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Itinerary feedback please?

Preston, Lancs
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Itinerary feedback please?

Hi All

We are visiting NYC 18 May for 5 nights and now that the festive season is out of the way I am picking my itinerary planning back up so would like any insights/suggestions please! Sorry for the post length!

Just some info about us and what we want to get out of this trip:

We are a couple in our early 30s, pretty active, want to walk most places and see as much as possible on the way but not adverse to using the subway.

We have two children who are not coming with us but we will be wanting to get souvenirs for.

We are not fussy eaters (although we don't do very spicy food), no special dietary requirements and would like to sample some traditional NY dishes. We also both have a sweet tooth!

We are not big drinkers/clubbers but we like live music and a good atmosphere in bars/pubs.

We are very interested in history/culture, my husband is into politics and current affairs and I am a bit of a sci-fi/fantasy geek but I also love shopping, not designer stuff particularly, and I love shoes and make up!

It is unlikely we would be able to come back to NYC anytime soon so want to fit quite a lot in but I don't want to pack our itnerary so tightly that we can't get sidetracked if we come across something else, or just want to sit and chill.

Sunday 18 May - Arrive EWR from UK 12.30pm. Baggage reclaim and customs, then AirTrain to Penn Station, check in Hotel Metro 45 W35th St near ESB approx 3pm? Hotel includes breakfast but we will be wanting to try other places. Grand Central station for a look round and something to eat - are there any recommendations there? Possibly ESB, is it worth the express tickets on a Sunday evening?

Monday 19 May - Lower Manhattan: Wall St, Trinity church, 9/11 memorial - should we go first thing? Will the museum be open by then? Water taxi (from Battery Park?) for SOL views, not bothered about visiting the island itself. Can you get off at Brooklyn? Would like somewhere good for lunch on Brooklyn side then to walk back over the bridge towards Manhattan. Any suggestions for attractions in Brooklyn? Is it worth going to Century 21? I love shopping but I don't want to spend too much time trawling stores. After bridge walk, St Paul's chapel and Woolworth building, is the African burial Ground worth a look? Would dinner in Chinatown be feasible from there - I love dumplings so any recommendations?

Tuesday 20 May - We have tickets for the Intrepid Museum so early tour here, where for Breakfast? Head towards Chelsea to Walk the High line, with somewhere for lunch along the way, perhaps at Chelsea Market? Head back towards to hotel via Flatiron building and Madison Sq Park, unless this is impractical? General looking round as we walk, anything else in this area? Perhaps a mooch round Macy's/Manhattan Mall. Dinner - steak or pizza maybe, would like a proper NY taste of both of those! Freshen up at hotel/shopping drop, perhaps head to Times Sq as I've been told it's better in the evening. Any recommendations for live music?

Wednesday 21 May - AMNH and FAO Schwarz. Breakfast/Lunch ideas - is shake shack good diner style food? Walk through Central Park. We have booked tickets for the 7pm showing of Wicked which I am MEGA excited about! Is it better to eat before or after?

Thursday 22 May - TOTR and Rockerfeller Centre, Lego Store, Tour of RCMH? My hubs works in media and tv - is it worth doing NBC tour? Paley Center for Media? Bit more shopping, where is DSW, I have heard this is a good place for bargains? Maybe do something we have come across while we were there. This is kind of a more open day. Dinner in Hell's kitchen and a jazz club maybe - recommendations?

Friday 23 May - Last day :( Flight is at 7pm and I have been advised to allow extra time getting to airport due to Memorial Day weekend so when would we need to get the AirTrain back to EWR? With this in mind don't want to venture too far - any glaring must-sees I have missed? I can switch days around so we are doing the further away stuff earlier on.

TIA

Steph

Dallas, Texas...
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1. Re: Itinerary feedback please?

A few random comments:

- Shake Shack is a burger joint. Very popular, but not a diner.

- I would eat before Wicked, at a place that takes reservations. You mentioned wanting steak. Capital Grill in the Time Life Building has a good pre-theater prix fixe menu for $39. Includes two steak options, salmon and usually something else as entree choices. Good deal and very good food. Ask for the pre-theater menu if you want that deal.

- After the show, you might want to go to Junior's for cheesecake.

Syracuse, New York
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2. Re: Itinerary feedback please?

A few museums for the history buff.

New York Historical Society

Museum of the City of New York

Tenement Museum

Rockville, Maryland
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3. Re: Itinerary feedback please?

Some sweet NY dishes (for starters) Cheesecake, sfogliatella, rugula, egg cream, iconic frozen chocolate drink-dessert ("chocolate bomb", Serendipity III), ice cream (Chinese Ice Cream Factory), chipped ice with syrup (on the street)

timeout.com/newyork/food-drink/best-desserts…

Astoria, New York
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4. Re: Itinerary feedback please?

The water taxi http://www.nywatertaxi.com/piers has a stop quite near the Intrepid http://www.intrepidmuseum.org/ So you may want to switch up some of your Monday/Tuesday activities and take the water taxi, maybe to DUMBO?, and then begin your Brooklyn/Downtown wander.

Preston, Lancs
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5. Re: Itinerary feedback please?

Ok great, thanks so far. I have just realised Ellis Island is now open again after reading a Trip report so I would like to put that in as it is somewhere both of us fancy so switching some stuff round is fine.

Food wise, I am expecting to put a few pounds of cheesecake on while I am there! I have been told to try the Stardust Diner?? and the Tick Tock diner?? Any thoughts on these as I haven't come across them in other posts...

Astoria, New York
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6. Re: Itinerary feedback please?

Ellen's Stardust Diner is a tourist place that you will either love or hate. http://www.ellensstardustdiner.com/ No locals will ever admit eating there.

SOL / Ellis Island tickets for May are not on sale yet, but should be available soon. If you want to go to the crown, book as soon as possible as access is limited and they often sell out. You may have to plan a day around ticket availability. Official ticket seller here: http://www.statuecruises.com/

If it were me I'd consider the following days

A) Intrepid, Water Taxi to Brooklyn (fun scenic ride and eliminates the need to schlep back to a subway from the piers), wander DUMBO and possibly Brooklyn Heights and the walk the Brooklyn Bridge back to Manhattan and either have a wander around as you outlined above or hop a train uptown. (BB walking directions link at upper right)

B) SOL Ellis Island early as possible. Back to Manhattan and catch anything downtown you didn't see on the BB day OR then walk or jump on a train uptown and wander through Soho, the West Village, Chelsea and High Line, etc

Edited: 16 January 2014, 18:10
New York City
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7. Re: Itinerary feedback please?

You seem to have done quite a lot of research and prepared a very thorough itinerary! I did the same for our 2 week trip to England last year, and it really worked out well and allowed us to see a lot.

That being said, in hindsight, I also realized that you have to allow for a few unknowns...so be prepared to be flexible each day as some things on your list will have to be edited. As a New Yorker, I have to warn you that Memorial Day weekend is predictably crowded but the weather is unpredictable (it may be cool and rainy or could be incredibly hot and humid). As fit as you may be, if you are not used to walking on City streets, be prepared to make stops along the way to rest your feet, hydrate...find a restroom, etc.

Your list is too detailed to comment on every thing, but I have a few comments for each day:

5/18: Grand Central is worth a visit in itself and has a food court, restaurants, coffee shops, as well as other retail shopping. And while it may not be the "best" cheesecake in NYC, but there is a sit down and take out Junior's that has cheesecake. I've lived in NYC for 20 years and shown the sights to many a visitor, and I prefer Top of the Rock to the ESB. You get a great, unobstructed view of the ESB as well as Central Park and the rest of the City.

5/19: You should get advanced tickets to the 9/11 Memorial...I've had many visitors that were turned away because they were overbooked. Also, there is airport-like security to get in, so be mindful of what you are carrying that day. Don't know anything about Water Taxi...have you considered the totally free Staten Island Ferry? You see the Statue of Liberty...a view of Manhattan from the Harbor...and it's free! If you take the Water Taxi, realize that Brooklyn is a huge Borough...you need to research where it drops you. DUMBO? Brooklyn Heights? And then find a place to eat based on that. Both are completely different, but interesting neighborhoods (google them).

5/20: The Intrepid is on the Hudson...but getting there from your hotel...it's kind of a vast no man's land. Just tall residential towers and commercial buildings. I would eat around your hotel before you go there. The Intrepid is really interesting...been there a few times. Afterwards, if the weather is nice, you can stroll 20 blocks along the Hudson on a beautiful foot path...or take a taxi down to 14th Street and get on the High Line there. This is a day full of of walking, mind you. Times Square at night, for sure.

5/21: You planed this day well. All of these things are in the same spot. I might be attacked by others for saying this, but the Shake Shack is totally overrated. It's just a hamburger and soggy fries (chips). Right across from FAO Schwartz & the Apple Store is the Plaza Hotel. They have a Food Court in the Cellar with lots of different options. Some good, some bad...but it's worth a visit. I would pick a Lobster Roll at Luke's (in the Food Court) any day over a burger at Shake Shack. When you go to Central Park (and you must) please venture INTO the park. Go into the park at 59th & 5th Ave, pass by the Zoo (kids are at home in UK), and venture up to the "Poets Alley" and then up the the Bethesda Fountain...and then maybe a little west over to the Lake and the Bow Bridge. Central Park is my favorite place in NYC.

5/22: You lost me on this day....besides seeing Rockefeller Center, I just don't think any of those things are worthy of your time. You didn't mention St. Patrick's Cathedral...or any museums? You don't want to check out the Metropolitan Museum for a few hours? You mentioned being into history and culture! You will not be disappointed. Hell's Kitchen has morphed into several different neighborhoods, but 9th Avenue has a lot of great, interesting restaurants. But there are tons of little restaurants with Jazz tucked into different neighborhoods...like Jule's in the East Village...right up the street from my apartment. French bistro with Jazz nightly. Very casual...and they have steak frites (you mentioned wanting to try a steak).

5/23: Last days are always hard. You want to make sure you didn't miss anything, but you are anxious about travel. Yes, traffic will get really bad after about 3PM (Fridays are always bad plus the holiday weekend). Maybe you should save this morning to have breakfast, then shop at Macy's...it's right around the corner...and 34th Street has a ton of big flagship retail stores (H&M, Old Navy, DSW, etc.). And then head to Newark.

Hope this helps. Feel free to ask more questions. Have a great trip!

Preston, Lancs
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8. Re: Itinerary feedback please?

Thank you all so far that is great, just the sort of stuff I wanted. I will definitely take the suggestions on board and the met museum a great shout for the Thursday. I think it's easy to become a bit overwhelmed by all the possibilities! I am going to do a bit more shuffling I think and I looked up the memorial tickets - there are currently quite a lot of available time slots but I was worried if we missed our slot we would be gutted. Would I be better picking one for about 2pm if we were to do Ellis Island in the morning?

New York City
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9. Re: Itinerary feedback please?

If I were planning your day for 5/19, I would get the first tickets to the 9/11 Memorial and start the day there. Trinity Church and Century 21 are literally across the street, and Wall Street and the Woolworth Building are just a few blocks over. Also, from the 9/11 Memorial, you can walk South down to Battery Park to go to Ellis Island. Lower Manhattan (in particular) is very narrow, and you can walk from the East River sights to the West Side fairly easily. The City has done a major re-haul of the waterfront walks and parks along both Rivers and it's quite nice to walk or rent a bicycle (we have the Citibike loan system if you want to check that out, or there are private bike rental places in Battery Park).

Preston, Lancs
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10. Re: Itinerary feedback please?

Ok, so taking on board some of the comments above:

18 May: grand Central, NY Public Library, Chrysler building, possibly ESB for evening views?

19 May: 9/11 Memorial, Ellis Island Museum, SOL views, Charging Bull, Wall St, Stock Exchange, Trinity Church, Century 21, St Paul's Chapel, Woolworth Building, Chinatown.

Recommendations for lunch in Lower Manhattan and a good Chinese restaurant (good dumplings!) for dinner?

20 May: Early tour at Intrepid Museum, Water taxi to Brooklyn Bridge Park, lunch at Grimaldi's Pizzeria? Anything else near here we should check out before walking across Brooklyn Bridge? Lower East Side Tenement Museum.

Suggestions for anything else in this area and dinner later on? Perhaps make our way back up via Union Sq. Park, DSW and Flatiron building?

21 May: Central Park, AMNH, FAO Schwarz, Tiffany's, pre show dinner, Wicked. Any other recommendations for Prix Fixe menus I can check out along with Capital Grill? Juniors for cheesecake.

22 May: Metropoiltan Museum, TOTR, Rockerfeller Center, St Patrick's Cathedral, Lego Store and American Girl for my kids. Ellens Stardust Diner for dinner (I'm intrigued!).

23 May: Walk the High Line. Lunch at Chelsea Market somewhere? Macy's and airport for flight home.

Does this sound better? Any further thoughts?