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Best First Thing to Do in Manhattan - & Advice re Itinerary!

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Hello All.

This incredible site has been instrumental in helping me plan my surprise visit to NY for my 14-yr-old daughter. So far, I have three plays booked - a huge feat (see related thread - I still can't get over how helpful and generous everyone is with their time).

My daughter has never been to NY before. The last time I was there was around 20 years ago, when I was in my 20's. At that time, I'd come in often, in short spurts, mainly to see a lot of theatre, jam-packed in a few days. I never really did sightseeing, except to walk my socks off and revel in the energy of NY and its incredible buildings.

My dd and I are arriving Monday, July 30th, and staying 8 full days, until Tuesday, August 7th.

We'll be staying at 54th St. between Park and Madison. On July 30th, we're arriving at the airport at 2 p.m, and I figure should be at the hotel by about 4:00 (?).

My question is: What is the best first thing to do with her, in order to give her an orientation, context of where we are - you know, to get her bearings. I wasn't sure whether a bus-ride/boat-ride/walk around the neighbourhood....would be best.

My next question, and here I hope I'm not requesting too much. I've been amazed at all the advice on the many threads relating to NY. I have read a ton, and from all the wonderful suggestions, including on my former thread, have made a list of what I'd like to include in the trip.

I'm not sure how to best put this list together in terms of logistics, what goes best with what, subway, etc. to make best use of the time. (I don't know how to use the subway, but I know there's a site somewhere that I'll read up on). I want to be able to have time with her to really enjoy, and not feel we have to pack everything in, yet of course give her the basics and most exciting things for her.

So my list is the following: please let me know what you think, including if it's unrealistic to expect to accomplish it all:

Oh, one further note that readers of my former thread who have been so kind and concerned will already know: my dd has just had a two -month full leg cast removed after a bad break. She's still using crutches, and gradually bearing more weight on her leg. Our physiotherapist says she should be fine by the end of July, but I imagine that we'll have to take it easy(ish) - at least it won't be the same walking potential as if she had never broken it.

So, here's the list (again, with thanks to the NY experts!):

Top of the Rock
Tenement Museum
Met - including costume exhibit (great suggestion from other thread)
Grand Central Station
Ellis Island
Boat Ride (although maybe to Ellis Island is enough?)
Brooklyn Bridge
Grimaldi's Pizza
Brooklyn Ice Cream Factory/Il Labortoria del Gelato/Vosges and Maribelle/Serendipity/Jacquest Tores - all suggestions from threads!! (Obviously we won't get to all, but one or two would be great, depends how it fits logistically)
Dylan's Candy Bar or Economy Candy
Ellen's Stardust Diner (much debate on this one-see former theatre thread!!)
Times Square (we'll be there for shows, but also need to stroll around)
Toys 'R Us (I hear for Ferris Wheel)
Central Park - I hear a bike ride is a ton of fun
different neighbourhoods - Greenwich Village, etc.
NY Public Library
Apple Store (with FAO behind it, I hear..)
5th Avenue
9/11 Museum
Columbia (she has this dream of going there, without ever having been there! I figure she should see it first!)
Rock and Roll Annex - have no idea about this - read one thing on it, but sounds cool
Shopping!! (ideas all from these threads, including on Broadway and 5th Ave-a few blocks before Rock Centre and between Rock Centre and Central Park and on 5th between 15 & 23rd)

This may be too much - I have no idea...

On the other hand, maybe I'm missing some must-sees...please let me know.

So far, the Givens (not many) are the following:

Monday, July 30th - arrival, around 4-ish
Tuesday night - Wicked
Thursday night - Once
Saturday - will meet with husband's family for 1/2 day and other 1/2 to the Moma
Monday night - Newsies.
Tuesday - we have the entire day, just have to be at airport at 9 p.m.

My dd is really bright, and is interested in art, museums, books, music, science, dancing (she tap dances although not lately.. ..), laughing, fashion and big-time...SHOPPING! She likes anything Apple-related, television/movies, and basically anything cool...like any 14-year-old girl!

One last thing - Someone suggested "Real New York Tours" - I checked it out, and it sounds amazing (I think #2 on Trip Advisor) - but because of my dd's leg situation, not sure this would work. In fact, it does say that unless you can keep up at a fast pace, the tour is not for you. (6 hours walking). If one needs a more personalized tour because of that, one can take a private tour - ...at $350.00. It sounds amazing, got great reviews, and I'm sure would be a great orientation for the first full day, Tuesday, but I'm not sure it's necessary. Any thoughts?

Forgive me for this outrageously long post! And any help at all coordinating a logical plan would be most appreciated!

Thanks, Tamara

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