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Help me plan my New York trip

Discussion in 'Off The Beaten Track' started by Artemis@BC, Feb 3, 2011.

  1. Artemis@BC

    Artemis@BC Well-Known Member

    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 :p), 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.

    WindSpirit and (deleted member) like this.
  2. Wyliefan

    Wyliefan Well-Known Member

    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.
  3. lash

    lash New Member

    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) :respec:
  4. The Village Idiot

    The Village Idiot Demon Barber

    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.
  5. Aimless

    Aimless Active Member

    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.
  6. Artemis@BC

    Artemis@BC Well-Known Member

    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." :D
  7. Artemis@BC

    Artemis@BC Well-Known Member

    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.
  8. fan

    fan Well-Known Member

  9. HisWeirness

    HisWeirness pork cutlet bowl fatale

    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. vesperholly

    vesperholly Well-Known Member

    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. :scream:

    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. :D
  11. Rhianna

    Rhianna ...Her?

    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.
  12. The Village Idiot

    The Village Idiot Demon Barber

    Speaking of which, the Met Opera has backstage guided tours that I've always wanted to go on.


    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. Southpaw

    Southpaw Saint Smugpawski

    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.
    genevieve and (deleted member) like this.
  14. vesperholly

    vesperholly Well-Known Member

    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. mon125

    mon125 New Member

    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. smurfy

    smurfy Well-Known Member

    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. Matryeshka

    Matryeshka Well-Known Member

    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. :D

    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 :swoon: ).

    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 :slinkaway
  18. BittyBug

    BittyBug And the band played on

    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.
  19. oleada

    oleada Well-Known Member

    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. vesperholly

    vesperholly Well-Known Member

    NYC :cheer2: 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 :swoon: 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 :D

    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 :grope: Pick up a subway map and start studying!
  21. zaphyre14

    zaphyre14 Well-Known Member

    If you haven't seen "In The Heights", you MUST - MUST - MUST! It's fantastic - and I don't even care for Latin rhythms! Great dancing, marvelous cast, and an actual decent plot besides! Go to the TKTS shop in Times Square and see what you can get for that night; there's always something worth seeing and the tickets are usually around half-price. The only show I've paid full price for was "The Lion King" which was worth every cent, BTW. If it's small, intimate classic theatre you're looking for, try "The Fantastic" - one of the the longest running musicals in the world. Tiny theatre, small cast and you feel as if you're part of the show.

    The subway cards are good to have and there's always someone around who can explain how to get where you want to go on them. Avoid cabs if you can; they're slow and expensive.

    And I'll second the hop on-hop off bus tours for a general orientation of the city. The NBC Studios Tour was fun and educational.

    I can't say I've ever had a bad meal in NYC. We usually just read menus until we find some little place we like and give it a try. My friend swears by Johnnie's Pizza but be haven't managed to hit it yet. There are tons of places so it's an adventure in eating...

    For shopping, if you're adventurous and don't mind knock-offs, find a street fair or head to Canal Street. It's worth seeing even if you don't buy anything; you can learn to spot the knock-offs purses and jewelry if nothing else. And it's a great place to buy that extra bag you might need to haul home your more pricy finds.
  22. The Village Idiot

    The Village Idiot Demon Barber

    It is fantastic, but it closed.

    I recommend hopping a NYC bus w/ your metrocard and watching the landscape pass.

    The Morgan Library that was mentioned also has free Fridays 7-9.

  23. Artemis@BC

    Artemis@BC Well-Known Member

    Good to know about the transit pass, that was going to be another question. We're probably going to be staying at a rental apartment in Brooklyn so will definitely be needing good transit.

    Do they do 1-day or 3-day passes as well?

    No worries, it's not like we're at cross-purposes here! We can share.
  24. cruisin

    cruisin Banned Member

    What Broadway shows would you recommend? And I have little interest in based-on-musicians’-true-stories musicals like Jersey Boys. [/quote]

    That's too bad Jersey Boys was one of the best shows I ever saw - went twice!

    That can change, so ask the concierge in your hotel.

    Cape May is really far for a day trip. About 3-4 hours (by car) and you'd probably have to take a train to Newark or Menlopark/Islin and change trains, so it could be longer.

    The Cloisters is a great idea, definitely do that. Metropolitan Museum of Art, Museum of Natural History, MoMA, if you're into ballet - Lincoln Center. Go to Little Italy, and eat wherever. You could go to SoHo, Chelsea, South Street Seaport. Don't buy the junk off the street, it's - junk. Be careful about eating from street vendors, I've seen carts topple and the food goes right back on sale :scream:! Chrysler building is beautiful. Walk down 5th Ave. Times Square is usually a crowded mess, and in my opinion, not worth it, but since you've never been... Don't forget the sales tax in NYC is high! Don't go to Central Park at night. A drink at the Oak Bar in the Plaza is kind of unique, but $$$. St. Patrick's Cathedral.
  25. mon125

    mon125 New Member

    Also, you can go art gallery hopping in SOHO. You may need a listing because many of them are not directly on the street, so you just have to go into a building. Doormen can be very helpful and they will tell you of other galleries in the same building. Also, doing that I run into a few sample sales :). Other galleries have street level locals. The galleries are free and usually nobody bothers you. Some of them are better than others, but it is a lot of fun.

    Also, you may check if there are works of art being exhibited at Sothesby's (York and 72nd street) before going into auction. I think these exhibitions are usually free.

    If you like graffiti, you can try Five points in Queens (http://queens.about.com/od/thingtodo/ss/lic_art_2.htm), also free. It is only one block from the subway where there is also a very nice old school diner. Around the area is MOMA PS1 and there are a few small art galleries that feature young artists.

    Now, if you are interested in a day trip, I was thinking you can visit the Rockefeller State: Kykout (http://www.hudsonvalley.org/content/view/51/109/). There is a mini gallery of modern art with very interesting works.
    Last edited: Feb 4, 2011
  26. NancyNC

    NancyNC Well-Known Member

    Several of my friends have seen Priscilla Queen of the Desert in London over the past few months and RAVED about it. So if it is open when you are in NYC, I would recommend that show.
  27. mon125

    mon125 New Member

    For clothing or shoes, there is no sale tax for articles under $110 (http://www.nyc.gov/html/dof/html/business/business_tax_nys_sales.shtml), though that may change soon.

    About buying knockoffs at Canal street, usually they have the good stuff hidden (which is also nicer BTW) and you have to ask for it: I want some Tifanny's, can you show me?.
  28. NancyNC

    NancyNC Well-Known Member

    You could go to New Jersey - they used to have no sales tax at all, I guess that is still the case?
  29. Garden Kitty

    Garden Kitty Tranquillo

    Matry, I'd go to Top of the Rock instead of the Empire State Building, but I guess it's a matter of personal choice. I think the view is slightly better plus you can get the Empire State Bldg in your pics.

    Artemis, you can take Metro North train to a number of places up the Hudson Valley, but with only a week, I'd probably concentrate on the city itself. If you have some extra time, it's nice to just sort of stroll around Manhattan - it's a very walkable city and the people watching is fun.

    If you have an interest, the Ellis Island exhibit can be very moving. I'd take the Staten Island ferry to get some pics and a view of the Statue of Liberty and actually go to Ellis Island for a more in depth experience.
  30. The Village Idiot

    The Village Idiot Demon Barber

    Used to. Not anymore. Here's subway info (maps, passes)