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  #51  
Old 10-11-2019, 01:23 AM
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I like the High Line, but I will admit it is not a pleasant experience in poor weather and overly crowded in peak hours during good weather. It's certainly nicer than walking over the same ground at street level. Rather than treat the High Line as a destination, think of it as a way to get from place to place. The south end has the Whitney and Chelsea Market, further up are the many art galleries in Chelsea. The north end used to be a kind of desert, but the brand-spanking new Hudson Yards.
Oddly enough, all the years I lived in Queens and came in often, and the four years I worked in the city over the summer, I never went to Chelsea. I was more an East Village type. Plus, if you live in the city I can see walking the streets as being a drag, but New York streets are among the most interesting in the world, and so walking them is a plus.
  #52  
Old 10-11-2019, 11:18 PM
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Plus, if you live in the city I can see walking the streets as being a drag, but New York streets are among the most interesting in the world, and so walking them is a plus.
Thus is generally true, but large swathes of the far West Side (west of Penn Station) north of Chelsea are pretty dreary walks, especially going north-south. It seems like only chains can afford the rents on some of the the avenues, so you can basically count the number of Citibanks, Starbucks, and Duane Reades you pass by. You can also pass a bunch of construction sites, or buildings with empty storefronts, as owners are trying to sell the buildings off to developers planning the next big Hudson Yards-like project.
  #53  
Old 10-11-2019, 11:34 PM
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It may be surprising, but NYC is a fantastic place for budget eating. You can easily get a very large, very tasty meal at the three restaurants I mentioned (and many more) for under $15 a person. Under $10 for Go Go Curry and NY Pizza Suprema.
I don't know about Pizza Suprema, but I can 't see the OP fitting their party of seven into the branches of Xi'an Famous Foods or GoGo Curry that I've been to.

NYC is also the land of the $10-12 avocado toast. I think you're way overstating the budget eating, especially in the touristy areas of Manhattan that the OP is likely to be going to. I once took a day bus trip into Manhattan (3.5 hour ride) with a friend and her parents, and her parents were agog at the meal prices at places I thought were inexpensive. They considered any entree over ten dollars as expensive/fancy and sure as heck weren't going to eat "weird" food.
  #54  
Old 10-12-2019, 12:08 AM
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Start off at The Transit Museum, walk across the Brooklyn Bridge visit The South Street Seaport, check out Wall St., see the World Trade Center memorial.
I rate the Transit Museum as one of the better non-major, non-art museums in the City. I mean, it's underground in an unused subway station, so how cool is that? However, it is $10 a ticket, so $70 for the group, plus $21 to get over there via subway. That's $91 out of $200 dollars, leaving about $15.50 per person for two meals.

There might be a cheaper way to get over to Brooklyn, if the OP takes their trip before Governor's Island closes for the season (check). The ferry from Battery Park is free on the weekend, and from Governor's Island, one can take the other ferry to Brooklyn Bridge Park and walk to The Transit Museum or walk around the cobblestone streets of DUMBO before walking across the Brooklyn Bridge.
  #55  
Old 10-12-2019, 01:16 AM
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Ummm....is the parking fee coming out of your $200 budget or is it separate? Parking for the day is going to cost a good chunk of change. If you can get into the city about two hours earlier, you would probably be able to park for free in lower Manhattan on a Saturday. (All the Wall St types and city government employees won't be around.)
I already booked parking for $19 for 12 hours by Madison square garden. And no, that's not part of the budget. It's not a hard $200 either, but I would rather not spend money on anything but food and maybe cheap transportation in the city this go around.
  #56  
Old 10-12-2019, 07:23 AM
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There might be a cheaper way to get over to Brooklyn, if the OP takes their trip before Governor's Island closes for the season (check). The ferry from Battery Park is free on the weekend, and from Governor's Island, one can take the other ferry to Brooklyn Bridge Park and walk to The Transit Museum or walk around the cobblestone streets of DUMBO before walking across the Brooklyn Bridge.
The ferry lands in Brooklyn at the Brooklyn Heights end of Brooklyn Bridge Park. Still plenty of cobblestone streets there -- it's one of NYC's prettier neighborhoods, and it's designated a historic district, so it's pretty much untouchable by developers. One could still walk to the Transit Museum, which I think is actually closer to Brooklyn Heights than to DUMBO.

Or walk through Brooklyn Bridge Park to the DUMBO end, which is a nice walk in and of itself. Then up along Old Fulton Street (right past the famous Grimaldi's Pizza, if you're hungry, but there's always a line there) and right onto the Brooklyn Bridge for the walk back.
  #57  
Old 10-12-2019, 07:58 AM
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Check out the Time Warner Center, Brookfield Place and Hudson Yards. Basically a tour of the various upscale mixed-use commercial developments / shopping centers.
  #58  
Old 10-12-2019, 09:23 AM
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I already booked parking for $19 for 12 hours by Madison square garden.
That is a really good deal for NYC.
  #59  
Old 10-12-2019, 09:49 AM
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You've got six other people with you
This is the problem - herding 7 people around is... troublesome.

Otherwise, I did this about a year ago (but I was on my own.) I hadn't been to NYC in over a decade so, it wasn't like I was familiar with the place. I went to Central Park, Times Square (I'm a tourist - I'm ok doing touristy things) went to a couple of museums (MoMa & Whitney), walked around a lot (including part of the High Line), and then left. But it was just me - and I like walking and I didn't have to negotiate with 6 other people. Also, I was lucky in that it was a sunny, warm (but not scorching hot) day. You will want to make alternative plans in case of weather.

Good luck!
  #60  
Old 10-12-2019, 11:28 AM
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Head straight to Zabar's for real bagels, not the chewy wad that calls itself a bagel in the Pacific Northwest.
  #61  
Old 10-12-2019, 08:22 PM
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Originally Posted by Ashtura View Post
I already booked parking for $19 for 12 hours by Madison square garden. And no, that's not part of the budget. It's not a hard $200 either, but I would rather not spend money on anything but food and maybe cheap transportation in the city this go around.
Ooh, that's really cheap for all-day in Midtown. I guess booking in advance makes a big difference.
  #62  
Old 10-12-2019, 08:37 PM
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The ferry lands in Brooklyn at the Brooklyn Heights end of Brooklyn Bridge Park. Still plenty of cobblestone streets there -- it's one of NYC's prettier neighborhoods, and it's designated a historic district, so it's pretty much untouchable by developers. One could still walk to the Transit Museum, which I think is actually closer to Brooklyn Heights than to DUMBO.

Or walk through Brooklyn Bridge Park to the DUMBO end, which is a nice walk in and of itself. Then up along Old Fulton Street (right past the famous Grimaldi's Pizza, if you're hungry, but there's always a line there) and right onto the Brooklyn Bridge for the walk back.
Useful info. I've never actually taken the ferry to Brooklyn from Governor's Island before. The original owners of Grimaldi's opened a new place called Juliana's, which is a few doors down from Grimialdi's and of the same quality.

Last edited by bmoak; 10-12-2019 at 08:37 PM.
  #63  
Old 10-12-2019, 09:19 PM
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Governor's Island is<IMHO, one of the underrated places in the city, especially when you consider it's free. Great walking and vantage points plus the best views of Lower Manhattan and NY Harbor. Castle Williams and Fort Jay, which are run by the National Park Service and feature tours by park rangers (always take the ranger tour at NPS sites), plus several mini-museums, art installations, food trucks, etc.

Maybe not a choice for a group with only one day in NYC, though.
  #64  
Old 10-12-2019, 11:33 PM
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I'm surprised that nobody has mentioned the many 1-dollar-a-slice pizza places especially in Midtown Manhattan. Typically they don't have much of a seating area (which is probably how they keep costs low) and the slices aren't too big but they're not puny either. They're tasty as well, and 2 slices would make an ok meal for someone who's not a big eater.

Another reasonably priced food option is the food carts, like this one: https://thehalalguys.com/; gyro or felafel platters are around $ 8 or so. If it's not a cold day you can eat in the park.

The Guggenheim is pay what you wish on Saturdays from 5-8. It's right off Central Park and an easy subway ride from midtown.
https://www.guggenheim.org/plan-your-visit
  #65  
Old 10-13-2019, 10:05 AM
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I'm surprised that nobody has mentioned the many 1-dollar-a-slice pizza places especially in Midtown Manhattan. Typically they don't have much of a seating area (which is probably how they keep costs low) and the slices aren't too big but they're not puny either. They're tasty as well, and 2 slices would make an ok meal for someone who's not a big eater.

Another reasonably priced food option is the food carts, like this one: https://thehalalguys.com/; gyro or felafel platters are around $ 8 or so. If it's not a cold day you can eat in the park.
https://www.guggenheim.org/plan-your-visit
I was going to get to food later. Food carts are an good choice for at least one of the meals IFF a) there is park or other place near to sit snd eat and b) if the weather is good.

I was bringing people to NYC for the first time and talking up NYC pizza, I'd probably not want to take them to a grab-and-go two-dollar-a-slice place (or Sbarro's for that matter). It would still be cost effective to go a decent pizza place and split a few whole pies made fresh to order
  #66  
Old 10-13-2019, 10:43 AM
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Thanks for the suggestions so far. How does this circuit sound?

1. Drop off at Penn station
2. Walk to the Empire State Building (7 minute walk according to google maps)
3. Walk to Chrysler Building (15 minute walk)
4. Walk to Rockefeller Center (15 minutes)
5. Walk to Time Square (9 minutes)
6. Walk back to Penn Station (15 minutes)
Penn Station is kind of no-man's land as far as interesting stuff. The Empire State and Chrysler Bulidings are icon because of their skylines, but they are not interesting buildings themselves. You can walk around them at ground level and not even notice.

I've already made my thoughts known on Times Square. Rockefeller Center is memorable for the Christmas season, but over the years, it seems like the more interesting or unique shops have been replaced by well-known expensive brands and labels stores. St Patrick's Cathedral is right across the street, though.

Someone suggested Grand Central Station, and I would agree. It's certainly an iconic location from top to bottom. (Literally from the murals on the ceiling in the Grand Concourse to the Grand Central Oyster Bar down below). Tucked down in the shopping concourse is an annex (a small free gallery with one exhibit plus a gift shop), and there is also a dining concourse/food court with enough options that would be affordable under your budget, such as Shake Shack). The large Urbanspace Vanderbilt Food Hall is only a block or two away.
  #67  
Old 10-13-2019, 11:02 AM
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One relatively (last 15 years or so) new thing in NYC is the growth of foodhalls. Basically, a fast-casual upgrade on the mall food court, but with actually good vendors, including mini-outposts of well-regarded restaurants. Central seating makes food halls a godsend for a group of people who can't agree on what to eat.

They're especially godsends to commuters, who were previously stuck with choices like Sbarro's and other dismal dinging options at Penn Station, Columbus Circle, and other major hub stations. There's probably at least one foodhall near any area of Manhattan you would look to visit.
  #68  
Old 10-13-2019, 11:28 AM
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Given the OPís constraints, and thinking about it for a while, Iím going to say that the best way to get bang-for-buck for a group on in a budget in a single day in NYC would be to focus on Lower Manhattan. Itís very compact for walking, so you donít have to spend a lot of time walking from place to place, and there are a lot of free/cheap attractions in a pretty small area.

To be extra thrifty, the OP can drop his party off on Lower Manhattan, drive to his reserved parking spot, and then take the subway down himself to rendezvous with the others in 30-45minutes.
  #69  
Old 10-13-2019, 12:11 PM
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Well, if I were going to spend a day in Manhattan I'd visit my MIL, maybe my cousin, and maybe the place I used to work. And I'd take the subway to go uptown/downtown, but might take a cab across town. But... what to do with a gaggle of tourists without spending money? Hmm

I'd probably take them on the Staten Island ferry, to see the sights. And probably either Central Park or the Brooklyn Botanical Garden. Central park gives you a nice cross-section, from joggers around the pond, to the big open field where kids play and concerts happen, to the ramble (which does a decent job of feeling like you aren't in the midst of an enormous city) to the formal conservatory gardens. But, perhaps you don't like gardens, and perhaps it's not the ideal season for them.

Sure, walk around lower Manhattan. See the Wall Street bull. Um, I'm running out of other stuff to see down there -- maybe because I worked there is all seems ordinary? It is the financial heart of the city, though, and there are lots of interesting shops to windowshop along with the office buildings.

At the other end of Manhattan, the Cathedral of St. John the Divine is pretty cool. It's built like a traditional cathedral, with traditional cut stone. They've had to train their own masons. The carvings are quite interesting -- they started out mostly planning to do white male saints, but then they took a turn into the modern, and had some pillar representing the four horsemen of the apocalypse, represented by drug addiction, AIDs, and other modern plagues. They used to have peacocks running around the grounds, too.

Mid town is pretty dull, with lots of tall buildings that aren't very interesting from the ground, imo. Uptown and Downtown are more fun.
  #70  
Old 10-13-2019, 12:44 PM
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Possibilities in Lower Manhattan:

-Youíre not going to be going up One World Tower to the Observatory Level, but you can certainly get some good views of the skyscraper from Battery Park. The 9/11 Museum is not free, but the Memorial/Reflecting Pools are there to see. The new World Trade Center is also includes The Oculus, the quite new, striking transportation hub for lower Manhattan.
-There are also several large new retail/dining/shopping complexes in/around the World Trade Center area, such as Brookfiled Place and the concourse of shops in the World Trade Center buildings.
-Also around there is the downtown branch of Mario Batali & Friendsí Eataly, a wonderful Italian mark/food stall/restaurant space. There is also a similar French-based concept called the District.
-Battery Park is small, but has a lot of stuff in it. The ferries to Liberty Island leave from there, so watch out for pushy touts smelling tourist dollars.
Next to the Liberty Island ferries are that slips for the Staten Island Ferry and the Governorís Island Ferry. Castle Clinton has Park Rangers giving tours. You can also walk along the harbor promenade
-Adjoining Battery Park is Bowling Green, where the famous Charging Bull/Standing Girl statures are located. Bowling Green is also the terminus of the Canyon of Heroes down Broadway. If you look down at the sidewalks while you walk along Bíway there is a plaque to mark every ticker tape parade the city has ever held.
-Off Bowling Green is the stately old US Customs House, which now holds the free National Museum of the American Indian.
-Trinity Church is not only a historic church, its adjoining cemetery hold such luminaries as Alexander Hamilton and Robert Fulton. You can walk two minutes down Wall Street past the NYSE to Federal Wall, our nationsís first capital. Like all National Park Service monuments, itís free, and has ranger-led tours. Unfortunately, itís closed on Saturdays, but the outside is certainly striking.
-A little further north is The African Burial Ground National Monument, which is also run by the NPS.
-Lower Manhattan also several smaller, but still engaging, affordably-price museums. Thereís the Museum of Jewish Heritage ($8, but closed on Saturdays), The Skyscraper Museum ($5), and Fraunces Tavern ($7), where Washington gave his farewell speech to his troops and is a rather nice museum on colonial-era New York.)
  #71  
Old 10-13-2019, 12:58 PM
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From Lower Manhattan, it's a short work to Chinatown. Just walk past City Hall and the Manhattan Distict Court buildings and you'll be at the end of Mott Street, the traditional heart of Manhattan's Chinatown.

Chinatown is probably the best neighborhood in Manhattan to eat on a budget. You can go to a cheap noodle or dumpling house, a dim sum place, or an old-school Cantonese place with shared plates, where you can spilt five or six dishes among 7 people and probably not finish them all.

Chinatown is also a great are for walking around in to see the sights and poke through stores. From there, there are enough subway connections along Canal Street to get to any other part of Manhattan. You can also continue walking to the Lower East Side, or SoHo or up toe the East Village or as far as Union Square.
  #72  
Old 10-13-2019, 01:34 PM
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Someone mentioned where to get a good view of the Empire State Building. I found that Madison Square Park, about 10 blocks out of ESB in the Flatiron District offers really good views from the south end of the park.

I once had to wait a while in the area to meet someone running late, so I sat in amnestying outdoor seating cafe drinking a coffee across the street from the Flatiron Building as dusk was seeing in the ESB's lights came on. Great view.

Flatiron isn't a great tourist destination, but might bar a good place to end the day, as it's a short walk to MSG from there. In addition to the ESB view and the Flatiron Building, there's are some interesting things to while away an hour or two in the area. There's the original Eataly, Abigails Lego store full of ginormous Lego dioramas. There's a cluster of home design/furnshing stores in the area, and some good relatively inexpensive food options, such as the original Shake Shack in the park and Hill Country Chicken.
  #73  
Old 10-13-2019, 02:08 PM
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On to food:

I know you're on a budget, but it would be a shame if you had two meals in NYC and had to eat at a Sbarro's and/or one of those Midtown pay-by-weight salad bars catering to office workers featuring limp, wilted salad greens and overcooked pasta that's been on a steam table all day.

I already said that Chinese food in Chinatown is probably the best option for good-but budget eating in Manhattan in a table sit-down restaurant.

Similar options are other foods that lend to sharing food amongst the group rather than ordering individually. Some Korean places do this, where you order platters of meat and grill them at your table. It's not as cheap as Chinese, but you also get a nice spread of free banchan appetizers. Koreatown is right next to Madison Square Garden, you you could finish with dinner in that area.

Pizza is also a good food to share to keep total costs down. Two or three shared pies should give you a meal. The better places, such as Lombardi's in Soho, won't even sell by the slice.

Buffet is another option. There is a long stretch of Indian restaurants along Lexington Ave in the high-20s/low30s that are in competition with other to draw lunch buffet customers. You can fill up on curries and probably wouldn't need anything more than a light meal from a pushcart or a bagel sandwich. You can also stop at Kalustyan's, the Indian/Middle-Eastern spice and grocery emporium

I mentioned food halls previously.

Pushcarts are great if there is seating nearby and the weather's fine. I would avoid dirty water hot dogs, as there are much better options, such as the Halal Guys, or stands featuring gyros and the like.

Bagels are a very NYC thing, and a bagel sandwich with ham, egg, and cheese is a pretty cheap filling meal when you're on the go.
  #74  
Old 10-13-2019, 02:31 PM
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Bagels are a very NYC thing, and a bagel sandwich with ham, egg, and cheese is a pretty cheap filling meal when you're on the go.
A bagel sandwich with ham and cheese is going to get you a funny look at some places.

I got bagels from four different bagel places in Yorkville when I stayed there, and what I noticed (and appreciated) was that the bagels were old time normal bagels, not the weird stuff they have in Noah's near me in California. They tried to get rid of onion bagels once and the store gave me a gift card to thank me for writing to Noah's to complain.
We went to a lot of restaurants on First Avenue, 90% very good to excellent. Stay away from chains and you'll probably do ok in New York. There was even an excellent barbecue place, something I hadn't expected to find.
  #75  
Old 10-14-2019, 01:20 PM
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The Staten Island ferry is free? How does it stay afloat?
ISWYDT. However, to answer what I believe is your real question - Staten Island is both literally & figuratively an island. One can walk/bike/drive for free to/from the other boroughs but there is no free access to/from SI. The only bridge into NY is the Verrazanno-Narrows, a toll bridge with no bike/pedestrian access. The other three bridges to/from SI all go to NJ; again tolls for cars & no bike/pedestrian access.
The ferry wouldn't make much money & to give the SI residents free access to the rest of the city that other NYC residents have it was decided to make it free.


As others have said, I'd go with Lower Manhattan. Battery Park, SI ferry, WTC memorial / Oculus, bull statue, NYSE (open for tours when they're open, but you can see the outside of the iconic building if you're otherwise in the area), over the Brooklyn Bridge, Chinatown.

If you're going to be in Midtown-West, get (free, timed) tix for the Vessel @ Hudson Yards in advance. It's the northern terminus of the High Line but it's a couple of blocks from anything else interesting. (B&H is closed on Sat, the old post office isn't open yet).
  #76  
Old 10-14-2019, 07:09 PM
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Someone suggested Grand Central Station, and I would agree. It's certainly an iconic location from top to bottom. (Literally from the murals on the ceiling in the Grand Concourse to the Grand Central Oyster Bar down below). Tucked down in the shopping concourse is an annex (a small free gallery with one exhibit plus a gift shop), and there is also a dining concourse/food court with enough options that would be affordable under your budget, such as Shake Shack). The large Urbanspace Vanderbilt Food Hall is only a block or two away.
I mentioned an annex, but I forgot to say an annex of what. It's an annex of the Transit Museum
  #77  
Old Yesterday, 12:57 PM
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The Staten Island ferry is free? How does it stay afloat?
By weighing less than the volume of water it displaces, obviously.
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