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Montrose1100

New York City

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Alrighty my fellow HAIFers, this September i'm heading to NYC.

 

I've googled and binged places to see and do, but want to know any personal recommendations from people who have been there or lived there.

 

First off, I'll be staying in Chelsea. The only touristy things I plan to do are go up to the observation deck in Rockefeller Plaza, see the new WTC, and that's about it. I also plan on heavy drinking and partying.

 

Any great eateries or bars that are really worth a visit? Your help is much appreciated.

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Spend time exploring by foot. Definitly explore The Park. Walk the Highline. And, walking around the southern tip (the Battery) from WTC to South Street Seaport, then across the Brooklyn Bridge is fantastic. Drink in the Village.

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Random suggestions:

 

Reserve an entire day for the Metropolitan Museum of Art - fantastic museum.

We got something like a week long pass for their transit system, good for the subway and buses. It's very cheap and worth it. Get the citypass book, also worth it.

Skip the MoMa, not really worth it, but then again I like more traditional art anyway.

If you don't have too much time, getting on a site seeing bus is a quick way to see a lot in a little amount of time.

Ellis Island is so over rated, skip it. We were also told not to go to the statue of liberty, instead just see it from the boat tour.

Oh yeah, I can't believe I almost forgot - hit up broadway as much as you can. You have to see Annie. Overall it's very good but the girl that plays Annie is amazing. If you see Lion King, don't make the mistake of sitting up on the second balcony, it really needs to be seen from the lower level. Phantom of the opera is pretty good too. I didn't see any other shows but wish I had. Of course, get your tickets from the red booth in times square, I forget what it's called. A local said there's another one I think downtown or someplace that the locals get them to avoid the lines, but the lines really aren't that bad anyway and it's much more convenient. We got second row Annie tickets for a good price about 30 minutes before it started.

 

And remember, getting from place to place more or less takes the same amount of time in NYC as it does in Houston, 20-30 minutes. I was told a lot of tourists take Taxis and that you should avoid them, we did and were fine.

 

okay, so I just reread that you're not planning on doing much touristy stuff. If you change your mind, check out my post :)

 

For eateries, in Astoria there's a place that sells pork gyros. Other than that I can't remember any places we went to eat.

Edited by lockmat

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Spend time exploring by foot. Definitly explore The Park. Walk the Highline. And, walking around the southern tip (the Battery) from WTC to South Street Seaport, then across the Brooklyn Bridge is fantastic. Drink in the Village.

How could I forget about the park? I would absolutely love to walk around it. Also I would like to go across the Brooklyn Bridge, so I could add those two to my touristy list. 

 

Random suggestions:

 

Reserve an entire day for the Metropolitan Museum of Art - fantastic museum.

We got something like a week long pass for their transit system, good for the subway and buses. It's very cheap and worth it. Get the citypass book, also worth it.

Skip the MoMa, not really worth it, but then again I like more traditional art anyway.

If you don't have too much time, getting on a site seeing bus is a quick way to see a lot in a little amount of time.

Ellis Island is so over rated, skip it. We were also told not to go to the statue of liberty, instead just see it from the boat tour.

Oh yeah, I can't believe I almost forgot - hit up broadway as much as you can. You have to see Annie. Overall it's very good but the girl that plays Annie is amazing. If you see Lion King, don't make the mistake of sitting up on the second balcony, it really needs to be seen from the lower level. Phantom of the opera is pretty good too. I didn't see any other shows but wish I had. Of course, get your tickets from the red booth in times square, I forget what it's called. A local said there's another one I think downtown or someplace that the locals get them to avoid the lines, but the lines really aren't that bad anyway and it's much more convenient. We got second row Annie tickets for a good price about 30 minutes before it started.

 

And remember, getting from place to place more or less takes the same amount of time in NYC as it does in Houston, 20-30 minutes. I was told a lot of tourists take Taxis and that you should avoid them, we did and were fine.

 

okay, so I just reread that you're not planning on doing much touristy stuff. If you change your mind, check out my post :)

 

For eateries, in Astoria there's a place that sells pork gyros. Other than that I can't remember any places we went to eat.

I was planning on taking a taxi everywhere... I'll be there for 5 nights, so a week long pass on the transit sounds good. I was thinking about seeing just one museum, would you recommend the Metropolitan over the Guggenheim? 

 

I heard the lines for the Statue of Liberty were outrageous even in the "off" season. Which is also why I don't want to go up the Empire State Building. Top of the Rock looks better because it has the ESB in view.

 

I appreciate the show tips but to be honest I really don't want to see any play unless the Book of Mormon is playing. I've seen a few here in town and they are great and everything but it just doesn't appeal to me.

 

 

One more question, do I need cash for the driver picking us up from LaGuardia? I booked a town car and it says they don't carry money for tolls. But the town cars here have ez-tags and include them in their pricing. I thought that was strange.

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How could I forget about the park? I would absolutely love to walk around it. Also I would like to go across the Brooklyn Bridge, so I could add those two to my touristy list.

I was planning on taking a taxi everywhere... I'll be there for 5 nights, so a week long pass on the transit sounds good. I was thinking about seeing just one museum, would you recommend the Metropolitan over the Guggenheim?

I heard the lines for the Statue of Liberty were outrageous even in the "off" season. Which is also why I don't want to go up the Empire State Building. Top of the Rock looks better because it has the ESB in view.

I appreciate the show tips but to be honest I really don't want to see any play unless the Book of Mormon is playing. I've seen a few here in town and they are great and everything but it just doesn't appeal to me.

One more question, do I need cash for the driver picking us up from LaGuardia? I booked a town car and it says they don't carry money for tolls. But the town cars here have ez-tags and include them in their pricing. I thought that was strange.

I don't know anything about the Guggenheim so I can't help ya there. The Metropolitan has awesome historical stuff. I describe it as the louvre of the US. I was kicking myself for not allocating more time for it.

Yeah, they included the tolls in the price, but it's probably a good idea to always have some cash. When we went some guy just approached us and asked if we needed a ride, I was skeptical but said yes. It all went fine but that was probably a stupid decision. I could have been robbed or killed, who knows. I remember reading somewhere that all taxis and towne cars should have sort of official ID. Check out nyc's visitor website for details.

And even though it's a "tourist trap" check out Times Square. It's worth it, even if you're only there for 30 mins, it's cool.

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And even though it's a "tourist trap" check out Times Square. It's worth it, even if you're only there for 30 mins, it's cool.

Yeah I was planning on seeing it at dusk. I'm sure it's as exciting as Piccadilly Circus in London but a much grander scale.

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I would say that the lines for the Empire State building are indeed LONG! Try Doing the Observation floor at Rockefeller Center.  I really adored going to St John the Devine I think it's on 112th and Amsterdam? There is a great Ethiopian place on 103 & Amsterdam.

Edited by trymahjong
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Oh my gosh. I am completely inlove with this city. In fact I'm ready to move here. I feel like saying this is a cliche but I'm not sure what words to use. This city is magical, alive, bursting at the seems with energy and excitement.

Cheap bar food is high quality. It puts some of Houston's eateries to shame. I had quesadillas at a bar called therapy and it blew Pappasitos out of the water. I'm still amazed I haven't eaten anywhere yet that I didn't like.

The alcohol is expensive but most of the places are on the same level of pricing for cocktails like in Houston. Although the least expensive bottled beer I found is $7 a pop.

I really love this city, it's now my #1 desired place to live. I thought for sure Europe would always be my main goal but I'm halfway in my trip and I could cry thinking about having to leave.

And my oh my there are some BEAUTIFUL people here! On every street corner there are tall young woman and men in Tom ford suits. But kinda like I'm Europe the ugly people are like super ugly. I'm not finished being shallow. I'm 6'1" and I'm pretty tall compared to the average person here. In Houston I feel like I'm in the middle range but here I'm top 10%.

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If you haven't visited Paris yet, that should be your next stop. I haven't been all over the world but I've been around some. Paris and NYC are my top two destinations.

Glad you're enjoying it. I hope I get to return some day.

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Oh my gosh. I am completely inlove with this city. In fact I'm ready to move here. I feel like saying this is a cliche but I'm not sure what words to use. This city is magical, alive, bursting at the seems with energy and excitement.

Cheap bar food is high quality. It puts some of Houston's eateries to shame. I had quesadillas at a bar called therapy and it blew Pappasitos out of the water. I'm still amazed I haven't eaten anywhere yet that I didn't like.

The alcohol is expensive but most of the places are on the same level of pricing for cocktails like in Houston. Although the least expensive bottled beer I found is $7 a pop.

I really love this city, it's now my #1 desired place to live. I thought for sure Europe would always be my main goal but I'm halfway in my trip and I could cry thinking about having to leave.

And my oh my there are some BEAUTIFUL people here! On every street corner there are tall young woman and men in Tom ford suits. But kinda like I'm Europe the ugly people are like super ugly. I'm not finished being shallow. I'm 6'1" and I'm pretty tall compared to the average person here. In Houston I feel like I'm in the middle range but here I'm top 10%.

 

Had you never been to New York? Now you see why some of us on here are always pushing for Houston to do better because it is FAR behind when it comes to being lively in the inner city.

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Had you never been to New York? Now you see why some of us on here are always pushing for Houston to do better because it is FAR behind when it comes to being lively in the inner city.

It's my first time in the big apple, but I've been to other major US cities and countless European cities to fully grasp walk ability. Houston is light years behind this, and only if Downtown could sustain a large residential population and people drop their fear of bus rides (until our network of light rail extends into its full potential along with commuter rail), Houston will not reach this goal.

It's only 85 here but I'm sweating as much as I would in Houston's summer when in direct sunlight. Maybe I'm just intolerant of the heat more so than others but Houston's weather shouldn't hinder walkability. I know this has been discussed in other topics.

The only downside to living here would be the complete lack of air conditioning. I'm spoiled rotten back home. If the temperature is above 70 I break a sweat - indoors! Not to mention the bright lighting in stores. I visited a friend who lived in Astoria and I was sweating buckets in their fourth floor apartment.

But besides the negative aspect of being soaking wet a lot, I really feel at home here. Everyone is beyond friendly! Except some of the cab drivers, but that's the same in Houston.

The bartenders and servers here are not snobby even in the ritzy places, they want to talk to you and they can read you very well if you're not in the mood for conversation. I probably frequent all types of bars but the gay ones in Houston are a joke. The staff I mean. Once in a while you'll catch a friendly bartender who will take your drink order and smile and say of course and thank you. Most of the time they are total divas and ignore you and delicate flower with their coworkers or only help out their friends. Not here! thats the type of behavior I found in London and in Houston.

The people here are happy you asked what they recommend, gay or straight. No sighs, no eye rolls, no silence with a finger point to the menu, they want you to have a great time. They treat you with kindness. I guess because the establishments are so competitive? Or maybe there's something in the water?

I know this is just my personal expierence. I'm sure there are plenty of rude and mean people, and I'm really easy going and not demanding or high maintenance at all.

Sorry for the long rant, I'm just dumbfounded by the amount of class everyone in the city has (that I've encountered).

One last thing. My friend brought me to a party thrown by her coworkers in Brooklyn. All creative types, working for the same firm. So welcoming, inviting, everyone stoped to shake your hand and introduce themselves. Compared to a party I went to in Chicago a few years ago and all the artsy types were rude and nasty quite frankly.

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I think NYC style walkability will never be achieved until average summer temperatures top out at 85, tops.

Please don't take that post too seriously.

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I just got back from a week in NYC. I stayed at Le Parker Meridian on W. 57th right at the park. I go there a couple times a year. I walk a lot in NY because it's the best way to get where I want to. I don't walk just for the sake of walking. If I could get in a car and drive 6 blocks faster than walking it I would. Every time I have a place to go there is a decision to be made... Taxi, Subway or walk. Whichever one can get me there faster wins. The subway system is very nice. It would be great to have that here but we just don't have the economic and geographic conditions to make that possible. 

 

In downtown Houston I walk because quite often the weather is nice, more often than NY in my opinion. If you stick to the side of the street that's in the shadows of the skyscrapers the heat is not much of a problem. I enjoy walking in Houston more, because the streets aren't as crowded. You don't have to fight a crowd of people to get through the crosswalks here.

 

I agree that most people you meet in NY are polite and friendly. You never know if a person you see on the street just stepped out of a $20mil apartment or if they commute in from NJ everyday. I don't like the draconian government there though. My wife smokes and it's almost impossible for her to do so without being fussed at. We're standing on a corner with thousands of cars passing an hour and people are worried about a little smoke from a cigarette. 

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i had a layover in newark yesterday. needless to say, i have tower envy.  there is a new construction that looks like it's close to central park, i'm assuming it's residential and looks to have a small footprint for it's height.  very curious. 

i was tempted to walk out to a cab rather than catch my plane.  if i hadn't been on a plane for nine hours already it might have been more tempting.

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I enjoy walking in Houston more, because the streets aren't as crowded. You don't have to fight a crowd of people to get through the crosswalks here.

 

There's the dark side of walkability right there.

I'm kind of surprised that you guys are talking about how friendly NYC is, usually the reputation is that they're impatient and not very nice, whereas in Texas people are friendly (at least in the more rural parts). I guess that's just what comes with what you get (though I've heard that in everyone's favorite Canadian city, Vancouver, people aren't very nice).

I went to New York City about 7 years ago, and while I do enjoy big skyscrapers and all that, it's almost too confusing to appreciate...there's random "holes" in the sidewalk that lead to basement shops, bars, and other structures, some of them are unguarded, so you have to watch your step. And because the subway was built decades ago, a lot of it isn't ADA compliant (which drives up prices for new construction), and like any city, there's lots of run-down older areas and the area is quite ugly when driving in from outside the city (at least New Jersey).

There's lots to love about high density, but NYC is a bit too dense for my tastes, personally.

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i had a layover in newark yesterday. needless to say, i have tower envy.  there is a new construction that looks like it's close to central park, i'm assuming it's residential and looks to have a small footprint for it's height.  very curious. 

i was tempted to walk out to a cab rather than catch my plane.  if i hadn't been on a plane for nine hours already it might have been more tempting.

 

That's 432 Park Avenue. It's really tall, 1390 ft.  

 

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/432_Park_Avenue

 

Nordstrom tower will be even taller.

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Those new residential towers in NYC are garbage design by big name firms.  To think a "ultra-lux" residential condo tower that is nothing more than a really tall 4 sided building will tower over the likes of the Empire State and the Chrysler Buildings.... sad.  The best of these new small footprint 1000'+ towers is One57.

 

NYC has a lot of nice architecture (mostly unseen from the street) and a lot of tacky highrises (particularly residential) popping up lately.

 

(not to offend anyone as this is my personal opinion)

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The window in my hotel room looked looked right out on One57. It looks good from a distance but up close it looks like a building from the 80s. For some reason it already looks 30 years old. From a distance the mismatched colors of the glass looks good, close up it just looks like they replaced a bunch of windows and didn't get the color right. 

 

You are correct about 432 Park Avenue. It really is just a box. So were the World Trade Center towers though. I do like the concept of a perfectly square building with windows all around though. A building like this is all about the views for the occupants. There should not be a single wall without floor to ceiling windows. I find it strange that some high rises are not built this way. The urinal tower in the Houston Galleria is one of these, one side of the building has almost no windows. I just don't get it. There are ways to cover up the shower, etc... without putting up a wall on the perimeter. 

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The window in my hotel room looked looked right out on One57. It looks good from a distance but up close it looks like a building from the 80s. For some reason it already looks 30 years old. From a distance the mismatched colors of the glass looks good, close up it just looks like they replaced a bunch of windows and didn't get the color right.

 

Was it finished?  I think its a nice sculptural element on the skyline from a distance.  Many skyscrapers don't look wonderful up close... hence why I've always thought the best architecture is the smaller buildings designed for more specific uses than spec residential or office spaces.

 

The original World Trade towers were not beautiful buildings.

 

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Brooklyn bridge park, joes pizza, high line, Bronx zoo, king of falafel and shawarma, himalaya cafe, Bronx zoo, brooklyn botanical gardens, punjabi deli, transit museum

It is a great city indeed

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I don't like the draconian government there though. My wife smokes and it's almost impossible for her to do so without being fussed at. We're standing on a corner with thousands of cars passing an hour and people are worried about a little smoke from a cigarette. 

Really? I saw smokers everywhere. We stepped out of the airport and asked an employee where the smoking area is (because at IAH they give you shit if you don't walk across the way, but like you said you're breathing in all the fumes right there from the vehicles and airplanes), anyways, he said "Ayyy this is New York! Anywhere outside you can smoke. Except parks"! Not +20 feet from the door like here.

 

Even walking the street I think 1/8th the crowd was smoking. I did hear one lady walk by me and say "Oh great cigarette smoke", and walked faster to get in front of me. Like you said, all the while she's passing delivery trucks waiting in traffic blowing their exhaust right onto the sidewalk. Whatever helps you sleep at night lady.

 

I feel more chastised here than in NY. The only thing I didn't like was the lack of ash trays. In Europe, they are on every door step or on the side of the building. The only one I saw was in front of our hotel. There were butts everywhere in NYC. How hard is it to scrape it in the dirt and throw it away? Sorry for the rant. I guess I lose control when talking about NY. It was just so incredible. My euphoria lasted into midday on my first day at work and then reality sunk in. I've been scouting places to live there.

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The window in my hotel room looked looked right out on One57. It looks good from a distance but up close it looks like a building from the 80s. For some reason it already looks 30 years old. From a distance the mismatched colors of the glass looks good, close up it just looks like they replaced a bunch of windows and didn't get the color right.

You are correct about 432 Park Avenue. It really is just a box. So were the World Trade Center towers though. I do like the concept of a perfectly square building with windows all around though. A building like this is all about the views for the occupants. There should not be a single wall without floor to ceiling windows. I find it strange that some high rises are not built this way. The urinal tower in the Houston Galleria is one of these, one side of the building has almost no windows. I just don't get it. There are ways to cover up the shower, etc... without putting up a wall on the perimeter.

Whatever, Id KILL to have either one of those in downtown Houston.

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Park Avenue, plus One57, plus the Nordstrom tower about to go up (1775 ft) makes me realize just how small Houston still is and how New York, even without all the "hottest city" press and #1 rankings Houston's been getting, still is the undisputed King of U.S. cities, always has been and probably always will be.

We have NOTHING of this scale going up, and probably wont ever, and yet here is the city with more skyscrapers than all of us, getting 3 more super-supertalls like it aint nothing, just 3 more buildings in an ocean of a skyline.

The rich get richer, sigh....

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Park Avenue, plus One57, plus the Nordstrom tower about to go up (1775 ft) makes me realize just how small Houston still is and how New York, even without all the "hottest city" press and #1 rankings Houston's been getting, still is the undisputed King of U.S. cities, always has been and probably always will be.

We have NOTHING of this scale going up, and probably wont ever, and yet here is the city with more skyscrapers than all of us, getting 3 more super-supertalls like it aint nothing, just 3 more buildings in an ocean of a skyline.

The rich get richer, sigh....

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