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NYC trip in August - what to do?

Discussion in 'Hangout' started by rubyshoes, Jul 30, 2013.

  1. rubyshoes
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    by rubyshoes » Jul 30, 2013
    I am excited! DH and I were planning to visit NYC last year and Hurricane Sandy hit on the day of our departure :errrr: But we're planning to visit in mid-August for 4 days (have to buy tickets tonight!). The last time I visited NYC was in 1984 so really it's like visiting for the first time. Where do you suggest we stay and what are the must-do things according to you?

    We are definitely doing the following-

    Central Park
    Tea at the Plaza (Hello Eloise!!!)
    Diamond District and trip to DBL (and maybe a side-trip to GOG?) :appl:
    Statue of Liberty (Are the lines horrible? Is there a way to bypass lines?)
    Broadway show 'Lucky Guy' (Nora Ephron-Tom Hanks fan here!)

    Anything else? 8) Thanks in advance!
     
    


    


  2. babs23r
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    by babs23r » Jul 30, 2013
    Pray for nice weather, NY can be brutally hot in the summer, but still tons of fun things to do! Going downtown to SoHo is a lot of fun. Tons of shops, boutiques, art galleries, restaurants. While you're uptown having tea at the plaza, definitely stop at Bergdorfs for the most fabulous shopping experience ever! It's my most favorite store.. Be sure to rob a bank before you go.. Museums are great, metropolitan museum of art, moma , so much to do. Have a great time, just plan what part of the city you will be exploring before you set out :wavey:
     
  3. luv2sparkle
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    by luv2sparkle » Jul 31, 2013
    My first thought was, 'stay home, it's too hot and sticky!'. But I wouldn't want to miss a trip if that is the only time you can go. Bring extra clothes though because you will want to change at least once during the day. It is such a touristy thing to do, but when were were there we took two of the double deck bus tours, one during the day and one that went at dusk to Brooklyn and you could see the lights of the city.
    The tour people were so fun, and friendly and we learned a lot that we wouldn't have known other wise.

    Don't miss the 9/11 museum or the memorial either. Look on yelp for some of the iconic eateries. We went to a famous pastrami sandwich place and the sandwiches were ginormous. I wish that we would have split there. But they had the famous black and white cookies and my boys totally loved that. They still talk about those cookies.
     
  4. Rockdiamond
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    by Rockdiamond » Jul 31, 2013
    NYC is always fun- of course I'm prejudiced- having been born and raised here....
    I love restaurants, so I'll start there....with the Billy Crystal Meg Ryan tour

    I think luv2sparkle was talking about Katz's Deli (When Harry Met Sally(( I'll have what she's having))
    Katz's Delicatessen
    205 East Houston Street
    New York, NY 10002
    (212) 254-2246

    Go for brunch to Barney Greengrass ( You've got Mail)
    Barney Greengrass
    541 Amsterdam Ave, New York, NY ‎
    (212) 724-4707

    Crazy cool place for a noisy crowded dinner- make sure you get the corn!!
    Cafe Habana
    17 Prince St, New York, NY ‎
    (212) 625-2001

    Classic NY- this place has been open since 1884- GREAT burgers.....
    P.J. Clarke's
    915 3rd Ave, New York, NY ‎
    (212) 317-1616

    If you can still move after all that.....
    Visit the Met- world class museum.
    The Guggenheim- the building itself is a site to behold

    Visit the Flatiron district- which is another really cool building.

    By all means any time spent in Central Park is well spent- the zoo is really nice.

    Plan to walk a lot- you'll really get the flavor...
    .
     
    


    


  5. Sky56
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    by Sky56 » Jul 31, 2013
    Chinatown - great restaurants (though I only have tried the vegetarian ones)

    Museum of Natural History
     
  6. rubyshoes
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    by rubyshoes » Jul 31, 2013
    Awesome suggestions, guys. Thank you :))

    David, looking forward to meeting you!!!

    We might be staying at Smyth in Tribeca. Anyone like the hotel? The area it's in sounds really lovely.
     
  7. Blackpaw
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    by Blackpaw » Aug 1, 2013
    Hi Rubyshoes, I was last in new york in 2011, SO proposed to me there! And we're going back in November for the marathon. Anyways we did the statue of liberty thing in 2011 and i dont think theres a way to completely avoid the line ups (they do security checks etc), but you can make it faster by pre-booking, i dont think we waited more than half an hour to get on our boat that way. And its the only way to get into the hat, or whatever its called, which is worth doing! Book straight away if you want to do it, it books out quite a ways i think...

    I would do top of the rock and/or the empire state buildings late at night too, the lines are short then and you have much more space up top.

    For food (im big into it!) i love Basso56 for italian and Keens for steak. Keens has that 'old new york' kinda vibe.I have a list a mile long of places to try when we go back.

    And for accom i dont have much advice, but i know my SO (who was a travel agent once upon a time so he's handy at booking trips) looked for third night free deals and got us an amazing hotel that way. In August i think those deals should be around and they're a good way to get into the big name properties.

    Anyways hope you have a great trip!
     
  8. hippi_pixi
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    by hippi_pixi » Aug 2, 2013
    we went up the empire state and top of the rock in Feb and preferred Top of the Rock, great view and you can actually see the empire state building rather than be in it

    we also had dinner at a revolving restaurant. food was great and the view as well. I surprisingly didn't get motion sick as it move very slowly. http://www.theviewnyc.com/
     
  9. MollyMalone
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    by MollyMalone » Aug 4, 2013
    If your primary reason for going to Liberty Island is to be able to go up to the Statue of Liberty's crown, I'm afraid you are too late; those tix are sold out until early October. There is no way to avoid lines because even with Reserved general admission tix, the security checks result in lines -- although if you can get tix for the 1st or 2nd boat of the day, you'll make quicker progress.

    Ellis Island remains closed because they are still working on repairs and restorations needed because of the damage inflicted by Hurricane Sandy. So if setting foot on Liberty Island isn't a priority, I'd recommend going to Top of the Rock during the day -- either in the early morning or at dusk (as the lights around-below you come on) -- and taking an evening harbor cruise. TOR is a much more pleasant experience than visiting the Empire State Building, but much of the northern view from TOR is Central Park, which is largely a black hole at nighttime. All of the usual (non-sailboat) harbor cruises stop at the shoreline below the Statute of Liberty's feet, so you can take pics & appreciate just how large she is. Another advantage for someone here for such a relatively short stay is that the harbor cruises require less of a time commitment than visiting Liberty-Ellis Islands, in addition to enabling you to see more of the skyline, etc. Goldstar almost always has 1/2 price tix for NY Water Taxi's Statute by Night cruise; it leaves from South Street Seaport, a more convenient departure point if you are staying at the Smyth than one of the cruises that leave from midtown.

    I live in NYC & Tribeca-lower Manhattan is my favorite part of town because there is such a range of history and architecture to be found there. The Battery Park Conservancy's landscaping, parks & public art are an especially delightful antidote to summer's heat and humidity.
    http://www.bpcparks.org/bpcp/parks/parks.php
    The Conrad is right alongside the Conservancy's land, but the Smyth is a good, boutique hotel. You might also consider the Andaz Wall Street as its prices have been reasonable, relatively speaking, this summer (Manhattan hotel prices have remained higher than has been true for July-August in preceding years).

    Because The Plaza isn't what it used to be, I'd be steering you to afternoon tea at the Mandarin Oriental's lounge, on the 34th floor overlooking Central Park, but I understand the nostalgic allure of The Plaza. Happy to make restaurant reco's if you give us your preferences for what kinds of cuisine, etc. FYI: the commute between Penn Station and GOG is about 3 hrs round-trip.

    It's actually very pleasant in NYC today (low humidity and 78 degrees), so here's hoping that will be true for you -- and that you have a wonderful time here!
     
  10. rubyshoes
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    by rubyshoes » Aug 4, 2013
    Thank you for suggestions :))

    Molly, wow! Thanks for the detailed reply reg. Statue of Liberty. V helpful!

    We actually decided not to stay at the Smyth and will be staying at Ace Hotel in Midtown.

    Food-wise... I am vegetarian and my favorite cuisines are Thai and Mediterranean. I also like Italian food but DH hates it, although there is no way I am visiting NYC and not having NYC style pizza! I really want to eat at the food trucks too :sun:

    On vacations, I like to indulge by eating croissants and pastries so recommendations for yummy patisseries/bakeries would be VERY welcome :appl:

    Also where should I shop? Not a fan of department stores or chains, prefer smaller shops or markets I wouldn't find in my hometown. Places where I could find handmade stuff would be great. (Think Pike Place Mkt in Seattle, that's the sort of shopping I enjoy)

    I do want to go to GOG to see Octavias in person... but if DH thinks our iti is too crammed I will skip it... Any shops in the diamond district that you would recommend I visit? (Already going to DBL)

    I'd love to go check out a place that sells estate stuff to see if I can pick up a bargain or two :D esp Cartier...

    ----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

    Quick q : I live in Chicago (take a lot of public transport) and wear my diamonds (studs+ER+5 stone+pendant) all the time when out and about. Should I wear them on NYC trip or better to leave at home? FYI I never wear fine jewelry when traveling abroad...

    Ok back to reading my NYC guidebook... Thank you for all the hep :))
     
    


    


  11. UrsTx
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    by UrsTx » Aug 4, 2013
    I went spring of 2012 on a girls trip and LOVED the Frick museum. It allowed me to imagine living in NYC in the early 20th century. Have fun - I'm so jealous!!
     
  12. Trasid
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    by Trasid » Aug 4, 2013
    My FI and I went in June. We enjoyed the whispering wall in the Grand Central Terminal and we LOVED the architecture in the New York Public Library. We also did a NBC Tour that my FI really enjoyed. The 911 Memorial and Museum will make you cry but is a tremendous tribute. We ate at Katz's Delicatessen and we also ate at the Pizza place next door to GOG with really interesting (id weird) and delicious pizza. We stayed on the Jersey City side because it was less expensive for the hotel and parking. We used the subway to get into NYC from Jersey and to get around the city as well. We also hit Times Square, Central Park, Rockefeller Center, China Town, the Diamond District, and a tour/boat ride to Statue of Liberty. Oh and I found the NYC locals to be EXTREMELY nice and knowledgeable and willing to help.

    You might want to google "tripadvisor things to do in NYC" and read what things interest you and read the reviews. I never go anywhere without the help of Tripadvisor now.
     
  13. MollyMalone
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    by MollyMalone » Aug 4, 2013
    Hey, it's my pleasure -- I want everyone who visits NYC to have a great time, plus one of my main hobbies is playing travel agent :))

    The Ace is a fun, and well managed, hotel; I stayed there shortly after it opened (I used to be really active on TripAdvisor's NYC forum so considered auditioning hotels as part of my volunteer efforts for TA) & friends have stayed there more recently. Paris Baguette, which is about 3-1/2 blocks from your hotel, gets good reviews & my niece is a frequent customer there, but FYI, it does have more of a Korean flavor than Parisian:
    http://www.parisbaguetteusa.com/ParisBaguette/ProductList.asp?Sub=Menu

    I like Financier Patisserie myself; its first shop was so convenient to my former office, but it now has multiple locations in Manhattan:
    http://www.financierpastries.com/about-financier-pastries.cfm

    Assuming Lebanese cuisine falls within your definition of Mediterranean, you are in luck -- ilili, with its attractive dining room, excellent service and delicious food, is practically around the corner from the Ace. But if you will be here during NYC's summer Restaurant "Week" (which is actually 3 weeks, July 22-Aug 16), you should call first to find out if ilili is serving just what's on their Restaurant Week menu; if so, you will want to go elsewhere because the RW menu is so limited. Turkish Kitchen is about a 10-minute walk from the Ace; less upscale (and therefore cheaper) than ilili, but recently renovated & quite pleasant with tasty fare:
    http://www.ililinyc.com/
    http://www.turkishkitchen.com/

    I am hoping others have shopping suggestions for you because I'm not certain where to suggest for handcrafted, artsy wares (I now usually do that kind of shopping on the 'net and when on vacation). Years ago, I would have suggested SoHo, but as real estate and rents soared, it became very mall-ified with lots of mainstream retailers and boutiques found elsewhere (including my least favorite Chanel boutique). These weekend markets across the East River in Brooklyn are very popular with us locals: fun with a nice, eclectic mix of vendors, and fabulous food choices:
    http://www.brooklynflea.com/vendors/
    Pick up a copy of TimeOutNY as you pass by a newsstand on your way out of the airport & see what market, street fairs, and special sales they have listed. TONY, a weekly magazine that comes out on Thursdays, has a web site that includes a raft of info but it's not the easiest site to navigate:
    http://www.timeout.com/newyork

    Engagement Rings Direct is in the Diamond District and is open to the public, upon appointment. Altough Peter Germano & Sons has not received much, if any, airplay here on PS, my ex-father-in-law used to recommend them as a good place for those without "to the trade" access. But since I divorced his son 10 years ago, don't know if he would still recommend them:
    http://www.engagementringsdirect.com/site-page/contactus.html
    http://www.peterjgermano.com/

    For a number of years, NYC has been the safest, large city in the US, and I'm very comfortable walking around, taking the subway. That said, your everyday wear is more than what I sport & I would feel awful if something happened to you while you are here (statistically rare as that will be). So if you don't wear all your usual diamond jewelry while you are out and about in NYC, I will sleep better ;))

    Last, but not least, I highly recommend KickMap NYC if you have an iPhone; it's the best NYC subway map app I know & so handy since weekend service, in particular, gets changed often so the MTA can make repairs-upgrades:
    http://www.kickmap.com/about.html

    ETA: use discount code M13 to get a 30% discount off any regularly scheduled Circle Line cruise
    http://www.circleline42.com/new-york-cruises/home.aspx
     
  14. pinkjewel
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    by pinkjewel » Aug 5, 2013
    Since you mentioned pastries-what about going to Dominique Ansel's bakery in SoHo for one of the original cronuts?? Has anyone tried one? Are they worth all the hype? And are the lines still insanely long to get one?
     
  15. MollyMalone
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  16. PintoBean
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  17. DSilverberg
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    by DSilverberg » Aug 6, 2013
    First of all, good timing! The heat wave broke and we've actually been enjoying pleasant high 70's/low 80's temps this past week. May the balmy and beautiful weather continue while you're here!
    Now, for the places to visit. I highly recommend the Frick, which has art on the caliber of the Met but is far, far smaller and more manageable.
    If you're looking to purchase local art, there is a farmer's market in Union Square every Mon, Wed, Fri, and Sat. There are usually artists set up nearby in the park ready to sell their art. It is very exciting to purchase art right from the artist (don't be afraid to bargain) and I will freely admit that I have made wonderful purchases there myself. Otherwise, stroll up 5th Ave. in "Museum Mile" if you do go to the Frick or the Met. There are always artists there trying to sell art. However, very often their goods are more of the tourist-friendly mass produced variety. (Not that there's anything wrong with tourists!)
    Cafe Lalo on the Upper West Side is always fun for an evening coffee and cake.
    Oh, and take the subway--it's MUCH faster than taxis.
    Good luck navigating the city and having fun!
     

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