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  1. #1
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    Help me plan my New York trip

    After years, decades, of wanting to visit NYC, it's finally going to happen this spring (late April or early May). I'm so excited!

    So although we don't want to have everything planned and set in place, we do want to have as much info as possible so we can make good decisions when we get there. Here are my first questions:

    What Broadway shows would you recommend? I’m kinda intrigued by the Spiderman one (despite it having a positive recommendation from Rush Limbaugh ), especially since that’s one that’s less likely to play anywhere else. La Cage Aux Folles is a possibility too since it’s great music and a fun story. I’ve already seen Wicked, Avenue Q, Billy Elliot, The Lion King, Mamma Mia, and Phantom. And I have little interest in based-on-musicians’-true-stories musicals like Memphis or Jersey Boys. I’m looking to get tickets in advance for one show (pref. a musical), and then hit the half-price ticket booth for other shows when we’re there.

    Any tips & tricks for getting Daily Show tickets? I’ve been to their web site almost every day since the beginning of January, and it keeps saying “sorry, no tickets available.” Second choice would be SNL – found some info about standby tickets if you show up at 7 am (!) on the morning of taping.

    Can you recommend a good jazz club? I prefer older, “classical” jazz. Somewhere that has some atmosphere and not ridiculous cover charges or drink prices would be great.

    Where’s a really good place to get a slice?

    What’s a good vegetarian or veg-friendly restaurant? I’ve checked out the various websites like Happy Cow and VegDining, but obviously they list gazillions, so I’m looking for personal recommendations, tried & true, to narrow down the list.

    Can you recommend a good walking tour or three? Gotham Side Walks sounds like a good possibility, but I'd love a personal recommendation.

    Any day trips out of the city you’d recommend? We won’t have a car so they’d have to be easily doable by train or bus. I was thinking possibly somewhere up the Hudson valley, or somewhere “charming” and coastal like Cape May.

    Any “authentic New York experience” that I might not have thought of?

    I'm sure I'll think of more questions later but that's it for now.

    TIA

  2. #2

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    The musical version of Catch Me If You Can is scheduled to premiere on Broadway in April. I'm hoping to go see it myself if I can. The cast looks great. I've seen both Aaron Tveit and Tom Wopat in musicals before (yes, that would be the Gossip Girl alum and the Duke of Hazzard) and they're both really good!

    According to the Broadway board I frequent, Spider-Man is a fascinating trainwreck. So, whether you'll enjoy it depends on whether you're into trainwrecks, I guess.

    One "New York experience" I always enjoy is visiting The Colony Records near Times Square. Alas, they don't carry as many Broadway cast albums as they once did -- they used to be the best place to find the really obscure stuff -- but they still have a lot of good music and memorabilia.
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    Go to Brighton Beach and check out the Russian community. Markets and restaurants. I'm not big on shows or museums but more on just urban culture so I really loved this. Also I had a FANTASTIC guide, FSUs own SaSherka. (thanks again, I still have great memories of that day)

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    Quote Originally Posted by Wyliefan View Post
    One "New York experience" I always enjoy is visiting The Colony Records near Times Square. Alas, they don't carry as many Broadway cast albums as they once did -- they used to be the best place to find the really obscure stuff -- but they still have a lot of good music and memorabilia.
    It's also crazily expensive. But you can find the stuff you won't find anywhere else. So I hear. Because of the prices I haven't been in in a long time. But it can be nice to just browse.

    It hasn't opened yet, but I'm very intrigued by The Book of Mormon, by the South Park folks and 1/2 the team that wrote Avenue Q. It seems you're more interested in musicals than plays so there's also Priscilla Queen of the Desert and a revival of How to Succeed in Business w/o Really Trying (w/ Daniel Radcliffe). Anything Goes will also be revived w/ Sutton Foster. Actually, none of the above have opened, but I'd be interested in seeing all of them. In terms of shows that have already opened, Addams Family seems to get interest. Nathan Lane will have already left (replaced by Roger Rees), but Bebe Neuwirth should still be in.

    I have no personal experience w/ tours, but I get emails from centralpark.com sometimes about tours that sound interesting and are usually free. But I've never gone to any. http://www.centralpark.com/ Central Park centric, naturally. Also a newsletter that mention a lot of free events/tours is www.theskint.com It only mentions events a few days in advance, but you can take a look to see what kinds of offerings they find. You can also check out the listings in Time out New York (http://newyork.timeout.com/) for suggestions. Pick up an issue from a newsstand or deli when you arrive and peruse online beforehand.

    Vegetarian: I'm not one so it's hard for me to say, but I've been to Zen Palate (www.zenpalate.com) and Josie's (www.josiesnyc.com) and hear them mentioned often. Also, I've heard good things about Candle Cafe (http://www.candlecafe.com/) - vegan.

    Slices are tough...most people will mention their local neighborhood place. Despite their fame, I'm pretty much assured to hate any place with the name Ray in it who claim to be famous. I find them to be too dough-y and there are better places out there. In terms of restaurants (whole pies), there's John's Pizzeria which is touristy and good. Patsy's. Grimaldi's (original in Brooklyn if you feel like checking out Bklyn). Totonno's. Angelo's. Lombardi's.

    I know nothing about jazz, but in case no one else has suggestions, there's The Blue Note (http://www.bluenote.net/newyork/index.shtml), The Iridium (http://www.iridiumjazzclub.com/), and Jazz at Lincoln Center (http://www.jazzatlincolncenter.org/). I have no idea if they're classical or not.

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    I lived in Manhattan for over ten years. I always recommend the farmer's market at Union Square near 14th street. http://www.grownyc.org/unionsquaregreenmarket
    It's colorful, interesting, terrific for people watching and behavior observing. You can get a meal from the various vendors (fruits, baked goods, etc.) and just sit and watch the scene. All walks of life, and the city mouse/country mouse interactions are funny sometimes. Free too, not counting your meal. It's a spectacle.

    Also free and strongly recommended is walking across the Brooklyn bridge. The views, pleasant exercise, and magnificence of the great bridge itself make it not-to-be-missed.

    In my opinion, Broadway shows are grossly overpriced and mostly about stagecraft rather than acting and true theatre, but I understand that not everybody feels that way. I'd look carefully for smaller, more intimate shows that make you think and feel and laugh, rather than the big shows that are more about dazzling the senses.

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    Great ideas so far folks, thanks and keep them coming.

    BTW, these a few other things already on my list:

    ~ tour of the Chrysler Building (I'm a nut for Art Deco)
    ~ a drink at the Chelsea Hotel (just coz)
    ~ Staten Island Ferry (ditto)
    ~ The Cloisters
    ~ buy some fabulous item of clothing / purse / shoes so that when someone back home compliments it I can say "Oh, this? I bought it in New York."

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    Quote Originally Posted by Aimless View Post
    In my opinion, Broadway shows are grossly overpriced and mostly about stagecraft rather than acting and true theatre, but I understand that not everybody feels that way. I'd look carefully for smaller, more intimate shows that make you think and feel and laugh, rather than the big shows that are more about dazzling the senses.
    Yeah, but I can get that at home. (Seriously, though, Vancouver has excellent theatre, and I have season tickets to 2 local companies.)

    To me, going to New York and not seeing a Broadway show would be like going to San Francisco and not riding the cable car, or going to Paris and not even looking a the Eiffel Tower.

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    veg restaurant - chinese

    http://www.chinatownvegetarian.com/

    in china town - heavenly and cheap.

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by Artemis@BC View Post
    ~ tour of the Chrysler Building (I'm a nut for Art Deco)
    Just a quick FYI, but I believe there are no tours (to the top) of the Chrysler building for the public, but you are permitted to look around the lobby and at the elevators.

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by Artemis@BC View Post
    To me, going to New York and not seeing a Broadway show would be like going to San Francisco and not riding the cable car, or going to Paris and not even looking a the Eiffel Tower.
    I saw Billy Elliot when I was in New York last year, and while it was a fabulous show, the "Broadway" experience wasn't all that and a box of kittens. Mostly because I had to walk through Times Square on a Friday night.

    My personal favorite highlights were going to MoMA and the Met (museum, not opera house). I'm not a huge art history/museum person, but they were both phenomenal. MoMA for the quality of artwork and the Met for the architecture. I was lucky to be there when they had this incredible bamboo thing on the roof.

    Empire State Building was awesome, and I've heard that Top of the Rock tours are excellent. Staten Island Ferry was a fun, quick thing to do, but it doesn't get very close to the Statue of Liberty. Plus we had to go aaaaaaaalll the way down to Battery Park to get on.

    I think my favorite part was just walking around the city, pretending not to be a tourist.

  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by Artemis@BC View Post
    Any tips & tricks for getting Daily Show tickets? I’ve been to their web site almost every day since the beginning of January, and it keeps saying “sorry, no tickets available.” Second choice would be SNL – found some info about standby tickets if you show up at 7 am (!) on the morning of taping.
    From what I've heard from people who lived in New York City tickets to The Daily Show and The Colbert Report are next to impossible to get.

    Standby tickets for SNL are easier however although it says 7am morning of, that surely can be a bit of a risk, depending upon the guests. One of my best friends camped out overnight... in the middle of winter... last year and she was far from the only person. Lorne Michaels had interns bring the people in line soup because it was freezing.

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    Quote Originally Posted by vesperholly View Post
    My personal favorite highlights were going to MoMA and the Met (museum, not opera house). I'm not a huge art history/museum person, but they were both phenomenal. MoMA for the quality of artwork and the Met for the architecture. I was lucky to be there when they had this incredible bamboo thing on the roof.
    Speaking of which, the Met Opera has backstage guided tours that I've always wanted to go on.

    http://www.metoperafamily.org/metopera/about/tour/

    Also, the Met Museum has has a happy hour on the roof during the summer. Quickly googling, I can't seem to find when it starts though.

  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by Artemis@BC View Post
    ~ buy some fabulous item of clothing / purse / shoes so that when someone back home compliments it I can say "Oh, this? I bought it in New York."
    You should go to Century 21. It's directly across the street from Ground Zero.

    Cape May is kind of a crazy day trip from NYC. That's more like a weekend trip kind of thing. If you're into Victorian shore houses Ocean Grove might be an option. It's a neat little town with an interesting history and it's next to the very famous Asbury Park and there's a train that goes from Penn Station to Asbury. Again, that's more like a two-day excursion, but if you're really desperate to squeeze something like that in it's doable.
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  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by Rhianna View Post
    From what I've heard from people who lived in New York City tickets to The Daily Show and The Colbert Report are next to impossible to get.
    A friend of mine who lives in the city has gotten tickets a few time. IIRC there's a lottery you enter, so it's not so much a matter of "I want tickets for this date" but "Here are your tickets for this date, show up or give them up".

    As for shopping, check out SoHo. I particularly liked Uniqlo for awesome sweaters and jackets. Also street vendors have great stuff, and CHEAP.

  15. #15
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    You can try to go to Hoboken, NJ. You just need to take the Path at 34th street (is it that correct?) and there are also other stops (one near ground zero?). It only takes around 15 min. The park is next to the station and you have beautiful views of NYC on the Hudson. It is a good place to take pictures with NYC as a background.

  16. #16

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    Lincoln Center has awesome tour of behind the scenes of multiple buildings.

    Daily Show (and Colbert, just around the corner). If you don't get tickets, you can get in line and may or may not get in.

    MOMA - great museum ( and I am not a big modern art fan). Has one of the best gift shops.

    Frick Museum - near The Met. Lovely museum.

    Tours - isn't there a sex and the city tour??

    The Cloisters - definitely a treat!

    The UN - if there are tours

    Also, I just love to walk. Subways/buses are easy, but walking in NY is just part of the experience.

    Hop on/hop off Bus Tour. I live 2 hrs from NY and have not taken, but some friends and relatives that have a short time in the city really love them. They say they get a good sense of the whole city.

    30 Rock roof - lines are shorter than the Empire State Bldg, you can see the Empire State Bldg and Central Park too.

  17. #17

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    I love how timely FSU is. I too am going to New York in late April; just booked my flight. I was going to start a thread, and here it is.

    I'll be there for a week on a fairly limited budget. I know I want to go to FAO Schwartz, Ground Zero, The Empire State Building, Statue of Liberty, Central Park, and museums. I know for sure I want to go to MOMA and the Guggenheim, but I'd also like to go to a smaller museum that features up-and-coming or local artists. I actually do like a lot of modern art, so long as it's colorful, i.e. Chagall or Mondrian. I also like sculpture, ancient jewelry/pottery and some mixed media. I'm not a huge fan of the Romantic period or the Renaissance (with the exception of the Flemish Masters and hyperrealism. van Eyck is ).

    I'd really like to check out a good gastropub while in New York--it sounds like an interesting food trend. I want to eat at a stereotypical Italian place and drink at an Irish pub. Are there any good deals on subway cards, like unlimited rides for a set price in a set time, kind of like the Carte Orange in Paris? I won't have a car and can't afford taxis. Also, how much time should I factor in from getting place to place? I'll be staying in my brother's uber swanky Manhattan apartment (all three feet of it), which is across from Battery Park.

    Sorry to hijack your thread Artemis
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  18. #18
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    3rd vote for the Cloisters.

    Not mentioned yet - I'm a big fan of the Morgan Library & Museum, and they have a nice cafe in an atrium at which you could have lunch or a beverage.
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  19. #19

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    Matryeeshka, if you're on a budget, the MOMA is free on Friday nights from 4:00 to 8:00 PM. http://www.moma.org/visit/plan/#ticketing

    You can get an unlimited ride MetroCard for 7 days priced at $29. It can be purchased at any subway station with a ticket machine. As for time budgeting...depends on where you're going and at what time.

  20. #20
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    NYC I was there in August and October last year, and I want to go again this spring/summer. Fortunately I'm in the same state, just at the opposite end, so flights are plentiful and cheap.

    MoMA has a whole room of Mondrian I've heard the American Museum of Folk Art is excellent, if you like a museum off the beaten path. In contrast, the Guggenheim, apart from the building itself, the art's kind of meh.

    As for an authentic Italian restaurant, you MUST go to Villa Della Pace on 2nd Ave and 7th St. Phenomenal food and affordable, too. And a friend of mine got the recommendation from Valentina Marchei, so it's got a skating connection

    Subway geek here ... definitely pick up an unlimited subway card. $2.75 adds up fast. When I visited, it generally took about a half an hour on the subway to get from 181st St (my friend's apt) to the Columbus Circle station at 59th, however, that was the express A train. I've read 5 minutes for every 10 blocks, or is it 10 minutes for 5 blocks? Keep in mind that while there are zillions of subway stops and stations, you may have to change trains and walk to your destination once above ground. Some trains turn express and start skipping stops, especially once you are north of midtown or in the outer boroughs. Also enjoy the eye candy at stops around Wall Street Pick up a subway map and start studying!

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