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Itinerary Help

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I'm surprising my wife with 3 nights in NY for her 30th Birthday. I have been researching good places to eat, but there are just too many to fit into 3.5 days. Any advice on the order of site seeing or restaurants and bars is greatly appreciated! It will be the first visit to NY for both of us. The times are all flexible. Please feel free to rearrange as you see fit. I tried to pick restaurants near the places we are visiting to cut down on travel time and expenses. The only things that can't change are the Yankee's game and Broadway show.

FRIDAY
* 7:30 Land at JFK
* 8:30 Checkin to W Times Square/Drop off bags
* Breakfast @ Ellen's Stardust Diner
* 9:30 Museum Natural History
* Lunch @ Shake Shack & Cookies @ Levain
* 1:30 Bronx Zoo
* Diner @ Yankee's Tavern
* 7:00 Yankees vs Sox (Already have tickets)
* Drinks at McSorley's, Coyote Ugly... ?

SATURDAY
* Breakfast @ Blue Fin
* Site See & Shop
* Top of Rock, St. Pat Cathedral, Bloomingdale's, Saks
* Stop at Grand Central
* Lunch @ ... Can't decide where to eat. Hunan, babbo, ciano, xian, Mesa Grill
* Empire State Building
* Desigual, Ralph Lauren, etc.
* Dinner @ 6:00 Trattoria Trecolori
* 8:00 Jersey Boys (Already have tickets)
* Drinks ??? We will be dressed nicely, haven't decided if I'll have a jacket on or not, no tie. Le Bain, Little Branch?

SUNDAY
* Breakfast @ Breslin -> Any recommendations up town more, we don't care that much about breakfast?
* Central Park, Ground Zero, St. Paul's
* Lunch @ Spotted pig, then try Jo's Disco Fries & Lombardi's Pizza
* Brooklyn Bridge, Little Italy, China Town
* Dinner - EMP
* Drinks ??? We will be dressed nicely again, recommendations?
* Anyone been to Open mic at Village Underground?

MONDAY
* Breakfast @ Clinton St Bakery
* Statue of Liberty, Ellis Island
* Any other site seeing recommendations?
* Lunch - Babbo
* Flight leaves JFK @ 4

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  1. I think you'll be running yourself ragged. Have you accounted for travel time on subways and busses? Don't count on being able to catch a taxi all the time (especially during shift change at 4pm) and rush hour traffic can be fierce.

    Instead of Ellen's, get a snack or pastry form wichcraft or Jacques Torres or Bouchon Bakery at Rockefeller Center, then take the B to AMNH.

    Make sure you have accounted for how you're going to be getting from the Natural History Museum to the Bronx Zoo. You will probably end up walking down to the 2 train.

    Personally, flying into NYC, going to a museum, going to a zoo, and then going to a ball game, and then back out for drinks after the game would have me exhausted. And McSorley's on a Friday night will definitely have a line.

    Think about having lunch near where you're going to be. Maybe Ma Peche, Bar Room at the Modern. Going downtown and then back into midtown doesn't make sense unless you want to exhaust yourself. Szechuan Gourmet or Cafe China if you like spicy food.

    ESB plus Top of the Rock is redundant. Skip one.

    After Jersey Boys, have a drink at Lantern's Keep, the bar at the Andaz, or Rum House. If you go somewhere downtown like Little Branch you'll be standing in line again most likely.

    Central Park and the 9/11 Memorial are in completely opposite directions. This seems logistically difficult to me.

    Skip Lombardi's. Also Spotted Pig is very filling, you probably won't have room. Oh, and there will likely be a bit of a wait for Sunday brunch there.

    After dinner at EMP, try drinks at their sister restaurant The NoMad. I love the Library Room.

    The mods frown on non-food and non-drink discussion here but if you want to do the Statue of Liberty AND Ellis Island and hit up lunch at Babbo, and get to JFK with time to spare you're cramming too much in. For the Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island, they usually recommend five hours. Don't forget to allow extra time for the security screening and for transit between your hotel to Clinton St to Battery Park to Babbo to your hotel.

    1 Reply
    1. re: kathryn

      i especially like the Cafe China rec, as it's very close to the ESB and other midtown sites...and i agree w/ skipping Lombardi's...

    2. You are planning 3 weeks worth of stuff into 3 days. even if you manage to do everything on Friday, by Saturday afternoon you will be dead tired and probably sleep through Sunday. And to echo kathryn's point, travel in this city takes longer than you think. If you land at JFK at 7:30 on a Friday morning (rush hour!!), I seriously doubt you will be in Times Square, checked in by 8:30 unless you have a Star Trek transporter. But this isn't a travel site, so on to the food!

      If you keep the Bronx Zoo in your itinerary, check out the Outer Boroughs board for Arthur Ave Restaurants... they are a very short walk from the zoo.

      Central Park and Ground Zero are quite far from each other, so pick one. If you do Central Park, stay uptown/west and take a stroll over to Zabar's or Barney Greengrass. You can also do this while you are at the Museum of Natural History, since it faces the park.

      Grand Central has lots of places to eat, I would suggest grabbing lunch there if you plan on doing a lot of walking/sight seeing in that area.

      I know it's tempting to try and cram in all the great restaurants that you can, but walking around in a neighborhood can be rewarding, since there are so many cute, cozy places that aren't always on the CH radar. One of our other well regarded posters, RGR, has put togther a Lower East Side walking tour that is food-focused, and if you choose to stay downtown, a walk across Bleecker St from Laguardia place to 7th ave provides some very nice cafes (cafe Dante, Reggio both just off Bleecker on Macdougal), bars (Red Lion, Kenny's Castaways), pastry (Rocco's and Amy's Bread), coffee (Porto Rico). I also like Camaje, a little bistro right next to Cafe Dante on Macdougal. I love their hangar steak.

      1. as already noted, your itinerary is just not doable., even if you each had your own personal jetpak and the stamina of 3 people. it's not just that you can never get to all the places you've listed in the time allotted, you also need to do a bit more research for you trip. Since this is a food site, I'll stick to your food picks. For example, you list Babbo for lunch on Monday, but I believe that Babbo does not serve lunch on Monday. And even if you get to Clinton St when they open at 8am, it will probably be 10 before you'll be at the ferry for the Statue of Liberty/ Ellis Is. Even if you catch the first ferry, I think it will be impossible for you to anything else before you catch a 4pm flight at JFK. ( as noted, it takes a minimum of 5 hours to do both sites) Also, You don't ,mention when you are coming or whether you already have reservations for hard to get reservations like EMP.
        Where do you live? Your post leads me to believe you may not be used to visiting very large cities. I suggest you do some serious rethinking about your plans, and then re-post after you've narrowed down your itinerary.

        1. I moved to NYC 42 years ago because I love it, and I want you and your wife to love it too. Less is more; please prioritize and organize by location-- for example it's easy to do Top of the Rock and St. Patrick's together. Please try to do the "only in New York" stuff first (Bloomingdale's is almost everywhere). Personally, I recommend Central Park over Ground Zero, if you have to choose. I'm a walker and have strong legs, but would never attempt both the Natural History Museum and the Bronx Zoo on the same day. Since you're going to the Yankees game, do the Zoo (you can get a train at Grand Central, or go by subway; Grand Central might be easier), and go to Arthur Ave. to eat (as recommended by another CH). I'd be very wary of attempting the Statue Of Liberty on the same day as a 4 PM flight. Walk the Brooklyn Bridge (start at the Brooklyn side by taking the A train to High Street) and you can see the Statue of Liberty in the harbor) Chinatown is a 15 min. walk from the Manhattan end of the bridge; go there for a Dim Sum lunch. We want you to want to come back and see the other stuff.

          1. OMG where to start! Well, you've put a lot of work into this and you'll definitely have a great trip. But as others have said, edit, edit, edit.

            I'll take a stab at your Saturday itinerary:
            I* Breakfast @ Blue Fin - I've never been there but isn't this a seafood restaurant?
            * Top of Rock: This might be more romantic at night, but do go when it's clear or you won't see much. ,
            St. Pat Cathedral - great, won't take more than a half hour:
            , Bloomingdale's: Take a cab to save time, about 10-15 minutes, But it's huge and your wife could easily spend 2 or 3 hours there. On the other hand, Saks is right across the street from St. Patrick's. There is a nice cafe overlooking 5th Avenue so you might consider having lunch there. Alternatively, you could walk over to the Museum of Modern Art on 53rd St. just west of 5th Avenue; they have a few nice places to eat inside, ranging from upscale counter service to The Modern, one of the best places to eat in midtown.
            * Stop at Grand Central: OK but that would have to be AFTER lunch. It's about 10 blocks south of Saks/St. Pat's.
            * Lunch @ ... Can't decide where to eat. Hunan, babbo, ciano, xian, Mesa Grill - IF you keep to this plan remember that most or all of these are downtown.
            So if you want to go to the Empire State Building on 42nd and 5th, you'd have to backtrack up to midtown. But I would not go to Top of the Rock and Empire State Bldg. in the same day! And keep in mind that ESB often has long lines, that they snake through interior hallways of the building, and you have to thus schedule at least a couple of hours for this visit.
            * Desigual, Ralph Lauren, etc. - even as an inveterate shopper I'd say a big NO to this one. You can shop at the mall at home.
            * Dinner @ 6:00 Trattoria Trecolori - It's OK, very much geared for tourists. We just had a great dinner at La Masseria on 48th St. and it's a nice step up from many of the Theater District Italians. Lovely decor, good service, nice menu including a lot of seafood dishes.
            * 8:00 Jersey Boys (Already have tickets)

            I hope this is helpful. When are you leaving? I'll give you some comments on your Sunday itinerary soon!

            1 Reply
            1. re: Bookistan

              Thank you all for the advice!

            2. Thank you all for the advice! We are from Buffalo and will be travelling mid August. I can see where I was overly ambitious! There are just too many things you want to do and not enough time! I've paired it down some and made a few changes (Let me know if I'm still trying to do too much). I wasn't specific enough either, several of the sites I listed I wasn't concerned about going in, just viewing while in the area. The exception would possibly be the statue of liberty, but we will save that for another visit. Any other lounge/drink recommendations for Saturday and Sunday?

              - Sunday up town breakfast?
              - Sunday lunch at Shake shack or Spotted pig?
              - Monday Lunch?

              A few notes:
              - Not huge sea food eaters
              - I wasn't planning on going up ESB, just walking past
              - I was planning to take a pedicab tour of the park. I figured we would be doing enough walking, and this would be the best way to view as much of the parkas possible.
              - Moved ground zero to Monday AM, just want to see the monument, walk down and see statue of liberty (Unless

              FRIDAY
              * 7:00 Land at JFK
              * 8:30 Checkin to W Times Square/Drop off bags
              * Breakfast @ Ellen's Stardust Diner
              * Bronx Zoo
              * LUNCH @ Arthur Ave
              * Diner @ Yankee's Tavern
              * 7:00 Yankees vs Sox (Already have tickets)
              * If up for it, Drinks at McSorley's, Coyote Ugly... ?

              SATURDAY
              * Breakfast @ Blue Fin
              * Site See & Shop
              * Top of Rock, St. Pat Cathedral, Saks & down 5th Ave
              * Lunch @ Cafe near Saks or The Modern
              * Stop at Grand Central
              * Walk by Empire State Building
              * Dinner @ 6:00 Trattoria Trecolori
              * 8:00 Jersey Boys (Already have tickets)
              * Drinks ??? We will be dressed nicely, haven't decided if I'll have a jacket on or not, no tie. Le Bain, Little Branch?
              Lantern's Keep, the bar at the Andaz, or Rum House

              SUNDAY
              * Breakfast @ Breslin -> Any recommendations up town more, we don't care that much about breakfast?
              * Central Park Pedicab tour (Musuem Natural History - depending on time and how we feel)
              * Lunch @ Spotted pig
              * Brooklyn Bridge, Little Italy, China Town
              * Dinner - EMP
              * Drinks ??? We will be dressed nicely again, recommendations?
              The NoMad. I love the Library Room
              * Anyone been to Open mic at Village Underground?

              MONDAY
              * Breakfast @ Clinton St Bakery
              * Ground Zero, St. Paul's, walk over and see Statue of Liberty, Ellis Island
              * Lunch - ???
              * Flight leaves JFK @ 4

              2 Replies
              1. re: frofan

                Saturday Lunch at Bar Room at the Modern - make a reservation, it's very popular with people visiting MoMA.
                Sunday breakfast - if you're an early riser, try Sarabeth's on Central Park South then. It'll be closer to your activities for the day. You can also walk from there to the horse-drawn carriages that wait around 59th and 5th.
                Sunday lunch - this would be a good time to squeeze in Shake Shack, there's one on the UWS right by the AMNH.
                Monday lunch - Go to Clinton St, see the 9/11 Memorial, get on the Staten Island Ferry which passes the Statue of Liberty, turn immediately around, and then do Spotted Pig for lunch instead.

                1. re: frofan

                  A few suggestions:

                  You might want to consolidate stuff by location in the city a bit more. On Sunday you have yourself going down to the southern part of midtown, then eventually up to the UWS, then down to the West Village, and cutting all the way over to Brooklyn.

                  What if you did this in one day: Breakfast @Breslin, subway downtown. See 9/11 + anything else downtown, walk up to the West Village for lunch, go to the high line, then head east, go through East Village, head down to Chinatown, then walk across the Brooklyn Bridge, and then subway or taxi it back to your hotel. Be aware, that's a lot of walking.

                  Do Central Park on the day you're doing mostly mid-town stuff.