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Celebrity sitings? Travel Tips? Hates NYC....

Valdosta, Georgia
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Celebrity sitings? Travel Tips? Hates NYC....

We will be first timers in NYC on our honeymoon for a couple nights. Staying at the POD hotel (at 230 E 51st St) and arriving at JFK at 6:00 PM on a Monday. Any suggestions on transportation (quickest, easiest, cheapest) from JFK to our hotel?

Also I've already made several plans for our short stay (night of arrival go to Empire State Building, next day shop China Town see major sites of interest including central park and times square, then Phantom of the Opera to close the evening) but would like to eat at one really great place during our stay. Is there an American or Italian style restaurant that is awesome? Especially one where celebrity sitings are common as that would be great!

Leaving from JFK at 8:30 on a Wed morning, so should we take the same transportation back?

Any other travel tips would be WONDERFUL as my fiance says he will HATE New York and I am out to PROVE to him that he will LOVE it. Especially transportation tips as I am so confused by all these different transportation options!

Thanks so much!

Briarcliff Manor...
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1. Re: Celebrity sitings? Travel Tips? Hates NYC....

YOu have two basic options. One is inexpensive but takes a long time and the other is shorter but more costly.

The shortest time is to take a cab, from the aiport there is a set rate of around $50.00 to anywhere in manhattan. THis might be the best option for heading into manhattan. The other option is to take the Airtran to the Jamiaca train station $2.00 and then take the LIRR or I think that there is a subway stop. If you take LIRR it takes about 30 minutes by train, not sure what the fare is though. If you take the subway from Jamiaca it will take well over an hour to get back into manhattan. With luggage, it might be more burdensome.

Plus it is your honeymoon, spend a little for less headaches

New York City
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2. Re: Celebrity sitings? Travel Tips? Hates NYC....

Some suggestions:

From JFK I would tak a taxi. The fixed fare to and from JFK is $45, to which you would add any tolls (the toll for the tunnel should be $4) and the tip, which should be somewhere between $7 and $9. The total cost for a cab would then be somewhere between $52 and $58. If you are on a super tight budget, then you should take the AirTrain from the terminal to Jamaica station. Go outside and downstairs into the Sutphin Avenue station of the subway, and take the E train towards Manhattan to the Lexington Avenue station. Exit at the end closest to the rear of the Manhattan-bound train -- that should put you at the corner of 53rd Street and Third Avenue. The traffic on Third Avenue runs north -- so face the traffic and walk south two blocks to 51st Street and turn right -- your hotel is between Second and Third on 51st Street. While the subway is easy enough, I really do recommend the cab, though.

Considering where you are staying, I would highly recommend going to Top of theRock instead of Empire State. The view is much the same (except from TotR you can see the ESB...). but I think TotR is generally nicer, it is easier to get to from your hotel (it is entered from 50th Street between Fifth and Sixth Avenues, and you can just walk there, passing St. Patrick's Cathedral on the way), and the pleasant atmosphere may be more agreeable for your fiance.

Have you given any thought to the River Cafe on the night you arrive? The food is said to be quite decent, and the atmospher and setting are great. They serve until (I think) 11, and you will not have to worry about scrambling to make the theater. You could then walk back across the Brooklyn Bridge admiring the lights of the ciy, and take the #6 subway up to 51st Street. Prix Fixe three-course dinner there is $85 per person.

Valdosta, Georgia
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3. Re: Celebrity sitings? Travel Tips? Hates NYC....

Thanks so much for your help! We'll have to go the subway route as we are on a VERY limited budget. It all sounds so confusing, but hopefully there will be some easy to follow maps or something once we get there. Also how do we pay for the subway fair?

Especially thank you for the tip about the top of the Rock. I looked into it and it's cheaper than the Empire State Building as well! All my friends and family who have been to NYC said we have to go to the top of the ESB but I think this could be a good switch, and of course my fiance says he doesn't care either way!

I also looked into the River Cafe...oh it looks awesome! But my fiance is a BIG eater and the menu did not impress him especially for the price. He is hard to please, I'm telling you! Any other restaurant suggestions? He loves steak, pizza, any itilian....We are on a tight budget but I know for ONE meal I can talk him into finishing out our honeymoon in style ;)

Thanks so much again!!!!

Bowie, Maryland
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4. Re: Celebrity sitings? Travel Tips? Hates NYC....

Carmines has huge portions of Italien food, if this is what you mean by a great place to eat.

I doubt you will get celebrities there though.

I think the River Cafe is the most romantic restaurant around, and I agree with the idea of walking back over the Brooklyn Bridge..

But, different strokes for different folks.

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5. Re: Celebrity sitings? Travel Tips? Hates NYC....

One suggestion for dinner is Joe Allen restaurant. It is not overly expensive, and you can view their menu online. If you go for a late dinner, there is a chance you may see a celebrity. We saw 2 the night we went, and my friend also saw one on her visit. You can then walk from there to explore Times Square at night. Just an idea.

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6. Re: Celebrity sitings? Travel Tips? Hates NYC....

I forgot to mention you will need reservations for Joe Allen...call up to 2 weeks ahead of time.

New York City
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7. Re: Celebrity sitings? Travel Tips? Hates NYC....

Regarding the subway, here is my Idiot's Guide, which people seem to like:

tripadvisor.com/…2444514

The way you will pay your fare (which is $2 per ride) is with a MetroCard -- and in your case, the thing to do is to buy a $10 pay-per-ride card from the vending machine on the wall when you first go into the subway . A card that you spend $10 on is actually worth $12, and is good for six rides -- so you and the fiance can use hat card for three trips between you, as one swipes and goes in, and then the second swipes the same card and goes in.

Here is a cheaper Italian alternative to the River Cafe -- an old favorite of mine, Pete's Dowtown, which is across the street from the River Cafe, and has some of the same views -- although it is not nearly as elegant, and I very much doubt you will find any celebrities:

http://petesdowntown.com/

Take the subway over to Clark Street, stroll the Brooklyn Heights neighborhood and the Promenade, and then head down the hill to Pete's -- and you can walk the bridge back from there.

tripadvisor.com/ShowTopic-g60763-i5-k866178-…

You also might want to try one of the classic steakhouses. I think for what you want, Peter Luger would NOT be the best choice, because while the steaks are great, it has no atmosphere whatsoever. However, there are plenty of alternatives -- try looking for "steakhouses" in the search feature up top. One possibility, for example, might be Keen's, with its very old-New-York atmosphere, and another for its midtown vibe would be DelFrisco.

Bronxville, New York
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8. Re: Celebrity sitings? Travel Tips? Hates NYC....

Hope you have a wonderful honeymood in NYC.

I agree with GWB regarding Top of the Rock. The Empire State Building is great, but it tends to have extremely long lines, rude staff, etc. Not the way to start a vacation, particularly because it may reinforce the reasons your fiance thinks he will "hate" NYC.

My other, general suggestion (actually a plea) is to make sure you GET OUT of the midtown/Times Square area. I think seeing some of the West Village, Union Square, SoHo, etc may change your fiance's opinion of the city quickly. I'm presuming he thinks he's not going to like the crowds, the hustle and bustle, etc, so go check out some of the quieter, more residential areas. So many tourists come and don't leave midtown, which is, as it should be, manic, but then they say "I had fun but I could never live there!"

I'm glad to see you plan on checking out Central Park....what time of the year will you be here?

West Palm Beach...
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9. Re: Celebrity sitings? Travel Tips? Hates NYC....

I don't know any straight men who enjoy sitting through Phantom, it's strictly a chick's show, if you know what I mean. So, unless your fiancee is very unusual, and considering you're trying to get him to have a great time, I'd pick another show. Or a concert. Maybe there's someone playing here who you both like?

I also agree about the River Cafe. It's a wonderful American menu that pretty much suits every taste, it's definitely not frou-frou. And while the portions are not ENORMOUS, they're absolutely satisfying. And the setting is so beautiful.

I'd also suggest lunch at Central Park's Boathouse Restaurant. Crowded on weekends, so better during the week. Also a very romantic spot, and good American cuisine.

For Italian, I highly recommend the teeny, tiny Po in the Village. Or, for Tuscan Italian, the ultra romantic Erminia on the upper east side. The food's great, and it's cosy and candlelit. I mean, it's your honeymoon! In the theater district, my favorite Italians are Orso, Lattanzi (in their enclosed garden), ViceVersa and Maria Pia (which has terrific food but I think is the least romantic).

Transportation from the airport is easy. Take a taxi. It's not much more than if you paid separately for a bus. I've never taken the train from the airport, but again, I know you're on a budget, but don't start a honeymoon by hauling your luggage on the subway.

NYC
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10. Re: Celebrity sitings? Travel Tips? Hates NYC....

If he's a BIG eater, I would suggest Churrascaria Plataforma. It's a brazilian rodizio where delectable cuts of meat are presented to you, and (if you say the word) a gigantic chunk is then chopped off onto your plate. They keep bringing the meat around until you can't eat anymore. Then you get presented with the desert cart and find the room for more. It's more festive than it is romantic...but lets face it; men are the happiest when gnawing on a giant steak. (myself included)

If you are staying on E. 51st, then do the AirTrain to Jamaica, then the E into Manhattan. The E enters Manhattan at 51st, and it's about 25 minutes from Jamaica into the city. It's not too hard to figure out, just follow the signs when you arrive. When the AirTrain arrives it will say Jamaica Station above the doors...this would be your train. Depending on your timing luck, it's comparable to a cab.