Help a Doper With Vacation Plans?

We’ve decided to take a week-long trip from Indiana to eastern PA. We’re staying in the Poconos (don’t ask) and will be driving into NYC, Philadelphia, and possibly up to Cooperstown.

Is there anything to do in the Pocono Mountains? I’ve not found a lot googling so maybe my google-fu is off tonight.

Driving into the city is very intimidating to a country bumpkin like myself. I know mass transit is available but have absolutely no idea how to navigate the system. We’ve never been to the city so we’d like to do the “touristy” things like Ellis Island, and maybe some museums.

In Philly we’d like to see historical stuff (and a Philly steak, of course).

Help! :slight_smile:

ETA: We’ll be going late September (before the fall leaves, I think)

Let us know when you’re coming to Philly, we’ll set up a Dopefest.

If you pass through western PA, you can stop by the football Hall of fame and Heinz field. They are 100 miles apart. I’m planning on doing this in November, and hopefully catch the Steelers at home vs the Pats. :slight_smile:

You don’t mean DRIVE into Manhattan do you? Good luck with that? LOL :smiley:

Seriously the public transit isn’t that hard especially to driving in Manhattan.

For NYC, you want to take the Staten Island Ferry, this is free and absoultely a must. See the Empire State Building after dark. I mean go to the top. Walk over the Brooklyn Bridge is fun.

The Intrepid museum is wonderful.

Grayline sight seeing tours are also must. This is because they take you around on a bus and if you like something you get off, look around for awhile and wait for another Grey line bus to pick you up then continue on with the tour.

Here’s a decent site to help you with NYC

We went to NYC a year ago, and spent 3-4 days in the city. Had a great time. The subway system isn’t hard to figure out. Go online and get maps of the system ahead of time, and figure out where you want to go and what lines to take there. We bought tickets in each station as we needed them. The only suggestion I’d have would be to stay out of the subways during rush hour until you figure them out. Oh, and don’t get separated, and have a plan if you do get split up.

NYC is also a surprisingly walkable town. We stayed on 39th street in the Murray Hill neighborhood, near the UN building, and walked to Central Park, the Museum of Natural History, the theater district, the Empire State Building, etc. And despite the city’s reputation, we felt comfortable walking down Broadway at midnight. Almost everyone we met was friendly and helpful. I can’t think of any instance where we met someone who was rude and obnoxious. I wouldn’t mind going again sometime.

We did take a subway to go down to the Staten Island Ferry - and I 2nd the idea of riding this. Also, if you search a lot ahead of time, you can find good deals for rooms in town. My wife found us a nice place for about $120/night, I think, but she’s a pro at this sort of travel planning.

Thanks! What are the “must see” thing for a NYC virgin? There is so much there that I’m frankly overwhelmed.

Try the discount ticket booths for Broadway shows and the Circle Line for the boat tours around Manhatten Island, and the Empire State Building.

You could be there for a month and not see everything.

If I was going back, I’d go for these:

  • Walk thru Central Park
  • window shop Times Square
  • figure out the subway system enough to get around
  • take in a Broadway show or 2 if you’re interested in any
  • Go to the top of the Empire State Building
    This is a trip in itself. They’ve set this up as a regular production. Actually, it’s more of an industry. I wouldn’t be surprised if the tourist income from this is a good part of the revenue generated by the building.
  • find several small family eateries near where you stay, and visit them for your meals. They might be regular restaurants, pizza places, delis, or a tiny corner grocery. Try a hot dog or some such from a street vendor, too. Odds are, you’ll come away happy and full.
  • walk wherever you go when possible. Take good walking shoes.
  • Go see the USS Intrepid if possible. We didn’t, and I’d like to go back just for that.
  • pick a few museums, and go. The American Museum of Natural History is near Central Park. So is the Guggenheim Museum.

And get some of the tourist information, or visit the visitor’s websites. See what interests you, and make 2 lists. The first one is the “Must See” list. The 2nd one is the “Yeah, this might be fun” list. Plan your trip around the first list, and if you have free time, fill in some open time slots from the 2nd. Leave yourself some down time, of course, and time to just walk around the block and see the city.

I liked “Top of the Rock” better than the Empire State Building. There’s less of a wait and the view is better. If you have time, do both. In April 2009, Top of the Rock offered a deal where you could see the city during the day and come back at night for another viewing. I’m assuming that deal is still available.

If you’re an art lover, don’t miss the Metropolitan Museum of Art. It’s great to actually see all of those famous paintings. The Met is big though. So if you don’t have days to waste, go in with an idea of what you want to view.

For efficient use of time in art seen/time spent, there’s no better place than the Museum of Modern Art - everywhere you turn there’s an extremely famous painting. It’s small enough that you can see the whole museum at a leisurely pace without feeling like you’re on some kind of art-themed death march. The downside is you have to pay to get in, and it isn’t cheap ($20), and when they have a new exhibit up there can be these crazy lines to get in.

Their restaurant, The Modern, is supposed to be exceptional, if you’re up for a posh dining splurge, make reservations for lunch. Their prix fixe is 2 courses + dessert for $48. My friends who have been raved about the food.

The Met is HUUUUGE and if you go there you have be tactical and know what you want to see, and go see it while ignoring everything else along the way. If you wander around you’ll end up exhausted before you’ve seen anything that really interests you. Also it bugs me how they’ll just slap like 10 paintings on a wall, all crammed together; it’s overload. However if you want to see Egyptian or Roman art/sculpture/mosaic/an entire temple they brought from Egypt… that’s the place to be. I also always enjoy the Arms and Armour exhibit. Technically entry at the Met is “by donation” and while there’s a recommended donation you can get in for $1 or $5 or whatever you feel – if you have the chutzpah to look 'em in the eye and say “this is what I choose to donate,” they have to accept it (I used to do it all the time in high school).

Something that a lot of out of towners find interesting is the Union Square Farmer’s market, early morning till 6pm every Wednesday & Saturday. A great place to buy some traveling snacks or just people watch. Lots of cheese, bread, fruits, veg, meat, wine, honey – every tasty thing, really. It’s a total mob scene Saturday morning – on Wednesday after 3pm is pretty much the quietest time to go if crowds aren’t your thing.

Navigational tips – “Streets” run east to west, “Avenues” run north to south. Street numbers increase as you travel north - 20th street is north of 14th street, and 110th street is way north! 5th Avenue divides the Streets into “East” and “West” halves. The building numbers are lowest in the center of the island, adjacent to 5th Ave, and increase outward towards the edge of the island. So “50 E. 14th St.” is near 5th Avenue, while 500 E. 14th St. is near 1st Ave, 6 blocks to the east. This system only partially applies below 14th street where the streets go every which way.

And one to probably avoid:

Pop Tarts sushi, in Time Square.

NYC dopers, is this for real??? Or is someone trying to pull a fast one?

Not in NY, but sadly, it appears to be for real: Here’s a review.

The author of that piece commented via Twitter.

So, yeah, I’d say it’s skippable.

I haven’t been to NY in ages, but also strongly recommend the Met, with Hello Again’s approach.

Thanks, that gives me a place to start. I’m anxious about this trip for some reason so I really appreciate everyone’s help.