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Please review NYC itinerary - 2 adults and 3 kids starting Sunday

Please review NYC itinerary - 2 adults and 3 kids starting Sunday

Dec 12th, 2007, 09:00 AM
Original Poster
Join Date: Mar 2003
Posts: 345
Please review NYC itinerary - 2 adults and 3 kids starting Sunday

Hi All:

This is the trip for grandkids that my mom planned and now she's fallen and can't go so I have been designated Tour Guide ... my sister-in-law and I are taking my 6 yr old son and her 10 and 11 yr old daughter and son.

Flying Sunday morning and hoping to save $$ by taking the bus / metro to Affinia Manhattan. Still looking at MTA website to try to figure this one out!

After throwing luggage into hotel, going to Upper West Side to meet one of my best friends - hope to get local view of Upper West Side, Central Park, including skating. Is Zabar's up here somewhere? Am sure friend will have chow ideas, but if not, will welcome all!

Monday - meeting local tour guide I hired through my company (I work in student tour business). Have asked him to focus on Lower East Side. Want strong focus on immigrant focus and eclectic nature of this area. My husband is Dutch so would love any Dutch history ideas ... Should be done by about 2 or 3 and have the rest of Monday afternoon and are open to ideas. Is Ellis Island too advanced for this age group? Niece and Nephew have never travelled and this is meant as fun / cultural trip for them! What about Brooklyn? Any ideas? We are looking for relatively inexpensive and non-chain food ideas for dinner - all ideas welcome! All 3 kids are great and up for adventure.

Tues - have 11 am Rockettes show so this will be our Midtown day. Plan on doing windows, Rock Center, Diamond District (kids have never seen Jewish people, much less Hasidic!) ... this is the day I am least looking forward to because of the crowds and all the "stuff", but kids will surely love. Any "must see's" that I have not mentioned?

Wed - kind of free. We fly at 5 and I was thinkiing about Natural History but would love any and all ideas.

Again, looking for tasty eating ideas and any and all unique / fun ideas for kids. I have never travelled to NYC with kids and since I'm now the tour guide, I'm looking for advice from the pros.

Weespxx is offline  
Dec 12th, 2007, 09:14 AM
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If you are coming from JFK airport, take the AirTrain to Jamaica. Then the LIRR to Penn Station OR the E train to Penn Station. With group you size and ages, I think you should spring for a taxi or car service. You can't take a regular cab since you have five people--you'd need one of the larger vans.

Ellis Island is not a good choice for after 2-3 PM. It will take time to get there and get dark by 4:30PM. You kids may enjoy it, so plan to do it when you can get there earlier in the day. Is the Lower East Side Tenement Museum part of your tour? If not, perhaps you can reserve a time for after your tour.

While at Rock Center, you might visit Top of the Rock, the observation deck with views of the city. Don't bother if the weather is not good.

Another skating option for midtown is Bryant Park (42nd St and 6th Ave), which has a pleasant Christmas Market and skating rink.
ellenem is offline  
Dec 12th, 2007, 09:44 AM
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With 3 kids the only way into town that makes sense is cab. You can have 5 passengers since the youngest can sit on someone's lap. Taking bus and subway will not really save you much - don;t know if the kids are free on the bus (I assume shuttle) - but you have to pay for them on the subway. Plus you don;t want to have to be watching them plus dealing with all your luggage on public transport. If you're talking about the regular city bus and subway from LGA - it will take you probably close to 2 hours and be a major pain in the butt. Esp since it looks like snow for Sunday.

(In NYC only small - lap - children are free on the bus or subway. Anybody that takes a seat has to pay a fare. You may get away with a 6 year old for free - 10 and 11 will absolutely have to pay.)

Suggest you get a map of Central Park (go to Central Park Conservancy Web site). Things are spread out and you need to now if you need east side or west and how far north. (And yes, Zabar's is on Broadway and 79th - but it's really more for take out than eat in.)

On Mon you will not have time for Ellis Island which is a pity - since it's brilliant. I'm surprised the guide isn't taking you there if you want the immigrant experience (although obviously not for the dutch - since they pre-dated Ellis Island by almost 300 years).

On Tues add Top of the Rock - for which you can get timed tickets. For one meal consider Ellen's Stardust Diner -inexpensive with standard diner fare - but wait staff are all Broadway chorus boys and girls waiting for a part - and performances are fun for kids and quite a high standard.
nytraveler is offline  
Dec 12th, 2007, 09:52 AM
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Cabs aren't supposed to take 5 people, even if 3 of them are children. So I don't think that's a realistic option. If you can get a taxi to take you all, you're going to spend only $20 more for the taxi than for all of you to take public transit into the city (frankly, bus to subway with 3 kids is madness ... the only viable option is the Airtrain to LIRR).

Anyway, the posters are insisting they want to save money. The best option is to take Airtrain into Manhattan; exit at the Madison Square Garden entrance for Penn Station (7th Ave side), which is immediately across the street from their hotel. On Sunday (with a "City Ticket" which you can buy for $3 from the machine) this is $8 per person, though perhaps discounted for kids. For a total coast of $40. But the City Ticket only works on weekends; going back will cost $10 per person if you don't travel during rush hour.
doug_stallings is offline  
Dec 12th, 2007, 10:03 AM
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The best option is to take Airtrain into Manhattan;

I assume by this you mean the Airtrain to Jamaica/Jamaica to Manhattan by E subway?
Dec 12th, 2007, 02:45 PM
Original Poster
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Posts: 345
Sorry for the confusion on the airport - we're flying into La Guardia. Any advice from there? I can't believe I forgot that! I've heard about the Q33 bus to Jamaica and then train / subway? to Penn St OR M60 bus to Broadway and 106th or so and then subway down. Any idea on what sort of timeframe?

I've also heard there are some SUV / Van taxis - how reliable is my source?

Thanks for the advice, especially about adding Top of the Rock and Tenement Museum. The guide did want to take us to Ellis Island but I thought we could get better use of his time since we could do Ellis Island self-guided. We could skip Natural History and do it Wed am. Is it worth it? Also had heard about the diner and think we'll go there for sure.

This is a great forum - wonderful advice.


Weespxx is offline  
Dec 12th, 2007, 03:17 PM
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I think Ellis Island is worth seeing particularly if you want to focus on the immigrant experience. The ferry also stops at the Statue of Liberty island so, even if you decide not to get off, you get a good view of the statue.

On the other hand, the kids might really enjoy the Natural History museum...
KTtravel is offline  
Dec 12th, 2007, 04:17 PM
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Sorry -

Cabs are allowed to take a 5th passenger if that one is 6 or below and sits on someone's lap. There are also larger cabs that hold 5 people. And a car service would still be no more money than taking a shuttle bus and subway for 5. (Taking the public bus and subway from LGA to midtown with 3 kids and luggage really is NOT to be considered.) Too many stairways and passages - and you'll want to hold onto kids not used to the subway.

If you go to web site of Carmel or Dial 7 you can often find a coupon that will make the car service more affordable.
nytraveler is offline  
Dec 12th, 2007, 04:22 PM
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What in the world makes you think your children have never seen Jewish people? Most of us don't stand out as looking different from eveyone else. Weren't you in Milwaukee a little while back? There are 25,000 of us here, and we might just have crossed your path.
abram is offline  
Dec 12th, 2007, 04:59 PM
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Abram - sorry if I offended. That was not at all my intent.

My niece and nephew know nothing about Judaism or any religious beliefs other than Christianity. Other than the Dutch family and some Hispanic immigrants where they live, they also have had very little cultural exposure. I personally find the ultra orthodox fascinating and know that if they see someone walking around dressed from centuries past that it could spark one of those "aha" conversations where we can talk about different cultures and religions with them.

Again, I apologize if I offended and yes, we were in Milwaukee, but the relatives were on the island back home.

Weespxx is offline  
Dec 12th, 2007, 06:27 PM
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I did find your comment that your children have never seen Jewish people offensive, because, to me, it suggested that you think you can recognize us by sight--and that we're one of the sights you want to show your children.

We're a pretty varied people--even the Orthodox. If a woman wears a good wig, it's hard to detect, and just because she's wearing a skirt below the knees, sleeves below the elbow, and has her collarbone covered, she isn't necessarily Orthodox. The business suit I wore to work today fit those requirements, and I'm Reform.
abram is offline  
Dec 12th, 2007, 06:28 PM
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If your kids are that young, quite honestly, I'd skip the lower east side completely, maybe do the Tenement Museum, but there really is very little in the area, other than apartment buildings, businesses, and I would think quite boring to kids that young.

The Museum of Natural History would be my best suggestion for a fun experience for all the kids, lots to see and do there, as well as an IMAX movie that changes regularly and is terrific.

There are 4 ice skating rinks in Manhattan Rock Center, Bryant Park (42nd ST) Central Park, (just north of 59th St) and Central Park (just south of 110th St west of 5th Ave) Bryant Park is free, there is a small charge for the other locations, plus skate rentals.

If you are arriving on Sunday, be aware that we are expecting very bad weather, so I'm guessing there will be delays in arrivals, so check your carrier before you leave for the airport.

I would suggest doing the holiday windows in the city, Macy's, Lord and Taylor and Saks as well as Rock Center (holiday tree).

There are also 4 gift fairs this year, Union Square, Grand Central, Bryant Park and Columbus Circle.

Hope all goes well with your trip.
travelbuff2 is offline  
Dec 12th, 2007, 07:15 PM
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From La Guardia, there's no question but that you need to take a cab. The Q33/M60 option, which does work, will take at least 90 minutes and is also a city bus or city bus + subway with no room for luggage. Not really a realistic option with 3 kids, I'm afraid to say.

With kids, I think the Natural History Museum is well worth it and strongly recommended. The Tenement Museum not so much.

We're expecting a huge winter storm on Sunday (sorry), so do plan some indoor activities. With the subway, you needn't be afriad of getting around Manhattan, but you'll need more destinations when it's messy outside. Hope you're not delayed on Sunday. NYC is actually beautiful in the snow. Don't skip Top of the Rock unless there's no visibility at all.
doug_stallings is offline  
Dec 12th, 2007, 09:54 PM
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If you go to Ellis Island (and you should), get off at the Statue of Liberty, too, and walk around. Also, you won't be too far from Ground Zero or the South Street Seaport, which the kids might like. A few other kid recommendations: the Museum of Natural History, Times Square, Central Park (especially the zoo), the Bronx Zoo if you have time.

For food: You could go to Grimaldi's for pizza and Jacque Torres for chocolate in Brooklyn. There's also a Jacque Torres on the upper west side in the 70s on Amsterdam or Broadway. Another option for pizza and dessert would be to go to Lombardi's and Ferrara's in Little Italy. Lombardi's was the first pizza place in this country.
For deli and a quintessential NY experience, go to Carnegie, the Stage or Katz's.
There's a really good Italian restaurant right across from Lincoln Center (I can't remember the name).
For bagels, try H&H Bagels.
Also, resist the urge to eat at the major chains. There are too many good local places in the city.
andrews98682 is offline  
Dec 13th, 2007, 05:45 AM
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I have to echo Abram's comments. I was shocked when I read your original post. Yes, it is possible to not know any Jews, but no, we are not easy to identify just by looking. And that somehow, "seeing Jews" was on your holiday trip list, just check that one off with the Statue of Liberty as "things we saw" was indeed a bit offensive.

I didn't comment orginally because I know you didn't really mean to be insensitive, but I didn't want Abram's comments to stand alone.

Please have a great time in NY. I too would advise you to take that age group of children to Museum of Natural History and the planetarium next door. It will keep them busy and happy for most of a day. The Met museum also has plenty of things for that age group...the Temple of Dendur and my son always loved seeing the Armor Collection. Knights with swords, horses with their own armor, guns and pistols. Take the daughter to the costume institute, so everyone gets something to look at that interests them.
Liz5959 is offline  
Dec 13th, 2007, 05:59 AM
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I am growing more excited by the minute - thank you all for the advice. Will definitely take a cab from LGA. Also thinking now about alternate plan to Central Park Sunday. Just seeing snow will be such a treat for our kids so they may insist on a snowball fight in the park anyway.

Thanks again for your ideas and suggestions!
Weespxx is offline  
Dec 13th, 2007, 06:57 AM
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I don't think there's anything wrong with wanting to experience a unique culture that has religiously adhered to their old ways in a modern society.

There's a whole tourism industry built around observation of the Amish people in Pennsylvania, for example.

If you want to see an entire neighborhood of Hasidic Jews, you might want to include the Boro Park neighborhood as part of a trek to Brooklyn. You can take the D train to 50th st in Brooklyn and walk from there.

sandman319 is offline  
Dec 13th, 2007, 09:59 AM
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Sorry - that mention of your kids never having seen anyone Jewish (which I find totally incredible - probably impossible) went right over my head.

If you're going to be traveling all over NYC you will need be aware that they're going to see people of every nationality, race, religion and gender orientation. They will need to be prepared to see Muslims, Sikhs, Hindus, Buddhists - and possibly Druids - depending on what blocks you're walking on. (Sorry if I left anyone out.)

And "showing" hasidim to kids - and saying they represent Juadaism - is like showing people a very small ultra-conservative bible belt sect and saying that they represent Christianity. (Ignoring all of the largest, main stream groups - reformed, conservative and orthodox - as the latter would be ignoring Baptists, Presbyterians, Episcopalians and Catholics, etc.)

This is a tremendously good reason to tour Ellis Island - versus the lower east side - which brilliantly depicts the lives of all of the diverse peoples that make up our city and country - although apparently not the particular place where you live.
nytraveler is offline  
Dec 13th, 2007, 10:16 AM
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yeah, I'm with nytraveler and lizzie - even if it was inadvertent, the "show the kids the jews" idea is offensive.

If you come downtown to my neighborhood in Chelsea, on Sunday morning, you can also show the kids the Mormons who worship at the converted convent on my block (they're dressed differently than everyone - they were suits and ties and dresses to their church)and then you can walk over to Our Lady of Guadelupe church on 14th Street and stare at the Mexican Catholics who worship there.
mp is offline  
Dec 13th, 2007, 10:50 AM
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Back to the food....

I want to suggest that you go to Grand Central Station and go downstairs to the Food Court. The theme of the seating area for eating is train memorabilia. We enjoy the soups and salad, but there is great ethnic variety in cuisine, and the food is good value for the money, meaning inexpensive for New York. The space upstairs at Grand Central Station is always inspiring, and when the kids hear references to Grand Central Station, they will know exactly what the reference is all about.

I'm sure you will have a great time!

canyonjane is offline  

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