Best of New York City

Some of the best things to see in NYC

Best of New York City

Member Rating 0 out of 5 by sizemoretravel on February 14, 2008

New York City is the most wonderful place in the world to visit. My first "real" visit was in 2000. I was drawn to the city because of seeing it on TV and in movies, but mostly because I had seen the national tour of RENT in my hometown. I loved the gritty portrayal of the East Village and the bohemian artists that lived there. I was determined to go to NY, see RENT on Broadway and see the East Village. Since then, I have gone at least twice yearly and never miss the chance to go back. I may one day move to New York. It's that good!!${QuickSuggestions}
New York is very expensive. If you aren't rich, you need to do a lot of planning.

I suggest staying ONLY in Manhattan as the commute will wear you out if you stay in one of the other boroughs.

Plan on using public transportation. You can download subway maps and bus routes online. A 7 day unlimited Metrocard (which covers buses and subways 24/7) is only $24. I try not to use cabs except with my luggage back and forth from the airport. If you are backpacking, you can even use public transportation from JFK, LaGuardia or Newark.

Eating in Times Square is easy and convenient, but very expensive. Try to eat at out-of-the way diners or restaurants. I am NOT a foodie, so I eat whatever is cheap, so that I can see more Broadway musicals.

I am also not a shopper, but Fifth Avenue is the place to go for upscale shops and the trendier areas like SoHo and TriBeCa are excellent for those looking for something different.

My souvenirs are photos and autographed Playbills. If you like Broadway like me, plan in advance. You don't have to stand in the TKTS line to get good deals. Try going online to or www. to buy discounted tickets to some shows. The newest, most popular shows won't usually have discounted tickets, but you can always try Standing Room Only for sold out shows ($20-25 if you don't mind standing-I did it for Hairspray), or Rush Lotteries. Wicked has a $26.50 lottery (go to their website for details. RENT has a $20 lottery as do many others (the winners purchase first or second row seats for the above price).

Pack light and try not to look like a tourist if possible. I always walk away from my husband when he's taking photos of tourist places (LOL) and lastly,

Don't believe the rumors that all New Yorkers are heartless (as portrayed on TV). I actually dropped a wad of cash on the sidewalk my first time in the city and someone actually handed it back to me. Also, people who aren't in too much of a hurry will often give you directions. The last time I was in the city, I asked someone for directions (I was going to see Legally Blonde the Musical) and the lady giving me directions happened to be one of the cast. It was really cool. The way to tick New Yorkers off is to stand on the left side of the subway escalator and block their way as they rush to get their train. STAY on the right side and you can rest without being reprimanded.
${BestWay} My number one: Subway

Most scenic and convenient: Bus

Easiest when you're loaded down with luggage or bags: Cab

Hotel Wolcott

Member Rating 2 out of 5 by sizemoretravel on February 14, 2008

This hotel is really a budget hotel, but every Manhattan hotel is at least a moderate price range by most of the world's standards. I stayed here several years ago, when a twin/twin room was $99 per night. Now, the same room is between $175-$200 per night. The hotel is old, clean and works if you aren't going to spend much time in the room. There is no room service or restaurant. It seemed to cater mostly to young, international travelers.

It is located at Fifth Ave/31st St and is right across from a Dunkin Donuts (which was nice for breakfast).

We had a room looking out over an alley, but the sheets were always clean and we were safe. I wouldn't book again at today's prices, though, unless they have really revamped the place.
Hotel Wolcott
4 West 31st Street
New York, New York, 10001
(212) 268-2900

Ellen's Stardust Diner

Member Rating 4 out of 5 by sizemoretravel on February 14, 2008

OK, Ellen's Stardust Diner is one of those places where you know the food is overpriced and it is pretty corny, but I go back every time I visit with my kids.

Ellen's is on the corner of 51st and Broadway in Times Square. It looks like a 50's diner. I think it might have been a 50's diner. The waiters and waitresses sing. They are all aspiring actors and singers and are usually really good. The last time I went, they sang two of my favorite Broadway songs. They encourage audience participation and donations for the waitstaff (they pass the hat). Little girls will especially like this place (if they like singing). They will also sing to you for your birthday, so you can embarass people this way. They are open from breakfast to dinner. Try it out.
Ellen's Stardust Diner
1650 Broadway
New York, New York, 10019
(212) 956-5151

Life Cafe

Member Rating 3 out of 5 by sizemoretravel on February 14, 2008

How do I describe Life Cafe???

If you have seen the movie Rent, you have seen Life Cafe, where La Vie Boehme was filmed. If you are a Renthead like me, this is a pilgrimage of sorts. I have always wanted to go here.

1st: It's located in the funky East Village. Cool location. Not easily accessible by subway, so you will have to walk some or take a bus/cab.

2nd: I loved the ambience. There was even a certificate on the wall stating that the movie Rent was filmed here and that Rent's creator, Jonathan Larson came to the Life Cafe often to write

3rd: I hated the food. The menu is mainly vegetarian and vegan with a little bit of meat thrown in for us carnivores. My hamburger was WAY overcooked and my waiter didn't seem to care, but I didn't come for the food anyway, so I didn't say much

4th: It was hard for me to figure out where they put the tables together for the La Vie Boehme scene. It is a pretty small place. Oh, well...It was a great experience, all in all.
Life Cafe
343 East 10th St
New York, New York, 10009
+1 212 477 8791

Metropolitan Museum of Art (The)

Member Rating 4 out of 5 by sizemoretravel on February 14, 2008

The Met is such a wonderful museum, but if you are a serious art lover, you could spend all day and still not see everything.

Of special note is the great Egyptian exhibit, the French Impressionists (I love Monet), and the Asian art.

The museum has a small cafe, but one of the best parts of visiting is sitting on the steps in front of the museum on a warm day and people watch.

The museum is located at Fifth Ave/82nd Street, backing up to Central Park.

Admission is $20 for Adults, $15 for seniors and $10 for students. Children under 12 get in free and admission includes admission to The Cloisters in Upper Manhattan

Metropolitan Museum of Art
1000 Fifth Avenue
New York, New York, 10028
(212) 535-7710

Statue of Liberty (The)

Member Rating 3 out of 5 by sizemoretravel on February 14, 2008

The Statue of Liberty, a symbol of freedom, is one of the most recognizible sites in New York City. I have been to New York dozens of times, but have only been to Liberty Island one time. Lady Liberty (who was given to the US by the French and whose inner structure was designed by Alexandre-Gustave Eiffel, who is famous for designing the Eiffel Tower) is beautiful, but I have never really had the overwhelming desire to climb up inside.

Since 2001, security has become very tight and sometimes (depending on terror threat levels), the US park service won't allow anyone to enter the statue, which was the case during my visit.

For those of you who would like to visit; admission to the Statue of Liberty is free, but you must pay for the ferry that takes you from Battery Park in lower Manhattan. Admission also includes entrance to Ellis Island Immigration Museum.

The current price is:
$12 Adults
$10 Seniors
$5 kids 4-12

Passes are issued to enter the statue (when allowed) starting early in the morning and those who don't get to Battery Park early enough won't make it inside, but the grounds are beautiful and you can see gorgeous views of Manhattan (I really miss those twin towers) and of New Jersey. Bring your camera, but beware, you must go through security so don't bring large bags.
Statue of Liberty
Liberty Island
New York, New York, 10004
(212) 363-3200

Central Park

Member Rating 4 out of 5 by sizemoretravel on February 14, 2008

Central Park is a huge manmade park right in the center of Manhattan. On TV (Law and Order especially), it is the site where bodies are found.

I am happy to say that I have been through Central Park many times and no bodies. Feel safe to wander through the park in daylight hours. It is the home to joggers, cyclists and rollerbladers. If you have children who love dogs, this is the place to go during good weather. Everyone walks their dogs in the park. You will see every breed that you've heard of and some that you've never seen before.

The park is home of a great little zoo at Fifth Ave and 64th St. Admission is:

Adults: $8
Seniors: $4
Children (3-12) $4
Hours vary depending on season

You can dine at the Boathouse Restaurant (shown recently in the Movie 27 Dresses) and also rent row boats during nice weather.

At Central Park West between 71st and 74th, you can see Strawberry Fields (dedicated to John Lennon). Nearby are the Dakota Apartments where Lennon was gunned down and where Yoko Ono still resides.

In the winter, you can skate at Wollman Rink (much less expensive that touristy Rockefeller Center rink).

The most important thing that you must do is get a NY hotdog. I never go to the park without getting one (approximately $1.50). Best hotdog ever!!!
Central Park
59th To 110th Streets Between Fifth Avenue And Central Park West
New York, 10023
(212) 310-6600

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