Visiting New York In December, need advice

I’m planning to take a week off work to visit the Big Apple in Mid-December. I’ve never been before (except for when I was about five, but that doesn’t count because I can’t remember anything) and I’m eager to see the city made famous by countless movies and sitcoms.

So whaddya got? Any interesting stuff?

I want to see all the good museums and art galleries (and take the tour of Yankee Stadium), but I also want to do all the cool and lesser-known things that only native New-Yorkers would know about and that aren’t necessarily mentioned in the guidebooks.

Food will be a big part of the trip, so if there are any truly excellent diners, restaurants, pizza places out there, I wanna know about 'em.

Will the window displays be up on Saks fifth avenue? Will the tree be lit at the Rockefeller centre? Will it be too damn cold to enjoy anything?

Let me know, New-Yawk dopers!

In true New York fashion,


Yes, the window displays will be up at that time.
Take a ride on the Staten Isle ferry and maybe lose a limb.
They are opening the subway station that used to go through the Trade Center in Mid Nov. so, you could check that out.

Just walk around, you’ll find something interesting.

I also want to pay my respects and visit ground zero. Are there any special areas that visitors are restricted to? Is there some place to leave flowers, etc?

People are pretty much dropping flowers anywhere they damn please. Many fire stations have memorials to their members and at ground zero itself you will see someplace to place them. It’s difficult to ‘see’ the site as it is now just a huge hole in the ground. It looks like a construction site in it’s early stages.

You can’t postpone one month and come for the NYDopefest?

What type of art do you want to view? Old? New? European? American? The Hayden Planetarium/Museum of Natural History is a blast. (to me at least).

There will be tons of holiday shoppers on the streets so it will be crowded when you are here.

Let me wake up some more and I’ll think of some better suggestions.

Not really, think of it as a big construction site, a hole with a fence around it. Anywhere outside the fence is ok, it’ll all make sense when you get there.

As a native NYer I must second the SI ferry, by far the best free ride in the city. Take an N or R to “Whitehall St.” or a 1/9 to “South Ferry”.

Thanks Zebra.

If I can’t “see” the actual site, I’m happy to pay my respects at an official visitor centre or memorial if such a thing exists.

Any kind of art is fine by me, and Natural history or science museums would be best.

Looking forward to your further suggestions…:slight_smile:

And what’s cool about a ferry? Sorry, but this Brit doesn’t get it…

Speaking entirely as a non-native NYer (ya don’t say!!) I’d suggest you get up early one of the days and pop along to the NY stock exchange for a ticket to do the tour there.
I thought it was excellent.

It’s FREE. Do ANYTHING that’s free. Great views of city skyline and the Statue of Libery.

It’s a pity I can’t make the Dopefest, but if I don’t use up this holiday time before the end of the year, I lose it. And crowded is good - I want to see the city at it’s bustling, thriving best.

Curly chick, the stock market might be interesting, I had no idea you could do tours. Think of all the fun to be had if one could sneak onto the trading floor…

And before I forget to ask, are there any rough neighborhoods I should avoid, or any crappy, tacky touristy things that I shouldn’t bother with?

Take a look at Citysearch. This site has restaurant reviews, what’s doing during December, concerts, ballgames, museums, exhibits, etc. My wife used to live there and still used this site to plan our vacation last year.

How long are you going to be around? If you want to see sites and all, that’s great, but there are also a load of Dopers in the area who would likely love to meet you for dinner and some friendly chit-chat.

Myself included.

Does FAO Schwarz still do their big Christmas displays? If so, you should check it out.

A few favorite places of mine (I’m not a native New Yorker, but have spent rather a lot of time there):

People-watching in Greenwich Village (not nearly as counterculture as it once was, but still fun), particularly the East Village…if you’re lucky and it’s not too cold, there should be street musicians in Washington Square Park. Stop for a leisurely cappuccino at Caffe Reggio on MacDougal Street, either before or after a falafel at Mahmoun’s (open til 5 a.m.!)

Take the tour at the United Nations!

Watch the ice skaters at Rockefeller Center, or maybe even give it a try yourself

If you want to get off of the beaten path, go to Rego Park for some great Kosher Uzbek food! (Links provided on request, if I can find them, but if you don’t speak Russian, the ordering will be the “point and pray" method but well worth it!) or go to Brighton Beach for some post-Soviet immersion.

If you take the ferry, you MUST go to the Ellis Island Immigration Museum. It’s built in the actual building where people were processed for admission to the U.S.; it’s a great slice of history, and one that too many people ignore. Plus it’s the same ferry ride as the Statue of Liberty; I think the statue itself is still closed to the public since 9/11, but at least you can see it up close.

Eva Luna, NYU Class of ’89 and Immigration Paralegal
(Remind me in London, and I’ll try to think of some more.)

Who, me? Shucks, that’s flattering, and I’d be delighted. :slight_smile:

I’ll hopefully be flying in on Saturday the 6th, and flying out on either Saturday the 13th or Sunday the 14th. That should give me just enough time for a whistle-stop tour, although it’s nowhere near long enough to do everything I’d like to do. I’d be happy to meet if you’re free. In fact, I’d love to meet up with any NYC dopers who might be interested in a “Let’s-welcome-Bib-mini-dope” before the main event.

That would be cooler than a very cool thing indeed.

Chefguy, there aren’t any ballgames on in December, are there? Because I’d happily freeze my ass off in Yankee stadium if it meant I could catch a live game (even if I am a Red Sox fan).

Thanks for the wonderful tips, Eva, I’m taking notes. And I’ll see you in London soon!

Because I’m too fried to think straight right now…kosher Uzbek food links! I took my dad to this place, which is about a 5-minute bus ride from his house; he didn’t understand a damn word of what was going on, but loved the food:

This place (Uzbekistan Tandoori Bread) has changed names to the Uzbekistan Cultural Center—don’t let that fool you, because it’s really a restaurant:

Took a couple of friends there in September; they loved the food, and special bonus: we almost got to see a knife fight! (At least I think so; there was much swearing going on, and shoving, but it was hard to hear over the Central Asian-influenced flute and synthesizer duo). It was like walking into a chaikhana (Uzbek tea house), except in the middle of Queens. Quite surreal. Better on atmosphere than the first place, but I liked the food better at the other place. And the people-watching can’t be beat.

Oh, and I almost forgot one of my favorite walks: start in Greenwich Village and walk all the way down Broadway to the financial district (or vice versa). You will walk right past Ground Zero, and depending on the route you take, you will see bits of Soho, Chinatown, and Little Italy.

if you want crowds, fao schwarz is certainly the place to go! whoa, does that place get crowded, esp in dec.

around central park you can bounce from museum to museum, and the polar bears are a bit lively in the zoo at c.p., they like the winter. from the park you could zip down 5th and check out the store windows, they are worth a look. they actually have ropes up for the window shopper’s queue.

theo roosevelt’s rebuilt birthhouse is interesting.

usually i just pick an area and do a “search” grid up and down the streets. you see interesting things and can’t get too lost.

Let me take this opportunity to once again recommend the Vacation Advice, Please? thread by our official New York City Maven, Stuyguy. You may want to search for other threads he’s posted in.

In mid-December, you’ll be in the hight of Christmas season, with all the displays up, along with massive crowds. Doing some events off the beaten path will be a nice change. The weather should be fine. Just take a warm coat, hat and gloves, and don’t forget comfortable walking shoes.

And take the Staten Island Ferry.

Also, you may look up the television shows that tape in NYC and get tickets online.

Like The Daily Show

The Late Show with David Letterman

Late Night with Conan O’Brian

Montel Williams