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Travel to NYC with DD16 and DS14

(20 Posts)
Pinkbatrobi Wed 28-Dec-16 23:32:42

We have booked flights to go to NY for 5 days only as a post-GCSE treat for my daughter, who's wanted to visit for a long time. I have read past posts on this subject, and have noted advices on activities etc, but most are several years old, and any advice on hotels seems to be potentially too old to be valid and/or too expensive for us, so I wondered if anyone who's been recently can suggest somewhere to stay relatively cheap and/or fun activities for teens (our finances are already stretched by flights, but we would like to make it a memorable trip for them!) Thanks for any suggestions!

Fourbyfour Sun 01-Jan-17 12:39:52

Radio city apartments is the best place I've ever stayed there, and includes a kitchenette so you can make your own breakfast etc saving a huge chunk of money on eating out, a large fridge for cold drinks etc. Most activities in new york are free so it's not expensive to explore, just expensive to stay and eat/drink.

Breward Tue 03-Jan-17 09:21:45

A bike tour of Central Park. Our 2DC loved it.

We also did a tour of the High Line with the same company. We were taken from the Meat Packing District along the HighLine with an ex dancer. She told great stories of clubbing in the old warehouses in the area, and made what could have been a boring tour great fun.

We climbed into the crown of the statue of Liberty. There are only 500 tickets a day and they have to be booked 3-4 months in advance. They sell out quickly.

We stayed at

It is near the Empire State Building. We chose there as it had a free breakfast. It meant our hungry teens could feast like kings in the morning and we also squirrelled a couple of muffins and rolls for later. The hotel had a food market nearby that did artisan pizzas and delicious Thai food. So we could spend our money on doing things and not just on food.

Pinkpeanut27 Tue 03-Jan-17 14:24:35

We did NYC last year with my 12 and 6 yr olds . Best holiday ever!
We stayed at the Kimberly Appartments and couldn't fault them.
We had 12 days so did a fair amount of chilling out rather than rushing about.
We loved the Empire State , went early to avoid the queues .
Statue of Liberty , went up to the feet but probably wouldn't bother next time , mine loved Ellis Island
Times Square at night is full on tacky but a great place to visit and get photos .
There is a cool cafe called Serendipity 2 I think that sells frozen hot chocolate and massive sundaes .
Walking across the Brooklyn bridge to Grimaldis , the bridge was packed and it was boiling so would probably take a subway next time . Pizza amazing !
Mine loved Central Park and bumming round numerous Starbucks for air con and free wifi .

I'm sure there was loads more so ask any questions you might have .
You will have the best time ever it is fab !

Pinkbatrobi Tue 03-Jan-17 19:27:45

Thanks so much for all the answers! Sorry I've been off line during hols, now back to trying to organise this. I'll check those links and see what other questions come to mind!

Breward Tue 03-Jan-17 19:58:47

I would second walking the Brooklyn Bridge. Amazing views and experience - 6 lanes of traffic under your feet.

Blacksox Tue 03-Jan-17 20:07:22

We went last year with our 17 and 13 year olds.

Dh and I have been loads, but it was so exciting to see it through their fresh eyes.

Did no shopping as none of us are into it.

Went to the 911 museum and memorial. Empire State, Top of the Rock, Grand Central Station, High Line. Went to Rockefeller Centre to be in outside broadcasts of Today show.

Ellen's Stardust Diner for the cheesiest, most fun dinner I think we've ever had.

Staten Island ferry for fab views.

Central Park several times.

We only had 3 days, but we crammed in loads and it was fab.

TinklingTheIvories Tue 03-Jan-17 21:22:47

If you want a lot of the touristy things, I'd recommend the New York Pass (not the city pass) as it lets you in to pretty much everything for free. We and DH used it on our trip, and saw everything and went into every museum pretty much. Depends if you're into museums though.

Carriage ride in Central Park - agree the price directly with the drivers and not the other tour touts

Go and see a show if money allows. There's some fantastic ones off Broadway smile

Pinkbatrobi Wed 04-Jan-17 02:24:37

Breward I've looked at the-age you posted re statue of liberty (thank you!) and I have a question: it says it's 162 steps to get up there... I am 53, overweight huge and suffer from asthma. I think I can climb it if I can go slowly and stop if it gets too much and catch my breath, but from what I remember of it (I went up it in 1986) it was pretty much a continuous stream of people going up, and we didn't really have any space even when we got to the top, we had to move along because people were coming up and so we had to move along the windows without really having much time to stop and look out, and just go all the way down again. Is it still like this or have they organised things better in the years since then? What do you think? Will I be in trouble/in the way if I need to stop while I'm climbing? (i.e. will there be space for people to overtake me if they are going faster than me?) I'm just trying to decide whether to dare or just give up and get tickets only for DH, DD and DS... sad * off to train and diet until August grin

Teapot13 Wed 04-Jan-17 02:38:40

If you are looking at accommodation on a budget, check out Airbnb in Brooklyn and Jersey City. (Jersey City is across the Hudson and cheaper than Bklyn.) If you opt for JC make sure you are near a PATH station. If you are near Journal Square or Grove Street you can be at WTC in 15 minutes.

Equimum Wed 04-Jan-17 04:10:39

I would definitely second the idea of buying one of the passes, as they massively reduce the cost of doing multiple things. Shop round, though, as some offer discounts if you book bus tours at the same time etc., and the pass prices can change.

Have you booked flights to JFK or Newark? If you are flying to Newark, staying in Jersey City would save you a lot of money. As someone has already mentioned, make sure you are near a PATH station. This will make it easy to get from Newark airport. It is also only a quick hop into the financial district or about 30 mins to 33rd Street (with pptions to get off at several points in Lower Manhatten). I can thoroughly recommend Grove Point. I think Furnished Quarters own the rental apartments there. They are large, very well kitted out self-catering apartments directly above the Gove Street PATH station.

In NYC, I'd definitely consider going up either the ESB or the Rockefeller. If you do the latter, you get amazing views of both Central Park & the ESB. State Island ferry is free. There is also a really cool cable car type thing that goes from manhatten to Roosevelt Island and only costs the same as a Metro trip fare. On weekend during the summer. (Not sure about during the week), there is also a free ferry to Governors Island, which leaves from Battery Park, and they often have event on the island. The World Trade Centre memorial centre is free, but book in advance. Also it's worth spending lots of time wandering round places like Chelsea, Grand Central, Fifth Av., We also found that some of the kayak places in Brooklyn offered free 'have-a-go' sessions early in the day and late in the evening, so have a dig around online.

As for climbing the Statur of Liberty, it isn't too busy as tickets are limited and timed. There are small platforms at various level, which enable you to stand aside and let others past, but it is still a bit of a conveyor belt and you don't really get much time at the top. If you do book tickets, make sure you give yourselves enough time to stop at Ellis Island and look round the museum. I believe boats only stop on the way out. Also, if you do stay in Jersey City, there are boats from Liberty Park, which can be reached by either the light railway or by a boat that crosses the canal.

Have a good trip.

Blandings Wed 04-Jan-17 10:56:33

We stayed here and couldn't fault it for location - a block from a subway station, a few blocks from Empire State and a 20 minute walk to Grand Central station. Plus a kitchen in our room which we only used for drinks/snacks but was very handy.

Things I'd suggest doing:

- Top of the Rock (instead of Empire State)
- Walk the High Line (visit Chelsea Market for lunch first)
- Shake Shack for burgers in Madison Square Park
- Agree about walking the Brooklyn Bridge followed by pizza at Grimaldi's. We then got the East River ferry back to our hotel at 34th Street
- Staten Island ferry
- Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island for sure. You can just walk up to the plinth rather than the top if you want and Ellis Island is so interesting.
- Go watch a Yankees game if they're at home - you can book cheap tickets in advance.

- Ground Zero. Incredibly moving

- We really liked the Tenement Museum

Second booking everything that you can, in advance.

AttilaTheMeerkat Wed 04-Jan-17 11:14:35

A tip re shake shack:-

If you do go to Shake Shack (and there are a number of these in NYC) do get there as soon as possible after opening at 11.00am. The sheer number of people lining up at all the NY branches of this chain was surprising and made their line in Covent Garden seem short by comparison.

Any baseball game is worth watching but you need to know the basic rules to make proper sense of it. YouTube is helpful in this respect. Also such games can go on for 3 hours plus. The Yankees stadium is easily accessible by subway from downtown and is a short walk from the subway station.

SwedishEdith Wed 04-Jan-17 11:31:52

We stayed at the NYMA as well - great location. Have one expensive drink on the rooftop bar - next to ESB.

Cheap/free things we did - Staten Island ferry and then wander around a bit and get pizza in the pizza place.
High Line.
Wander around Upper West Side - get lunch from a deli and take to Central Park to eat then stroll round. See Dakota Buildings.
Walk Brooklyn Bridge
Get subway To Williamsburg - check out the thrift/vintage stores.
Get pizza at Joe's Pizza We went there by accident and did't realise it was famous until got back home.
Go to Katz's deli
If you stay at or near the nyma, it's in Korea Town - loads of great restaurants. Plus, also near Herald Square which had loads of food stalls when we were there - cheap, good, busy.
Go to the Met in late afternoon - free.

Breward Wed 04-Jan-17 17:48:44

The 911 museum costs. We visited and felt completely drained afterwards. It is a museum that has to be done.

Before going in the museum we took a tour of Ground Zero with the Tribute center next to the Ground Zero fire house. We were taken round by 2 firefighter that were there on the day. They took us through the events of 9/11 through their eyes. Very moving. Very few people know of this museum- it was there before the government museum- set up by families and survivors and worth supporting.

Blacksox Wed 04-Jan-17 20:21:48

Yes the 911 museum is not inexpensive and it takes ages but is totally worth it. If I went back, I'd avoid the room that has all the photos of the victims and their stories as I found it too distressing.

I have never heard of the firefighter guided tour - that sounds really worthwhile.

WriterNeedsHelp2017 Wed 04-Jan-17 20:24:22

I've got a good AirB&B address in Brooklyn (three bedroomed) if you're interested - typical brownstone. My sister and her family stayed there last summer and loved it - I'm staying there this summer.

Jungfraujoch Wed 04-Jan-17 20:44:02

Just reading this with interest as may have the chance to go Feb half term - DH will be there for work the week before.

DH proposed to me on the plane enroute to NY and I've always wanted to go back and know the kids will love it!

I know it will be cold, but I'd still love to do some of the more outdoors stuff - I guess we just need to wrap up!!

Pinkbatrobi Sun 05-Feb-17 01:08:32

Coming back to read all your comments after a month of total chaos as I had my kitchen gutted and redone and no time to read MN! You have all been so generous with your advice, I'm going to note it all. We looked at dates for baseball game but still haven't booked anything as I find the idea of being stuck for 3 hours watching a game I potentially don't even understand or feel engaged with daunts me a bit... plus the only one that we could go to potentially finished at 11 pm, so still mulling that over. I would like that air&b address if possible, Writer, thanks!... In the end we have made a provisional reservation at the Executive Hotel Le Soleil which came highly recommended to my husband by a colleague/friend of his, but I'm not 100% convinced, so having other options would still be interesting! Very interesting re 9/11, I will definitely look into that. I must say that although we have looked forward to this trip for a very long time, it is slightly shadowed by all the stuff happening in the US, I wonder how different the country we are hoping to visit in the summer is going to be from now... :-(

bojorojo Sun 05-Feb-17 23:57:05

NY won't be different. Just avoid Trump Tower. Do your ESTA and stand in line for the passport check - don't smile. Be polite. Get through as soon as possible!

When we were in the USA just before the election we had quite a few Americans ask us for our opinion on their election. We decided to be diplomatic but actually everyone who spoke to us was horrified at the prospect of Trump! We could agree with them after they made their position clear!

We decided not to do 911. It is pricey but I cannot quite get my head around being really upset on holiday. The large black holes with fountains and all the names are bad enough! Would teens really enjoy it?

Lots of good things do cost money and the $-£ exchange rate is grim. We felt climbing the Statue of Liberty was not worth it when we took our children. Ellis Island is much better. The Empire State or Top of the Rock has great views. We did all of the Hjgh Line. Top to bottom. We also like the SoHo area. It's home to some great neighbourhood restaurants and coffee shops. People have more time down there!

When you price a meal you need to add in the tax at around 8% and then add double the tax in for the tip. The tip is not optional in the USA. Americans often leave 20% - -- so more than double the tax! So every meal is about 25-30% more than you think. Finding food shops can be a bit of a challenge too if you want to eat breakfast in the room. We chose a hotel once with breakfast included and it was a croissant and coffee and the croissants disappeared in 2 minutes. Americans love a freebee!

I have been taken to a baseball match. The crowd don't really watch the game much. They chat, eat, drink, walk about and cheer occasionally. It is an experience but not a great one. Be aware that Broadway show tickets can be very expensive - more than London. If you are on a tight budget - avoid.

Lots of the suggestions above for museums and activities are great.

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