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Blogger series: Jessica Shyba on the Carlyle's Sophie and the City package (slide show)

Momma's Gone City's Jessica Shyba recounts her family's experience with the Super Adventures of Sophie at the Carlyle hotel package.

  • Photograph: Hannah Mattix

    Time Out Kids blogger series: Jessica Shyba of Momma's Gone City

  • Photograph: Hannah Mattix

    Time Out Kids blogger series: Jessica Shyba of Momma's Gone City

  • Photograph: Hannah Mattix

    Time Out Kids blogger series: Jessica Shyba of Momma's Gone City

  • Photograph: Hannah Mattix

    Time Out Kids blogger series: Jessica Shyba of Momma's Gone City

  • Photograph: Hannah Mattix

    Time Out Kids blogger series: Jessica Shyba of Momma's Gone City

  • Photograph: Hannah Mattix

    Time Out Kids blogger series: Jessica Shyba of Momma's Gone City

  • Photograph: Hannah Mattix

    Time Out Kids blogger series: Jessica Shyba of Momma's Gone City

  • Photograph: Hannah Mattix

    Time Out Kids blogger series: Jessica Shyba of Momma's Gone City

  • Photograph: Hannah Mattix

    Time Out Kids blogger series: Jessica Shyba of Momma's Gone City

  • Photograph: Hannah Mattix

    Time Out Kids blogger series: Jessica Shyba of Momma's Gone City

  • Photograph: Hannah Mattix

    Time Out Kids blogger series: Jessica Shyba of Momma's Gone City

  • Photograph: Hannah Mattix

    Time Out Kids blogger series: Jessica Shyba of Momma's Gone City

  • Photograph: Hannah Mattix

    Time Out Kids blogger series: Jessica Shyba of Momma's Gone City

  • Photograph: Hannah Mattix

    Time Out Kids blogger series: Jessica Shyba of Momma's Gone City

  • Photograph: Hannah Mattix

    Time Out Kids blogger series: Jessica Shyba of Momma's Gone City

Photograph: Hannah Mattix

Time Out Kids blogger series: Jessica Shyba of Momma's Gone City


When we first learned that we would be moving our family and raising our two small children in the middle of Manhattan, I was a little alarmed. The idea of bringing up babies amid the chaos of the city seemed absurd. Once we moved here and immersed ourselves into the culture and lifestyle of New York City, though, our minds were quickly changed.

It’s easy for me to think now that this city is the best place to raise children, but it’s also a wonderful place to visit. There are a million and one things to do with the kids during the day, and every once in a while something pops up that encompasses many of those things at once. Sometimes, even for city residents, it’s nice to get away and experience your own town like a tourist.

We recently took the children—Jack, 6; Zoe, 4; and Beau, 17 months—for a staycation at the Carlyle, an exquisite, timeless hotel perfectly situated on Madison Avenue within walking distance of Central Park. My husband and I brought our two sons and daughter to experience their Super Adventures of Sophie and the City package, a perfectly crafted, one-night delight for all of us.

Everything about the Carlyle is filled with remarkable charm and elegance—even the walls in the hallways are lined in velvet. Our room was perched atop the grand old building, and boasted such delightful details as turn-key door locks, Frette towels and bathrobes for all, Kiehls bath amenities and even a little hidden kitchen. The kids were delighted immediately by the various specialties that come with the Sophie Experience: three custom Magnolia cupcakes and two autographed Sophie and the City books, including Grand Central Escapades, the newest addition to the series written by Kelly Florio Kasouf. My daughter fell in love with a few extra-special add-ons: the purple custom Sophie pillow designed by Matouk, a beautiful cameo necklace and charms by Lulu Frost, and most especially the gorgeous dress exclusively designed by Oscar de la Renta for the Sophie and the City experience.

While my youngest bounced in the crib the hotel provided, my oldest son navigated around Sophie’s favorite New York City adventures on an iPad Mini, loaned by the Carlyle as a part of the package. My daughter spent a solid hour prancing around the room in her new dress and jewelry, as though she was the princess of Manhattan. The next morning we had a beautiful breakfast downstairs in the Carlyle’s cozy dining area before heading to Central Park to spend the day frolicking among the blooming cherry blossom and dogwood trees.

While there are a ton of things to do in Manhattan with children, it’s often difficult to find special packages such as this that are specifically catered to an overnight stay with kids. Whether you are in New York City on vacation, or you live here and would like to take a night to truly appreciate its splendor, the Sophie Experience at the Carlyle is a lovely choice. I personally loved having time to spend with my kids where not only was I not worried about cooking or cleaning but I was also just focusing on them. I could tell they knew that this was a special time crafted just for them, and the quality time we spent with them is something I’ll never forget.

The Super Adventures of Sophie and the City package is available at the Carlyle through Dec 31, 2013. Package pricing starts at $540 for the first night. Book here.

Jessica Shyba is a freelance writer and founder of Momma's Gone City, where she has shared her experiences with her family in the city as West Coast transplants for the past four years. She will be moving back to the Bay Area in June.


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