Brooks in the Big Apple

So if you follow me on Instagram you know that yesterday Charles, Brooks & I made a little trip up to NYC to enjoy the holiday season in the Big Apple! I was interviewed on the Amtrak Blog back in October and they treated us to complimentary train tickets to use anytime, so we decided to take a family day up to New York to take Brooks to see the Real Santa & enjoy a day seeing the sights. 30TH STREET STATION

We were initially planning on going on Saturday, but Charles had an extra day off work and we decided it would make more sense & be less crowded on a weekday -> we were right! We easily got seats on the train with lots of room for the stroller & the streets of New York were bustling, but very manageable. It was a great day! FIRST TRAinTRAIN DANCE

I was very excited to take Brooks on his first train ride. We decided to take a 8:30 am train and hoped to time it with Brooks’ nap time and it ended up working out perfectly. There was some initial excitement once the train started moving, he liked looking out the window and being able to sit in our laps, but after about 20 minutes he went down pretty easily for a nap. I think the lull of the train helped a lot! He slept the last hour pulling into Penn Station – the timing was perfect.

train love

Side Note: We took our Uppababy stroller on this trip and it was a great – it’s so versatile and very easily maneuvered in large crowds. Plus I love being able to sit the seat straight up for Brooks to watch the world go by and recline it all the way back for napping on the go. Below is Brooks passed out on the train!

train nap

When we first got in to New York we headed right over to Macy’s in Herald Square, as we had a very important meeting with SANTA! I was so excited to take Brooks to see Santa for the first time up in NYC – the SantaLand in the Herald Square Macy’s store does a wonderful job, but I had heard crazy things about the lines. Luckily, I found out about the Express Pass which saves you a spot in line for Santa – you have a 15 minute window to go in.

reindeer revue

When we arrived at 11:00am – after a quick nursing session & change in the Macy’s women’s lounge – we were greeted with a hour + wait for Santa. BUT tucked on the side of the line is the entrance for the express pass, which put you right in the front of the line to see Santa. We waited 2 minutes. It was awesome – I’m so happy I got those tickets {which were free!}

santaland family

It was so fun to hand Brooks over to Santa – I wasn’t sure what he was going to do. In the past he hasn’t been too fond of dudes with beards, and let’s be honest, Santa can be a little crazy looking – Brooks gave him some crazy looks and was checking him out for sure – check out my Instagram video to get a better idea of how he was – it was so funny to watch.


The staff there was really great – they took about 10 pictures of Brooks with Santa and after we got to pick what we wanted. We ended up getting a print copy and digital copies of the below photo – a classic crying with Santa picture. Brooks really only cried for a second but this photo makes me laugh! Ha!


After our visit to Santa we headed over to Times Square – which was surprisingly empty. It was so nice not to have to navigate groups of people. I think Brooks enjoyed watching all the signs!

times squarefamily

After Times Square we headed around the corner to a spot for lunch that Aileen had suggested – John’s Pizzeria. It was a low key restaurant that was huge inside. We enjoyed pizza and beer -> and being out of the cold for a bit wasn’t so bad either. beerlady and the tramp

If you are in the Times Square area I would totally recommend John’s – it had a great vibe, was spacious {for strollers & all things baby!} and the pizza was very yummy. I wish I had another slice to eat right now as I write this!

baby in a bar

After lunch it was time for Brooks to {fingers crossed} take a nap! So we decided to head out to our farthest destination & our longest walk out with the hope that he would take a little snooze – and he totally did!


I think the hum of the city, his new cozy hat & his toasty warm jacket, being fully reclined in the Uppababy & being all bundled up in his new stroller bunting {which is like a sleeping bag made out of the softest, fuzziest fleece ever} made it easy to fall asleep.momlife

While Brooks napped we walked around Central Park and made our way over the FAO Schwartz. I mean it’s SOMEONE’S First Christmas AND Little Man has a First Birthday coming up, so we had to pick up a little something for him, right?!


After hitting up the toy store we headed down to Rockefeller Center to see the Christmas tree & snap a few pictures.

30 rock

I think we may have a Christmas card photo on our hands! 30rocklovesweets loveoh heysweets

I can’t say enough how lucky we got – sure there were people out and about but it wasn’t crowded at all and for New York City less than 3 weeks out from Christmas we had great timing!

flying babetossrock tree

After Rockefeller center we made our way down to Bryant Park to see the ice rink & check out some of the Christmas shops. libraryskate

Brooks enjoyed watching the people skate – it was a nice area for us to sit down, enjoy a hot chocolate and people watch for a bit. Aside from lucking out with the crowds we also lucked out with the temperature & weather. When we were supposed to come on Saturday, it actually poured rain in Philly & NYC – yesterday it was chilly but not too cold, definitely manageable when dressing in layers, and we were walking all over so that kept me toasty too! bryant park treefamily lovetreeiceAfter Bryant Park we made our way back towards Macy’s to check out the windows and get ready to board our train home. Initially we booked a 4:00pm train home but we were 30 minutes early and were able to hop on a 3:30 pm train which ended up being an express & got us home in 1 hour & 10 minutes – I love being that close to Manhattan! 

All in all it was a perfect way to celebrate Christmas in the City – Brooks was a champ, he loved being in his stroller & people watching all day. The weather held up and we got to see lots of fun things! I’m happy we got to share Brooks’ first Christmas with him in the big apple! I can’t wait to come back again with him soon!



Do  you have a favorite Christmas tradition you experience with your family every year?

Please share! 



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  • Reply Haley December 9, 2014 at 5:54 pm

    Looks like a beautiful, fun, family day in the city! Totally random, but your stroller bunting link leads to the L.L. Bean main website in Chinese or Japanese or the like 🙂

    • Reply Leslie December 9, 2014 at 8:06 pm

      Thanks for the heads up Haley – not sure what happened there. Looking into fixing it now!

  • Reply Patty O December 9, 2014 at 6:55 pm

    What a great family tradition you have started – loved the photos of your fun filled day! Brooks is one lucky little man! Thanks for sharing!

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