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NYC - first timers

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This is a rather broad question - forgive me if I should have found the info in previous posts/archives, as I didn't see it - We are a fairly well-traveled couple (Europe, Mexico, South America, USA, Canada) in our early 60s, but have never visited New York City. (Actually, I briefly lived in the lower East Side and in Brooklyn in the summer of 1968 - hardly remember any of it, for various reasons!)

We are planning a week-long trip to NYC in late September - early October, and are thinking it might be a good idea to look for an apartment or flat. I started looking through VRBO, but realized I have no idea of which neighborhoods are best for our needs.

We are good at using public transportation - subways in major cities (Paris, Madrid, Mexico City, San Francisco, Rome, etc.) have been easy and convenient for us - and we enjoy history, museums (not too much art in one week, though), ethnic foods, walking, getting to know locals and local culture. We're not big shoppers. Maybe one Broadway show would be nice.

I'm thinking we'll contact New York Greeters for a tour, and perhaps look for some other walking tours. We are both quite fit, and enjoy long walks.

Any suggestions as to where we should consider staying? Sights and events not to be missed? We aren't looking for super cheap accommodations, but on the other hand, we're not high rollers, either.

Thanks in advance for any information or ideas anyone might have - or for pointing me in the right direction for such!

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