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NYC 3 day itinerary-please comment

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First time to NYC for one of us and only second time for the other. We are a married couple in our 50's and we want to see some of the tourist things, enjoy some good meals, and be away. Not really big shoppers. We are staying at the Hilton Garden Inn at 6th avenue and 35th street. It's a quick trip, so are we attempting too much in this itinerary? Any suggestions or critiques are welcome. I would like a good french meal, either for lunch or for dinner. We are not people who go for the most expensive restaurant choices, but we do have a liberal budget for this trip. We have also signed up for Savored, but we don't see a lot of the Fodor's recommends on this site.

Fri morning 11/11 arrive Newark airport 8 am
Drop off luggage at hotel, take subway to Battery Park for 10 am reservation to visit Ellis Island
We have 5:45 slot for the World Trade Center Memorial.
What to do in between? Thinking of Chelsea Market to browse and have lunch. Should we do the High Line? Can we fit any of this in if we use subway to get around?

Return to hotel and then dress for dinner. Do not have dinner plans and have heard there are not many choices for restaurants in this area. We don't mind taking the subway for dinner. Maybe the Village?


Breakfast - not huge breakfast eaters, but pick up something quick - is there a bagel shop or bakery (husband loves sweets/desserts) in this area?
Attempt HotTix booth to see if anything is available we are interested in for Sat night - how long would this take? We do not have tickets to a show yet, although we have been looking on line. Would really like to see How to Succeed....but no discounts are available for 11/12.

Either Rock to the Top or the Empire State Building.
Eataly for early lunch/browsing
Subway to Brooklyn for the purpose of walking back over the Brooklyn Bridge towards Manhatten.

What next - Tenement Museum?
Stroll neighborhoods/parks?

Again, I have lots of ideas from this board for dinner, but have not made choice. I am overwhelmed by the number of choices. Also depends on whether we get tickets to a show.
Thinking about Don't Tell Mama if we don't get show tickets. Hole O Matic is performing and it sounds like it might be a fun show to see (I know it sounds corny).

Should we decide before we go where we will be eating to save us from wasting time looking and deciding?

Visit St. Patrick Cathedral and attend mass 9 am

Central Park and rent bikes if weather is agreeable

Frick Museum

Fly out at 7 pm from Newark

Please, I will not be offended by comments. Thanks much, Fodorites.

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    I think you may have a challenge to make your ferry reservation to the Statue of Liberty. All I can say is you might have a fighting chance if you do carry-on only and high-tail it to your hotel. Normally, I'd say take a car service to your hotel from EWR to save some time, but during the height of rush hour on a Friday, I'd actually recommend the Air Train/NJ Transit, particularly since your hotel is very close to Penn Station. You might save 15 or 20 minutes and make it to your hotel in an hour instead of possibly longer by car (there can be a 20- to 30-minute back-up for the Lincoln Tunnel during rush hour, and the NJ freeways crawl during that hour. But it's possible to do this trip in 45 minutes by car service if you're lucky. I'd still recommend the train in this case.

    The only problem I see with your itinerary is that you're always moving all over town from east to west and not concentrating your time in certain parts of the city. For example, why Brooklyn Bridge on Saturday? Do that on Friday while you're downtown then you don't have to return to this area later. Have lunch in Chinatown on Friday; if you don't want Chinese, there are some good Vietnamese restaurants near the courthouses. You may still have time for a quick visit to the Highline on Friday. If you want to go to a show, consider visiting the TKTS booth at the South Street Seaport on Friday, where you can buy Saturday matinee tickets the day before (that's not possible in Times Square).

    The TKTS lines are longest on the weekends. The best course would be either to go around noon and be prepared to spend at least 30 to 45 minutes in line, or to return after 5pm and see what's left. There will certainly be something. But the shrewd traveler will find out what the best discounts are at Broadway Box.com and just buy deeply discounted tickets in advance. You can do that now and then have your show set and save that time later since your trip is so short.

    Since you're only in town for 3 days, you're burning a full half-day on the Statue of Liberty/Ellis Island. Don't burn another 3 hours at the Empire State Building. Go to Top of the Rock instead. Much shorter lines and a better view. But if the weather's not clear, skip this entirely. Either way, both of these are open late, and consider doing this even after the theater on Saturday. Both are easily reachable from Times Square theaters.

    If you are going to the theater on Saturday night, you definitely want to make a dinner reservation, particularly if you want to eat before the show. You will waste time trying to find a table on a busy Saturday evening, or you'll end up eating awful and/or fast food.

    Finally, you really need to make a reservation to visit the Tenament Museum on a weekend. I'd do this as soon as they open so you'll have the afternoon open.

    On Sunday, if the weather is nice, either bike or walk through Central Park up to a museum from 59th/5th Ave.

    There aren't many good restaurants near your hotel, but you can get bagels or egg sandwiches at any deli nearby. There are plenty of those. There are also diners like Andrews at 35th/7th Ave. It's not cheap, but it's efficient, and if you sit at the counter, you can get in and out quickly. But there are a lot of excellent restaurants in Chelsea and near the Highline, both of which are relatively easily reached from your hotel. Please have at least one nice, unhurried meal at a good restaurant, but make a reservation for Friday night. You absolutely need it unless the restaurant doesn't take them. There is a nice little very Parisian bistro on 35th between Lexington and 3rd Ave (about a 15-minute walk from your hotel). It's called Le Parisien, and you will need a reservation for Friday; you should be done with the WTC Memorial early, so maybe have dinner around 7:30 (that's a prime hour on a weekend night). There are also several good inexpensive French and Italian restaurants in Chelsea on 8th Avenue, also about 15 to 20 minutes walk from your hotel. Or you could go to La Bonne Soupe for lunch one day. It's pretty cheap and quite good.

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    Re savored.com (usually offering 30% off all food and beverages for a $10 booking fee):

    Of the NYC restaurants listed, two definitely to avoid are Le Cirque and Osteria del Circo, our most recent visits to which were complete disasters.

    On the other hand, there are some gems in the list:

    DB Bistro Moderne, one of Daniel Boulud's outposts, excellent in every regard.

    Cacio e Pepe, excellent Roman cooking, featuring the eponymous entrée, homemade pasta twirled in a wheel of pecorino cheese, then spiced with black pepper.

    "21" Club, a quintessential New York restaurant, formerly a speakeasy during Prohibition. Very good food, excellent service, a clubby atmosphere with unique ceiling decor in the ground floor dining room.

    Thalassa, a very good Greek seafooder. Beautiful decor. (Estiatorio Milos on 55th is better, but it's not on savored.com.)

    Fishtail by David Burke, an excellent and stylish seafooder.

    La Mediterranee, a good, moderately-priced Provencal bistro.

    Reservations are necessary.

    Re "dressing for dinner":

    Unfortunately (to some), dress codes at most New York places have been very seriously relaxed in recent years. At all the places listed, you can dine comfortably in a nice pair of pants and a sweater for a woman or a pair of slacks and an optional sport coat or sweater for a man. A necktie is not required. On the other hand, if you want to put on a fancier dress or a suit and tie, you certainly won't feel out of place except possibly at the most informal places like Cacio and Le Med.

    Re "a good French meal":

    If you mean classical French, there's little left in the City. Most of the old standbys have closed, leaving only Le Grenouille. on the other hand, there's a significant number of what I would call modern (as opposed to classic) French eateries, Boulud's places among them. Although it's not on savored.com, we've had great success a number of times at Boulud Sud, his Mediterranean-cuisine place on 64th across Broadway from Lincoln Center. It's truly excellent, and much better than its sister restaurant around the corner, Bar Boulud.

    Incidentally, I agree that you may have difficulty with a 10 a.m. ferry reservation on the morning you arrive at EWR at 8 a.m. By the time you actually leave the airport, assuming your flight is on-time, it will be 8:30 even with carry-ons only. Doug is offering very optimistic estimates of highway travel times into the City at that hour. If you do decide to take the Air-Train/NJTransit route to Penn Station in New York, consult any of the several threads on this site for more info about this trip, how to buy tickets, where to make the transfer, etc.

    I think I would try to change the 10:00 reservation to something at least an hour later.

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    Wow - great information from Doug and BSpielman, so much appreciated.

    I starting thinking about the Ellis Island reservation and actually checked - I did make it for 11 am. We are carrying on, by the way. I wanted to push it to 10-but came to the same conclusion. I even checked about boarding in NJ and take luggage, but not allowed. We do plan to take the Airtrain.

    Is there enough time to get to Brooklyn, have lunch (or grab something before subway to Brooklyn) and then walk back on the Brooklyn Bridge after Ellis Island - and still making it to WTC Memorial by 5:45pm?

    Thanks for help with Empire State Bldg vs Rock to the Top - I heard that RTP was the better choice. Or we may do neither.

    And thanks for the TKTS booth information at South Street Seaport - I think we may just try that as well.

    While we aren't married to the idea of using Savored.com - I appreciate the recommendations you have given. And the dress code update is much appreciated. It looks like the weather is going to be as pleasant as it could be for November.

    As far as good classical French -we are not conessiours (sp??), and all of the menus I have looked at sound wonderful to us. Les Sans Coulottes, DB Bistro Moderne, Balthazar, Lucien are a few we have looked at.

    Is Chelsea Market worth a visit?

    Thanks again!

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    Agree to do you special dinner Friday night. You don't want to have to tush through dinner and/or have to eat dinner at 6 in the afternoon - in order to make a show. Also agree there isnt much classic French left - and while Grenouille is wonderful - at dinner it is quite pricey - and I assume you're looking for moderate prices.

    For something like Savored - I always ask why a restaurant would have to take part in that. The lunch special they have every year with numerous restaurants is different - since it's limited choices and most places have room on lunch.

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    FYI, Rock to the Top is not a place in NYC. Top of the Rock is the observation deck on TOP of ROCKefeller Center. And it is easier and in my opinion better to visit than the Empire State Building, because it does not have the long waiting lines of the ESB plus you can actually see the ESB from Top of the Rock.

    I would expect to spend no less than 3 hours (including to boat rides) visiting Ellis Island--this would be a minimal visit.

    The Brooklyn side of the Brooklyn Bridge walkway is partially obscured by scaffolding. You might save time by just walking part way across from the Manhattan side. The WTC site is a 5- to 10-minute walk from the Brooklyn Bridge.

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    If you're going to Eataly for lunch on a Saturday, I would get there pretty early (before noon at least), because it was really crowded on the Saturday afternoon we stopped in. If you don't walk the Brooklyn Bridge on Saturday (as Doug advised), then it is not too far a walk from Eataly to the Morgan Library. We really enjoyed the audio tour, and it doesn't take too long to see it.


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    Thanks for the recommendation, Tom. I have been following your recent trip report and really enjoyed it. In fact, just decided yesterday to try Lucien for dinner on Friday night and have reservations now.

    I haven't looked into the Morgan Library, but will consider that one. What is your website for photos of NYC trip?


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    FYI, The Frick is pay what you wish from 11 am to 1pm, on Sundays if that works for your schedule.(Sometimes, I use the savings like that to buy gifts at the museum shop). If you are planning on seeing the Picasso drawings exhibit though that might not be the best strategy.

    I agree than your plans arescattered geographically, Also , you have some of the busiest things planned for their busiest times, like Eataly on a Saturday lunchtime, It will be mobbed.

    Friday and Saturday nights will be busy at many of the restaurants you mention, if you can even get reservations this late. You might want to have some backup ideas for walk in places--neighborhood restaurants in places you might want to stroll, more casual options

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