when visiting the Island.

Family Fun on New York's Coney Island face

Another Luna Park  landmark is the Cyclone,one of the country’s oldest operating wooden roller coasters built in 1927. Wonder Wheel is the third ride that is a protected landmark, constructed in 1918. The Ferris Wheel, located in Deno’s Wonder Wheel Amusement Park, features stationary and rocking cars. Visitors at night can see the Wonder Wheel lit up in bright neon lights.

Family Fun on New York's Coney Island tower

Furthermore, visitors can take a ride on the B&B Carousell, purposefully misspelled by its builder William F. Mangels who built the frame in 1906. This ‘carousell,’ considered the last of its kind, was auctioned off to the city of New York after the death of its operator. During its restoration, painter Theresa Rollison mixed over 80 colors to replicate the original colors of the carousel. She even used brushes made from squirrel, badger, and hog hair to imitate methods likely used during the carousel’s original construction. Today, the B&B Carousell sits at the entrance to Luna Park surrounded by furniture stores.

Modern Attractions

The central section of the park includes the usual roller coasters, tower drops, swings, and even an area with milder rides for young children. Families can enjoy three separate bumper car rides throughout Coney Island, on 12 Street, Eldorado’s Arcade, and in Deno’s Wonder Wheel Park. There are also two haunted houses, Spook-a-Rama at Deno’s Wonder Wheel and Ghost Hole on 12th street that families can ride through.

Family Fun on New York's Coney Island carousel
Thrill seeking family members can try the Thunderbolt. The Thunderbolt roller coaster opened in 2014. It was based off the original Thunderbolt constructed in 1925. The coaster features a 90-degree drop, 100-foot loop, and zero-gravity roll. Visitors not interested in coasters can still enjoy arcade games like skeeball, shooting, and ring tossing.
Family Fun on New York's Coney Island shops

Beach 

After all the fun at the amusement park, visitors to Coney Island can enjoy the local beach. Coney Island’s sandy beach runs from West 37th Street all the way to Manhattan Beach, for 2.5 miles. The city keeps the beach clean and facilities stocked. Visitors can enjoy full access at any time of the day, with no charge.
Coney Island’s Riegelmann Boardwalk runs the entire length of the beach. The boardwalk was named for Edward J. Reigelmann, a politician who opened the boardwalk in 1922. Most of the areas famous attractions can be accessed from the boardwalk, including the Wonder Wheel, Aquarium, and MCU Park. Families can enjoy its many water fountains, restroom facilities, benches, and restaurants.
Family Fun on New York's Coney Island beach
In the winter, travelers might see members of the Coney Island Polar Bear Club swimming the ocean. The club is made up of people who swim around Coney Island usually on New Year’s Day. The beach is also the training grounds for the Coney Island Brighton Beach Open Water Swimmers, who host open water races all year round.

Other Unique Features

Families can enjoy the MCU Park, home of The Brooklyn Cyclones. Visitors can watch short, budget friendly games in the small stadium.

Family Fun on New York's Coney Island balloon

On some summer nights, visitors can see fireworks in some areas of Coney Island. The beach and boardwalk areas have shows from June 24th through Labor Day Weekend starting at 9:30 pm around Deno’s Wonder Wheel.

Though it was mostly devastated by Hurricane Sandy, visitors can still see parts of the New York Aquarium with reduced admission. The admissions are a great way for guests to show support and help with renovations.

Family Fun on New York's Coney Island candy

Families can also enjoy the Coney Island Museum, with its many kitschy exhibits. The museum hosts a 3D-printed to scale model of the original Luna Park by Fred Kahl. Kids can enjoy the funhouse mirrors and check out the thermos collection dating back to the 50’s.

Next to the museum, families can explore the Circus Sideshow with fire eating and sword swallowing performances. Moreover, younger kids can enjoy the “Magic at Coney” show every Sunday at noon.
Family Fun on New York's Coney Island beach

Restaurants

There are many options for food on the boardwalk, making it easy to find something for everyone!
Just about everyone has heard of Nathan’s Famous Hot Dogs. This venue got famous by hosting an annual Fourth of July hot dog eating contest. Nathan’s Famous Hot Dogs offers  plenty of topping options for all hot dog lovers.
Family Fun on New York's Coney Island RUBY

Other food venues are Tom’s for traditional diner food, Ruby’s for State Fair cuisine and Rippers for burgers. Also, families can head over to Totonno Pizzeria Napolitano for a slice of traditional thin crusted New York pizza.

 

Not to be missed is Williams’ Candy conveniently located next to Nathan’s Famous Hot Dogs. Here, travelers can finish the day off with a Coney Island ice cream.
Family Fun on New York's Coney Island HOTDOGS

Cost 

Entrance to the beach is complimentary. The Luna Park attractions are a bit of a money pit with each ride costing a few bucks. Parents can buy a punch card with a few credits to get a discount. However, they should expect to shell more than planned by the end of the day.

Family Fun on New York's Coney Island RIDES

Autism Travel Tips:

  • There are well kept public restrooms with showers to clean off after being in the sand and water.
  • There are also certain sections that have water fountains that shoot up out of the ground to cool off kids (or adults) on a hot day!
    This fact could be surprising to some children. Therefore, parents to special needs kids should warn them or have them watch the other children first to know what to expect.
  • At one part of the beach, there is a palm tree fountain that shoots water into the area. Many kids love it, but it makes a very wet sandy/muddy area that some kids might not like.
  • The beach front itself is clean, and there is plenty of room for families to set up a picnic or umbrella.

Family Fun on New York's Coney Island distant

  • There are fireworks every Friday night at 9:30 pm from the last weekend in June until Labor Day. Parents of kids who are afraid of fireworks might want to avoid the area at this time.
  • The boardwalk itself is broad. While it can get crowded on the summer weekends, there is lots of room for wheelchairs, strollers, etc.
  • Families who want to see The Cyclones play should plan ahead and buy tickets ahead of time, as the team is popular.

 

10 Favorite NYC Spots to Visit with Kids

Planning a family trip to a big city like New York can be a daunting task for most parents, let alone for parents of kids with autism.
After several readers had sent in questions about their pending  New York vacations, we thought it might be helpful to list our top ten favorite NYC spots to visit for families with autism along with some much-needed tips.

10 Favorite NYC Spots to Visit with Kids ellis

 Ellis Island

For more than sixty years, Ellis Island (open daily 9 am -4 pm ) was a federal immigration station, having closed its doors in 1954.
Nowadays, it is a museum aimed at teaching visitors about the American Immigration process. Though originally opened under the service of the National Park Service back in 1976 to the public, Ellis Island, is guarded by the Marine Patrol Unit of the United States Park Police since September 11th, 2001.

The museum is accessible by ferry boat and is on the same route as the Statue of Liberty.
Kids between the ages of 7 and 12 can become a Junior Ranger at Ellis Island by joining the destination’s program and completing various age appropriate assignments around the historic site.

Autism Travel Tips

  • Before your visit start the conversation with your kids about family heritage and roots and check out the interactive tour for your private history lesson
  • Be aware there is a security check before boarding the ferry that may include being touched by a wand or person.

10 Favorite NYC Spots to Visit with Kids swearing hall

Statue of Liberty

The Statue of Liberty was a gift to the United States by the people of France back in 1886. The only way to get there is via the Ellis Island-Ferry system from either the New Jersey side at Liberty State Park or in New York from Battery Park.
There are three options for visiting the Statue of Liberty that include an audio tour, a basic tour that allows guests access to the grounds only,  or the crown tour that gives visitors priority boarding with access up to the Statue’s Crown.

Ticket prices range from $9 for kids to $21  for adults. All the vessels are accessible by wheelchair. Park Ranger guided tours ( about 40 minutes) are included in the ticket price.


Autism Travel Tips

  • Prepare your kid before visiting by watching several live feed cameras including the live torch cam, crown cam, harbor cam and Lady Liberty Cam.
  • Be advised there can be a moderate amount of walking involved including climbing stairs.
  • Be aware there is a security check before boarding the ferry that may include being touched by a wand or person.

10 Favorite NYC Spots to Visit with Kids lady

NYC Central Park

Created in 1858, Central Park is America’s largest urban park. It is open daily from 6:00 am until 1:00 and boasts multiple lakes, lawns, statues and even a whimsical castle. Visitors can walk around, exercise or bring a picnic basket and enjoy a light meal while lazing on the grass.Kids can borrow ‘ Discovery Kit’ backpacks filled with binoculars, field guides, a hand lens, and sketch paper while exploring the grounds.

Depending on the time of year various events like concerts and shows are held in the park.
Though many visitors walk around or ride a horse-drawn carriage within the park parameters, there are docent-led tours for those wishing to explore the area in more detail.

On weekends, the Central Park Conservancy staff and the NYC Audubon Society offer free birding lessons complete with free binoculars rental for families.Favorite spots to see with kids include:

  • Alice in Wonderland (filled with hiding places )
  • Hans Christian Andersen (kids love climbing it)
  • Balto (sled dog who saved Alaska’s children from a diphtheria epidemic by delivering medicine.)
  • The Conservatory Water made famous by the book Stuart Little to watch model boats
  • Belvedere Castle that looks and feels like a kid-sized castle
  • Strawberry Fields commonly known as the ‘Imagine’ spot serving as the memorial to John Lennon.
  • The 57- Horse Carousel playing old-fashioned calliope music.
  • The Delacorte Clock (named after philanthropist George T. Delacorte)
    that plays different chimes and nursery rhymes on the half hour.
  • The Swedish Cottage home to a marionette company.
  • Turtle Pond filled with New York City drinking water is the home to five species of turtles.
  • Built in 1984, Central Park Zoo it showcases animals from tropical, temperate, and polar zones around the world.
  • The  Park’s Wollman ice skating Rink turns to a Victorian Gardens Amusement Park in the summer months.
  • Autism Travel Tips
  • Make sure your kid wears closed-toe shoes since the terrain is uneven.
  • Most accessible playground out of the twenty-two scattered throughout the park is Robert Bendheim Playground designed to be accessible to children with disabilities
  • Plan and prepare your kid by watching a virtual tour
  • Download the app for self-guided tours.

10 Favorite NYC Spots to Visit with Kids HCA

 Brooklyn Bridge

The bridge is one of the oldest suspension bridges in the United States. Visitors can either walk, ride or bike across and then visit the  area known as DUMBO (Down Under the Manhattan Bridge Pass.)
The Bridge connects Brooklyn and Manhattan with a dedicated walkway and provides a spectacular backdrop for ‘selfies’. The route is a little over a mile, but there are no shaded places to sit and rest. Depending on your pace and the number of pedestrians, it can be accomplished from thirty minutes to an hour.

Autism Travel Tips

  • If your kid loves to ride a bike, then this is the place for you!
  • if you visit during the summer months, try to go early in the morning when it is less hot.
  • There are vendors along the route selling water and snacks.
  • Stop in the Dumbo area for a slice of original thin crusted New York City pizza.

10 Favorite NYC Spots to Visit with Kids FLAG

Coney Island

The ‘touristy’ part of the island consists of theme park-like attractions, beach (with lifeguards) and seaside resort that are a favorite seasonal venue from Easter through Halloween.

The beach and boardwalk, filled during the summer weekends are open year round and are equipped with clean restrooms and shower facilities.
During the summer months, every Friday night there is a firework show on the beach at 9:30 PM. Travelers can get to Coney Island via car, bus or subway from Manhattan.
While visiting make sure to stop by one of the two Nathan’s hot dogs locations for a taste of an authentic new york city ‘dawg’.

Autism Travel tips

  • Bring closed shoes if your kid wishes to ride any of the amusement park rides before enjoying the beach.The theme park can be a bit of a money pit since unlike Disney here you pay for each ride separately and those can add up.
  • Prearrange a budget with your kid before going to eliminate potential meltdowns.

10 Favorite NYC Spots to Visit with Kids coney island

Tenement Museum

Located at 97 Orchard Street, the museum provides valuable insight of the lives and work conditions of immigrants in the early years of the twentieth century.
The museum is small and maintained in close to original shape, so participation in a guided tour is the only option for visitors.
On select dates, the museum offers a coupled building tour and walking tour option.The museum is recommended for visitors eight years old and up.
Babies, infants and children under six are not permitted on building tours except for the “Meet Victoria Confino” presentation.
Visitors should allow an hour to explore each floor of the tour.The museum is open daily except for Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Year’s Day and tickets prices range between 20-25$.

Autism Travel Tips

  • As mentioned before the museum is in an old building so visitors must be able to negotiate old fashioned narrow staircases.
  • Mentioned before the museum is in an old building so visitors must be able to negotiate old fashioned narrow staircases
  • If your kid is a history buff, then he or she will enjoy the visit
  • Take into account the tour is almost two hours long with no place to sit.
  • If your kid is temperature sensitive, avoid visiting in the summer since the place has no A/C.



10 Favorite NYC Spots to Visit with Kids LIBRARY

NYC’s 9/11 Memorial

The 9/11 Memorial and Museum created to commemorate the fallen heroes are open daily from 9 AM to 8 PM.Ticket prices range from $15 for youth to $24 for adults with discounts for students and seniors. Active and retired military, museum members along with rescue workers and family members from 9/11 have free admission.
The museum offers free admission to the public on Tuesday evenings from 5-8PM.

From the 15-minute introductory video in the theater on the ground floor to the third floor with September 11, 2001, exhibit the museum is very instructive with over 23,000 images.
.It usually takes about two hours to visit the Memorial and Museum.

Visitors can book a guided tour, available in English or use an app ( Google play and Itunes) that is the official audio tour guide available in numerous languages, as well as American Sign Language.

Autism Travel Tips

  • The site is popular with tourists so book your tickets online and plan to arrive early in the day to avoid the crowds.
  • The museum is stroller friendly with a café inside.Use the printable museum guide for children to show the different sites to your kids
  • Tips for talking to your kids about the Nine Eleven Attacks.
  • Visiting the actual memorial is recommended for all ages even if you decide to skip the museum.

10 Favorite NYC Spots to Visit with Kids MEMORIAL

The Metropolitan Museum of Art

Known as the largest Art Museum in the United States ‘the Met’ is open daily. The museum features traveling exhibits and offers various free art classes for kids and adults. The cost for entrance ranges from $12 for students, $17 for seniors and $25 for adults.
Backpacks must be checked in and no food or drinks allowed; only plastic water bottles. Strollers and wheelchairs are permitted.
Pens and markers are prohibited from being used, although pencils are allowed.
Look into special passes or comprehensive city passes if you plan on visiting several New York City attractions during your vacation.
Check out the family guides to help plan your stay.

Autism Travel Tips

  • Depending on your kid’s ability you can expect a short or long visit.
  • Use our museum tips to help you make the most of your stay.

10 Favorite NYC Spots to Visit with Kids TIMES SQUARE

American Museum of Natural History

The American Museum of Natural History is the place to see many fossils and dioramas and learn biology, physics, astronomy, mineralogy and other scientific fields.
The museum is open daily except for Thanksgiving and Christmas Day. Get familiar with the family programs before planning your visit.

Options for admittance depends on the type of tour visitors wish to take with prices ranging from $12.50 for children to $22 for adults. Specialized docent tours focusing on exhibits or sections of the museum are offered as well as tours in foreign languages.Popular tours for kids are Dino and Whales tours-each two hours long.

There is a food court on the lower level and a café on the fourth floor as well as a coat check to leave backpacks.Print out the interactive floor plan beforehand to assist you in planning your visit better.

Autism Travel Tips

  • Since this is a large museum, you might want to plan your trip around some of your kid’s favorite topics like dinosaurs or rocks instead of trying to see it all.
  • Call ahead and arrange a privately conducted docent tour if your kid isn’t able to participate in a group tour.

10 Favorite NYC Spots to Visit with Kids GOBLINS

The Empire State Building

Want to see the city in all its glory?
Then The Empire State Building is the perfect spot to do so.
Starting with gorgeously detailed art deco ceilings and elevators, fascinating exhibits to the two observation decks the Empire State Building provides a comprehensive overview of the Big Apple.
The famous icon of the New York with a long-standing tradition of changing colors synchronized to music now displays over 16 million LED colored lights on a nightly basis.

Both the 86th floor open -observation deck and the glass-enclosed top deck provide 360-degree views of New York from a unique vantage point.For those interested in historical trivia -make sure you check out the manually operated Otis elevator that takes visitors from the 86th floor to the top observation deck.

Autism Travel Tips

  • The attraction is very autism-friendly.
  • Make sure you pre-purchase your tickets online.
  • If the lines to the observation elevators are too long for your kid to stand in ask for customer service to help to bypass the queue.


10 Favorite NYC Spots to Visit with Kids TRAIN STATION

 

 

Have you taken your kids with autism to New York City?
What spots were your family favorites?

Autism Awareness at Super Bowl XLVIII

Last January, when we were scheduled to fly into NYC for our  Norwegian Breakaway cruise, I realized the city was going to be hosting Super Bowl XLVIII the very weekend we were in town!

For many people, especially NFL fans, this would sound like a fantastic opportunity; but for our family with autism who shies away from crowds, this was not welcome news in any way.

Making matters worse, we realized that Super Bowl XLVIII Boulevard activities were going to be located next to our hotel and that the weather for the weekend was grim – with a blizzard and freezing temperatures forecast.

So, the trip sounded like it had the makings of a potential disaster right off the bat and had the plane tickets been refundable, we would have probably opted to cancel the trip.

But sometimes things have a strange way of turning around and proving even the most experienced mom wrong.

Not only did we end up participating in three Super Bowl XLVIII related activities, but encountered a level of kindness and autism awareness that was so amazing, it totally blew us away.

Autism Awareness and Sweet Surprise at Super Bowl XLVIIIpuppy

 

The Puppy Bowl

Our first stop was the Puppy Bowl Experience at the Discovery Center,  showcasing Animal Planet’s Puppy Bowl decade of success.

For those of you who don’t know, the Puppy Bowl started as part replica/part parody of the Super Bowl back in 2005 with half a million viewers. It subsequently ballooned into an annual TV event with over 12 million viewers by 2013.

Broadcast every year on Super Bowl Sunday, the show consists of adoptable shelter puppies playing in a miniature stadium. The show features instant replay shots, a ‘kiss camera’, its tailgate party and even kitty halftime show. With comments from Dan Schachner using football terminology, and ‘Meep the bird’ as the official social media blogger tweeting about the game in ‘real time’, viewers find it highly entertaining!

The 15,000 square foot Puppy Bowl experience turned out to be quite the crowd pleaser with a Puppy Hall of Fame, several interactive booths filled with games, face painting, and even an area to create a customized dog tag.
The exhibit’s highlight was a replica of the show’s stadium filled with puppies playing with various chew toys. Our son with autism loved the guide dogs section and couldn’t get enough of playing with and petting the docile service dogs.

Autism Awareness and Sweet Surprise at Super Bowl XLVIII lounge

 

Chase’s VIP Lounge

As we were leaving, the Puppy Ball we stumbled upon another surprise.
Chase was hosting a free Super Bowl VIP lounge for its United Airlines credit card users next door at Guy Fieri’s American Kitchen restaurant.
After having our ID’s and credit card checked at the entrance, we got right in with less than 5 minutes wait which was great considering it was 20 some degrees outside!
After we were all fitted with a green wristband, my husband and I  (the adults) were handed three tickets for free alcoholic drinks.

We discovered pretty soon that the lounge was popular, in other words — we couldn’t find seating at all.
My son was getting tired, a bit anxious and close to melting down when the manager himself saved the day and personally brought an extra table and chairs from the back and finding us a spot in a corner of the locale.

Autism Awareness and Sweet Surprise at Super Bowl XLVIII food

The sports bar offered a buffet with several hot dishes, salads, fruit and mini petit four cakes, as well as servers that came around with appetizer platters throughout our time there.
My husband and I exchanged our drink tickets for a Cosmo while our son ordered pineapple juice.
Did I mention that all the juices, soft drinks, coffees, teas and hot chocolate were complimentary and unlimited?

Overall, we were surprised to discover the food was pretty good and replenished promptly unlike our experiences in many hotels and airport lounges we’ve visited over the years.
To add to our wonderful experience, we were each handed a gift on the way out that included a blue plush bag with fleece gloves, hat, and scarf, which was perfect since we had forgotten to pack our gloves for the trip.
Autism Awareness and Sweet Surprise at Super Bowl XLVIII attractions

The Activities

The Super Bowl XLVIII Boulevard that stretched over thirteen blocks in the middle of Times Square was the third free event we attended that day.
It featured an autograph stage, a place to take your picture with the Lombardi trophy and 20-foot Super Bowl XLVIII Roman numerals sign, spots to practice football like in the ‘rush hours’ and ‘play 60’  games, as well as NFL, ESPN, and FOX, broadcast stations to gawk at.

As we passed by the different displays, we saw sponsors like Papa John’s, McDonald’s  and M&M giving out free samples, but didn’t stop since we were still full from the food we had eaten at the lounge.

Our son with autism was only interested in two activities; checking the Xbox One display which didn’t hold his interest for long, and riding the 180-foot long toboggan run.

Autism Awareness and Sweet Surprise at Super Bowl XLVIII toboggen
When we approached the toboggan ride, we were told to go and purchase a $5 ticket in an office around the corner.
The temperature was dropping fast, and we were thoroughly discouraged to discover there was a huge line of thirty minutes just to buy the tickets. Did I mention there was a separate even long line for the ride itself?
I was tired, cold and about to call it quits but our son decided that this was the moment to self-advocate and ask for help.
He went to a young lady who was in charge of the line and explained his disability.

The next thing we knew, she went to purchase his ticket and proceeded to escort him to a special VIP line for the ride, so he didn’t to wait in either line! She came to us and explained that she had worked with special needs kids, so she was aware of the challenges involved and wanted to help.As parents to a special needs child, I can say it is a rarity to find a complete stranger who shows such an understanding of autism and is so helpful. Both my husband and I were moved to tears!

Needless to say, her gesture set the tone for the rest of the day -in a positive way!
Our initial anxiety and hesitation at the thought of participating in these events turned to the enjoyment and profound gratitude.
For being such reluctant Super Bowlers, I can say that we are now big fans!
In fact; the whole experience was so uplifting it turned out to be one of the best memories of our entire year.

 

 

 

Family Stay at Crowne Plaza Times Square,NYC

 

This family friendly, 795 room hotel right in the middle of Times Square is a favorite of ours because of its location and excellent customer service.
The multiple eateries like Bond 45 and Carmine’s nearby; several big name attractions such as the Discovery Center, the giant Toys ‘R’Us flagship store; and numerous Broadway theaters all so close, makes this the perfect ‘middle of the action’ spot!

Getting to the entrance is a bit confusing since guests need to pass through some side corridors when arriving from the parking or the front, and then need to ride two escalators to reach the actual lobby area.
The public spaces have a futuristic look to them with a liberal use of metallics, neon blues, and purples in different configurations.  The sofas, loveseats, and chairs in the bar area are comfortable to encourage guests to come and relax in them after a day of walking and shopping in the Big Apple.

Family Stay at Crowne Plaza Times Square,NYC views

Our Welcome

We were welcomed back at the front desk by a receptionist whom we had met on our last trip, and our check-in was efficient and uneventful.Our son with autism is noise sensitive, so ahead of time, we always request a room on a high level to avoid hearing the bustling city below.

Like previous visits, we were assigned two moderately sized connecting rooms on the 41st floor, with superb views of Times Square and the city rooftops. Who knew there were so many rooftop gardens in NYC?

Family Stay at Crowne Plaza Times Square,NYC lobby

Our Connecting  Rooms

Both our room were carpeted and were decorated in a contemporary style that made the place look very updated.

Ours included a king sized bed with a velour tufted headboard, a work desk complete with multiple recharging outlets, a 46-inch flat screen TV and a sitting area overlooking the large paneled, partially opening window.

Our sons’ room had a similar setup but with two single beds instead.
There were room safes, coffee makers, and bathrobes and slippers available in both rooms, which made our stay quite comfortable.

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Both white marble and granite bathrooms featured a commode, modest counter top for cosmetics and medicines and glass enclosed showers, complete with handheld showerhead. No anti-slip bath mat was provided, but housekeeping was quick to bring extra towels and toiletries when we asked for them.

Unlike other properties we’ve stayed at in the Times Square area, this hotel offers reliable and fast Internet connection for which both my Wi-Fi-addicted teens and I were very grateful.

The Breakfast Options

The hotel doesn’t have an executive lounge but offers two options for breakfast.
Their sit down restaurant at $28 per person and an ‘on the go’ Starbucks corner bistro with baked goods, cut up fruit and various hot beverages. For those who wish to start the day with a budget friendly $8 per person buffet, there’s a Sbarro restaurant not far away.
We opted to try their breakfast buffet and were pleasantly surprised by the abundance of choices; especially the Chinese delicacies.

Worth mentioning is the hotel’s gym; the New York Sports Club 29,000 SQ foot gym on the 15th floor, that has cardio and weight training equipment and offers Yoga and Pilates.
Family Stay at Crowne Plaza Times Square,NYC suite

 Autism Travel Tips

  • Ask for a high floor since the noise of the cars and sirens around Times Square can be overwhelming for a child on the spectrum.
  • You can stock up on snacks and water for the room at the local drugstore two blocks away.
  • If you want your child to enjoy their shopping experience around Times Square, plan on heading to the stores early when they first open, as they are typically less crowded then.

 

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