Saturday, August 15, 2009

Calling All New Yorkers (or Anyone Who's Been There)!

Ok, Humble Readers... it's time to get our butts in gear! We have only 33 days until departure and I'm feeling very unprepared.

I'm even stressing about packing and it's a month away!

I have made list upon list, and I need some help. We have so many things on our to do list while we are in NYC, I don't know how to begin planning and prioritizing. Can you tell that I haven't been on a real vacation in forever? (and when I say forever, I mean forever!!!!)

We have been compiling a list of places we want to see, things we want to experience while we are there. There are some things that are tops on our list, but then there are other things that I am just not sure about... Are they really worth doing? Is there something else we should consider instead? I am looking for serious input here!

So, here's our current list. I want opinions and information!
  • Hot dog from a hot dog vendor
  • Baseball game (Yankees vs Red Sox... tickets purchased)
  • Broadway show (Wicked... tickets to be purchased soon)
  • Top of the rock
  • Ellis Island/Liberty island
  • Harbour tour
  • Frozen Hot chocolate at Serendipity
  • Bobby Flay restaurant (Mesa Grill)
  • Mario Batali restaurant (Otto)
  • Tavern on the Green
  • Carriage ride through central park
  • Bagel and lox at a deli
  • Cab ride
  • Tiffanys (window shopping)
  • Macys (window shopping)
  • FAO Schwartz (window shopping)
  • Chelsea market
  • Ground zero
  • NY library
  • Tv/movie tour
  • Rachel Ray? (applied for tickets but haven't heard)
  • David Letterman? (applied for tickets but haven't heard)
  • Brooklyn bridge
  • Central park/strawberry fields
  • The Dakota
  • Time Square
  • 'Seinfeld' diner (a very specific request from my Beloved)
  • The Cloisters/The Met
  • MOMA
  • Central Park Zoo
  • The Guggenheim
  • Battery Park
  • American Natural History Museum

I know that there are a lot of food related things on the list... I'm a foodie, what do you expect?? We have 10 days actually in the city. (unfortunately our last day is basically a waste because our flight leaves at 5pm and it doesn't leave us much time to do anything before we have to head to the airport... international flight and all). Our first full day is my birthday, so my Beloved is planning everything, but other than that I'm kind of in charge of the itinerary.

What would you do? What would be number one on your list? Is there something we should skip? Something we should do instead?



  1. Wow, did I pick the right time.

    Okay I have only lived outside of an easy commute to NYC for 5 years out of 38, so I know this city and I love this city.

    If you want to see another show, either get tickets at the TKTS booth or find out about the raffles (email me privately if you don't know what I mean.)

    Hot dog Vendor--make sure they are grilling the hot dogs, not boiling them otherwise you will SERIOUSLY regret it.

    Tavern on the Green--it is, without a doubt, the most overrated restaurant ever. Seriously--don't do it, you will not get a good meal out of it and you will be out a LOT of money. Take the money you would have spent on Tavern and go to the Union Square Cafe--MUCH better food and a better experience.

    Bagel and Lox--right near Penn Station, 30th street and 7th I believe is a place called the Bagel Maven Cafe. Some of the best Bagels in NY. I'm allergic to lox, but I've heard it is great too.

    Do you not like Chinese food or ethnic food? I notice no Chinatown or Little Italy on there. Those are VERY good.

    The night you see Wicked (I'm assuming you're going at night) you'll want to eat somewhere good. Go to restaurant row on 46th in between 8th and 9th. Most of the restaurants are good (some exceptions) and most are reasonable (also exceptions.) If you want to stargaze go to Orzo--but the food is eh.

    Make sure you have a whole day for Ellis Island/Liberty Island. It's really neat.

    any questions, email me.

  2. Well, JW gave you great tips, so I don't need to get into too much.
    I lived in NYC 4 yrs.
    Tiffany's didn't seem like it was worth it to go just there, but it is near other things, sure.
    I agree, don't go to tavern on the green to eat, you could go to walk by, as it is in a pretty area of C.P.
    To me, the Met(art) is a must, don't do the whole thing, you'll be worn out. Pick a couple of rooms/wings, and walk through. I recommend the Temple of Dendur and the American wing that has the tiffany windows. Spacious and lovely.
    There is a fun british tea house in the Village called Tea and Sympathy, it is TINY, but has yummy food. Order the 'cream tea', and if you want savory, I recommend the mac n'cheese.
    Find out if there are any good concerts in Central Park or Bryant Park(or movies there) while you are there. A true NYC summery experience.
    Have a great time!

  3. It all sounds so exciting! I want to go to NYC during Christmas time ;-). My aunt tells me the buildings sing.

  4. New York has been on my list of places to go for a long time now. I shall vicariously through you. Since I can't give you any advice, I'll just have to wait to hear how everyone's else's panned out.

  5. The Alice in Wonderland statue in Central Park so you can take photos for me as I don't think I will ever get to New York!

    And yes, I've tried peppermint aromatherapy and while it helps for a very minimal time, it didn't help in the long term. Trying the red tea now to see if drinking it every day helps.

  6. I haven't been to NYC in a long time (like 12 years long time), but my favorite experiences were definitely the American wing of Met, the Natural History Museum and the library with the lions out front (the one from Breakfast at Tiffany's). We didn't do the whole NHM, but all I really remember anyway was the famous T-Rex skeleton, which is almost right inside the door. Same with the library, we went in and pulled a card and asked for a book, but I mostly remember the lions. (or is there only one, it's been a long time!)

    We were able to wait in line for Letterman tickets. I don't know if that's still an option, but we got up at like 6:00am and stood in line for standby tix, then came back at like 4p, to stand in line to see if we'd get in. We did, but we were among the last that did. If you're going to go standby, I would get in line early.

    I enjoyed FAO Schwartz, it was a fun store, and the piano from Big was out. I don't know if it still is (I would assume so).

    Our hotel was in Times Square and that was AWESOME. I enjoyed going through the ticky tack souvenier vendors as well. We accidentally ended up seeing the Seinfeld diner, and it was kind of a let down, at least to me.

    Frozen Hot Chocolate at Serendipity sounds delish!

  7. Here from L&F -- I went to college in NYC and go back there and Brooklyn a lot.

    TavernOTG: DItto above, overrated. Save your $.

    Cloisters/Met -- these are in two v. separate parts of the city, and are quite different. Cloisters are truly awesome; problem is there's not much else to do up there. Would spend day/afternoon at Met. If you have free afternoon, head to Cloisters.

    I'd skip Otto and with the $ you've saved on TotG try to get into Lupa. Better food, more Batali's style (pasta) than Pizza.

    If you need NY pizza, walk across the Brooklyn bridge, then grab a cab to Lucali in Carroll Gardens (expensive! brick oven. Amazing). There are a TON of amazing restaurants in Brooklyn, many not far from the bridge. You could subway one way and walk the other.

    I might do top of Empire State over RockCtr, but that's me. I'm old timey that way.

    There used to be an amazing farmer's market -- I think at Union Square? -- where a lot of restaurant types used to go. It's pretty great if it's still around.

    If you drink wine, look up a wine tasting at Italian Wine Merchants. Batali is part owner with the Bastiniche's (sp?). We love this place.

    Have fun! Will check in for pictures!

  8. Absolutely skip Mesa Grill - one of the single worst dining experiences of my life. Everything came out of a microwave.

    If you want legendary NYC quirky, check out Shopsins for breakfast or lunch.

    Wicked is great.

    Chelsea Market is fun

  9. I used to live on the Lower East Side, and always loved just wandering the streets of lower Manhattan. A long walk from Houston through China Town down across the B'lyn Bridge is an amazing slice of NYC. On your way, you can nosh on real bialys and ridiculously good pickles, Chinese sweets or dim sum, and once you cross down into DUMBO, some delicious chocolate and/or pizza. There's a nice view of Manhattan's skyline from B'lyn Heights Promenade, too.

    The Cloisters rule! As does the AMNH.

  10. Wicked would be my 1st choice! I LOVE musicals and "Wicked" is one of my favs.

    Times Square---yes! This past trip was the first time I'd gone at night, and I higly recommend the nighttime experience.

    Ground Zero---very moving, and there is a church there that is FREE and has very moving photos and memorabilia you can view.

    I recommend NOT going to Ellis Island. The lines for the Statue of Liberty were extreeeemly long and not worth the wait, in my opinion. (Lady Liberty is lovely, but you don't miss a lot by NOT going inside.)

    Hot dog----yes! Also pretzels from street vendors are delicious as well.

    Central Park---fun, but huge. You might want to narrow down what specific area (Alice in Wonderland, John Lennon's "Imagine" tribute area, gardens, etc.) I believe the park has it's own website so you can check things out ahead of time.

    I highly, highly recommend spending the $35 bucks for a double decker bus tour. The ticket allows you to leave/re-board the bus for up to 24 hours. My friends and I were able to see all of the major sites, while getting off to actually tour the ones we cared about most. (Also, we were able to purchase online at a $5 discount instaed of paying $40 in NYC.)

    Hope this helps. :)

  11. Oh...I love NYC!! I lived there for a short while after I finished my undergrad degree. I have been several times since.

    So many fun things to do and see! Sounds like you have a great list started. Don't be afraid to stray from your plans if you see something interesting.

    I say walk, walk, walk all you can. It's a wonderful city to see on foot!!!

    Have a blast!

  12. I LOVE this city and lived near NYC for a few years. I loved just walking the city streets and happening upon the most amazing sites.

    If you're in midtown, go check out the inside of Grand Central on 42nd and the Chrysler building (from the outside only). Opposite Rockefeller Ctr, walk into St. Patrick's Cathedral to soak up the architecture. What a beautiful church amid the craziness of city, yet so peaceful.

    Downtown, do go to Ground Zero (it is very moving), then walk through World Financial Ctr (towards the Hudson River). There's a lovely walkway along the river.

    Going to Ellis Island and the Statue of Liberty was an amazing experience for me, but you could also just take a harbor tour to see the city from a different perspective.

    I love walking across the Brooklyn Bridge (amazing views right around) and then eating somewhere near Pier 17.

    Don't miss SoHo, Chinatown and Little Italy while you're downtown!

    Any questions, just ask. There are so many free things to do in this city, like Central Park, summer concerts, the Staten Island ferry, and taking in the street life. Enjoy!

  13. Re: Guggenheim - if you have limited time, you could just go into the lobby and look at Frank Lloyd Wright's amazing architecture for free. I've been to the Gug several times, and at times the art has been disappointing. I like their little coffee shop, though. ;-)

    Personally, I loved everything about MOMA, but beware that it can take several hours and leave one oversaturated/exhausted.

    I'd skip Tavern on the Green, but go on a carriage ride through Central Park or stroll in and out at various locations.

    Since you're a foodie, you might like browsing the isles of Dean & Deluca in SoHo:

    Now look what you've done. I can't stop! I miss this city so much!

    Oh! Almost forgot. Junior's cheesecake! If you can't get to Brooklyn or Broadway, go down to the food court in Grand Central and grab a slice of pure heaven.


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