Friday, 3:30 p.m.:
Your room is ready at the Hilton Times Square. It couldn’t be in a better place for taking it all in. Ask for the package with free parking; in this town, that’s worth something. Then head to one of the many restaurants along Ninth Avenue for an affordable meal.
Saturday, 10 a.m.
The doors open at the Sony Wonder Technology Lab, a four-level interactive science center at Sony Plaza. Hit the motion-detecting dance pod—it measures your body and projects your dance moves onscreen as a 3-D animated character. Mix music to an Alicia Keys hit, program robots, and attempt heart surgery on a virtual patient. This rainy-day lifesaver is free, but book ahead!
Saturday, 1:30 p.m.
Go uptown to the Cathedral of St. John the Divine, enter the Great Bronze Doors, and prepare to be awed. The aisles seem to have no end, and colors dance across the marble walls. It’s the largest cathedral in the world, with a dome that could hold the Statue of Liberty. Kids go ape for the massive mystery of it all. Find the Children’s Sculpture Garden, where peacocks live (they have a penchant for honking). Step right across the street to the Hungarian Pastry Shop, a weathered hole-in-the-wall with the best croissants and hot chocolate in New York.
Sunday, 9:30 a.m.
Out-of-towners rarely venture so far west, but head over to the newly expanded High Line. This park built over an elevated freight rail snakes its way through the Meatpacking District and Chelsea. Pathways with lush landscaping, cool lighting, built-in sun chaises, and pieces of the rail line rising up from the street make this the most unique park in the Big Apple. Go stargazing at dusk (telescopes provided).
Brunch is sweet at Alice’s Tea Cup. Here, crepes cater to 5-year-olds, with stuffings like Marshmallow Fluff. Grown-ups can opt for poached eggs with rosemary hollandaise sauce. The takeout counter is brimming with baked goodies and 140 varieties of tea.