Firstly many thanks to all the experts on here from whom I picked up so much invaluable advice to make our trip so enjoyable.
Arrived late on Saturday May 28th at Intercontinental Times Square. Although we requested a room on higher floor we only got a room on the third floor. However, the hotel was very good.
Sunday. Breakfast at the Westway Diner, superb value for money, highly recommended. Then on to TOTR followed by a stroll up 5th Avenue via the Apple store ad FAO Schwarz. A couple of hours in Central Park before the Subway down to Greenwich Village. Evening meal at Lattanzi on Restaurant Row, nice meal but a 20%+ tip was added to our bill. I have offended some on here with my comments on tipping but this for me was out of order. We paid it as we couldn't be bothered to argue.
Monday. Poaring with rain so ate an overpriced breakfast in the hotel. Subway down to SOL & Ellis Island. We had the crown tickets and were first to check in to go up the crown. Why people go later in the day I do not know. This was the highlight of our trip, the Ranger in the crown was extremely friendly and informative and was happy to take our photo. The Rangers are a credit to NYC. This was also very good value for money. Ellis Island was ok. Back in Manhatten had a quick bite to eat at McD in Financial District bizarrely with a pianist playing at 15 feet in the air! Then on to the WTC site and into the WTC Tribute Centre, very interesting. Evening meal at Ruth's Chris Steak house, very good but also very expensive.
Tuesday. Levain Bakery to try the infamous cookies, delicious. Then the MoNH, paid for all the additional exhibits which were ok, frog exhibit was very good. Brain exhibit was spoilt by rowdy high school kids who appeared to lack any supervision. Lunch at Shake Shack, recommended and then a couple more hours relaxing in Central Park. Evening meal at John's Pizzeria, superb pizza followed by ESB for views at night. Went to the 102nd floor which was expensive but very good.
Wednesday. Breakfast at Westway Diner again before Subway to Brooklyn. Superb views of Manhatten from Promenade but should have taken a different turn and gone to the park by the waters edge. Walked back over the Brooklyn Bridge to City Hall and then on to Chinatown, a bit grotty but interesting. Nice ice cream at Chinese Ice Cream Factory. No time for evening meal so Shake Shack again before Billy Elliot, very good.
Thursday. Breakfast at Cranberry Deli followed by a stroll around Manhatten and a bit of last minute shopping. Had the best ice creams ever at Gromm on Columbus Circle, expensive but worth every penny. Dial 7 to JFK and back home.
In summary I would recommend the hotel and Dial 7 cars. SOL, you must go up to the crown, great fun and the Ranger was brilliant. Subway was very easy to use and if you are there for a few days get the 7-day pass. I had an App on my smartphone which was invaluable. Although the subway was very good I don't think it is as good as London underground but the air conditioning was very welcome in the heat. T5 at Heathrow was excellent especially the electric 'pods' that took us to and from the Car Park.
This was our second visit to NYC and so much more enjoyable because of all the research I was able to do. The staff in the hotel and in shops, attractions etc, were very helpful and friendly, I think this was an improvement on the last time we visited. Would we go again? probably not as I don't think there is a lot more for us to see and there are plenty of other cities to visit.
One other point about tipping. I don't see how it is fair that waiting staff in a Diner get so much less i.e. 20% of $25 compered to a steakhouse getting 20% of $150 when the staff in the Diner probably work a lot harder i.e. greater turn round of tables. We gave the Diner about 25% by the way.