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Best Way to see Central Park and yes another.......Itinerary

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Best Way to see Central Park and yes another.......Itinerary

Hi there

We (my husband and myself) are coming to NY for 4 nights in January, staying in the Best Western bowery hanbee hotel near china town.

Our plan is to see/do the following, we arrive at 11am on the Friday and depart JFK 9pm on the Tuesday:

Empire State building

Chrysler building

Times Square

Rockefeller Centre - Top of the Rock will buy $30 ticket so can go day and night

Central Park - Can I please have suggestions on the best way to see this, was thinking a horse and carriage ride but seen other reviews saying this is a rip off????

Staten Island Ferry

Ellis Island Immigration museum

Statue of Liberty

Ground Zero to pay our respects

Shopping - Fifth Avenue e.t.c Maybe Woodbury

Roosevelt Island Tram

Walking across the Brooklyn Bridge

Hop on Hop off bus

Phew I think thats all, also a walk around china town and little Italy. I just need to work out what to group together and see whats near what to make best use of our time

Thanking you all in advance for your comments/Suggestions :)

Edited: 09 October 2010, 21:36
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1. Re: Best Way to see Central Park and yes another.......Itinerary


As you will be coming from UK, after your first nights sleep you will be up & about at approx 0500hrs (even if you stay up late). We founfd that this was a superb time to go for a walk around Central Park, but as you are satying in lower Manhatten you will have to get there first ;-)

I think that the hoho bus trips are a rip off & it looks like you have plenty to do anyway, fifth ave shopping will take a whole day.

Top of the Rock is definately worth a go, as is my favorite building, the Chrysler, but please do be aware that you are not able to enter the Chrysler building, but just going into the lobby is breathtaking.

If you want a relaxing hour or two then I would recommend the highline, a park that has been created on a section of the old railway.

As you have so much to do I think that you are going to be absolutely exhausted so why not start saving now for your next trip, as one visit to NYC is never enough.

Have fun


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2. Re: Best Way to see Central Park and yes another.......Itinerary

If you get the subway to 71st that enterance to Central Park takes you in at Strawberry Fields and you can basically go for a wander.

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3. Re: Best Way to see Central Park and yes another.......Itinerary

I agree with Mick that you will be up early the first morning and this is a good time to go to ESB to avoid crowds later in the day. I'm so not a morning person but was bright eyed and bushy tailed at 6am and at ESB for 8.

We took one of the pedicabs around lower Central Park. It cost $50 but was a good way of seeing more of the park and you can also go for a good walk too. Get a price first though as others cost about

$95. Our guide didn't speak great

English either so maybe the more

expensive ones might be better. People

here feel sorry for the horses on the carriage rides but I felt a bit sorry for the pedicab guide-boy it looked like hard work. There were times I felt like getting out and walking to give him a break.

We also spent too much time rushing between all the must see sights and were exhausted by the end of 5 days so just take time to chill and take it all in.

You will have a great time, I did.

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4. Re: Best Way to see Central Park and yes another.......Itinerary

Thanks guys and girls! Appreciate your comments, Central Park early morning sounds like a plan, I'm not a morning person but given the time difference we will probably be up bright and early each morning so may aswell make the most of it!!

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5. Re: Best Way to see Central Park and yes another.......Itinerary

Some Suggestions-

First get your tickets for SOL and Ellis Island ASAP. Take the available day

that has the earliest possible time (the security lines get ridiculous as the day passes) and crown tickets get sold out months in advance:


For Friday

If your hungry (need lunch) try this place by your hotel:


Walk up Broadway to 14th St. (Union Square Park- East Village) Walk Down University place to Washington Square Park (West Village or Greenwhich Village) Walk down Laguardia place to West Broadway (SoHo) walk down West Broadway to Canal St. take a left go to Broadway (China Town) Keep walking on Canal (@5 blocks) to Mulberry take a left (LIttle Italy). Back to Hotel (refresh for Evening). Catch a cab to Time square (IMO it is all about the lights so it is best at night) you could try this place (a revolving restaurant with a great view in times square):


For the other days it will depend on when you get the SOL, also the staten Island ferry is just a free ride past SOL (with out stopping there) so if you are actually going to SOL and ellis I wouldn't worry about the Staten Island Ferry really.


Suggestions for another day (SOL day)

You should group the SOL together with Ground Zero which is best seen from the world financial center:


This was the first office building (w/ commercial space on the ground floor) that was rebuilt after 9/11 and it has an inside view that is open to the public. It is a beutiful lobby with stairs that lead to a huge window that has a view of the huge rebuilding site. Also you should add in the financial district (Broadway by Wall St./ Exchange place - is the NY stock echange).

this is an interesting place to eat in that area:


If you cross city hall park (by Park rowe) this is the entrance to the Brooklyn Bridge walking Promenade walk half way and come back.

A great place for dinner is L' Ecole (The School) this is top students doing their best to impresss seasoned well published chefs with constantly varying pre fix menus:


Suggestions for Central Park Day:

Not sure if your hotel has breakfast but if not you should Go to the third floor of the Time Warner Center (59th St. and Broadway) in Columbus Circle (Cental Park South) there are two good places to grab breakfast (Buchon bakery and Landmarc).

I would do the Carrige ride (they are lined up right there on 59th St.) IMO it is one of those things everyone should be able to put a check mark by.

I would try this place for an early lunch:


or the Rock Cafe before Doing TOTR. After doing TOTR if you are interested the Famous Plaza Hotel has an Afternoon tea ($45usd pp) that is right off of the lobby that is in so many movies (in the Palm Court):


Suggstion for another day (either Monday or Tuesday):

Chrysler building doesn't let people go up, but it is on 42nd St. and there are a lot of other things around there. Bryant Park has a Famous Library, Grand Cental Station is worth a look and the United Nations also has a good short tour. Also the Delegates lounge (inside the UN building) serves the best international buffet luncheon in the world (Mon.-Fri. 11:45-2:30) but you need ID (passports or drivers license) and a reservation ph#1(212)963-7625. I would call from the hotel on Friday to make a reservation for Mon. or Tuesday, since they don't take online reservations (unless you can do the international call in December). After lunch you can go up first ave to the Roosevelt Island Tram. Oh if you need breakfast this day, this is kind of a NY staple:


Also if you need a good breakfast by your hotel there is a whole foods with cafe style seating or for wait service this is a good place not too far:


For evenings I put together a list of events calanders (please rate it - everyone thanks me and tells me they will save it and use it but I keep waiting for others to edit or rate it) you can use it closer to your dates but the "best of" list in NY Mag can start to give you an idea of possibilties:


Are you interested in Broadway shows, Opera, or Ballet?

BTW ESB is open until 2am it is best when others are tucked in bed (I wouldn't spend a whole day waiting in that line)

Edited: 10 October 2010, 21:37
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6. Re: Best Way to see Central Park and yes another.......Itinerary

MTI has great suggestions, but some notes:

That "famous Library in Bryant Park" is the main research branch of the New York Public Library (the one with the lions in front.). A great respite from bad weather or too much walking. Check hours.


Also, personally, I would avoid the horse-n-carriage ride. I think it's a rip-off, the horses are exposed to too much car traffic, pollution, etc, and I'm not a fan of horse smell.

Currently, but the Roosevelt Island Tram is still closed for renovation until at least November. Perhaps it will be opened by the time you get here, but you never know.


Manicmick says the HOHO buses are a rip-off, but I want to clarify that. They are indeed a rip-off if you use them as your main method of getting around NYC. To get around town, simply walk or use the bus or subway. On the other hand, many find riding a complete HOHO loop (without actually HO'ing and HO'ing) educational and a good intro to many main sights.

Keep in mind that it is going to be COLD!!! Bundle up! And walking might even keep you warmer. Here are some tips:

How Will I Survive the Cold Weather?

Neither sleet nor snow nor ice should interfere with your visit. You just need to know how to dress!


If you're going to go to Woodbury Common Outlet Mall, then reserve at least half a day for that. It's about an hour's drive north of Manhattan, and most people spend at least two hours there. The mall is outdoors, not enclosed. It's set up like small streets in a village. And, frankly, it might not be necessary for good bargain hunting.

Sure, it's great for certain things (L'Octainne, The Coach Store, sneakers/trainers, certain high-end stores), but since you'll be here after Christmas, the stores in NYC will be holding massive after-Christmas sales.

As was said, if you're going to SOL and Ellis island, then you use Statue Cruises and you don't need to ride the Staten Island Ferry.

Here's my self-guided tour of what else is in lower Manhattan:


Also, just an FYI: Chinatown is one word, not two, and it has engulfed the majority of Little Italy. Sadly, Little Italy is actually Puny Italy, currently only about 2 streets long, and dominated by mediocre touristy restaurants. Not really an Italian neighborhood anymore.

Hope that helps!

7. Re: Best Way to see Central Park and yes another.......Itinerary

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8. Re: Best Way to see Central Park and yes another.......Itinerary

Wow.............thank you both for your fantastic replies and taking the time to do so!! What West villages should I add to our Itinerary?

Am just concious of our time we have but am more than happy to leave NY shattered and rest when we get home!

I really hope the Roosevelt Island Tram is working by the 21st Jan when we will be in NY, and am now also thinking that maybe Jersey Gardens outlet maybe worth going to rather than Woodbury but I think we will assess that one when we arrive and see what sales are on in the normal shops if they still will be at that point?

Edited: 11 October 2010, 22:10
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9. Re: Best Way to see Central Park and yes another.......Itinerary

Oh yes sorry didnt reply about broadway shows the answer is yes and I was hoping (fingers crossed!) that we could get some cheap tickets when we arrive, musicals are our favourite.

And we have breakfast in our hotel, the suggested resturants look amazing, so thanks so much for that, your help has been so valuable! :) I will post a report when we return, I cant wait, am counting down the days already. We love the US!

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10. Re: Best Way to see Central Park and yes another.......Itinerary

Honestly I would not get too excited about the tram--- this is not Disneyworld and it is not meant to be a fun ride--- it is ok but really no big deal.

to your original question-- I agree that walking a part of the park is the best way to see things but in January it will be very cold and it will be more of a run than a walk I am afraid but if you follow the advice to enter at 72nd street and Strawberry fields you can walk straight across the park and see some of the better known sites-- leaving Strawberry fields follow path to the left and cross the first road--- off to the left you will see a large lake . The first entrance driveway on the left is Cherry Hill. walk up there towards the lake and at the end of the drive find the path to the right as you face the lake-- walk down that path and you will see the famous Bow Bridge-- just go to the middle of that and look around at some great scenery-- ahead of you you will see a large building that is the Boathouse cafe and in January you might want to slip in there and have a cup of hot chocolate to warm up and use the facilities or if you like there is a bar there.

leaving the boathouse cross the road and go down any of the paths to the conservancy waters which is a smaller body of water and if you walk past that you will come to the other side of the park which is 5th avenue. It is really not that long a distance across the park and is easily walkable but if you are tired or cold there are a number of buses that go down 5th avenue to get you back into midtown or where ever you like.