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weekend in New York City

Have booked a weekend in New York, Oct 8-10. Flying into LGA Saturday morning around 9am, leaving Monday about 2pm. Booked hotel in Chelsea and have tickets to a show on Saturday night, but other than that, we are wide open. Would like to see typical tourist stuff, probably need to avoid museums on this quick trip since they're a time-suck, unless there's a must-do that may not be there later. However, we will go to the 9/11 Memorial and museum. I would appreciate your suggested "best of" with recommended order to do things.
I've never been to NY except to fly through an airport. I know, I know, I'm missing out! :)
Thanks!!

Posted by
6872 posts

Definitely walk the High Line (to me is a highlight of NYC) and check out the small Chelsea art galleries since you're staying in the area (they won't take too long because they're small). Other than that, I love walking in Greenwich Village, Brooklyn Heights, across the Brooklyn Bridge, and on the promenade along the Hudson River (can access near Battery Park City, not too far from the 9/11 Memorial). If you want to see a pretty amazing emporium of Italian goods (and sample some different foods), then check out Eataly. Two and a half days will fly by really quick. If you want to maximize your time between sites, definitely take the subway.

Posted by
533 posts

I am a big fan of the aerial tram to Roosevelt Island. For the cost of a subway fare, you get a great view of the city from above. There's not much to do on Roosevelt Island itself, but it's a nice oasis of calm in the middle of the city.

The Staten Island Ferry is free and is worth taking once (well, twice, since you've got to get back) for the view of the Statue of Liberty.

Posted by
8987 posts

I would steer clear of the high-line on the weekends. It's a victim of it's own success and wall to wall humanity:(

Check out one of the many tours the Tenement Museum does through out the day:

http://tinyurl.com/823k6

Posted by
1693 posts

Check out the Flatiron Building, 5th Ave. and Broadway (close to Eataly). Visit Central Park - in the area just north of E. 72nd St., there's the Conservatory Pond, where people sail model boats, and the Alice in Wonderland statue - on the west side of the park, there's Strawberry Fields, in memory of John Lennon. If you're willing to go to one museum, I'd suggest the Guggenheim, since the Frank Lloyd Wright-designed building is just astonishing. For a great view of the harbor, you could go down to Battery Park at the southern tip of Manhattan and ride the Staten Island Ferry back and forth. It's free, but you are required to get off at Staten Island before going back. I'd suggest bringing binoculars for a good view of the Statue of Liberty as you sail by. Have fun!
One addition, although there could be thousands - if you are in the Battery Park area, you might also want to visit the National Museum of the American Indian - it's a Smithsonian museum, and thus free, not too large or time-consuming, but really good.

Posted by
3933 posts

We enjoyed our walk on the HighLine and visit to Chelsea Market as well - watch our for the 'Buddhist' monks who may try to pass off a bracelet or something to you if you walk the highline (unless they've cleaned them up)...think of the gold ring people in France - you get the idea. A few blocks from Chelsea Market is Gansevoort Market - lots of great food to choose from there.

Posted by
8296 posts

Another suggestion that we really enjoyed... The house where Teddy Roosevelt was born and grew up in.

Posted by
1000 posts

Thanks, everyone. Keep the suggestions coming. Also would like options for dining out. I know there are a million possibilities in every price range. We'll probably do one nice dinner. Husband is a foodie, and we love going to markets - can make a day's entertainment out of street markets in Europe!

Posted by
6872 posts

As far as restaurant recommendations, I really like Cookshop in Chelsea. It gets crazy busy at brunch though. The proximity to the Highline doesn't help :-) There is lots of good stuff in Chelsea and Meatpacking District - you won't have any problems getting a great meal.
http://cookshopny.com/menus/

(And on every trip I always hit up a bagel place to get a bagel and lox since I can't get a really great one where I live)

Posted by
533 posts

If you like food markets, be sure to catch the Union Square Greenmarket (open Saturdays and Mondays but not Sundays) for fresh produce, baked goods, cheese, juices, prepared foods, and everything else. The same site lists dozens of other farmers markets around the city - I've never regretted stopping at any of them.

You may also enjoy Brooklyn Flea, which has several locations around Brooklyn and elsewhere. An amazing assortment of vintage and crafty stuff, and also some very tasty food.

Posted by
6872 posts

Great recommendations above (Union Square and Brooklyn Flea) - ditto! As much as I really like Brooklyn, it may be too much to go back and forth there for such a very short trip (Brooklyn itself is worth several trips - it's very walkable with many neighborhoods and commercial corridors and lots of hipsters). I would probably concentrate on just Manhattan (and only parts of it that are close/adjacent to each other, like Lower Manhattan, Chelsea, maybe SoHo, Greenwich Village, etc.) since this is your first trip and you've already got some things lined up that will take up a decent chunk of time. By the way, just curious, what show are you seeing?

By the way, this little laminated map is a lifesaver...I still refer to mine even though I know NYC pretty well.
https://www.amazon.com/Streetwise-Manhattan-Map-Laminated-Folding/dp/1886705976
(I have no idea what's with the crazy price but you can get an earlier version at Barnes and Noble for maybe $10 or hopefully less)

Posted by
284 posts

Take the subway to Brooklyn and then walk back across the Brooklyn Bridge so you see the Manhattan skyline. You could then go to the 9/11 museum. Get timed tickets online and print them out. This will let you avoid waiting in long ticket lines. I would recommend paying a bit extra and taking the one-hour guided tour. This will show you the highlights and help you decide what else you want to see - there' s a lot there! The Staten Island ferry is not far from there and it's a great, free way to see the Statue of Liberty and the lower Manhattan skyline. You take it across, then get off and immediately board the return ferry.

There are a lot of companies offering free walking tours of different areas. I've used Big Apple tours. There are also food tours that combine a neighborhood tour with tastes of food along the way - delicious. The Circle Line boat that goes all the way around Manhattan shows you a different view of the whole island.

Have fun!

Posted by
16840 posts

The new Whitney museum at the south end of the High Line is good for an hour or two and has great views from the outdoor verandas on the upper floors.

Posted by
2353 posts

Is this a first trip to NYC? If it is don't miss the NYC biggie attractions fearing they are too touristy - there is a reason they are so popular. The Highline is nice for sure but certainly not on my radar for a first NYC visit. AS cliche as the Empire State Building is - the view is amazing! Go at twilight to see the view in the dark as well. Times Square is a see at night for a minute - then move on - or view from one of the rooftop bars - perhaps après theater. Be sure and swing by the normal touristy stops - Rockefeller Center, (the ice rink opens on the 8th! - skating is fun there), The Chrysler Building, Central Park... Just enjoy being a tourist.

There are some great rooftop bars - a little pricey but the views are phenomenal! My fav is on the Marriott Marquis or the Fairfield/Four Points Sheraton both in Times Square. Just google NYC rooftop bars - there are many.

Also if DH is a foodie and has a few favorite famous chefs check out their restaurants - lunch is usually cheaper or book dinner ahead through open table or other similar.

Posted by
6872 posts

The thinking behind the High Line is its proximity to the OP's hotel (and as long as you don't go in the afternoon, the crowds can be manageable even on a weekend..I'd pick early morning). I would put it right up there with any top ten tourist attraction. You can see amazing architecture right from the High Line in a way that's different than at street level, plus it's such an interesting reuse of formerly industrial rail track. So why not go? It's a really nice stroll (about a little more than 1 mile each way).

Posted by
1000 posts

Christie - yes, it's my first time. DH was there as a high schooler (but that was three decades ago...). These are great suggestions.

Agnes - the High Line sounds great, doesn't sound like a huge time commitment and we enjoy a nice walk! I had previously checked out One World Observatory and will probably skip just based on the price of admission. There are a lot of other great views, I'm thinking!

Thanks!

Posted by
6646 posts

Top of the Empire State Building was a favorite for us. The Staten Island Ferry was a nice inexpensive tour. I know Seinfeld was a long time ago, but there are places from the show to visit. Stage Deli is a good traditional lunch stop.

Posted by
1000 posts

Agnes - just re-reading and realized I didn't answer as to what show we are seeing. Something Rotten! Sounds like a hoot.

Posted by
6872 posts

Celeste, that sounds like fun! Have a great trip!

Posted by
111 posts

I would recommend taking a sightseeing cruise with Circle Line. It takes about 3 hours if I remember right. They take you around the island of Manhattan and it’s a great way to see a lot of things in a short amount of time. Plus, it’s fun! https://www.circleline42.com/

I would also recommend a walk through Central Park. It should be beautiful this time of year and if you have time the Chrysanthemum gardens at the Central Park Conservancy should be in full bloom and beautiful. http://www.centralparknyc.org/things-to-see-and-do/bloom-guide/blooms/korean-chrysanthemum.html?season=

Grand Central Terminal is a beautiful building and fun to wonder through. Also, there is food court type area with lots of options which is great for grabbing a quick lunch.

I second the recommendation to go to the top of the Empire State Building and agree that evening is a great time because it offers you the opportunity to view the city by daylight and again by night hours. Times Square at night is also worth a stroll through the area. Don’t forget to stop and look up once in a while. It still blows my mind after several visits.

I like the High Line and think the concept is genius, but I don’t think it would be on my “must see” list if I was only visiting for a weekend. It’s okay to want to see the touristy sites, because I think they are part of the charm of NYC.

You can find any kind of food you could ever imagine in NYC, so eat whatever your heart desires. I’m always up for a trip to Chinatown or the Little Italy neighborhood. Magnolia Bakery makes my favorite cupcakes ever!

Posted by
3933 posts

Just a quick Magnolia Bakery tip - when we were there last year, there was an outlet (I guess you'd call it) in the Grand Central Terminal food court. Got a super delicious strawberry one, and thankfully, the lady who we were sharing a table with had some wet wipes and kindly gave me one as I had frosting all over my fingers!

Posted by
2353 posts

Yes - Grand Central Terminal is beautiful. Have a drink in the "secret bar"!

Posted by
11262 posts

I'll be in Manhattan that same weekend. Just prior to heading overseas.

Be aware that Monday, October 10 is Columbus Day which means the Columbus Day parade up 5th Ave from 44th St to 72 nd St. Leave yourself plenty of time to get to the airport with all the traffic from street closures.

You've gotten some good suggestions. Pick the ones that you think will interest you.

Posted by
1000 posts

Thanks, MrsEB. I was hoping to hear from you. Yes, I feel a moral obligation to go to the Memorial and pay my respects. We may not do the full museum. Thanks for your other suggestions.

In reviewing all the great suggestions, the ones that capture my interest are taking the Staten Island Ferry, visiting Battery Park area, and definitely Central Park. Gotta hit up Chelsea Market. I'll check that list more closely for other markets that may be near where we will be. Empire State Bldg or Top of the Rock? Oh, the decisions! We do actually like just walking around, absorbing the sights, looking at scenes we've seen on TV and in movies, and just people watching. I get the two sides about the High Line, but it does sound like something we'd like.

If there is a recommended restaurant near the St. James Theater where our show is on Saturday night, please let me know. Show starts at 8 and I don't think we can wait till after to eat. I'll chew off my arm! We may just have to eat before AND after.

Thanks for the warning about the parade. I knew it was Columbus Day (which is why DH has the day off), no idea they'd actually have a parade for it. DH has to head to airport for 2:55 flight, and I am heading to Boston for work.

Posted by
5697 posts

I really liked the Ellis Island immigration center, particularly interesting if you had relatives who were processed through there.

Posted by
1000 posts

Thanks, Laura. Mine and my husband's family have been in the U.S. since before the establishment of Ellis Island, but we would find it very interesting from a historical perspective. Do you know what kind of crowds we should expect there on a Sunday or Monday (Columbus Day)?

Posted by
3933 posts

We went to the 9/11 museum last year and I actually found it quite moving - the movie they show at the start had me choking back tears and the displays showing items that belonged to people, along with the stories - was really touching. Well - I guess you have to ask yourself - do I want to be really sad for a few hours?

Posted by
9363 posts

I made my first trip to NYC in February this year - and my second is coming up in just over three weeks! The 9/11 museum was at the top of my list. My companion had been there before, but was more than willing to go back. We were there on a Friday late afternoon and there was no ticket line, nor was it packed with people. We ended up spending four hours there. I don't think a guided tour is necessary or even advantageous, since every display is well-signed and you will want to spend extra time in some areas and less in others.

On that first day, we also took the FREE Staten Island Ferry, which takes you very close to the Statue of Liberty. (You have to get off of the boat on Staten Island and go back around to the lobby to get on the return trip.) One other place that we were pleasantly surprised by was the Museum of the City of New York. You can get 2 for 1 tickets on Groupon for $15. They show a film called Timelines that is a photographic history of the city of New York, narrated by Stanley Tucci, and it's fascinating.

Rather than the High Line, I would choose Central Park. Go see the John Lennon memorial, Strawberry Fields, watch performers at the Mall, explore the many pathways, or go to the zoo. Go to Rockfeller Center, Grand Central Station, Times Square.

Posted by
1000 posts

Well, we have had to cancel our trip, but thanks everyone for the good suggestions! I'll save them for when we do make it - hopefully soon!!

Posted by
24 posts

I nice food crawl is on 7th Street between Avenue A and 1st Avenue. On that 1 short block you can have a variety of eats:

Luke's Lobster: primo lobster rolls
Caracas: inexpensive arepas with a variety of options
Porchetta: amazing pork sandwiches
Big Gay Ice Cream: an NYC institution, try the Bea Arthur or the Salty Pimp

You can easily split something at each of these spots and spend under $40 (the lobster roll is a bit pricey) and be stuffed.

The street also has a cupcake shop, a tea lounge, bars, and more restaurants. Best of all, you are getting away from the super touristy stuff for a little while. Nearby Tompkins Square Park is a great people watching spot where you can see some East Village hipsters and dream about what it might have been like to be a character in the musical Rent.

Posted by
24 posts

Also, just across the street from the World Trade Center is Le District, a french food hall. You can grab a few bites and then grab a bench on the pier just outside. From there you can see Ellis Island and the back of the Statue of Liberty and watch the boats go by. You'll see New Yorkers jogging along the pier and for about $7, you can take a ferry across the Hudson to New Jersey's Liberty State Park. This is less crowded and touristy than the free Staten Island Ferry, and the views of Manhattan are just as nice, though the SI ferry will get you a better view of Lady Liberty's front.