I lived in New York until I was thirteen years old. My parents moved to Long Island. I wasn't sure if I would still be considered a Noo Yawka until checking the profile page of fellow Epinionater AliventiAsylum. I checked out the list and I now know, "I am definitely a Noo Yawka!!"
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After moving to the island I would go back to the old NYC neighborhood with new friends to check it out. I met my wife at age fifteen at Jones Beach. We married at age twenty one. One place we often visited while dating was New York City. At the time we did have to watch where we were going in that some parts of the city were run down. All that is different now. The city thrives!! In the last ten years it has come alive!! It is a must place to visit!!! Due to the tragedy of September 11th and lower tourism some hotel bargains can be had at this time.
New York is serviced by three airports, JFK, LaGuardia, and Newark airports. LaGuardia and Newark are about half an hour taxi ride to midtown Manhattan and JFK is just ten or fifteen minutes more of a ride. Time of day does make a difference from all three. Rush hour can slow things up. JFK is just finishing up a major project that will have Airtrain service at all the main terminals. From the Airtrain you would be taken to Jamaica Station, transfer to a different train, and go right into the city's Penn Station. Check out more information about this service and about JFK INTERNATIONAL AIRPORT
Newark has monorail service now.
By bus you can get to NY's Port Authority Building between 40 and 42nd street at Ninth Avenue. This huge terminal services over 15 different bus carriers from all over the nation.
If you come in by train, Penn Station and Grand Central Stations are the two large entry stations. Though you may have luggage and you are just arriving, do take some time to check out Grand Central Station. It is an amazing structure! Be sure to shop and/or eat in the promenade. They also have free tours of the station a couple of times a week. In the same building is The New York Transit Museum. It also is free. For info on these free tours dial 1 (212) 340 3404. Right next door is the Grand Hyatt Hotel. It has its own underground entrance ot Grand Central Station.
From Long Island my wife and I generally take the Long Island Railroad into the city. On occasion I will drive my car. Do know that street parking is very hard to find in the city and in some places the only option is parking garages that are pretty pricey. Generally a fee of thirty dollars for six or eight hours is the rate.
I do not recommend renting a car in NY. It just isn't worth the hassle of trying to get around and trying to find parking. If you are staying at a hotel ask if they have any deals with local parking places. This can save you some $$$$$.
Some cruises do come into NY. They usually come in on the west side of the city. Look for the Intrepid Sea-Air-Space Museum while coming in to dock. It is a World War Two aircraft carrier that is now a museum. It was also the primary recovery ship for many space launches.A submarine and other ships are open for inspection too.
Public transportation and walking is the best way to navigate the city. Getting a map of the Metro Card System is a must. These are available on all buses and subway stations. By checking out where the bus and train lines go you can easily get around town. There is also a great little Pop up Map that can be purchased around the city. It's small, has all the streets and train lines.
For the most part the subways are clean. I feel perfectly safe in them now. Ten or fifteen years ago things were different. That's when NY got the rap for being dangerous. Now it is one of the safest large cities in the USA. Whenever taking a subway ask the clerk that sells the Metro Cards the best way to a destination. These people can be very helpful. Be sure to ask about daily and weekly Metro Passes. You can save some money this way.
Using buses and trains will get you to a general area. From there go on foot and start walking. There is so much to see.
If you prefer you can get on a tour bus. The Grayline Company, the red doubledecker buses with New York Sightseeing, printed on the side are everywhere. There are a few other companies too. There is commentary from the guide on board. Most of these tours let you on and off at places of interest. This is a good way to orient yourself to the city.
New York is so diverse in what it has to offer. This is true about it's tours too.
Some tours available are.
NYC Discovery Tours
Historical Tours through the Big Onion
New York Talks and Walks
TV Tours See Seinfeld, Friends, and other TV sets.
Tours of Radio City and the NBC building
one is named "Original Sopranos tour: Peek inside Bada Bing"
NY like a Native tour
My wife and I recently took the Tenement Tour in lower Manhattan. This showed actual apartments that were boarded up in the late 1800's and recently opened to find everything as it was then. We found it very interesting.
I also recommend the Harlem Spirituals, Gospels, and Jazz tour. While in Harlem be sure to eat at Sylvia's it is a landmark Soul Food Restaurant. Finger lickin' good!!
Tours can also be had on water. Take a cruise with a commentator on the Circle Line or Liberty Harbor Charters. My wife and I recently went aboard a boat and took the NY Waterway 1 hour tour of NY's Lower Harbor. Boat rides are a wonderful way to see the city late in the day, perhaps at sunset, after a hard day of sightseeing.
Just relax or start taking some "keeper" pictures. Remember, NYC's Manhattan is an island. There is so much to see from the rivers and harbor. A visit to The Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island is a must. You depart from Battery Park.
If you don't have time to visit be sure to take a cruise that takes you close to them. The Jewish Heritage Museum is nearby Battery Park too.
I haven't taken one, but, bicycle tours are also to be had. If you have extra dollars take a Carriage Ride through Central Park. Do this any time of year. The carriages are not out in extreme hot or cold weather. The horse take those days off. I have to join their union.
If you are daring and have cash falling out of your pocket you can take a Helicopter Tour that takes off from a river barges or docks.
To get further information about some of these tours go to www.NY.com There you can find some good information. I have used it.
Though the tours are terrific the best or at least most thorough way to see the city is to have some time and start walking. In most parts of the city you can see major landmarks just a short walk from each other.
Taxis are available and must be flagged down for the most part. There are a few taxi stations in the city but not nearly what you find in other major cities like Rome and London. I found that going to a hotel, giving the doorman a couple of dollars, helps get a cab pretty quickly. On rainy nights, cabs are almost impossible to get. Again, wait in line at one of the major hotels and the doorman will get one for you. The lines can be very long in inclement weather.
GET ON FOOT AND HIT THE STREETS
Midtown Manhattan is probably the place to immerse yourself in New York City. Times Square is the hot spot. This encompasses 40th to 51st street and Broadway and seventh and eighth Ave. I suggest seeing this place at day and night. The lights, signs, marques, smells and sounds are incredible! If you are real daring start off the New Year here. This area is so exciting. I enjoy people watching here. All the heads of tourists are bent back looking at all the tech wonders around them. You will find many street entertainers in this area. Some are terrific and others just walk by. DO NOT MISS the Times Square Visitors Center. It has great maps of all the city and very informative people. But it offers some pretty cool free things too. Have your picture up on one of the giant screens on Broadway and it's FREE and when I went there was no line. Read my review of the place. This is an unknown destination that should not be missed.
Be sure to get tickets for a play before coming to town. If you didn't do so go to TKTS. There are a couple of these places. One is in Times square on 47th and Broadway. The other is in the South Street Seaport area. You can get tickets for the particular night you are there by seeing what is available in the late morning and afternoon and purchasing the tickets at well discounted prices. My wife and I do that often! We purchased half price tickets for the Broadway Play Aida a couple of months ago. It was a half price bargain. We just recently purchased TKTS for Thoroughly Modern Millie. I won 6 Tony awards. It was terrific.
Nearby the theatre on Broadway is a little eats place by the name of Ellen's Stardust Diner.
Up and coming stars work here at the tables. Every seven to ten minutes one of them gets up and belts out a song. It's a fun atmosphere for all ages.
Another fun place for sports fans and/or kids is the ESPN Zone. It has great food, the best sports watching set up, and a great arcade upstairs.
For good quick eats try the Manhattan Chili Company and Ollies Noodle Shop. If chains are your thing then maybe you would want to try TGI Fridays
Be sure to walk down Broadway and 42nd Street. It's truly an amazing area.!! You must go into Madame Tussaud's wax Museum on 42nd. It really is cool! I can say the same for Ripley's Believe It Or Not that opened next door recently in 2007.
Within a short walk of this area is Radio City Music Hall. If you are in town for the winter holidays try and get to see the Radio City Christmas Spectacular. It's a wonderful show done on a grand scale, live animals and all! You can have tours of this grand building too.
Right across the street is Rockefeller Center. During the winter holidays this is where the famed Rockefeller Center Christmas Tree is lighted. Below it is an Ice Skating Rink. Rental skates and time is available. In the promenade below are a couple of fine restaurants. You can eat and view the skaters and watch the crowds above.
Just across the street from here is Saks 5th Ave for a shopping spree. They always have great holiday window displays in the winter. If you have those big dollars weighing down your pockets and pocket books, a stop in mid town stores like Tiffany and Co, Bergdorf Goodman, Lord and Taylor, and Macy's can help lighten your load.
Also part of the Rockefeller Complex is the NBC Building. More tours are available here. If you want an Evening of fine dining be sure to make reservations for The Rainbow Room. It is gorgeous, serves wonderful food, has live music, and a view that can't be beat.
Well maybe the view can be equaled or even surpassed by the Empire State Building. I love it up there. You can also now see some added attractions like a Tour of NYC on a Simulator ride. This is fun for the kids and adults alike. They have deals for the observation deck of the building and seeing the added on show. I love the deco art of the building. Be sure to take your time and really look it over. Another deco wonder is the Chrysler Building. Architecturally it's my favorite.
In the mid town area there is so much to see. I didn't mention St Patrick's Cathedral across from Radio City. Look for many different places to check out in this area. The Museum of Television and Radio is on 52nd street. Go up a few blocks and catch a tour of the Sony Wonder Technology Labs on 55th and Madison. To relax a bit go up another a block or two and have lunch at an atrium. There are a couple to choose from. The IBM Atrium and Rock Garden is beautiful. For a bit more splash check out Trump's Gardens and Waterfalls in the Atrium of the Towers on 56th street and 5th Ave.
While in this area you are very close to Central Park. This is a place that has more than you may ever expect. For more information be sure to read a review I did of it. Please take time to wander through parts of the park. It is an amazing place. The truth about it is that none of it is real. What I mean is that all of it was designed. All the water in the streams and lakes have pumps underground that feed them. You would swear that all is natural.
Staying in New York can be expensive. At the same time because tourism is still down a bit you can find some bargains if you are willing to take a chance. Long distance travelers may not have these options. Great prices in midtown Manhattan can be had through Priceline. That's the only one I know a bit about. You can get a four star room in mid-town for about $140.00. A three star can go as low as $75.00.
I had some young teen guests that followed my son's band in England and Germany. They were looking to stay at Youth Hostels to save some money. As it turned out we went to about three or four of these places. They were bare bones and not worth the price of $35. to $40.a person per night. We found a few hotels at an $79. price for two. These were much better accommodations. Not even close. One place we have stayed in a few times is in lower Manhattan right across from Ground Zero. It's the Millenium Hilton Hotel. It has fantastic location and it's very well run. It was closed for almost a year and a half due to damage from the collapsing Twin Towers. The hotel recently reopened and my wife and I stayed there. The place was terrific and has one of the very few hotel pools in all NY. For something nearby Grand Central Station the Grand Hyatt would be perfect.
On 59th street across from the park is the Plaza Hotel. Nearby on 5th Ave just a block away is the Pierre Hotel. If you have big dollars these are places you may try. I have done events in both places. I have never stayed in either. They are both unbelievable old Europe Grand.
The horse carriages that go through Central Park are across from the Plaza. Central Park, besides being central in the city, is also a central point for much culture. Many museums and other cultural centers are in or around it. The Metropolitan Museum of Art also known as the MET, is actually on Central Park grounds. Did you know that except for the Smithsonian's Space Center in Washington DC, the Metropolitan Museum of Art is the most visited museum in the United States?.
Other museums and cultural places that are on the perimeter of the the park or just a block or two away are the Whitney Museum, Guggenheim Museum, Museum of Natural History, Lincoln Center, Carnegie Hall, the Frick Collection and MOMA, The Museum of Modern Art. Actually, MOMA is six blocks away on 53rd street.
NYC is also a city of contrasts. Last Thursday my wife and I went into the city to see an opera. It was at the Metropolitan Opera House. This place is part of the Lincoln Center complex. The opera was wonderful. The place is beautiful. It is also home of the New York City Ballet, and NY Philharmonic Orchestra. People were, for the most part, dressed up. There were a couples in black ties and gowns but for the most part, suits, jackets with tie, and dresses were the norm. The place is elegant. This was a night out of fine culture. The next night was completely different and this is what I mean about contrasts. We went into Greenwich Village to a place called the Elbow room, it has that name for a reason. T shirt and jeans were the norm for dress. We saw my sons band play along with another band that he was part of and toured Europe with for the last two years. The music was loud and brash echoing the feelings of the youth. This may not be considered a night of culture in all circles, but, we had a great time!. The village is a very interesting place. There is a whole sub culture that is wonderful to watch from one of the many fine little restaurants that dot the streets. Do be sure to pay the cover and listen to some bands while down there. You have many places to try and many choices of music.
Down in lower Manhattan near the village are many other areas all within walking distance of each other. Little Italy, Chinatown ,Soho, Tribeca, and the East Village all have a feel of their own. I lived in this area when I was younger and love it. Slowly walking the streets is the best way to experience them. In this area is the Down Town Tenement Museum It is a very interesting fairly new place that documents the experience of early immigrants in a New York apartment house.
Restaurants dot this area and all the city. If you are around for a short visit I suggest stopping at any place that looks good and do it. Stay away from chains. They are overpriced in NY. You can follow Zagats Guides. They list fine dining and small out of the way places. For me a hot dog or kinish, on occasion, from a street vendor suites me well and leaves more time for adventuring.
This all brings you close to the old city. Manhattan is basically a grid. Streets start at 2nd street and go up into the hundreds. The avenues are pretty much the same way. 1st Ave , 2nd Ave, up to eleventh. There are a few other Avenues sandwiched in between. Broadway, and Park Ave are examples. The old city streets way downtown are not part of a grid. They are the original streets from a couple of hundred years ago. For getting around here a map is very helpful. I like the Pop-up maps. They are handy, helpful, easy to read, and very durable.
On the map look up The South Street Seaport, Wall Street, Castle Clinton in Battery Park, Federal Hall, The Jewish Heritage Museum, St Paul's Chapel and other land marks. I love walking around lower Manhattan. It is a very interesting area. There are plenty of subway stops down there.
Lower Manhattan is also where The Twin Towers once stood. You can now see ground zero. There is a temporary memorial in Battery Park. Do visit it. This is also where you would pick up the Ferry that would take you to The Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island. These are the National Park Run Tours. The price is very inexpensive for the ride. This is another must stop.
There are five National Park run sites in the city. If you are a Collector of stamps of the park system look for them on www.nps.org
There is so much more I could talk about in reference to NEW YORK CITY. It is wonderful and full of excitement. I will make one more recommendation. Get a City Pass. It costs about $40.00. With it you get free admission to The Museum of Natural History, one of my favorites, The Guggenheim Museum, The Intrepid Sea and Air Space Museum, MOMA, The Empire State Building, a cruise with Circle Line, Madame Tussaud's Wax Museum and the Whitney Museum of American Art. This is a NEW YORK CITY BARGAIN!!
There is so much more to tell you about New York City. There are always special events going on. I didn't even get to mention the Macy's Thanks Giving Day Parade. and the St.Patricks Day Parade There are loads of fun Ethnic and Cultural Parades too! Yes there truly is an Easter Parade with all sorts showing their Easter Hats and finest. For a really wild show check out the Village Parade during Halloween. It's NOT for kids! Go to Chinatown for their New Years Celebration! The The Fourth of July Fireworks in the Harbor are incredible. E-mail me if you need to know when it takes place.
I know I mentioned Central Park earlier but did you know you can get a Gondola Ride there? Yes you can! You can experience all kinds of New York and international themes. Hey, This is NEW YORK the Greatest City in the World!!
Wonderful Weekends from New York City
More NYC reviews
write.html/cid_~412809268868 It's New!!
Beatles Tribute Band, Don't miss them! 42nd street
The Empire State Building
Radio City Music Hall A Spectacular place to see a show!
Museum of Television and Radio
The INTREPID Sea-Air-Space MUSEUM It's a good one!
The BEAST a thrill ride tour of The Statue of Liberty. It's fantastic!!
Museum of Natural History
Madame Tussaud's Wax Museum
The Metropolitan Museum of ART The MET
The Guggenheim Museum
Madison Square Garden
TKTS half price tickets to Broadway
Choir Boyz Best Off Broadway Musical
Jersey Boys Tony Award for Best Musical and More
Phantom of the Opera
Aida, the Broadway Play Great show at half price
Thoroughly Modern Millie A 6 Tony award winner Broadway Play
The LION KING
The Boy From OZ A new play on Broadway
Les Miserables Revival coming soon!
Strawberry Fields In Central Park
Bethesda Terrace A must visit if in Central Park's Strawberry Fields
Times Square, the Heart of NY
Times Square Visitors Center
Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts
Marriott Marquis New York
New York Hilton
Grand Hyatt Hotel, NYC
W Hotel Union Square
Mid Town Eats
Jekyll and Hyde Club a Spook themed restaurant
Carmines Family Style Dining
Stardust Diner quick eats before a show.
ESPN Zone A sports bar, arcade, and MORE!
B B Kings Food and Music
The Manhattan Chili Company good quick eats before a show.
TGI Friday's Downtown
TGI Friday's Times Square
Pig'n'Whistle, a great Times Square Pub
Tony's Family style Italian In Times Square
The Carnegie Deli Just down the street from the Stage Deli
Stage Deli just down the street from the Carnegie Deli
Tavern On the Green Romantic Dining in Central Park
The Boat House More romantic Dining in Central Park
Sylvia's, a southern soul restaurant in Harlem
The Ginger Man Perhaps one of NYC's best draught and bottle beer selections
Rolf's Bar and Restaurant German food and incredible decor.
Gotham Bar and Grill EXCELLENT!!
Fraunce's Tavern Lower Manhattan. GW ate here.
Cafe Napoli In Little Italy
La Nona Little Italy
Ferrara Bakery and Cafe
Katz's Deli A NYC Landmark
Sequoia Seafood Restaurant At the South Street Seaport
Downtown Manhattan reviews by Popsrocks
The New WORLD TRADE CENTER Construction has begun on the Freedom Tower
The Lower Manhattan Tenement Museum See how immigrants lived when they first arrived
The Statue of Liberty
Castle Clinton National Memorial
National Museum of the American Indian - NY
Battery Park Home of the temporary 9/11 memorial.
SOUTH STREET SEAPORT
NY WATERWAY Tour NYC by boat.
Federal Hall National Historic SiteDowntown across from Wall Street, our first Capital Building was there.
Wall Street Charging Bull
Jewish Heritage Museum
Greenwich VillageIt's Hip and Happening
Washington Square Park
Governor's Island National Monument
National Parks of NY Harbor
Millenium Hilton Hotel., directly across from ground zero. They have reopened! The perfect location to all that is downtown
Ground Zero Sites and Memorials
National September 11 Memorial with Reflecting Pools
9/11 Preview Site...Where you may get day-of passes for the National September Memorial with the Reflecting Pools
St Paul's Chapel and it's Place and Mission After 9/11
Tribute 9/11 Memorial Visitors Center: A Place a Tour that brings those who experienced 9/11 with those who want to know and better understand
FDNY Ten House
FDNY 9/11 Memorial Wall
11 Tears; American Express 9/11 Memorial
Church and Dey: A Restaurant with a View of Ground Zero
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JFK International Airport
The Great Sights of New York: A Photographic Guide
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