Just returned from 3 weeks in NE USA and Canada, spent total of 5 days in NY. Before this trip, had researched on this forum and want to thank everyone, especially DEs for their advice and information, all of which I found extremely useful. Thought I'd write a brief report on our experiences in case others might find it useful, especially Aussies
Am female in my 60s (still spritely!) and travelled with a female companion in her 50s. First time in NY. Visited 2-3 September, then 16-19 September
Arrived in JFK on my own on a Saturday night. Took pre-booked shuttle to Doubletree in Lower Manhattan/Hell's Kitchen. Advice to first timers - do not take shuttle (complete waste of time!), splash out on private transfer. If I'd arrived in daytime (OK - I know NY is a safe city but it's scary when you're in a strange city anywhere at night), I'd have taken the subway. Next time I visit NY I'm taking the train from JFK to my hotel no matter what time I arrive. After 5 days in NY, I feel very comfortable using the system.
Day one - walked downtown from hotel on W35th. Went on food walking tour of Chelsea Markets, meat-packing district and High Line. Interesting and enjoyable, though a bit pricey. Liked learning about the history and background of those places. Food tasting was good and ample.
After tour, took subway from 14th St to Brooklyn. Got off and walked Brooklyn Bridge back over to Manhattan. Beautiful sunny day. However, if intending on a harbour cruise, can skip this walk without missing too much of the views of Manhattan.
Walked over to Chinatown on Canal Street and then a bit into Little Italy. Lots of shops selling Asian type stuff (eg that one finds when visiting Bangkok) but opportunity here to pick up a cheap souvenir or gift to take back home. Eg NY tote for USD15.00
Day 2 - Went shopping at Macy's and surrounds. Quite impressed at how much cheaper clothes and shoes are than back in Oz. Got a gym top with shelf bra for USD30.00 (probably cost around AUD50.00 here) Transferred to Skyline Hotel for startbof coach tour of NE USA and Canada.
After lunch, off to Central Park for a stroll and a photo shoot at Strawberry Fields (tribute to John Lennon in the Park) - quite disappointed at the "tribute". Labour Day holiday so families are out enjoying the beautiful weather. Walked along the lake etc
After CP, went for a gawk along Fifth Avenue.
Walked back to hotel. Then early night as coach tour was departing early the next morning. My friend joined me for the coach tour that day.
Day 3 - After coach tour ended back in NY. Staying at Travel Inn on 42 nd Street now. Bought hop-on-hop off day pass for water taxi (USD26.00) Boarded at Pier 84 (?) at around 9.30 am Got off at Battery Point. Hopped on to ferry to Liberty Island and Ellis Island (USD17.00). Hopped on after the inevitable queue, that is.
Got off at Liberty Island and strolled around the base of the Statue taking 100s of photos. The Statue was closed for renovations - which was fortunate or we might have returned with even more photos of the SOL, Manhattan, the water etc. Had lunch at the cafe on the Island and was pleasantly surprised at how good value this was. Fisherman's basket (4 prawns/shrimps, 2 fish, 6 seafood balls and a whole heap of onion rings - could have opted for chips) all for USD14.00 Easily cost AUD18 - 20 here. Enjoyed visiting the grand old lady even if she was not available for an inside look.
Off to Ellis Island after this. Lots of interesting displays - particularly liked the one on the 3rd floor with the focus on individual migrant families. Also the film which was enlightening. We dont learn much about the history of the US over here.
Took ferry back to Battery Point, then the water taxi to Seaport. Got off and bought tickets at the TKTS booth for Evita that night. Half price at USD73.00 each - good seats quite close to stage and orchestra but not right on top.
Enjoyed the rest of the cruise back to our departure point at Pier 84. Returned to hotel to freshen up. Then off to the Marquis Theatre for Evita at 7.30 pm. Thoroughly enjoyed the show; love the music. Go to quite a few shows back in Oz; got quick a kick to be able to say I'd been to a Broadway show!
On the way to the show, stopped by at a Yankees store on 42nd Street and got a couple of tickets for the baseball game the next night (Tuesday 18 Sep). NY Yankees playing the Toronto Blue Jays.
Day 4 - Tuesday was the first overcast day in NY. The wind was blowing a gale and it began to drizzle. Armed with our rain ponchos, we took the subway to Chelsea Markets. My friend hadnt been and wanted to check it out. I hadnt been able to shop on the food walking tour so was happy to repeat the experience.
Best thing about the CM is the Lobster Place - seafood market that sells fresh and cooked seafood, loike lobsters, oysters, prawns, sushi, lobster bisque, range of chowders. I had the lobster bisque and a whole lobster (the small size was sufficient for me). The lobster was the most succent, sweet tasting lobby I've had for a while. I also enjoy our Tasmanian and WA lobsters back home but btis one was deeelicious. Lobster cost USD18.00. It's sold by weight.
After CM, it was a visit to the meat-packing district and High Line again, for my friend's sake. But less interesting for her cause I'm no NY tour guide!
Back to Times Square and Broadway for more shopping. My friend returned to our hotel to rest up for the game that night.
When I gotr back to our room around 5.00 pm, she said, "there's a tornado warning out for NY tonight!" Our conceirge found out that the game had been postponed. We trooped off to the store to find out what was happening and were told to go to the stadium to find out. So off we went on the subway to the Stadium. By now it's a gale out there. We were told at the stadium that we could use our tickets for the rescheduled double header at 1.00 pm the next day or any other game for the season. We opted for the 1.00 pm game seeing as how we'd be flying out on Thursday, 29 Sep
Day 5 - We had pre-booked a visit to the 9/11 Memorial for 10.00 am. Took subway there. Wandered around in awe at the number of names etched into the walls surrounding the pools. A very sobering moment. Very emotional too.
After the Memorial, it was on to the game. Fortunately my friend understood enough about the game for us to enjoy the play as well as the atmosphere. Just like an AFL or NRL game here - if you're playing on home ground, the fans are on your side!
The game was over by 4.00 pm. Yankees defeated Blue Jays 4-2. We took the subway to the Rockerfeller Centre. Went to the top of the Roc at 5.10 pm and spent over an hour there. I feel it is better to do the TOR after a few days in NY, then you are better able to identify key landmarks and appreciate the views and skyline more.
After TOR it was off to Chinatown for a roast duck dinner at one of the Chinese restaurants. And a quick visit to Little Italy for the festival of San Genarro. Lots of stalls and lights up for the festival.
We ate a lot at Maccas (cheap, convenient, fast, could use their toilets - and I like their chicken wraps with honey mustard!) and had quite a few take-away salad dinners (felt we needed the greens) that we bought at supermarkets during those few days in NY. Partly because we had eaten quite a few heavy and rich meals on our coach tour. Partly because we packed quite a bit in and didnt feel we could spare the time. If I could have, I'd like to have fitted in a pre-fixed lunch at Del Poste (recommended by the food tour guide) and dinner at Marimotos. But that's for next time
In summary, we had a ball! Thoroughly enjoyed NY city. Will try to return. Thank you all for helping out with pre-visit info.