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New York experts please answer a few questions.(33 Posts)
Uber? Any good there? Cheaper than 4 of us on the metro?
How about getting from JFK to Brooklyn?
Weather in mid April? Snow?? Sunshine or really wet and cold still?
Lastly we are taking our 17 and 14 year old. Any tips?
We went as a couple in 2001 so I’m sure lots has changed.
Also can we hire bikes at all for short journeys?
Mid April - it's getting warmer. Temperature can be quite pleasant but there may be rain. Snow would be unlikely. Get an airport shuttle from JFK to your address. Book with the booking agent in the terminal when you emerge.
I've not used Uber. The metro doesn't go everywhere and, in my view, is grim and grimy. However as you are in Brooklyn you will be better off using it for speed. Taxis are not that expensive but traffic jams do not help.
Never hired bikes. I have seen them on the Brooklyn Bridge but not in Manhattan. New York life seems to frantic for bikes. In Central Park maybe and quieter areas?
With teenagers I would do Top of the Rock, the High Line and stop off for food at Chelsea Market, Staten Island Ferry, Brooklyn Bridge, Museums if they are interested, a show (can be more expensive than London) and any specialist stores they might like. Obviously the High Line will be a new experience for you and we loved it. For a flavour of old New York there is a tenement museum in the Lower East side. Soho with the external fire escapes on the buildings is worth a wander too.
We went mid April in 2016. We were unlucky and the weather which had been in the 20s the week before was hovering around 0 when we were there. There was snow just outside the city and while we didn’t get any, it was very windy and bitterly cold. I used to go to NYC quite frequently as a child/teen and from memory, April was very variable (much like NE where I grew up).
We did the High Line and I’d only do it on a warmish day- we froze! My son absolutely loved the vertical tour at St John the Divine. You get to go up amongst the flying buttresses and then onto the roof.
There were people on rented bikes all over the place but IMO, they were all mad- agree with Bubbles that cycling around Central Park would be a better idea.
We also had a dim sum banquet in a massive banqueting hall where they roll trays past you and you stop them and make your choices (chicken feet were a big winner with DS) and then went to a Chinese ice cream shop - madness in the cold but delicious.
Noofly where is the Chinese banquet as I'd love to try it when I'm next there
Noofly there’s not a chance in hell my teens will eat chicken feet!!
Frenchkippy The dim sum banquet was at Jing Fong on Elizabeth Street, just off Canal St. It looks like nothing from the front door (DH looked at it dubiously and asked why we weren’t going to the nice looking restaurant next door), but when you go in, you go up an escalator and it comes out at a massive banqueting hall. Great fun and full of Chinese families who clearly knew what to order while we just guessed.
Go to the Original Chinatown Ice Cream Factory round the corner afterwards- if you Google it you’ll see all the flavours. They give free tasting samples in the store too.
It looks fab. Great flavours.
Yes to the High Line - weather permitting.
Even Central Park can be terrifying on bikes if you do it at a weekend when everyone else has the same idea.
Ground Zero and Ellis Island museum both very touching, as you would expect.
ihatethecold I’ve got the contact details for the driver we used from JFK to midtown. In April 2016 the cost was $70 (but this was through our hotel so don’t know if he might be a bit cheaper if booked direct. The advantage to using him was that he is Queens born and bred and had us zipping through back streets, completely avoiding the tied up traffic on the main routes and we got to the airport far earlier than I was expecting. If anyone is interested I’ll PM details.
Central Park is fine at the weekend for cycling most people are friendly and relaxed. Bike the Big Apple do amazing bike tours we did a couple in Brooklyn and the Bronx. Roosevelt Tramway is cool kids love it. The food tours are also great value and the tour guides are locals and have a great sense of humour. Brooklyn Botanical gardens is beautiful and the cherry blossom should be out. It was free on Tuesday's a couple of years ago. The locals come out in force with their children it's fun.
I used the metro to get about & quite often was faster than friends in taxis to get to the same place due to the traffic.
Yes, probably overstated the biking scenario in Central Park but depending when you go it can be very very crowded and you do have to have your wits about you.
I was thinking we could cycle over the Brooklyn bridge.
ZaraW, do you have any recommendations for food tours. I really like that idea.
Not at all we cycled over Brooklyn Bridge it was very busy and pedestrians were walking on the bike side but it's fine just go slow.
Food Tours of New York are excellent we did the two tours of Greenwich Village both awesome. Our guides were actors they were incredibly knowledgeable about their city and really funny.
If your used to cycling then i say central park can be nice.
We cycled round during the day but i am not an active person and struggled a little.
I will try be more fitter when we go back.
If your doing the rockefeller centre and empire state building i would do one at night and one during the day. We did the rockefeller centre at night.
Ground zero is good visit its a very strange atsmophere espically if you read the names of those who lost their lifes but they have done a good job at having a nice place for those who died to be remembered.
We went to see matilda broadway show. We got our tickets half price on the day at the ticket stand on times square (dont trust anyone but them selling tickets).
We got bored of bus tours pretty quickly and started using the metro which is pretty cheap and easy to use as each station has maps and the lines are easy to use.
Did the open top bus tour as well, it's fun for getting orientated and obviously the metro is more efficient but the view is better on the bus There are different companies, prices and tour loops, mine included a tour of Brooklyn (very entertaining guide) and also a night tour where you get to see all the buildings lit up (but wrap up warm!)
That food tour link looks brilliant. I will definitely do that. Which tour did you do Zara?
Lots of bikes on the Brooklyn Bridge. I can't see the advantage of bikes in midtown. It's just so busy. Around Greenwich Village or Soho where the streets are smaller may be an option. There are only so many routes from JFK to Manhattan. You must cross the East River and then there can be queues!
Also remember NY is the tipping capital of the world. 15-20% is normal and tax is paid on top of the quoted price. So £100 meal is plus 8% tax plus 16% tip. - and it's expected.
You should find most places have the tip added on to your bill although we always leave an extra 5 dollars for them.
We left a few dollars each day for the cleaning staff in the hotel room to.
Ihatethecold we did The Original Greenwich Village and The Heart of the Village both excellent.
Forgot you have to walk from DUMBO to the Brooklyn Bridge very nice walk along the water front.
Uber and Lyft are great in NYC, very easy to use.
For cycling they have the Citi bikes, they are the equivalent of Boris bikes in London. Never used so don't know the cost but they are dotted around the city. Honestly I wouldn't cycle in NYC except through a park.
Mid-April is springtime, might be a bit cool and wet but snow would be very unusual at that time of year. But it could also be surprisingly warm. Climate change is real, I grew up around NY and my family reports non-seasonal weather is much more frequent these days.
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