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Going to NYC -- Where's the FAQ?

I'm going to New York for a friend's wedding in May. I've never been, but have always wanted to go.

Anyone care to drop a suggestion or two for this Kansas native? I've got five days to take in the essentials. What are they?

I'm not sure where we're staying yet, but I believe it's not too far from Times Square, within walking distance.

I'm not much for "clubbing," but my wife probably is. Of course, she's already been a couple of times as it's her college roommate that's getting married.

Thanks everyone.

Dave Hull
Monday, January 5, 2004

New York City is a city of neighborhoods. The Times Square area has a lot of businesses and a lot of tourists, but if you really want to experience Manhattan, you will need to go to other neighborhoods.

My recommendations would be to buy The Rough Guide To New York City and read about a neighborhood per week until your trip. That should help you focus on what appeals to you.

Time Out New York and The New Yorker Magazine will let you know what is going on in entertainment, museums, etc.

Apart from that, I can't give you any specific advice. New York is a one-of-a-kind place with much too much to see during a short stay. I can't tell you what the priorities for you should be.

John Perkins
Tuesday, January 6, 2004

Thanks John. I've spent a little time looking through some of the travel guides in the bookstore, trying to get a feel for a good resource. I realize it's not going to be possible to get a good sampling in such a short visit, but I wanted to consult with some locals.

I appreciate your advice and will check out the information sources you mentioned.

I've been in contact with an old friend who's been living in New York for the last 12 years or so and will likely lean on him for more advice and to show me around a bit.

Coming from the midwest, where I've got more than 80 acres of open space across the street from my house, New York will be something completely different. I've spent a fair amount of time in Chicago, but I imagine it is quite different.

Dave Hull
Tuesday, January 6, 2004

subway to Cloisters (in upper Manhattan)

take a Staten Island Ferry ride (maybe more than one round trip)

Circle Line Tours are fun (a little too touristy, for native NY'ers, like me)

eat at Moumouns Falafel stand on McDougal St after Midnight

watch the morning commuters at Grand Central from the balcony with a bagel and a coffee

visit Canal Street merchants on a weekend morning...

Try Umberto's Clam House in Little Italy for lunch that day

The Strand Book Store on Broadway and 12th Street

Stop in at Wo-Hop's in Chinatown for a late supper one evening

I've since moved away and now live in sunny California, but those are my suggestions for a taste of NYC

(not in any particular order)

Jon Krawczuk
Tuesday, January 6, 2004

See? That's why this city is so great. I said I can't say what someone else should do, but my list would go something like this (much like my real life goes actually; not in any particular order)...

- See what is playing at Zankel Hall, the new performance venue underneath Carnegie, and catch a concert there. If that doesn't work out, see the NY Phil at Avery Fisher Hall.

- Eat a different kind of cuisine for lunch/dinner every day. In a recent week I had Cuban, Jamaican, Korean, Thai, Italian, Brazillian, French, Malaysian. This is something you just can't do almost anywhere else in the U.S. Have the best pastrami sandwich of your life at Artie's Deli at 82nd and Broadway. Go for Sunday brunch at some local haunt, a big deal with New Yorkers so be prepared to wait. Try Cafeteria; it's way too hip, but really, really good. There are some great French restaurants in town, but I won't list my favorite tiny East Village stop here... it's already getting hard for me to get in there! That location is a hint though.

- Spend some time getting lost in Central Park.

- Go to the Guggenheim and the Whitney.

- Go out on the town with friends after having a great dinner, there are so many bars in nyc it is insane. It can be a real kick watching New Yorkers maneuvering in their practiced way, be it at a dive or the trendiest, upscale bar in town. Preferred nights are Wednesday and Thursday for people who live in Manhattan.

- Ride the subway at 9 a.m. with all the commuters going to lower Manhattan. Thing is, as a tourist, you don't have to go to work when the trip is over! (I'll be one of those tens of thousands going into one of those big buildings.)

- While downtown from item above, visit the WTC site. Then look around at the people in lower Manhattan during their workday and realize that nothing could quash this city in the long run.

- Wander around Soho and look up at the cast iron architecture. People must think I'm still a tourist because I look up all the time... thing is I'm just interested in architecture. Stop at Savoy (Prince street?) and have a drink to take a break.

- Check out some rock or jazz at The Knitting Factory.

- Talk to people. The conventional wisdom is that New Yorkers are not friendly, but if you strike up a real conversation that doesn't start "how do I get to the such-and-such place", you'll usually be pleasantly surprised.

John Perkins
Wednesday, January 7, 2004

I agree that Manhattan is all about neighborhoods. The amazing thing is all these neighborhoods are walking distance from each other.

I also tend to think of NYC in terms of streets.

You can walk from Times Square (42nd street, Broadway) to 57th St where Carnegie Hall, The Hard Rock, etc. are.

On the west side of 57th St you get Columbus Circle and Broadway, just north of that in the 60's is Lincoln Center. On the east side and North, you get Bloomingdales and lots of amazing shopping.

The Museums are wayyyyyy uptown... well some of them are, unless I felt like walking through Central Park I'd probably take the train to get to them.

Walk down Broadway from Times Square following traffic and you end up in Herald Square and little Korea, all around 34th St and Broadway. Here's Macy*s (gotta love those wooden escelators), the Empire State Building, and as always, lots of great shopping.

Continuing down Broadway, around 14th Street (skipping Chelsea and the Flatiron district for now) you have lots of great restaurants and shoopping all surrounding Union Square Park. Be sure to check out 5th Avenue and University Place while you're here.

When you're here, enter the Barnes & Noble on 16th St and just left of the entrace is a section with all sorts of books on NYC from historical to dining to erotica you're sure to find a guide book for whatever it is you're looking for.

8th Street between 6th Avenue and Broadway gives you tons of great shoe shopping. West of 6th Avenue and you're in the West Village. On the opposite side of Broadway you get Astor Place, which leads to St Mark's Street and Alphabet City... Bohemia at it's best.

Bleeker Street is known for its bars. Best to start around 6th Avenue and work your way east or west. Also be sure to check out MacDougal Street and all the cafe's.

Once you pass Houston Street you're in SoHo (South of Houston, pronounced House-ton not hue-ston) with you guessed it... lots of great shopping, and a somewhat more upscale nightlife. There's lots of great art galleries in this area if you can find them (best to get a guidebook if you're interested in them all).

Mulberry Street north of Canal is Little Italy, which means great Italian food.

Once you hit Canal, one block east (to your left if you're walking south on Mulberry) is Mott Street, and Chinatown, my favorite place for finding that import DVD nobody else carries, or exploring some of the cuisine. In a social mood, try Joe's Shanghai where it's always 10 people to a table, or late at night, try Wo Hop at 17 Mott Street, (Downstairs only please) a great Chinese restaurant that's open all hours.

When I went to Boston I found that the Time Out guide was the best of the guide books. I'd venture to say that it's the same for NYC.

I just started (it's completely empty now) a Wiki dedicated to NYC at I'll be filling it in the days and months to come & I really hope you guys help out.
Wednesday, January 7, 2004

This is the extended version of my walking tour...
Thursday, January 8, 2004

Very cool Mark. Thanks for putting this up for all the folks like me. The responses here have been great so far. I'm really looking forward to the trip. I wonder if I could stop in at Fog Creek and check out the new digs.

Dave Hull
Friday, January 9, 2004

Don't forget to convert your Kansas currency into NYC currency.  Very poor excange rates these days.

Sunday, January 11, 2004

How many USD to one "Bloomberg"?

Rob VH
Monday, January 12, 2004

I don't know, but you'd better:

a) bring your own cigarettes, they cost something like $6 a pack here and
b) don't plan on smoking them anywhere, ever.
Tuesday, January 13, 2004

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