A few planning questions regarding NYC

Dec 30th, 2010, 05:00 AM
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Join Date: Jun 2009
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A few planning questions regarding NYC

I am still working out our itinerary for our 2 days in Manhattan in June. I've received lots of valuable feedback - thank you!

I have a few questions:

1. Thinking of visiting the Financial District early morning on Saturday to visit some of the historic sites and Ground Zero. From what I've read, this should take roughly 2 hours. Afterwards, I was wanting to do a walking loop of Tribecea, West Village/Village/East Village, SoHo, Little Italy/Nolita, China Town (only to see a couple sites on my list). Again, we are just window shoppers so I am just looking for suggestions on the most scenic/good atmosphere areas & also want to double check that this is doable. Walking is not a problem for us.

2. I would like to see The Cathedral of St John the Divine, but I don't think we will be able to make any of the organized tours. I guess that means we won't get to see the interior? Would it be worth the trip if we could just see from the exterior? I know this is a very subjective question but I value your feedback.

2. On Friday, we were thinking of doing the UWS then heading over the Flatiron District. I think I am set on the UWS, but looking for suggestions on the street(s) to hit in the Flatiron area. Window shopping, quick, good eats and drinks, good atmosphere, etc. We do not want a sit down dinner.

3. Sunset will be approx 8:30 pm. Would it be safe to take the subway after dark from the above areas or should we grab a taxi if we are in these areas after dark?

4. If time allows, I would like to ride the Roosevelt Island tram. Is this something we could do at night or would you suggest daytime?

I am thinking we can do Central Park & a couple museums Sunday morning, but again that is still work in progess.

Thanks to all for your feedback!
mykidsmom99 is offline  
Dec 30th, 2010, 05:50 AM
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The walk you outline is the kind of activity we enjoy when we visit NYC.

Our favorite walk takes us to Rockefeller Center, Broadway Theater District, Murray Hill, Gramercy Park, Chelsea, the High Line, the Meat Packing District, Greenwich Village, SoHo, the East Village, the Lower East Side, Little Italy, Chinatown, Brooklyn Bridge, and Wall Street.

Viewing the exterior of St John the Divine or riding the Roosevelt Island tram are not on my list of things to do on a short visit to NYC.

Pop into St Patrick’s when you’re in the Rockefeller Center neighborhood.

It is safe to ride the subway after 8:30 p.m.—that is the main means New Yorkers use to get from here and there.

happytrailstoyou is offline  
Dec 30th, 2010, 06:27 AM
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You can enter St John the Divine any time. Make a donation and they will give you self guided tour literature. It is a wonderful place to visit.
SueNYC is offline  
Dec 30th, 2010, 06:32 AM
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There is not one area you mentioned that is unsafe.

The Financial District is basically deserted on Saturdays.
Aduchamp1 is offline  
Dec 30th, 2010, 06:49 AM
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I'd do the tour of St. John's the day you are walking the UWS. ST. John's is on 112th and Amsterdam. From there it's a short walk up to the Columbia U campus, lots of interesting buildings there, from various decades. (116th and Broadway).

Good place to eat in the area would be Angelina Pizza on 104th and Broadway (great pizza) or across the street at Cafe du Soleil (good french).
travelbuff is offline  
Dec 30th, 2010, 07:17 AM
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I understand the Financial District is dead on the weekends, but most of the historical buildings/sites are still open from what I've found in my research thus far (Battery Park, Ground Zero, Federal Hall, etc). The only museums that I noticed are closed on Saturdays are the Holocaust/Jewish ones, for obvious reasons. Other than that, I think we will be able to hit the highlights we wanted to see.

I actually would prefer to visit the on the Friday we arrive, but I am thinking it might be a better utilization of our time to stick to the areas closer to our hotel (Times Square area) this day then do the downtown area the following day. So, I was thinking UWS/Flatiron/Times Sqaure Friday, then head south on Saturday & just do as much as we can.

Thanks for the tips, HappyTrails! Are there any particular streets/routes you would recommend?
mykidsmom99 is offline  
Dec 30th, 2010, 07:38 AM
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Each nieghborhood has its own worthwhile sights, some are on the main avenues, others on the side streets.

For example, while Broadway around Times Square is frentic and has the glitz and lights, once you get below 42nd Street, it is fairly boring.
Aduchamp1 is offline  
Dec 30th, 2010, 08:11 AM
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Hello, here are my suggestions. I've also written up some museum and UWS site suggestions here. These are really the best sites and I've included the best sites for kids: http://beachesandpeaches.wordpress.c...-the-holidays/ and http://beachesandpeaches.wordpress.c...from-the-snow/

FINANCIAL DISTRICT: You should walk through Battery Park to the ferry and go to the Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island. Those and Trinity Church, which you can stop at on your way to/from Statue Liberty/Ellis Island are the msot interesting downtown stops. Afterwards you can have lunch or dinner at South Street Seaport: it's pretty b/c you can sit outside with a view of the Brooklyn & Manhattan Bridges and Brooklyn Heights / Dumbo.

FLATIRON: Walk to ACE HOTEL - very cool architecture inside, you can have drink or soda in the lobby or have brunch at the Breslin. Then walk to MADISON SQUARE PARK - it's pretty, there are cute dogs in dog park, there's Shake Shack, there's an art exhibit in the park's center, then walk to the southwest corner to EATALY, the new Italian food emporium by Mario Batali and Lydia Bastianich, it's gorgeous and so much fun to walk through! The food is pretty, all wonderful Italian, all delicious, you can eat at one fo the restaurants or walk around and shop while you drink Italian wine! From there you can walk west to the HIGHLINE and walk down the Highline, take photos, then end at the STANDARD HOTEL for a drink in the beer garden, or go to DINER at 14th & 9th for best burgers & salads, if you have kids.

SOHO /NOLITA / LES: All the streets are atmospheric and pretty with great window shopping. You can't go wrong, just stay south of Houston Street .

MIDTOWN / TIMES SQUARE: Visit St. Patrick's Cathedral and St. Bart's, the lobby of Waldorf if you want a break, then walk west to TIMES SQUARE and enjoy! Have dinner at Joe Allen's. Stand on line at TKTS and see a Broadway show that night for half price.

Any questions let me know!
hpluss1 is offline  
Dec 30th, 2010, 08:36 AM
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Skip the tram (is there some particular reason you want to take it?). Roosevelt Island is a strictly-residential neighborhood of no particular charm (it's a nice place to live - my aunt lived there for years - but I don't see it as a tourist "destination").
sf7307 is online now  
Dec 30th, 2010, 08:43 AM
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I agree. The tram is a waste of time, out of the way, nothing special not even good views. Instead, if you want views you should go to the top of the Empire State Building at 7:30 or 8 so you can see the sunset, and get daytime pics, sunset pics, and then night pics. Will be amazing! Another option for this is Top of The Rock.
hpluss1 is offline  
Dec 30th, 2010, 08:51 AM
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Since you have limited time, i would not visit the Statue and Ellis Island. It will consume the day.

If you wish to see the Statue, take the Staten Island ferry and stay on the right side going and the left side on the return. That inself with consume two hours when you include the waiting time.

Also I would avoid eating at South Street, it is nothing more a glorified mall with your basic overprices food court.

If you must eat in that area, see what restaurants are open on Stone Street and be sure have one of the superior pastries at Financier.
Aduchamp1 is offline  
Dec 30th, 2010, 09:28 AM
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Oh that's true. I agree with Aduchamp1. The food is MUCH better on Stone Street, and it's VERY cute. I love Financier, and also Adrienne's Pizza. You can eat outside on one of the tables there. The street was used to represent London in the upcoming film version of Emily Giffin's novel "Something Borrowed" with John Krasynski. I also like South Street Seaport but he's right, the food is very gross (sorry I forgot this before), it's only good for the views. Maybe best just to go there for a beer and stand on the end and enjoy the views.
hpluss1 is offline  
Dec 30th, 2010, 11:08 AM
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You seem to have made some odd choices, not grouped things by area - upper west side is nowhere near the flatiron district, and have no idea how long things take.

It would take more than a day EACH to explore Central Park, the Met and Natural History Museum. On Sunday am pick one and decide on 2 or 3 things to do - the web site of each can provide info on picking the areas you would like most.

IMHO the financial district is a waste of time and will be completely deserted. Battery Park really isn;t much to see and the WTC site is a construction zone. there are way more interesting sights.

The Roosevelt Island Tram is about a .5 on a 1 to 10 scale - nothing to see and a waste of time. St John the Divine is a beautiful church but way out of your way - St Pat's is also gorgeous and much more accessible if you want to visit a cathedral.

NYC is the safest large city in the country and taking the subway throughout Manhattan is fine. We do so until about midnight - it runs 24/7 and is safe - but after midnight the trains run only every 15 minutes or so - os cab is just more convenient.
nytraveler is offline  
Dec 30th, 2010, 11:29 AM
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nytraveler: We are only going to the GUGG to see the exterior and lobby area. We do not have time this trip to explore any museums.

There are several historical sites that we want to see in the downtown area so this is a must see for us.

I appreciate your feedback about the scattering of the days. That is what I am trying to work on. Thanks a bunch!!
mykidsmom99 is offline  
Dec 30th, 2010, 12:10 PM
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The financial district is really not deserted on a Saturday morning. I have been there several times with my young nephew and it's always packed. Federal Hall, Trinity Church, Wall St., and the exterior of the NYSE are worth seeing. I agree with the suggestion of a SI Ferry ride from there - thru' Battery Park - to get a great view of the Statue of Liberty. In June, the ferry to Governors Island will also be operating. It's just to the left of the SI Ferry terminal.

At the WTC site you can visit the temporary memorial at St. Paul's Chapel across the street. There is another temporary museum worth seeing on Liberty St, at the South end of the site.

You will also be close to the Brooklyn Bridge, City Hall, the Courts - if you've ever watched Law and Order some of the buildings will be familiar.

Lower Manhattan is loaded with history and you should not miss it. It's always been one of my favorite parts of the city.

You could really combine the Flatiron District with your walking tour of lower Manhattan. It's much more practical than doing Flatiron from the UWS. You can easily spend an entire day doing the walking tour you described in your first paragraph and some of these suggestions.

Subways are safe after dark.
panecott is offline  
Dec 31st, 2010, 08:44 AM
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mykidsmom99 as you know the Financial District is hardly a "waste of time" - be sure that you have Trinity Church on your list as Panecott mentioned and take a peek at the adjoining cemetery where revolutionary war heroes, congressmen, famous business men, inventors and others are buried. There is so much US history in this area. I actually like going down there on a weekend morning because it is so quiet – great time to wander and look at the sites you are interested in.

In Soho we enjoy shopping ROUGHLY from Prince south to Broome, with Crosby as a boundary to the east and Wooster to the west - just to give you a general idea.

Do you have a good map so you can start to group up your interests? You might want to pick up a "Streetwise Manhattan" - not huge, but detailed with streets and subway & bus routes. Available at Barnes & Nobel, Amazon etc.

Is Saturday your arrival day? Or will you be getting in on Friday night?

Agree: save the tram for another trip.

Have fun planning!!
Margo_Chester is offline  
Dec 31st, 2010, 01:20 PM
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Thank you for all the helpful replies. We arrive on Friday @ 11am and are sailing out of Manhattan on Sunday at 4p so we will need to head to the pier by 12:30ish. We are staying at a Comfort Inn in Times Square.

I've done extensive research and have a basic idea of our must see's, like to see and don't care or have time to see on this visit.

Our main focus is history and architecture, with scenic views & good eats and drinks mixed in. We are not shoppers and do not want to do any shows or eat a sit down dinner since our time is short.

The Financial District is an absolute must see for us as is the UES & parts of Little Italy/Chinatown (old St. Patricks, tenement houses, etc). I have a few decent guidebooks to help me get through these areas.

Due to lack of time, we are choosing not do any long excursions or spend significant time in museums, unfortunately. I could easily spend 2 weeks, so we are having to pare down what we want to fit into these 2 days.

Since we will be getting a late start on Friday, I was thinking it might be best to visit St Pat's then head to the UES. If we are making good time, we might stop into the MET museum. Afterwards, maybe take the subway back and head to the Flatiron/Gramercy park area and see all we can see until it's time to head back to our hotel. Maybe go to the TOR late at night.

On Saturday, we plan to get an early start to the Financial District and explore as much as the other areas as possible (SoHo, Little Italy, the Village, Tribecea).

On Sunday morning, we plan to wake up early and rent bikes for a couple hours to explore Central Park. If time allows we would visit a few places in the UWS we wanted to see.

I know it will be fast paced, but we will just be sure to enjoy our "must do's" first, then work in as much as we can.

I appreciate all the helpful tips!
mykidsmom99 is offline  
Dec 31st, 2010, 03:33 PM
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I would happily recommend St John the Divine Cathedral! As someone mentioned you do not need a guided tour, but just walk in and wander around. I was not particularly interested in seeing the inside of a church but our tour stopped and I almost did not go inside, but that would have been a mistake. According to our guide it is the largest cathedral in the world! Inside is quite beautiful, with lots of stained glass, and a gorgeous pipe organ. Don't just stay in the main chamber but wander off to the sides and go inside the rooms there. You will be amazed at what is there, and how big the cathedral is..just keep wandering, and try not to get lost. It is huge and so worth the half hour or so that you will spend there. Definitely a beauty.
beba is offline  
Dec 31st, 2010, 09:17 PM
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What do want to see on UWS that is worth the limited time you have? St. Patricks and Rockefeller Centrr more central than St jJohn. I live in UWS and am now seeing lots of tourists. Do not understand it. I can understand Museum of Natural History. But you will like whatever you do in our city.
Elainee is offline  
Jan 1st, 2011, 04:59 AM
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UWS has a lot of sights- besides the Mus Nat'l Hist and Planetarium there is the New York Historical Society, the Children;s Museum, the whole Lincoln Center complex (with libraries, backstage tours etc), the Folk Museum, Strawberry Fields in Central Park, the Dakota et al. Not to mention Zabar's.

Plus the mansions along Riverside Drive and the Park, view of the River and across to Jersey.

Not as many major sights as some other areas - but plenty to keep someone busy for a couple of days.
nytraveler is offline  

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