Author Topic: New York with limited time  (Read 601 times)

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mime

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New York with limited time
« on: July 14, 2014, 01:21:30 PM »
I'm going to New York on business in a few weeks and extending my trip for a day or two (it was all I could do since I have other commitments back home). The free time in my week will look like this:

Sunday: 3 hours free during late afternoon
Monday: from dinner time (5-ish) and beyond
Tuesday: from dinner time (5-ish) and beyond; DH and DS(9) will arrive mid-day to join me
Wednesday: free all day, with DH&DS
Thursday: free roughly 8-10 AM before heading to the airport, with DH&DS

A few other things to know:
I'll be staying at the Mariott Marquis Times Square, which looks very central to a lot of great locations.
I've only been to NYC once before as a performer, and only got van-tour of the sights between gigs, so I haven't really seen anything.
We'll be seeing the Statue of Liberty on Wednesday.
I'll be 6months pregnant. While I walk at a pretty good clip, I won't really want to do an 8-mile day. 

So, my questions are:
What are the must-see things for such a quick visit?
What do I make sure to do with my son rather than by myself?
We'll want to go to an observation deck; is Rockerfeller Center a good choice since we can walk there from the hotel, or should we try to go somewhere else?
How much time do I allow for the Statue of Liberty if we already have eTickets and nobody's climbing to the crown?
What are good options for dinner with a 9-year old?
Any other advice?

That was more questions than I thought I had-- I'll appreciate any insights!

TootsNYC

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Re: New York with limited time
« Reply #1 on: July 14, 2014, 01:53:33 PM »
The must-see list is something only you can develop.

From your reading, TV watching, etc., what are the three things that say "NYC" to you (but not necessarily to other people)? For my mom, that was the Plaza Hotel.

Sunday:  look to see what's interesting around you, where you are that day.
     The  Michelin Green Guide has really nice "walks" created to take you around different neighborhoods. That might help here.

Monday: If the weather's nice, get up to Central Park while it's still light, and see just a little bit of it.
    Then maybe wander down through Midtown, past Tiffany and Rockefeller Center.

Tuesday: Do you want to see a show? If money's tight, then DH and DS could get on line at the TKTS booth when they get into town.


Wednesday: The Statue of Liberty is a half-day event, easily. If your tickets aren't timed, then get everybody up and out ASAP, and it'll be shorter, bcs you'll beat the crowd. (and so smart to buy tickets in advance; it'll make a huge time difference; it did for us! We walked in the gate and onto the boat, no waiting at all bcs it was early in the day)

So you really have a half day and an evening w/ DS, really.

The observation deck: I like to go to the observation deck at twilight (which is kind of late, since it's summer). Because I like to see the city as it moves from daylight (when you can see buildings) to night (when the streetlights make it clear how the city is laid out, etc.)
     The Empire State can be a huge line (three lines, really), even if you -do- buy tickets in advance. So I vote for Rockefeller Center, just because hopefully the lines won't be as bad. But I wouldn't worry about walking there from the hotel--I think you should go straight to the Statue from the hotel, first thing, ASAP.
   Or, it might be worth it (though pricey, esp. x3!) to buy the Express Ticket that means you go up in 20 minutes. It will save you major time on a day when you have very little. And I think it is a much better view.
   


Take DS through Times Square after dark, even if it is a bit past his bedtime. Bring a book, so he can read it.

Thursday: Maybe this is the day you go over to Grand Central Station and watch rush hour from one of the upper levels, before you leave. With the crowds (bcs it'll be rush hour on the way over), that's about all you'll fit in, I bet. Walk back (or over) via the library on 42nd Street, and see the library lions. Then head to the airport from the hotel (or, take your luggage with you, and leave from Grand Central).

I don't know what your 9yo will eat, but hot dogs from a street vendor would be a good (and fast) thing to eat at least one night. I never worry about eating food from any of the carts.  Many restaurants have burgers (and they all post their menu outside).

cicero

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Re: New York with limited time
« Reply #2 on: July 16, 2014, 03:44:55 AM »
what do you *like* to do? what are the things you would like your son to see? do you like to people watch, stroll thru "ethnic" neighborhoods, sample ethnic foods? do you like to visit museums (art? archaeology? "how people used to live"?)? music?
does DS have any hobbies - there are some great stores in NYC.

My son really enjoyed the visit to ellis island (when he was about 10 or 11) - but he is a museum rat like his mom so i don't know what your kid would like. If i had more time at the time, i would've taken him to the Met and museum of natural history.

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Bethalize

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Re: New York with limited time
« Reply #3 on: July 16, 2014, 10:32:53 AM »
Here's what I would do (but of course you're not me)

A trip to MOMA. See the really famous stuff like Van Gogh's Starry Starry Night. It will blow your socks off. You just don't get why he's a genius from photographs.

A helicopter ride. Expensive, but we did three days' worth of sight seeing in fifteen minutes. We didn't go to the Statue of Liberty but we flew around it. Good enough for me!

Dinner in Chinatown and dessert in Little Italy.

Those were my highlights. I thought the Empire State building was way too long for what it was, I much preferred going up The Rock.

LadyL

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Re: New York with limited time
« Reply #4 on: July 16, 2014, 12:33:07 PM »
The must-see list is something only you can develop.

From your reading, TV watching, etc., what are the three things that say "NYC" to you (but not necessarily to other people)? For my mom, that was the Plaza Hotel.

POD this advice, and I'll also add: do things that you can ONLY do in NYC. Whether that's appreciating art deco skyscrapers, or visiting a specialty store that carries a type of food/clothing/craft material/etc. you can't buy in person ANYWHERE else. Eat a cuisine (or do a food tour of different kinds of food) that you don't have back home. Go see vintage subway cars at the Transit Museum. If you limit yourself to uniquely NY experiences your memories will be more distinctive.

saki

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Re: New York with limited time
« Reply #5 on: August 01, 2014, 12:24:52 PM »
I think it depends a lot on where you live and what you usually have access to.  I live in London so, when I've visited New York (a few times for family reasons), I have tended to skip the big museums because, although I love art museums, I have easy (and free!) access to them in London and often travel to other European cities so I don't feel like it's a high priority for my time in NYC.  Ditto theatre/Broadway, though you may feel differently. 

Things that I'd recommend that haven't been mentioned yet - the Cloisters (a little way out of the city, some nice medieval/renaissance art and sculpture which is curated really well and in a lovely setting), the guided tour of the United Nations and the museum at Ellis Island (which I think is more interesting than the Statue of Liberty - though it is quite depressing to see the little scraps of home that immigrants clung to, the museum takes quite a gung ho "they came to Freedom and Liberty in the USA, hurrah for them!" kind of tone but the artefacts they have on display kind of show the extent to which most immigrants are fleeing poverty and the first generation massively missed their homelands.)  I also second the suggestion that you think about any hobbies/interests you/your family have and check out specialist shops - I usually end up buying loads of second hand books in NYC when I'm there because there are some really good second hand book shops.

Kaypeep

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Re: New York with limited time
« Reply #6 on: August 01, 2014, 12:44:17 PM »
I think you should try to go to Coney Island on Wednesday afternoon.  You can go on a few rides, get some hot dogs at Nathans, even walk on the beach and put your feet in the water if it's warm.  Then take the train back to Times Square.  For dinner, you are not far from Ninth Avenue.  There are literally tons of restaurants over there (reasonably priced!) on every block between 42nd Street and 57th street.  You should just walk around until you find what looks good to you and your family.

Snooks

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Re: New York with limited time
« Reply #7 on: August 16, 2014, 05:57:30 AM »
We just got back from 3 days in New York hitting tourist things. The queue for the Empire State was HUGE even with advance purchase tickets. We went around 9pm mid week and it took us an hour to get up there. When we got up there it was so crowded we probably stayed for less than 30 mins. Top of the Rock was much more spacious and civilised with timed tickets and under 10 minutes queuing.

Ellis Island got hit by Hurricane Sandy quite badly so most of the *stuff* isn't there which I suspect would make it less engaging for your son.

We walked through Central Park from about the midway point down to Columbus Circle, in my opinion the northern quieter parts are nicest.

If your son has a Nintendo take him to the Nintendo store which is just off Rockefeller Plaza, we loved it.

NestHolder

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Re: New York with limited time
« Reply #8 on: August 16, 2014, 06:04:46 AM »
The last time I was in NYC, I went on one of the bus tours around Manhattan, and found it very interesting - and it made me revise my mental map of the geography of the place, as well as telling me a wide range of snippets of historical interest pertaining to the different areas.  I think they take a couple of hours or so, so you could make that the first thing you do.  Bonus fact - no walking required!

greencat

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Re: New York with limited time
« Reply #9 on: August 16, 2014, 07:00:36 AM »
I don't know if my experience will be much help because I went by myself (I met some friends up there) as a young adult, but here goes:

I took the ferry ride to Staten Island on a whim when I was there.  I have no idea why I did that but it was interesting and I got some pretty pictures. 

I went to the Wax Museum.  It was whimsical.

I went to CBGB and caught a show, but I'm afraid you won't be able to do that without a blue box and a mad man in a bow tie.

I spent a day in Chinatown with some friends.  There was a really cool parade, with the dancing dragon!  I have no idea what it was for, as I can't find a holiday celebration that matches up with my travel dates.  We did the long walk thing and went by Trinity Church and the World Trade Center site, which was incredibly depressing.  I'd really like to find my skyscraper pictures from that morning - it was foggy in just the right way and the skyscrapers emerging from the fog seemed to be floating. 

I spent most of my trip in the Metropolitan Museum of Art.

My second visit was much shorter.  Daytime in the Met again, then at night I ended up having to retrieve my car from where I'd parked it in New Jersey, and then I accidentally drove through Times Square at night.  I still have nightmares about the weirdness of it - I had to dodge an open manhole that was steaming so much I couldn't see through the steam, a horsebuggy, and some workers with a jackhammer.  It was pretty foggy that evening too!

cicero

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Re: New York with limited time
« Reply #10 on: August 16, 2014, 07:08:59 AM »
I don't know if my experience will be much help because I went by myself (I met some friends up there) as a young adult, but here goes:

I took the ferry ride to Staten Island on a whim when I was there.  I have no idea why I did that but it was interesting and I got some pretty pictures. 

I did that, too! I had spent a few days walking my tootsies off, I had walked for hours and hours and when I got there I saw that a boat was about to leave, it's free, and it takes about half an hour each way so off I went. It was great!

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MorgnsGrl

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Re: New York with limited time
« Reply #11 on: August 16, 2014, 09:42:38 AM »
If your son likes Mario, video games, etc, he might like the Nintendo Store. They have a mini (very mini) museum of older Nintendo items and it's a fun place for a kid to get a souvenir of their visit to the city.

mime

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Re: New York with limited time
« Reply #12 on: August 18, 2014, 11:01:01 AM »
Wow-- thanks for all the suggestions. I've been thinking about this, I thought about attractions and other places I've travelled, to figure out where I'm 'lacking', and what I can only do in New York. I came down to this:

Statue of Liberty.
MOMA-- that was on my short list of "I don't want to miss it".
Top of the Rock-- I can get online tickets for an mid-evening time.
Nintendo store-- DS will like that! DH was on the microchip develop/design team for the PS3 and XBOX, so he'll like it too.
At DS's request, we're also going to either the Wax Museum or M&M world.  :D   
TALAS (for bookbinding supplies)-- I order so much from them online so it will be fun to actually visit the shop.

I love that there are so many options for each of us.

I think that still leaves some blocks of time to add other things- Central Park, maybe?

Gyros for supper one night.
Either some Japanese food or something Russian or similar. I may come up with a few ideas but see what pans out with other colleagues. An old adventurous-foodie-coworker will be at the same conference and I want to keep my options open in case I can join him for dinner.  :)

The helicopter ride is a great idea and I'd probably do it if it weren't for a bad helicopter-incident in my past...  :-\

So, what we can't fit in:
Coney Island -- I felt like I couldn't carve out a big enough block of time for it)
Stock Exchange -- DH and DS don't care, but I'd love to take the tour
Broadway show -- I don't feel too bad about it though because DH and DS have no interest in it, and my mom and I fly to Chicago for a day every year and we often see something at the Oriental Theater. I'm happy to keep my live theater experiences over there with her.  ;)

But so many museums! I could spend two weeks going to all kinds of specialty museums: Sony Technology Lab, Math Museum, American Finance Museum, Fire & Police Museums, Micro Museum, Biblical Art, Sea Air and Space, Science Museum, Museum of the Moving Image, Design Museum, I think I heard that a Tesla Museum is in the works... there's even a Scrabble Museum!  :o
Oh, well, now I have some ideas for next time.