help needed on NYC for Dec. trip

Old Dec 13th, 2008, 09:47 AM
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help needed on NYC for Dec. trip

We are planning on arriving at 10:50 am at LGA on 12/20 staying at the Benjamin. We are traveling with another couple and plan on getting a taxi to the hotel on 50th Street. We plan on visiting St. Patrick's and walking along 5th Avenue and then after dark go to the top of the Rockefellar Center. We are looking for a place to eat in the area moderately priced (25-30 per person) and suggestions for a place to listen to live music - preferably jazz. On Sunday we are going to a matinee of Boeing Boeing at the Longacre - dinner suggestions? On Monday we are wanting to go to Ellis Island - where can we get tickets to the ferry ahead of time? Seeing the Radio City Christmas Show at 8:00 pm - suggestions for dinner in the area? We appreciate all suggestions!
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Old Dec 13th, 2008, 10:40 AM
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ttt
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Old Dec 13th, 2008, 12:57 PM
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Can you clarify your budget? Is that $20-$30 per person for the whole dinner, including wine, tax and tip - which would be super budget - or $20 -$30 for the entree - which would be more in the moderate range?

If you can clarify that and tell us what types of food you like people can make specific recos.
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Old Dec 13th, 2008, 06:43 PM
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Our budget was under $30 for an entree per person. We enjoy trying any type of food.
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Old Dec 14th, 2008, 02:13 AM
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www.robertopasson.com in theatre
district is a favorite if many
fodorites.
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Old Dec 14th, 2008, 10:32 AM
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The area around the Benjamin isn't my favorite for restaurants. But I can make one recommendation.

I like the cafe at Aquavit on east 55th (less than 10 minutes walk from your hotel). Everything on the menu is under $30, and they have a little prix-fixe menu for about $35 (I think it's up a few dollars). It's Scandinavian food.

Roberto Passon is a great pre-theater restaurant, so I definitely second that.

You must buy your advance tickets for Ellis Island online. I'd recommend the same for Top of the Rock, but only if you know about when you're planning to go (sunset is actually the best time).

The crowds right now are mind-boggling. Make all your dinner reservations now (today if you can) and buy those tickets to Ellis Island now as well. Know that the trip takes a minimum of 5 to 6 hours, so if you have tickets for later that night, I'd try to get on an early ferry (but take number 4 subway to Bowling Green for the ferry and allow about 30 minutes travel time ... don't try to take a cab on Monday morning; it will be very crowded on the subway but the traffic is horrible during rush hour going down to the Wall Street area).

Don't eat near Rock Center. Everything is overpriced and mediocre, and I can't think of anything reasonably close. I'm sure someone else is better at restaurants there than I. Or do Aquavit on that day instead of your first.

I'm not a jazz fan so I have absolutely nothing to say there.
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Old Dec 14th, 2008, 11:34 AM
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Many people think Top of the Rock is better during the day (or at sunset) so you can see Central Park. Since the park isn't lit, it's a big black hole at night.

The closest decent jazz places to your hotel would be Iridium and Birdland nearer Radio City and the theaters on the west side. Chuck Mangionne is at Iridium on the 20/21
http://www.iridiumjazzclub.com/
Here's the Birdland line up
http://www.birdlandjazz.com/

Dizzy's Coca Cola is another great jazz venue in the Time Warner building at Columbus Circle. Lovely views of the park and good jazz.

Book for SOL here http://statuecruises.com/

I agree that at this time of year eating near Rock. Ctr. is a zoo. If you can get a reservation, Morrell's Wine bar in Rock Ctr. is not a bad option. There's also Fig & Olive on east 52 st. http://www.fig-and-olive.com/menu.php

There's no real reason that you have to eat diner near the theater after Boeing Boeing. Why not head downtown or uptown and get to see a different part of the city. There are loads of good options if you give us some direction on type of food. North Square in the village inside the Washington Square hotel is one idea and there's music there on some nights. Also jazz nearby at the Bar Next Door affiliated with La Lanterna. The Garage, another jazz place is nearby and they serve dinner too but I think it's a bit pricey.
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Old Dec 14th, 2008, 05:08 PM
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Thanks so much for your help. I did not have much time to plan this trip so your help is very appreciated.
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