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klam_chowder Oct 3rd, 2007 06:10 AM

NYC over Thanksgiving Holiday
I know that the weather isn't the finest then, but I'm wondering given the 4-day Thanksgiving Weekend (Nov 22-25), is it considered a peak time in NYC?

I notice that discounts on theatre tix (e.g., Playbill) are only offered to late Oct/early Nov - are discounts for shows likely to be extended closer to the date?

Any sense of whether hotels will be at capacity (i.e., book now rather than wait)?

I've been to NYC over Christmas and know it's peak season then, but am unsure if it is the same over Thanksgiving (don't many people visit family then).

Any insights/experiences much appreciated - enjoy-la!

doug_stallings Oct 3rd, 2007 06:19 AM

Thanksgiving week is typically the busiest and most expensive tourist week of the entire year in NYC. Hotels that are not at capacity already will be within the next week or two at the most. Expect to pay $400 for a room that typically goes for under $200 during a normal time. Thanksgiving is MUCH busier than Christmas week; the city is completely inundated with high school and college kids here marching in the Thanksgiving Day Parade. I doubt you'll find anything discounted for this week.

doug_stallings Oct 3rd, 2007 06:20 AM

I didn't say this in my other post (you'd be better keeping all your posts together on the same thread when they are basically covering the same ground), but most of the top shows sold out for Thanksgiving week long, long ago.

nytraveler Oct 3rd, 2007 09:57 AM

You're already VERY late to get anything for Thanksgiving. If you want to go you need to get something ASAP - and expect everything to be extra high prices, sold out and/or mobbed.

mclaurie Oct 3rd, 2007 10:27 AM

Actually, I'll disagree. In past years there have been hotel specials for Thanksgiving weekend on travelzoo and the week leading up to T'giving is usually less expensive. The first weekend in Dec. and the first half of Dec. is usually the most expensive.

While things are much busier/more expensive this year with the further fall of the dollar, the NY Helmsley and the Park South can both be had for less than $300/night on for those dates. Try finding those prices the following weeks.

Hotwire is showing some good deals for too like a 3.5 * in midtown east for $202/night that could be the W New York or a 3.5 * in midtown central for $269 that looks like the Hudson.

klam_chowder Oct 4th, 2007 03:57 AM

Thx a mint for the replies. Since I've got airfare booked looks like I need to get accoms secured pronto.

mclaurie, your detailed post is great! I'll look into those right away.


MFNYC Oct 4th, 2007 05:35 AM

Puts your dates in it compares many websites and displays the best deals it finds on hotels. There seems to be several options in the $300 range. You can filter the results by location, price and *s.

You should book something as soon as possible, and check the cancellation policy. If a better deal pops up last minute, you can always cancel and book elsewhere.

GoTravel Oct 4th, 2007 05:52 AM

Most people book this way in advance so you may very well be at an advantage by waiting so late.

The flip side is that you are stuck with what is left.

Start surfing the web. Google New York City Thanksgiving packages.

mclaurie Oct 4th, 2007 07:11 AM

Now on Hotwire there's a 4* in midtown south that looks like 70 Park or Morgans for $259/night.

klam_chowder Oct 9th, 2007 05:44 AM

mclaurie, I wanted to post back to thank you for your specific info.

I immediately looked up those hotels as I am not familiar with them. Altho I rarely book a "back up", I did end up taking one at the 70 Park.

I was having problems finishing the on-line transaction and when I called the hotel directly, their best rate was $500+/nt! I contacted their on-line support and they were able to offer me $295, and eventually even gave me the lower rate I could see but not book (turns out a web error was showing me the travel agent booking rate). Since they were gracious to extend it to me, I wanted to give them time to fix their website.

I didn't want to be locked in with Hotwire, and possibly be at a W Hotel. We stayed at the Times Sq one in 2002 and DH, who is generally not a complainer, hated it.

I've also checked out your suggestions for other posters (Chelsea, 3WC, Abingdon), all with no vacancy.

Thx a mint for your fab contributions to this board. As you can tell, they benefit a lot of Fodorites other than the OP. I'll keep watching for a lower rate at different places.


mclaurie Oct 9th, 2007 07:21 AM

You're welcome. Just wanted to add that has a list of Priceline and Hotwire hotels and if you look, you would see that the NY W is in midtown east while Morgans and 70 Park are in midtown south (on hotwire, anyway). Since you're talking about booking a "back up" are you planning on trying Priceline?

klam_chowder Oct 9th, 2007 09:52 AM

mclaurie, I thought I was well acquainted with PL but hadn't heard about the website you referenced - it's great. I am used to only using BFT & PL. Boy, you sure have a lot of nuggets!

Yes, I'm considering PL since Thanksgiving is a ways off. This morning I checked out the hotels' websites listed on the BFT for MTS 2.5* to 4*, and 20% are already showing no vacancy. And apart from one place, I didn't do any better than my 70 Park Ave reservation. So looks like there may be limited supply for PL later.

I also checked out a few more recs from other threads (Radio City Apt, Gracie, Jack&Judy's), with no vacancy at those either. As others have said, looks to be a very busy w/end!


klam_chowder Oct 10th, 2007 05:41 PM

Anyone know about 6 Columbus? It's a newly renovated Thompson Hotel on the Columbus circle.

It just opened this month, with just over half of its rooms finished, so there aren't many reviews on it yet. I'm wondering what star rating the hotel would have? how noisy it would be there? what that area's like? etc.

It's a toss up btwn that and 70 Park Hotel. I can get a good deal on either of them and the price difference is neglible so not really a factor. Not sure which locale would suit us better.

DH & I are active, very late 30s, and will be in town to watch the TGD parade, see Avenue Q, Mamma Mia & Spamalot, Guggenheim, Tenament Museum and Chinatown, and general Black Friday shopping.

Thx for any insights - enjoy-la!

GoTravel Oct 11th, 2007 07:13 AM

klam, 6 Columbus is supposed to be a fabulous hotel, one of the higher end properties in Manhattan. If you can get it for a deal, I'd jump all over it.

GoTravel Oct 11th, 2007 07:27 AM

Found it!

Here you go, a review from a hotel insider:

travelbuff Oct 11th, 2007 08:00 AM

Also staying there you would have a easier time getting a spot for the parade, or you might check to see if you can get a room with a view of Columbus Circle so you can see the Parade from your room.

I agree that the hotel at Colubmus Circle, grab it quickly.

mclaurie Oct 12th, 2007 01:09 AM

Just be aware that the rooms at 6 Columbus are very very small and the cheapest rates are for a "pod" room which is probably just big enough for the bed and nothing else. While rooms at 70 Park aren't huge, they'll be bigger. Both locations would work for you. If you don't mind small rooms and can get a decent rate for something other than the pod, go for it.

klam_chowder Oct 16th, 2007 05:47 AM

GoTravel, travelbuff & mclaurie: thx a mint for so freely sharing your expertise.

I took your collective advice to go with 6 Columbus, and then spent the w/end moaning & groaning in my mind on which size room to take.

I decided to go with the pod. I know part of it is my fascination of being able to get a room for under $200 at this locale! From GoTravel's great link, I have seen an actual video of the room and while I'm concerned DH will find the room too small, I have showed it to him and he says it's fine so I'll stop 2nd guessing him. (Something I've learnt as a child trying to interpret what my mother REALLY means - very bad habit...LOL!)

The pod's 175 sq ft, compared to 200 for the Queen (70 Park' Q's are 235). Unfortunately only King+ rooms are on the front of the bldg. I'll go with the pod and post back on how small it really is! (Our other stays in NYC were at the W Times Sq and Intercontinental Barclay but in NYC we don't spend any time just "enjoying the room").

The locale is great since I've also looked around and found that Whole Foods is just down the street as we like to pick up a few jugs of water for our room/trip.

I was pleasantly surprised at how well trained the 2 reps were at 6 Columbus - a good sign!

So if anyone can bear with me, I have a few more ?'s...

Transportation from/to EWR:
Arrival: 6:15 pm Wed (Nov 21)
Depart: 7:15 am Sun (Nov 25)

We were going to take the AirTrain/transit to Penn Stn and then the subway to Columbus Circle. However, when I used the to figure out how to get to the airport, I realized that getting there so early for our departing flight was problematic.

I found Olympia Express bus service that goes from EWR to Port Authority Bus Terminal in 30 to 40 mins. At the airport, the last stop is Terminal C and the first stop is PABT so that's a bonus for us. If we catch the 6:55 PM bus, it says it arrives at 7:25 PM at the PABT. Is this a reasonable estimate on a Wed evening? It also stops at Penn Stn but I thought it would be easier (less busy) to get off at the PABT, right?

Getting to the airport on-time is obviously more of a concern. There is a bus that leaves the PABT at 5AM arriving at Terminal C at 5:35AM. Do you think this is enough time to catch our 7:15 flight? (I know they are recommending 2 hrs but this is very early Sunday...)

I was thinking of taking the A/C subway from PABT to the hotel. What about to the airport? Is it "safe" to take the subway at 4:30AM on a Sunday? Would it be better taking a bus (where there is an operator on board)? Make more sense to just catch a cab to PABT? Can the hotel easily hail cabs at that hour?

I like Olympia bus as it doesn't stop all over NYC (like I have read the SuperShuttle does) and PABT seems easy to get from/to our hotel. I also know it's a greener alternative than car service (DH is not a frog but likes green). And of course the return trip is only $50 for both of us, so that's a bonus. Any downsides to Olympia bus that I'm missing?

Hopefully lastly...we're going to watch the parade from Columbus Circle since it goes right by and I believe we're even on the right side of the street. We'd like "front row" seats on the sidewalk - what time do you think we have to be on the street for them?

Thx for any insights on any on this...


doug_stallings Oct 16th, 2007 06:08 AM

Coming into the city on Wednesday, I think it's entirely optimistic to think that the trip will take only 30 minutes on the Olympia bus. It's likely that you'll be stuck at the Lincoln Tunnel alone for at least 20 to 30 minutes, if not more. Bank on an hour minimum for this trip. That's the real reason you should take the Airtrain into the city on Wednesday; then it's a quick trip to your hotel by subway.

For your return trip to EWR, there will be very little traffic at 5am on a Sunday, so the bus from Port Authority should get to EWR in 30 minutes easily, and I think that will give you enough time to deal with check in and security. With Olympia, the bus that goes to EWR from Penn Station is the same bus that leaves from Grand Central, but it's a different bus from the one that goes to Port Authority. Going to EWR, Penn Station is the last stop before the bus goes to NJ. But from your hotel, I think it's easier to get to the Port Authority.

Do take a cab to Port Authority because the subways and buses runs don't run very often that early in the morning, and you might just miss your bus if you have to wait too long. It's not an issue of safety, but frequency of service. If you're really ambitious and the weather is nice, you could also walk in about 20 minutes,b ut it's perhaps a 5-minute taxi ride from your hotel.

ggreen Oct 16th, 2007 06:38 AM

The Olympia Bus is a great way to get to the airport. I believe it departs from outside Port Authority on the 42nd Street side; since you're leaving so early on Sunday, you may want to check out the logistics - and buy your tix - ahead of time.

However, now that there's the AirTrain, I'm not such a big fan of taking the bus from the airport into the city. Rail service just feels so much more convenient! At NYC Penn, you'd just take the A or C (not E) one or two stops to 59th Street/Columbus Circle.

Don't take the subway on Sunday a.m. for exactly the reason Doug describes. Trains are infrequent at that hour, and weekend trackwork makes for all sorts of rerouting, etc. Likewise, city buses are pretty infrequent at that hour, too!

The walk would be about 3/4 of a mile straight down 8th Ave from Columbus Circle to Port Authority.

The Whole Foods in the Time Warner Center is a nice one. You might also want to check out a NY institution called Fairway, who's flagship location is just north of Lincoln Center at Broadway and 73rd Street. Walk up a few more blocks to Zabars for an even more classic NY grocery...

I believe there's a Pain Quotidien on or near Columbus Circle. This is a local chain of French bakeries that's great for breakfast, either takeout or linger over pastries, yogurt and fruit, etc. at one of their large wooden tables. (You can find their addresses and menus on

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