Old Sep 1st, 2004, 04:19 AM
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Hi. I?m travelling to NY in late october ( 3 time for me, 1 for my wife ), and have specific questions. I?ve read ir many times, post specific questions ! We are in our thirties.
? What about applecore hotels ( red roof, motel 8, etc ). ? All I want is a decent, clean and safe hotel and neighbourhood. No fuss. As always, a cheaper hotel means more money to expend outside.
? Want to go to an outlet. NJ, NY or Long Island ? Departing from NJ by bus ?
? Best transportation to and from JFK for two people and 4 suitcases ? taxi, bus ?
? Going to Niagara for two days, is jetblue best and cheapest company ?
? Is late october very cold and / or wet ?
? Is staten island ferry free ? that simple ?
? Can you make your items send directly to the hotel when shopping at good shops ? ( Williams & Sonoma, Crate & Barrel, etc )
? For a week, do you recommend taxi, metrocard, bus only, subway only, etc
? Best open bus company ( you see it all from the above )
? Best skyview still ESB ? others which can be visited ?
? Is Guggenheim full open ? It was under reform in 2.001
? River café accessible by foot ? easy ?

Well, that?s enough for today, thanks very much

Jaime from Mallorca, Spain
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Old Sep 1st, 2004, 05:04 AM
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I can answer some of your questions:

1. "? Want to go to an outlet. NJ, NY or Long Island ? Departing from NJ by bus ?"

The big advantage to shopping in New Jersey is that the sales tax is lower. (Sales tax is our VAT but is it NOT refundable for foreigners.) New Jersey does not impose a sales tax on clothing, and imposes a 6% sales tax on other items. (I believe the sales tax at the Jersey Garden Mall is only 3%, see below). New York City has a sales tax of 8.5 %, stores in New York state outside of the city have a sales tax of between 7.5% and 8.5%. Prices marked on items are exclusive of sales tax, so you would need to figure the tax into the price to determine if the item is a good buy for you. If you plan on buying very expensive items like jewellery, electronics, camera, etc., you are probably better off buying them in New Jersey as opposed to New York.

It used to be that the rule in New York state that you could avoid paying sales tax if you did not take the items with you, but shipped them out of the state. I don't know if that is the rule; also to ship them to Spain would probably cost more than the money you are saving buying in the US.

2. "? Can you make your items send directly to the hotel when shopping at good shops ? ( Williams & Sonoma, Crate & Barrel, etc )"

I don't think stores ship for free anymore. It is possible that a store in New York City would send something to your hotel for no charge, you would need to ask or check a website. Otherwise, you are better off carrying it yourself.

3. A large outlet mall in New Jersey is Jersey Gardens in Elizabeth. Jersey Gardens is accessible from the Port Authority Bus Terminal in Manhattan via New Jersey Transit Bus #111. Takes about 45 minutes and costs $4.35. The bus ride would take about 30 minutes or less. For times and other information go to the New Jersey transit website at The website for Jersey Gardens is As Elizabeth is an economically depressed city, I believe the sales tax is only 3%, the website should provide the information you need on that.

651 Kapkowsi Road (Exit 13A NJ Turnpike)
Elizabeth, New Jersey
Tel: 908-354-5900
Mall Hours: Monday to Saturday 10am - 9 pm
Sunday 11am-7pm

An extremely nice mall in New Jersey is Short Hills Mall. This is NOT a discount outlet but is a very good place to shop otherwise. They have Crate & Barrel, Williams Sonoma, Sakes, Bloomingdales and all the upscale shops you might consider, plus the sales tax is lower than NYC. They have lots of restaurants as well. The website for the mall is

You can get to Short Hills Mall in an hour or less by train from New York. From Penn Station in New York, take the New Jersey Transit Morris & Essex Line to the stop in the town of Summit. From the Summit Train Station, take either a New Jersey Transit Bus #70 to The Mall at Short Hills or take a taxi. The Mall is about 10 minutes by car from the train station in Summit. I believe a tax would cost under US$10 each way. (Summit itself is a very nice town with some good shops near the train station and some good restaurants. Website for the town of Summit is also look at for some shopping information.)

The Mall at Short Hills
Route 24 & JFK Parkway
Short Hills, NJ 07078
(973) 376-7350
Mon-Fri: 10:00 AM until 9:00 PM
Saturday: 10:00 AM until 7:00 PM
Sunday: 12:00 PM until 6:00 PM

4. In New York State, the main outlet shopping that I know of is at Woodbury Commons. You can get there by bus from New York City. take the Gray Line bus from the Port Authority Bus Terminal (42nd Street & 8th Avenue). The bus leaves at 8:30am, 9:45am, 11:15am, noon every day. It's about $34 round trip. I believe the bus takes about an hour. Website for Gray Line is
Here is a website for Woodbury Commons or try

If you can't access the websites, here is the basic information from the site:
Woodbury Commons
498 Red Apple Court
Central Valley, NY
(845) 928-4000
Mon-Sat 10am to 9pm; Sun 10am to 8pm

5. " ? Best transportation to and from JFK for two people and 4 suitcases ? taxi, bus ?"

The easiest and probably fastest is a taxi. However, there are hotel shuttles and a train/subway as well. The website for JFK is Take a look at . Click on "Getting to and From JFK and it will give you all the transport options.

6. " ? Is late October very cold and / or wet ?"

It could be both cold and wet or warm and sunny. Temps mostly likely will be between 14-18 C. Bring layers. If you go to Niagara Falls, it will be a few degrees cooler.
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Old Sep 1st, 2004, 05:20 AM
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I'll help with the couple that I know as well:

* Is late october very cold and / or wet

Maybe! and and can give you historical averages for temperature and rainfall for NYC, though, to help you determine what to pack. Even if it's cold and wet, there is plenty to do to keep you warm and dry! Most of my time in NYC has been in January, and I"ve loved it all.

* Is staten island ferry free ? that simple ?

Yep, free, and that simple. You board in Battery Park and get a beautiful ride over to Staten Island. They might make you get off the boat, but you can turn around and get right back on for the return trip to Manhattan. It takes you very close to the Statue of Liberty, and you have great views of the Manhattan skyline.

* Can you make your items send directly to the hotel when shopping at good shops ? ( Williams & Sonoma, Crate & Barrel, etc )

You can ask at each store, but I doubt it. The two stores you mentioned are not particularly "high-end" stores in the U.S. They are nice, but are very large companies that are not particularly known for going out of their way to provide service like some very pricey smaller boutiques might.

* For a week, do you recommend taxi, metrocard, bus only, subway only, etc

I'm sure you'll end up taking a taxi ride or two, but subways are very convenient and fast, and buses are a great way to get around while seeing some of the city. I can't help with passes, but I know that the NYC transportation authority has a web site that should explain the pass options.
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Old Sep 1st, 2004, 05:37 AM
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For $21, you an get a 7-day pass good for unlimited rides on the buses and subway. Quite a bargain! They're available in almost every subway station, just use your credit card in the vending machine.

The AppleCore hotels are very good, recently renovated and clean. I like the Comfort Inn MIDTOWN, which claims to be the only all-nonsmoking hotel in Manhattan. It's just a block from Times Square, on a relatively quiet side street with lots of restaurants.
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Old Sep 1st, 2004, 06:01 AM
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? Can you make your items send directly to the hotel when shopping at good shops ? ( Williams & Sonoma, Crate & Barrel, etc )

Don't know about the hotel, but they will ship it home for you, that save you the sales tax, and you don't have to pack it in your suitcase, but I don't know how much shipping might cost overseas.

? For a week, do you recommend taxi, metrocard, bus only, subway only, etc

I always take a taxi to and from the airport and when i go out to dinner (after dark especially). The subway is fun and easy for the rest of the time. The daily pass Metrocard has worked well for me. You can buy them at automated machines in the subways. I find the buses confusing.

? Is Guggenheim full open ? It was under reform in 2.001

When I was in NY in December, the Guggenheim in Manhattan was closed, but you could go to the one in Queens on the Subway. They have a website, you should Google it and check for more updated info.

Have fun!
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Old Sep 1st, 2004, 06:19 AM
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Hi Mote - Looks like you have a fun trip planned!

Litespeed - I think you may have the Museum of Modern Art confused with the Guggenheim Museum. The MOMA in Manhattan is closed, but they have a temporary Museum open in Queens during the renovations. Per their website the Manhattan location will re-open on November 20th. The Guggenheim Uptown & Soho locations are both open. Check their website for current exhibitions.
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Old Sep 1st, 2004, 07:14 AM
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The Guggenheim is OPEN fully. Litespeed Chick is confusing the Museum of Modern Art which is closed in Manhattan for renovationa and is in temporary quarters in Queens.

I'll take a stab at your list.

The applecore hotels seem to be fine (never been in one personally) according to posters here. Most if not all of their hotels are on the west side in the 30s-40s which is near the theater district. is a good place for reading reviews (as well as checking here. Do you know how to use the search function??) The one that people like the best (for location I think) is their Comfort Inn on w46th.

Other non-chain places that get good reviews & are relatively inexpensive in midtown are the Metro, the Avalon and the Bedord. The last 2 are on the east side. If you're willing to stay in a more residential area, people really like the upper west side where you have the Beacon, the Milburn, the Belleclaire, the Lucerne and the Excelsior. I think the first 3 of this last group have the added advantage of kitchens for breakfast etc.

As Cicerone says, the benefit to shopping in NJ is no sales tax. He's given you good info on the options. There is an outlet mall in Secausus NJ too that wasn't mentioned. It is very close to NYC. According to their website ( there's a bus #129 from Port Authority bus terminal (8th ave & 42 st) Monday - Saturday. People rave about Woodbury Commons but it's much further away and you do pay sales tax. In your shoes, I'd check both websites and compare stores. See which has more of what you want.

Easiest transport to/from JFK is taxi which takes you to your door. It's a flat fare going from JFK to the city of $45 plus toll plus tip (15-20% of base fare).

The new airtran train will be faster and cheaper, but it requires changing from one train to another and you wind up at Penn Station (7th ave & 34th). Read the website for the airtran and decide.

The shuttle buses from JFK generally go to either Grand Central station or Port Authority bus terminal. Some of your decision depends on where you're staying. In your shoes, I'd probably taxi into the city and then decide on the return depending on how much you have to carry, where you're staying and time of day you're leaving. Taxis in rush hour are awful. There are also car services you can order for a flat fee to go back to the airport.

Jetblue has the cheapest air fare I know of to Buffalo. Once you get to Buffalo though, you either have to rent a car or book a tour. There are also bus tours from NYC (I think Grayline does one) but it's a very long drive and I don't think it's doable as a day trip. I happen to find this tour co.

That does a one day tour from NYC that includes airfare etc. for $345/person. I don't know how good the co. is or how this would compare in price if you flew and then drove yourselves in a rental car, but it would be a lot less hassle with a tour. FYI, there's a big outlet mall right near the Buffalo/Canadian border.

Oct. weather is changeable. It's usually not very cold yet. Possibly chilly & wet but also possibly beautiful

Yes, the SI ferry is free.

Many good shops will messenger things to your hotel but will probably charge a fee, sometimes worth it if it's something heavy. Another alternative that might be cheaper is sending it FEDEX to your hotel. It would arrive the next day (or in 2 days for a lower rate). If you're planning on a lot of purchases, it might be worth checking into shipping some home either through the post office or DHL seems to have better international service. I'm not familiar with customs etc. in Spain. We ship packages quite often to England via the post office's int'l service. They usually arrive withing a week.

It's impossible to advise on transport not knowing you, how likely you are to walk etc. You're likely to take cabs occasionally. Most metrocards are good for both subways and buses. I always suggest tourists take buses unless going very far (like to the SI ferry) because you get to see more.

Grayline is the only co. I know who does the open bus tours. Their guides get mixed reviews here in terms of accuracy but it's still a good way to get an overview of the city. Also have a look at There are some combo tickets from Grayline

Many people report just doing the downtown loop is a good overview.

Best view is a relative term. The ESB is the highest view from a tourist accessible public "site." I personally prefer some lower sights that make the city more "real." The view from the River Cafe is wonderful. Not sure what you mean by "accessible by foot." It's in Brooklyn so you'd probably want to ride (taxi, subway etc.) at least part of the way. It doesn't require getting there by boat if that's what you mean. Back to views, there are some wonderful views from some restaurants and bars around town.

Have fun.
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Old Sep 1st, 2004, 07:59 AM
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Mote, you win the award for the best specific questions!

I'll try to add a few words to the excellent answers you already got.

-"Want to go to an outlet. NJ, NY or Long Island ? Departing from NJ by bus" ?
I agree that Jersey Gardens (about 30 minutes away by bus) is easiest, but many European and Asian visitors prefer the Woodbury Common Outlets because it has more Designer name items. It's also in a nice part of the state--at that time of the year, it should still be very beautiful with the changing colors of the leaves. It';s not cheap, but you might want to see if you can rent a car and also visit that area (Hudson Valley) if you decide to go to Woodbury Commons

? Best transportation to and from JFK for two people and 4 suitcases ? taxi, bus ? If you can afford it, take a taxi. It will be much easier than carrying your suitcases on and oiff busses or trains. It won;t always be faster to take a taxi, but much easier

Is late october very cold and / or wet ? It could be. Usually more wet than cold, but it always Feels colder when it's wet. Plan to have a light raincoat or jacket and umbrella with you

The Staten Island ferry--yes, free!

Can you make your items send directly to the hotel when shopping at good shops ? ( Williams & Sonoma, Crate & Barrel, etc )
Some stores will do this, but iut is not very common at average priced stores. Fancier designer clothing stores on Madison avenue probably do this all the time. At ome of the mid-priced stores (like Bed, Bath, and Beyond, and Filene's Basement) I have seen signs saying they will deliver to any place in Manhattan the same day for a charge of about $15. That's unusual.

For a week, do you recommend taxi, metrocard, bus only, subway only, etc?
I agree that the best, sometimes easiest thing to do is buy a weekly "unlimited Metrocard" if you will be here 4 days or more. For $21 per person.,you can get on all busses, and subways as often as you wnat. You may still want to take a taxi ride or two if you are traveling somewhere late at night or are very tired, but you will probably not need to very often

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Old Sep 1st, 2004, 08:10 AM
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Since others have answered most of your questions, I will say that Applecore's Super 8 hotel, just down the street from the Comfort Inn, is fine too. I have stayed there twice for a total of nearly two weeks. I chose it over Comfort Inn one time because Comfort Inn was not available on all dates and once because it is slightly lower priced than Comfort Inn.
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Old Sep 1st, 2004, 08:51 AM
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I noticed I had a typo on my post. It's the BEDFORD hotel (not bedord).

I hadn't thought of janie's point about the fall colors going to Woodbury but she's absolutely right. I'd still check the various websites and decide which has the things you want.
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Old Sep 1st, 2004, 03:10 PM
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Just on Staten there anything to see there or is the ferry trip there and back what it is about? Thanks.
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Old Sep 1st, 2004, 04:29 PM
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Most people (including me) just stay on the ferry and take the round trip. But there are things to see there (the problem is transportation) but I noticed there's a museum right across from the ferry terminal that looks interesting
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Old Sep 1st, 2004, 11:53 PM
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Dear friends . . . MUCHAS GRACIAS ! for your posts ! again fodorites do their best to help ! While planning my 2.000 mile honeymoon trip to California & Las Vegas last September, I spent hours on the internet, and received huge help from you. This time the trip is much easier, and I already know the place.

We wanted to go in December, but higher prices and the fear of bad weather made us plan to go sooner. I remember my first time in NYC, march 93, a huge storm, JFK closed, lots of snow, streets almost unwalkable, a mess ! Very very cold, wet and windy, further more being solo and a awful budget, made that trip a bit &%#?*^?) !

My interest in the outlets comes from what I saw in CA & NV, we went to five outlets, the prices were sometimes 80 % down. Add that we get 1.20 $ for one €. I want to repeat.

We are flying to Rochester for two days, I have friends there who are picking us and guide for the weekend. Hope to see Niagara, finger lakes, another outlet, etc.

Transportation : I?ll take a taxi, while in town, I?ll go for the metrocard, we are very good walkers.

Hotel: no place left at Waldorf ( ja ja ja ), so applecore may suit our needs . . .

Again, thank you all, but for sure I?ll be back with more questions !

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Old Sep 2nd, 2004, 01:30 AM
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A few things your re-post reminded me of:

1. Will you be in the US for Halloween? (October 31). If so, this is a huge holiday esp in places like NYC where there are parades, etc. Lots of late night partying as well, and everyone dressed up in costume. It is not a public holiday so no banks or stores are closed, and most people have forgotten that there is a religions significance (i.e. the day before All Souls Day, November 1) so everyone participates. A fun time to be in the US.

2. An unusual tour you might enjoy is to go the Lower East Side Tenement Museum. You can do a walking tour of the area and also visit their museum, which is a "tenement" apartment building. The Lower East Side is where many immigrants first started life in the US, including many from Europe. You might find it interesting. The day I took the tour, our group included people from the UK, France, Thailand, the US and Australia, so it is an interesting mix of people. Take a look at The lower east side abuts China Town, Little Italy, Soho, etc and is good for exploring, shopping and restaurants.

3. If you trip is late October, you will probably find most of the fall colors on the trees are gone, so I don't know that I would make a special trip to Woodbury Commons to see the countryside. If there is still some color left, you might enjoy a boat trip up the Hudson River. Once you past the tip of Manhattan, there are wooded hillsides on both sides, very pretty if the trees still have their colored leaves. You can also stop at Kykuit, the former mansion of the Rockerfellers which is very interesting. Take a look at Take a look at, click on "Sightseeing Cruises" and "Full Day Cruises". You can go for 1.5 hours, 2-3 hours or a full day. (Some of their shorter cruises are actually listed under "Full Day Cruises", so check all the tours offered.)

4. Best way to get to River Café

I have to say I have never walked there, but theoretically it would be possible to walk across the Brooklyn Bridge from Manhattan, as the restaurant is quite near. The problem might be that there are no stairs at the river, and you may have to continue along the bride for a few blocks to the end of the bridge road and then "backtrack" to the river. I would call the restaurant and ask, others here may have suggestions. There have been posts about walking across the Brooklyn Bridge, run a search for "Brooklyn Bridge" and they should come up.

River Café
1 Water Street
Brooklyn, New York 11201
Telephone (718) 522-5200

You can also take the subway to relatively near the restaurant.

5. Best view of NYC

Actually, IMO, the best view of NYC is from New Jersey, the Staten Island Ferry (more of lower Manhattan), the River Café, and a Circle Line or NY Water trip around the island. The Empire State Building is pretty good, but to really appreciate the whole skyline, you need to be on the other side.

6. Best bus tour

I have to say I don't think this is a great way to see the city. They are very expensive. If it is cold or wet and you can't ride on top, you won't be able to see the taller buildings or most other buildings. You may spend more time in traffic than preferable. As you know, NYC is flat and laid out in a grid and made for walking; I would walk as much as possible and take the subway for longer distances. If you do take a bus, I think they all go the same basic route or routes, so I don?t think one is better than the other.

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