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Aug 9, 2011 03:31 AM

Visiting for New Year's Eve suggestions....Please!!

Hi All,

We are heading out to NYC from Ireland on 29th December. We want somewhere GOOD to eat, we know we will have to have a big budget on New Year's Eve, we are not fussy eaters - so anything from steak, seafood or pasta. Doesnt have to be a really fancy restaurant but we do appreciate good food.

If possible, it would be nice if we could stay in there for midnight or be near somewhere that we can go after that will be busy but not completely packed, we dont mind not being in Times Square at all! Would be great to go to a restaurant that has a decent bar in it or nearby for afterwards.

We are staying on West 51st Street - I know the distance from the hotel will be an issue on NYE but we would be willing to walk a bit or get a train even. Also we are in our late 20's, if this is relevant! As you can see, I need some help! All comments welcome and thank you in advance!!


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  1. This reply is not quite about the food, but... It is a big pain to get around the Times Square area on New Year's Eve. Starting around 5pm or so, the police will literally seal off the entire area with check points on every block. To even walk one block, you have to line up to go through security. The security zone covers something like 8th Avenue to 6th Avenue, 40th to 58th Street.

    I'm not sure where you're located on W 51st Street, but sounds like it could be in the Times Square security zone. Unless you absolutely know for certain that you'd like to spend your New Year's Eve in Times Sq, I'd recommend not staying anywhere near this area because security will be very very tight and your movement will be severely restricted. If you still plan to stay in the area, please make sure to print out a copy of your restaurant reservation. You'll need it to get through the checkpoints.

    8 Replies
    1. re: Cheeryvisage

      Agreed! When I worked in the area, I had to leave the office at 2pm (they closed off the building). Even then, the area was starting to get very crowded.

      I would avoid going ANYWHERE near Times Square starting in the late afternoon because it's jam-packed, the police start blockading people in (and don't let them out until post-midnight PLUS there's no public restrooms so a lot of people use plastic bottles), and you often have to walk very far out of your way just to cross the street. People will bring in their own food and drink (non alcoholic), some wear adult diapers or urinate where they are standing.

      The blocks will be closed off as they fill up with people shoulder to shoulder going northward, street-by-street, as the police deem necessary, from about 42nd to 59th, which can add a lot of extra time to your itinerary and make you late for reservations, etc. If you stay away from 42nd to 59th, between 6th Ave and 8th Ave, you should be mostly OK though.

      Here's a list of the where you can actually enter Times Square:

      "Please remember that if you dine at a local restaurant, you will not simply be able to come out and watch the Ball lowering at midnight."

      Cabs may be hard to find and/or you might be stuck in traffic due to the street closures. Trains, of course, will be running, but crowded. They may choose to close off some entrances and/or the entire 49th Street N/R station.

      BTW since it's NYE, lots of places will be doing timed seatings (such as only at 6, 8, 10pm, etc.) with prix fixe menus and champagne toast. Expect higher prices than normal.

      See also:

      1. re: kathryn

        Hi Guys,

        Thanks for your speedy replies!
        My friend has already booked the accomodation so we are going to be staying near Times Square.
        However, we are planning and not being near the vicinity on New Year's Eve, I have heard the nightmare stories! Hence we are looking for some good quality restaurant recommendations away from Times Square, but would be able to walk back to our hotel or get the train back after our night out.

        I did check out your other link but that girl ended up booking a place in Times Square, im definitely going to stay away from there!

        Any help would be greatly appreciated!


        1. re: premiergirl

          In general, I'd try to stay on the West side of town, then. If budget is not really a concern, then I'd try for Per Se, Jean George, or Le Bernardin. Not too far away from your hotel, I assume. Just make sure you reserve the moment their books open for 12/31. Call ahead to confirm reservation policy.

          What intersection is your hotel located at?

          Per Se
          10 Columbus Circle, New York, NY 10019

          Jean Georges
          1 Central Park W, New York, NY 10023

          Le Bernardin
          155 W. 51st St., New York, NY 10019

          1. re: kathryn

            Curious, Kathryn, why you recommended staying on the West side? More important than west vs. east, I would think, is proximity to transportation, since getting around on NYE can be a pain. But there are many East side places -- Eleven Madison Park, Gotham Bar & Grill, and Gramercy Tavern -- for example, that are easily accessible by subway from the West side.

            I personally would stick to higher end places that are not doing anything "special" for NYE. In my experience, a "special" menu (be it NYE, or Valentine's Day, or Mother's Day) means an overpriced menu of food not prepared with the same care or creativity as a restaurant's regular menu. (Sure that's a gross generalization, but I'm sticking with it!)

            Also, given the group's age group (late 20s), I would think places like Gramery Tavern and Gotham Bar & Grill would offer more appeal than the more staid Per Se, Jean Georges, and Le Bernardin.

            Note that many (most?) of the higher end places will not begin accepting reservations until November or even early December.

            Per Se
            10 Columbus Circle, New York, NY 10019

            Eleven Madison Park
            11 Madison Ave., New York, NY 10010

            Gramercy Tavern
            42 E 20th St, New York, NY 10003

            Jean Georges
            1 Central Park W, New York, NY 10023

            Le Bernardin
            155 W. 51st St., New York, NY 10019

            Gotham Bar and Grill
            12 East 12th Street, New York, NY 10003

            1. re: Blumie

              My thought was to stay within walking distance, to avoid crowded trains and train platforms, for lines that pass through Times Square.

              EMP is just as formal as Jean Georges, isn't it? I just left my late 20s and actually find the GT ambiance to be a little cheesy/too farmhouse for my personal taste.

              Overall, it's going to be hard to avoid special NYE menus when dining out that night.

              A quick search of both Gramercy Tavern and Eleven Madison Park on Yelp for "new year's" yields reviews that indicate both had special menus last year for NYE.

              1. re: kathryn

                EMP certainly is as formal as Jean Georges, which is why it wasn't in my list of the less staid!! And while walking distance could be a good call, I can't think off too many really fun places in that area. Ma Peche, maybe? I'd certainly brave the subway if need be. Finding a good meal is worth even a crowded subway ride!

                Ma Peche
                15 W 56th St, New York, NY 10019

                1. re: Blumie

                  EMP is pretty formal, but it's still a step more casual than JG - no jacket requirement, for one. But even at their most formal, Danny Meyer restos still have that friendly vibe where some find places like JG, Per Se, etc, a bit on the stuffy side.

                  Per Se
                  10 Columbus Circle, New York, NY 10019

                2. re: kathryn

                  Normally, we stay home (in NJ) on New Year's Eve. But last year we made an exception and went to EMP. There was a special prix-fixe and a live band. *Very* expensive!!

                  Note to sgordon: *All* the gentlemen were wearing jackets.


      2. If I were going out to dine in New York on New Year's Eve, I would make my way downtown to Blue Hill or Tocqueville. Both have extremely wonderful food and service, and a calm vibe that would escape the frenetic "stuff" of the Times Square area.

        Several years ago we went to Gascogne for New Year's Eve and had a wonderful dinner and very festive bringing in of the New Year for a VERY reasonable price with their usual exceptional food. They're in Chelsea on 8th & 18th.

        Blue Hill
        75 Washington Place, New York, NY 10011

        1 East 15th Street, New York, NY 10003

        158 8th Ave, New York, NY 10011

        1. Thanks everybody for coming back with some suggestions. We definitely dont mind having to get a train if it means getting a decent meal away from all the hype, so any suggestions please forward on! Also I have heard about a restaurant called DB Bistro Moderne, is this any good, what would it be like on New Year's Eve atmosphere wise?


          DB Bistro Moderne
          55 West 44th Street, New York, NY 10036

          3 Replies
          1. re: premiergirl

            Many of us on this board are fans of bistro moderne. It serves good Alsatian influenced cuisine in a lively atmosphere. It's a lot smaller than many of the restaurants we've been discussing here, which might impact the festiveness of the evening, but I still think it's an excellent choice.

            1. re: premiergirl

              While dbBistro is an excellent restaurant, its location on 44th St., b/t 5th & 6th Avs. is *very* close to Times Square. Ergo, imo, a bad choice for New Year's Eve.

              Like others have suggested, you would be much better off to go someplace that is much further away. If you want something a bit fancy, Chef June's suggestion of Tocqueville is a fine one. For a place that's more casual, I think Maialino would be a good choice. Both are in neighborhoods quite a bit south of Times Square.



              1. re: RGR

                Stay away from Times Square...

                Maialino is terrific.

                2 Lexington Avenue, New York, NY 10010

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