Please help with NY trip!

Aug 18th, 2007, 07:38 PM
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Please help with NY trip!

We'll be in NYC early/mid October for three nights before heading to Philly to visit some friends. It'll just be me and my beau. He's never been and I've only been once while visiting a friend at NYU in our college days.

We want to try out Virgin America and they have some great fares to JFK but I'm wondering how easy it is to get into the city from there? I've heard that LGA is better but the fare is almost double (and we wouldn't get to check out VA). I've only come in by train to Penn Station, and that was super convenient...What's best?

So, about us: We're in our late-20's and would like some nightlife along with standard tourist fare. We really just need help with the NY logistics, especially recommendations for hotels, so let me start there---

We need to stay under $300 but would like something convenient for the activities we're planning. We're not oppossed to walking (a must for NY, right?) and actually did very well on public transit through Western Europe a couple of summers ago---no small feat, I think, coming from Northern California where if you don't have a car, you're helpless! Anyway, here's some of what's on our list:

Empire State Building
Statue of Liberty
Ferry ride
Yankee Stadium
Show---what's great?
Musuems (the Met, Natural History, open to suggestions here)
Central Park
Brooklyn Bridge

Also, someone at work recommended Big Onion
Walking Tours---is this something that may actually interest us, based on what info I gave above?

Open to any and all suggestions. If there's anything I left out that would help your recommendations, just let me know

jakes_girl is offline  
Aug 18th, 2007, 08:10 PM
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One more thing-just looking at some other threads and checked out
Is this a good way to go? If so, what neighborhood(s) should I concentrate on looking at?
jakes_girl is offline  
Aug 19th, 2007, 04:01 AM
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Re air: If JFK is cheaper, go for it.
you can take AirTrain ($5) to Jamaica
& take LIRR To Penn station or take
a subway. Haven't done subway, someone
else can offer the route.
Re Hotel: All the sites area scattered
about NYC so you might want to stay
near Penn (34th st) at one of the
AppleCore hotels.
Rhea58 is offline  
Aug 19th, 2007, 06:06 AM
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My first consideration is always whether I want to fly direct or not. Going from Ca, you might need to change planes to fly into LGA. It might be worth the cost difference on the ground in NY to fly direct. It's not that much further from JFK and I don't know if the cost difference to you is worth a few hours layover (which last week for us went from 2 hours to 4 in Atlanta, due to weather), or the potential for lost luggage and/or aggravation which comes with changing planes. My daughter lives in Ca and flies to Newark which might be closer than JFK to Manhattan and also has a train-to-the-plane option. Also, Newark has more direct flight options from Ca than LGA. All the places you listed are very accessible by public transportation. A car would probably slow you down, be a hassle to park and would end up costing a lot more than using buses and subways.
Jo1023 is offline  
Aug 19th, 2007, 06:41 AM
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There are very few, if any, direct-flight options from California to Laguardia.
HowardR is online now  
Aug 19th, 2007, 06:55 AM
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Look into getting a New York Pass ( as it covers entrance into numerous museums and even the ferry ride to Ellis Island and entrance into the museum there, the Empire State Building, MoMA etc and discounts to many shops and restaurants. Their 3 day & 7 day passes are 20% off right now. We thought it was a tremendous value, but calculate it out for yourself according to the attractions you think you'll be able to make it to and their list prices for admission. Be realistic about the things you want to do - your list is long and you only have three days, right?

You didn't mention how you are planning to get from NYC to Philly, but don't take Amtrak. If you are looking to save money, take NJ Transit's Northeast Corridor train from Penn Station to Trenton and then switch there to the SEPTA train which takes you right into the heart of Philly. It's MUCH cheaper!!

As for hotels, I've had much luck on finding good NYC hotel values on Keep in mind that you are going to NYC at the beginning of the touristy season - hotel rates go UP in the fall.

dex08 is offline  
Aug 19th, 2007, 07:05 AM
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What kind of nightlife are you looking for? Dancing? Cheap drinks? Fancy drinks? Hotel bars? Rocknroll clubs?
TwoFatFeet is offline  
Aug 19th, 2007, 10:46 AM
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You didn't mention how you are planning to get from NYC to Philly, but don't take Amtrak. If you are looking to save money, take NJ Transit's Northeast Corridor train from Penn Station to Trenton and then switch there to the SEPTA train which takes you right into the heart of Philly. It's MUCH cheaper!!

It's true, it's much cheaper, and much slower and less comfortable. The NY Transit train is like a commuter train, whereas the Amtrak train is a long-distance train. I did both in one weekend last year -- I think it was $18 for the NJ Transit version, and about $70 for the Amtrak version.
Aug 19th, 2007, 11:05 AM
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Coming in from JFK is not an issue - you can use Air Train/LIRR for I think $12 each.

You big issues is going to be hotels. $300 a night is very low for that time of year and you need to move quickly before anything decent is gone.

Try to reserve something cancellable you can live with right away - like today. then - search for better options. You might consider Priceline - but don;t know what inventory they will have then. Look at all the discounters including Kayak and travelzoo.

Don;t know your exact dates - but kayak is showing a few decent but basic places for some night in Oct for around $300 including tax (watch that - t can be 18%). But - you really do need to sort this out first.

As for your itinerary:

Bag Empire State Building and do Top of the Rock instead (better views IMHO and will save hours of waiting time)

Consider how many hours you're willing to wait to see the Statue of Liberty (which requires 3 long waiting lines). I would get advance tickets for the ferry (leaving only 1 line - security for the boat), get a view of the Statue when it lands at Liberty Island and take it on to the Ellis Island Immigration Museum, which is brilliant.

Yankee Stadium is a great tour - but happens only on days they don;t play - so it depends on if they make the playoffs and what days you're here. suggest you reserve these in advance as soon as the dates are known.

Bring very comfy walking shoes, a good appetite and lots of credit cards.
nytraveler is offline  
Aug 19th, 2007, 12:29 PM
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Thanks to all for info on transit. I think we will go ahead and fly into JFK as
1)we wanted to try Virgin Atlantic anyway,
2)it's the cheapest option, and
3)it is direct from SFO.

That said, I'm wondering if anyone has opinions about the site I've been seeing thrown around on different threads. We aren't opposed to renting someone's home instead of paying hundreds of dollars a night at a "decent" hotel. Just have never done it so would like some input.

dex08, thanks for the tip on that pass, I will definitely check it out. We did something similar in London and Paris and it worked out really well...

As for getting to Philly, we are taking Amtrak. It is only $81 for the both of us and I think that's well worth it for only having to take one train.

For nightlife, I think I mentioned we'd like a recommendation for a show but as far as "going out" we really like to dance, don't care much for cheap drinks (at least the ones with well alcohol) but don't want to pay an arm and a leg or wait in a ridiculous line to get into an uber-trendy spot.

nytraveler, thanks for all the info---I was wondering how to compact everything...We will have three nights, which, if we plan right for could end up as four full days. But what is the Top of the Rock?
jakes_girl is offline  
Aug 19th, 2007, 05:58 PM
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Top of the Rock is an observation deck on the highest levels of the NBC buildings at Rockefeller Center. While not quite as high as the Empire State Building it is high enough for great views - you can see the ESB - as well as better views of Central Park etc. And you can get timed tickets in advance - so you don;t have to wait on interminable lines as at ESB.

If you time your visit right you can see the city both in daylight and as night falls and the lights come on.
nytraveler is offline  
Aug 19th, 2007, 06:39 PM
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Try courtyard by Marriott, midtown east. We just stayed there. It should be under $300. Pretty good location, and from JFK, no need for tolls to pay if you take a cab.

I also use frommers for their user friendly list of NYC hotels and prices. However, I think they may be a bit outdated, but you still get an easy way to see whats cheaper yet still pretty well rated.

Also, stay on the ferry and see the Statue of Liberty from the water. It's better seen from the water since you really can't go up it any farther than the base. It will also save you an hour wait in the security line.
Austin is offline  
Aug 20th, 2007, 10:38 AM
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nytraveler-top of the rock sounds excellent! that would give us some leeway with time for other things and i have been accused of being "impatient" so cutting down wait time is probably a good idea also, what time of day is good to do the day/night view you were talking about?

austin, i will check out the marriot as well as frommers. if we weren't going to do midtown, which neighborhood should we concentrate on for a hotel/home rental? and again, does anyone have info they'd like to share on
jakes_girl is offline  
Aug 21st, 2007, 09:00 AM
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sorry can't help with that vrbo website, but I have also heard of people subletting apts on craiglist.

shows - Ave Q is a lot of fun if you don't have a very conservative sense of humor. I also like Rent. You can never go wrong with Les Mis either, if you like largescale theatrical shows.

nightlife - what kind of music do you like dancing to? Hiphop? World beats? Salsa
awlrain is offline  
Aug 21st, 2007, 10:40 AM
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Sorry - Marriott Courtyard Eastside in your time period is showing about $400 per night including tax (don;t know your exact dates) - remember October is headed into high season.

VRBO is fine - but you have to do research on each specific property - it's not a renter - just a listing spot. And - many places won;t do for as few as 3 nights.
nytraveler is offline  
Aug 21st, 2007, 10:59 AM
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i think i'll look into ave q. seen les mis more times than i can count and not sure about rent. besides, there's nothing very conservative about our senses of humor, so we should be good to go, right

nightlife dancing---between the two of us we like hip hop, house, techno (not my fave), top 40's, pop and oldies...

nytraveler, i actually started another thread to get some hits on my questions for vrbo. i feel pretty comfortable with the feedback i've received and think we may go that way. true, lots of places don't want to do only a few nights, but at this late date it's also true that places are booked up for the majority of october with two and three night openings in between longer bookings. just keep your fingers crossed that i can research them and jump on it fast enough to secure one!

that said, can anyone recommend which neighborhood would be good to rent in? given what sites we want to see and the fact that we don't mind walking/public transit but keeping in mind that we don't want to spend half our time just getting to the places...somewhere convenient, safe and maybe a little more low key than, say, midtown???
jakes_girl is offline  
Aug 21st, 2007, 11:14 AM
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Try the Park South Hotel. It is starting to show a little wear and tear but is still a fantastic little hotel.

Agree you'll need to up your price a bit. October is dead smack into peak season (Labor Day through New Years).

I also have stayed at the Milford Plaza and it was decent for the money.
Aug 21st, 2007, 11:19 AM
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Thanks gotravel, I'll check them out. Part of the reason we're wanting to rent more now is so that we don't have to "up" the nightly price, so I'm really hoping that works out. It will also be more convenient for us to have a kitchen since we tend to be late risers and don't need to waste time on breakfast out every day...
jakes_girl is offline  
Aug 21st, 2007, 12:24 PM
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for dancing, try the strip of clubs along 21st Street between 5th and 6th Ave - there's Duvet, Via, Slate, Taj, and maybe a few others i can't think of. They're easy to get to and good dance scene generally. Duvet tends to have a bit of a line, but last time Via was easy to get into around 10pm. Another alternative is the Meatpacking District, more chichi - for example Lotus or Pink Elephant. I'd use Shecky's or something like that to narrow down which to try.

Dunno what you had in mind for Bklyn Bridge, but unless you actually want to head into Bklyn or walk across the bridge, I'd recommend checking it out from South Street Seaport. SSS has a nice vibe, but the views are spectacular, even from inside the little mall there. They also often do events, festivals there, so check out the website to see if anything is going on. Even I love it, as a non-tourist. ;-)
awlrain is offline  
Aug 21st, 2007, 12:28 PM
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thx awlrain, nice tips for clubs, i'll do more research on your picks. and i like the idea of sss since i'm not all about walking the bridge or going into brooklyn with only a few days of nyc time!
jakes_girl is offline  

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