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First time to NYC-need help getting around

Old May 15th, 1999, 06:41 AM
  #1  
Illinoisfamily
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First time to NYC-need help getting around

In July will be taking our first trip to New England. We want to finish with a night or two in NYC. We will be driving--have heard that there are hotels in Connecticut where a shuttle bus will take you into NYC for some of the bus tours. We would like to do this as have been advised not to drive in NYC. We
want to see the typical attractions: United Nations, World Trade, Staten Island Ferry, Statue of Libery, Empire St Bldg etc
Also (sorry New Yorkers) when they talk about
downtown, midtown Manhattan where specifially are these areas. Where would be a good area
where these areas would be accessible.
Thanks to everyone for any information.
Illinois family
 
Old May 15th, 1999, 10:32 AM
  #2  
hamlet
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Tourists have no need to drive WITHIN NYC, but there's nothing wrong with driving INTO the city, parking your car in a garage and leaving it there until you leave NY. In the city you can travel on foot (like a million others), take mass transit or taxis - whichever works best for you. Any bus or train from CT will take you at least an hour to get into the heart of the city and it's not worth it. There is probably no need to take a bus tour either unless you want someone to point out which bldg is which or if you want to hear some history. NYC is very easy to do on your own since it easy to find everything once you understand how the streets go. The streets in NYC are numbered (higher numbers are more north), and as you go lower they are all named like in neighborhoods like Greenwich Village, Chinatown, Little Italy, Wall St/World Trade Ctr etc. The numbered STREETS are then divided by 5th AVENUE (not 5th STREET) East or West. Example: 42nd street is continuous but at one point it is called West 42nd and then after 5th AVE it is called East 42nd. THIS IS MUCH EASIER TO UNDERSTAND ON A MAP. Midtown usu refers to streets 30s-60s, downtown could mean 30s and lower to any of the above named areas. Just to give you an idea, most NYers wouldn't dream of taking mass transit for a walk less than 25 blocks unless it was pouring rain. Sometimes it's just as fast to walk. I would expect you wouldn't be spending much time above 96th Street (East or West Side). Email me directly if you have further questions. Have a great trip and do not pass up an opportunity to visit NYC.
 
Old May 15th, 1999, 01:55 PM
  #3  
Diane
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I almost forgot! You may want to take a commuter train into the city so you can "Arrive" at Grand Central Station. It is an experience in itself!
 
Old May 15th, 1999, 02:09 PM
  #4  
Diane
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OK. I'll try this one again. It got lost in fodorspace. The "Streets" run East and West. The Avenues run North and South. Downtown is where the Village, Little Italy, Chinatown and Wall Street are located. One of your first sights should be from the top of the World Trade Center. Then you can see the map of the city for real! Midtown is the theater district, the shopping district Macy's, Madison Sq. Garder,Carnegie Hall, and Times Square are midtown, as are many of the classic skyscrapers. Uptown is north of 60s. The East 70-80s are Yuppie country. Stylish apartments, restaurants, etc. The West side of the park is probably Yuppie too, but I used to live there and I never thought so. Ha.
 
Old May 15th, 1999, 06:10 PM
  #5  
denise
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Having lived in New York all my life..I can tell you that driving in the city can be very frustrating. My husband and I will drive into Manhattan for a play or special event or dinner, from our home in Glen Cove. But parking is very expensive and if you don't know the layout of the city, as well as competing with the NYC Cabbies it could be a nightmare. Since you only intend to spend 1 or 2 nights there, I suggest you take the train from Connecticut, book a hotel for a night, pack a small bag, get tickets to a Broadway show and take a taxi to your hotel and back to Grand CentralTerminal when you are returning to Conn. You can see a lot of the city by booking a midtown hotel in the fifty's or something across from Central Park like the Plaza or any hotel on that block. The Mayflower Hotel had some lovely if rather large apt. type rooms.(two bedrooms ,kitchenette and 2 baths). You might want to check out the Marriott Renassance. Not sure if I have the correct hotel name, but call Marriott's 800 number and see if they have any specials in midtown Manhattan. Good luck and have fun!!!!
 
Old May 15th, 1999, 06:24 PM
  #6  
denise
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One more point...I hate to disagree with Hamlet, but taking a bus tour might not be a bad idea. Although, I've never had the need to..I think if I were visiting New York for the first time..it would help certainly help. Enjoy!!!
 
Old May 16th, 1999, 08:36 AM
  #7  
Illinoisfamily
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Thank you very much to those who
responded to my questions about NYC.
I especially appreciated the specific
details about the layout of the streets,
I know that will be very helpful.
Right now it seems like we will either
take a train in from CT, that will also
allow us to "arrive" at Grand Central,
or else drive into NYC, find a hotel in
the midtown area as several of you suggested.
Hearing it from someone who as "been there, done that" is a great way to
get info. Thanks again
 
Old May 16th, 1999, 11:25 AM
  #8  
Cheryl Z.
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just some additional reassurance in addition to excellent advice above. My Italian-New Yorker husband won't even drive in the city when we go back to visit. Since it's been a loooong time since he's lived there, we often have to ask for information, directions etc. Believe it or not, we've found most cab drivers and the city bus drivers, even other passengers on the bus, very helpful and cordial to us without us even asking!!
 
Old May 16th, 1999, 02:18 PM
  #9  
Beverly
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If you are visiting NYC on a weekend, there are a few hotels that will include garage parking. They are good deals as parking in NYC can be very expensive. Try Loews New York hotel or just ask when making reservations at others if there is a weekend special.
 
Old May 16th, 1999, 08:00 PM
  #10  
DiiB
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I agree with the person who said you may want to take a bus tour of New York City to start off your trip and then go off on your own. We took a bus tour and then toured on our own and feel it was well worth it. ENJOY!
 
Old May 17th, 1999, 04:50 AM
  #11  
Neal Sanders
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I'll try not to cover territory covered by others, which has been well done.

As you've probably discovered, there are Connecticut hotels that shuttle guests into New York. However, if you're wary of staying in the city, Connecticut is a reasonable choice. The best non-stop service is out of Stamford, where's there's hourly express service off-peak that takes 47 minutes to Grand Central Station; and very frequent express service (as often as every few minutes). The Stamford station is surrounded by an "edge city" kind of downtown, and there are half a dozen mid- and large hotels, all of which offer shuttle service to the Stamford train station. Metro North offers family fares for off-peak (after, say, 9:30 a.m.) travel into the city.

If you are driving into the city from Connecticut, there are a few large self-park garages. The traffic into the city in the morning from the north is awful, but can be done in 70-75 minutes (for a 30 mile drive). The best garage for your neds would likely be the one at Lincoln Center (I can give you specific directions on how to get there if you're intersted); parking in Manhattan is now $24 per day, so if the decision is economic, driving is less than the train for a family of 4.
 
Old May 17th, 1999, 08:14 AM
  #12  
Barbara
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Just my nickel's worth, for what it is worth. We took our first trip to NYC a couple of years ago, and are planning another one this summer. We took the advice of some friends and drove to the Newark Airport, parked the car, and took a cab to our hotel near Times Square. The cab ride was $35.00 each way, and the parking was about $7.00 a day. We were terrified to drive into the city, and after seeing the traffic we were glad we had not attempted it. I would imagine the parking fee for the car at the hotel would have probably cost us quite a bit, anyway. We also thought about staying in Connecticut and taking the commuter train. I am glad we did not because it was a wonderful experience being able to walk around the city until all hours. I think you would really miss the flavor of the city by staying in Conn. Anyway, just my opinion.
 
Old May 22nd, 1999, 06:50 PM
  #13  
Illinois family
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Thanks to everyone who responded to
our post. We received many helpful suggestions.
Looking forward to our trip.
 
Old May 22nd, 1999, 08:21 PM
  #14  
Donna
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My husband and I travel from a small town in New Hampshire to NYC for a visit once a year. We drive into the city (and leave the car in the hotel parking garage for the duration). If you plan the route to your hotel in advance (taking note of the one-way streets), it's not bad at all (but recommend avoiding rush hour). I highly recommend the Rand McNally Cityflash map for NYC. I agree that to really enjoy your stay, it's better to book a hotel in the city. We like Midtown and the Mayflower (actually on the southwest corner of Central Park) is our favorite.
 
Old May 22nd, 1999, 08:36 PM
  #15  
Donna
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(continued...) I would discourage you from "commuting" from Connecticut. Too time-consuming and I wouldn't want to be heading back there late at night on public transportation. The last shuttle may leave before you're ready to get back. Arriving at Grand Central is not that much fun with a lot of luggage. Pulling up to the hotel and being assisted by the doorman, bellman, checking in...the views from your window...and emerging onto the street first thing in the morning... are all part of the fabulous NYC experience. As for seeing the sights, it the weather is nice, I highly recommend a two-day pass on one of the tour buses. Riding in the open air upper deck is great fun, with terrific scenery and amusing commentary. Terrific for "visiting" all the various neighborhoods. You can hop off at the sights you wish to visit and continue on later. Greenwich Village or Soho are excellent for lunch. I would take any one other than Grayline because they make you get off at Port Authority and pay for your ticket, which wastes time. If the weather is nasty, taxis to the places you've mentioned would be more economical than the two-day tour. Since you are going in July, unless you really want to visit Ellis Island and go to the top (beware, long, long lines) of the SOL (this excursion could consume the better part of a day), it's better to take the Circle Line sunset cruise around lower Manhattan. Cruises are offered at other times as well. The commentary is excellent and the views are fabulous (goes very, very close to the SOL and Ellis Island).
 
Old May 24th, 1999, 04:56 PM
  #16  
davinder
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Since you are planning to stay for 1 or 2 nights only, I totally agree with hamlet, don't waste your time "commuting," especially because then you will be forced to leave at a "decent" time, since you don't want to be sitting on mass transit in the middle of the night. Driving INTO and OUT of the city is certainly no worse than any other city, in fact, in my experience its probably better than some - but once you are there, just park the car and enjoy the whole city by foot/mass transit(NYC is one of the few in North America where you can actually do this). As for the best way to enjoy the city, that really depends on how comfortable you are getting around a very big (but not always user-friendly) city. One last tip - you may want to consider paring-down on some of the places you'd like to visit (NYC simply can't be done - enjoyably - in 1 or 2 days). Instead pick the type of experience you are looking for and book hotels, visits etc. accordingly.
 
Old Jun 4th, 1999, 08:15 AM
  #17  
evan
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Another idea is stay at Shearaton Suites hotel in Weehawken NJ (on hudson river accross Ewmpire State building) Have their own parking lot believe no charge and ferry service at their front door literally.
Hope this helps also.
 
Old Jun 4th, 1999, 11:40 AM
  #18  
Vicki
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I second the idea for Weehauken, NJ. Our family stayed at the Ramada Suites, must be near the Sheraton, took the ferry over to the city and there was a bus available to take us from the ferry landing into the city, and then back again at the end of the day. Very slick. And inexpensive if I remember correctly. The added bonus was staying across the river from the city afforded us a TERRIFIC VIEW of the city, especially at night. There were restaurants nearby in some sort of office/shopping complex there, which had a few nice restaurants as well as take out foods. The Ramada had an onsite breakfast buffet as part of your room rate also which was handy.
Enjoy it. We plan to return someday and probably will do it the same way.
 

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