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Advice for Texas Family - first time in NYC

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Our family of four (daughter 12, son 10) will be traveling from Texas for four nights Thursday to Monday of Columbus weekend. We are flying into Newark. My husband traveled to NYC several times over 20 years ago. The rest of us have never been. We need advice on almost everything and would appreciate any help you can give. I've read a lot of the NYC posts and trip reports here so I have a general start.

My most pressing questions are:

1. Best parts of town to stay? Our budget is not huge, ie I would like to stay under $1000 total for 4 nights. We usually stay in a room with 2 queen or double beds, or an Embassy Suites type of thing with a king bed room and sitting room with pull out couch. We don't need the Waldorf type of luxury, but I don't want to stay in a Motel 6 type place either. This trip is our daughter's dream and since we don't take a lot of expensive trips, we would like to make this one as special as we can for the kids.

2. We would like to see at least one show. I've read about the TKTS booths and I long ago signed up to receive emails from Playbill and Broadwaybox, but we really want to see Wicked so I think we are going to have to pay full price at Ticketmaster. Maybe the Sunday matinee? I would love to spend the extra money for the Orchestra level and someone said not to sit in row O or farther back because of the Mezzanine overhang. Any advice on that or other seating/ticket advice?

3. I read on here that we should get Statue of Liberty tickets on line ahead of time. Also, I think we are going to have to bite the bullet and go to the Empire State Building. I could forego it but I think the kids would really like to go up there. I also understand not to get the City Pass or do any HOHO. Check check.

4. Advice on how best to get four travelers and at least one suitcase each from Newark to the hotel, wherever it may be?

5. I think we will try the the new Grimaldi's Pizza that I read about here--our son is a pizza fan. Okay, we all are! We also aren't the 5 course dining types. I love it but it doesn't fit our budget or tweenagers' attention spans.

Well, that's a good start. Again, any advice at all would be appreciated.


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