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Old Feb 4th, 2010, 01:43 AM
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Join Date: Feb 2007
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Hi all. Family of four (sons 16 & 18) and approx 4 days in NY early August. I have read so many forums but I am going round in circles. We have changed our trip plan totally to allow us to be in NY for the Tim McGraw concert at the Darien Centre. We want to do the absolute tourist sights: Staten Island Ferry & SOL; Brooklyn & Bridge; Times Square at night; a Broadway Show(Million DollarQuartet @Nederlander Theatre); Central Park; Empire State; Wallstreet; City tour Bronx etc; Manhatten, NYYankees play Yankee Stadium etc.

I know this is a common type of question but I would appreciate any assistance in where to stay suitable to what we want to do, places to eat ( several years ago in LA Mel's won the boys over!), getting around, difficulty in buying tickets etc.

I appreciate any assistance..NY has me a little jolly big and so many choices!

Thank you all very much! Annie
aussie_annie is offline  
Old Feb 4th, 2010, 01:59 AM
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Darien Center is not in NYCity. not even close...I looked at a map and see that it is closer to with only 4 days you would have a problem going to that concert....
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Old Feb 4th, 2010, 03:06 AM
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OHhhh my goodness SusieQQ....Thankyou!! My 16yo is a country music fiend and he found the concert and has been hounding me to buy tickets and I have not looked yet to see where the centre is. We will be in Chicago and I have been debating best way to to travel to NYCity ...would love to see Niagra have asked for opinions on the Chicago thread. I may have to try and tie it all in. Bless you Annie
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Old Feb 4th, 2010, 03:07 AM
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Yes, the Darien Center is about seven hours drive each way from New York City (if you're lucky considering NYC traffic) or an hour plane flight plus waiting. It's closer to Toronto, Canada than New York City. Scratch the concert and enjoy the rest of your plans in NYC.
Daniel_Williams is offline  
Old Feb 4th, 2010, 03:45 AM
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I've just answered your question on traveling from Chicago but it would have been helpful to have this info there. If the concert falls at the right time, I would fly from Chicago to Buffalo, NY. You can find relatively cheap one way fares under $100/person. Go to the concert and see Niagara Falls, then fly to NYC from Buffalo. is a good website to check flights/fares.

As for NYC, there's no one best location for sightseeing since the sights you mention are all over the city. I also think you're setting yourselves up for disappointment (not to mention exhaustion) by expecting to see everything there is to see in 4 days. First focus on finding a hotel that will be comfortable to sleep your family at a budget you can afford. A suite hotel (with separate living room with sofabed and bedroom) is probably the best idea. The Embassy Suites downtown is one very good option. They are one of the few hotels that includes a full cooked breakfast with the room rate and they hotel is almost on the water so cool breezes in summer and a lovely park that runs along the river. It's also near the ferry terminals, Wall st., Chinatown, not far from Soho and Greenwich Village.

There are also suite hotels in midtown. is one popular budget option but Doubletree Guest Suites in Times Square would like be the most desirable since most of the bus tours start in that area. If the boys can share a bed, the Hampton Inn Times Square North and the Hilton Garden Inn Times Square have rooms with 2 queen beds and are very good family hotels. is a group of suite hotels that would also work.

For seeing as much as possible, you could consider a bus tour one day that would at least take you past a lot of the iconic places. The most popular is the Grayline hop on/off loop tours but be warned, you sit upstairs in the open and in August, you can fry. is a good overview tour in a closed bus and uses a combo of walking and the subway.

Get your itinerary, accomodation and sightseeing organized and then you can worry about restaurants.
mclaurie is offline  
Old Feb 4th, 2010, 03:52 AM
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Aussie Annie,

What are the overall dates of your trip?

It would not be a good use of time to go to New York City, drive up to Buffalo, then drive back.

But if you were driving from Chicago to New York, Niagara Falls and Buffalo would be right on the way.

I see that Tim McGraw is in Cleveland the day before he is in Buffalo. That would also be somewhere you could stop on your way from Chicago to New York. Of course then you would not see Niagara Falls.

To go through Cleveland you would leave Chicago, go pretty much due east and below Lake Erie, then get on Rte. 80 and take it all the way into NYC. To go through Buffalo you would follow a different route that takes you north of Lake Erie, through a bit of Ontario. Both drives have some scenic moments but the days are long.

Anyway, I think the Tim McGraw concert is very doable depending on how you decide to get from Chicago to New York.

As for New York - getting around is pretty easy, I think, but I would take a few minutes with a map to arrange your destinations in some kind of order so that you don't spend an extra two hours going uptown and downtown when you don't need to.

Your sons might enjoy this:

I have not personally been here, because it's been awhile since I lived in NY, but friends who have visited more recently enjoyed it:
Barbara_in_FL is offline  
Old Feb 4th, 2010, 05:07 AM
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You're overwhelmed because you want to see the Bronx, Brooklyn, Staten Island, and Manhattan in 4 days, which just. isn't. possible.

Perhaps you could give us better direction as to your interests? Such as, foodies, sports fans, history buffs, garden lovers, etc. If you like food, you can take food tours. If you love history, we can recommend a list of museums. And etc.

Keep in mind that many of the things you want to do take hours, such as the Top of the Rock, the SI Ferry, a ball game. So while you can "see" Central Park as you whiz past, you will not be able to watch the Yankees in a similar 5 minutes. You can "see" the Statue of Liberty from the air, but to go up will take at last a half day, providing there are no lines. If you add Ellis Island to the itinerary, it becomes a full day.

Also, August is usually broiling. You will find yourselves exhausted more quickly than you anticipate. You will need to plan a lot of time to rest, or at least, drink a lot of water.
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Old Feb 4th, 2010, 06:11 AM
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Here's your list of desired sights arranged geographically from south to north (downtown to uptown) with gaps to show those that can be grouped because of close proximity.

Staten Island Ferry
Wall Street
Brooklyn & Bridge

Empire State Building
City tour Bronx etc; ManhattAn (not sure what this means . . bus tour?)

Times Square at night;
Broadway Show (Million Dollar Quartet @Nederlander Theatre)

Central Park

NYYankees play Yankee Stadium etc.

Please tell us which of these are your priorities, YOUR must-do sights, especially if you have tickets for something already (like the Broadway show or the yankee game). E_M makes good points about what you mena by "seeing" these things . . . a drive-by/walk-by or and in-depth visit.
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Old Feb 4th, 2010, 06:46 AM
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I know some people shudder when this is brought up, but you honestly need to do one of those open top bus tours immediately upon arrival in midtown. It's the quickest and best way to "see and feel" the main attractions of NYC. Of course, you won't really "experience" them, but with only four days (or less) it's the best way to get a feel for the famous sights of NYC and there's no way you can fully experience them anyway in that short time.

And I missed where you suggested you wanted to visit Staten Island. A trip on the Staten Island Ferry is a must, but when you arrive at Staten Island, you simply turn around and get back on the ferry and return.

One of my favorite things to do, would be to take the Water Ferry (a little research is in order because it keeps changing) to Fulton Landing in Brooklyn. Walk up the street to Grimaldi's Pizza for lunch and then walk back across the Brooklyn Bridge. Or do that in reverse so that you can end up at Brooklyn Ice Cream Factory on the Fulton Landing stop before coming back to Manhattan. I know some say it's better to cross the Brooklyn Bridge towards Manhattan, but honestly, you are allowed to stop a lot and turn around and look.
NeoPatrick is offline  
Old Feb 4th, 2010, 08:04 AM
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If the Tim McGraw concert is a priority, best bet would be to find out when tickets for each city go on sale and be ready to purchase, as concerts often sell out almost immediately.

You may also want to consider flying to Toronto, which is not far from Niagara Falls.
djkbooks is offline  
Old Feb 4th, 2010, 08:12 AM
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Wow! You Fodorite's are great. This thread makes me homesick for NYC...

Annie - have a great trip...
gruezi is offline  
Old Feb 4th, 2010, 08:18 AM
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Before you buy tickets to "Million Dollar Quartet", you might want to look at a discount site called Broadway Box ( I have used this site on a couple of occasions to buy discounted tickets to shows. Right now they are offering a 50% deal for "MDQ" through May 2nd. Sometimes they re-offer the discounts, so it might be worth a look later to see if the offer has been extended or whether it is re-offered after May 2nd.
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Old Feb 4th, 2010, 08:32 AM
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This cracked me up. We did it "in reverse" and still loved it (had a very late lunch/early dinner at Grimaldi's -- good but not the best I've ever had -- followed by the unreal hot chocolate at Jacques Torres -- too bad it'll be August!)
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Old Feb 4th, 2010, 04:06 PM
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Jacques Torres has really good ice cream sandwiches in the summer.
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Old Feb 4th, 2010, 05:23 PM
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Maybe it is not an issue for Australians - I don't know - but be sure to check immigration rules if you plan to go to the Canadian side of Niagara Falls (which has the better views) or to Toronto.
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