New York City 3-4 Day Itinerary Assistance

Old Jul 6th, 2012, 03:14 PM
  #1  
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New York City 3-4 Day Itinerary Assistance

So...I am making progress with my vacation planning for our family vacation Thanks to advice from forum's, we have decided to stay at Croton Pointe Park in Croton on Hudson with our RV. Going to take the Metro North Railroad in to the city for 3 - 4 days. I already got tickets to Peter and the Star Catcher, and are going to go whitewater rafting one day (renting a car.) All I have left to do is figure out how I am going to fit everything else on the list in our 3 - 4 remaining days. I ordered some maps but they have not came yet so I am not exactly sure whats close to each other. Any advice as to what things we can do in one day, on the way, etc. would be very helpful. I am starting to feel a little overwhelmed Thanks in advance.

To Do List (not in any order)

Empire State Building

Ellis Island (want my kids to see this however not really interested in going to the statue of liberty, would rather just see that by boat but according to the national park website, you have to buy one ticket for both, and it's not free!)

Ride Staten Island Ferry

Walk over Brooklyn Bridge

Central Park

Time Square

Rockefeller Center

9/11 Memorial

Wall Street

Grand Central Station
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Old Jul 6th, 2012, 04:58 PM
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Yes - buy those ferry tickets ASAP since they often sell out. You need to arrive at South Ferry about 45 minutes in advance - even with tickets -since boarding the ferry has airport style security - and no large bags or backpacks are allowed. the ferry goes first to Liberty Island but you don;t have to get off -- can just shot photos from the ferry and stay on to Ellis Island. On the way back the ferry goes from Ellis Is direct to Manhattan. Allow about 5 hours for the entire process.

As for the ESB - I would do Top of the rock instead. the lines at ESB (ticket buyers line, then first elevator line to 86, then second elevator line to the stop) can take a couple of hours. ToTR yo can reserve in advance and there will be no line - often there is only a few minutes line if yuo walk up. And IMHO the views are better.

Not sure where you will go white water rafting - wasn't aware they had this anyplace near the city.
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Old Jul 6th, 2012, 04:59 PM
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SZ
 
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Ooh, fun! On one of the days you could go to Central Park in the morning and then visit Rock Center (Top of the Rock or NBC tour, maybe?) and Times Square in the afternoon/evening. Walk to 9th Ave. in the 40s for dinner -- so many great, affordable places to eat. And then go to your show.

Of course, you could spend a whole day in the park, too.

You'll be taking the train to and from Grand Central each day, so you won't have any trouble seeing that.

9/11 Memorial, Wall Street, and Staten Island Ferry would all be on the same day. You could probably take the subway to Brooklyn, then walk across the bridge to lower Manhattan to get to the other sights.

Enjoy!
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Old Jul 6th, 2012, 08:44 PM
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Thanks for you help. Do you think this schedule will work? We have 4 days so we can do other stuff or have no schedule that day and just enjoy walking around but I do want to make sure we have some sort of schedule.

Day 1
Wall Street
9/11 Memorial
Ellis Island/Statue of Liberty
Staten Island Ferry

Day 2
Central Park
Rockefeller Bldg
Museum of Natural History

Day 3
Empire State Bldg
Times Square
Broadway Play @ 7 p.m. in Time Square District
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Old Jul 6th, 2012, 09:06 PM
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Day 1
If you're already spending several hours taking the ferry to Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island, there's no reason to take the Staten Island ferry too.

There's not much to see on Wall Street as you can no longer tour the NY Stock Exchange

Day 2
Rockefeller Center is a complex of office buildings, There is no Rockefeller building. What did you want to see there?
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Old Jul 6th, 2012, 09:10 PM
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I called when ordering my own tickets to Ellis Island and asked about what we could bring. What we were told by phone was that "a day pack" was allowed but not an overlarge hiker's backpack. We did bring a day-pack, my grade-schooler's backpack, and had no problems. Given the heat lately, it is worth noting that we were allowed to bring water bottles onto the boat.

We had bought timed tickets for 9 am, were hustled on early to the 8:30 trip with people from tour buses. We could not get pictures of us with the statue behind us while on the boat. It was just too crowded. We HAD to get off to do that. We had already planned to get off and do the ranger talk so for us that was not a problem. We really enjoyed the day and would recommend it.

Hope this helps.
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Old Jul 7th, 2012, 05:33 AM
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Well, no - if you stay on the boat how would yo get a picture of yourself in front of the statue? It's on the center of the island - not next to the boat/dock.

As for Rock Center - go there to see Top of the Rock - otherwise not sure why you want to see it. Just a complex of large office buildings and the whole midtown area (23rd to 59th Sts is that) with an empty skating rink and a couple of statues.

When going through Grand Central do take a tour around - it's absolutely gorgeous - all of the original design work restored. And if you have a chance go to the main branch of the NY Public Library. This is a research - not a lending library - which always has fascinating exhibits and the reading room is incredibly beautiful. (The NYC public library is, I believe, the second largest in the world - after the library of congress.)
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Old Jul 7th, 2012, 06:22 AM
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"Well, no - if you stay on the boat how would yo get a picture of yourself in front of the statue? It's on the center of the island - not next to the boat/dock."

The boat route passes in front of the statue before reaching the dock. A photo would have been possible then, if the boat had not been crowded with the tour groups packed at the railing, blocking the possibility of a photo.
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Old Jul 7th, 2012, 10:35 AM
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Yes, but it's a tour boat to the SoL - the chance of finding a lace on the boat with no passengers trying to see the statue is zero.

I often see tourists on the sidewalk near where I work trying to get photos - of the chrsyler building - and obviously of a person or group in front. And naturally - they can't - since the sidewalks are full of people going to or from work or doing errands or whatever. I've even seen the photographer hold up his hand - trying to stop people from walking in front of his camera. Good luck with that - people aren;t going to miss their train home - or be late for work - so this guy can waste 5 minutes to set up a shot on a crowded sidewalk.

It is possible to get such a photo - but you need to do it at dawn -- when the streets aren't mobbed with people.
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Old Jul 7th, 2012, 06:58 PM
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Sorry I was unclear.

I had no expectations that we would be the only passengers on the boat. However, we could not clear enough space between a photographer and my daughter and me to get us and the statue even with lots of other passengers next to us. And yes, if you have a wee bit more room, you can get excellent photos from the boat. I did get some of Just the Statue that were pretty decent (for me).
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Old Jul 8th, 2012, 08:02 PM
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bm
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Old Jul 12th, 2012, 07:32 AM
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Hi rvtripwith4, I would make a few tweaks to your updated itinerary.

First, if "Day 1" is really your first day in NYC, I would make your Day 3 your Day 1 (of course with the exception of your theater reservation!). I think it's a lot to expect of yourselves to hustle down to the tip of Manhattan on your first day. You'll be learning how to navigate transportation: first time on Metro North, getting your Metrocards for the week, etc. And I can guarantee that when you step off that train into Grand Central and then out onto the street, it will be like no other place you've been in the States. Take that first day to wander around without a timed ticket or long queues to worry about!

Day 1 could be:
- Grand Central Tour
- See the lobby of the Chrysler Building (next door and well worth it)
- Then head east to UN?
- Walk up Park Avenue to 49th Street (through the "tunnel" walkway in the Helmsley Building), turn left and cross over to St. Patricks Cathedral and Rockefeller Center; Top of the Rock if you want to go during daylight
- Continue west to Times Square (though it's more impressive at night!)
- At 8th Ave and 44th Street, enter the subway system and buy your Metrocards, then take the A/C/E subway downtown to 14th Street and walk west to the Hudson River
- High Line Park starts at 14th Street and heads north through Chelsea; you also could walk north through the park along the Hudson

On the day that you go to Ellis Island, time it so that you will head straight there once you arrive at GCT. You can take the downtown 4/5 (but not 6) train to Bowling Green, which places you right at the tip of Manhattan. Leave yourselves about 30 minutes for the subway ride and another 15-20 to walk over to the ferry line. (The walk to the ferry doesn't take that long but there will be lots of distractions: buskers, t-shirt vendors, street musicians, war memorials, and of course the view of the harbor...)

FWIW, tourists take the Staten Island ferry as a sort of "poor man's" view of the Statue of Liberty. Since you're paying the $$ - and taking the time - to go out to Liberty and Ellis Islands, no need to do the other! And since your ferry ticket includes both islands, you might as well make a quick stop at Liberty to see the grand dame up close. (I'd do it after your visit to Ellis.)
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Old Jul 12th, 2012, 07:39 AM
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A further comment regarding doing the views from The Top of the Rock (Rockefeller Center) instead of the Empire State Building. The view from the Top of the Rock has something much greater than the view from the Empire State -- a view OF the Empire State Building!


While I'm no expert on taking pictures from the boat to Ellis and Statue of Liberty -- my experience on the Staten Island Ferry is that even when it is jammed with people, most will gladly step aside to let you take a picture. In fact many will agree or even offer to take a picture of you. And because you really can't often get a full picture of the Statue plus a person in front of it when you are standing ON the island, you might even get a better picture FROM the boat.
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Old Jul 12th, 2012, 11:10 AM
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But not if everyone else is standing along the rail trying to get their own pictures. Getting photos is fine - but do plan how to do it in advance - and don;t expect that everyone else will not be doing the same.
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Old Jul 12th, 2012, 03:23 PM
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To refer to Rockefeller Center as "just a complex of large office buildings....with an empty skating rink and a couple of statues" is ludicrous! Rockefeller Center justifiably ranks as one of the iconic and most popular sites/sights in Manhattan.
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Old Jul 12th, 2012, 03:44 PM
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I'm not a big expert on NYC, but my husband and I did take our 1st weekend trip there in March. I agree with others who say the Staten Island Ferry trip is unnecessary if you're going on the Statue of Liberty/Ellis Island ferry. My hubby & I didn't realize there was a difference and it wasted some of our time hopping on the Staten Island Ferry.

"Go to the Empire State Building" instead of the Top of the Rock observation tower. I say this because the ESB is such an iconic landmark, and I am proud to say that I went to its top. We went to the top of both, but next time I would instead take a tour (I believe you make reservations and there's a cost) of the NBC studios at 30 Rock. Of course you want to see the famous skating rink there.

I loved every minute I was in NYC. When we take our teenage son for a visit, the things I mentioned are the changes we'll make from the first visit. We also saw Central Park from the Gray Line tour bus (had a great experience with them) but didn't get to walk in it, nor did we have time for Grand Central Station, so I will try to get them in next time.

I agree, it can be overwhelming! Hope your crew appreciates all the work you're doing to ensure you make the most of your time visiting all these wonderful, wonderful places in NYC!
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Old Jul 12th, 2012, 03:55 PM
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One more thing, you mentioned that the maps you ordered hadn't arrived yet. I got a NYC travel guide book, sort of pocket-sized, at my local library which helped tremendously. I got "Frommer's New York City Day by Day" which had a pretty understandable fold-out map. It helped me situate myself and where things were located. I got it ahead of time and studied it, then got it again just before we left on our trip and took it with me.
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Old Jul 15th, 2012, 09:08 PM
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I just wanted to clarify again. We weren't trying to be right next to the rail. That was just too much of a crush to even get to the rail. We were okay with other people being in the picture too, but it was just so crowded, the photographer could hardly back up enough to get more than just our faces and mostly some guy's hat more than the statue. It was kind of funny, really.

I had been told photos would be great from the boat and no need to get off at Liberty Island since you can't climb up in the statue right now. But based on our experience, I would recommend you get off the boat to take pictures at the base. Far better.

Also, Ggreen, once the boat leaves Ellis Island, it does not stop at Liberty Island--or at least our boat certainly didn't. Pretty sure this is always the case: You have to stop at Liberty Island FIRST. Feel free to contact statue cruises to see if there are exceptions.
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