Anyone know New York City well?

carolyn53562July 10, 2007

I'm going to be in New York City near Columbia University for 8 hours on a weekday with a car and my 13 year old son. What would you do if you were there for that period of time? And would you drive the car anywhere? My DH thinks I should take the car and drive across Manhatten to Battery Park so that we can look at (probably no time to go see it) the Statue of Liberty. I think that sounds like an insane thing to do! What do you think?

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My son attends Fordham at Lincoln Center (see map).

Across the street from the law school is a parking garage. If it were on the map, it would be on the bottom center: Regent Garage, entrance on 61st St, 212-45-9594. It's the most convenient parking in NYC, we think.

From this parking garage you can walk a short block to Columbus Circle, where you can take subways OR walk through Central Park to get to the Metropolitan Museum of Art. The Columbus Circle subways will get you to the Natural History Museum too. We love going to the New York Historical Society. It's a smaller museum with interesting, quality exhibits, also walkable from the parking garage. Well, we're pretty fit for old folks; we like to walk to these places. But you can still take a subway to get you closer to where you want to go if you don't want to walk.

Here's a subway map and here's fare info.

    Bookmark   July 11, 2007 at 9:45AM
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Regent Parking's number is 212-245-9594

    Bookmark   July 11, 2007 at 9:49AM
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awm03--Thanks!! I just can't see driving around Manhatten and I think that walking and the subway are the way to go. Thanks for the parking garage tip and the list of places to see that are near it. I haven't been to NYC for 25 years, so I'm excited to be going there even if it will only be for 8 hours!

    Bookmark   July 11, 2007 at 11:18AM
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One other clarification (I really shouldn't post until I've had my morning coffee): the subways from Columbus Circle won't take you to the Met. Museum of Art.

I meant to say that you can easily walk from Columbus Circle to the art museum or, if you choose, you can easily take subways from there to other museums or places.

    Bookmark   July 11, 2007 at 11:20AM
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I lived in NYC for three years, and we go back with our teenage sons at least once a year. I hate driving in the city. Park your car and walk or take the subway. We always stay in midtown, because we are all theater-goers. We often go to the museums on W. 53rd (MOMA, American Folk Art, Museum of Arts & Design). My kids have also enjoyed the Museum of Television and Radio, Greenwich Village, Soho, Little Italy, and the Lower East Side. One of my sons is a musician, and he loves walking around W.48th street and going to Lincoln Center. My other son loves theater and loves just walking around the Theater district. Both my sons enjoyed the American Museum of Natural History, and they have enjoyed certain exhibits at the Metropolitan Museum. They also like walking in Central Park and getting food from street vendors. So, what do you and your son like to do? Think about that, do a little research on the web (there are all kinds of walking tours, for example), and plan accordingly. I do recommend getting a good map and subway map before you leave. Have fun!

    Bookmark   July 11, 2007 at 7:49PM
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Don't drive. Park and ride the subway. Study the map before you go - see link. If you take a 13 year old to the Metropolitan there's the mummys, Temple of Dendur, the Armor room and the medieval period rooms that are hits. (Although my 9 year old niece surprised me with a request for Impressionist paintings where we spent most of an afternoon.) The Museum of Natural History may be more his speed and the Planetarium is next door.

I'd leave the Statue of Liberty for another trip - too far from Columbia too time consuming. Don't bother with the Empire State Building - great in fall, winter and spring but too hazy in the summer. The NBC Studio tour in Rockerfeller Center might appeal to him. There's also the Radio City Backstage Tour.

Don't rush around and try to do everything.

Here is a link that might be useful: NYC MTA

    Bookmark   July 11, 2007 at 8:58PM
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Hiya! That's a great place to be. Here are some of my suggestions:

1) Rent a rowboat and go rowing at the boathouse

2) See something at Central Park Summerstage. Lots of well-known national acts!

3) Visit the Central Park Zoo. Home of Gus, the polar bear in therapy and the gay penguins. I am not kidding, look this up.

For food, I would pick up some sandwiches and picnic in the park for lunch. The local supermarkets all have deli departments, and there are lots of other places. For dinner, try

The Hungarian Pastry Shop
A student favorite--perfect for if your son wants to feel some city sophistication.

There is one on 72nd, just off Central Park West
LARGE portions, not expensive, the food gets to you quickly. You will probably need one of their fishbowl-size drinks by that point. Not fine cuisine, but it does the job.

Note: the boathouse restaurant is expensive.

    Bookmark   July 12, 2007 at 10:13AM
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Thanks for all the ideas--they sound great! I'll have to look up Gus and the penguins-LOL! One thing my son wants to do is to go to Times Square--we put together a jig saw puzzle of Times Square last winter. Is Times Square worth seeing? I was there 25 years ago and my foggy memory remembers it as being interesting for the ads and people, but not much else. Thanks for all the help!

    Bookmark   July 12, 2007 at 10:27AM
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Driving into NYC can be very nerve wracking. If you can leave the car outside the city or plan it well and park where awm indicated you might do better. But parking can cost $50-$65 for a full day or perhaps a bit more. We don't have a car so I'm not current on prices but sometime garages fill up and you can drive around and around.

You might do better parking in New Jersey in Hoboken and taking the ferry ride across the river. Especially with a young teen that's a thrill. Those run hourly. There are about 4-5 other towns along the river in Jersey to get the ferry and at the terminal a bus will take you to several midtown locations for free. The ride is about 9 minutes to cross.

Here's a link to NY Waterway.

That way you're free all day to go around unencumbered and you avoid driving hassles and super expensive parking. When you're done you go back across and you're outta there.

I have friends who live in the buildings there who take the ferry to work every day.

Times Square takes about 2 mins to see. You just stand there though you can see the ABC Studio and the jumbotron.

You might want to eat lunch there at someplace like Carmine's on 44th St., which is family Italian style -- everyone sits together. There's an Olive Garden and many other places. Pizza is good in NY and there are street vendors for hot dogs and shisk kebab.

I'm sure he'll want to see the jumbotron.

I'd venture a 13 y.o, boy would much rather see the Museum of Natural History (take him to the Ben Stiller Night at the Museum movie first?) than the Met.

Other cool stuff is the Sony IMAX theater (3-d) if you don't have that on Broadway and 68th St.

Do you have a Virgin Megastore where you live? There's one in midtown (in the 50s I believe). CD heaven.

If you don't do the ferry to get to town, definitely take a Circle Line Cruise. It's very cool -- West Side Highway and 39th St (may be 38th). Goes all around the island with tour guide.

Also there are Big Apple bus tours from Times Square that go around. Rockefeller Center might be another place to eat lunch -- you see that on TV at Xmas when they light the tree. All types of restaurants and street food as well. If you go early in the morning the Today show studios are there as well. 49th St. bet Fifth and Ave of the Americas.

Any of those should give you a great day.

Here is a link that might be useful: NY Waterway

    Bookmark   July 12, 2007 at 1:52PM
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I might suggest that instead of the Statue of Liberty, which sells out of tickets VERY early in the morning, you take the ferry to Ellis Island.

My DD2 (15) and I did Ellis Island this morning- early while it was still cool. The 'museum' is extrordinarily well-done and takes one through the processing center in an orderly and sequential fashion. Be sure to get the audiophones.

DH was adamant that DD2 see and understand the history behind Ellis Island- especially in light of the immigration controversies in the US today. Although neither of us had ancestors come through the Island, I was moved to tears by the photographs and interviews. DD2, not so much, but she's glad she went.

If your 13YO is mature and would appreciate the tour, by all means consider it. Arrive early, the ferries run every 20 minutes, and the entire trip shouldn't take more than 3+ hours.

    Bookmark   July 12, 2007 at 3:23PM
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Two more things. If you're up at Columbia, the subway at 116th st is the 7th Avenue Line with the 1/9 trains. They go up and down the west side of Manhattan very neatly. You can get on at Columbia and get off at Times Square/42nd St.. If you want to continue down to South Ferry (which is the end of the line) you can walk over to Wall St. or go to Ellis Island as pecanpie suggested. The NY Waterway ferry also stops at South Ferry.

    Bookmark   July 12, 2007 at 4:55PM
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I grew up in NYC, and now I live nearby in NJ and visit very often.

It sounds like your son has never been to NYC. I would follow Rococcogurl's idea of taking the Big Apple Bus Tour from Times Square. That way you both get to experience the hustle and bustle of Times Square traffic & lights and then get to ride and have a tour guide show you the highlights of the city. I bet they have different tours for you to chose from. Hopefully, you'll pass the UN, Empire State Building, view the Hudson River, see Central Park, Lincoln Center, 5th Ave., Greenwich Village, Soho, Chinatown, etc.
There are huge, terrific stores in Times Square that your son will love!

To get a feeling of NYC, you must walk the streets. Definitely walk around Rockefeller Center (where they have the big X-mas tree) and Fifth Avenue.

The museums are fabulous, but museums are just museums (and I'm an art teacher!).

I think you should experience the streets to really get to know NYC!

If the weather is nice do some walking up 5th Avenue from Rockefeller Center to the Plaza Hotel and Central Park. Eat a Sabrett hotdog and hot pretzel on the street. Take a Hansom cab ride (horse drawn carriage), if you have lots of money!
If you have time, try to catch a Broadway show. There are so many your son will love- Lion King, Mamma Mia, Hairspray. It is the ultimate NYC experience!

If it rains, go to the Museum of Natural History or the NBC tour is fun for kids.

They even have tours of Madison Square Garden, if he's a sports fan.

When you leave the city, drive down the West Side Highway to get a view of the Statue of Liberty! A perfect way to end your visit!

    Bookmark   July 12, 2007 at 8:44PM
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Thanks everyone for all of the great ideas!! We are going to have to go to NYC again sometime when we have more time as there is so much to see and experience. We're from the midwest and 9/11 just took NYC off of our list of places to go, and we should not have let that happen. Thanks again for all the great tips, we can't wait to visit NYC even if it is only for a few hours. Carolyn

    Bookmark   July 16, 2007 at 2:03PM
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don't forget taxis, in your travel plans. If you want to go from Columbia to the Metropolitan Museum of Art, for example.

Not particularly cheap, but not so expensive you can't stand it, esp. for a one day trip w/ a time limit. The time saved can really be worth it.

i second the recommendation for a trip to the Museum of Natural History.

Great dinosaur bones, the Star of India sapphire...

    Bookmark   July 24, 2007 at 6:25PM
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Here are a few more ideas for you:

1) It's easy to get "museumed out" in NYC's museums. They are HUGE and there's always something interesting to see. What we usually do is pick three exhibits to see. Any more and I end up feeling like the air's been sucked out of me.

2) Did you know that the original Winnie-the-Pooh animals (yes, the ones owned by the real Christopher Robin) are in NYC? They live in the second floor of the Donnelly library, which is a NYPL branch across the street from MOMA. Worth a visit. When we went, I told my father that we were going to visit some "very old friends of his" that I also knew, having "met them for the first time when I was a small child." He went crazy trying to figure out who it could be.

3) If you end up in the Met's Greek and Roman section, look for the helmet (I think it's a helmet) that looks like Gonzo the Muppet.

4) The Met's Micronesian section is home to some really beautiful and fascinating headhunter artifacts, and a small plaque with a picture of David Rockefeller, the young anthropologist who mysteriously disappeared while on a collecting trip for artifacts in the area.

5) Take a panoramic camera. You'll want to get pictures of tall buildings and wide things too.

Here is a link that might be useful: Pooh! Who knew?

    Bookmark   July 26, 2007 at 3:59PM
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