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Old 05-03-2009, 08:39 AM
 
Location: Bangor Maine
3,439 posts, read 3,049,586 times
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Default Heading to NYC 5/07/09

We are heading to NYC for some sightseeing on Thursday. Flying out of Portland to JFK. I am getting anxious and excited at the same time. Any Mainers have suggestions or tips on what to do - or NOT do? The number one on my list is the Metropolitan Museum of Art right on 5th Ave and Central Park. Would love to take in a Broadway Show if we can get some of those last minute discount tickets that go on sale at 3. Hubby wants to see St. Patrick's Cathedral and we might even get up to the South Street Seaport area and take the Staten Island Ferry to see the city from the water.
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Old 05-03-2009, 10:02 AM
 
Location: Boston
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Have you been before? Also, how long is your stay? I love New York City and would live there if I could afford it (hopefully someday). Luckily for me, I have some family in Manhattan and try to get down every few months.

What you're willing to do will really depends on how comfortable you feel in the city. Most tourists stay ON Manhattan, South of 59th street (with the exception of a venture into Central Park during the day) because A) there's just so much to do there (and it's still a large area) and B) many don't feel comfortable leaving the comfy confines of Mid and Lower Manhattan. This is a shame because much of the real character of the city lies outside this area and in the Outer Boroughs. However, on a short stay, you'll see all of the must sees in Southern and Central Manhattan.

On Manhattan, I would absolutely check out the MET. It's wonderful. Before or after the MET, talk a walk through the Conservatory Gardens ( Central Park - Conservatory Garden - CentralPark.com ) in Central Park (located about 20 blocks North of the MET). It's an absolutely stunning area and one of the best kept secrets on Manhattan. Not far from the Southern End of Central Park is the Carnegie Deli- Carnegie Deli - Home - (and Carnegie Hall right nearby). A sandwich (I suggest the Pastrami) or at least just a Cheesecake from here is a MUST while in New York. If you're in the Lower East Side (or Nearby) Katz's Deli is equally as significant (It's where Meg Ryan's famous scene in When Harry Met Sally) was filmed). The food is awesome too.

St. Patrick's Cathedral is worth a visit. I haven't been since I was much younger, but it's quite impressive. It's RIGHT near Rockefeller Center (Today Show, SNL, etc) and it's close enough to the Carnegie Deli so you can see all of them around the same time. Of course, if you're in this area, you'll want to contunue on down to Times Square if only just to pass through. It's a tourist trap and has no semblance of the grit it used to, but it's still Times Square, crossroads of the world and you must see it if only just to say you saw it. There are a ton of theaters near here (42 second street has a large number of them) and Madam Tussauds is on 42nd and totally worth visiting ( Welcome to Madame Tussauds New York ). For shows, check out Broadway Tickets | Broadway Shows | Theater Tickets

Canal Street is home to the tourist gray market. If you want a knock-off designer hand bag, belt, perfume, watch, etc this is where to go. Canal Street also cuts into Manhattan's Chinatown. It's worth mentioning that the REAL ethnic enclaves in NYC are no longer on Manhattan, immigrants have been effectively priced out. The real ethnic enclaves lie in the outer boroughs like Queens and Brooklyn. However, Canal Street/ Chinatown is worth a visit all by itself. There are still some cool restaurants and fresh seafood shops here (after all, the docks are a few blocks away). The entire length of Canal is pretty much an open air market. you'll see tables, chairs, and all sorts of stands with just about every item imaginable. Most of the real designer knock-offs won't be out on display (unless they're REALLY fake). If you want the real deal (or as close as possible to it) you'll have to talk to a seller (sometimes they'll seek you out). They usually have a printed piece of paper with images of bags, watches, etc. Just pick one and follow their lead... they'll take you to a back alley or "service entrance" of one of the shops, make sure no one's looking, and let you in. Inside, you'll find the better knock-offs and designer goods. I know it sounds shady, but that's how it works. It's an experience you'll talk about for a long time and it's fun. You can ALWAYS negiotiiate a price down. If you pay what they quote you, you've paid too much (this goes for the vendors on the street too).

My girlfriend (who's lived in Maine all her life) wanted a bag on her first trip down with me so we went through the process I described above and got her a nice, leather Prada handbag. She described the process as "sooooo sketchy" but she loved every minute of it. We do it every time we're in NYC now. The reason these people can get such exact replicas of $5,000 bags and sell them for $30 is because they play the system. Countries like China, Taiwan, Vientnam, etc all house the factories where these designer bags are made. They stitch the leather and send the bags off to Italy, France, etc where the bags get the logo and zippers put on and then their sold. The shops that manufacture the fabric part of the bag produce hundreds of times more than what they're required to. They then send the additional bags to places like New York where replica zippers and lables are placed on the bags. When you buy a knockoff in NYC, you're usually getting a 3/4 authentic good. It's their way of beating the system.

Anyway, after Canal Street/ Chinatown you may want to walk North to Greenwich Village. This is a gorgeous area and has many cool shops, bistros, galleries, etc. a Nice walk is to head North from Canal Street up to Washington Square Park (where NYU is) -- taking side streets and detours along the way. I suggest walking along Greene Street towards Washington Sq. but any of the following: Wooster, Greene, Mercer, and West Broadway will take to to the same area. Washington Square park is very cool (they have their own "Arc de Triomphe") and always active. Broadway is cool along this stretch, but avoid it if you want to get a real feel for the Village. From Washington Square, you can walk West towards the Hudson and really see a lot more of the Village. It's a wonderful area. Washington Square is the center of the Village and Houston Street is really the Southern Boundary. However, streets like Greene and its parallels have some interesting sites which is why I suggest walking. You can take the subway or a cab if you don't feel like hoofing it.

The South Street Seaport is kind of cool. I find it to be a sort of smaller scale Inner Harbor (Baltimore) or Quincy Market (Boston). It's worth visiting, but you should head out and explore the rest of the area as there's not all that much to see at the South Street Seaport. It's close enough to the Ferry Terminal to see before/after you take the Saten Island Ferry (I would suggest doing this at Sunset). It's also close enough to Battery Park which is beautiful. Take a stroll along the Hudson here and look out towards the Satue of Liberty and Jersy City (a wonderful Skyline for a suburban city).

Anyway, there's a ton to do. I'm sure boredom will be the least of your concerns. Crime really isn't bad in most of Southern/ Central Manhattan. Use common sense to avoid any potential trouble at night. This means stay together, stay on the better lit/ busier streets, etc. You'll be fine. I would recommend using the subway and your feet as primary transportation-- a car is a burden and an expensive one in New York City. If you're really doing an abbreviated trip, check out the hop on/ hop off buses ( New York City Tours and Sightseeing ). These buses travel around the most popular areas in New York City. They allow you to get off wherever you please and get back on wherever you please. They have knowledgable guides and hit all the major sites (check the route maps on the website).

Enjoy your trip!

Last edited by lrfox; 05-03-2009 at 10:18 AM..
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Old 05-03-2009, 12:56 PM
 
Location: Bangor Maine
3,439 posts, read 3,049,586 times
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Thanks for all the great tips. We will be in the city for 4 nights and 5 days - as our plane leaves JFK at about 5:30 on that Monday - the 11th. We aren't afraid to go beyond 59th street as that is what we have to do to get to the Metropolitan Art Museum. I agree that Central Park will be well worth visiting if the weather holds for us. The flowers and shrubs are usually their best in May. Also thanks for the Tip about the Carnegie Deli. I had been warned that Katz deli is famous but terrible food. I guess the depend on their "reputation". How dressed up to people get for the Broadway Shows? I am at kind of at a loss as to what to bring for clothes. I like to pack light and I usually dress casually. Black pants a must, comfortable walking shoes and maybe a colorful jacket.
Thanks again for all the help.
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Old 05-03-2009, 01:21 PM
 
Location: Boston
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No problem. Katz food isn't as good as what you'll get at MANY delis in New York (after all, the city is known for delis), but it's hardly terrible. If you're looking for the best sandwich around, you'll likely find it elsewhere, but Katz is a destination due to the fame. Carnegie Deli is known for portions and taste... it's excellent.

The dress for Broadway shows varies. However, I would plan on getting a bit more dressed up for the show. The "dress" tends to vary on the theater, show and sometimes even location of your seats in the theater. Some of the one night only, of opening night shows require gowns and tuxedos. However, with the majority of shows that tourists like us go to don't have a particular code. It's one event where you really can't over-dress so a suit and tie for men and a dress for women is more than common but you could wear jeans if you wanted to. I guess "Neat" would be the term I would use for the code. Most people wear dressier clothes as they tend to make an evening out of it (Dinner at a nice restaurant, the show, then drinks in the area) and it is New York City (probably the "best dressed" city in the U.S.).

So, since I'm getting long-winded, I would say it's up to you in the end (you won't get turned down for being "under-dressed" while wearing jeans and a tee shirt) but business casual to formal is the norm for a Broadway show. As far as clothing for the rest of the trip- comfortable shoes is a must and spring wear should do it. It's always nice to have a nice set of clothes for a restaurant that interests you too. When you're in town (or you can do it now) check out www.opentable.com for a great site with various restaurants, menus, reviews, etc all combined with the ability to make reservations online. I hope it's not rainy for you. Springtime in NYC is nice. Your post made me go through photos of a past trip to the Conservatory Garden and look at all of those flowers in bloom. Enjoy your trip. I'm VERY jealous.
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Old 05-03-2009, 06:00 PM
 
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Irfox - you've given great suggestions with super detail.

I'd like to add that you should walk through Grand Central Station. It's gorgeous. (This is also a good bathroom stop, should you need to go. the lavatories are on the lower floor.)

If you go out the Lexington Ave exit of GCT you'll be at the Chrysler Building. Take a walk into the Lobby and see this beautiful art-deco building. Be sure to take a look at the elevator doors.

As to the Katz vs Carnegie delie comparison - I won't comment on their food, but just add that you should be aware that they are both touristy and expensive. When traveling, I always enjoy eating where the locals go.

So, if you want to try some non-touristy places to eat, I would head over to the eastside. At 831 Third Ave (between E 50th & E51st Streets) is Ess-a-Bagel Ess-a-Bagel, Inc. - New York, NY - Home. From the Chrysler Building, it's less than a 10 block walk up Third Ave. (There's also one on First Ave.) Great, fresh bagels with all sorts of deli fixin's to make a nice sandwich. Be like a local and ask for whatever is hot (meaning whatever type of bagel just came out of the oven.) Yum! If it's a real nice day, be like a real New Yorker and get your sandwich to go and stroll to one of the many pocket parks that are tucked on the side streets between the office buildings.

From Third Ave & E 51st Street, walk over to First Ave and E 44th Street, to the United Nations. Last I was there was pre-9/11/01, so I don't know if you're still allowed to walk on the grounds, but they use to allow people to walk on the sidewalks to the far side of the complex to see the East River. Even in those days, you were not allowed to bring a lunch onto the grounds. (I recall a guard politely "asking" me it I'd like to check my lunch with him. ) Welcome to the United Nations: It's Your World It's well worth taking a tour of the UN. According to their website, tours are offered Monday - Friday, 9:45a - 4:45p and last 45 mins. general info

Another local place I'd recommend is Jameson's Bar Restaurant (972 Second Ave, between E 51st & E 52nd Streets). It's an authentic Irish place; small, a bit dark inside; bar up front and tables in the back. Actually all along 2nd Ave are all types of restaurants and cafes. At this time of the year, many of their doors open for dining al fresco.

Since I've taken you around this area of the Eastside where I spent many years working, I'll include the suggestion that you walk through Tudor City. h This area is bounded by First and Second Avenues and East 4oth - East 43rd Streets. It has been designate as an historic district. For info see: ttp://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tudor_City

From here, walk on E 42nd Street back toward Grand Central Station, continuing to Fifth Ave (which is the dividing line between the East & West). At 5th Ave & 42nd is the big library. Great place to go in and/or to just sit on the steps and people watch. Behind the library, at 6th Ave, is Bryant Park - another nice place to sit, eat something brought at a nearby eatery, and rest your feet. Sometimes on weekdays, there are events (music, art exhibits) during lunchtime and/or after work hours. Check their calendar at : Welcome to Bryant Park There were/are public lavatories here too. The history of the park is really interesting.

From Bryant Park, walk south on Sixth Ave to W 34th Street where you'll be at Herald Square and the big Macy's. Most folks are familar with this area from watching the Thanksgiving Day Parade on TV.

From here, you can jump on the subway and head downtown. Or, if you'd really like to be adventurous, you can take the PATH train to Hoboken, NJ It's just a 15 minute ride under the Hudson River. The PATH terminated in the Hoboken station of New Jersey Transit. It's a historic station and is located right on the Hudson River. You can walk outside and see Manhattan from the NJ side! Hoboken is also a great place to walk around and home to Frank Sinatra.

You can go back to NYC via the PATH. Instead of going back to mid-town, though, take it to the World Trade Center. You'll enter NYC into the latest WTC station which is basically into the middle of the World Trade Center site. There's much to see here; much activity; much tribute to that day.

Now you'll be downtown - walking distance to Battery Park, Battery Park City (which is built on the dirt that was removed from the land on which the Work Trade Center was originally constructed), Wall Street, South Street Seaport.

From the far west wide of the WTC site, walking south on West Street will bring you to Battery Park and Battery Park City. If you stay on the same side of West Street at the WTC, you'll walk past 47 West Street -- a significant site on the "Nancy tour" as the building in which I was working on 9/11.

From Battery Park, after riding the Staten Island Ferry and/or going to the Statue of Liberty, walk up (north) on Water Street to South Street Seaport.

One place I'd suggest is to walk into St. John's Church. It's just a block or two to the east of the WTC and served as a refuge for a lot of people during the months post-9/11. Amazingly, it wasn't damaged during the attack.

This post has become w-a-y longer than I intended. Once I got writing, my minds' eye just took me all around the city.

One last suggestion I'll make now, is to go to McSorley's Old Ale House (15 E 7th Street) - the oldest pub in NYC. McSorley's Old Ale House

Above all else - wear comfortable and sturdy walking shoes! Do not think you can get around all day by wearing sandals or flip-flops. NYC is a walking city, best seen on foot. But there are many uneven sidewalks and curbs. You'll be covering a lot of territory in a day and night. You certainly don't want to have sore feet!

Have fun!
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Old 05-03-2009, 07:51 PM
 
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One more fun thing to do is to take the Circle Line cruise around Manhattan island. Great views and lot of interesting history.
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Old 05-04-2009, 05:27 PM
 
Location: Philadelphia suburbs
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NYC is a great "city" vacation. Lots of terrific museums and the Metropolitan is not to be missed--can take most of the day and you still wouldn't see all of it. Other NYC museums that I really enjoy are the Tenement Museum and the Frick Museum. The Tenement Museum is in the lower Eastside. A guided tour lets you see how 19th century immigrants lived. Google it and see if it's your thing.--This museum also gives you a chance to see a different and very interesting part of Manhatten--lots of good restaurants nearby.

And if you love art, the Frick Museum is wonderful, much, much smaller than the Met, but really well done and also close to Central Park.
New York (with some common sense) is quite safe--I walked around by myself well after dark--many folks out and about.
Have a great trip! (Wish I was going.)

Quote:
Originally Posted by Newdaawn View Post
We are heading to NYC for some sightseeing on Thursday. Flying out of Portland to JFK. I am getting anxious and excited at the same time. Any Mainers have suggestions or tips on what to do - or NOT do? The number one on my list is the Metropolitan Museum of Art right on 5th Ave and Central Park. Would love to take in a Broadway Show if we can get some of those last minute discount tickets that go on sale at 3. Hubby wants to see St. Patrick's Cathedral and we might even get up to the South Street Seaport area and take the Staten Island Ferry to see the city from the water.
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Old 05-29-2009, 12:54 PM
 
Location: Bangor Maine
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Here is a bit of an update on our trip. Also thanks for those that took the time to give us some great tips. We had a great time and the weather couldn't have been better, except for a brief showery period in the late afternoon on the first day. After settling in at our hotel - Courtyard by Marriott on Third Ave. and E 53rd - that only took about 15 minutes - we were off for a walk over to Grand Central - to check that out and have a drink and appetizers. I think GC is nice but do like Union Station in DC for the WOW factor.

Then we just walked around some more and back to the Hotel. On Friday we took a city bus up to the Metropolitan Museum, too the introductory tour and kind of broke off from that after about 20 minutes. The woman giving it was good but went into way too much detail on individual items for my taste. We did enjoy our visit there, however, and did go up to the rooftop for great view of the city. You can get a snack there too. Sandwich wraps, wine, cold drinks etc. Then we spent about 15 minutes resting on the front steps, people watching. Walked through Central Park and again in the 59th St. area of Central Park after taking the City bus back.

Loved The South Street Seaport as the day was nice and warm and they had entertainment there and many outdoor cafes - it was Mother's Day

We did get great 50% off tickets for the Saturday afternoon performance of Phantom of the Opera and our seats were 7th row orchestra. Super show at the Majestic Theater. Dress was casual. They have drinks in the lobby and also a bar downstairs in the lounge area.

Dinner Saturday night was at a nice Greek Restaurant on E 48th street. It was warm so we sat out in the courtyard.

We spent some time at St Patrick's Cathedral and at Rockafeller (sp)? Plaza, bought a few things at the NBC gift shop.

It was a good time and hope to go back soon.
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Old 05-29-2009, 01:11 PM
 
8,748 posts, read 11,373,938 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Newdaawn View Post
Here is a bit of an update on our trip. Also thanks for those that took the time to give us some great tips. We had a great time and the weather couldn't have been better, except for a brief showery period in the late afternoon on the first day. After settling in at our hotel - Courtyard by Marriott on Third Ave. and E 53rd - that only took about 15 minutes - we were off for a walk over to Grand Central - to check that out and have a drink and appetizers. I think GC is nice but do like Union Station in DC for the WOW factor.

Then we just walked around some more and back to the Hotel. On Friday we took a city bus up to the Metropolitan Museum, too the introductory tour and kind of broke off from that after about 20 minutes. The woman giving it was good but went into way too much detail on individual items for my taste. We did enjoy our visit there, however, and did go up to the rooftop for great view of the city. You can get a snack there too. Sandwich wraps, wine, cold drinks etc. Then we spent about 15 minutes resting on the front steps, people watching. Walked through Central Park and again in the 59th St. area of Central Park after taking the City bus back.

Loved The South Street Seaport as the day was nice and warm and they had entertainment there and many outdoor cafes - it was Mother's Day

We did get great 50% off tickets for the Saturday afternoon performance of Phantom of the Opera and our seats were 7th row orchestra. Super show at the Majestic Theater. Dress was casual. They have drinks in the lobby and also a bar downstairs in the lounge area.

Dinner Saturday night was at a nice Greek Restaurant on E 48th street. It was warm so we sat out in the courtyard.

We spent some time at St Patrick's Cathedral and at Rockafeller (sp)? Plaza, bought a few things at the NBC gift shop.

It was a good time and hope to go back soon.
Sounds like you had a good time in the Big Apple! My DW goes there several times a year for business meetings. I keep threatening to tag along sometiome to just see the place but so far haven't made the trek. Not big on cities in general I guess.
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Old 06-02-2009, 03:58 AM
 
Location: Southwestern Ohio
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Newdaawn, I've seen the tour of phantom in our area twice. How did you like it?
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