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Julie Vail-Freedman

Newbury Park, California

MY KIDS

My Travel Style

Having grown up most of my life as an expat living overseas (elementary school in Wassenaar, the Netherlands) and High School being spent in Singapore, it is important for me to travel with my children, open doors and eyes about the world around them and how small it really is. Two years ago we spent two weeks over Spring break in London, Brugges and Paris and then 10 days in the summer in Singapore and Hong Kong. This year we are off to Germany, Austria and the Netherlands (with a one day stop in France). We also love the beaches (especially Club Med), National Parks and Big Cities. We enjoy learning, trying new things, relaxing and hanging out with new friends, exploring off the beaten path and enjoying good local food. Our hotel preferences are B&B's, apartment rentals or suite hotels that we can have 5 in a room.

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My Reviews

Famous Original Ray's Pizza

736 7th Ave New York, NY 10019, New York City, New York

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My ratings by kids age

  • Big kids (6-8)
  • Tweens (9-12)
  • Teens (13+)
Visited: 2015-04-01 | Submitted: 2015-04-12 21:56:15.0 | I traveled with big kids (6-8), tweens (9-12) and teens (13+)

New York Pizza Rules!

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It was the kid's first taste of real New York Pizza - and it didn't disappoint. It was so good that we returned on our last day for dinner. Love the thin crust on the sauce.

Tips for Families

Smaller place, however, we were able to find a table both times.

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Red 58

158 W 58th St New York, NY 10019, New York City, New York

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Average user rating (1 Reviews)

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My ratings by kids age

  • Big kids (6-8)
  • Tweens (9-12)
  • Teens (13+)
Visited: 2015-04-01 | Submitted: 2015-04-12 21:42:21.0 | I traveled with big kids (6-8), tweens (9-12) and teens (13+)

Great Service

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We decided to eat here as it was close to the hotel, I we wanted something a little more casual. The service was outstanding. The food was very good as well. I would return if I was in the area, but I wouldn't necessarily seek it out.

Tips for Families

Variety of food on menu, other families dining there as well.

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Ground Zero

former World Trade Center site, New York City, New York

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Average user rating (1 Reviews)

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My ratings by kids age

  • Big kids (6-8)
  • Tweens (9-12)
  • Teens (13+)
Visited: 2015-04-01 | Submitted: 2015-04-12 20:18:08.0 | I traveled with big kids (6-8), tweens (9-12) and teens (13+)

Powerful

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We did not see the museum as the lines were just too long. However, just taking in the memorial, the names, remembering the towers from prior trips, remembering the day, had an impact. The Freedom Tower is impressive as well.

Tips for Families

Try to find a day that is not busy. Talk about it prior to arriving so the kids have an understanding of the importance.

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Central Park Bike Tours

203 W 58th St New York, NY, New York City, New York

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Average user rating (1 Reviews)

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My ratings by kids age

  • Big kids (6-8)
  • Tweens (9-12)
  • Teens (13+)
Visited: 2015-04-01 | Submitted: 2015-04-12 20:05:53.0 | I traveled with big kids (6-8), tweens (9-12) and teens (13+)

Fun way to see Central Park

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We decided it would be fun to bike Central Park. There are quite a few bike rental companies and we chose this one for convenience. It is right down the street from the park so easy to get to. Pros Location Children's Bikes, Tandems and regular bikes Baskets Cons No map No information on rules of biking Central Park Very busy The bike ride itself: Fun way to cover the entire park. A lot more uphill at the north end of the park than expected - but doable. Also bikes are only allowed on the main roads, so in order to explore the park itself you need to stop and either walk your bikes or lock them. As we were all biking at different paces, we really didn't explore much. Still it was very enjoyable.

Tips for Families

Be sure to go on a day when streets are closed to car traffic. Hilly at north end of park, bring water, fun way to see the park.

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FAO Schwartz

757 5th Ave, New York City, New York

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Average user rating (7 Reviews)

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My ratings by kids age

  • Big kids (6-8)
  • Tweens (9-12)
  • Teens (13+)
Visited: 2015-04-01 | Submitted: 2015-04-12 19:53:20.0 | I traveled with big kids (6-8), tweens (9-12) and teens (13+)

Just fun - so much to see. The variety and selection of toys of all levels is incredible. You can find something for everyone. A lot of hands on fun and demonstrations. We could have spent the day here. Of course, you can't visit without playing the giant piano!

Tips for Families

Don't miss.

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Roosevelt Island Tram

59th St and 2nd Ave, New York City, New York

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My ratings by kids age

  • Big kids (6-8)
  • Tweens (9-12)
  • Teens (13+)
Visited: 2015-04-01 | Submitted: 2015-04-12 19:42:00.0 | I traveled with big kids (6-8), tweens (9-12) and teens (13+)

A different view

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We always try to do some of the off the beaten path and different activities when we visit a city, and this looked fun. We rode the aerial tram over to the island, started to walk around, but it was just too cold and windy, that we returned for our ride back to the city. The views were fun, but nothing spectacular.

Tips for Families

If you have extra time, it's fun, but I wouldn't try to fit it into a busy schedule.

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Times Square

Broadway and 42nd St, New York City, New York

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Average user rating (23 Reviews)

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My ratings by kids age

  • Big kids (6-8)
  • Tweens (9-12)
  • Teens (13+)
Visited: 2015-04-01 | Submitted: 2015-04-12 19:35:46.0 | I traveled with big kids (6-8), tweens (9-12) and teens (13+)

Worht seeing once

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We stopped by, it's fun to see once with all the lights and billboards, the kids also liked knowing it's where the ball drops. That's about it though. Very crowded, overpriced crowded chain restaurants and stores, very pushy characters.

Tips for Families

If you've never been, worth a quick stop - but not much more.

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Brooklyn Diner

155 W 43rd St New York, NY 10036, New York City, New York

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  • Big kids (6-8)
  • Tweens (9-12)
  • Teens (13+)
Visited: 2015-04-01 | Submitted: 2015-04-12 19:33:10.0 | I traveled with big kids (6-8), tweens (9-12) and teens (13+)

$$$ for mediocracy

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We had originally tried to go to Ellen's Stardust Diner for lunch, but the line was so long, that we decided to walk and find something else. We came across the Brooklyn Diner and decided this would be a good place to grab a burger and shake and relax for a few. The place was crowded, service okay, and the food was fine - nothing special or different, and the food was nothing special. What really turned me off to it was the prices. I understand New York is an expensive city, but this turned out to be one of our most expensive meals in New York City and we ate well while we were there. $25 for a hamburger. Really???? It was definitely not worth the price.

Tips for Families

SKIP - not worth the $$ - plenty of better place to eat in the city.

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Topaz Thai Restaurant

127 W 56th St New York, NY 10019, New York City, New York

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Average user rating (1 Reviews)

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My ratings by kids age

  • Big kids (6-8)
  • Tweens (9-12)
  • Teens (13+)
Visited: 2015-04-01 | Submitted: 2015-04-12 19:27:36.0 | I traveled with big kids (6-8), tweens (9-12) and teens (13+)

Excellent Thai Food

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Having lived in Singapore for many years and having traveled SE Asia, authentic Thai food is sometimes challenging to find stateside. Topaz Thai was amazing! The dishes had the right spices and prepared as I remember. It was very crowded, we had to give our name and return 40 minutes later, but it was worth the wait. The prices were reasonable by New York standards. If I lived locally, this would become a favorite place for dinner / take-out.

Tips for Families

It gets very crowded so go early, or be prepared to wait.

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Empire State Building

350 5th Ave, New York City, New York

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Average user rating (20 Reviews)

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My ratings by kids age

  • Big kids (6-8)
  • Tweens (9-12)
  • Teens (13+)
Visited: 2015-04-01 | Submitted: 2015-04-12 19:13:03.0 | I traveled with big kids (6-8), tweens (9-12) and teens (13+)

NY experience

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This was our first real tourist stop of our trip - we had pre-purchased tickets and spent the money on the front of the line pass. Hopped on the subway, then walked a short distance. A lot of people out helping direct tourist. Having the express tickets was worth every penny (as was arriving early in the day). We went straight up and enjoyed awesome views. My kids loved it and my teen "felt like she was in New York". We preferred the 86th floor as the 102 floor observation deck was cramped, and the views not as good. It was a perfect way to start of the kids first trip to New York!

Tips for Families

The express pass allowed you to go to a shorter security line and straight to the elevators vs waiting in a long snake line. Had we waited in the line, I do not think anyone would have enjoyed it nearly as much by the time we finally got to the tip. Additionally, the initial line was very short when we arrived in the morning. By the time we left is was really long.

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