Monday, July 21, 2014

I Guess This Really Is the Best-Kept Secret in New York

Sunday morning we promised to take the kids to Victorian Gardens, the amusement park inside Central Park. But we got off to a late start and didn't show up until close to 11 a.m.

We were scared it would be overrun by then. After all, it was a beautiful day in New York (high of 79 degrees, and a not-too-terrible 51 percent humidity).

But our fears were unwarranted. It wasn't crowded at all, and there were no lines for anything.

What is going on here? If this amusement park were located in the suburbs, it would be packed with screaming children on a beautiful Sunday in July.

Instead, it's quiet because it' the heart of a city of 8 million-plus people?

Something doesn't make sense. I realize a lot of Manhattanites don't have kids, but still...

The Victorian Gardens marketing does acknowledge that it's the "best-kept secret in New York City" (I'll forgive the hyphenation fail below). I'm used to that being a meaningless statement. In this case, it really appears to be true.

Victorian Gardens also is relatively inexpensive (even Atlanta-area attractions seemed to be pricier).

And if your kids are shorter than 36 inches, they get in for free. Not that everyone in this city cares about getting a good deal. As I was encouraging Alice to take off her shoes in an unsuccessful attempt to beat the system, a family of more affluent Manhattanites squeezed by and happily paid full price without bothering to measure their small children (a reminder that money is no object for many of this city's residents).

Inside, there were virtually no lines for any rides. And if you wanted to ride something twice, you just stayed in your seat.

The carnival games were so empty that you were guaranteed to win a prize (so long as you beat at least one other person). When Alice and Elliot played each other, we were essentially paying $8 ($4 each) to win one stuffed animal. Not such a terrible arrangement — as long as the kids didn't fight over who got to keep it.

So I would say that I strongly recommend checking out Victoria Gardens. Except wait...I don't want to ruin a good thing.

Please don't come. It's terrible.