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ljk1982 Sep 18th, 2005 10:43 AM

Critique my NYC Itinerary
Hello! My husband and I will be traveling to NYC for the first time on 12/26-12/30. We know the city will be busy for the holidays, so we are trying to get as many tickets and such as we can planned in advance to avoid such long waits. Will you please look at our itinerary and tell me what you think and if you would add/change anything that we have planned so far. We have not decided on restaurants yet.

Monday, 12/26
Arrive: 9:30 a.m. Get baggage, taxi to hotel
11:00 a.m. take in the city, walk Times Square, 5th Ave., stop for lunch during exploration time

Tuesday, 12/27
Explore Downtown:
Brooklyn Bridge
NYSE/Wall Street
Statue of Liberty/Ellis Island Ferry
Wicked Musical in evening

Wednesday, 12/28
Explore Uptown:
NY Phil rehearsal 9:45
American Museum of Nat. History Space Show
Central Park
Show - possibly Lion King, in evening

Thursday, 12/29
Explore Midtown:
Before noon - 2 hour circle line sightseeing harbor tour
Madison Square Garden
Empire State Building
Grand Central Station
Rockefeller Center/Times Square in evening

Friday, 12/30
NBC Studio Tour a.m.
Explore other areas as desired

Depart in evening

mclaurie Sep 18th, 2005 11:00 AM

Looks like an ambitious but reasonable plan. Just a few comments. On Tues., the SOL/Ellis Island trip is time consuming. If you plan to actually visit both, you should do that first thing in the morning (and make a reservation online). People have reported doing the first trip of the morning and not being back in Manhattan until 2 or 3 pm and feeling they could have spent longer on Ellis Island. If you've got theater tickets for that night, do the Brooklyn Bridge and downtown exploration and save the SOL/Ellis Island for another day or do SOL/Ellis Island and play the rest by ear.

Your Thurs. plans are a bit ambitious. Do you realize the NBC tour is IN Rockefeller Center?

Here is a guide from last year to holiday events etc. you might want to check out.

GoTravel Sep 18th, 2005 11:06 AM

Yikes! Wed put me into overload.

How's this:

NY Phil rehearsal
Lunch IN Central Park at The Boathouse
Then EITHER Museum of Nat History or Lion King.

Otherwise, you'll be on overload.

nytraveler Sep 18th, 2005 11:31 AM

I would bag Madison Square Garden - it's just an arena - nothing to see.

If you want to move things around you don;t reallly have much on Monday. Walking Times Square is about 20 minutes - although if youmean to do serious shopping up Fifth and Madison I guess that could take the afternoon.

ljk1982 Sep 18th, 2005 11:46 AM

Thank you all for your responses so far. So, I plan to make some changes based on your replies.

I'm going to bag the idea of a show on Wed. and instead spend extra time at the NAt. history museum and looking around central park.

I will also cut Madison Square Garden out. My husband thought he might want to see it, but I knew there wouldn't be much to see.

Do you recommend that we take the time to go to Wall Street and outside the NYSE? I have heard you can't get into the SE for tours anymore anyways.

Any ideas for ways to fill the remainder of time on Monday and Friday? We are up for any suggestions you can give. Thanks for the help thus far!

GoTravel Sep 18th, 2005 12:08 PM

Downtown and the Financial District are my favorite parts of Manhattan Island. Also the most historic. Did you know the first bank in the US was there? That George Washington was sworn in as first President of the US on the steps of the Federal Building which is catty corner to the NYSE? for GREAT freebies. Also, free transportation downtown.

ljk1982 Sep 18th, 2005 01:12 PM

Wow...that is a great historical fact GoTravel...keep the ideas coming!! Thanks!

BarryK Sep 18th, 2005 03:32 PM

Another thing to do in the Wall St area is take a tour of the Federal Reserve. It's free, but advance reservations are necessary. The tour it self is about an hour. They explain the workings of the Fed, then take you into the vault with all the gold. There's also a small money museum from the American Numismatic Society on the 1st floor, if that interests you.

Another thing to realize is it can be cold and windy around Xmas time.

Cicerone Oct 19th, 2005 12:38 AM

In Lower Manhattan, in addition to what has been mentioned so far, be sure to stop at Trinity Church at the west end of Wall Street towards the World Trade Center, and also visit its graveyard as well. Besides being one of the earliest churches in the area and having some famous people buried there, it was also a command center during the 911 rescue operations and I believe there is a memorial there. Take a look at

A famous tavern where you can still eat is Frances Tavern, good for lunch or dinner:

Frances Tavern
54 Pearl Street
(Corner of Broad Street)
Tel: 212-968-1776: 212.797.1776

The Forbes Museum on Fifth Ave at 12th Street is small and has some great collections, including Faberge eggs and a toy collection. They are open Tuesday, Wednesday, Friday and Saturday from 10:00 a.m.- 4:00 p.m.. Admission is free. I could not find a website.

A bit further uptown, an unusual tour you might enjoy is to go the Lower East Side Tenement Museum and see where your forebears probably started out in this country after they were processed through Ellis Island. The Tenement Museum is a very interesting museum offering a guided tour of a tenement house "restored" to its early 19th century condition. You can reserve tickets for a tour. If it is not too cold, consider the walking tour they offer as well.

Lower East Side Tenement Museum.
108 Orchard Street (near Delancey Street)

The lower east side abuts China Town, Little Italy, Soho, etc and is good for exploring, shopping and restaurants. I can recco some restaurants in this area if you are interested.

Moving further uptown, a UN tour might be fun. English tours begin every 15 - 30 minutes daily, between 9:15am - 4:45pm on Monday through Friday, Saturday and Sundays from 10:00 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Tours last about 45 minutes. Take a look at

Consider skating in Central Park or Rocerkfeller center. Go early in the morning to either, although I believe you can also skate till 9 pm or so at Rockefeller Center.

My very favourite museum is the Frick. It is in the former mansion of Mr. Frick which is beautiful in itself besides housing his extensive collection. He has one or two examples which are simply the best of each genre. I can imagine all of Edith Wharton's character's living in his house. . . .This museum is so much easier to take in IMO than that great huge hulking Met with its crowds and long walks to the exhibits:

The Frick
1 E. 70th St.
btw Madison & 5th Ave
New York, NY 10021-4967
Phone: (212) 288-0700
Fax: (212) 628-4417

If you like modern art then the Whitney would be another good choice or of course the Guggenheim:

Whitney Museum
945 Madison Ave.
(at 75th Street)
New York, New York 10021
(212) 570-3676

5th Ave at 89th

The main building of the New York Public Library is worth a visit and often ahs small special exhibits going on. There is a great restaurant behind it as well that is good for lunch or dinner:

Bryant Park Grill
behind the Public Library/Bryant Park
25 W. 40th St. (bet. 5th & 6th Aves.)
Tel: 212-840-6500

Finally, if you want to shop where New Yorkers shop, IMO you need to get over to Madison Avenue starting at about 45th street and heading uptown. Lots of little boutiques, very high end retail, nice restaurants, pastry/coffee shops, etc. Fifth Avenue is primarily chain stores like Disney, Benetton, etc these days (other than Tiffany's and some high end shops). Madison Ave is where the real New Yorkers shop, Fifth is for tourists, IMO. Lexington Ave is pretty good too, i.e. Bloomingdales is at Lex and 59th.

Cicerone Oct 19th, 2005 01:18 AM

Sorry, I just re-read your schedule and have some further comments.

I see you are going to MoMA. I understand that lines are quite long still, as the rebuilt facility is still so new. You are going to be there Christmas week, when NYC is very crowded with out of towners and schools in the vicinity are out so local people are looking for something to do with the kids as well. It could be really jammed. I would keep your plans flexible and if the lines look long, consider the Whitney or the Guggenheim or consider coming later in the day when people may be thinning out to head home.

I would not make a special trip over the see Grand Central Station, try to fit it in as part of a walking tour of the east side, a shopping trip up Madison, a subway ride up from Lower Manhattan, or walk over from Times Square or Rockefeller Center in the evening. The inside has some nice architectural features but can be seen very quickly, and IMO it is hard to appreciate the outside given all the tall buildings around it so you won't lose much by going at night.

Rockefeller Center is going to be very, very crowded during the day and early evenings, you might want to wait and go AFTER midnight when most people are gone, but the tree is still lit. You might walk up there after Wicked, as it is only about 3 blocks from the Gershwin Theatre (albeit long blocks), and crowds will be thinner at 11 pm than at 7 or 8 pm. Be very careful of your purse and husband's wallet, pickpockets abound in the crowds here.

If you go to the Lion King or another play in the Broadway area, the theater is basically IN Times Square, so you don't need to go make a special trip to see it at night.

Be sure to get down to Lord & Taylor to see their famous Christmas windows. The stores is on 5th Ave at the corner of 38th Street. You can do this when you go to the Empire State Building, although IMO they are slightly better when seen at night as they are lit so beautifully. This may be the last year they exist, as the May Company, which owns L&T, has been purchased by Federated and the rumor among employees is that the building in which the store is located will be torn down and replaced with a huge office tower (the land is incredibly valuable).

Where are you staying?

TarheelsInNj Oct 20th, 2005 06:46 AM

When downtown, you might also consider a trip over the Brooklyn Bridge. It might be a bit too cold to walk, but you could take the NY Water Taxi over to Grimaldi's Pizza and Brooklyn Heights, which has really stunning views of lower Manhattan.

If you are still interested in Lion King, I would suggest getting your tickets now! The show will certainly have limited availability for the holiday time.


flygirl Oct 26th, 2005 01:56 PM

I second Madison Avenue!

bugswife1 Oct 26th, 2005 02:17 PM

You MUST walk down 5th avenue from Bergdorfs to Lord & Taylors and check out the holiday windows. Also, double check your tickets for Tuesday night and make sure the start time is 8 pm, not 7 pm (as some of them are on Tues.), factor in extra time to get cabs as they will be scarce between 4 pm and 5pm. I really suggest a catnap before dinner and the show. Both Wicked and the Lion King are 3 hours each. Spending all day out in the cold, schlepping through the city is going to be very wearing on you and you don't want to fall asleep after spending $110 on a ticket!

TarheelsInNj Oct 26th, 2005 02:19 PM

And don't forget the windows at Macy's! They always do a storyline that runs in succession on each of their windows (i.e. Miracle on 34th Street). The inside of the store is beautiful as well.

donco Oct 26th, 2005 02:20 PM

ljk, have a great time! Can you get your Statue of Liberty tickets online? We went to ticket office at 9 a.m. and 3 was soonist we could get tickets that day. You might want to make that your first thing of the day then look around the area while you are waiting?

claudechev Nov 1st, 2005 07:43 AM

In my opinion, the Statue of Liberty trip will take a lot of one day, and you don't have many days there. My recommendation (and I just did this recently), is to take the Staten Island Ferry to SI. It is FREE, and goes right by the Statue of Liberty, with awesome views of lower Manhattan on your return. (When you get to SI, everyone has to disembark, go back around the turnstile and reboard -- I guess this is to keep vagrants from just going back and forth all day.) We were there this summer, and the Statue boat was sold out by 11 AM for the rest of the day !!! There were a lot of folks waiting. I would recommend the SI Ferry as a less timeconsuming alternative.

bondgirl78 Nov 1st, 2005 07:59 AM

ROCKEFELLER OBSERVATION DECK just reopened and it's supposed to have THE BEST VIEW OF THE CITY. $7.00 per person.

Another great view of the city is The View lounge on the top of the Marriott Marquis in Times Square - a revolving lounge so you can see all of the skyscrapers.

My favorite museum is the Metropolitan Museum of Art - more variety than the MoMa. It will give you a suggested donation to get in, but be warned you don't have to pay that much.

For nightlife, the Coffee Bar in Union Square is cool - it's actually a bar, not really a coffee bar, but they kept the old 60ish sign. Any of the W Hotels have really nice bars too, if you want to stop in for a cocktail or glass of wine.

The Staten Island Ferry IS free, and fun thing to do, though I think it would be really cold in December.

Try Ciao Bella gelato in Grand Central's food court - I suggest the blood orange sorbet.

You can pack a lot into a day into NYC -sleep later! See as much as you can. Wear comfortable shoes. Be ambitious :)

PamSF Nov 1st, 2005 08:08 AM

Definitely a walk across the Brooklyn Bridge. Have some Jacques Torres hot chocolate on the Brooklyn side.

If you are going to Lower East Side do visit the Tenement Museum. I suggest you also go to Second Avenue Deli (10th and 2nd Ave-Village really.
) afterwards for a true kosher deli experience. This is the best corned beef and pastrami I think!!

Check out Central Park at the 72nd Street Traverse. You can walk across the park between Central Park West and Fifth Avenue and stop at places like the Boathouse, Bethesda Fountain and the Imagine Mosaic.

jribisi Nov 2nd, 2005 04:56 AM

MoMa can be a bit boring and bit silly since its modern art. Head over to the Metroplitan Museum of Art. Thats where you will find some of the best historic works from around the world.

Try and do the Harbor tour during your day 1 since you will be downtown already. You can do Rockerfeller Center after your NBC Studio Tour.

Dont forget to walk up on 5th ave and visit Saks, Tiffanys and St. Pat's Catherdral

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