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Thread: New York Family City Break - Top Tips?

  1. #1
    Master smokey99's Avatar
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    New York Family City Break - Top Tips?

    Hi Folks,

    Me and Mrs R and our two boys (13 &1 5) are off to NYC for a few days next week and have a reasonable idea of things we want to do whilst we are there but would welcome any top TZ'er tips.

    Pre kids we were there 20 years ago just before 9/11 so obviously a few things have changed. I did the helicopter ride at the time which was awesome but not sure I'd pay for 4 of us this time around!

    We have 4 full days and so far the list is loosely like this;

    - Open Top Bus Ride (provider to be decided)
    - 9/11 Museum / Tour
    - Top of the Rock Skyline viewing
    - Staten Island ferry and Ellis Island
    - Hudson Yards and the Vessel (tickets booked)
    - Walk Along the 'High Line'
    - MOMA or Guggenheim Museum - Any thoughts?
    - Brooklyn/Dumbo Area
    - General Walk Around Financial District
    - Possible Open Air Cinema Battry Park
    - Trip of out town to Jack o Lantern Festival
    - Brooklyn 99 Precinct Visit (teenagers choice)
    - Inevitable visit to Central Park - Any top tips?
    - Flight Club - Trainer Store (teenager choice)
    - Ellen's Stardust Diner (wife choice)
    - Various Instragrammable Burger/Shake Joints - Black Tap
    - Maybe Katz Diner - But kids won't appreciate the links to When Harry Met Sally

    Any other must do family ideas or tips on how to get the best out of the city?

    Cheers

    Chris

  2. #2
    Master Skyman's Avatar
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    You will love it. We were there in April and are returning early next month. Why not try?
    - High Line followed by a walk to Starbucks Reserve Roastery for a coffee (and much more) break. We are not coffee geeks by any means, but this place is something special.
    https://www.refinery29.com/en-us/201...cation-opening
    - American Museum of Natural History - always reminds me of scenes from Night at the Museum.
    - Grand Central Station.
    - Times Square - some great Italian family eateries in that area e.g. Tony’s of Napoli - excellent Negronis.
    - Flatiron Building
    Be sure to book tickets for Ellis Island etc, the queue for turn-ups can be very, very long.
    Enjoy.

  3. #3
    • Various outlets with (designer) clothing
    • The Intreped Sea Air and Space Museum
    • Apple store


    Be aware of the distances. Try to search your phone's app store for useful itinerary apps. That will save you a lot of time travelling/walking between PoI's. Ordering tickets online for a certain time slot can be useful as well; especially the 9/11 Tour and Museum!

    Weather will be rather good next week with an occasional shower. A mix of indoors and outdoors is good.

    Menno
    Last edited by thieuster; 19th October 2019 at 14:28.

  4. #4
    Master
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    This was late last year but I am sure still relevant:

    https://forum.tz-uk.com/showthread.p...-New-York-City

    Enjoy!

  5. #5
    Definitely include USS Intrepid museum. Bronx zoo another idea.

  6. #6
    Master Matt London's Avatar
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    Stated Island Ferry. It’s free and you go past Ellis Island, twice. It’s a pretty quick turnaround at Staten Island so doesn’t take a big chunk out of the day.

    Doh! Just noticed that it’s on your list already.

    Breakfast at Sarabeth’s across the road from Central Park was nice.
    https://sarabethsrestaurants.com/loc...al-park-south/

    I really enjoyed the brisket and chicken here!
    https://www.hillcountry.com/new-york-city-menus/
    Last edited by Matt London; 19th October 2019 at 17:56. Reason: Doh!

  7. #7
    The New York Rangers are at home on 23rd, 25th, 27th and 29th. Ice hockey at Madison Square Garden is an amazing experience.
    Last edited by Phil Lee; 19th October 2019 at 18:00.

  8. #8
    Master smokey99's Avatar
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    That's a good call. We did the Yankees last time we were there and whilst interesting quite a dull sport. Ice Hockey should be much more fun. I'll check it out.
    Quote Originally Posted by Phil Lee View Post
    The New York Rangers are at home on 23rd, 25th, 27th and 29th. Ice hockey at Madison Square Garden is an amazing experience.
    Sent from my CLT-L09 using TZ-UK mobile app

  9. #9
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    Already on your list, but the High Line would be a must for me after a day or twoís sightseeing - such a tranquil contrast.

    Youíre right to go for the Rockerfeller view over the Empire State view too.

    +1 for the aircraft carrier. Really cool to see a space shuttle up close.

    We were going to do a supper club last time we were over there but left it too late and couldnít find one that wasnít already booked, but if youíre up for a bit of an experience (you never know who youíll be dining with of course..) and the kids are game, it could be interesting.

    Another slightly left field suggestion, but City Technical College in Brooklyn turn the college into an impressive haunted hotel during October with their performing arts students and lecturers playing all the characters. Think London Dungeon style interactive rooms. I really canít recommend it highly enough, was very well done and properly scary.

    Enjoy the trip!

  10. #10
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    Most hotels sell a ticket book thing that gets you in to most of the big tourist attractions, we got those it had everything we wanted to see in it and worked out at two thirds of the price.


    Big apple greeters are good, we had a day with one and it was fantastic. She took us to see things that we didn't know where there, they also know the best places to eat too.
    Well worth it too, they don't charge for the service. they are local people passionate about their city helping visitors get the best out of their stay . You can make a donation as its a charitity



    https://bigapplegreeter.org/

  11. #11
    Quote Originally Posted by smokey99 View Post
    That's a good call. We did the Yankees last time we were there and whilst interesting quite a dull sport. Ice Hockey should be much more fun. I'll check it out.

    Sent from my CLT-L09 using TZ-UK mobile app
    It is expensive but great entertainment. There is also the option of the Knicks at MSG and the Nets and Isles at the Barclay Center (Iíve not checked their games). The Yankees may be at home in the World Series but that relies on them beating Houston twice in 2 games.

  12. #12
    Grand Master TheFlyingBanana's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by smokey99 View Post
    Hi Folks,

    Me and Mrs R and our two boys (13 &1 5) are off to NYC for a few days next week and have a reasonable idea of things we want to do whilst we are there but would welcome any top TZ'er tips.

    Pre kids we were there 20 years ago just before 9/11 so obviously a few things have changed. I did the helicopter ride at the time which was awesome but not sure I'd pay for 4 of us this time around!

    We have 4 full days and so far the list is loosely like this;

    - Open Top Bus Ride (provider to be decided)
    - 9/11 Museum / Tour
    - Top of the Rock Skyline viewing
    - Staten Island ferry and Ellis Island
    - Hudson Yards and the Vessel (tickets booked)
    - Walk Along the 'High Line'
    - MOMA or Guggenheim Museum - Any thoughts?
    - Brooklyn/Dumbo Area
    - General Walk Around Financial District
    - Possible Open Air Cinema Battry Park
    - Trip of out town to Jack o Lantern Festival
    - Brooklyn 99 Precinct Visit (teenagers choice)
    - Inevitable visit to Central Park - Any top tips?
    - Flight Club - Trainer Store (teenager choice)
    - Ellen's Stardust Diner (wife choice)
    - Various Instragrammable Burger/Shake Joints - Black Tap
    - Maybe Katz Diner - But kids won't appreciate the links to When Harry Met Sally

    Any other must do family ideas or tips on how to get the best out of the city?

    Cheers

    Chris
    Have done this several times - the last time being a year ago.

    Buy the NY City Pass - gets you in to loads of things and saves a ton of money.

    My advice - don't bother with Ellis Island, just get one of the boat tours that takes you round to Brookly Bridge and back.

    Top of the Rock better than Empire State - because you can see Empire State in the view, and it isn't as busy.

    Natural History Museum is a must do.

    The Intrepid Air and Space Museum is essential - on board a WW2 Aircraft Carrier - a Concorde and a Space Shuttle amongst other things: https://intrepidmuseum.org/

    I wouldn't go out of my way for Katz's (although the Matso Soup is delicious) - it's a bit of a trek. Tic Toc Diner is good at the Hotel New Yorker (pop and see the Tesla museum in the basement if you get ten minutes - small and free).

    You must do the 9/11 museum - not what you'd expect and absolutely incredible.

    This is absolutely fantastic, hilarious, and brilliant: https://experiencetheride.com/?gclid...caAg7AEALw_wcB

    Enjoy!
    So clever my foot fell off.

  13. #13
    Master smokey99's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by gcleminson View Post

    Another slightly left field suggestion, but City Technical College in Brooklyn turn the college into an impressive haunted hotel during October with their performing arts students and lecturers playing all the characters. Think London Dungeon style interactive rooms. I really canít recommend it highly enough, was very well done and properly scary.

    Enjoy the trip!
    Thats perfect. I love these kinds of things and having done the Universal Halloween Horror nights this sounds great.

  14. #14
    Master studly's Avatar
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    As others have said, make sure to walk all of the High Line.

    MOMA is also great.

    If you are interested in 9/11 stuff there is the ground zero museum workshop. I was at it years ago, so things may have changed, but they did have a lot of stuff that had been taken from the site including a full window pane and all sorts.

    I found it all a bit macabre especially when the owner went into the back and reappeared with a piece of fuselage from one of the planes asking if anyone wanted to touch it.

    It was run by some guy and his wife.
    Last edited by studly; 19th October 2019 at 23:59.

  15. #15
    Journeyman
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    Burger join in le parker meridien,I still prefer this burger and I like the cozy underground situation which gives a contrast to the luxurious hotel lobby

  16. #16
    Grand Master
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    I visited in July for the first and last time. Horrible place.

    I saw most of the iconic sights whilst I was there, but I really hated the place. V. expensive too, make no mistake about that, it’ll cost you.

    I’m glad I’ve been and seen it first- hand, but I wouldn’t be paid to return. Definitely wouldn’t take kids.

  17. #17
    Grand Master hogthrob's Avatar
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    Personal view: while the Rockerfeller might have better views, it isn't the Empire State Building. It seems crazy to go to NY and not go up it.

  18. #18
    Master
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    Quote Originally Posted by walkerwek1958 View Post
    Definitely wouldnít take kids.
    Possibly fair comment for ďkidsĒ under, say, 10/11 but OP said his lads are 13 and 15. Iíd be amazed if they didnít love it!

  19. #19
    Master thegoat's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by walkerwek1958 View Post
    I visited in July for the first and last time. Horrible place.

    I saw most of the iconic sights whilst I was there, but I really hated the place. V. expensive too, make no mistake about that, itíll cost you.

    Iím glad Iíve been and seen it first- hand, but I wouldnít be paid to return. Definitely wouldnít take kids.
    New York is like any other city in this regard. Touristy things will be expensive but there are always alternatives.
    Personally, I didnít think it was too bad, certainly nowhere near as expensive as SAN Francisco or Las Vegas.
    I loved walking in New York. Everywhere you look there seems to be spots you recognise from films . If the weather is nice, thereís hundreds of places to visit a spud see.
    Iíd also suggest the Subway. Get a pass, download the app and use it to get around. Itís so simple to use . Iíve used the train/subway combo to get to and from Manhattan to JFK.
    Go to Coney Island . Iím not sure if the fairground will still be open but itís a nice break from the city by the sea. You can also try a Nathanís hot dogs .

  20. #20
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    Done it three times with the kids- first time they were 10 and 14 and they loved it.
    I wasnít that impressed with Ellis Island and the queue was awful.
    Likewise Ellenís stardust diner we went at an odd hour so didnít have to queue but food was poor and the singing staff were average.
    Intrepid was great as was The Highline.
    We went here for lunch which was great and a little different http://sylviasrestaurant.com/.

  21. #21
    Grand Master
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    I was there today last year :(

    Canít wait to go back; noisy, busy and expensive but what a city!!

    Buy a City Pass before you go as itíll save you a fortune and some places, like 911 Memorial, have a smaller queue for pass holders. Iíll list the things we did as first time visitors and I wouldnít change any of it. For comparison, my kids were 15 and 8 and they absolutely loved it. They talk about it every day and are desperate to go back.

    We stayed at the New Yorker which was fantastic. Iíll attach a pic of the view from our room below.

    Top of the Rock - amazing! Views are incredible and staff are warm and welcoming.

    Empire State - you have to do it but the views are nothing compared to TOTR. Staff were cold, bordering on rude and dismissive.

    Liberty Island - queued for three hours for the ferry but worth the wait. Being stood right underneath Lady Liberty was incredible. Didnít have time to go to Ellis Island as weíre going to Ground Zero but would love to do it.

    Central Park - absolutely awesome! We just didnít give ourselves enough time there. Had a hotdog in the park....well you have to! I canít imagine never being back there :(

    5th Avenue - great to say youíve been and St Patrickís Cathedral is there.

    911 Memorial - a must see.

    City Library - oh my god! Truly amazing.

    Grand Central Station - another must see.

    Plaza Corner - to say youíve seen the iconic hotel.

    As you can imagine it was a full-on trip with mot
    much down time. Next time Iíll only do TOTR and Central Park again and do things like High Line and more chilling and eating and drinking.

    Times Square is somewhere you have to go but quite honestly itís probably the dirtiest and tackiest place Iíve ever been in a major city. No rush to go back.

    View from our room and one of Mrs TTC and the best view in the City.







    upload image to url free

  22. #22
    Journeyman
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    Been a few times now and ticked off most of the above and loved them all, but this was a highlight!:

    https://www.nymediaboat.com

    also your children might like to have watched Ghostbusters then go to see the actual station:

    https://www.tripadvisor.co.uk/Attrac..._New_York.html

    If you're walking about to get to the financial district you'll be near it anyway.

    There is a free guided tour of behind the scenes at Grand Central Terminal too, just ask at the information desk for details.

  23. #23
    The Boathouse Restaurant in Central Park is a nice spot to have lunch.

  24. #24
    we did cycle tours of central park and area,also one that took you over the brooklyn bridge to the otherside kids loved it

  25. #25
    Craftsman
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    If youíre interested in some history of the city, the lower east side tenement museum is very good.


    Sent from my iPhone using TZ-UK mobile app

  26. #26
    Master smokey99's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by peter2704 View Post
    we did cycle tours of central park and area,also one that took you over the brooklyn bridge to the otherside kids loved it
    Just to be sure.....is the 'otherside' a thing or literally just the other side of the bridge?

    Sent from my CLT-L09 using Tapatalk

  27. #27
    Journeyman
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    Best advice I can give is get to the big attractions early and buy the city pass. It gets you into so many attractions and will save you a fortune...often with it's own fast pass line.

    Walk everywhere but if you need to cover distance quick then use the subway, it's easy and cheap.

    The bus tours are a great way to see the city and give your feet a rest. Lucky dip with the tour guide...Some are ok, some are simply brilliant. If your guide isn't great hop off and get the next one. A great tour guide makes all the difference.

    But yeah, main thing is get up early. We rarely waited for anything..We went in June, after walking straight into 911 (city pass fast lane) then a short 20 minute wait to board the SoL ferry only to return shortly after to a 4 hour long queue for the same ferry. People move in hoards.

    Book your time slot for TOTR.

    If you don't have transfers in place don't underestimate how long it takes to get to JFK....It can take hours if you're leaving in rush hour traffic. Fixed price yellow cab airport transfers are about $50..This will be the only time their price seems reasonable.

    Uber is your friend.

  28. #28
    Quote Originally Posted by smokey99 View Post
    Hi Folks,

    Me and Mrs R and our two boys (13 &1 5) are off to NYC for a few days next week and have a reasonable idea of things we want to do whilst we are there but would welcome any top TZ'er tips.

    Pre kids we were there 20 years ago just before 9/11 so obviously a few things have changed. I did the helicopter ride at the time which was awesome but not sure I'd pay for 4 of us this time around!

    We have 4 full days and so far the list is loosely like this;

    - Open Top Bus Ride (provider to be decided)
    - 9/11 Museum / Tour
    - Top of the Rock Skyline viewing
    - Staten Island ferry and Ellis Island
    - Hudson Yards and the Vessel (tickets booked)
    - Walk Along the 'High Line'
    - MOMA or Guggenheim Museum - Any thoughts?
    - Brooklyn/Dumbo Area
    - General Walk Around Financial District
    - Possible Open Air Cinema Battry Park
    - Trip of out town to Jack o Lantern Festival
    - Brooklyn 99 Precinct Visit (teenagers choice)
    - Inevitable visit to Central Park - Any top tips?
    - Flight Club - Trainer Store (teenager choice)
    - Ellen's Stardust Diner (wife choice)
    - Various Instragrammable Burger/Shake Joints - Black Tap
    - Maybe Katz Diner - But kids won't appreciate the links to When Harry Met Sally

    Any other must do family ideas or tips on how to get the best out of the city?

    Cheers

    Chris

    Hi Chris,

    You have a lot covered there and you've had some great suggestions by others. I'm lucky enough to visit every year on business and add extra time for pleasure. My tips would be

    -Central Park, don't be talked into a carriage ride, you can walk to the statues, Strawberry Fields etc a lot easier and cheaper
    - Bills Burgers underneathe the Rockerfeller Centre is a great place to eat
    - The Murray Hill Diner (only 5-10mins walk from Empire State is a great authemtic diner with very abrupt staff, but great food.
    - The 9/11 Museum is a must, but i wouldn't bother with going up the freedom tower, the views are not as good as pre 9/11 from tyhe old trade Centre
    - MOMA is v.good, but not sure on what the teenagers will make of it
    - Walk over the Brookyln Bridge, great views and experience and if the weather is good, there's a fantastic ice cream place under the bridge on the Brooklyn side

    Overall, have a great time

    John

  29. #29
    Master Albellisimo's Avatar
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    Can't believe no-one has mentioned The MET - amazing museum; Sunday morning when it opens is best!

  30. #30
    Grand Master
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    It will be on our list but probably a third or subsequent visit....if we're ever that fortunate.

    Quote Originally Posted by Albellisimo View Post
    Can't believe no-one has mentioned The MET - amazing museum; Sunday morning when it opens is best!

  31. #31
    Master MakeColdplayHistory's Avatar
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    Can I hijack the thread slightly by asking about helicopter trips in New York?
    I know the OP is not looking at a helicopter trip this time but it is something we are considering when we go (hopefully in May).

    Any experiences?

  32. #32
    Master
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    Quote Originally Posted by Albellisimo View Post
    Can't believe no-one has mentioned The MET -
    Isn't that another term for MOMA?

    American Museum of Natural History was great:

    https://www.amnh.org/

  33. #33
    Master
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    Quote Originally Posted by MakeColdplayHistory View Post
    Can I hijack the thread slightly by asking about helicopter trips in New York?
    I know the OP is not looking at a helicopter trip this time but it is something we are considering when we go (hopefully in May).

    Any experiences?
    Yep and it was excellent and kids loved it , canít remember the name of the company but there are a few to choose from.

  34. #34
    Craftsman
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    NYPD museum is fun.

  35. #35
    Craftsman
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    Oh, forget that, it's closed!

  36. #36
    Grand Master
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    The views you get look amazing, especially on the 'doors-off' tours, but I'm shocking with heights and the thought of being in a helicopter freaks me out.

    Quote Originally Posted by craig1912 View Post
    Yep and it was excellent and kids loved it , canít remember the name of the company but there are a few to choose from.

  37. #37
    Master
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    We will be there next Saturday all be it only overnight before Boston next day (Cruising) We shall head for lunch at Elle Stardust Diner just off Times Sq brilliant food and entertainment. This will be our third visit and more then likely our last, great place if you have never been

  38. #38
    Journeyman
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    Some great recommendations above.

    As a NYC resident, I always recommend the Roosevelt Island tram. Great view of midtown and particularly spectacular at dusk.

    Be careful around Battery Park if youíre going to Liberty Island. The touts selling tickets down there canít sell you a ticket *to* Liberty Island only a tour *around* the island without docking at the island. One of the Baldwin actors and his family fell victim to the scam only recently. If you just want to see the Statue of Liberty, the Staten Island ferry is free and goes reasonably close.

    My family did Liberty Island with the crown visit a couple of years ago just after it had reopened and it was very enjoyable. The immigration museum on Ellis Island is also very good. I recommend buying tickets in advance for as early as possible in the day as it gets crowded on Liberty and Ellis islands waiting for a boat departure. Statue Cruises is the operator of ferries to Liberty and Ellis Islands.

    Have a great trip.


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  39. #39
    Journeyman
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    Oh, I can also ask my 2 teenagers what they recommend too if you like.


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  40. #40
    Journeyman
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    Quote Originally Posted by TaketheCannoli View Post
    The views you get look amazing, especially on the 'doors-off' tours, but I'm shocking with heights and the thought of being in a helicopter freaks me out.
    I think the ďdoors-offĒ rides are no longer after a deadly crash last year.


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  41. #41
    Master
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    Quote Originally Posted by hbr245b View Post
    As a NYC resident, I always recommend the Roosevelt Island tram. Great view of midtown and particularly spectacular at dusk.
    Can't believe I have never heard of that! Just Googled and it looks interesting - if slightly scary!

  42. #42
    Master Albellisimo's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by David_D View Post
    Isn't that another term for MOMA?

    American Museum of Natural History was great:

    https://www.amnh.org/
    No, The MET is the massive museum on East Side of Central Park. The MOMA is the modern art gaff.

    https://www.metmuseum.org/
    https://www.moma.org/about/new-moma

  43. #43
    Grand Master
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    You may well be correct. This sounds horrific :(

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/2018_N...licopter_crash

    Quote Originally Posted by hbr245b View Post
    I think the ďdoors-offĒ rides are no longer after a deadly crash last year.


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  44. #44
    If you are going to visit Ellis Island be sure to watch the short (14 minute) film "Ellis" starring Robert de Niro beforehand. You can watch it for free online:

    https://discover.film/ellis-short-film/

    Set in the abandoned Ellis Island Immigrant Hospital, I found the film moving, and felt it gave at least an appreciation of what it must have been like for those who saw Ellis Island as the gateway to new opportunities. De Niro is at his finest when delivering the narration, and the message of the film remains just as relevant today. It has the added bonus of a soundtrack composed by Woodkid and performed and co-written by Nils Frahm, the latter of whom is my favourite modern composer.

    When it comes to food perhaps give 2nd Avenue Deli a try. I haven't been there since it moved from its original location on 2nd Avenue, but if the food and ambience is anything like it used to be then go there prepared to feel like an extra in a Woody Allen film.

    https://2ndavedeli.com/locations/

    IMHO New York is like all of the States - appreciate it simply for what it is and avoid trying to compare it to anywhere else.

  45. #45
    Quote Originally Posted by smokey99 View Post
    That's a good call. We did the Yankees last time we were there and whilst interesting quite a dull sport. Ice Hockey should be much more fun. I'll check it out.
    Whilst worth going simply to enjoy the experience, I have to say that I found watching live ice hockey (and also American football) to be not dissimilar to the definition of war; "months of boredom punctuated by moments of terror".

    An ice hockey game theoretically comprises three periods, each of twenty minutes, but with TV breaks etc the Americans manage to cram this 60 minutes of action into 2.5 and 3 hours of elapsed time. An evening's entertainment, for sure, but I found waiting for something to happen got to be a little draining after a while.

  46. #46
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    Quote Originally Posted by willie_gunn View Post
    Whilst worth going simply to enjoy the experience, I have to say that I found watching live ice hockey (and also American football) to be not dissimilar to the definition of war; "months of boredom punctuated by moments of terror".

    An ice hockey game theoretically comprises three periods, each of twenty minutes, but with TV breaks etc the Americans manage to cram this 60 minutes of action into 2.5 and 3 hours of elapsed time. An evening's entertainment, for sure, but I found waiting for something to happen got to be a little draining after a while.
    Just come out of the NHL shop and discussing hockey games with the helpful assistant.

    Lots of cool gear but didn't feel I was ready for 3 hours of ice hockey at 70 bucks a ticket.

    On to the HighLine now then to Ground Zero tour.

    Sent from my CLT-L09 using Tapatalk

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    Quote Originally Posted by Albellisimo View Post
    No, The MET is the massive museum on East Side of Central Park. The MOMA is the modern art gaff.

    https://www.metmuseum.org/
    https://www.moma.org/about/new-moma
    My bad!

  48. #48
    Quote Originally Posted by smokey99 View Post
    Just come out of the NHL shop and discussing hockey games with the helpful assistant.

    Lots of cool gear but didn't feel I was ready for 3 hours of ice hockey at 70 bucks a ticket.

    On to the HighLine now then to Ground Zero tour.

    Sent from my CLT-L09 using Tapatalk
    You missed a fantastic game last night.

  49. #49
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    Watched the highlights this morning.

    Sent from my CLT-L09 using Tapatalk

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    Quote Originally Posted by johnboy9876 View Post

    - Walk over the Brookyln Bridge, great views and experience and if the weather is good, there's a fantastic ice cream place under the bridge on the Brooklyn side
    +1

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