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AussieHubbyWife Feb 27th, 2017 01:50 AM

NYC - 10 Nights - Itinerary Feedback
My husband and I will be travelling to NYC in April to celebrate his birthday of significance - we have 10 nights of fun to look forward to. Whilst we do not want to have an itinerary that has us organised to race around the city ticking off attractions rather than experiencing the city, we do have a few things booked and a wishlist of sorts. What we are currently struggling with is how to group our wishlist into doable "chunks"; we want to be able to decide exactly what we will do after we arrive when we will have a better idea of weather and other variables and can adapt to things we see along the way. So we have put together the following vague itinerary, which includes our wishlist but not sure if they are grouped together on days that make sense. Itinerary will be flexible once we arrive (apart from a few things that have been booked).

Arrive JFK 4.40pm.. Only plan tonight is dinner and a bit of a wander in the local area to get our bearings (unless you have another idea).. We are staying in Greenwich Village.. We would love to have dinner at a decent Mexican restaurant in the local area.. Any ideas?

(if still open) Ice Skating @ Rockefeller Centre, followed by Top of the Rock at Sunset
What else to fit in on this day?

High Line, Chelsea Markets & Gotham West Markets.
Early Dinner in Hells Kitchen (suggestions please), followed by Book of Mormon @ 7pm and then a quick visit to Times Square just so we can say we've been there..

Battery Park, Staten Island Ferry with lunch on Staten Island

Hubby's Birthday - Morning @ Central Park, followed by 12noon Lunch at Central Park Boathouse and 7pm Baseball Yankee Stadium

Eating with Ziggy Brooklyn Full Day Tour, finished off by DUMBO, Brooklyn Promenade and a walk across the bridge back to Manhattan

Markets in Union Square, Wander in Lower East Side (any lunch suggestions?)

Sunday (Easter)
Would like to go out for breakfast as well as swing past 5th avenue to see the Easter Hat Parade at some point.

Roosevelt Island Tram, Happy Hour at Oyster Bar, Grand Central Station

Lower East Side wandering with Lunch.
Possibly another show at night, unless we find something else that takes our fancy.

We will probably have a bit of a shop for clothes/shoes in the morning, followed by lunch before making our way to JFK. Flight Departs at 5.40pm

We would also appreciate thoughts on other places we should add to the list whilst we are in particular areas. We are not really keen on spending time in museums this visit; we are most interested in getting to know the city, having some memorable meals /experiences, people watching, spending quality time together and taking a few good photos along the way. Also, my husband is a caffeine addict and quite particular about coffee.. Any suggestions for good cafes for our morning coffee?

SusieQQ Feb 27th, 2017 04:26 AM

Hotel name?

doug_stallings Feb 27th, 2017 05:02 AM

Your days are not very full at all, so you have plenty of time to do additional activities if you wish. I'm somewhat at a loss since you don't like museums and have so much time. If you like to shop, then I'd probably spread the shopping out across the span of your trip. I'd add perhaps two more plays or perhaps a concert of some kind. Do you like opera? classical music? jazz? cabaret? or perhaps dance. All of these are possibilities in April.

The theater where Book of Mormon plays is on 49th Street, so a bit further north than many Broadway theaters. I usually eat at vice versa (on 51st Street) when I'm in that area. It's a modern Italian restaurant that's got good food. You need a reservation, and you should make it the week before. However, I'm somewhat hesitant since this show is so abnormally early. You might do better at a place that serves tapas like Kashkaval Garden, then have dessert on more appetizers after the show. (But I still like vice versa and eat there regularly, so it's worth a meal if you have time and are in the area.) Or eat at Gotham West, which would make sense if you are going there immediately before the show.

If you are staying down in the Village, one of the more interesting restaurants is Blue Hill. The food served is very simple, mostly from the immediate area, and the menu is always seasonal.

Just an FYI: You aren't going to have much time for shopping since almost few standalone stores open before 11am (some by 10, but the upscale places later). You may want to go to a department store, which will be open by 10. Since you're in the village, Macys would be the obvious choice since it's a quick subway ride there, but it seems a shame you'd have to go all the way back to the Village to get your luggage. I believe Schwartz on W 37th Still stores luggage for a small fee.

Then you will be well positioned to take the LIRR to the Airtrain back to JFK. It's both the fastest and cheapest way to get to the airport if you can manage your own luggage.

darlenef17 Feb 27th, 2017 05:33 AM

You're itinerary looks good in terms of being VERY doable and its grouping is good - you're not criss-crossing the city on a given day; however, it is very sparse. For instance, on Wed.1, you only have Battery Park and the Ferry. Battery Park is not large and will not take long to walk and see. The Ferry ride is about 30 minutes. Both of these will take 1/2 day at best, even if you stretch it out. You should incorporate a walk through the Financial District, the 911 Memorial (not museum) and Chinatown into that day. Also, if you don't have a particular restaurant in mind, I'm not sure why you plan to have lunch on SI. When we've gone, we just take the Ferry ride over and get right back in the line to go back. There are much better dining options in Manhattan.

I think it's great that you want to take your time, experience the city, and not be rushing from one tourist site to another. That said, you don't want to just meander aimlessly for 10 days with big chunks of time spent wandering the streets. I think there is room on most of your days to add a bit more to keep you engaged. There are plenty things to do in NYC without going to a museum.

For Mexican food, you don't mention if you want Tex-Mex vs. authentic Mexican food, but close to the Village, you can't go wrong with Toloache.

For breakfast on Easter, a word of warning: Everything will be packed; there will be many pre fixe brunches and menus; and the crowds will be bigger than those of the usual Sunday breakfast crowds. I suggest you decide where you want to eat and make your reservations well in advance or you may find yourself eating a Deluxe Breakfast from McDonalds. I'm not really a brunch person, but there are many highly rated brunch spots in GV.

I am a coffee drinker and there is no shortage of great coffee shops close to you. Try: Stumptown or Third Rail. Be sure to stop in Puerto Rico Coffee Importing. You can get great coffee, but there's really no seating so it wouldn't be the best place for first morning coffee. It is an amazing shop with more varieties of coffee than you can imagine, and they ship worldwide. Your husband will enjoy looking (and smelling) and it's in GV. Also, a fun place for coffee lovers is Cafe Project New York - they have coffee flights! Also close by is Caffe Reggio, which is NYC's oldest coffee shop. We went because I just "had to." The coffee is fine, but nothing memorable. It's just a neat place to go, to see, and to say you've been. =) If you're homesick for Australia, definitely try Bluestone Lane. They have locations throughout the city and their larger cafe, which includes various food items from Australia, is in the neighborhood as well. I think they have a location in the Financial District; you could try it on Wed. 1.

Sounds like you've got a great trip ahead of you, but do try to see more of the city. While "experiencing" the city is very desirable, there's so much more that you can incorporate into that goal with the time you have.

doug_stallings Feb 27th, 2017 07:13 AM

There's also Toloache on West 50th Street, around the corner from where you're seeing Book of Mormon. I hadn't thought about that, but it's another good option fore before the theater.

Finally, I know you said you aren't interested in museums, but consider the Lower East Side Tenement Museum. It's not the same thing as most museums and offers a real look at what life was like for 19th-century immigrants on the Lower East Side.

marvelousmouse Feb 27th, 2017 07:47 AM

Gospel music church service in Harlem maybe? I did that one day and that was unique. Walking tours also would be good if you aren't a museum person. You "see" a lot more of city with a good guide- I did a music themed tour last time. My favorite photos were from High line and the ferry ride to Ellis island, so you could consider adding the latter. I'd pay 5 bucks and stroll through Natural history or the Met on their late nights- it gets you out of the weather and just think of it as "window shopping" for fabulous art or Faberge eggs or dinosaur fossils. Met has an amazing courtyard with some Louis Tiffany architecture elements- some of the best people watching I did was in the Met!

Day trip to Brooklyn or the Bronx Zoo are possibilities as well. I didn't get out to Brooklyn but it's supposed to have good food and shopping. Half day exploring Central Park- if you haven't been before, you could probably spend a full day doing just that. I don't think I saw more than a third of it!

Irving coffee roasters for coffee. But there's a lot of good coffee in the city. The train is kind of expensive if you buy it the day of, but if you haven't been to Philly, you should do that just for the Reading Terminal Market- NYC sadly doesn't have a public market that amazing.

marvelousmouse Feb 27th, 2017 07:53 AM

But also forgot to say that your original itinerary is fine- I can kill whole days just wandering around the city, so I understand it:)

sf7307 Feb 27th, 2017 07:58 AM

I am a New York addict, but even I think you will be looking for things to do with your itinerary being so spread out and sparse (but very carefully grouped - kudos for that). You could take a couple of day trips - maybe up to the Hudson Valley (train or car), or even to central Philadelphia (by train).

Other than that, I'd highly recommend Katz' Deli for lunch on the Lower East Side. I'm not sure if it still applies but it used to be that if you put a tip in the jar while ordering, you'd get a much fatter sandwich.

IMDonehere Feb 27th, 2017 09:33 AM

I would skip Mexican food in NY, there is a world of ethnic food that is diverse and interesting in NY.

I would also go 2nd Ave Deli for Jewish Deli. Katz's has become a zoo and I think their pastrami has suffered.

While it is true we do not have an indoor market like Reading or Pike Place in Seattle, the outdoor market at Union Square on Saturdays is incomparable.

There are limited places to eat in Staten Island and you will need public transportation to get anywhere away from the Ferry. Personally, I would just take the ferry back and eat in Manhattan. And I would I go after dark and see the Statue of Liberty lit and watch the lights grow ad you return to Manhattan.

The best eating values are in the East Village and the restaurants are more diverse and generally cheaper than in the West Village.

AussieHubbyWife Feb 27th, 2017 01:49 PM

I agree that the itinerary is sparse and I'm sure we will fill it up.. However point taken about meandering about the streets - some of that will be great for the people watching that we love, but appreciate it might become a bit much. In fact with these few posts I have already taken on a few more ideas... So thankyou...

I quite like the idea of Staten Island at night so we can see the Statue of Liberty lit up.. I had read that there is a Microbrewery on Staten Island, so maybe a drink there before we head back..

Also love the idea of gospel music in Harlem.. Can you just turn up to any church service and how do I find out more about that? That could be a quite special Easter experience. In terms of breakfast on Easter, happy to book.. Any suggestions?

Maybe a late night Met experience could give us a museum tick...

Had a look at the Tenement Museum's website.. Which tour have you taken there? Seems to be a few to choose from.

We're already doing a food tour of Brooklyn, so maybe a walking tour of the Lower East Side could work nicely. Any suggestions for a tour there? We prefer smaller personalised tours, rather than being part of a big group traipsing along following an umbrella..

Agree Book of Mormon seems to start quite early; doesn't work really well for dinner beforehand.. Maybe it will be better to have a big or late lunch and then have dessert afterwards.. Although a few tapas and a drink beforehand could work too!

For Mexican food, we would prefer authentic.. These are few and far between in Australia and we definitely don't have anything authentic anywhere near where we live.

BTW, we are staying at the Walker in the Village.

IMDonehere Feb 27th, 2017 02:08 PM

Although a few tapas and a drink beforehand could work too!

I do not know the restaurants in the theater district but here are two tapas places on the westside that would be an easy bus or subway ride to the theater district.

La Boqueria

The one west 19th Street
__________________________________________________ _____
Tia Pol

marvelousmouse Feb 27th, 2017 02:31 PM

Maybe Context tours, if you're interested in history. I have not taken a tour with them in New York, but I was very impressed by their tours in Rome. Tiny groups, great guides.

Greater refuge temple in Harlem is where I went for Sunday service. I'm sure there are others. It was an accident on my part- it was the tail end of a very long walking tour from my hostel.

darlenef17 Feb 27th, 2017 04:37 PM

The walking tours are a great idea, but the cost can certainly add up. We've done several of these "pay what you wish" tours with this company and have been very pleased. I think they also offer paid tours. The groups are small.

There is also a self-guided section on their website that is very helpful if you're seeing areas on your own.

I've taken a tour at the Tenement Museum, went to the website, but nothing rings a bell. It was a while back. I am definitely in the small minority, but I didn't care for it. It was about 90 minutes, but to be honest, I was bored. I'm probably the only person you will ever "meet" that feels that way. The reviews are overwhelmingly positive.

I live in Texas where great Mexican food is abundant and stand by my original recommendation of Toloache. You won't be disappointed.

For brunch, are you looking for high-end or casual?

AussieHubbyWife Feb 27th, 2017 05:02 PM

We will probably have one high end dinner out whilst in NYC and will already have had lunch at the Boathouse on my husband's birthday.. So, I think casual for breakfast/brunch on Easter.. That way we won't have to get dressed up and then change before exploring some more..

IMDonehere Feb 27th, 2017 05:33 PM

For Easter there are many restaurants that are owned in NYC who are not Christian and will be open. There are also many other restaurants that will also be open.

underradar Feb 27th, 2017 07:18 PM

Monday looks like a very short day. Skating won't be more than 45 minutes, so assuming you are doing that right before Top of the Rock, you have a lot of early time. Suggest walking around the Village early that day - just up and down Bleecker Street and into the West Village would give you a feel. Restaurants around Rock Center are not much to write home about - overpriced and touristy, in general.

On your Wednesday, while you are downtown, I would suggest the 911 Memorial at the Freedom Tower. I'm a New Yorker and found it quite extraordinary. Skip Staten Island. You'll spend a lot of time getting back and forth and it's not all that interesting. Go to Ellis Island instead - you'll get the Statue of Liberty view from that ferry. And if you like steak and want something that you can't get anywhere else, go to Peter Luger steakhouse in Brooklyn. It's a short cab ride from the Village or downtown. It's expensive and cash only but an incomparable New York institution. Book it now - reservations are a must.

For your Lower East Side lunch, consider Speedy Romeo. They have very unusual pizzas, among other things. A few blocks to the west towards SoHo you'll find another great pizza/pasta place, Rubirosa, and a great Israeli/Middle East restaurant, Balaboosta, just across the street.

Also, try to check out some off-Broadway shows for your nights. There are always a few good ones around.

darlenef17 Feb 27th, 2017 07:35 PM

Some casual, solid breakfast choices in your area are: Extra Virgin, Jane, and Le Gigot. Check the menus and see if any appeal.

I like to go to Yelp, read reviews, and look at the pictures of the food and the restaurant. It's a great resource for dining. With food taste being very subjective, I find the photos helpful! You can also search for types of food in specific areas. =)

And yes, as IMD said, there will be no shortage of open restaurants, but they will be much busier on Easter than on a "normal" Sunday, so I highly recommend reservations.

ellenem Feb 28th, 2017 05:16 AM

<< Also love the idea of gospel music in Harlem.. Can you just turn up to any church service and how do I find out more about that? >>

Yes, you can just turn up, but . . . Easter Sunday has the highest church attendance of any Sunday of the year. People who generally don't go to church DO go to church on Easter. It can be very crowded, with most churches adding extra worship times to accommodate the crowds.

The most popular Harlem churches have systems for handling the people the perceive as tourists. For example, one seats all visitors in the balcony, anticipating that a visitor will not stay for the entire 3 hours of worship--the balcony location makes it easier to leave.

At my church, Middle Collegiate Church, an earlier worship is added on Easter. Most of our members know to come to the earlier one to avoid the craziness of the crowds at the regular time. Though not in Harlem, my church has a classical and gospel choir singing on Easter. We have many visitors, especially from Europe, who come for the gospel music. Worship lasts about 75 minutes.

AussieHubbyWife Feb 28th, 2017 03:11 PM

I think the same happens here with non churchgoers attending at Easter, Christmas and other significant religious occasions. So, I'm hearing find out the worship times and go to the earliest possible time to avoid the crowds.. Thanks

darlenef17 Feb 28th, 2017 06:33 PM

The churches in Harlem are becoming overrun by tourists. Before ou set out, you might want to read this:

An alternate plan might be to buy tickets now to see the Harlem Gospel Choir.

Or, check out my the recommendations of the tour group I provided a link for earlier. There is a wealth of information. Honestly, this is one of the best websites for people trying to gain an understanding of NYC before they visit. It's been my go-to for years. Here is the direct link to their take on that gospel music.

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