New York questions for the locals and experts

Old Jan 26th, 2016, 10:16 PM
  #1  
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New York questions for the locals and experts

I am trying to plan our family trip to New York this June and have some more specific questions that I would really appreciate some help with.

My 16 year old son and husband are planning to visit Liberty, including reservations for the crown, and Ellis islands. I don't see any timeframe listed on the Statue cruises website. They only suggest taking an early ferry. How much time should I allot?

I can't decide if we should do a walking tour of graffiti art in Williamsburg or walk the bridge and see Coney Island, Dumbo, etc. Are either of these worth a day in your opinion?

If we decide on the latter, should we consider hiring a car for the day and feel free to offer suggestions on drivers/ companies.

What are the odds of getting 4 tickets for sleeping beauty or the Humans or maybe Beautiful from TKTS day of performance on a Wed or Fri?

Where do we find the best shakes and old school hamburgers? Not looking for fancy $50 burgers?

Where are the best hamantashen and bagels?

Where is the best breakfast on the UWS?

Top of the Rock or Empire State observation deck?

Thank you to all who respond. I appreciate the input.
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Old Jan 27th, 2016, 12:14 AM
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Yikes, I lost 20 minutes of work

Old time burgers
Pauls Da Burger Joint
COrner Bistro

I usually do not have shakes but for a real old timey place that is a neighborhood joint is Ray's on Ave A. across from Tompkins Square Park. It is not pizza, but a hole in the wall with cranky ole Ray. People used to leave their guitars there so others can pick them up. Shakes, egg creams.

_________

Go to Brooklyn Heights. Great residential architecture. the view from the Promenade has been seen on 1/2 million movies and TV shows and interesting stores and restaurants on Atlantic Ave.

I went to high school in Coney Island, not worth the schlep. All of sudden there are chain restaurants. If you want to travel that far by subway go to Brighton Beach and see the Russian enclave.

Where are the best hamantashen
Moishe's makes them all year round
Check with the following to see if they make the at other times besides Passover
Breads Bakery
Orwashers

Bagels
Ess-A-Bagels-the one on First Avenue has not re-opened
Murray's
Kosssar's

Black Seed is the rage-I don't get it.
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Old Jan 27th, 2016, 05:10 AM
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Do not wait until you arrive for show tickets. Go to broadwaybox.com in advance (up to about 3 months) and get discount codes. Then contact the official ticket seller for the show and use the codes to get tickets at the discount price. This will give you a better choice of seats and avoid wasting time standing on line while on vacation.

For Statue of Liberty you need to get tickets to the Crown ASAP since they sell out months in advance. This will tell you what ferry you ned to take. Be aware that even with ferry tickets you need to get there 45 minutes in advance since there is airline type security to get on the ferry - no large backpacks or bags and your bag will be searched.

I would not go to Coney Island, which is a long trek on the subway, unless you are a fan of old-fashioned amusement parks or want to see a mediocre aquarium.
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Old Jan 27th, 2016, 06:24 AM
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Basically, I tell people to allow a minimum of 5 hours if they want to see everything, and that's still going to give you a relatively short amount of time at Ellis Island. That's why you should get a timed ticket for an early ferry. As @nytraveler says buy those asap.

On the UWS, it's really brunch that's popular (especially on weekends). But it really depends on what you are looking for. It would be easier to give recs for best specific breakfast foods you want to try. Sarabeth's is generally a good breakfast/brunch spot (but not good otherwise) but expensive. Ironically, going out for the "best breakfast" is something I rarely do, and I never do it on the UWS. Too bad Popover Cafe is gone. I did like that.

I've not heard anything about "Sleeping Beauty" on Broadway, so I have no comment there. You will almost certainly find TKTS tickets for Beautiful and probably for the Humans (which is excellent but may not appeal to your son at all). But if you want to see a specific show it's better to find a discount code and buy a ticket in advance. June is a very busy tourist month in NYC, so the lines at TKTS will be long (you can save a bit of time often by going to the South Street Seaport office, where you can buy matinee tickets a day in advance). You may not get good seats, but the Humans at least is in the smallest Broadway house with good sightlines everywhere, and the Stephen Sondheim theater where Beautiful plays, is also excellent and has good seats almost everywhere.

Personally, I'd walk the Brooklyn Bridge over a graffiti tour any day, but going over the bridge puts you in a completely different neighborhood than DUMBO, which is under the Manhattan Bridge. Still, there's a lot to see in Brooklyn, so definitely spend some time there. I'd also skip Coney Island, which is seedy and not very interesting to me ... plus a long slog. But it's definitely not worth it to use a car service for most of Brooklyn, which is accessible by subway.
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Old Jan 27th, 2016, 07:27 AM
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Thank you so much. I knew you would all offer great advice and honest opinions. You are all in agreement about Coney Island and I will heed your advice, " seedy" and " slog" are experiences we try to avoid on vacation.

Doug_Stallings- Thank you for the Liberty timeframe. I won't plan on anything with the guys until late afternoon or evening. I'd love to hear any suggestions for Brooklyn. We will walk the bridge, visit Brooklyn Heights, and ???. Are there any shops family owned / operated with handmade goods? There was a tour from made in Brooklyn which focuses on local goods, but it was 18 and older only,not sure why. I believe Sleeping Beauty is at The Met opera house in June. I didn't specify ballet, my fault. We will purchase advance tickets for one show ,but I thought we'd take our chances on a second.

Nytraveler- I appreciate the heads up for security at the ferry. That's something I wouldn't have known to plan for. Question. Does the Statue Cruises advance purchase guarantee a spot on a particular ferry/ time at the crown etc or does it just guarantee that once you get there, you will be able to climb to the crown and get to Ellis island from there. Is it kind of an open ended thing or specific times for everything? The website was unclear.

IMDonehere- Sorry about the work. I've had that happen a couple of times and it's frustrating. I will check out the burger and shake suggestions as well as bagels etc to see what we can fit in depending on where we're at .You just made my kids' day. They love a good burger and shake. You are becoming my personal zagat. Many thanks.
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Old Jan 27th, 2016, 07:52 AM
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The Statue Cruises is a timed ferry ticket, with various options for entry on the island. But it's all timed because of the demand, but the only time that matters is the ferry TO the island; after that some people move along quickly and some take their time. You can move on whenever you wish, and there's no timing for Ellis Island, so you just jump on the next ferry. Same for going back to Battery Park. It will be hot on the island and hot in the statue itself. Not a pleasant thing on a summer day (even early summer). But if they aren't too tired, it's very convenient to walk over to the Brooklyn Bridge from there. It's not more than 20 minutes by foot.

I like the shakes at Lexington Candy Shop, but the food is just so-so (but it's a fun experience and very old-fashioned); they also serve a decent breakfast, but it's a bit pricey for what you get ... but this is on the east side, not the west side. I love the burgers at Shake Shack (very old school), but I do not like the shakes there (concretes are better and quite good).
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Old Jan 27th, 2016, 09:35 AM
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You are welcome. There are two stores your son might like.


Evolution on Spring Street

https://theevolutionstore.com/


Forbidden Planet on Broadway

http://www.fpnyc.com/
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Old Jan 27th, 2016, 10:30 AM
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For burgers and shakes, we liked the Brooklyn Diner on 57th (not the one on 43rd -- too many tourists).

http://www.brooklyndiner.com/menu

Also loved Jackson Hole.

http://jacksonholeburgers.com/64th-street/

Will Beautiful still be around in June? I thought I read that it was closing.
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Old Jan 27th, 2016, 01:09 PM
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IMDonehere- How did you know? Those both look like stores that he would like, particularly Forbidden Planet. Thanks again.

I love, love,love all of the restaurant recommendations. I read maitaitom's trip report and there were a couple of nicer places that he really liked too. We always try to do one nice dinner. Unfortunately we often get full before we have a chance to eat everything we want to, one of the challenges of visiting a city that has everything to offer.

Doug_Stallings- we did try Lexington Candy Shop on our last trip and I agree. The clarification on Statue Cruises is very helpful.

On another note. We are going to see The King and I and one of the options available on Wed or Thurs night are front row center orchestra. I'm not a huge fan of front row, but the other possibility is another $60 per ticket making them $210 each and ouch that hurts a little. How bad is front row at the Vivian Beaumont theater?
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Old Jan 27th, 2016, 01:22 PM
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While it wouldn't be my choice, it might not be so bad, but I think the ship that comes on stage at the beginning of the show (and which returns later) sticks out in the audience a bit, so it might be in your way if the actual seats are not well situated, but I think the front row is set back enough that you'll be ok. At the Vivian Beaumont, I'd choose last row over front row and right over left, but if you can save $60 per ticket, then why not. Seeing the dancing up close is nice, and there's a certain amount of spectacle in the production. It is a really wonderful production, and I hope Kelli O'Hara and Ruthie Ann Miles are still around. Sadly, you'll miss Jose Llana, who is filling in again for the King for a few weeks in April and May. He's wonderful, but the current lead, Hoon Lee, may just be on vacation, and he's gotten gotten really excellent reviews. I haven't seen him in the role, but I've seen him in other things, and he's amazing.
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Old Jan 27th, 2016, 02:29 PM
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Hi Cjar, here was our morning going to the Crown of the Statue of Liberty and touring Ellis Island in 2011 (with photos). We pre-booked the first tour of the day to beat the crowds.

http://travelswithmaitaitom.com/chap...give-me-death/

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Old Jan 27th, 2016, 03:38 PM
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cjar… are you ordering your tickets from the Vivian Beaumont or a reseller?
I was just checking prices in the orchestra on their site (Telecharge) and it looks like most orchestra seats are $151 with fees etc. They show a $199 option but I couldn't find it. If you have the option I'd move a few rows back
(due to the ship Doug mentioned.)

There are several web sites that look official… but aren't. I got sucked into one of them when I bought my ticket. (was able to change fortunately and get the $151 price.)
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Old Jan 27th, 2016, 06:54 PM
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Gwendolyn- I keep getting tickets in first or second row at $151 for orchestra seating. I did find first row center loge at the same price so I went with that. Thanks for the help

Maitaitom's- awesome photojournalism. You should start a travel blog.
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Old Jan 27th, 2016, 07:43 PM
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cjar… I think those will be great seats to enjoy the show. Have a great trip!
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Old Jan 27th, 2016, 07:50 PM
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IMDonehere- How did you know? Those both look like stores that he would like, particularly Forbidden Planet. Thanks again.

I was once a teenager.
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Old Jan 28th, 2016, 08:29 AM
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We just saw King and I a couple of weeks ago. I think we were in Row N, very near the back of the orchestra in the 400 section. They were great seats. As Doug says, its a big spectacle. The boat will definitely be on top of you if you are in the front row of the 300 section. It would be o.k. in a side section. We were lucky enough to see Hoon Lee and Kelly. Great chemistry. He's marvelous as the King.
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Old Jan 28th, 2016, 10:34 AM
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TC- I have heard it is a great show. I hope Hoon Lee and Kelli O'Hara are performing the night we attend as well. I ended up taking center loge front row and I will just hope they are good. I figured I'd rather that than on top of the stage or boat as it turns out.
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Old Jan 28th, 2016, 10:55 AM
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Cjar, if you're going in June, you'll unfortunately miss Hoon Lee, but will see Daniel Dae Kim as the King.

Hoon Lee's last show is end of February. Ken Watanabe will be returning to the role for March and part of April, and then Jose Llana steps back in for a bit. Daniel Dae Kim takes over in the role in a limited engagement from May through June 26.
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Old Jan 28th, 2016, 12:08 PM
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TC
 
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Center loge, front row will be excellent seats.

Enjoy!
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Old Jan 28th, 2016, 12:40 PM
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There are no bad seats in the theater where The King and I is playing.
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