New York, New York

Wait … wait … wait a sec.

Before I really get off my soapbox and before I really pass it on to Suanne, I want to take this time to get some travel tips from you all. Am planning a trip to New York City in mid October. I have never been to that great city. In my other previous travels I had gotten great pointers from the readers of this blog.

Yesterday I went to the Richmond Public Library and raided the shelves for travel books and DVDs on New York City. Wow, I did not realize that is so much to see and do in NYC.

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Here are my general plans. I have 6-7 days in the city. I am traveling alone … AGAIN! I know, I know … I know what you’re gonna say … but Suanne can’t travel this time because we can’t pull the boys out from school anymore. For me, I have this great vacation pass which costs just $100 to NYC and lots of banked vacation leave that I need to clear before Peoplesoft happily zerorizes it.

So, help me out here …

ACCOMMODATION: I had quite a bit of a shock to find how expensive hotel rooms are in NYC. Am now seriously thinking of staying a bit further and taking the transit to Manhattan everyday. I am gonna land in EWR (Newark). Is that workable?

FOOD: I did some research and found lots of food that NYC is famous for. Can you all recommend some of the best (*and cheap*) places in NYC?

SIGHTS: What are the must see places? And tips about going there?

CRIME: My fear may be unfounded but I have a feeling that NYC is not as safe as other American cities. New Yorkers … tell me now … is it foolish to carry a backpack of photography equipment with a tripod walking around the city. A friend (yeah, thanks a MILLION KC for scaring me!) told me his friend had a gun pointed at him once in a subway.

Any advice appreciated!

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  1. Just some random tips:

    Accommodation: doing what you say is workable, but you might want to keep in mind that the last NJ train out of NYC is at around 11pm, and there is at least one good place to visit at night: the Empire State Building.

    Food: A lot of places in Koreatown are awesome, as are places in the Manhattan Chinatown and Little Italy. I’ve heard good things about the Queens Chinatown.

    Sights: Try to catch a Broadway show! And Empire State Building at night (i.e. past midnight) is amazing (beat the crowds, beautiful view).

    Crime: I hear it’s a lot better now. And I don’t think what happened to your friend is likely to happen these days since soldiers carrying M16’s help guard the subways 😉

    Hope this helps 🙂

  2. I have been to NYC three times now, the last time was in May. I LOVE the big apple and want to move there some day! They have a lot of sight seeing tour buses that will take you around the city to see all of the major spots for one price (do a search for New York City tour buses). Also, if you are going to stay outside of the city they have passes that you can buy (most hotels have them in the gift shop) for $7 you can get all day rides on buses and subways around the city! It is definitely worth the $7! If you plan on driving yourself into the city it is extremely hard to find a parking spot and if you do it will be very costly!!…I have a few NY pics in one of my older posts in my blog! Have fun, I love it there and can’t wait to go back again!..Oh and BTW, Ive never had any problems in NY, most of the people are very friendly and helpful!

  3. Check Secaucus, NJ for hotels Most hotels there would have shuttles that would take you to NJ transit. Should take you less than 15 – 20 minutes to get to Manhattan.

  4. Hiya, I went to NYC a week ago and we (my family) stayed at the Palace Hotel in Newark. It’s relatively cheap there and the place isn’t that bad. If you prefer a hotel chain, there’s a Best Western that’s close by that hotel.
    In terms of food, I’d recommend a small restaurant called Big Wong King’s Restaurant, in Chinatown.
    Oh, and I meant to buy some New York bagels while I was there, but I didn’t.

    You can check the address of the two places on my blog. =)

    Hope you enjoy your trip to New York!

    ~Christine

  5. CRIME:
    Really, NYC is not as dangerous as you imagine it to be!! I’m a New Yorker, and as long as you use common sense (ie. not leaving your bags unattended, not flashing your wallet around in public, being aware of your surroundings… as in all cities), you’ll be fine.

    Other topics, you might want to check out:
    official guide to NYC
    http://www.nycvisit.com/content/index.cfm?pagePkey=11

    NY Times
    http://travel.nytimes.com/travel/guides/north-america/united-states/new-york/new-york-city/overview.html

    this comment box is much too small, so just email me if you have questions about where to go and how to get there…

  6. My husband and I visited the big apple a few years ago. We only went for a 3 day weekend and we managed to pack a lot of stuff in, but came away wishing we had done a lot more.
    * Definitely see a broadway show. I highly recommend Lion King or The Color Purple.
    * Definitely eat new york style pizza in little Italy, a hole in the wall is as good or sometimes better than a sit down restaurant.
    * While I never felt in specific danger anywhere, I would say to be aware of your surroundings, always have a firm hold on your bag, and make sure you have insurance on your expensive camera equipment. And maybe I’m paranoid, but I have one of those passport holders that you secure to your leg under your pants. I always put the bulk of my cash and credit cards in that. In my wallet, I usually just carry an ID card, 1 credit card, and less than 50 bucks in cash.
    * We really regretted not going to the David Letterman show and also Saturday Night Live. We definitely plan to do that next time we go.
    * Everything is really expensive…. even McDonalds. So if you’re staying a little outside the city, I would take my own bottled water, and if you’re a coffee drinker, make it yourself and take in a thermos. And to cut down on cost, I would eat at least 1 meal a day by either buying cereal from local place near your hotel or sandwich stuff and make a sandwich to take in to the city.
    * Gotta love those hot dog stands!
    * Oh and Chinatown has some of the most awesome food street vendors. Some of it is really complex and tastes OH SO GOOD.

    I know you will have fun. Can’t wait to read about it here.

  7. Hi! Ben,

    2 other famous tourist attractions are Madison Square Garden and Times Square. There’s a gigantic electronic billboard (a famous landmark) at, I believe, Times Square – at least it was there when we visited it 14 years ago! 🙂 🙂 Do let us know if it’s still there….as for souvenir, we would recommend a good quality Statue of Liberty. Looks really nice. Good luck and have a great time!

  8. Don’t know if anyone’s mentioned it yet, but the Oyster Bar at Grand Central Station is a MUST! for two reasons: 1) the station itself is, well, “Grand” … there’s a great little Grand Central souvenir shop in it; they sell T-shirts with some of the “graphics” from the subway lines. Whenever my husband wears his T-shirt from there, some stranger inevitably stops to talk to him about the NY subway. And 2), the oyster pan fry is to die for, sit at the counter on one of the stools and watch them make it–almost straight cream and oysters–amazing! The Oyster Bar is in the basement of the train station.

  9. Oh wow! Thanks everyone for the tips. Gosh … I had been sitting at the computer for the past 4 hours checking out all your suggestions. There are so much to do in NYC, so much so that am thinking of adding a couple of days more to this trip! Anyway, great tip about staying in Secaucus … had just booked my accommodation which had saved me some serious money and yet just 15 mins away from midtown.

  10. You have to be here early if you want to get in, totally worth it: http://wondertechlab.sony.com/

    If you want to watch a broadway show, go to TKTS to buy tickets. http://www.tdf.org/tkts

    If you want to visit Statue of Liberty/Ellis Island, you can get there via Liberty State Park in Jersey City. Take the Hudson Bergen Light Rail to get there from your hotel.

    Go to Lombardi’s for pizza. Little Italy and Chinatown is in the same area, you should do both in 1 day (Take the PATH and take the WTC train). Empire State is in 34th, Koreatown is close by for excellent food.

  11. Make sure if the hotel supplies breakfast. We always stay in NJ whenever we visit and the last time we were at Comfort Inn and they had a great breakfast.If u are into Live with Regis & Kelly, go to the studios at Columbus and West 67th for standby tix; u might need to be there by 7:30am. Check their website for more details. Also, if u are staying in NJ, it has no sales tax! We like to go shop at the stores in Harmon Meadows and there is a nice high end mall which I think is off Patterson Plank rd. Check with your hotel. Have fun!

  12. Forgot one more thing..great freebie..take the Staten Island ferry and u can get a pretty good look at the Statue of Liberty. U can get off and spend time on the island or just turn ard and head back to Manhattan!

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