Help with my NYC itinerary, please?

Nov 1st, 2017, 07:32 AM
Original Poster
Join Date: Dec 2013
Posts: 37
Help with my NYC itinerary, please?

Early November visit, staying in an apt at 1st Ave and 53rd street (Lenox Hill, correct?) for five days. I haven't been to NYC since about 1985, husband has never been there.

Two seniors who can walk, but not long distances. Standing in long lines is not a great idea, either. Stairs serve only to painfully remind us of our old age, so I assume that buses and taxi are a better solution than the subway? We do not expect to see everything - and we don't care to run around like crazy. We have tickets to a broadway show one evening. Obviously, we're not going clubbing

Things we know we want to do: 9/11 museum, Circle Line and/or Staten Island Ferry (which???), Grand Central Station, Chinatown, Washington and/or Union Square, Times Square , Natural History Museum. NOT interested in any art museums (sorry - just not our thing). We want to visit a bar on a high floor, Empire State Bldg, or TOTR to see the skyline - in particular so husband can really see how huge Central Park really is.

I am also considering a guided group tour kind of thing - mostly to avoid lines and help organize our time and get a grand overview of stuff. We have traveled internationally a lot and rarely use one of those, preferring to be independent. That said, this may be a time where it makes sense?

I appreciate the suggestions and help of everyone.
jkgourmet1 is offline  
Nov 1st, 2017, 08:24 AM
Join Date: May 2003
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Most important: almost all short term vacation rentals in NYC are ILLEGAL. One requirement for it to be legal is that the building have no more than 2 units. That is very rare in your neighborhood.
Visit Times Square after your show to see it lit up.
Visit TOTR at sunset to see Central Park in daylight and watch the city lights go on.
Book the 9/11 Museum in advance as tickets are timed.
abram is offline  
Nov 1st, 2017, 08:29 AM
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First, that neighborhood is called Turtle Bay. Lenox Hill is in the east 70s closer to Lexington Avenue (the hospital in that area is named after the neighborhood). Yours is a fairly boring neighborhood, with little to offer food-wise or tourist-wise, and it's not really near anything, requiring either bus rides or long walks, yet still not quiet or charming for the most part (there are some brownstone-lined streets that are more charming, but the area is mostly drab. But you are near the tram to Roosevelt Island, so you may want to do that one day. You're also an easy bus ride downtown to the UN, which is well worth seeing.

If you have difficulty walking and negotiating steps, then I do think buses are going to serve you well, as they do most of the seniors in NYC. They're especially useful to go across town. But there are times you will need and want to use the subway. For instance, you may not want to pay $25 each way to get to the 9/11 Memorial and Museum. The subway will get you there in half the time during the day for 1/4 of the cost, and it's worthwhile to do this if you can spend a longer time in the area doing some sightseeing. There's a lot of history to see downtown. Then you could have lunch or a snack in Chinatown, which is nearby.

I don't know what your limits are for walking. I consider anything more than a mile "a lot", so I'm thinking of things that are less than a mile (about 12 blocks) apart as doable. You may not.

You could also, for instance, walk down to the Staten Island Ferry (or take the bus down). Why might you want to do this over the Circle Line? Well, this ferry is free and it's not as long or boring a ride, and it takes you right by the Statue of Liberty. Depending on the weather, the Circle Line isn't the most fun thing to do on a cold or rainy late fall day. Consider doing the Staten Island ferry at dusk (so around 4pm starting next week). It's a beautiful trip back to Manhattan with all the lights.

You don't say how long you're going to be here, but that could be a day for you. If you would instead rather do the Circle Line, then combine that with a trip to the Intrepid, which is next door. You can take a city bus all the way there, or you could take a taxi.

I think you also need to install a taxi app on your phone. Set up either Uber or Lyft or Via. Via offers $5 shared taxi rides in most of Manhattan and is a good value if you are trying to avoid the subway (double the price but half the trouble!!). Uber and Lyft also offer shared rides. If you're looking for a bus or subway substitute and don't have $25 to pay for each ride, then one of these is a good option.

Your interests seem a little vague to me (Washington and/or Union Square). What precisely do you want to see there? It would probably be beneficial to you to buy a good guidebook so you can get the lay of the land and see what your choices are. Get one that focuses on neighborhoods so you can combine your sightseeing opportunities and minimize your walking.

You'll see plenty of Times Square if you go to the theater. More than any human might want or need. But I'd urge you to consider more theater nights or other nighttime activities. Our city is good at night even if you're a senior. One of the best things it does. Get out, have some dinners, and see a few shows (we have music too ... all kinds, from jazz to big band to cabaret, which you just won't find anywhere else).

By the way, if you are steak eaters, you are not terribly far from one of my favorite places to eat: Le Relais de Venise L'Entrecote at 52nd/Lexington Ave. It serves only one thing: salad followed by steak and fries with a delicious special sauce. There's no menu, and they don't offer any other options, so definitely don't do this if you want fish or other meats. But they have good, cheap wine and desserts as well.
doug_stallings is online now  
Nov 1st, 2017, 08:35 AM
Join Date: Aug 2013
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If you show your Social Security card to the booth that sells Metrocards, you will get a senior discount. It is only good for one round trip, however. Please note, they do not sell the Metrocards on buses.

Washington Square and Union Square are about a 15 minute walk from one another. Union Square has a great a greenmarket on Mon, Wed, Fri, Sat. Mon's is much smaller.

If you go to Washington Sq, be sure to walk one block north on Fifth Ave to see the Washington Mews. That area is generally more interesting than the one around Union Square unless you like shops that sell expensive tile and kitchen appliances.

A walk along Bleecker St heading west will have all sorts of shops.
IMDonehere is online now  
Nov 1st, 2017, 11:47 AM
Join Date: May 2005
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Nic work, telling somepne that where they are staying is illegal!

Please do the same when I have friends to come visit me in the same area.

How in the world does anyone know where these folks are headed??? They have already decided upon where to stay and are not asking about that aspect of their trip.

I will be happy to help as I live about a block from that location; let me know if you want any info on local places to eat, etc.
ekscrunchy is offline  
Nov 1st, 2017, 12:52 PM
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IMDonehere, a driver's license or passport won't work - it has to be a social security card? Does that even have your birth date on it?
sf7307 is offline  
Nov 1st, 2017, 12:56 PM
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doug - great information. I'm grateful. I would say our limit for walking is about 1/2 mile, maybe a bit more.

Re; Washington square I grew up in Great Neck in the 60's and 70's. I used to pretend I was Joni Mitchell and bring my guitar to WS or Central Park. Gave me a decent amount of pocket money. So I guess it was a little nostalgia. After what you all have said, there are clearly better places to spend our time.

Re: illegal short term accommodations. We're NOT renting the place. It's not Airbnb. We are doing a home exchange. No money is involved. Simply put, we are guests in their (second) home, while they are guests in our home in Raleigh.
jkgourmet1 is offline  
Nov 1st, 2017, 02:12 PM
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NYC is cracking down on illegal rentals.
Buildings are cracking down on vacation rentals, sublets, and home exchanges that violate building rules.
I have read many horror stories on other travel boards from people who arrived wirh no place to stay or who were kicked out during their stay.
If I can help prevent that, I'm happy.
abram is offline  
Nov 1st, 2017, 02:41 PM
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You will find your doppelganger, guitar on knee, playing by the fountain in Washington Square. Since you have such personal memories of Washington Square, you should definitely stop by. I think you'll be pleased to see how nice it looks these days, yet how it is still peopled by street performers, musicians, chess players, students, families, dog walkers--a cross-section of the Village.
ellenem is offline  
Nov 1st, 2017, 04:35 PM
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So for transport purposes think of 6 blocks up or down and 2 avenues east or west. Beyond that you’ll need a bus or taxi.
doug_stallings is online now  
Nov 1st, 2017, 06:47 PM
Join Date: Aug 2013
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Sorry, I meant Medicare card but from the MTA website here are all the acceptable forms of ID

Accepted forms of ID for a Senior Metro Card are:
a valid Driver's License (or legal equivalent issued to non-drivers) from any state,
valid passport from any country,
a NYC Department of Aging ID card,
Medicare card (Medicaid not accepted),
Access-A-Ride ID card,
MTA Reduced-Fare ID card (pre-1995).
IMDonehere is online now  
Nov 1st, 2017, 07:43 PM
Join Date: Jul 2008
Posts: 147
Fun tour (includes lunch) that involved little walking (some photo opps); leaves from Union Square area.
mocha_dolce is offline  
Nov 2nd, 2017, 07:29 AM
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Abram, Home exchange is specifically exempt for NYC Multi housing laws. As far as condo and co-op boards, we are 'friends- of the owners which isn't far off the truth. We keep in touch with most of our past hosts, and became life long close friends with one.
jkgourmet1 is offline  
Nov 2nd, 2017, 08:42 AM
Join Date: May 2005
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I figured you were staying with someone you knew, that is why I was a little peeved about the immediate rental-police presence on this thread.

Anyway, I forgot to mention a cute little bakery where you can have Continental breakfast, or sweets. It's tiny but the baked goods are, well, good. Just down the block from your flat on East 53rd Street. No relation to the Eclair of the past, which also had a branch in this neighborhood:

There is also a Starbucks on First Avenue.

And this Greek place is a popular breakfast option; open all day. They have a sister place diagonally across the street, Ethos, almost always crowded. Good enough.

And this place, French with emphasis on mussels, is perenially popular although I am not a huge fan. (but Ii have not been in years so who knows?) It is half a block from where you will be:

One more French-style spot, on 51st Street and 1st Avenue, also a local hangout:
ekscrunchy is offline  
Nov 2nd, 2017, 09:37 AM
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eks -- How is Deux Amis? I've walked by many times but never stopped in.
Fra_Diavolo is online now  
Nov 2nd, 2017, 04:48 PM
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Warning people that they may be walking into a scam - and/or an apt that may be puled from the market so the "host" can avoid being evicted or having to pay fines of $1500 per night and up.

Never mind that you are renting from criminals and legal tenants in the building may be hostile - since you are a threat to their security.
nytraveler is offline  
Nov 2nd, 2017, 06:18 PM
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I think the idea that neighbors would be in-your-face hostile would be a stretch. Barring extraordinary circumstances, the worst thing that will happen is they'll just have to find other accommodations. Why not just say it's against NYC regulations so there are city wide crackdowns, and move on?

Are you interested in design, jk? I know you said you're not interested in art. The Smithsonian Cooper Hewitt is art-y, I guess, but it's a highly interactive museum on the topic of design and I loved it.

Also the Met doesn't have a fixed entry fee and is well worth going into for just the Egypt wing and the NYC architectural remnants. The latter especially is amazing.

Another highlight for me was walking the highline.

Have a great trip!
marvelousmouse is online now  
Nov 3rd, 2017, 02:50 AM
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If the OP has any hestiations about the building I can walk over and check.
ekscrunchy is offline  
Nov 3rd, 2017, 05:25 AM
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Sigh. NYTRAVELER, I sincerely appreciate your concern, but this is a home exchange, which is specifically exempt from the NYC Multi housing laws. See my post above for links.

Guidebook legend Arthur Frommer calls home exchange "the single most sensible, logical and intelligent method of vacationing." We have done 15 exchanges since 2008 ranging from various domestic locations (including a waterfront home in Cape Coral FL for 3 months) to Ajijic Mexico. Lanzarote in the Canary Islands and Capetown South Africa (for a month)

Never had a problem. In fact, most have exceeded our expectations.
jkgourmet1 is offline  
Nov 6th, 2017, 07:04 AM
Join Date: Jul 2007
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I think Washington Square is lovely especially in the late afternoon as the light gets more golden. Other areas I think are nice to visit are: West Village (I went to a club called The Groove and cover was only $5 to enjoy live entertainment), East Village, Nolita (north of Little Italy), Chelsea Market and the area around the south end of the High Line, and parts of Brooklyn (Williamsburg, Carroll Gardens, Dumbo... although you would probably use subway to get there which is not ideal for you).

Some fun places to eat while you are out and about: Milk Bar (several locations) for the soft serve ice cream with crunchy cereal topping, Katz's deli in the lower east side (cash only), 32nd street in Koreatown (Kunjip), and for high end Greek food: The Greek, in Tribeca.

What home exchange website do you use/like?
ncounty is offline  

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