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What to do on afternoon/evening of arrival in NYC?

What to do on afternoon/evening of arrival in NYC?

Old Jun 5th, 2007, 07:36 AM
  #1  
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What to do on afternoon/evening of arrival in NYC?

We should be at our hotel in NYC (the Embassy Suites) by around 3 pm on a Saturday; I figure we'll be unpacked and ready to "hit the town" by 4 or 4:30 pm. We have just 4 more full days in NYC, so I hate to squander any precious time. I've had bad luck with delayed flights lately, so I don't want to buy any theatre tickets for that night.

Who has some great suggestions of what a family of 5 (kids ages 11, 14 and 16)should do in the big city on a Saturday night? Chinatown? (I assume stores are open late.) Walk around an interesting neighborhood and have a great dinner?
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Old Jun 5th, 2007, 08:00 AM
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I think you'd want the immediate "NYC Experience" to get everyone excited. The place I'd head after arriving is to go to Times Square/Theatre District. It has all the sights, smells, sounds that scream New York. Walk around, see the people, grab some dinner. Then head back to your hotel and rest for what sounds like a jampacked schedule.

I wouldn't go to Chinatown--in fact, the appeal of NYC Chinatown is completely lost on me unless seeing sweatshops is a tourist experience. If you don't want to go to Times Square, you go to Union Square or the Village. Something that FEELS very NYC.
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Old Jun 5th, 2007, 08:21 AM
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If your flight and all is on time, maybe you could get last minute tix for the Circle Line Harbor Lights cruise. You get to see so much, and the view of the city is really beautiful.

http://www.circleline42.com/index.ih...ge=sightseeing
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Old Jun 5th, 2007, 08:24 AM
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missypie, there is so much to do downtown, I'd think about staying put.

Check out www.DowntownNYC.com and find out when the River to River Music Festival is.

Walk the Brooklyn Bridge. Take the Staten Island Ferry at dusk and watch the Statue of Liberty, the Brooklyn Bridge, and lower Manhattan light up!

See the Irish Famine Memorial, walk up Wall Street, see Trinity Church, check out the Federal Building where George Washington was sworn in as our very first President, check out the memorials at St. Paul's Chapel, visit the Maratime Museum or the Halocaust Museum.

If you click on the link, you'll find free transportation, free guides, and all kinds of other free stuff.

Your kids would love South Street Seaport.
 
Old Jun 5th, 2007, 08:44 AM
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GoTravel, so where we're staying is considered "downtown"? Our family has traveled in Europe quite a bit, but we are admittedly intimidated by NYC. Part of it is all the area names: downtown, midtown, west village, east village, so-ho, etc. etc. etc.
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Old Jun 5th, 2007, 08:57 AM
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Technically Battery Park and the Financial District are 'downtown' but refering to anywhere south of where you are is also considered 'downtown'.

Example, if you are in Midtown and are going to Soho, it would be appropriate to say, "I'm going downtown to La Sala for dinner".
 
Old Jun 5th, 2007, 08:58 AM
  #7  
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missypie --

You are very much downtown -- only a few blocks north of Ground Zero. In fact, I'm wondering why you chose this neighborhood. You are quite a ways from the usual tourist haunts of the Village/Soho, Times Square, Broadway. Lincoln Center, Central Park, etc. Of course, you are closer to Ellis Island, Statue of Liberty, Chinatown, Brooklyn Bridge and Wall Street.
 
Old Jun 5th, 2007, 09:01 AM
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missypie, let me just add that downtown is my very favorite part of Manhattan.

It is the most historical and oldest if I'm not mistaken.
 
Old Jun 5th, 2007, 09:08 AM
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I chose Embassy Suites purely because it was available and accomodated our family. we are a family of 5 and prefer not to get two rooms; I started looking for a place to stay in late March and by then, all of the "favorites" recommended here were fully booked. I booked the Embassy Suites as a fall back; the Trip Advisor reviews were so good that I decided to keep the reservation.
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Old Jun 5th, 2007, 09:29 AM
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I'm sure it will be fine. Must be tough to find a place for five in New York.

I think I'd agree with MikeT that Times Square would be a great first experience.

Chinatown I find very interesting. It's largely taken over what was once the Five Points neighborhood (Think "Gangs of New York"). The oldest tenement in the city -- the first in fact -- is still standing at 65 Mott Street. The neighborhood still teems with life -- over-crowded, noisy, exotic spices in the air, but it's sort of a specialized corner of the city. Times Square is much more mainstream.

Hope you have a great time.
 
Old Jun 5th, 2007, 09:38 AM
  #11  
TC
 
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Missypie, Go to your library or book store immediately and get a copy of ACCESS NYC guidebook. It is wonderful for unfamiliar visitors like yourself. The book is laid out neighborhood by neighborhood with easy to read maps of each neighborhood. The attractions are listed street by street rather than one chapter listing all restaurants or attractions with no clue as to whether they are located near you. ACCESS is a wonderful book to use to locate those things (shopping, hotels, restaurants, museums, sights of interest) that are near where ever you might be at the moment. So you can locate your hotel and then see what is nearby or you can pick a neighborhood - SoHo - and see what might interest you and your family. If you are walking down a street and feeling like eating, just see what restaurants are close at hand. I have used these books in NY (and many other cities) for years and find them invaluable (sorry Fodor's There are also lots of listings by NYrs for "The Best"....such as The Best..things to do with kids, Sunday morning brunch, city museums, etc.

http://www.harpercollins.com/books/9...12e/index.aspx

I also highly recommend copies of the NY Red Map. See previews at link below. I just discovered these maps on my last trip to NY and bought the ones for Midtown and SoHo. Great for shopping! Excellent orientation maps for finding museums, architecture, shopping, hotels, restaurants, theaters, etc. etc. Have a look and have fun!

http://redmaps.com/map_preview.html
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Old Jun 5th, 2007, 09:44 AM
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missypie, the Embassy Suites is in Battery Park, which at this time of year is beautiful and relaxing.
- Rockefeller Park is very pretty; you can walk from the hotel south (Hudson River on your right) past the marina which is behind the Winter Garden (i.e., due west of Ground Zero) and down to Wagner Park and even around to Battery Park. This will give your legs a nice stretch after travelling, you'll get a glimpse of things without being overwhelming, and the view of the Statue of Liberty is great from Wagner Park.
- From Battery Park, hop the train Uptown to 42nd Street. You'll need to take the R train at Whitehall because the 4 and 5 are not running down there on weekends while they construct a new major hub station (drives all us locals crazy!). Exiting the R at 42nd Street will put you smack in the center of Times Square, which is amazing at any hour but especially after sunset.
- If you've worked up an appetite, one place you might want to try in Times Square is Carmine's which serves Italian family-style. Another place with large portions is Virgil's BBQ (better than other BBQ in the area). Ellen's Stardust Diner is a hit with kids, with waitstaff that sing(!) and a wide range of items to choose from. I personally love Vnyl on 9th Ave, a fusion-y diner-y place that uses old album covers as menus.
- Also in Times Square, the huge (by city standards) Toys R Us has a working ferris wheel inside - fun to watch and okay to ride on though not exactly a thrill a minute!

I'll try to think up more options for you.
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Old Jun 5th, 2007, 09:51 AM
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Another option would be to go to the Winter Garden and look through the windows that overlook Ground Zero, then cross the pedestrian bridge over the West Side Highway, pass by Ground Zero and head towards Wall Street via Trinity Church. (BTW, as you may or may not know, Century 21 is a renowned discount shopping store directly across from "the pit". My friend's adult brothers insist on going every time they're in town from Seattle - to stock up for the year!) From Wall Street, you can continue east to South Street Seaport (NYC's version of Quincy Market, if you've ever been to Boston; I'm sure there's a website).

Also, south of Wall Street - between Wall Street and Bowling Green - there is a street called Stone Street with a number of nice restaurants. There's one I don't know the name of that makes great rectangular pizza. And another called Smorgas that serves good Swedish food (of all things).
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Old Jun 5th, 2007, 10:00 AM
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Oh and one more thing, regarding the whole directional situation!

There's no specific area of Manhattan called "downtown", though as others have stated it is both used in relation to where you are currently and generally speaking as the area below (south) of 14th Street, or maybe 23rd Street.

With the subway, you'll need to figure out where you are going in relation to uptown/downtown, as the stations and platforms are usually identified this way. They also will say something like "Uptown and Queens" (meaning that line takes a turn in midtown and heads east to Queens). Stations are named by the street they *cross*, so there are a number of stations called 14th Street that don't necessary connect to one another, since one is at 8th Ave, 7th Ave, 6th Ave, etc. In midtown where some lines turn east, the stations will be named for the *avenues* they cross, for example the E and V travel across 53rd Street and stop at 5th Ave and Lexington Ave.

Another handy tip to know is that usually traffic runs only one direction on streets (there are exceptions). So if you know that traffic heads uptown on 6th Avenue, downtown on 5th Avenue, etc., you can get your directional bearings. A good map with traffic indicator arrows will help with this.

Really, it's way less complicated than trying to explain it - as long as you understand what the system is! You'll be fine, and you're coming at a beautiful time of year.
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Old Jun 5th, 2007, 12:20 PM
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Go Travel has an excellent suggestion to check out the River To River Festival - the direct website is www.rivertorivernyc.com

Your teenagers will probably be thrilled to hear there is a free concert by Spoon at 7:00pm the night before you leave- it's in Rockefeller Park -REALLY close to your hotel. These concerts are great - very pleasant to sit on the grass and listen.

I think your choice of hotels is really good - what you give up in terms of a location close to the standard tourist attractions is more than made up by the hotel itself (I've had friends stay there - they all love it), the proximity to other VERY interesting neighborhoods and attractions (Tribeca, WTC, Financial district, lower Battery Park and the above mentioned Irish Famine memorial, the Jewish Museum, The Native American Museum . . . )

On one of your other posts you mention that your family loves playgrouunds - your hotel is right across the street from what was my son's favorite playground, especially in the summer. It has great climbing structures, lots of water play, the parks department puts out games, ping pong tables, foosball tables, lots of balls and tons of other play equipment, there are swings, basketball courts and a wonderful, funny, sculpture garden by Tom Otterness called "The Real World" (http://www.tomotterness.net/exhibitions_bpc.html) which everyone in your family will enjoy. It's a wonderful park that will be full of NYers enjoying the summer afternoon.

A very pleasant way to introduce yourself to the city (particularly after being cooped up on a plane) might be to walk north from your hotel, check out the wonderful Rockfeller Park then cross the west side highway at chambers Street, walk east one block to Greenwich St. in Tribeca - there are several really good restaurants there that are VERY family friendly - Gigino (very good Italian) Salaam Bombay (good Indian) or go a bit further into the neighborhood and try Landmarc or Blaue Gans or Bouley Upstairs or Bubby's or . . . I could go on. check out addresses and menus at www.menupages.com
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Old Jun 5th, 2007, 01:18 PM
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TC, I looked for the Red Maps on the Barnes and Noble web site but couldn't find them. So I ordered them off the Red Maps web site (also added Boston and Amsterdam while I was at it.) the guy just emailed me and said to pay by check after receipt. How trusting is THAT?
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Old Jun 5th, 2007, 01:59 PM
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We did the same thing arrived into NYC around 5:00. We walked around and ended up @ a rest. called Bubba Gumps, we had so much fun eating there and the food was soo good. It is just a different type of place to eat @. then we went to the empire State Build., and saw the city @ night, it was beutiful, also i agree w/ ggreen do not pass up the Toys r Us there, we were in there a couple hours and had a blast! Any way you look at NYC is a great place to go!!!!Going to any sporting events?
Enjoy
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Old Jun 5th, 2007, 02:23 PM
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TC
 
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TC, I looked for the Red Maps on the Barnes and Noble web site but couldn't find them. So I ordered them off the Red Maps web site (also added Boston and Amsterdam while I was at it.) the guy just emailed me and said to pay by check after receipt. How trusting is THAT?

Missypie, Glad you found them. We bought ours at the DKNY shop in SoHo. They are sold at lots of shops in NY - which I think are listed on the web site. Isn't it nice to find trusting people?
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Old Jun 6th, 2007, 06:06 AM
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Please don't eat at a chain restaurant!

I agree Stone Street has some great restaurants and would be a great place to check out.
 
Old Jun 6th, 2007, 06:12 AM
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I promise, no chains...unless, of course, it's not a national chain and therefor I don't know it's a chain. Do y'all watch The Office? There was one episode where Michael Scott was in NYC going to his corporate headquarters....he was going on and on about how great the pizza is in New York and how he knows this great little place that he visits very time he's in the city...then he walks into Sbarro! LOL.
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