First Timer going to NYC--need help PLEASE

Nov 23rd, 2009, 03:17 AM
  #1  
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First Timer going to NYC--need help PLEASE

I am taking my 16 year old daughter to NYC in December. We arrive at the airport at 3:30 p.m. on Friday the 18th and leave on Wednesday the 23rd at 1:00 p.m. I have ready many helpful tips on here from so many helpful kind people and was wondering if anyone could help me out as well.

I know I should plan by the different areas of the city and be able to be flexible due to weather. I have only gotten so far as to list things we hope to be able to see, I would like some help to try to plan an itinerary. I am going to be buying tickets to two Broadway shows but am trying to get at least a shell of an itinerary done first.

THis is the list of things we would like to try to see:

Statue of Liberty, might want to try this on Monday, first ferry out, what is best mode of transportation to get from Warwick Hotel (65 West 54th Street) to Battery Park to get on ferry by 8:30 a.m. and what time do I need to leave to get there? We will not be going to Ellis Island this trip. Also, I think we are going to try to MTA, buses and subway, i will buy a 7 day metrocard. Once I can get everything grouped I can then figure out how to get from one place to another if its not walking distance.

The WTC grounds
St. Patrick's old Cathedral
Woolworth Building
St. Paul Chapel
Trinity Church
Greenwich Village
SOHO
Chinatown
The Arch at Washington Sq.
Possibly financial district

U.N. building
Chrysler Building
Grand Central Station

FAO Schwartz
Toys R Us
Macys
Barneys

Look at holiday windows on 5th avenue and madison
Top of the Rock
Rockefellar Center and tree
Time Square
Broadway

MET Museum
Museum of Natural History (I know these museums could take all day but we are going to look at just a couple select areas and be out of there) say 2 hours at each.

DD wants to go to walk the Brooklin Bridge, I would also like to take some sort of bus tour at night or something to go across and see the Manhattan skyline, that is very optional though.

MTV just to see where it is filmed.
Radio City Music Hall (going to see the Christmas Spectacular show, what time is best?)

Central Park, what is best to see this time of year? DD wants to see one of the many bridges.
Bryant Park, ice skating and shopping at Christmas booths.

Shopping just anywhere we might see that we want to go in.

So, any help trying to plan this out would be appreciated. Also, we have no suggestions on eating. As this is a last minute trip, just decided yesterday to go, I would like to budget on the lower side for food, say $30 for us both to eat at each breakfast and lunchmeal. Dinner I will budge a little more for. We dont really like Asian food, I cant eat Mexican food, so I guess Italian and regular ole food will be on the agenda.

Thanks in advance for any help you can give.
coachdj5 is offline  
Nov 23rd, 2009, 04:32 AM
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Just a quick short reply. Since you intend to skip the really interesting part of the Statue Ellis boat trip, I would strongly suggest that you view the Statue from the Staten Island Ferry on a sunny day or at night. The crowds at the Statue/Ellis boat will be horrendous when you are here.

You'll take the R or W train downtown toward Brooklyn from your hotel -- If you are anywhere else in the City when you decide to go, take the 1 to South Ferry or the 4 or 5 to Bowling Green or the R or W above. Get your MetroCard first thing!
SueNYC is offline  
Nov 23rd, 2009, 05:05 AM
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It's not really a given that you will be able to get a ticket for the Statue of Liberty ferry this time of the year if you have not booked it in advance. Expect to spend about 3 hours in line waiting if you have not pre-booked (and I expect it's far too late to do that). SueNYC's advice is good. Take the Staten Island ferry instead (it's free), and then if you really insist walk up to the WTC site, which is just a construction site with nothing to see. You can actually get a good inside view of it from the Winter Garden, which is about a 15-minute walk up from the State Island Ferry if it's not too cold (it may be on the water down there). Plan to spend your first day downtown and see the financial district then if you really insist on the the Statue. If it's raining or something, save it for another day since you don't have a ferry reservation.

Depend on the subway to get around quickly. From the Warwick all the way downtown expect at least 30 to 40 minutes (take the R train and expect it to be very crowded during the morning rush).

Friends told me this past weekend that the line at the TKTS booth was over an hour on Saturday afternoon so what I think you should do is to book all your show tickets now. Look for discount seats on Playbill.com or Broadwaybox.com and bite the bullet with the fees and just buy e-tickets on line (or pick them up at the box office).

You'll be able to save on breakfast buy going to a simple deli and buying egg sandwiches, but coffee is usually cheaper and better from the streetside carts. Take breakfast back to your hotel room. Lunch is easy for under $30 for 2 people, and if you can't find breakfast for under $5 per person you aren't really trying very hard.

If you want inexpensive dinners, unfortunately you're in a very bad neighborhood. Go west to 9th Avenue, where there area lot of neighborhood restaurants that are much cheaper than anything closer to your hotel (this is about a 10- or 15-minute walk at the most).
doug_stallings is offline  
Nov 23rd, 2009, 05:10 AM
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Your choices arranged geographically from south to north, with spaces to show possible groupings:

Trinity Church
Possibly financial district
WTC - construction site
St. Paul Chapel
Woolworth Building
Brooklyn Bridge

Chinatown
SOHO
St. Patrick's old Cathedral (on northern edge of Little Italy)
Greenwich Village
The Arch at Washington Sq.

Macys
Look at holiday windows on 5th avenue and madison
U.N. building
Chrysler Building
Grand Central Station
Bryant Park
Time Square
Toys R Us
Broadway (Broadway is a street that runs the entire 13 mile length of Manhattan Island. I suspect you mean the Times Square area.)
Top of the Rock
RockefellEr Center and tree
Radio City Music Hall

FAO Schwartz
Barneys

Central Park
MET Museum
Museum of Natural History
ellenem is offline  
Nov 23rd, 2009, 05:17 AM
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As everyone suggested get a street map and a subway map and you what you do each day will become clearer.

Also try to eat in other areas esepcially residential neigborhoods rather than midtown during Christmas week, the area is nuts.

Also have flexible indoor/outdoor plans if the weather is bad.

The pedestrian traffic that week around Rock Center and Times Square is insane. If you do not have individual cell phones, decide to where to meet if you get split up.
Aduchamp1 is offline  
Nov 23rd, 2009, 05:32 AM
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Unless you really want to see the inside of the SOL and can get a monument pass reserved for the day you want to go on statuecruises.com I agree with Sue, just see it from a distance. While the Staten Island ferry is free, one of the other boat cruises like nywaterway.com will get closer for photos. Goldstar.com is a great website that gets a lot of good discounts on cruises (and now also shows) that's worth checking.

hopstop.com
maps.google.com
are great websites to help you navigate from place to place with options for subway, bus (estimated taxi cost on hopstop) and Google maps has a great feature "search nearby" that will help you find restaurants (or anything) near any given spot.

Menupages.com is a good place for doing your own restaurant research by cuisine, by area. Near your hotel, a few relatively inexpensive places are La Bonne Soup, Le Pain Quotidien (7th ave & 58th st.) and the Burger Joint inside the Parker Meridien hotel (behind a curtain). The Halal carts at 6th ave & 53 st. are VERY popular and another way to eat cheaply. Ellen's Stardust Diner is near your hotel and popular for their kitsch singing waitstaff (more than for their somewhat overpriced diner food). Guantanamera is a good Cuban retaurant on 9th ave. and if you order carefully, the food is not spicy.

There's an area of Brooklyn, Dyker Heights, with over the top Xmas lights and a co. that does of tour of it. http://www.asliceofbrooklyn.com/

While I totally agree you should try to buy theater tix in advance, right now many of the discounts posted expire before your trip. Hopefully after Thanksgiving they will extend some of these offers. If not, consider using the TKTS booth at the South STreet Seaport which is always less crowded than Times Square. Info at tdf.org/tkts The singing Xmas tree at the Seaport is fun.

The Met is overwhelming but they do offer free highlights tours which might be a good idea. It's also got a gorgeous Xmas tree that they light daily around 4:30. It's open late Fri and Sat. nights. Website for more info is Metmuseum.org It's also a great place for gifts as are all of the museum shops. Speaking of which, don't miss the main library at Fifth & 42 st. which also has a great shop inside. If your daughter is a "Sex and the City" fan, the library played a big role in the movie. Bryant Park is behind it, one of sevearl spots for ice skating and Xmas market.

Make sure to see Wollman skating rink in Central Park (and maybe go skating) which is not that far from Bow Bridge and the zoo. http://www.centralpark.com/pages/top...st-places.html There are free walking tours daily.

As for your groupings, the only one that's not at all accurate is the
FAO Schwartz
Toys R Us
Macys
Barneys

While Barney's isn't far from FAO Schwartz, they're not near he other 2 which are not that near each other. FAO Schwartz is near Tiffany's, across from the Plaza hotel and Bergdorf Goodman.

Enjoy your trip.
mclaurie is offline  
Nov 23rd, 2009, 07:20 AM
  #7  
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Thanks for all the great quick responses. As far as my groupings, they werent being done by geographic location on purpose. They were just listings in order of what I wrote down. LOL. Thanks for putting them in groupings.

As far as statue of liberty, i am ordering tickets today, they still have them. I would be happy seeing it from a distance but my DD just has to go up close. Same with WTC, she just wants to see the area.

Also, I am ordering Broadway tickets now, the discount is not worth it to me to try the wait at the booth. Thanks again. I am going to try to start planning the daily itinerary. Trying to keep it as flexible as possible for weather or just things we find to do once we get there.
coachdj5 is offline  
Nov 23rd, 2009, 07:51 AM
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You can't get into the Statue without advacne tickets - and if you don;t have them it's too late now. Agree it you're not doing Ellis Island just view the Statue - from a distance - from the Staten Island ferry (and a great view of the skyline on the way back). If you do go to the SoL ferry you need to arrive far in advance - there is a ticekt buyers line, thena security line (about 45 minutes at the busy time of year) before you can get on the ferry. So for an *;30 ferry you should be there berfore 7:30. Best way to get there is the subway to South Ferry.

As for meals - $30 for lunch for two is VERY basic - as in a sandwich and soda at one of the sit down delis. Or you can try for the lunch specials - often around $10 - but more ith tax and tip - at some of the ethnic places.

For dinners - tell us what type of food you like and a budget and people will ry to help. Just understand that in NYC a dinner for $25 for one is listed in the cheap eats section.
nytraveler is offline  
Nov 23rd, 2009, 08:48 AM
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I just purchased tickets to SOL, going up to pedastal--the only ones sold out were the crown, and that was way too many stairs to climb anyway. LOL.

As far as dinner, I would say upto $80 for the both of us is okay. We like Italian, burgers, steak, generally anything but Asian type foods.
coachdj5 is offline  
Nov 23rd, 2009, 09:36 AM
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The idea that $25 and under is a cheap meal for dinner is entirely accurate in Manhattan. If I go out to dinner at a pretty nice restaurant and order a glass of wine and a main course (perhaps share a dessert or appetizer) and have coffee, I rarely am able to spend less than $30 to $35 per person after tax and tip. The idea you can go into a restaurant and have a full meal for under $20 (as you might at an Applebee's or Ruby Tuesday's out in the rest of the country) is just not a realistic expectation in Manhattan.

But we do have all the casual dining chains like Baja Fresh, TGI Friday's, and Chipotle here, though prices are slightly higher than out in the rest of the country. Finding a cheap breakfast and/or lunch in Manhattan is easy. Finding a cheap but still pretty good dinner in Manhattan is just not as simple unless you are willing to subsist on hamburgers and pizza.

In NYC, you'll find that a pasta dish at a typical mid-range midtown restaurant will cost about $14. If you share an appetizer or dessert ($8 to $10) and have a soda ($4) or glass of wine ($8 to $10), you can see how the price for two is easily $30 to $35 or so including tax and tip. If you don't drink wine or beer, you'll naturally save some money.

I just had dinner at Cucina di Pesce in the East Village (E. 4th St. and 2nd Ave) on Saturday and was surprised that the prices are still the same as when I started going there many years ago. Most pastas are $10 or less (including the great Sicilian lasagna at $10), and none of the main courses exceeds $18 (most are about $13 or $14). A glass of wine there is about $6. With a full bottle of decent sangiovese, we still paid less than $80 for our meal for two and had both a shared appetizer and dessert and coffee. Was this a "great" meal? Well, no. But it was good, though just a notch higher in quality than something I'd make at home.

Just to be clear, these Olive Garden style prices are not the norm in NYC or in Manhattan, but this is a pretty good restaurant that caters almost entirely to locals. If you go into a residential neighborhood and eat at a popular local restaurant (and don't want something fancy), you can certainly get good food at good prices. But Times Square is simply not one of those neighborhoods since the restaurants cater almost entirely to tourist.

For just a bit more money (up to $40 per person), you can actually get a really good meal in Manhattan. I had wanted to eat at Momofuku Noodle Bar (for just slightly more money ... most main courses are between $15 and $20), but it was packed to the gills, and we had a play to see. And if you were willing to pay $35 per person for food, you can get 3 courses at a really good restaurant like ViceVersa, but you'd end up paying more like $50 per person after getting coffee and drinks, tax, and tip. I'd encourage you to splurge for one really good meal in NYC.

There are several restaurants along 9th Ave in Hell's Kitchen that even fit the bill, though they are few and far between. If you limit yourself to sandwiches and pizza (try John's), and meals at casual dining restaurants, you can certainly keep the bill to about $20 per person for dinner. Or you could go to Second Avenue Deli (on E 33rd Street now) and split an excellent corned beef platter for about $20 per person and get a uniquely NYC kind of meal.

And it's a shame you don't like Asian food. It's much more varied than many inexpensive cuisines, and you can find truly excellent dim sum and uniquely delicious bao and banh mi sandwiches for reasonable prices. We have great Thai restaurants on 9th Ave. where you can get a nice sit-down lunch for $10, and you can't really do that with most other cuisines in NYC.
doug_stallings is offline  
Nov 23rd, 2009, 11:14 AM
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There are lots of places to eat in NYC within you price range that are decent. Taking Asian food off the list does limit your options.

Examples:
Florencia 13 (Mexican-NYU area)
Il Corallo (Soho)
Via Emilia (Grammercy)
Coffee Shop (Union square typical diner food served by AMTM cast offs)

NY Magazine and Time Out NY also have cheap eats guide that should do the trick.

NY Mag: http://nymag.com/restaurants/cheapeats/2009/

Time Out NY:
http://newyork.timeout.com/articles/...thing-under-10
K_brklyn is offline  
Nov 23rd, 2009, 12:37 PM
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Avoid the chain restaurants, they are not priced as at home they are expensive for what you are getting. In the theater district try Roberto Passon (I am a fan thanks to NeoPatrick here on this forum) www.robertopasson.com for dinner with pasta dishes starting at $12, Pre-Theater Menu $22.95, or a prix fixe lunch at $13.95, good food well within your budget, 9th Ave at 50th St. Make reservations to avoid waiting or being shut out all together. For breakfast sure you can grab something from a cart but you're on vacation sit down and enjoy it! One of my favorites is le Pain Quotidien with several location around the city check the website for hours/locations www.lepainquotidien.com

There are so many options for dining in NYC, have a few in mind to get your started so you don't waste time wandering aimlessly or getting frustrated, and then as you see places while you are walking around that you might be interested in check out the menus posted, make notes of the address and come back during your visit.

Have a wonderful time!
Margo_Chester is offline  
Nov 23rd, 2009, 01:05 PM
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Margo, that's funny....Avoid the chain restaurants, but eat at Le Pain Quotidien.
sf7307 is offline  
Nov 23rd, 2009, 01:45 PM
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I have to go with my standard suggestion. Sorry to those who've read it a million times, lol, but if you are downtown, go to Katz. A pastrami on rye runs you about $15, but it is so worth it.
I agree with everyone about Statue of Liberty. I think going past is nice enough.
If you plan on walking the Brooklyn Bridge, go to the River Cafe for dinner. It will cost more but the dinner will be very good and the views magnificent.
Everyone has given wonderful suggestions and I really can't add to it. Enjoy your trip!
writealiving is offline  
Nov 23rd, 2009, 03:27 PM
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sf7307: good point! But what I was referring to were places like Olive Garden & TGI Fridays the things we all have in our hometowns, LPQ is indeed a chain, but with a twist (and fresh food that isn't microwaved and kept hot under a red lamp!)
Margo_Chester is offline  
Nov 23rd, 2009, 03:51 PM
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N.B. The Woolworth Building is well "worth" a visit, but the last time I tried to get inside, a highly aggressive and obnoxious guard wouldn't even let us into the lobby (this was WELL past 9/11 so that couldn't be the reason).

Depending on the weather, I recommend taking the subway to Brooklyn (Church St. exit) and walk west across the Brooklyn Bridge, stopping to read the various placards and enjoying the view of Manhattan from the SOL to the Chrysler Building. The Woolworth Building is a block or two from the western end of the B.B.

BTW, a trip to Katz's for pastrami is NOT something-to-be-squeezed-in-if-and-when-you-have-time, but the highlight of any trip to New York City.
zorrosf is offline  
Nov 23rd, 2009, 03:56 PM
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oops, hit "post" too soon! Regarding the "typical" chain restaurants (like Olive Garden): while at home they may be a cheap place for dinner, in NYC they are more expensive (than at home) and honestly the food just doesn't warrant that kind of money! (ok, sf7307?)

coachdj5, since you will be seeing some theater you might want to consider a few places in the Theater District (again make reservations) as you won't want to be fighting traffic or crowds trying to get back to that area in time for curtain (or you could eat a late dinner after theater) and when you are exploring some of the neighborhoods you can try of the places there.

Not sure exactly when in December you are going (sorry if you gave dates and I missed them), but since your plans include the Radio City Christmas Show you might want to check out the RC Christmas Spectacular Rockettes "Meet and Greet" at the Plaza Hotel Friday, December 4, 2-4pm. Would be kind of fun since you are seeing the show and the lobby areas of the Plaza will be beautifully decorated. There are also tours of the hotel, which I believe are now only on Saturdays at 3:00, they are led by Francis Morrone, who is an excellent guide.
Margo_Chester is offline  
Nov 23rd, 2009, 03:57 PM
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Saw your dates, but maybe the Plaza info will be useful to someone else.
Margo_Chester is offline  
Nov 23rd, 2009, 04:25 PM
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<<>>

Margo, I actually love LPQ - ambiance and food! I was just giving you a hard time
sf7307 is offline  
Nov 23rd, 2009, 04:58 PM
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Sorry - not getting into the Woolworth Building is directly related to 9/11. Most NYC office buildings have much greater security since then (to get into mine you have to sign in at the desk - and if your name is not on the approved list someone has to be called to allow your entrance. You are then given a coded card that lets you through the blocked entrance to the specific elevator bank going to your floors. Then you have a receptionist to deal with.

NYC has been on orange alert permanently since 9/11 - and most office buildings are simply not allowing random people inside.

As for dinner $80 is doable for two - but tight if you want more than a basic meal (a glass of wine will be at least $8 and dessert/coffee will definitely put you over the top. It;s unfortunate you don;t like Asian since that cuts out a lot of options. for that budget you shouldn't try for steak - it's unlikely to be good. There are a lot of decent neighborhood Italian places you can do in that budget. And Norma's at the Parker Meridien has great burgers for $22 (check out menupages.com for the rest of the menu).
nytraveler is offline  

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