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May trip to NYC

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May trip to NYC

I've been reading posts on this forum for 2 weeks now, and have learned a lot, so am going to post a few questions.

My sister and I are coming to NYC May 4-8th. She has never been, I've been there twice, although I didn't plan either of those trips. My sister wants to see all the usual things, SOL, ESB, a couple of plays, shopping, etc.

I've gotten tickets already to TOTR, ESB, and the ferry to SOL and Ellis Island, also the 3 hour Circle Line boat tour. I've made up a rough itinerary, but want to figure out what order we should do it all in, to avoid zigzagging around the city. We've got 3 full days there, and want to use them as best we can. Here goes:

Day 1 (Thursday the 4th)

Arrive at LaGuardia at 8:19pm

Take a taxi to Amsterdam Court Hotel

(W. 50th between Broadway & 8th)

Check in

What is traffic like at 8:30-9:00 on a Thursday evening? Is it reasonable to think we may be in the hotel by 10pm, and have some time to go out walking around that night?

Day 2 (Friday the 5th)

Today show

TOTR (8:30-8:45am admission)

NYC Public Library (42nd & 5th)

ESB (34th & 5th)

Grand Central Station (42nd & Park)

3 hour Circle Line boat tour (Pier 83 at 42nd & 12th)

8pm Barefoot in the Park at Cort Theatre (48th & 5th)

Walk around TS

All my research says not to shop in TS, the stores there are tourist traps. I know my sister is going to want to buy t-shirts (she always does, no matter where she goes!). Is there a good place for this elsewhere or just in TS?

Day 3 (Saturday the 6th)

Taxi to Battery Park

Ferry to SOL and Ellis Island

Ground Zero

South St. Seaport

Maybe walk across Brooklyn Bridge

Depending on time left, work our way uptown and go through some of the neighborhoods.

I figured SOL and EI would take a lot of time, so didn't want to plan too much on this day. We'd like to see some of the neighborhoods like the Village, Soho and Tribeca, but it's not something we couldn't do without if we run out of time. I heard of Big Apple Greeter, but didn't want to be locked into a specific time, so didn't request that. I've read about a free bus service in the Financial District, is that available on weekends, and how far uptown does it take you?

Day 4 (Sunday the 7th)

Central Park

Fifth Avenue shops

afternoon play (if can get tickets to something good at discount booth)

I haven't listed any restaurants because neither of us is too concerned with where we eat. We'll just pop in somewhere when we're hungry and try it out. However, I was wondering if anyone knows what kind of places are around the Amsterdam Court hotel?

Transportation around the city is my one concern. I'm afraid to even try the subway. I know it's safe, I rode it several times on my previous trips, but my friend understood how it worked, and I didn't have to figure it out. I'm afraid to try it because I don't understand the system and am afraid I'll end up somewhere and be off track from where I need to be, thus wasting time trying to get around. I've done mapquest directions on some of the attractions, and figure we can walk to a lot of the ones close by the hotel, but the furthest ones, we'll take a taxi, like to Pier 83 and Battery Park. BUT..my sister has asthma, and we are both out of shape, so I know we will end up taking taxis more often than not! Any suggestions on helping me thru the subway system? (We don't understand bus routes either, here in Indiana, we drive everywhere!)

Thanks for any help/suggestions you can give me!

Miami, Florida
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1. Re: May trip to NYC

About shopping in TS - I think what people are talking about is avoiding buying electronics and other high-end items. That's how you can get ripped-off.

But T-shirts and other souvenirs, you'll probably find the prices pretty much the same all around the city.

After you go to Ground Zero, you can stop across the street at Century 21. This is a discount store. Some people don't like it because it's busy and chaotic, but downstairs they have a very nice selection of NYC souvenirs.

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2. Re: May trip to NYC

Just something to consider but I would try to do ESB at night to get a contrasting view of that of the TOR (don't do the TOR at night because you wont see much of Central Park other than a dark mass!)

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3. Re: May trip to NYC

Some thoughts:

On the evening you arrive, if the weather is fine, you should be able to walk around Times Square in the evening.

TOTR and ESB on the same day? That seems a bit much to me -- I would do them different days. If done the same day, make sure one is in the evening, after sunset, for a very different effect.

For heavens sake, why are you taking a taxi to Battery Park? Do NOT be afraid of the subway!!!!! Do a search for "Idiot's guide to the subway" on this forum for a longer post I did about how to ride. And so what if you get misplaced for a few minutes? It's an adventure!

In addition, Friday sounds a little crowded to me, so here is a suggestion: -- Delay the visit to Grand Central/NYPL to Saturday. On Saturday, each of you get a one day unlimited ride "fun pass" for the subway for Saturday at the subway station at 50th and Broadway (you buy it from the machines there on the wall; the instructions on the touch screen are easy to follow.) Follow these instructions --

At the corner of 50th and Broadway is a subway station. On one side of Broadway is a train that goes DOWNTOWN, and on the other is a train that goes UPTOWN. Look at the sign at the top of the stairs that tells you which station it is before you go down the stairs into the station. You want the DOWNTOWN station.

There is only one train (the #1) that stops at 50th Street/Broadway, so you CAN'T possibly take the wrong train. Board a downtown #1 and go one stop. You will be in Times Square Station. Follow the signs downstairs to the #7 train to Flushing. This is the terminal of the #7, so you cannot go the wrong way -- all #7 trains from Times Square go where you want to go. Board the #7, and when it leaves from Times Square, ride it ONE stop to Fifth Avenue. Get out there -- you will be at the Public Library.

Visit the Public Library, and then walk across 42nd Street (cross Fifth Avenue to head in the correct direction) to Grand Central. Visit Grand Central.

At Grand Central, enter the subway again. Follow the signs to the platform for the #4/5/6 trains going Downtown. The #6 stops along the wall, and the #4 and #5 stop in the middle -- as the signs will clearly tell you. Board either the #4 or #5 and ride Downtown to Bowling Green. Get out at Bowling Green -- and you are at the entrance to Battery Park.

Wasn't that easy?

I really hope you will NOT be afraid of the subway. It is fast, cheap, simple to use, and both safer and less erratic than taxicabs.

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4. Re: May trip to NYC

If the plane's on time, you'll be at the hotel by 9:30. LGA is close. No bad traffic at that hour.

On day 2, I'd do Grand Central after the library. It's close. I would do ESB another time. It's too time consuming and why do it directly after TOTR. Maybe consider doing it at night, maybe even the first night after arrival. T shirts in TS is fine. They're also everywhere. Yes, the shopping in TS is mostly tourist stuff/souvenirs, but that's what you are. The one thing you should NOT buy in Times Square is any electronic equipment. Those places are all rip offs.

On day 3, I think the "neighborhoods" as you refer to them, will be much more interesting than the Seaport. Since you should walk the bridge, do stop at the Seaport for a quick look see and maybe try the TKTS booth there for a Sunday matinee, but you should save time for Soho/Noho and/or the village. I also think those areas might be of more interest than the Fifth Ave. shops. How old are you?

As to the transportation issue, here is the subway map


Here's the bus map


Do a text search and look for a thread titled Subways for dummies written by poster GreenWhiteBlue. It should explain all.

There are also specific directions for the subway down to the ferry, one of the trips you really should use the subway.

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5. Re: May trip to NYC

GWB, I had SOL/EI as the first thing Saturday because I assumed that would be the least crowded time to go. Do you agree, or should we do it later in the day, after Grand Central and NY Library? If we did SOL/EI first, which train would we take from the 50th & Broadway station?

Do you think taking the 3 hour Circle Line cruise Friday afternoon would be too busy or should we do it another time? I thought afternoon would be warmer than doing it in the morning.

I got tickets for ESB before I even knew about TOTR, which I learned about on this forum. If I had known how crowded ESB seems to be, I would have skipped it and just done TOTR. I like the idea of doing them on different days and doing ESB at night, maybe on Sunday evening.

nywhiz, we are both late 40's, and while I could care less about 5th avenue shops and souveniers, my sister loves that stuff, so I put the 5th avenue shopping in there for her. I would much rather visit the Village/Soho/Noho areas, and will try to fit that in. I didn't know about the TKTS booth at the Seaport, so I will look for it.

Idiot's Guide to Subways - I printed it and will read it and I promise to try the subway! You are right, so what if I get misplaced for a few minutes? Just my personality, I guess. I like to have everything go as planned with no surprises, but sometimes, I have to remember that surprises can be good.

Thank you all for your replies. I appreciate the help.

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6. Re: May trip to NYC

I assume you know you could try to buy discount theater tickets ahead of time with codes from broadwaybox.com If not, the beauty of the TKTS booth at the Seaport is you can buy matinee tickets the day before the show, whereas at Times Square it's only same day. Here are details on TKTS booths


You may in fact like the shops on Fifth, but you should try to spend some time downtown.

You asked about restaurants....do you know about menupages.com? Here's a link to places near your hotel (west 50s)


Siam Inn is a Thai I like. Nothing fancy, inexpensive but good food. Must have curry puffs.

Art Cafe will be good for breakfast.

ViceVersa is a good Italian

Here are some other dining suggestions based on your itinerary.

On Fri., grab some coffee and a bagel on the go. There's a Dean & DeLuca at Rock Ctr. or stop some place on the way. You can then have brunch/lunch at Junior's inside Grand Central. Make sure to try their cheesecake.

The Cort theater is NOT on 5th ave. it's 138 West 48th Street which is bw/ 6th & 7th (there are no theaters on Fifth). It's very close to your hotel. If you like fish, Foley's Fish House in the Renaissance hotel might be a nice idea. They have a great view of Times Square. This might also be an idea for your first night. I think you could go there for drinks and dessert or do that at the Marriott Marquis. The Broadway Bar at the Marriott is nice. Any of the places I mentioned near the hotel would also work. ViceVersa has a prix fixe dinner.

Sat. will be tricky for eating. I'd pick up breakfast on the go to eat while waiting or on the ferry. SOL/Ellis Island will take the better part of the day though and dining options there are limited. You might even consider taking along sandwiches.

If you do the Brooklyn Bridge, you could try Grimaldi's pizza in Brooklyn right near the bridge. There are also loads of good, cute places in Brooklyn Heights on the Brooklyn side. Just remember it's Sat. and good places get crowded. YOu might actually want to think about this day a bit more and have a dinner plan.

Sunday is brunch day. If you do the park, maybe have brunch at the Boat House in the park. If you like the idea, I'd book a table. If you'd rather have breakfast, Rue 57 on 57 & 6th is on your way into the park and has a nice break/brunch. There's also a Sarabeth's on Central Park South. Le Pain Quotidienne on 7th & 58th is another idea.

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7. Re: May trip to NYC

I got tickets for Barefoot in the Park from playbill.com, haven't looked at broadwaybox.com yet, but I will.

I love the brunch idea. I will definitely look into that.

Thanks for all the suggestions, I'm sure we'll get to at least some of them.

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8. Re: May trip to NYC

Don't waste time or money on "Ring of Fire" unless you enjoyed Hee Haw on TV. Its not at all like the movie.