We decided to take a day trip to New York City for July 3, 2007. There was seven total in our group, from the youngest 7 yrs old to the 16 yr old daughter, plus myself and huband. We traveled by van which took approximately 5 hours to arrive.
We took a taxi to the Museum of Natural History, then walked to Central Park, Trump Towers, FAO Schartz Toy Store, and Times Square. Took a taxi back to our van. My husband drove down to where the Statue of Liberty ferry is. We found a place to park, which was not easy. We were too late for a ferry, so we went to Battery Park and just looked out and saw the Statue. As we drove out of the city, we drove past Ground Zero.
This was a long day. We saw a lot and really felt the city by doing a lot of walking. But if you can afford the taxi's I recommend taking them. They are everywhere and very easy to get one, plus they know where everything is. Another recommendation, make your own map, incase you loose your bearings, the map will help you find your way around. I drew up a handwritten on, with the streets and which way they go. It really helped us out on more than one ocassion.
There are food vendors everywhere. We had hot dogs and sodas in Central Park. Ice cream right outside of FAO Schwartz, and ate pretzels in Times Square.
Another thing I need to hit on is parking. There are lots of places to park, some are very easy to get to, IF you know where you are going. If you see a spot, just stay calm and drive around the block making sure to get in the correct lane and you should have no problems. But driving in the city is not for the timid driver. My husband and I had to swap seats at a red light. Down near Battery Park, where the Statue of Liberty is, has very, very limited parking. We were lucky and found one on a side street and then walked back to Battery Park.
If you have to go for a day trip, do so. It really is a great place to go, but if you can go for a longer time, try to work that out. New York City is a huge place with lots of things to see. You could spend an entire day just inside the Museum of Natual History.
Prices really varied. The taxi and Empire State Building was the biggest of expenses. The Empire State Building was approximately $17 or 18 per person. The taxi was pretty expensive on our ride back to the van, we had 2 taxi's and paid over $12 per taxi, while the Museum was donation only.
I can not comment on hotels as we did not spend the nite, but we did see quite a few.
I would highly recommend going, even for a day trip, and I would gladly do it again.