Wife and I are planning a three or four day trip to NYC. I went to NYC a long, long time ago (early teens). I know hotel prices are high, and I am OK with that to an extent. I'm really trying to get a visual of how things operate, especially the subway/bus system. Here are some of my questions:
Time and Weather:
We want to visit in either Sept. or Oct. What is the weather like then? Any month have more rainfall than the other? What about any special events during either Sept. or Oct.? We would rather it be more on the cool side than hot side. Any special closings (know the Liberty crown closes late Oct. or early Nov.) with the empire state building? Natural History museum? Etc.?
We are driving to the city. Some hotels have parking, which can be costly and that is OK. If the hotel doesn't have parking, where are some of the better places to park the car? Since we are staying in the city, I plan on using a taxi, bus, or train to get around.
Right now, we are looking at the following activities:
-Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island with crown pass
-Museum of Natural History
-Empire State Building
-Visit Times Square area
-Maybe see a zoo or something along those lines
-Visit Central Park?
-Visit WTC area
-Visit NYSE/financial district
We have no desire for Broadway shows or anything like that. How many days would we need? I know the Statue of Liberty can take a half day or more. We plan on getting up fairly early if need be.
What is the best option for transportation? I am familiar with the subways, but am confused about certain things. For one, some travel stuff show some subway stations as having free transfers at certain points. Are these underground tunnels where one walks from one line to another? I only ask because the maps don't show the lines running right next to each other (though they are close to each other). Or do you exit the subway tunnel and re-enter another one? What kind of pass is best to get? Do folks share passes (ie: Use it to enter the turn style (or whatever is used now) and then hand it to the person you are with that is behind you to use? Now here is a real stupid question: If one takes the #1 line to Battery Park, are there two trains that run both ways (north and south) or just one train? If there are two trains, do folks need to enter certain subway stations from certain points above ground or is there a way to walk over to the area where the train is?
What are recommended tip levels outside of eating? Baggage folks? Taxi drivers?
Would like to get something decent for a decent price. I really would like an in-room safe, but safety deposit boxes at the main counter would work as well. Right now I have a few places in mind;
-Holiday Inn Wall St.: The cheapest place that appears halfway decent in/near the financial district.
-The Excelsior Hotel: Looks nice
-Casablanca Hotel Times Square: Looks nice
-Staybridge Suites Times Square: Looks nice
Given what we want to do, anyone have any other suggestions. Would like to stay in the upper $200s and upper $300s/night if possible.
We are not fancy eaters. We are plain food types but would like to stay away from chains if possible (and affordable). Looking for:
-Best hamburgers: I heard on TV the burgers at Le Parker Meridien were very good. This was from Harvey Levin of TMZ/People's Court fame.
-Pizza: No, I don't care about "NYC style" pizza...I just want some good pizza. The slices don't have to be a big as my head, nor does the pizza have to be paper thin.
-Fish: Wife likes fish every so often, me not so much. She likes ocean fish, especially orange roughy.
Suggestions on food?
So, just how safe is the city? Since doing my research, and I much more excited than I was when the wife suggested visiting NYC. Now I really want to go, but I also want to be safe. Anything to seriously avoid? For example, I would like to see the city lit up at night from the Empire State Building. If we were to visit then, should be use a taxi for the ride back at night, or are the subways still safe?
After a little research, it appears that things like City Pass or City Explorer aren't worth the money. Most of the things they give you discounts to aren't things we are interested in anyways. Is it true that you can just go into the Natural History Museum and name your price?
We are going to be booking our room soon because we both want to go up to the Statue of Liberty crown and tickets sell out fast. Thanks for any suggestions and tips!