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Old 10-26-2017, 10:37 PM
Location: Phoenix, AZ > Raleigh, NC
15,092 posts, read 19,041,938 times
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We've been extraordinarily lucky and scored a home exchange in Manhattan! Five days [seven nights] in the upper East side - specifically, Lenox Hill. DH has never been to NYC. I grew up on LI but haven't been back to the area since 1978.

So - help us plan our itinerary!

Details, limitations and requirements:

Senior citizens who can walk, but NOT long distances.
We're not on a budget, but I'm a notorious cheapskate. So, we spend easily IF the value is there, but like things a lot better when the prices are fair for the value.
No interest at all in art museums.
Definitely want to visit the 911 museum
Definately want to take the Staten island ferry and/or circle line tour, (but NOT climbing Lady Liberty's stairs).
Interested in some time at the natural history museum - probably the planetarium (is it as great as it was when I was a teenager in the 70's?)
DEFINITELY NOT interested in running about to 'see' everything.' Happy to see and enjoy just a few things.
Food - not into tourist or famous places except maybe for a happy hour drink. Wide open to ethnic. Love happy hour for dinner. Exception: DH wants NY pizza and a pastrami sandwich.
Not into shopping.
Sadly, Too old now to want to go clubbing or LATE night stuff (yes, I actually visited Studio 54 and The Payboy Club in my heyday).
Broadway shows? Yeah, maybe. If tickets weren't ridiculously expensive. Yes, I know about the half price booth but don't want to schedule our entire day around going to the booth.

I've read about The City Pass and think that makes sense for what we want to do?

Okay, I know the above sounds restrictive and demanding. It's not. It's just a complete view of our physical limitations, interests and financial preferences.
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Old 10-27-2017, 02:15 AM
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Would recommend John’s for pizza, has convenient Manhattan locations in Times Square and Greenwich Village. Grimaldi’s is also excellent but may be harder for you to get to. Lombardi’s is decent in a pinch. No slices at any of these places, though. BTW, avoid Little Italy except for Lombardi’s — it’s a notorious tourist trap, high prices and food that’s mediocre or worse.

Best pastrami sandwich (in fact best sandwich of any kind I’ve ever had) is the pastrami juicy on rye with deli mustard at Katz’s. Best overall deli experience however for me is Second Avenue Deli.

Staten Island Ferry is a good choice if you want a decent view of the Statue of Liberty without the hassle of buying a ticket, standing in the lines, etc.

The American Museum of Natural History is indeed wonderful. You could easily spend a day there. No idea about the planetarium.

Walking the High Line or Brooklyn Bridge is probably not a good choice if you can’t cover much distance.

Seeing the view from Top of the Rock might be an option and definitely shouldn’t take as long as trying to do so at the Empire State Building. Other non art museum choices might include the Intrepid Sea-Air and Space Museum, Lower East Side Tenement Museum (though you’d probably have to climb stairs here), Museum of the City of New York, or New-York Historical Society. You could also tour the United Nations, or see some architectural highlights such as St. Patrick’s Cathedral or Grand Central Station.
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Old 10-27-2017, 05:01 AM
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Staten Ferry is great as it is free and gives great views and photos of opportunities of the Statue of Liberty, Ellis Island, Lower Manhattan, etc. (I would skip the half circle of the Circle Line tour if you do the Staten Ferry.)

I haven't been to the 9/11 Museum, but the memorial pools are definitely a place to visit and are next to the Museum. Also walk inside the nearby recently opened Oculus as it is impressive without even looking at the stores (which is what I did).

The American Museum of Natural History has a suggested contribution instead of a fixed admission (meaning as much/little as you wish) which includes part of the planetarium (which has been renovated since 1970s!). But to get the full planetarium experience one needs to pay for the IMAX viewing which is worthwhile!

Also the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Museum of the City of NY (which is great for learning about the history of NYC & admission includes approx. 25 min. great video of how NYC started and changed over the years) and the Brooklyn Museum (great Ancient Egypt collection!) have suggested contribution instead of a fixed admission. So they are good deals for all.

I would suggest doing the new WTC Observatory (you can buy tickets online in advance which shortens wait times) or the Empire State Bldg. or the Top of Rock (this last one I haven't been to) for a great view of the city. Not necessary to do all 3 just one!

The best variety of different ethic food restaurants are in Queens. You can take the 7 train which is elevated in most of Queens to get various neighborhoods with different types of restaurants.

The Broadway TKTS booth now has 3 locations in Manhattan. Besides the one at Times Square (with the long lines), there is one in Lower Manhattan near the South Street Seaport and another one a couple blocks south of Lincoln Center on the Westside (and this one doesn't seem to have any significant line from what I have been told and there wasn't one the one time I was there).

Last edited by Chava61; 10-27-2017 at 05:12 AM..
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Old 10-27-2017, 05:56 AM
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Don't forget to try our $1 pizza---located everywhere! Food is everywhere so honestly there is no where I would recommend someone has to try. Just go by what you're feeling that day.

I had to look up the City Pass---I guess if you do the math and it works for you do, do it. Met is pay as you wish, though. You can always take the train as a cheapskate---depending on what you're doing, you might not have to walk too much. Last time I took my folks to the city, I planned the trip so they would mostly be able to get out of a station with an elevator.

TKTS---I would also avoid the one in Times Square.

Are you planning to only stay in Manhattan?
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Old 10-27-2017, 06:22 AM
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Originally Posted by city living View Post
Don't forget to try our $1 pizza---located everywhere! Food is everywhere so honestly there is no where I would recommend someone has to try. Just go by what you're feeling that day.
I've had pizza in NYC ranging from exceptional to abysmal, and am further not a fan of just going by feel on restaurants. Especially in NYC (one of a few true food destinations in the US, where there are so many excellent choices available), and especially when one can do very fruitful research on the subject with a little effort. Life's too short to eat lousy food, and it's comparatively easy to find good options.

I can't say I've found worthwhile examples of $1 slice pizza in NYC -- in fact, with the exception of Di Fara's in Brooklyn, I've found the best pizzas aren't sold by the slice in NYC (though haven't tried L&B Spumoni Gardens yet). And that goes for Patsy's in Harlem, whose slices I didn't care for.
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Old 10-27-2017, 07:46 AM
Location: Phoenix, AZ > Raleigh, NC
15,092 posts, read 19,041,938 times
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Originally Posted by city living View Post

Are you planning to only stay in Manhattan?
Yes. A free apartment (via home exchange) and only give days? I can't think of a good reason to go elsewhere (though the ethnic eateries in Queens nearly convinced me.)

Just realized that we will be there during veteran's day weekend. Any crowd/parade/special events/closures we will want to avoid?
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Old 10-27-2017, 08:10 AM
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Check out Groupon for deals on one of the bus tours. It's a nice relaxing way to see a lot of the city. If you're going in the winter, just know that the busses often aren't heated.

If you're interested, you can look into sitting in the studio audience for a lot of the shows that tape in NYC (Good Morning America, Live with Kelly & Ryan, The Chew, The View, Rachel Ray, or even late night shows like Tonight Show, etc.) Different shows have different systems for reserving tickets, but a lot of them seem to use 1iota.com. It can mean getting up REALLY early, and also means standing inline for a while outside, but it can be fun and sometimes you can score free stuff and see celebrities.

There are some sites where you can get discounted Broadway tickets (like broadwaybox.com), if you want to see a show without breaking the bank.
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Old 10-27-2017, 10:40 AM
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DO NOT EAT $1 pizza it is CRAP. Joe's, there are probably a hundred Joe's Pizza. Go to the real Joe's in the West Village on 7 Carmine st. Most likely at some point you will be in this area anyways. They serve by the slice and it's been there since the 70's. No one can truly claim NYC's best slice since its an opinion. I can promise you if you asked 1000 locals this place is going to be mentioned by the majority.
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Old 10-27-2017, 12:21 PM
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I would suggest doing the traditional/Manhattan stuff the first couple of days. Take the Staten Island Ferry, it is wonderful. The trick is to get as close to the front of the line as you can, then go all the way to the back of the boat as far as you can (you want to be quick as people will all do the same thing). I always rode it at the very back of the boat. Or at least on the outside towards back grabbing a rail view. It's not that hard to maneuver your way up front on line if you're subtle about it.

When you get to Staten Island have a meal at Enoteca Maria on Hyatt Street. It's about a 10 minute walk to get authentic, affordable Italian. They have lunch and dinner. Everything there is excellent. I would suggest it for lunch, then a ride back to the 9/11 museum, as well as the reflecting pools. The pools are beautiful on a good day to sit and watch. If you want to splurge a little for a dinner go to Il Mulino in the West Village. Reservations are pretty much required. Once you get in there's complimentary appetizers that will blow your mind, complimentary grappa with dessert, impeccable service second to none.

If you go to the American Museum of Natural History, I'd suggest having lunch after at Nice Matin on 79th/Amsterdam. Great 2 star NYT French cuisine that is reasonably priced. Then I'd say either walk or cab it to Central Park if the weather permits.

For pizza I'd recommend Wheated in Brooklyn. You don't want to spend all of your time in Manhattan. Di Fara's is a classic however it's cramped and I doubt you'd like the long lines. Leuca in the William Vale hotel is a great place to secure reservations for a small dinner, which should guarantee you access to their rooftop bar Westlight if you want amazing views of the city. That's in Williamsburg. You won't have any chance of getting those views most likely if you don't reserve for dinner first, unless you want to wait for hours. I would call and ask. The Bronx Zoo is also a great place to check out.

Whatever you do, avoid Times Square at all costs. It's basically the worst place you could go as a tourist. Or human beings in general. It's a tourist trap and you should only maybe go once for photos, then get into a cab or take the subway to places actually worth a visit. And whatever you do do NOT eat $1 pizza. It's the worst thing ever. If that's your budget you aren't going to have a good time in NYC and honestly I'd say just stay at home.

Last edited by EastBoundandDownChick; 10-27-2017 at 12:43 PM..
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Old 10-27-2017, 12:55 PM
Location: Grosse Ile Michigan
26,598 posts, read 63,029,516 times
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Ride the subway around and meet interesting people. Get off here and there and find neat places - go to them. At one point pick up some last minute discount broadway tickets (who cares which show?) and go to a show (or two). When you get tired - sleep, when you get hungry - eat.

Day five, sit by the pool, swim and relax so you do not return exhausted. (Dot hey have a pool?).

Some intense plan where you rush around trying not to miss anything important, is the best way to ruin a trip IMO. Realx, see what you see, enjoy yourself, let the city take you where it does.
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