4 and a bit days in NYC, what to do?

At 0630GMT Tuesday I catch a plane to Paris, and then on to Newark NJ, before getting some form of transport (airport shuttle?) into NYC to meet up with my girlfriend who has been a counsellor on a girlscout summer camp for the last 9 weeks. Obviously I am quite excited.

I am then in NY for 5 nights, before departing on a camping tour kinda thing

I have also been told that I have to think of things to do before I get there. I am indecisive, and there is so much in New York that we could do (and I am only looking through a tourist guide book) so I ask you, what should two 21 year old Brits see in New York City in 4/5 days? What are the real must see things, and what is overrated tat that somehow gets into the tourist guidebooks year on year?

Any ideas would be appreciated, as would advice on how to survive the flight (my first time flying alone, second time flying, sooooo nervous :frowning: )

[small voice]Please help[/sv]

If you want to go to a museum, I’d skip the Metropolitan. basically, its not that different from major European/British museums you might have been to, such as the National Gallery or Prado. Its a big, huge, overwhelming museum with loads and loads of famous art that will leave you physically and mentally exhausted if you try to see it all.

I’m not sure what the status of the the Museum of Modern Art (it was relocated for renovations) but if its back at it’s 5th Ave/ 52nd st. address, I’d spring for that one. Its small enough to do in one day but owns loads of famous piece (including “Starry Night"by Van Gogh and 'The Persistence of Memory” AKA Melting Clocks by Dali. When you’re done you can walk up Fifth Ave (one of NYC’s ritzier shopping streets) take a look in the window of Tiffany’s, use the bathroom at the Plaza Hotel (one of NYC’s ritzier hotels) and sit and rest at the southern edge of Central Park.

Another destination that’s a hit with the ladies is Katz’s Deli. This is the deli where Meg Ryan did her famous “faking an orgasm” scene in “When Harry Met Sally.” Its kind of expensive and touristy, but the pastrami on rye is the Real Thing. Located at Houston St & 1st Ave, its right off the “2nd Ave” subway stop, kind of on the border between The East Village and the Lower East Side. A few storefronts up is Russ & Daughters, another NYC eating landmark, which is the city’s finest purveyor of smoked fish and caviar. If you’re on a budget, grab a couple of bagels with plain cream cheese and a small container of their whitefish/salmon salad.

What kind of things do you guys like to do? Cultural things like plays/museums? Going out/ clubs? Interested in architecture or history? Particular types of ethnic food? Be a little more specific, I may be biased but NYC really IS the “capitol of everything.”

Go to **Times Square ** at night. There’s nothing like it, except maybe the Ginza in Tokyo. You’ll think you’re at one of the world’s great crossroads.

I think you might overlap with the Republican Convention, which is going to cause a lot of chaos in NY.

You guys will be here right in the middle of the NY Fringe Festival , where over 200 pieces of theatre (musicals/plays/miscellaneous) are taking over the Village – try to catch an off-beat show, and avoid the overpriced Broadway shows.

One of the things I always do when I go to NYC is check out the street fairs. There are a couple close to the Village/SoHo area, on Saturdays (maybe Fridays, not sure), and Sundays. One is called the Annex… don’t remember what the others are called, but someone on here surely knows. Anyway, that’s good if you’re into antiques or vintage stuff, but a lot of it is overpriced.

You might also want to check out a Greenmarket. It’s another fair with a bunch of vendors selling vegetables and organic products. There’s one in/near Union Square (14th St. subway stop), close to some of the flea market/street fairs I was talking about. I always find it interesting to check out the produce in foreign countries. I’ve found things there that I haven’t seen elsewhere in the States too.

Cheap thrill: the Staten Island Ferry at sunset.

I’m a big piano bar fan, but that might not be ideal, if you’re not into singing show tunes and standards with weird crowds.

Stop in Washington Square Park in the afternoon/evening, people-watch, then hit a restaurant or two – lots of decent, inexpensive food.

Again a sunset thing: walk across one of the bridges. Brooklyn Bridge, by my lights, is the most beautiful. You’d start at City hall in Manhattan, then walk across and wind up in downtown Brooklyn, and you could find food on High Street. (I think about food a lot.) I’ve not walked across the Manhattan Bridge yet, but that starts in Chinatown, and puts you out on Flatbush Avenue, a main drag in Brooklyn.

Grab one of the free papers (Village Voice, NY Press) and check what’s going on and what sounds appealing.

I agree with **Winterwren ** on the Staten Island Ferry and walking across the Brooklyn Bridge - both very good calls.

I remember when I took my oldest son, who was about 9 at the time, for a walk across the Brooklyn Bridge. He said ‘You always take me to do such fun things when we’re in New York.’ Go for it! The best walk is to start on the Brooklyn Side and head into Manhattan.

Another very cool place is Grand Central Station. When the sun streams through the windows it’s amazing.

Thanks for all the suggestions people. Hello Again, checked the museum of modern art, it’s in Queens till november, but will definately try to get there, maybe I will score culture points :).

NotWithoutRage thankyou, checked the website, looks reallly good, especially Jenn’s determination to see a show and my dislike of paying a fortune for anything it could be just the thing.

CBCD tis on the list of things to see, if only for the fact that I can get a picture and say ‘I’ve been there’

Logindear, streetfairs sound good, and thanks for the headsup on prices.

Winterwren, tell me more of these piano bars, weird crowds have not been known to scare us much, and Jenn loves show tunes.

Really, you have all been brilliant, thenaks for the help, I’m sure we will have fun.


OK–on Friday and Saturday nights, Marie’s Crisis, a piano bar on Grove St. in Greenwich Village, right near the Christopher St. stop on the 1/9 trains, has Jim and Dexter playing showtunes. Small, welcoming place and they’d love some Brits to stop by, as long as you’re prepared to take some ribbing about Lord Lloyd-Webber :smiley:

Seconding the Staten Island Ferry ride. As long as you’re in Battery Park, it would be very useful and memorable for you to see the crushed ‘Sphere’ sculpture that stood in the plaza of the World Trade Center. Visit Ground Zero, too, if you feel up to it. I think it’ll help you understand American attitudes better; when you see the sheer size of the site and how many buildings were lost and how many still remain empty and damaged…and yet how the neighborhood is still humming with life–it’ll be unforgettable. See the site before all the new construction changes it forever.

Agree on Grand Central Terminal (Penn Station is a dreary mess, they tore down the good one in the 60’s.)

Sunday (or weekend) brunch is another NY tradition; again, Greenwich Village is great for that, but the Upper West Side and Brooklyn Heights also have nice places.

We have one of the best zoos in the world, the Bronx Zoo.

Subways are nice and relatively clean and almost entirely safe, just keep your eyes open and you’ll be fine. By far the fastest way to get around the city and easy to use for someone used to London’s. Maps everywhere, all you have to worry about are schedule changes because of construction.

You can also save money by checking out Off-Broadway productions; some are better than the tourist fare on Bway, although there is some very nice stuff there right now too.

We walk fast; the sidewalks are our commuter lanes, so be brisk and aware of people around you, thanks!

Are you going to be there Sunday afternoon? If you are, go to Central Park (actually, you should go there anyway). There’s this guy who plays the guitar and sings for abou six hours straight every week near the west side of the lake. He’s probably the most accomplished street musician I’ve ever seen - he regulaly draws crowds of over 100 people. His name is David and he takes requests.

Just buy a copy of the Sunday Times, sit down on the grass and enjoy the sunlight and the music.

If you like theatre, go to the TKTS (ticks) booth in Times Square. This is the slow season for Broadway, and lots of shows are available at a discount. You’ll also have to stand on-line (NOBODY in NYC stands “in line”), but talking with people there is always fun.

You can walk down Broadway to 12th St and check out the Strand Bookstore. They have everything and it’s all at a discount.

Footlight Records, our equivalent to your Dress Circle, is a block and a half down from the Strand on 12th.

No problem - if you’re looking for show suggestions, mine would be Africa & Plumbridge

Also, TKTS is a good idea, but it’s cash only, and your options are limited as to what’s on the boards on a particular day. Some shows, like RENT, Avenue Q and Wicked have same-day lotteries, which are front row tickets for $20-25, but it’s a lotto, and sometimes hundres of people show up.

Make sure to see Coney Island. I went there a couple months ago. Great amusement park rides (the roller coaster, the Cyclone, is an old wooden one that not only frightens you because of the twists and turns, but because you feel like it could fall apart at any minute) and the only remaining freak show in America. It was also relatively inexpensive.