Go on an Adventure With Little Kid, Big City! New York
We are big fans of Beth Beckman of the popular site and IG feeds; she runs @littlekidbigcity_newyork and @littlekidbigcity_travel, as well as being our cover mom this past September. We appreciate the narrative Beth shares on travel, getting out with the kids, and…the biggie…her love for New York. Especially now that New York City is slowly reopening, Beth’s book Little Kid, Big City! New York (Illustrations by Holley Maher) reminds us of all the gems ready to be found in this city.
So while New York starts to reopen, we are jotting down the spots we will be venturing out to and keeping track of where we will be visiting soon.
Congrats on your new book, Little Kid, Big City! New York. I love that your book has come out when we all need to know the gems in NYC. Can you share what inspired you to write this book?
The idea came about around 4 years ago when our little guy had just started getting into books. He was too young to read, but we spent lots and lots of time together pouring through books at home, at bookshops, and at our local libraries. During these lit trips, I always found myself sifting through the kids’ travel sections. I was constantly on the hunt looking for travel-inspired books and fun city guides for kids. While larger cities may have a picture book or two, they are not travel guides and only showcase a very limited glimpse of the cities they depict. I longed for a book that showcased a bit more culture and depth and more than just the top 10 locations or destinations.
The idea for the series was born! Not only is it a travel guide for kids, but it also puts the child in control of where to visit next. We aim to create fun travel guides that will inspire curious young minds to imagine, create, and navigate their own itineraries across the world’s biggest cities.
In your book, you have great spots to visit with great information. Have you actually visited all these spots?!
Yes! From the Staten Island Zoo to see Chuck to the Unisphere in Queens and the paddle boats in Prospect Park – I have actually visited every destination featured in the book at least once; and most multiple times (seriously!). I’ve lived in NYC for over 20 years and have a major case of FOMO and wanderlust. Nearly every day, we go exploring or on a city adventure, which has allowed us to experience so many destinations.
This unstoppable intrigue for NYC led us to be “tour guides” in a way. People started reaching out to us for our suggestions on what to do with their weekends. Requests for city guides and itineraries for family adventure suggestions were common. We quickly became known as the NYC experts, and our platform a travel guide for local families and tourists alike.
However – while I have visited all the destinations, there is one activity featured in the book that I haven’t experienced! I have never taken a ride on the Cyclone roller coaster in Coney Island. (The shame!) While it looks amazing – I’m not a fan of roller coasters and don’t do well with heights. I’ve stood next to the Cyclone multiple times and have cheered on my friends who went for a ride, but it’s the one activity that I haven’t experienced.
I know this is like asking to name your favorite child, but can you give us a few of your favs in the book?
Ah, this is a tricky one! I really love the bagel page. Possibly because I am such a huge bagel fan…and the way Holley (our illustrator) brilliantly depicted the water pipes as this incredible labyrinth makes me smile each time I see it.
I also love the American Museum of Natural History Blue Whale page. Visiting the museum and lying on the floor, looking up at the whale’s belly (just like the book characters!) is such a special “only in New York” experience. While it sounds a bit silly, it really is a right of passage, and every New Yorker just try it at least once.
Are there any destinations you wish were included?
Choosing the feature destinations was the hardest part! How I wish we could have included everything, but New York City has so many (incredible) attractions and destinations, the book would need to be hundreds of pages to capture them all! The Intrepid Museum, Governors Island, and The Met were favorites. We also had featured the Flower District, but it was ultimately cut due to space. Thankfully the book has an adventure index, where we highlight additional destinations that we were not able to feature with an illustration.
Anything about the book that most may not know?
The book destination order follows a sequential pattern! It is in order of appearance as if you were actually on an adventure in New York City. Seeing so many destinations in one day would likely be the longest and most tiring day ever…! But we wanted it to be “real” and possible to explore in the order listed. It also helps children to grasp each destination’s location through proximity to other locations in the city.
With the pandemic and New Yorkers still practicing social distancing, what are some of the best spots you mention in your book that are great places for the family to explore in the time of Corona?
I would suggest visiting all the major landmark attractions while the city is still a bit quiet. The Statue of Liberty, Liberty Island, and Ellis Island are open! It’s a fantastic time to visit with fewer tourists and a perfect educational experience for the family (and helps to fill the void of school field trips.) If you have never visited the “king” of the NYC skyline, it’s the perfect time to visit the Empire State Building (and children under age 6 are free!). For outdoor experiences, The Highline, Prospect Park, and Central Park are always at the top of our list.
If you can’t venture out at the moment, the book allows for a great “armchair traveling” experience too.
Psst…Check out the Top Sledding Hills for Families in New York City