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Old 08-05-2013, 05:53 PM   #1
DownhillGoat
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Icon36 NYC Travel Advice

Oddly enough, I couldn't find a thread on this so hopefully it's not a fata.

Going to NYC for the first time this fall. Just hoping to get some general tips/things to see & avoid. Staying in the Upper East Side, Manhattan. 4 full days total, with a bit of time on arrival and departure days.

Hitting the obvious places, MoMA, Statue of Liberty, Times Square, Central Park, Brooklyn Bridge, WTC site, and a few less obvious (Ward III, Villiage Vanguard). Going with some family who will want to do some shopping (outlet prices, not Saks 5th Ave prices).

Wondering if any CP'ers have some helpful info.

Thanks in advance.
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Old 08-05-2013, 05:57 PM   #2
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Sbarro and Papa Johns are a must eat.

Last edited by burn_this_city; 08-05-2013 at 06:02 PM.
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Old 08-05-2013, 06:07 PM   #3
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Sbarro and Papa Johns are a must eat.
As in the chains? Not sure if you're serious or if this is an inside CP joke I'm missing...
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Old 08-05-2013, 06:19 PM   #4
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I have some giant rundown on things to do somewhere (as I always get asked this by friends), but cant find it. Off the top of my head some random thoughts:

- Walk as much as you can. You'll run into things you never knew you wanted to see.
- Times Square is neato for the first time visitor, but its not really NY. It's a great place to hang out with other tourists. See it once and never go back.
- If you or your family want to go outlet shopping, the Tanger Outlets in LI are great. Saks Off 5th is my staple. Lots of visitors like Century 21, but its busy as balls so go as soon as they open.
- NY is a great place to buy shoes. Not sure why.
- Rockefeller Center > Empire State Building when it comes to a lookout.
- Don't ever have pizza at a place that has "Famous" in the title. Grimaldis is the best....best pizza in North America (sorry, now that we've been to Naples, cant say the world). Great way to experience the Brooklyn Bridge too.
- If you only go to one museum, make it the Museum of Natural History or the MOMA. The Museum of Naturally history is my favorite for the dioramas alone.
- Go to Central Park, and rent a bike and do a circle around the park. Great way to see it (including the northern parts by Harlem).
- Have a beer at McSorleys. Oldest irish bar in NY.
- If you like tech, you gotta go to B&H.
- The High Line is a really nice walk. Get a beer at the Standard Hotel beerhall.
- Try Shake Shack burgers in Madison Square Park (across from Eataly, although they are all over the city now) is another great meal. Eataly is nice too.
- Dogmatic in Union Square is one of my favorites for a good quick cheap meal. Great setting too.
- 40 Carrots in the UES Bloomingdales is a really great hidden gem for amazing frozen yogurt.
- 99 Miles to Philly in the East Village - great cheesesteaks considerings its not Philly.
- The Water Taxi is a great way to get on the water and see the skyline for cheap.
- 6th Street between 2nd and 1st Aves has great cheap Indian food. Great lunch specials for cheap.
- Spriztenhaus in Greenpoint is a good beer hall type place. Across from the park. Radegast Beer Hall in Williamsburg is also nice.
- If you like watches, tons of great watch stores just south of Central Park.
- And personal request, for the love of god....don't walk backwards while taking a photo.


If you want anything specific, PM me.
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Old 08-05-2013, 06:36 PM   #5
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A few of my suggestions:
  • Skip the Statue of Liberty as it takes forever and isn't as cool as you think.
  • Take a tour of MSG. It's awesome and way more than just a hockey arena. I went to a Rangers game and it was really fun.
  • Take the NBC studio tour.
  • Don't be afraid of the Subway. It is by far the easiest way to get around and 7 day MTA passes are cheap.
  • If you don't mind spending the money, the helicopter and boat tours are worth it.
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Old 08-05-2013, 06:38 PM   #6
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Came into make Sbarro or Papa John's joke. Was already posted, but still leaving happy.
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Old 08-05-2013, 07:02 PM   #7
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I just came back from there 2 weeks ago and wish I made a thread like this before I went. Wish I took the subway more, it's easy and cheap... I stayed in the upper west side and from midtown it was about $15 cab ride, which isn't too bad if you're splitting it... but $2.50 subway is hard to beat. MoMA was my favorite stop. We took the greyline tour and we seen pretty much everything we wanted to see... I recommend the night tour if you do that, they go over to Brooklyn and you get a nice view of Manhattan. They also did a cruise around the statue of liberty and it was good, apparently if you want to goto Liberty Island you have to be there pretty early and they only goto 3pm... Also Empire State building is open to 2am so its best to go later.... I just skipped it and went to the top of the rock instead which has the best sitelines. The WTC 'tribute center' which is a small 'museum' near the memorial was disappointing and I would skip that, but the actual memorial was good. It's a great trip though, I had a great time and you will too!
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Old 08-05-2013, 07:15 PM   #8
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Yeah, definitely take the subway if you're not walking. You'll beat a cab most of the time (especially if you go crosstown). The NY subway is one of the best in the world. Cabbing is only worth it late at night.

But again, take it from someone who lived there for almost a decade... walk as much as you can. There's a lot of cool stuff in NY that you don't see from any tour bus. Walk a lot and I guarantee you will have a more authentic experience.
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Old 08-05-2013, 07:18 PM   #9
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We are going in a couple weeks and already have a bunch planned, but keep the suggestions coming.

We bought the New York Pass (http://www.newyorkpass.com/En/) which gets you for free into a ton of places. We plan on biking around Central Park, seeing some of the museums (MoMA, Natural History, The MET), and a few other things. It'll be nice to have so that if we're walking around and see something we want to do, there's a good chance it'll be part of this pass as it has 80+ attractions.

I've heard the Grimaldi's suggestion a few times so we'll definitely hit that up. Big line ups? What kind of pizza should we get?

Are there other things to check out in Brooklyn?
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Old 08-05-2013, 07:29 PM   #10
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Suggestions:
- Check out a Broadway show.
- Check out Amy Ruth's (Harlem Soul Food) Note: They only accept cash.
- Lombardi's pizza is quite good as well.
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Old 08-05-2013, 07:29 PM   #11
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I've heard the Grimaldi's suggestion a few times so we'll definitely hit that up. Big line ups? What kind of pizza should we get?
Try to go there a little earlier (ie 11am)...place gets crazy packed for lunch. Although even if there's a lineup, service is quick. I always go for a Margherita myself, because great pizza doesn't need to be loaded up with filler.

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Are there other things to check out in Brooklyn?
Brooklyn is great...but it's more of a "3rd visit" place once you've done Manhattan. It's more of a grittier, and in many ways more authentic, version of NYC, which may really appeal to you, or may scare you off. If you are of the hipster persuasion (or just want to see where it all comes form...because it all originates here!), check out Williamsburg/Greenpoint. If you want to see some of the most beautiful brownstones anywhere, visit Cobble Hill or Brooklyn Heights...it's straight out of the Cosby Show.

PS1 and the Brooklyn Museum are pretty great. The Brooklyn Museum is right besides Prospect Park. It was designed by the same guy (Frederick Olmstead) who did Central Park, so it's very nice. Except instead of manicured lawns, you'll see locals playing soccer and bbq-ing. If you're lucky, there's tons of concerts held here every summer as well. Personally, it's one of my favorite places in all of NY....but again, it's not as polished as Manhattan.
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Old 08-05-2013, 07:31 PM   #12
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- Lombardi's pizza is quite good as well.
Lombardis used to be the best pizza in town. They've gone downhill every since the new owners turned it into a tourist stop. Now they seem to be more interested in selling t-shirts and souvenirs than actually good pizza. It's not bad, but you can do better.

If you are by Lombardis though, try Rice to Riches across the street. Neato little rice pudding place.
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Old 08-05-2013, 08:44 PM   #13
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If you can swing it get Book Of Mormon tickets - probably the funniest thing I have ever seen - tickets must be bought in advance though
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Old 08-05-2013, 11:08 PM   #14
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If you can swing it get Book Of Mormon tickets - probably the funniest thing I have ever seen - tickets must be bought in advance though
2nd this. Had to get tickets from stubhub but still worth it. I only spent 4 days in NY and felt I could have spent a couple weeks and still not do everything I wanted. Just a phenomenal city.
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Old 08-05-2013, 11:20 PM   #15
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We really found Serendipity III on the Upper East Side interesting; very eclectic and tonnes of character. We enjoyed the frozen hot chocolate there.
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Old 08-05-2013, 11:23 PM   #16
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Just for back from NYC last week for the first time and loved it
I went to the following tourist attractions

MoMa, top of the rock, Empire State Building, circle line cruise and the American Museum of Natural History. We got the city pass its 106 for an adult.. http://www.citypass.com/new-york.


If you are going to the WTC Memorial you should reserve tickets in advanced and its free you can even reserve tickets the day of..few blocks around there is "Century 21" which is a crazy outlet that you can spend a few hours in, but a gongshow.

We got around by subway which is quite easy if you download hop stop..or google maps it tells you exact directions on which trains to take/transfer

I wish SNL and TV series were in season it be neat to see

Remember to bring comfy shoes for walking !
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Old 08-05-2013, 11:28 PM   #17
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A. Guy at work commented on how it is a very cash based city, ie most shops want cash instead of credit/debit.

To the op, sbarro's is a bit of a running joke around here in any thread that has to do with pizza, or where to eat.
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Old 08-06-2013, 12:57 PM   #18
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I'm going to do my best to throw down a bunch of tips here, so rather than doing one long post that maybe goes up tonight and leaves things out I'll just do a series of short ones on different things. If you guys have particular areas of interest throw it out there and I'll try to jump on that one next, otherwise I'll just sort of spitball. I love posts like this as they often remind me of places I need to get back to, or of places I need to visit. It's a huge city with a ton to offer so even fairly long term residents still have a ton to see.

I'll start with a couple of things that came up in the thread so far.

Transport

Take the subway or walk. Cabs can be good at nigh or if you're carrying things but generally the combination of walking and subway will be quicker and more interesting. If you want to travel in a bit more style and comfort without a huge price jump over a cab I'd recommend getting the uber app to call town cars and suv's. I won't go through a whole spiel on it here, but if you're caught in the rain or otherwise can't find a cab it can be a lifesaver.

Subway tips: There are 2 different ways to buy a metrocard, per ride or unlimited rides for a certain period of time. I imagine most tourists would be better off with unlimited cards, but that might vary based on your length of stay and your plans. It's something to consider but if you go wrong it's not going to be a huge blow to the budget. Generally the subway is pretty easy, it's fairly well signed and for its size runs pretty smoothly. The weekends can be tricky, many lines shut down or run differently over the weekend so try to look for any service disruption signs before you pay your fare, that way you can figure out a better route. Speaking of better routes, don't just hop on the closest subway and do the whole 'switch here then switch there' move unless you're completely over walking for the day. It's often much easier to walk a few blocks to hop on a more direct line than it is to negotiate switches that may involve going up and down stairs and through 1/2 mile long corridors.

General subway etiquette is to keep largely to yourself and avoid eye contact. That said, there are also mariachi bands, people doing flips down the aisles and all sorts of characters around, so if you're a normal person you'll be fine. One more thing, and this one is important, if a train is packed and there's a single car that is largely empty do not get on that car. It is empty for a reason, and that reason usually smells pretty horrible.

Walking tips: This may seem unnecessary, but walking in NYC can be a whole different beast. A good piece of advice is to think of a bust sidewalk as a highway, slower traffic should keep to the sides and let people in a hurry go past. Please don't meander along 3+ wide taking up the entire sidewalk and forcing people to maneuver around you. If you see someone moving along franticly let them by, they're probably an intern who has 2 minutes to get that coffee onto his boss's desk otherwise his entire life plan will go up in smoke.

If you're trying to take a picture across a sidewalk or other area where people are walking you should accept that people will walk in front of the camera, if we stopped for everyone trying to take a picture there are some places that would become impassable. That said, if you really want that shot just wait a few minutes and you'll probably find a break in the traffic.

Jaywalking is normal, you cross when you can, but don't go blindly crossing because the people around you did, that opening may have only been big enough for one guy to dash out and he was an idiot. Most streets are one way, but look both ways as bikes often ignore that fact. Some of those puddles just off the curb may be portals to another dimension, don't step in them as who knows where they end.

Overall if you're just semi aware of your surroundings you'll stay safe and won't annoy anyone, so it's a win-win. Don't be afraid to ask for help, NYers often come off as unapproachable but I love helping people find subway stations or other locations, and locals have to ask for advice all the time too.
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Old 08-06-2013, 01:04 PM   #19
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Going there next week. Staying at the Mariott in Times Square. What's the best stuff to do on a 3 day trip that's close by?
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Old 08-06-2013, 01:08 PM   #20
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Going there next week. Staying at the Mariott in Times Square. What's the best stuff to do on a 3 day trip that's close by?
Just read this thread. It's all pretty close by, or within a 15 minute subway ride, so if you like something you see here, chances are it's close.
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