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Lucy_of_Oz Apr 14th, 2005 10:00 PM

2nd trip to NYC Ė what to do?
Hi all,
Iíve got a whole bunch of questions so please bear with me Ė Iím returning to NYC 6 years after my last trip for a 2 week holiday and am looking to do & see a few things I didnít last time (ie, no ESB or Statue of Liberty this time round) although will revisit a few places like the Met, Central Park etc

1) Its my understanding MOMA has been refurbished recently Ė are there new artworks on display that are worth the revisit? I will definitely make it to the Frick collection this time.

2) Iíve already managed to get myself a ticket to Spamalot (yay!) & am now considering a 2nd show : a)Rent (simply because Iíve never seen it), b)AvenueQ or c)Streetcar Named Desire. Yeah I know you canít get much more diverse a selection than that but do any pop out as being the obvious choice or one to strike off the list (eg, is that untalented spice girl still dragging down Rent?).

3) Iím interested in doing a walking tour that involves one of my favourite pastimes, ie eating Ė has anyone done the Big Onion Multi-Ethnic walking? Similar tours are also conducted by Nosh Walks & Food of NY so feedback on any of these will be appreciated.

4) Iím also interested in doing walking tours (either guided or on my own) of other neighbourhoods but not sure which ones have the most to see or unique vibe Ė Greenwich Village, Soho, Tribecca, Chelsea, Nolita etc?

5) I will be spending part of the trip with friends so am after some recommendations for restaurants/bars/clubs for some 30-somethings (preferably where you donít have to take out a 2nd mortgage to afford a round of cocktails).

6) Iím considering a day trip out of NYC into the Hudson Valley Ė would the boat trip by NY Waterway up the River & tour of Kykuit (Rockefeller Estate) be the best option?

7) Any hints for other quirky/less obvious places worth a visit would be great too!

Thanks, all help is much appreciated!! :-)

desertduds Apr 14th, 2005 10:18 PM

Our most enjoyable different thing to do was a tour of Lincoln Center, all the theaters were gorgeous and the guide was wonderful. We went on a Sunday a.m., only about six of us on the tour. We also took a day trip out and made an awful mistake of going on a Greyline "tour".....we got on at the bus authority center and it was actually just a commuter bus, stopping along the way with the place, an outlet mall, where almost everyone got off the bus and back on later in the day when we picked them up, packages and all. We hit FDK's home and the Rockefeller Estate, both interesting, but would not take that mode of transportation, any other way would be worth it.

HowardR Apr 15th, 2005 06:37 AM

1. MOMA is definitely worth a revisit. The renovation/expansion is so vast, you'll feel like you're visiting a new facility.
2. Avenue Q is a delight. If you want some serious theater, then go see Doubt.
4. Since you'll be here for 13 days, why not take more than one walking tour? Any one on your list would be good, two would be better.
6. Definitely take the Waterways/Kykuit trip. It's a wonderful way to spend a day. Just pick a day with sunny weather. I think Kykuit is the best mansion of them all along the Hudson Valley.

mclaurie Apr 15th, 2005 06:44 AM

Lucy I think you'd be better breaking up some of these questions into different posts. I'll answer some quickly. I'm not sure MOMA has new works displayed, but the work is displayed differently than it was before. For example, Monet's Waterlilies is now all on one huge wall rather than in a room around several walls (I actually liked the old way better but that's another story).

I think for theater, most people feel Rent is liked more by teens than adults. It's really old news now. Avenue Q is very different. Wicked is a very hot ticket and that would be my suggestion.

People seem to really like the Big Onion eating tour of the village.

All the downtown areas have something of interest. It depends on YOUR interests.

For dining, I highly recommend a copy or a web membership to the Zagat Guide. For a 2 week visit, the price will pay for itself very quickly. NY Magazine also has IMO a great search engine for restaurants, bars, and shopping. Their guides, especially are great.

Lucy_of_Oz Apr 15th, 2005 03:22 PM

Thanks for your help desertduds, HowardR & Mclaurie...I was considering posting all Qs under separate threads but thought that might annoy people that I was clogging up forum!! :-)

ralf005 Apr 15th, 2005 03:55 PM

Did you do a TV studio tour?
I did NBC's and it was so much fun. They show you all the news rooms, talk show sets, and we even saw the SNL set while Janet Jackson was rehearsing.

Lucy_of_Oz Apr 15th, 2005 04:45 PM

Yep I did do the NBC tour last time! Thanks anyway. I was considering trying to get into a tv show taping like Letterman but it doesn't seem that easy to do!

ralf005 Apr 15th, 2005 04:49 PM

Well, SNL's are impossible to get. But Letterman's are not hard to get. All you have to do is book your tickets 2/3 months in advance.

Lucy_of_Oz Apr 16th, 2005 05:22 PM

Thanks Ralf005 - I'll have a try for tix to Letterman.

Also I've now signed up online for Zagat...the choice of places is a little overwhleming though!!

One of the resons I didn't initially consider Wicked is that I assumed it was more targeted towards kids - is that not right??

Any further help with other questions from anyone would be great - thanks!

robhart Apr 16th, 2005 07:24 PM

Sounds like a fun trip! On the theater end of things: Wicked isn't a "kids show" even though it's based on the Wizard of Oz -- kids do like it but so do adults. Of course, some people don't care for it -- for my own opinion, the book (the story) is very well written but the songs aren't the best. A lot of "belt to the rafters" kind of singing -- if you like that, then you'll like the score. There are some very exciting effects -- overall, it's a good evening in the theater -- definitely worth seeing.

Avenue Q is funnier, sweeter, sillier. I liked it. There are a lot of good plays on Bway now -- besides the Williams revivals (Streetcar and alo Glass Menagerie -- which BTW did not get the greatest reviews) there is "Doubt" and "The Pillowman"; people I know who have seen those two really loved them.

Rent -- meh. It's been around a while. If you're dying to see it, great, but in my opinion that should be last on your list.

I agree about the Hudson River trip -- I've done those, always loved it.

All the neighborhoods you mentioned are worth walking around -- Chelsea seems to have less architectural interest, at least in my experience.

Lucy_of_Oz Apr 17th, 2005 05:28 PM

Thanks for the great feedback robhart - very helpful.

I have one more question... I will be arriving at JFK (from Australia) at around 5.30pm on a wednesday & I need to get to my hotel on 49th (between 6th & 7th) - now a taxi is an expense I can't justify on my own so I was considering the Super Shuttle as I like the idea of being dropped at my hotel given I'll be a bit jetlagged (even if it takes ages because they're dropping others off first) - but when I fly out of JFK (flight is around 7.30pm) I wasn't sure how to get there as I've read the Shuttle is too unreliable in terms of picking up on time - is that right? I though maybe the best option would be taxi to Port Authirity & then catch the Airport Express bus from there - does this sound the best option? Thanks!

jer Apr 17th, 2005 06:50 PM

I would consider the show All Shook Up. I loved it. My friends went and saw it and loved it too. I would not see Rent. Saw it last year ar this time and it was blah. Wicked is wonderful. We also went to the Chealsea Market last time and that was just a fun place to go to. Nothing much there except tons of little resturants. Neat place to go hang out. We had alot of fun.

robhart Apr 17th, 2005 07:28 PM

I think there was a thread a while back that more thoroughly discussed getting back and forth from the airport, but here is what it boiled down to:

Going back to JFK, the Airport Express bus from Port Authority is, I believe, $15. I've done the bus, and it's fine. Allow yourself an hour for the bus ride, getting to the airport 2 hours before your flight -- so you want to take a bus somewhere around 4 or 4:30.

The new way to get to JFK is the AirTrain. You can either take the A train a loooong way and then transfer to the Airtrain (cheap, but time consuming) or else take the Long Island Railroad from Penn Station to Jamaica, Queens, and transfer there.

But, the bus works just fine, and is a better choice, IMHO, than SuperShuttle. Others may have had different experiences.

Coming from the airport: I admit, when I come off a long flight, I splurge on a taxi, especially if jetlag is involved. The flat rate from JFK is $45, plus tip and toll -- so, something like $58-$60 all told.

The Airport Express bus is also a fine way to come in from the airport -- you could catch a cab for the few blocks from Port Authority if you have a lot of bags to schlep around.

But it would be nicer to be dropped off, I'm sure. I just haven't had good experiences with SuperShuttle in New York (fine in other cities.) Again, others' experience may vary.

mclaurie Apr 18th, 2005 02:01 AM

I guess we all have priorities on how we spend our money. I can't imagine flying all the way from Oz and then using the Super Shuttle. Not only will you likely drop others off first, but you may sit around at the airport waiting for the bus to get filled. Take a taxi! On the way back, either take the bus from Port Authority or the AirTrain from Penn Station. Remember rush hour traffic starts at around 4 pm so leave yourself enough time to get to the airport and check in on time.

If you're looking for ways to save money, rather than using the Super Shuttle, consider

>using discount codes for theater tickets. has many but usually not the "biggies" and usually good for dates about 1-2 months away

>get same day tickets from one of the TKTS booths. Look on for info on times and locations and what's been available recently. Rent would definitely be available either way on discount.

>Here's a website that has info on some FREE things including some walking tours

In addition to those, MOMA is free on Fridays starting I think at 5pm. Since it's normally $20, you can imagine how long the lines are and how crowded.

>There's something called Big Apple Greeters that offers for free a volunteer New Yorker to take you around to a particular area of the city (you can choose). Contact them on

Here's a page with info on a combo walking tour and cooking class. There are some other ideas on the page too

For some quirky, less obvious thoughts

>there's a new exhibit called Ashes & Snow

>there's a new museum called the Rubin with art from the Himalayas

>Consider exploring DUMBO in Brooklyn, the new young arty area under the Brooklyn Bridge. (If you haven't walked the Brooklyn Bridge you should). Do you know about the NY Water TAxi?

I don't really feel I'm up to date for 30 something bars and clubs. is a good search engine though. The lower east side has a lot of less expensive, good and trendy restaurants. You might have a look at

which is a guide from NY magazine.

williamscb13 Apr 18th, 2005 04:31 PM

Answer to Questions
1. Haven't been to the new MOMA, It's just been too crowded to justify.
2. Go see Avenue Q. It's charming and funny and I thought better than Wicked and definitely better than Rent.
3. Someone has posted on about an eating tour of the Lower East Side. Do a search.
4. Don't know anything about walking tours. let us know if you do one and what you thought.
5. Again. go to and ask your question about where to go.
You may also want to check out on the section about new york city.

Other quirky things to do in New York City. hmm, go see the Ashes and snow exhibit if your in town then.

I always think walking along the river is great. Make sure you go the Hudson River not the East river. You could even go to the trapeze school while there!

Have fun in NYC.

Lucy_of_Oz Apr 18th, 2005 05:31 PM

Ok, I'm convinced!! I'll splurge on the taxi when I arrive & get the port authority bus going back to JFK (airtrain won't be an option given I'll be loaded down with all the shopping I plan to do there!! :-) )

I've also decided on AvenueQ that likely to have discounts available by the time I go in June or should I book now? I might try & fit in aserious play as well - maybe Doubt.

As for queues at MOMA - isn't it possible to buy tickets online & walk straight in?

Anyway I appreciate all the great ideas & website links....its true, half the fun is in the planning. :-D

HowardR Apr 18th, 2005 07:01 PM

Get tickets for Avenue Q now.
Yes, you can get tickets for MOMA on line in advance.

robertlicuria Apr 18th, 2005 07:12 PM


Great thread - I'm also an Australian venturing to NYC (for the 5th time, but 3rd time as an adult), and some fo these suggestions are really great. Please email me - we can discuss what we both have planned, etc... I'm going in November.

I think I'm also going to see Avenue Q now.

holly777 Apr 19th, 2005 05:38 PM

Definitely get your theatre tickets right away. The sooner the better - shows sell out quickly, and if you are spending the money you might as well get good seats!

enjoylife Apr 19th, 2005 09:22 PM

I recommend getting a copy of "Frommer's Memorable Walks in New York." It sets forth walking tours in different neighborhoods and tell you what subways to take. That way you can go at your own pace.

Also, have you checked out the Tenement Museum. The tour of an actual tenement is quite interesting.

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