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First Timers Draft Itinerary for October Trip

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First Timers Draft Itinerary for October Trip

My husband and I will be travelling to New York for the first time for 7 nights from October 18-25. Based on the extremely helpful trip reports, itineraries and questions and answers posted on this forum I've put together a draft itinerary and I'd love some feedback. Our hotel is on Broadway and W 54 Street.

The main goals of this trip are to get a taste of New York by walking through various neighborhoods, doing a lot of shopping (not high end) and eating some great casual food. I have already cut a number of things from the itinerary but I'm worried that I may still have too many things planned. I was hoping to make it to the Lower East Side and Economy Candy but couldn't find a good time to plan for it. If you see anywhere that it might fit please let me know.

Any feedback you could provide on how I've got things grouped and whether you think we've got too much or too little on any given day would be great. I've tried to allow for enough time in each neighbourhood for shopping, exploring and finding unexpected things.

Saturday – Flight arrives at 5:00 pm. Check into hotel, go for dinner near hotel and check out Times Square.

Sunday – Start at 8:00 am with a walk around Columbia University, Church of St John the Divine, Riverside Park & Rotunda at 79 St Boat Basin, walk through Upper West Side, American Museum of Natural History, Strawberry Fields. Back to hotel to rest up a bit around 4:00 then off to dinner and maybe back to Times Square or to the Village Underground or a comedy show – not sure which yet.

**Is it worth it for a first time visitor to visit Columbia University (apparently there are really nice buildings on campus) and Riverside Park? Or is it time that could be better spent elsewhere?

Monday – Start at 8:30 am with the 9/11 Memorial (not the museum), walk around the financial district including Wall Street, Charging Bull, Sphere, Castle Clinton & Stone Street. Subway over to Grand Army Plaza in Brooklyn and walk through Park Slope (5 & 7 Aves). Subway back to Financial District, stop at Century 21 then take subway back to the hotel, arriving around 2:00 or 3:00 and rest up a bit. Walk down to Rockefeller Center stopping at various stores along the way. Eat some dinner, explore Rockefeller Center and do TOTR (hopefully do TOTR before it’s dark or at sunset).

***Not sure if we will have more time to do something else after this or not and if so, don’t know what good options would be – any ideas?

Tuesday – Start at 9:00 am with a walk through Tribeca then take the subway to the Union Square area for some shopping and a walk up through Union Square Park and Madison Square Park. Take the subway back to hotel to drop off shopping bags, arriving around 2:00 or 3:00. Then take subway down to Bryant Park, New York Public Library, Morgan Library & Museum, various stores including Macy’s & JC Penney. Have some dinner in the area and head back to the hotel.

***Planning to arrive back at the hotel around 8:00 or 9:00 pm. Would like to have an option for something to do at this time but not sure what our options would be. We aren't interested in going to clubs or partying, but a low key casual lounge or some other activity might be good. Does anyone have any suggestions?

Wednesday – Start at 8:00 am by taking the subway to Grand Central Terminal. Explore a bit then take the Subway to the Upper East Side. Go to the Met Museum, walk through Central Park including the Turtle Pond, Belvedere Castle, The Lakehouse (maybe a boat rental), Conservatory Water (rent remote control boats) & Bethesda Terrace. Walk through the Upper East Side on 5 Ave & Park Ave ending at The Plaza Hotel. Visit the Apple Store, FAO Schwarz & Dylan’s Candy Bar. Possibly do the Roosevelt Island Tram if we aren’t too tired. Take the subway back to the hotel, go for dinner and go to a Broadway show. Maybe head back over to Times Square after the show.

Thursday – 8:00 am start by taking subway to Penn Station, walk to the Highline and walk it from north to south. Stop in at the Chelsea Market then take subway a few stops south to the West Village. Walk all through the West Village stopping at various stores along the way. Also stop at the 4th Street Courts and Washington Square Park. Take the subway back to the hotel for a short rest around 1:30 or 2:00. Walk to Central Park and explore a bit (30 mins) in the southwest corner ending at Columbus Circle/Time Warner Center. Go for dinner, take in a Broadway show and then go up the Empire State Building after the show.

Friday – 9:00 am start by taking the subway to the Court Street Station in Brooklyn. Walk through Brooklyn Heights & DUMBO stopping at stores and points of interest along the way. Walk back over the Brooklyn Bridge and take the subway to SoHo. Walk down most streets between Sullivan St and Crosby Street stopping at many stores along the way. Take the subway a short distance up to the East Village and walk through the neighbourhood stopping at a few stores along the way. Take the subway back to the hotel for a bit of a rest arriving around 6:00 or 7:00. Dinner, comedy show and another visit to Times Square if we haven't had our fill of TS by now.

***Based on some trip reports that I've read I’m wondering if it would be a better idea to rearrange the itinerary a bit to time walking back over the Brooklyn Bridge at sunset instead of in the morning. Would it be a lot better to do at sunset?

Saturday – This is departure day and we will use it to visit any stores or areas that we missed during the week. If we have time we’ll spend a bit of time exploring the southeast corner of Central Park. Flight leaves JFK airport at 6:00 pm so we’ll catch a cab around 2:30 or 3:00.

Thank you for any feedback you can provide on this itinerary. I've had a bit of a hard time figuring out what to do at night. We want to see two broadway shows, stand up comedy, improv comedy, Times Square and ESB at night but other than that I'm not sure what else to do in NY at night. We aren't into clubs or partying and are pretty casual people.

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1. Re: First Timers Draft Itinerary for October Trip

Good job with your itinerary! It's pretty ambitious, but nothing stands out as impossible and it seems flexible enough to go with the flow.

Tuesday: Grand Central would fit in with this day better than on Weds.

You obviously like to walk :-) There are some times when you are planning to take the subway for a distance that would be a very pleasant walk.

From the Highline to West Village is a nice walk through Meatpacking. I also wouldn't rush back to midtown in order to fit in another short visit to Central Park. You can play that by ear.

I would probably walk from your hotel to Bryant Park rather than take the subway.

Your days are so full and active, you may find that you opt for a late-ish dinner with drinks, then are ready to crash for the night rather than being concerned with having some sort of nighttime activity planned. You're also planning some early mornings!

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2. Re: First Timers Draft Itinerary for October Trip

Thank you so much for the feedback! I've noted your suggestions and will tweak the itinerary a bit.

We aren't normally really big walkers, but there are tons of interesting stores that we want to see and they are spread out all over the place so the best way to see them all is to walk. I've also read about certain streets in different neighborhoods being great to walk down so we are trying to incorporate those into the plans as well.

I think you are probably right about the night time activities. I won't worry too much about planning them and we'll just see how we feel each day after walking so far.

Thanks again. This forum is so helpful. One of the best ones I've visited on TA!

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3. Re: First Timers Draft Itinerary for October Trip

Most of the day on Sunday is taken up with services at St. John the Divine, I'm not sure about touring it at that time (they say they are "open"), or are you planning on attending a service? Don't miss the children's area outside.

We enjoyed our student-led tour of Columbia (but I'm a college junkie), but you could do it on your own.

What's missing is Grant's Tomb in Riverside Park - that was a highlight of our day up in that area. And if you're a Seinfeld fan get a photo op outside the diner.

From Grant's Tomb we took the bus down to the 70's and walked over to Strawberry Fields.

This plus lunch took us all day, there is no way I would have tackled a major museum on the same day (AMNH). (we sat in Central Park and contemplated a museum - would have been the NY Historical Society - but our aching legs told us to go home, instead :(

Edited: 04 July 2014, 23:58
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4. Re: First Timers Draft Itinerary for October Trip

I hadn't thought about the fact that there will be services at St John the Divine on Sunday. Thank you for mentioning that. I'll change it to another day. Maybe I'll skip Columbia and add Grant's Tomb instead. The Grant's Tomb hours look quite strange though with one hour open then one hour closed throughout the day.

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5. Re: First Timers Draft Itinerary for October Trip

Do some research on what Broadway show you want to see. Some shows are sold out months in advance.

6. Re: First Timers Draft Itinerary for October Trip

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