NYC trip March 09

Feb 27th, 2009, 01:31 PM
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NYC trip March 09

I am planning my first trip to NYC in March. My boyfriend and I will be flying into LGA. I have booked the Westin Times Square. I wanted to stay where I could take in everything in 5 days. My question is...should I plan everything in advance or play it by ear once I get there? Should I buy show tickets (nothing in particular I want to see, but I want to see a show while I am there)? Should I buy a sightseeing tour or wait until I am there to do that? Should I make reservations for dinner, if so what places are good and decent priced? Thanks in advance for any assistance you can provide.
Tammied8 is offline  
Feb 27th, 2009, 02:08 PM
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Everyone has a different way of traveling. Some like to wing it while others like to plan down to the last detail. Most do something somewhere in between. Since you're asking the question I assume you'd perhaps like to do some planning.

I would buy discount theater tickets in advance. You can look at the left column on and see what interests you that's on discount. Other things that are worth buying in advance IF you want to do them include Statue of Liberty tickets if you want to actually visit the Statue vs. just pass by in a boat, Empire State building tickets (lines are long and buying in advance saves at least 1 line). If there's a particular restaurant you want to visit and it's popular, you might book that. You can book a lot of restaurants on If there's no place in particular you want to try, then at least do some research on options you might like. is one place to do that research. Your hotel is in the west 40's. It's a good idea to reserve dinner on a night you're going to the theater and Sat. nights can be more difficult to book.

The other idea is to list the things you know you'd like to see and try to group them together on a map. That way while you may not plan what you'll do on Mon, Tues, Wed, you might know on a day you could go to a, b, c, d and they're all in the same area.
mclaurie is offline  
Feb 27th, 2009, 02:18 PM
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If you go to you can find codes that will let you buy discount tickets in advance - saving a lot of money and time standing on line while there (unless you don;t ming paying full price).

I don;t reco any of the bus tours - generally the commentary is bad and you just look at streets, traffic, locals going about their business and the outside of sights. Much better just to get a MetroCard and hop on a subway to go actually see the inside of whatever interests you.

As for food - there are dozens of rat restaurants and hundreds of good ones. You need to tel us what your budget is (keeping in mind NYC is likely more expensive than where you live) and what types of food you like. Generally you do better in residential areas (upper west side, Village, lower east side) where locals eat. Many restaurants in midtown are either over-priced touristy chains - or quite upscale.
nytraveler is offline  
Feb 27th, 2009, 02:48 PM
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I disagree about buying the discount tickets in advance...unless you don't mind spending an extra $15 service charge for each pair of tickets. First of all, you're not that fussy about which shows you end up seeing, so you don't face the "disappointment factor" of tickets not being available for a specific show. And, since you are staying in the Times Square area, you'll be near the theater district and can easily walk to the box offices and buy the tickets, saving the per-ticket handling charge that you would pay if you bought the tickets on line or on the phone.
Simply go to or and run off copies of the discount offers of any of the shows that interest you and bring them with you to the city.
As for restaurants, what is a "decent" price to you and what type(s) of food do you prefer?
HowardR is offline  
Feb 27th, 2009, 03:00 PM
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Thanks for the fast responses. It is very helpful to know that our hotel is in the west 40's. I am sure I will be asked that.

We like all types of food except seafood (allergies). I would like to spend around $50-100 for dinner on the 4 nights we will be there. Is that reasonable? Lunch I just plan to find a place in whatever neighborhood we are in at the time. I will look at opentable,menupages, and broadwaybox. I was planning to do a bus tour the first full day we are there to get a better understanding of where everything is. Would it be better to get a map to try to plan it in advance? To be honest, I am quite scared of the subway system and metrocard ideas. =)
Tammied8 is offline  
Feb 27th, 2009, 03:04 PM
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Tammie, have you looked at a map of Manhattan? If not, that's where you should start, so you know where your hotel is in relation to, for example, Central Park. Until you get "downtown", NY is pretty much laid out on a grid, so it's easy to navigate. Once you take the subway once, you'll be an old pro. Don't waste your time on the bus!
sf7307 is offline  
Feb 28th, 2009, 05:46 AM
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Tammie, Millions of people take the subway every day without a problem. And whether or not you decide to take a bus tour one day, those hop on-hop off bus tours are an expensive and inefficient way to get around the city over the length of your stay. There are a number of threads here in which people explain the NY transit system of subways and buses, and once you arrive, NYers are very helpful and willing to help you find your way.
ellenem is offline  
Feb 28th, 2009, 06:26 AM
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Thank you for your replies about the subway system. Is there a time of day that it is best to stop riding the subway? I have heard they can be dangerous at night.
Tammied8 is offline  
Feb 28th, 2009, 10:50 AM
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In Manhattan it's "safe" and normal to ride the subway until well after midnight, particularly on weekends. I do it all the time, coming uptown from partying downtown.

My advice to all visitors is this: Relax. You can not and will not see everything in one visit. New York is a walking city, a city to explore and savor. If you have a "check the box" mentality, you're missing out.

Great resource:

And if you like art, do not miss the Bonnard exhibition at the Metropolitan.

Enjoy NYC!
Gekko is offline  
Feb 28th, 2009, 04:53 PM
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Get a subway map and a street map and learn how to use them.

A bus tour is huge waste of time - and won;t really give your much perspective - besides only showing you the outsides of buildings.

For practical travel you MUST use the subway - cheap, fast and very convenient - and literally millions of people ride it every day (it runs 24/7 throughout the city). We stop riding it at about midnight - not for safety reasons, but since the trains come much less frequently (every 20 minutes versus every 3 or 4 in rush hours and 5/6 minutes most of the day) - and take a cab, since we would be home by the time the train came.

What's key is to

1) decide what you want to see
2) locate the on a map
3) group what you want to see by area so you don't waste time training up and downtown multiple times a day

(Your hotel is in midtown, which is primarily business, large department stores and theaters as well as MOMA and TOTR. Central Park and many of the museums are uptown, as is upscale designer shopping and more upscale residential areas. Downtown has a bunch of different areas, some upscale, some trendy, some business (financial district) as well as all the civic buildings and the ferries to SoL, Ellis Island and Staten Island (from South Ferry at the southern tip of the island).
nytraveler is offline  
Mar 1st, 2009, 02:30 AM
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Hi Tammied8,
I used the metro and subways extensively on my first trip to NYC in 2005 and plan to do so again next month. Assuming you use buses & trains in your home city, you will probably be pleasantly surprised by the NYC public transport system. I think the latest I used the subway was something like 11:30pm. I also walked to & from my apartment on the Upper East side to various restaurants within a few blocks at night without the slightest problem. I gather from your post that you're from elsewhere in the US and travelling with your boyfriend. Mine was the solo journey of an Australian woman on her first trip to the US. I felt equally as safe as I would have anywhere here ... and I very rarely take buses & trains here.
Bokhara2 is offline  
Mar 5th, 2009, 04:18 PM
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Thank you everyone for your replies. I will try to map out the locations we want to see and try out the subway. Are there any restaurants you would reccommend? Is it a good idea to make reservations in advance or not too hard to get into for dinner?
Tammied8 is offline  
Mar 5th, 2009, 06:22 PM
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 8,421
I agree with finding discount codes and acquiring theater tickets in advance. You never know about the weather, or lines, at TKTS. I'd rather spend the extra, have tickets in hand, and not spend a minute going after tickets during a short visit.
djkbooks is offline  
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