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I need help!! I am a tourist (be nice please :)

s
staceylust Jul 29, 2011 08:40 PM

I am new to Chowhound, a customer suggested I try here instead of craigslist..

Hi.. we are taking a family vacation but wanted some tips from locals or regulars..
We will be doing all typical tourists spots: central park, fao, times square, etc..(staying near times square)

I wanted some of your favorite spots, or local hot spots (that may not be found. By google)..

Fave coffee places, places to eat, things to do and see, maybe favorite bakery, or candy store..
Also, if you know of any places that offer kids eat free,etc..

One more thing, I'm pretty sure I saw (maybe travel channel) a fish market, where you can order fresh seafood and have it cooked to eat there...is there anything like this?

Finally, we will be staying close to time square not sure if this helps..

And as I write this, my celebrity obsessed daughter is asking if there is any major local celebrity hot spots.

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  1. srsone RE: staceylust Jul 29, 2011 09:19 PM

    there is nothing google cannot find...........

    and u might also ask in the manhattan specific board...u might get better answers ....

    also check this thread...the second reply by kathryn is very good....
    http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/776827

    and welcome to CH!

    1. o
      onthelam RE: staceylust Jul 29, 2011 09:31 PM

      Yes, you really should also post this on the Manhattan board, and try using the Chowhound search under that board heading to read previous posts about the types places you're interested in. It will give you a head start on specific inquiries, and you'll get some sense of how you can use the resources here.
      Chowhounders love to share - welcome!

      1. k
        kathryn RE: staceylust Jul 29, 2011 10:15 PM

        >Hi.. we are taking a family vacation but wanted some tips from locals or regulars..

        How many people in your family? Kids? Of what age? Any picky eaters? Allergies? Where are you traveling from?

        The most important factor here in NYC is price. How much are you willing to pay, per person, before tax (almost 9%), tip (closer to 20% here than elsewhere in the country), and drinks/soda?

        > We will be doing all typical tourists spots: central park, fao, times square, etc..(staying near times square)

        It is more helpful if you can list the specific tourist destinations you plan to visit. For example, Central Park is very large -- what part of the park will you be in?

        Some museums are on the Upper East Side, but MoMA is in Midtown, and Natural History Museum is on the Upper West Side, as another example.

        What else do you plan to do? Statue of Liberty? Ellis Island? Empire State Building? Shopping on 5th Avenue or Soho? The Highline? A Broadway show (if so which one)? Union Square farmers market? South Seaport?

        These tourist attractions are spread out all over town, but if you have a rough itinerary of what you plan to do, it is more helpful in terms of making recommendations.

        NB: Not all of our restaurants are open for both lunch and dinner, some only do weekday lunch but not weekend lunch, some of the nicer restaurants are closed entirely on Sundays, many serve both Saturday and Sunday brunch, etc.

        > I wanted some of your favorite spots, or local hot spots (that may not be found. By google)..

        Nearly every restaurant recommended here is findable on Google through listings on Menupages, Yelp, New York Magazine, Time Out New York, Serious Eats: New York, The Feast NY, etc. It's almost impossible to give a totally unknown recommendation. I think what you mean is you want to avoid tourist traps and are interested in under-the-radar restaurants that you perhaps won't see in guidebooks.

        > Fave coffee places, places to eat, things to do and see, maybe favorite bakery, or candy store..

        This is definitely the place to ask for recommendations of coffee shops, bakeries, candy stores, and restaurants.

        The moderators prefer that we do not delve into "things to do and see," but we can help recommend places to eat around the tourist attractions.

        > Also, if you know of any places that offer kids eat free,etc..

        I don't think you're going to find this easily here.

        > One more thing, I'm pretty sure I saw (maybe travel channel) a fish market, where you can order fresh seafood and have it cooked to eat there...is there anything like this?

        South Seaport used to have a fish market, but it is long gone (moved to the Bronx). Maybe you are thinking of Lobster Place in the Chelsea Market? Or Eataly?

        > And as I write this, my celebrity obsessed daughter is asking if there is any major local celebrity hot spots.

        15 New York Restaurants Where You Can See Celebrities
        http://ny.eater.com/archives/2011/04/...

        Note: many of these will not be child appropriate, dependent upon whether you have really young ones or teenagers

        -----
        The Lobster Place
        75 9th Ave, New York, NY 10011

        Eataly
        200 5th Ave, New York, NY 10010

        1 Reply
        1. re: kathryn
          b
          betsydiver RE: kathryn Nov 10, 2011 07:47 AM

          dylan's candy store is a great experience, even for adults, 3rd ave. and 60th st. old fashioned candies in lucite bins with scoops and bags to buy by the lb; lucite steps imbedded with colorful candies.

          -----
          Dylan's Candy Bar
          1011 3rd Ave, New York, NY 10021

        2. r
          rkaene RE: staceylust Jul 30, 2011 01:59 PM

          Economy candy 108 rivington is a must!!! That neighborhood is great for walking around. Pick a neighborhood and explore- chinatown, Village, soho, tribeca, UWS- lots of celebrety sitings on the uws, and most other neighborhoods for that matter. The highline is a great walk, lots of great places near there- Chelsea Market is great, lots of different choices. You could pick up take our at zabars, and take it to a park ( central or riverside) . Lots of great stuff to do

          -----
          Zabar's
          2245 Broadway, New York, NY 10024

          Economy Candy
          108 Rivington St, New York, NY 10002

          1. p
            Pan RE: staceylust Jul 30, 2011 03:45 PM

            One quick thought: Chinese restaurants often have fish and seafood in tanks, and if so (such as at Oriental Garden on Elizabeth St.), you can point out the fish or seafood you want them to cook and the method, and they'll cook it for you. Keep in mind that you will pay extra for that at Oriental Garden and perhaps at some other places.

            I feel pretty safe in saying that kids won't eat for free anywhere in New York, unless you have a friend who invites you to dine at their apartment. Also, free refills of tea are rarely given here except in Chinese restaurants (occasionally, if they give you a pot with tea leaves in it, they'll put more water in for free), of soda never, and of coffee, somewhat more commonly at coffee houses or brunch places, but never assume and always ask.

            I'll try to remember to post some more thoughts for you later, but Two Little Red Hens is a very good bakery that you can go to if you're going to the Metropolitan Museum. It's a bit of a walk but definitely doable.

            -----
            Two Little Red Hens
            1652 2nd Ave, New York, NY 10028

            Oriental Garden
            14 Elizabeth St, New York, NY 10013

            1. m
              msny98 RE: staceylust Jul 30, 2011 03:45 PM

              I would not overthink this.

              You are staying by Times Square, but Times Sq is about the worst place to eat. Fortunately, right near Times Sq is 9th Ave in the 50's which is like a little Thailand, go for Thai at Wondee Siam or Pam Real Thai. There is good Italian there too at ViceVersa or Etcetera.

              Grab some pizza at any of the Angelos Coal Fired places

              Go to the Lower East Side and get a pastrami sandwich at Katz's Deli

              Search the board for chinese recs

              We could send you on a burger hunt, but Texans do know their beef... you probably won't want to bother with Hill Country BBQ either as you have that at home. (though a burger at the 23rd St Shake Shack is a worthwhile stop)

              Have a nice Italian Dinner at Ciano

              Grab some fancy pants French at La Sillouette or some low key french at La Sirene

              but just remember rule #1... don't eat in Times Sq

              -----
              Katz's Delicatessen
              205 E Houston St, New York, NY 10002

              Hill Country
              30 W 26th St, New York, NY 10010

              Shake Shack
              Madison Ave and E 23rd St, New York, NY 10010

              Angelo's Pizza
              117 W 57th St, New York, NY 10019

              ViceVersa
              325 West 51st Street, New York, NY 10019

              Wondee Siam
              792 9th Ave, New York, NY 10019

              Pam Real Thai
              404 W 49th St, New York, NY 10019

              Etcetera Etcetera
              352 West 44th Street, New York, NY 10036

              La Sirene
              558 Broome Street, New York, NY 10013

              Ciano
              45 E 22nd St, New York, NY 10010

              La Silhouette
              362 W 53rd St, New York, NY 10019

              2 Replies
              1. re: msny98
                k
                kathryn RE: msny98 Jul 30, 2011 08:20 PM

                Are Ciano and La Silhouette appropriate for a family with two boys who will be 12 and 10? I was under the impression no.

                -----
                Ciano
                45 E 22nd St, New York, NY 10010

                La Silhouette
                362 W 53rd St, New York, NY 10019

                1. re: kathryn
                  m
                  msny98 RE: kathryn Jul 31, 2011 12:14 PM

                  Well,,, Ciano.. sort of, La Silhouette.. less sort of. But if the kids behave it will be fine. It isn't crying babies. I did intentionally list more teen friendly sport on the whole but the parents gotta eat something nice...

                  -----
                  Ciano
                  45 E 22nd St, New York, NY 10010

                  La Silhouette
                  362 W 53rd St, New York, NY 10019

              2. Mr Taster RE: staceylust Aug 1, 2011 01:51 PM

                Amazed that more people haven't focused more on pizza. She's coming from Texas, so why not bowl her over with some of the best NY has to offer? Patsy's in Manhattan, or if you want to go out to Coney Island, see Totonno's (oh, and when you get off at the scary subway stop, you simply MUST cross the street and get a hot dog from the original Nathan's).

                But I digress. Back to pizza... www.sliceny.com is a great blog for all things pizza. You can try to shuffle through the crowds and madness at DiFara Pizza in Brooklyn to try a slice of their square (sicilian) pie, but my understanding is that over the last few years the internet has made this small, family run place a nightmare to visit.

                That's another bit of NY pizza 101. Virtually every place will have a round pie (yes, we call them pies) and a square, Sicilian pie. You'll notice right away that the Sicilian pie has a much thicker crust, but the differences run deeper. The sauce is usually chunkier, with a tangier flavor. A great slice should be crispy on the bottom layer and soft on the upper. You should try at least one great Sicilian, if for no other reason than they simply don't exist outside of the NYC metro area (with a few exceptions, though these places always are "NY style pizzerias")

                And I doubt if you'll have a chance to do it, but you can always take a short train ride from Penn Station on Metro North to New Haven, CT (home of Yale University) where you can try what is (arguably) some of the best pizza in existence (or as they call it, apizza, pronounced "ah-beets")

                http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/394240

                Also, while you're getting your pastrami sandwich at Katz's, go next door and sample some smoked nova and, my favorite, belly lox (not smoked, but salted). Get it on a bagel with cream cheese. Their whitefish salad (also eat it on a bagel) is extraordinary. That will put you close to Economy Candy, which is near the tenement museum (for an incredible look at what an immigrant's life was like in NYC 100+ years ago). Peek into the Streit's matzo factory and see their Rube Goldberg matzo carrying contraption. Head to Kossar's to taste the bagel's much less famous (and nearly extinct) cousin, the bialy. And please, have a potato knish for me at Yonah Schimmel's.

                Mr Taster

                -----
                Katz's Delicatessen
                205 E Houston St, New York, NY 10002

                Yonah Schimmel's Knishes
                137 E Houston St, New York, NY 10002

                Kossar's Bialys
                367 Grand St, New York, NY 10002

                Economy Candy
                108 Rivington St, New York, NY 10002

                Patsy's Pizzeria
                2287 1st Ave, New York, NY 10035

                Streit's
                148 Rivington St, New York, NY 10002

                6 Replies
                1. re: Mr Taster
                  t
                  thegforceny RE: Mr Taster Aug 1, 2011 02:45 PM

                  On your first family trip to NYC, do not even think about wasting an entire day on a train to New Haven. It's just not necessary.

                  -----------------------
                  And I doubt if you'll have a chance to do it, but you can always take a short train ride from Penn Station on Metro North to New Haven, CT (home of Yale University) where you can try what is (arguably) some of the best pizza in existence (or as they call it, apizza, pronounced "ah-beets")

                  http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/394240

                  1. re: thegforceny
                    m
                    msny98 RE: thegforceny Aug 1, 2011 03:00 PM

                    and New Haven is 2 hours on metro North plus the time to the pizza place from the train... in under 1 hour you can get a pie at Totonnos on Coney Island and then have some hot Dogs at Nathans for dessert. and I think the poster of that rec might not really be too up on things... Metro North runs from Grand Central Station... Now, Grand Central is wortha visit though not for the food (though the Oyster Bar is an institution) but rather for the ceiling and the overall architecture.

                    Yonah Schimmel is a disgrace for at least 10 years. I don't know if there is a good knish left in Manhattan at all. The lox (salmon) at Russ and Daughters is really really top notch.

                    -----
                    Russ & Daughters
                    179 E Houston St, New York, NY 10002

                    Grand Central Oyster Bar
                    89 E 42nd St, New York, NY 10017

                    1. re: msny98
                      Mr Taster RE: msny98 Aug 1, 2011 03:30 PM

                      I visit NYC once a year to visit family and it's been about 3 years since I took the train to New Haven, so sorry for the confusion. I've edited my post. As for Yonah, it probably has been 10 years since I've been there so I'm sorry to hear that his knishes are a shonda.

                      Because you mention it so casually and without clarification, and because it's so widely misunderstood (even among many NYC folk), it's worth repeating that lox is not nova, though they are both salmon. Belly lox is brined and unsmoked (and cut from a fattier part of the fish, so the texture is softer and creamier, with beautiful zebra stripes of fat running throughout) whereas nova (which is what the poster has the greatest chance of being familiar with) is smoked. Either way, Russ & Daughter will gladly offer you samples. Just bear in mind when you taste the salty belly lox that it will taste much less salty in it's natural state, which is to say on a bagel with cream cheese. If you're really determined, bring your bagels or bialys from Kossar's to Russ & Daughters, have R&D pack up your fish, cream cheese and whitefish salad to go, grab a coffee from the shop in the little park across Houston, and enjoy a wonderful brunch.

                      I grew up eating belly lox and when it's made well, it's sublime. But be warned- a little goes a long way. In addition, I've had belly lox at R&D which has been at times spectacular and at other times merely very very good :)\

                      And here's a little gem to whet your appetite for your experience in NY, courtesy of my sister who works at the Brooklyn Museum :)

                      http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cPCOJA...

                      Mr Taster

                      -----
                      Russ & Daughters
                      179 E Houston St, New York, NY 10002

                      1. re: Mr Taster
                        m
                        msny98 RE: Mr Taster Aug 1, 2011 07:54 PM

                        I not only know the differnece betweem lox and smoked salmon (since we're being pedantic we should point out that nova is just one sort of smoked salmon).. I have made one in my fridge and never attempted the other... though I also ate the other as a kid and only rarely now. I also know what a shonda is, though would wager the OP does not (there are not many in Austin that would... and this thread is meant to help them.

                        Anyway, if you cannot get to the lower east side for pastrami/bagel/lox/nova/sable etc and you want to sample a real NY bagel (though some would argue it is oversized and doughy) hit up Ess a Bagel on 3rd and 51st

                        1. re: msny98
                          Mr Taster RE: msny98 Aug 2, 2011 01:03 PM

                          I twice attempted to make belly lox in my fridge. Both times the results were... well, hardly up to R&D quality (to put it delicately), probably because the fish I bought from the Korean market near my home wasn't up to the task, nor was my brine. Having said that, I was not speaking directly to you (or any Chowhound), but rather in general, when addressing the widespread misunderstanding of lox vs. nova. I'd expect any NY Chowhound worth his salt (ha!) to know the difference.

                          Mr Taster

                    2. re: thegforceny
                      Mr Taster RE: thegforceny Aug 1, 2011 10:50 PM

                      I admit the New Haven recommendation was pure indulgence on my part. But it's certainly worth knowing about, if not for this trip then for the future. Pepe's clam pie is truly a wonder.

                      Mr Taster

                  2. w
                    west34 RE: staceylust Aug 3, 2011 07:43 AM

                    Stacey -- having played tour guide to my nieces and nephews visiting NYC many times over the years, here are a few things I would do (in no particular order):

                    - Metropolitan Museum - go in turn right, tour the Egyptian Wing, Temple area, then double back and take the boys through the arms and armor section. They will have seen everything cool to a 12 year old and then be bored and tired.

                    - Museum of Natural History -- it's all good

                    - Central Park Zoo -- everybody loves the CPZ! Best thing is to buy some deli sandwiches and eat lunch on a bench while you watch the seals. Your spouse will thank you for the great bang for the buck NYC experience idea

                    - Chinatown - others may disagree, but there isnt a 12 yo kid who doesnt LOVE LOVE LOVE eating a duck at Peking Duck House (it's just like in A Christmas Story!) Then walk around Chinatown a bit -- buy them flavored bubble teas on one of the places on Mott Street!

                    - Little Italy -- walk around, get a pizza at Lombardis. Get some Gelato at one of the places recommended on Chowhound

                    - Soho - walk the streets, enjoy the people watching - maybe pop into Ideya on West Broadway and have Cuban sandwiches and a Mojito for mom and dad

                    - Walk the Highline!!! It's new, it's hip, even us NYers like it. But before you do the Highline:

                    - Have breakfast/brunch at Pastis (right where the Highline begins) - It's the faux french experience that NYers love to hate. And get the bread basket!

                    - If you want a foodie experience just like a real NYer -- wander over to the East Village and have Thai food at Zabb Elee. The kids will love the thai iced teas and all the food is pretty damn awesome.

                    - For an interesting dinner -- walk over to Taboon on 52nd and 10th and have middle eastern food - every out-of-towner I've turned on to this place LOVES it (and celebs eat there too!)

                    - And speaking of celebs -- I ate lunch next to a Law and Order star recently at Markt -- a great Belgian place in Chelsea -- the kids will love a big pot of mussels or a burger at Markt and Dad will like the Belgian beer. And when you're done, walk a block south on 6th Ave and visit the Limelight market (it's fun!)

                    - Last but not least - walk down 5th Avenue from the Empire State Building (you must go to the top) to Eataly on 23rd. Then go crazy on italian food for a few hours until you cant eat another bite.

                    I guarantee if you do EXACTLY what i just recommended, you will have a great NYC experience.

                    And notice I didnt list any barbecue or Mexican - having just visited Austin, I can tell you that yours really is better ;-)

                    -----
                    Markt
                    676 6th Ave, New York, NY 10010

                    Pastis
                    9 9th Ave, New York, NY 10014

                    Peking Duck House
                    28 Mott St, New York, NY 10013

                    Lombardi's
                    32 Spring St, New York, NY 10012

                    Taboon
                    773 10th Avenue, New York, NY 10019

                    Ideya
                    349 W Broadway, New York, NY 10013

                    Eataly
                    200 5th Ave, New York, NY 10010

                    Zabb Elee
                    75 2nd Ave, New York, NY 10003

                    1 Reply
                    1. re: west34
                      p
                      Pan RE: west34 Aug 4, 2011 11:03 AM

                      Why do you recommend Lombardi's over every other pizzeria they could go to? If they want old-time feel, they can get it at Patsy's in East Harlem or in the nearby Arturo's and get better pizza.

                      -----
                      Arturo's
                      106 W Houston St, New York, NY 10012

                      Patsy's Pizzeria
                      2287 1st Ave, New York, NY 10035

                    2. b
                      Bill O. RE: staceylust Aug 4, 2011 06:37 PM

                      Hello, I will add my 2 pennies. I agree w/ a lot of the previous posts. However, I thought if you're staying near TSq w/ kids, you possibly might be exhausted at the end of some days. Therefore a good Chinese place walking distance is Szechuan (something), on W. 39, just west of 5th Ave. Cheap by NYC standards. There are also lots of Korean joints on W. 32 +/-. Almost every restaurant has a website now, so asking for places NOT on Google is a bit self-defeating. PLEASE STAY AWAY FROM CHAINS!!
                      I know other posters have already mentioned, but economy candy will blow you away. The beauty of this place is all those other mentioned places are so close-Katz', Russ, Kosar's (closed Saturdays) and Tenement museum. Too many places to mention on the Lower East Side (a refreshment you will not find on Google are the shaved ice vendors, with their sweet syrups), very prevalent on the LES. Try the coffee shop on the SE corner of Rivington & Orchard (across the street from Little Giant), also LES.
                      Lastly, you have to go to Zabar's cafe on Bway and 80th--Ideal before or after Central Pk.- Did someone say you were from TX? Doesn't one travel to witness cultural differences? You won't find them anymore stark here, plus good & cheap bkfast and lunch

                      -----
                      Little Giant
                      85 Orchard Street, New York, NY 10002

                      Szechuan Gourmet
                      21 W 39th St, New York, NY 10018

                      2 Replies
                      1. re: Bill O.
                        u
                        uwsister RE: Bill O. Aug 4, 2011 07:25 PM

                        Speaking of Korean, Korean BBQ can be lots of fun for kids. Go to Madangsui or Don's Bogam for the best in Manhattan.

                        I don't think many places do "kids eat free" kind of thing in Manhattan - at least I can't recall seeing any in recent memory.

                        1. re: uwsister
                          p
                          Pan RE: uwsister Aug 6, 2011 03:54 AM

                          There never were any when I was a kid in the 70s, either. The most that happened is my local bakery gave me a free rainbow cookie because they thought I was cute.

                      2. y
                        yebo RE: staceylust Aug 6, 2011 06:12 AM

                        Staceylust,
                        I'm interested (an think other CH-ers will be, too) in your reactions to our ideas and also - and when you do come, how the different things turn out!

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