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help me plan my 1st trip to NYC. need suggestions, info & advice.

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Ive never been to NYC before and am going sometime in 2013. (i have no specific dates set, and likewise am very flexible schedule-wise, but would like to go when whether isnt freezing cold....sweater weather..50Fs-ish or warmer)

I wont have a rental car, but as Im told, its not a neccessity in NYC, and in most cases nor is it recommended.

I would like to stay about 5 or 6 nights, and will be flying into Newark Intl., Id like to find a decent hotel around $100 a night, that preferably offers transit to/from both the airport and the local PATH train station. ( a friend recommended me to the Best Western Newark Airport West located at 101 International Way in Newark directly adjacent to the airport, but I am open to other similiar lodging options)

As far as mass transit, I do have questions about both the PATH and MTA, from what I understand they are completely seperate transit systems and independent from each other, and require their own respective passes. Where do I buy each pass? and does either pass have the available option to buy a more premier pass that includes local entertainment/attraction options?

As far as attractions, I know NYC has an endless myriad of options. I know Id definitely like to see: Statue of Liberty, Brooklyn Bridge, Times Square, Hard Rock Cafe, Chinatown, Little Italy, Central Park, WTC site, Empire State Bldg.

Not really interested in Broadway shows, in case someone reading this may wonder if I forgot to mention it.

As far as cuisine: Id mostly interested in sampling whatever is locally heralded as being some of the best in both Little Italy and Chinatown,..and should I venture into Brooklyn to satisfy my cravings for classic New York Italian or does Little Italy suffice this?

I am also eager for any other suggestions for restaurants that I must try, whatever is locally acclaimed as being "must-have".

Im under the impression that most tourists seldom ever venture into the other 4 boroughs and only visit Manhattan...Im also under the impression that Manhattan is the safest borough for tourists to visit. Is it worth visiting any of the other boroughs? should some boroughs or neighborhoods be avoided at all costs due to rampant crime problems, and if so, what areas should I avoid? If some areas are worth the visit, what should I visit?

Im also under the impression that Staten Island is mostly a residential island, and offers little for the tourist to see or do? true?

Ive heard the Ellis Island has its own amusement park similiar to Coney Island. Does it rival C.I. in anyway? should I visit one versus the other?

How would you plan my trip out as far as the aforementioned ideas I have thus far? What should I do and see on each day of my intenerary? Is my stay sufficient, or should I increase it to more days?

Please feel free to suggest me to anything, and correct me on anything I may be wrong about.

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