The Gingers Take Manhattan – Playdate In The City

Sometimes, it’s really nice to be able to say “yes” to opportunities. On Saturday the kids and I had our first ever NYC adventure when we attended Tollytot‘s Playdate In The City. I almost backed out a dozen times (we’re about 2 1/2 hours from New York and E wasn’t able to come) but I am SO GLAD I didn’t. I’m not sure I’ve ever seen Evan and Caroline so happy.

playdate in the city

We drove to New Haven and caught the Metro-North to Grand Central – the kids are free and the train was SO much easier and more fun for them than driving.

playdate in the city

I bought that sweater the day before, when I realized I hated all the clothes in my closet and couldn’t POSSIBLY wear them to NYC.

Playdate in the City was literally that – a room full of toys and kids to play with them. But it wasn’t just a room, it was a gorgeous all-white loft with an outdoor garden and fountain on top of one of the buildings in Rockefeller Center. And there weren’t just toys, there were hundreds of cool new toys from My First Disney Princess, Rubik’s, Baby Genius, Fisher-Price, Safety 1st and Graco. And there weren’t just tons of kids for Evan and Caroline to play with, there were super nice PR reps who sat on the floor with them for HOURS playing blocks and showing them how stuff worked and seriously guys, it was so much fun.

Amazing added feel-good bonus – Tollytots donated a life-changing surgery to a child through Operation Smile just because we showed up. In fact, they donated one for every family that came!

playdate in the city

Evan made a beeline for these two toys when we walked in and barely stepped away from them the entire time – the Safety 1st Cubikals Push Along Fire Truck and the Jump ‘N Jive Helicopter. Words cannot express how much he loved these. Words also cannot express how glad I am we got to take them home, although I DO have a word for how I feel about the music the helicopter plays now that I’ve lived with it for 2 straight days. It’s not a very nice word. Thank goodness for off-switches.

playdate in the city

Caroline was in HEAVEN, since dollies and strollers are her two favorite things. Both kids loved the Cinderella Sparkling Lights and Magic Wand Doll, who lights up when you touch the wand to the medallion on her dress. To be honest, I loved her too and I’m definitely putting it on the Christmas list. They even had Prince dolls to go with the Princesses – Charming and Flynn (from Tangled!) were my favorites. My friend Kim was so excited to bring them home to her boys.

playdate in the city

How gorgeous is that garden? SO GORGEOUS.

Caroline tried every single stroller they had, but decided the Graco Jogging Stroller was her favorite. She has literally slept with it IN HER BED since Saturday. We both though the Ride ‘n Drive was adorable – she kept yelling “CAR CART! CAR CART!” – and it’s another thing going on the Christmas list.

playdate in the city

I’m pretty sure the first time bow-tied waiters served me food on trays was at my WEDDING, so I hope Caroline and Evan don’t get used to this level of luxury. The menu was all tiny and child-friendly – shots of milk with a cookie on top, tiny crustless sandwiches, chicken nuggets, cake pops, cut up fruit and sippy cups of apple juice! It’s true I am easily impressed, but they really did think of everything to make the day fun and easy.

playdate in the city

Did I mention the location and view was fantastic?

playdate in the city

That’s St. Patrick’s behind all the scaffolding. 30 Rock is on the left and you can just see the Radio City sign on the right. The plaza below is where they put the tree at Christmas.

playdate in the city

A couple more favorites: the Baby Genius Jukebox and the Rubik’s blocks.

playdate in the city

Apologies to this guy (who I suspect it actually someone really important) but you can practically see his internal squee at how cute Caroline is blowing bubbles.

playdate in the city

My face looked like this the WHOLE TIME. It didn’t hurt that Evan and Caroline were angels (even if Caroline did run over a few people with the strollers).

We stayed literally the entire time the event was going on and left with a stroller full of toys. Since we were already in the city we made plans to meet up with Sara and do some New Yorky stuff. Kim walked me and the kids to Central Park and stayed until Sara found us, so I never had to wrangle both gingers on my own (my friends rock). We hung out and posed for pictures (true story, foreign tourists REALLY like my kids) and then wandered over to the carousel and the playground for some touristy fun.

central park carousel

central park carousel


central park

What, that TOTALLY looks like a slide if you’re 3.

central park

Evan loves his Sara.

We stopped at the Whole Foods in the Time Warner Center to grab snacks (fruit and cookies for the kids, sushi for the grown ups). Evan was so tired he wrapped himself around his helicopter and took a  nap. Caroline made it until we were back on the train home:

playdate in the city

From this…

playdate in the city

…to this, in 30 seconds flat.

It was one of the most fun things I’ve ever done with the kids (even if you discount it for the broken car window and stollen GPS I came back to at the train station – thank goodness for awesome full glass coverage insurance!) and I cannot thank the ladies from 624 Public Relations and Tollytots enough for inviting us. There were half a dozen professional photographers at the event too, so I hope I can share some more pictures and video of my kids having the time of their life later.

Playdate In The City

Best. Day. Ever.

Disclosure: I was invited to Playdate in the City by Tollytots and (to my surprise) the kids were allowed to take home a few toys and a gift bag as a thanks for attending. No other compensation was provided. They didn’t even ask me to blog about it or share the links – my kids just REALLY loved these toys and after playing with them I totally agree.

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27 Responses to “The Gingers Take Manhattan – Playdate In The City”

  1. raincheckmom says:

    What fun! I’m tired from just reading about it! Great picture of Evan and Sara on the carousel!

    • bebehblog says:

      If you guys want to come up and do NYC at Christmas again, we are totally on board. I’m AMAZED at how well the kids handled the city.

  2. Leah says:

    You’re very convincing. I just emailed half those links to my sister and made mental notes about other child gifts I need to give soon.

    • bebehblog says:

      We also snagged a Merida Disney doll (the red-head from Brave) and she’s so pretty I want to keep her for myself. I bet Wren would TOTALLY enjoy destroying her beautiful hair.

  3. Jess Judkins says:

    This looks like the best day ever!!!! Gosh I am smiling from all the pictures :-)

  4. Amy says:

    Super cute! Super fun! I’m exhausted just reading this.

  5. Veronica says:

    Looks like an amazing time. Awesome memories too. You’ve just inspired me to take the kids to the city next week while my husband is on break so thanks!

  6. Shari says:

    Oh, how fun! So glad you all had such a wonderful time. NYC truly has a magic about it!

  7. Tracy says:

    This day looks perfect! What an incredible cause, and it’s even better that you guys got to enjoy the whole day in the city. LOVE special kid trips into Manhattan, and I love that you guys hung out in Central Park. NYC playgrounds are AWESOME.

    • bebehblog says:

      I was SHOCKED at how cool the playground in Central Park was – it was huge and even though it was crowded it wasn’t FULL at all. Caroline got to swing to her heart’s content without anyone giving us dirty looks for hogging it.

  8. Alena says:

    I am so happy (and jealous!) that you had so much fun!! What a great time! Look at blogging, making memories!!!

    • bebehblog says:

      I thought BlogHer was the best part of blogging, but this blew it away. If all my friends AND their kids had been here too I would have actually fainted from joy.

  9. Liz says:

    That looks like fun! You’re lucky you are so close to NYC :).

    And yes, St. Patrick’s was under construction when we were there for BlogHer also. I did the StumbleUpon walking tour and they took us in it, though it was not my first time in it.

    • bebehblog says:

      It’s funny, I’ve lived in CT for 7 years now and I STILL constantly forget I am close to both NYC and Boston. Every time I go to either city I think “Wow, I should really do this more!” and then promptly forget for a full year.

      • Liz says:

        LOL, yeah. My mom used to live in Boston (we lived there till I was 5) and she said going to NYC was no big deal b/c it was so close.

        Do you know if you are going to BlogHer ’13 yet, btw? Chicago is so close but I am undecided, I would buy my early bird ticket by the Nov. deadline if so … the hotel is expensive though, yet again. :(

  10. Cole says:

    I have a *very* jealous blogger face on right now – that looks like so much fun! Also? The next time you’re headed to NYC, we need a playdate!

  11. Molly says:

    Totally awesome opportunity! I’m sure the kids were in heaven!

  12. Sarah says:

    Awesome photos! Your kids are so freaking cute.

  13. This looks so fun, and like such a gorgeous location! Wish I could take my kids… play with all the plastic toys they want, and LEAVE HTEM THERE. lol. I hate plastic in my house (and you’re so right about the off switches. sanity saver!).
    I’m laughing at Caroline sleeping with the stroller in her bed too.

  14. Krista says:

    And now I’ve decided I want to change career paths (again) and be an event planner. Because can you imagine how much fun that would have been to plan all that stuff. What a great event!

    So, the train with two kids was good? I’ve thought about taking it to see my sister when we’re in PA again, but I was afraid I wouldn’t be able to keep them still for 3 or 4 hours.

    • bebehblog says:

      The train was fun and pretty easy – it’s only a little more than an hour and it isn’t crowded on a Saturday. We took Metro-North, which is a commuter train but the Amtrak would be easier (but more expensive). It has food and a lot more bathrooms. We ended up using 4 seats for the three of us (plus the stroller collapsed under the seats on the way on and by the non-opening doors on the way back) and didn’t bother TOO many people. WAAAAAAY easier than flying. Or driving.

  15. Dominik Pranav says:

    Really cool post of yours about Playdate in the city ! Well wishes of your fantastic family. Your child really cute. Thanks a lot for nice share with us.

  16. Suz says:

    Looks like the best day ever indeed!!!

  17. Um, Hi, MOST AWESOME THING EVER!! Very impressive and I LOVE that they donated a surgery for each family. What a great cause!

  18. […] am tickled pink that I get to share some of the fantastic Tollytots toys my kids enjoyed so much with one lucky reader (and their lucky kids/grandkids/nieces/nephews/neighbor’s kids/whoever […]

  19. […] same people who organized the amazing Playdate in the City last fall threw this party too, so my hopes were pretty high – and absolutely exceeded. It […]

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