General chatter - So excited! Just booked my flight to NYC! Any recs?

04-13-2011, 10:45 AM
I'm going to be in Manhattan for a week in May! Woohoo!!! :D:D

I have a friend who is finishing up a post-residency medical fellowship there. She apparently has a very nicely located and roomy (thanks to a housing allowance) apartment on the Upper West Side, a block from Central Park. She's leaving NY this fall so this is my chance to see her there and have some free housing, so I'll be there for a week.

I've only been to New York once before, when I was a petrified, intimidated college student on a choir tour. That was 13 years ago, and I remember feeling like a country bumpkin. Not this time!

My first day there, actually, my friend will be tied up in an all-day meeting, so I'll be on my own. I'm looking forward to exploring and seeing what there is to see.

Please feel free to give me any advice or words of wisdom. Although I've really just begun planning, I do have some ideas:

- the Strand Bookstore
- Museums! MoMA for sure, and the Met. Others?
- Anything free, I'm up for.
- I want to jog in Central Park. Just because I can now without risk of imminent heart attack. :carrot:
- I want to eat some yummy food. It needs to be WORTH it. Something uniquely NYC. I'm not a hot dog person, so that's fine, but I do want a great slice of pizza. I also want to have something at Serendipity - maybe just a sundae, but I love ice cream so that would be worth it to me.
- I want to wander around a few neighborhoods, and find out-of-the-way things. I definitely want to get to Greenwich Village and explore. Sit in a coffee shop. Go to an open mic night.

Any suggestions or thoughts? I've been contemplating going for a while, but now that I've finally booked my ticket I'm practically bouncing around in my seat I'm so excited.

04-14-2011, 02:46 PM
You are so lucky! I <3 New York!

I only went to one museum...the Museum of Sex. Very interesting though!

I ate at Serendipity's. I tried the Frozen Hot Chocolate. If you go there, you may have a bit of a wait. My friend and I waited 40 minutes for a seat; if you want to eat a meal, however, I think you are required to make reservations.

I did a lot on my second trip, the first time I was only there for a short while and stuck mostly to the Times Square area. The second time I explored a lot more. Here is a forum I found very helpful. Everything I needed to know (like how to hail a cab, how to take the subway) I learned from this site. Many of the other forum users will have great advice on sights, many that are free. 3FC, I checked for rules regarding links to other forums and saw nothing, but if I am doing wrong by providing a link, then sorry.

04-14-2011, 03:05 PM
I'll be there in two weeks to visit my sister (upper east side!)

My Loves
- Chelsea Market
- Soho
- China Town / Little Italy
- Union Square
- Macy's
- Central Park is a must :D (Go to Columbus Circle!)
- If you go to Time Square avoid the weekends or busy hours, you won't be able to breathe with the amount of people there!
- Rockefeller Center / Top of the Rock

04-14-2011, 04:11 PM
Some totally random stuff off the top of my head, since I don't know your interests, other than what you listed in your post:

- Remember that nearly all the museums are closed on Mondays, except for MOMA, which is closed on Tuesday. And if you go to MOMA, try to eat there, if you can get into Danny Meyer's restaurant, The Modern.

- Oh, how I love visiting the Cloisters up in Inwood during the early weeks of May, when their medieval gardens are in bloom.

- And on a nice day, it's very pleasant to leave the Museum of Natural History & cut across the width of Central Park & visit her sister, the Met. Pace yourself if you're trying to see both. At the Met, the Alexander McQueen exhibit will open in early May, down in the clothing galleries, which are in the basement & accessed through the Egyptian collection. (On your right as you come in the museums' front door.)

- The place to go to see a cool food market is Eataly, which is down in the Flatiron District, I believe at 23rd & Fifth. (It's on Fifth but I am not positive of the cross street.) Anyway the Museum of Sex isn't that far from there.

- When you're done with the Strand (BTW, you can search online for books & ask them to hold them for you & pick them up when you go there), make sure you go to Forbidden Planet, even if you aren't into comics or nerdish pursuits, because it has amazing & amusing stuff.

- In the Village, Bleecker Street is a great place to visit to pick up cheese at Murray's, coffee at Porto Rico Importing Company & Amy's Bread or fresh fish. Aphrodisia is worth a visit if you need any spices. This street can, however, be somewhat annoying as it is a post-collegiate beer blast if you visit during the wrong hours.

- Don't get any of those stupid cupcakes from the hundreds of pseudo-designer cupcake places that have sprung up like mold spores. Go to Momofuku Milk Bar instead, as it's far out of the ordinary. (See here for the locations:

- Go look at Bonwit's & Saks & Bloomie's, and also the Ralph Lauren 19th century mansions, across the street from each other, but for God's sake don't buy anything till you go way downtown to Century 21, or if you want shoes, DSW on Union Square. (You can hit that on your way to the Strand.)

- The Union Square Greenmarket is a joy on Saturday mornings.

- Get out to Brooklyn, if at all possible, maybe to have dinner with friends of your friend, and see how people live.

- On Wednesday, go stand in line at TKTS & get yourself a discount show ticket.

Enjoy yourself. Give some money to the Mexican guys playing on the subway platforms. Look for the Naked Cowboy on Broadway. Have a cup of coffee at a really old coffee shop like Cafe Dante or Cafe Reggio on MacDougal down in the Village instead of yet another Starbucks. Shop some boutiques in Nolita instead of the same old mall stores on Lower Broadway. Go do some grocery shopping in Chinatown & visit a dim sum palace.


ETA: How could I forget this? Since you're on the West Side, go shop at Loehmann's, which is on Broadway, not far from the Beacon Theater, up in the 70s. (Maybe 73d? 72nd?)

04-14-2011, 04:16 PM
I am so jealous of you guys, I need a NY fix!

Another thing I did was walk across the Brooklyn Bridge from Brooklyn to Manhattan. That is free! I've also rubbed the Wall Street Bull for luck (didn't work!), and went on boat, helicopter, and bus tours (those aren't free, but still fun). The Staten Island Ferry is free, and takes you past the Statue of Liberty. I went to a Broadway Play, also not free but you may get discounted tickets from the TKTS booth. If you are a Beatles/John Lennon fan, there is a peace sign monument with "Imagine" written across it, which is worth seeing. As for getting around, the subway is not free but it is cheap, and it is the way "real" New Yorkers get around (or so I'm told!). My friend and I, from towns that do not have public transportation at all (not even buses) felt all "cosmopolitan" riding the subway and finding our way around!

Edit: Saef, good suggestions, I must look into those next time I'm there.

04-14-2011, 11:39 PM
I'm not a real Noo Yawker but since 95% of my graduating class lives in Brooklyn, I find myself visiting the city on a semi-regular basis. A couple years ago I brought a Japanese friend to America and showed her around NYC. These are some things we did:

-Walked across the Brooklyn Bridge - downtown in Manhattan around the "Brooklyn Bridge" stop on the 6 subway line is lovely, and Brooklyn Heights at the other end of the bridge is also lovely. It gets windy and loud and I wouldn't recommend doing it at night - but for a similar vista (downtown skyscrapers) you can hang out around the South Street Seaport.

-Long walks uptown near and around the park, close to museums/park and fun to look at how people with seven figure salaries live. Bonus points if, like Samantha in "Sex and the City," you pick up a cute doorman ;)

-Staten Island Ferry at night - may feel a bit lonely if you're on your own, but it's really cheap and great views inc the Statue of Liberty.

-The Cloisters (restored/transported castle) and surrounding park are incredibly pretty. I've actually never made it inside because I was always too busy scampering around the park.

-Buy some cheap fakes in Chinatown, it's just one of those "things you do."

-Hang out in a somewhat residential area, I like Fort Greene and Cortelyou Rd. areas in Brooklyn (those are where I have friends - obviously there are countless cool neighborhoods if you know people).

-Go to Koreatown, eat Korean BBQ (save a lot of calories!) and do karaoke - fun and cheap. For good Japanese food, head to St. Mark's Place.

A friend of mine who has been everywhere on earth including Chechnya and Burma blogs about good ethnic eats in NYC - here is a link to his blog:

04-14-2011, 11:54 PM
Since you'll be on the UWS the Museum of Natural History is an obvious visit but honestly I'm unimpressed by it. The planetarium is great but if you had to pick, check out the Met. You could spend days in there and not see it all! You'll probably end up getting sucked in and spending way more time there than you plan on. :)

Everyone here had some great suggestions. If you plan on visiting Serendipity or getting Broadway tickets plan on it taking a lot of time. Get to TKTS early, like way before it opens in the morning. And if at all possible avoid the one in Times Square. I have better luck with the one downtown by the South Street Seaport.

Grand Central Station is also a beautiful landmark to check out. There's some shopping and lots of eating downstairs, but the main concourse is beautiful.

Wear sneakers or comfy flats, don't stop in the middle of the sidewalk (move to the right!) or New Yorkers will run you down, and stay to the right on escalators if you aren't walking up or down. There is a "passing lane" on the left and it's just understood that you don't block it. :)

04-15-2011, 03:18 AM
If you're not too tired after checking out the Met and MoMa and you're a fan of Modern Art you should mosey on down to the Guggenheim. Also, check out the Chelsea Hotel because it's gorgeous.

The Strand, East Village, and Greenwich Village is a must. Street food is delicious (especially those potato knishes ^_^). You will walk A LOT, so make sure you bring your most comfortable shoes to walk in. Chinatown is fantastic to get lost in and has a lot of great stuff you can bring home. Midtown also has a lot of wholesale jewelry stores where you can get great prices on things.

It's not to everyone's taste but I LOVE Dumbo in Brooklyn. If you go there, try to check out a place called Zakka; it's similar to Forbidden Planet but has an emphasis on design-related books, Japanese imports and art stuff from around the world.

04-15-2011, 11:29 AM
Also, check out the Chelsea Hotel because it's gorgeous.

Oh, yeah, I want to second this suggestion. Because the Chelsea Hotel is currently for sale. And word is that some stuffy wealthy real estate conglomerate is going to snap it up, evict the oddball residents, renovate the building, and turn it into luxury condos. If that happens, you won't be able to go in the lobby of what will then be a private residence unless you know someone there & are visiting. (Or unless they do what was done with the Plaza Hotel, where a small portion is kept as a hotel while the rest becomes residences.) So see it now, while it still has paintings on the wall & um, very interesting people hanging around inside -- that is, while it's still somewhat reminiscent of the Warhol era and Sid & Nancy & all those other ghosts. A legendary piece of NY history is about to vanish, so get there while you can.

04-15-2011, 06:27 PM
Thank you all so much for the suggestions! Feel free to keep them coming.

Now that the weekend is here I'm going to do some research of my own and can hopefully narrow down some of my 228,733,947,183 options.

Still excited!

04-15-2011, 06:44 PM
I'm a big foodie and had one of the best meals of my life here....,+NY,+USA&cid=2145618977980482902

If you go, be prepared to loosen your food and $ budget. It's expensive and too much of an experience to care about calories.

Have fun in NYC whatever you do!!

04-15-2011, 11:51 PM
I don't live in NY right now but my family does and I did live in NY for awhile so I still consider myself a New Yorker!

Have FUN!

If you like low fat ice cream, there are some great places called Tasti-D-Lite (a chain) in a lot of Manhattan, they have really good low calorie, low fat ice cream

I like the Museum of Natural History, Museum of Modern Art, Frick, Guggenheim, Whitney, the Met

Central Park is awesome!

Be careful and have fun!

04-18-2011, 11:37 AM
Head down to St. Marks Place and definitely go downtown to the Brooklyn Bridge...its a great walk and you get some great pics.

05-01-2011, 05:20 PM
Why, hello there! I disappeared for a while with some end-of-term stress, but now that my trip is only two weeks away I'm making some choices.

Here are my current lists of "Must Do" and "May Do" - feel free to comment, add, and put in your $.02.

Must Do: (in no particular order)
The Strand
The Empire State Building (a lot of people have suggested Top of the Rock as an alternative, but I just feel like the ESB is iconic)
Wander around the Village
Eat: a GREAT slice of pizza, a pork bun at Momofuku, and perhaps something upscale and yummy. I'm trying hard not to go overbudget on this trip (money or calories) but I'll splurge for something worth it.
The Met
NY Public Library
Jog around the Central Park reservoir
Sit in the park and read a book
Avoid Starbucks in favor of local coffee shops
Walk the Brooklyn Bridge (saef, I do have friends who live in Brooklyn, and we're trying to get together one night)
The Cloisters

May Do:
Staten Island ferry
Shopping (at Daffy's, at saef's suggestion; other places I should check out?)
Ice cream at Serendipity
Chinatown (I used to live in China, so part of me really wants to go, but part of me kind of wants to avoid it)
Rockefeller Center
Statue of Liberty/Ellis Island
Ground Zero (not sure I can handle it)

Thanks for all of your help!

05-01-2011, 06:11 PM
I drove by ground zero on my last trip and it is amazing to see. Chinatown is good for a foot massage.

I'm going again in a couple weeks.

05-01-2011, 07:17 PM
Harlem!! I loved it there!

05-03-2011, 03:24 AM
Well, I WAS going to recommend Sylvia's in Harlem but figured that it would be a VERY bad idea. :D The last time I ate there I caught the 'itis and wanted someone to ROLL me back to the hotel!

06-03-2011, 03:30 PM
So, I've been MIA from 3FC for a bunch of reasons, but I decided I should update this thread with a giant THANK YOU to everyone for your suggestions.

I'll start by say I gained 7 pounds in 7 days, and the only thing I regret eating was a so-so soft serve cone that would have been great if the guy had left the sprinkles off. I hate sprinkles, but he'd already put them on the cone and I decided not to make a big deal about it. :)

I did tons of walking around, getting on the subway, getting off somewhere, and just walking around (the hours I walked make my weight stats even more astounding). Greenwich Village, the East Village, Wall Street, Battery Park, Chinatown, SoHo, Nolita . . . I think the only area I didn't explore at all was the Upper East Side. I went over to Brooklyn, walked around DUMBO and Brooklyn Heights before walking back over the Brooklyn Bridge. That was great, even though the weather was junky. My friend lives in the UWS a block from the Park, so I walked along Columbus and Amsterdam a lot, as well as jogging in the park a few times.

I saw two shows - Billy Elliot and Avenue Q - and enjoyed both, although obviously pretty different. I loved Grand Central Station, where a woman in the bathroom told me (in a thick NY accent) "You don't need mascara. All you need is some color on your face and a nice lip." Thanks for the advice, random lady in the bathroom. :)

LOVED Ft. Tryon park and the Cloisters. Definitely a must-do, although I'm sure some might find it boring, I found it soothing and lovely.

The weather was pretty icky the week I was there, so I didn't take the Staten Island ferry or make it to Ellis Island. Next time. I also didn't shop a lot because I kind of hate shopping, and the crowds around all of the stores were slightly overwhelming to me. It would have been smart to shop, I know, but I decided it was my vacation and I wasn't going to do something I dreaded.

As for food . . . wow. The short version is, if I lived in the city I would be both fat and broke. Delivery is amazing. :) Had some yummy Indian and Mexican. Also had an amazing sundae at Max Brenner's, cookies (yes, multiple, shame on me) from Levain, a cupcake, pizza a couple of times, falafel. Well, you get the point. Not terrible proud of my unbelievable gluttony, but it happened and now life goes on. I'm almost back down to where I was before the trip. More importantly, towards the end of the trip I was starting to feel AWFUL, so hopefully next time I'm tempted to go completely off the rails I'll remember how sluggish and icky I felt after eating too much sugar and junk.

Thanks again for all the suggestions, and I can't wait to go back and do more!