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7 days in NYC? Or 5 days in NYC and 2 days in Boston?

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Oct 31st, 2011, 08:03 AM
  #1
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7 days in NYC? Or 5 days in NYC and 2 days in Boston?

7 days in NYC? Or 5 days in NYC and 2 nights (1.5 days) in Boston?

We are British, flying out of London in February 2012 for a 9-day trip (less two days written off for crossing the Atlantic). The flights are actually cheaper if we fly into NY and out of Boston.
If we did go to Boston we would not want to fly and would probably take the train (4-4.5 hrs - $49pp).

I’ve listed our interests and other details to help you advise. Any advice would be most appreciated.

We have travelled throughout Europe, Asia and South America but this is our first trip to an Anglophone country (outside of GB & Ireland), apart from three depressing days spent in Toronto in late December a few years ago.

We did not enjoy Toronto but it was tagged on to the end of a 3-week blitz of Chile, Argentina & Rio and we were tired, which might explain our apathy towards the city.

We will probably return to New York at some point in the future. I am sure that 5-7 days will barely scratch the service but was wondering whether 7 days might be a bit intense for one trip, particularly bearing in mind the weather.

Our holiday style is cramming as much into one trip as possible. The downside of this is that we don’t get to know places as well as we would like but we are limited by our annual holiday entitlement. Our holidays are never relaxing!

If there are any interesting side trips we could take from NYC other than Boston (which is obviously more than just a side trip), then I shall be grateful if you could suggest places based on our interests below.



Interests:

Food (from fine dining through to vendy food)
Drink (wine / microbreweries / cocktails)
Photography – both taking photos ourselves and exhibitions
Views (scenery and cityscapes)
Architecture
Urban planning and design
20th Century art
Hiking / trekking (although not in NE USA in Winter!)
Nightlife but not clubs (just bars/pubs or other nocturnal entertainment)
Sport (European sports but we are prepared to experiment)
Jaywalking
Wandering around different neighbourhoods in our thermals




Not interested in:

Clubs
Amusements / rides / fairgrounds
Museums (unless they are slightly offbeat or in a less touristy neighbourhood or art museums)
Children
Shopping
Ice-skating
Dancing
Coldplay (specifically Chris Martin)
Horse drawn carriages
Chinese New Year
The coast
Niagara Falls
Jamie Chuffing Oliver
Flying
Casinos
I Love NYC T-shirts
Tracksuited parents
Anything fun or that could result in me having to raise a smile



We are a typical British reserved couple. Both 30 years old.

Favourite places we have visited: HK, Berlin, Siena, Buenos Aires, Patagonia.

Least favourite places visited: Toronto, Paris, Florence.


Any advice would be most appreciated. Sorry for the long message, I got carried away with the excitement. I haven't been this excited since I went for dinner with the Queen and Hugh Grant.

Many thanks

Thuram
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Oct 31st, 2011, 08:22 AM
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If jaywalking is an interest, then you should spend more time in NYC, where it is an Olympic sport, where people train their entire lifetimes.

If you like urban design than try to get a copy of the tome AIA Guide to NYC. We have many new and undulating buildings including the new Cooper Union Building (a prestigous arts and architecture college) and the new Gehry residence of some 76 stories.

As for 20th century art, there are scores and scores of art galleries and undoubtably the finest modern art museum in the world MoMA. (And that is with all apologies to Sir Jimmy Manton who was one of the largest donors to the Tate Modern.) But I do not how to reconcile your dislike of museums and your your like of 2oth cent art.

As for food, there are many topics on that subject and that depends on whether you have a British palate or one that has lapped the shores of other continents.

Please note and be forewarned that many areas have been designated for overachieving children and their overbearing parents, but they are easily distinguishable by an overabundance of nannies and overwrought teachers.
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Oct 31st, 2011, 08:45 AM
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Adu: I read their list as 'no museums except art museums or off-beat topics, so I think the MoMA is in play.

And anyone who hates Coldplay, horsedrawn carriages, Jamie Oliver and Niagra Falls is okay in my book!
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Oct 31st, 2011, 08:45 AM
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Thanks for the advice.

Jaywalking - My girlfriend and I will be smeared in goose fat, so we are expecting the vehicles to slide off us.

I'll be sure to check out the AIA guide.

Museums - my parents kindly took me to every museum in the UK between the ages of 6 and 12. I'm like a saturated sponge when it comes to museums. I tend to avoid museums where possible (with the odd exception such as the Jüdisches Museum in Berlin) as I need to try to engage with people to make up for the social deficiences inflicted on me by my parents.

My parents didn't like modern art. So I'm ok on that front. Although I tried to do the Thyssen, Prado and Reina Sofia in two days in Madrid this Spring and was a gibbering wreck by the time I got to the Prado. I can't average more than 2 galleries a day or I come out in a rash.

I've lapped the shores of other continents. Food and drink are my favourite parts of travelling. I do like British food when done properly, it's just that most of the population only eat cheap, bland chicken fillets that they think are raised in cellophane wrapped plastic trays.
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Oct 31st, 2011, 08:50 AM
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Actually, those chicken fillets aren't cheap compared with cheaper meats/cuts like liver. Unfortunately, most parents can't cook because they've spent the last 30 years spending their kids' inheritance and buying second homes so that nobody can afford to get on to the property ladder.
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Oct 31st, 2011, 09:48 AM
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To answer your first question I would plan on staying in Boston for the 1.5 days. Even trveling by train weather can be a major issue in winter - so you wil want to get to Boston at least a day before your flight out - so yuo may as well make it 2 and see something.

As for jaywalking - it's OK in Boston - but an art in NY. I especially love when th mothers push strollers with infants or toddlers out ahead of them into the traffic.

As for museum in NYC - besides MoMA, which yuo must not miss. Have a look at New York Magazine and Time Out New York online to see museums that may interest you - starting from the Museum of Sexto the many places (museums or galleries) with extensive photography collections.

As for food you can get anything in NYC (although our Tex/Mex isn't great - not something we hve adopted versus real Mexican food.) I understand there are even places that speialize in grits - althouhg I have not details on that. You are limited only by your budget and your imagination. Have a look at menupages.com for an idea of the range. But come back here and ask for recos once you hae some idea of what you're looking for.

Oh - and since you seem to be coming in winter - be aware that our weather is much colder and snowier than yours usually is.
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Oct 31st, 2011, 10:31 AM
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I can't average more than 2 galleries a day or I come out in a rash.

There are topical applications for such tragedies.
________________

You can always tell a tourist by the way they wait for the light for the change, even if no traffic is coming. And NY'ers will get annoyed if you prevent them from breaking the law.

As for food, I would search out foods you do not normally get at home. There are many NYC posting here regarding food, unless you have specific questions.

On the west side of Manhattan between 18th street and 28 St between 10 and 11th Avenues, there are buildings with so many galleries, that you start at the top and just work your way down.

If you do spend the full week in NYC, consider a trip to the Cloisters which is basically a transplanted French medieval Cloister. It is serene area in the City with a unspoiled view across the Hudson River. (The Rockefellers purchased the land on the New Jersey side so no building could take place.)

Take in an ice hockey game at Madison Square Garden.
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Oct 31st, 2011, 01:17 PM
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What's a European Sport? There's plenty of hockey - three teams, one of which is good, one decent and one rubbish.

As for Cricket, Rugby, Soccer, Formula 1 racing or the other varieties of European Sport (hurling?), New York doesn't have that at the pro level for three of them, and the MLS season is a summer league (like the Russian soccer league) not a September-May affair like most of the major European leagues. You're also going to be in the City in February, which is before baseball starts and after football ends. There are allegedly pro basketball teams in the area, but their status as "pro" and whether they will play in 2011-12 are both in question.

Since your parents didn't force-feed you 20th Century Art (a questionable appellation at times), you should visit the MoMA - much less rubbish per square meter than the Tate Modern. Perhaps the Guggenheim too. If you do want to see a truly great museum, then go to the Met.

As for food, pick a pizza joint and enjoy. If you go to the Met, there is (or was) one on 83rd and Lex that was very good. If you get homesick, go to Myers of Keswick.

All that said, you should go to Boston. It's a great city to visit (living there is another matter). Stay in the city itself near the various T lines so you don't have to drive. Boston drivers make New Yorkers look polite.
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Oct 31st, 2011, 01:34 PM
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Had to smile at your post -- really great and made for a fun read too!
I would skip Boston and stay in New York. Here are a few of my personal NYC favorite spots (some will overlap with above):

Food (from fine dining through to vendy food) - Have been loving Batali's Casa Mono. Ask to speak with Ashley, the sommelier, who handcrafted the wine list and will help you pick a fabulous (and value-priced) Spanish wine.

Drink (wine / microbreweries / cocktails) - Bar Veloce

Photography – both taking photos ourselves and exhibitions - Everywhere!

Views (scenery and cityscapes) - The Highline

Architecture - Downtown cast iron architecture in SoHo and Tribeca

Urban planning and design - Check out the AIA guide

20th Century art - The MoMA is great, but you can also gallery hop around Chelsea

Hiking / trekking (although not in NE USA in Winter!) - Visit the cloisters or central park (don't laugh -- its not "trekking", but it is beautiful during the winter)

Nightlife but not clubs (just bars/pubs or other nocturnal entertainment) - Lower East Side

Sport (European sports but we are prepared to experiment) - Madison Sq Garden

Jaywalking - Everywhere!

Wandering around different neighbourhoods in our thermals - Everywhere!
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Oct 31st, 2011, 03:34 PM
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I too would recommend MOMA and for another reason, crazy as it sounds -- they have a great cafeteria -- we are food people and it always knocks us out that we enjoy our lunches at MOMA.

If it's not freezing, you might also really enjoy the New Museum as the art is decidedly edgier, and the neighborhood will offer all kinds of small restaurants. Too bad the Guggenheim LAB is over -- as they had workshop after workshop on urban planning -- very very interesting.

Take a walk on the High Line on the west side -- starts in the Meat Packing district. This is the old bed of the elevated West Side Highway turned into a very unique 3rd story level walkway with native plantings, sculpture, benches -- it weaves along from just under 14th Street up to the 30s -- you could go down and do the Chelsea galleries to warm up from there.

I hear Chris Martin is planning a visit -- but if you lob some of the goose fat at him I'm sure you'll be fine.
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Oct 31st, 2011, 04:12 PM
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Thanks for the replies and the advice. I haven't read them properly yet but I just wanted you all to know that I was about to.
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Oct 31st, 2011, 04:45 PM
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#Aduchamp1 - I'm one of Northern England's finest exponents of road crossing.

Cooper Union Building - just looked at some of the photos but difficult to see it properly because Mrs Thuramthugood insists that I have my phone on it's lowest brightness setting for post-coital web browsing. I'm not sure if I like it but it's certainly challenging (the building, not the post coital web browsing).

The AIA guide looks interesting. Used copy for $4 available online.
8 Spruce Street (Gehry) - in the dim light the Wikipedia page revealed itself and there's a hint of Calatrava's 'Turning Torso', until the page loads itself properly.

MoMA could easily fill a day. I don't think we'll be needing any out of town trips
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Oct 31st, 2011, 04:57 PM
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#MLTimes - MoMA - just been on the website. Very excited (although this has brought on a hint of heartburn). There's a whole Bell Helicopter on display in one room.

I have a recurring nightmare where Jamie Oliver guests for Coldplay on drums. Except his drums are pans and he's striking the pans with a particularly bulbous root vegetable.
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Oct 31st, 2011, 05:16 PM
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#nytraveller - I like to make our holidays as stressful as possible. Relax, don't do it!
However, bearing in mind the amount of activities in NYC, there appears to be plenty of scope sleep deprivation in NYC alone, so I think we'll leave Boston for better weather / a subsequent trip.

I'll be picking up the NY Time Out guide in the next few days.

I've never understood grits. I'm willing to try before passing judgement. I'm a polenta party pooper too. Spent 3 days in Bergamo (Italy) this Spring and don't understand the obsession.

What is the Mexican food like in NYC then? I was expecting it to be good. Never been to Mexico and possibly never will due to being a coward. Most Mexican food in the UK is stodgy, bland, processed rubbish.
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Oct 31st, 2011, 05:59 PM
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#Aduchamp1
American and Jewish foods are my main aims for the trip I would imagine. I've never had any decent Mexican food in the UK and presume NYC Mexican food is subtler and far more tasty and authentic in comparison. Vietnamese and Korean - you can only really get those in London, not in the windswept wilds of Northern England. Middle Eastern, African, Carribean would be of interest. Will probably try to get a table at Daniel or Per Se or somewhere 1 night - reservation permitting. I'll start my research next week.

I was reading the Time Out NYC top 100 dishes and drinks last night.

I remember looking into the price of NHL tickets on Toronto and was shocked by the cost. Is it any cheaper in NY?
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Oct 31st, 2011, 08:07 PM
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NY will test your jaywalking skills especially the main cross streets like 34th, 42nd, 57th.

The Rangers raised their prices this season due to an expensive renovation of Madison Square Garden and they were not cheap to begin with.

For Jewish food
Katz's deli is the best known and makes a wonderful, wonderful pastrami.

2nd Avenue Deli also makes a great pastrami but their side dishes sets them apart.

Other Jewish delis like the Carnegie and Stage are second tier.

Yonah Schimmel knishes-they make knishes the old fashioned way and have not cleaned the windows since Yonah died 50 years ago.

Kossar's bialy's-gold standard for bialy's (closed for the Sabbath)

Pickle Guys-that is all they make plus the addictive pickled pineapple (closed for the Sabbath)

Russ and Daughters-Wonderful, wonderful smoked fish.

Those places are very near one another.

Zabar's a now non-sectarian food store that is like Harrod's but with bad manners.

Uptown is Barney Greengrass.

And Ess-A-Bagels for yeasty bagels as opposed to sweet bagels.
________

New York also has great Italian provision stores.
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Nov 1st, 2011, 04:56 AM
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There is some excellent mexican food in NYC _ what we are not good at is Tex/Mex - which is a whole different thing. We also have good food from just about everyplace else. NYC is a true melting pot - Queens - one of the outer (residential) boroughs has immigrants from more than 110 countries. And most of them seem to be opening hole in the wall restaurants with their local cuisine. Check out menupages.com to see the variety. Or look at the websites of NY Magazine - the cheap eats issue - or ny1news.com (th elocal 24 hour news channel). They will have a lot of reviews of interesting things - from new (viet namese sandwiches) to traditional (greys papaya - great local hot dogs and the named drink).
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Nov 1st, 2011, 05:24 AM
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#Aduchamp1

- The Cloisters are recommended in Timeout NYC's 'top-10-out-of-the-way-places'. That's another hour or two filled up.
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Nov 1st, 2011, 05:34 AM
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#BigRuss - I might look into watching a hockey game - depending on cost.

MoMA and the Guggenheim are definites.

I don't tend to get homesick when I'm away but that is much of a surprise when my home is 'Broken Britain' and the longest trip I've ever had is 3 months in France. I tend to get more holidaysick when I'm stuck at home longing for Belgian beers, French cheese, Chilean Cerviche etc.

Think I'm going to have to drop Boston.
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Nov 1st, 2011, 05:41 AM
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Given your interest in photography, you might want to visit the International Center of Photography (ICP)in New York -- they often have outstanding exhibitions, and a very good book shop.

http://www.icp.org/
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