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Ask me anything about New York and Manhattan (NYC)

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[OP]
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Jun 9, 2003
1680 posts
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Ask me anything about New York and Manhattan (NYC)

Alrighty... I thought I would be a bit proactive and start an all inclusive thread to New York since there ALWAYS seems to be questions about NYC. I tried to make the thread title include at least 3 of the most widely used search terms (I would assume).

I don't claim to be an expert on NYC at all. Just trying to be helpful here and I'm sure lots of people will be able to chime in. I'll try and keep the OP updated with links and info as much as I can as well as I seem to be browsing the travel forum a lot more than the hot deals forum lately.

Here's a great overview of NYC from one of my fave travel sites
http://wikitravel.org/en/New_York_(city)

GETTING THERE
Driving
Driving to Manhattan from Toronto can be done pretty easily and is very cost effective if you have even 4 people and a rental car. The most often quoted route is the default route given by Mapquest and Google Maps. This route will take you from Toronto -> Niagara -> NYC. The alternative route that I prefer is Toronto -> Kingston/100 Islands -> NYC. I find it more scenic and the flow of traffic much faster on the 401 than the US Interstates.

Parking your car in Manhattan is going to be expensive. Period. I recommend not driving into Manhattan if at all possible. If you HAVE to drive into Manhattan try www.iconparking.com or www.bestparking.com to see what kind of rates you can get in your neighborhood.

User CCHIU had this to say about cheap parking in Manhattan:
"While it is expensive on weekdays, on weekends it is not and you may even be able to find free parking if you go several blocks away from Times Square...say, 57th and 8th. If you want something closer, you can use paid street parking. It's not terribly expensive ($12 for 6 hours I believe)."

I've also recommended that if you're driving to NYC to try and leave your car at a SECURE lot at one of the outer boroughs, or at one of the 3 airports that surround Manhattan. It's not necessarily safer than parking in Manhattan but it will be cheaper! Keep in mind if you're outside Manhattan and are driving in daily that you'll have bridge tolls to pay.

Flying
Flying to NYC is relatively expensive compared to flying to say Europe. That said, if it's a trip for a couple, flying is probably the best way to go. A way to fly cheaply is to drive to Buffalo airport and hop on JetBlue or another US carrier.

Gangstarr has provided a VERY helpful post on how to travel from Toronto to Buffalo airport to take advantage of those cheap flights to NYC.
http://www.redflagdeals.com/forums/show ... p?t=533376

Bus
There are bus tours that go to NYc fairly cheaply. I only really know of the Tai Pan bus tours but greyhound may be an option. I'll fill this section out more as people chime in.

Here's a very detailed review of the Greyhound NEON experience
http://www.redflagdeals.com/forums/show ... tcount=415

Bus/Plane combo
There is a very good post HERE on how to best get to NYC from Toronto by flying out of Buffalo

Train
The train is prolly a good option for a solo traveller or a pair of people if you want a nice relaxing route that I hear goes through some scenic areas. I've just gotten more current info on the train. The wikipedia page for the Maple Leaf route is quite detailed and has direct links to both the VIA Rail website and the AMTrak website

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Maple_Leaf_(Amtrak)

Taxi (From airport)
My only experience first hand with a Taxi from the airport is from LaGuardia airport (LGA). It's about $30-$35 USD for the taxi ride depending on traffice. Make sure to pack money for the bridge toll which is about $2 if I remember correctly.

EDIT: On my last trip to NYC on Sept/07 the cabbie is now supposed to pay for the toll and add the price to the final cost of the trip. They are also supposed to use the quick pay lane and pass along the savings to you. You can of course opt to pay the toll in cash to the driver in advance but there's no real need. All this is detailed on the back seat of NY cabs. Whether or not New Jersey cabs follow this convention is unknown to me at this point.
1638 replies
[OP]
Deal Addict
Jun 9, 2003
1680 posts
13 upvotes
WHERE TO STAY
Hotels
Hotels in New York can be notoriously expensive. Best bet I've found is to use Hotwire or Priceline (name your own price option) about 4-6 months out if you can plan that far ahead. If you're using this option make sure to check out betterbidding.com to see what kind of hotel you might be getting, and what prices people have been paying for specific star ratings. I wouldn't go below a 4 star if you can afford it.

As to which area you should be staying, I recommend Midtown. If you go up to the Upper East/West sides, you'll be doing a lotta time on the subway unless you're there specifically to see the museums. Also, there is not easy way to get crosstown from the East to the West or vice versa so keep that in mind as well.

The downtown financial district can be tough to get around from as well. I also wouldn't recommend staying around the Times Square area. That's an area you only need to really see once on your trip and you do not want to stay there as it's insanely busy and noisy.

Staying in Jersey can be done quite easily as well. Great thread over here
http://www.redflagdeals.com/forums/show ... p?t=609223

GETTING AROUND
The public transit system in NYC is great! The subway can be hot and stinky and buses can be hot and stinky but they'll both get your around quickly and cheaply. The various subway lines can be a bit confusing at first but most likely you'll be using the same lines over and over again so once you have it figured out it should be so bad.

I would hihgly recommend NOT driving in NYC. Traffic is crazy, the drivers are crazy, and parking is crazy expensive. Tranist or cabs or just walking are the most ideal ways of getting around. I've walked from Battery Park way in the south all the way up to the midpoint of Central Park in one afternoon. It's not that bad a haul and you get to see a good chunk of the city.

WHAT TO SEE
Well if you're going to NYC for the first time you're most likely going to go see the Statue of Liberty, the Empire State Building, Rockefeller Center, Brooklyn Bridge, etc etc. After you get to see all of those things you'll get a chance to see the REAL New York. The city changes so often I encourage people who visit to comment on things that they saw that they don't think others people will get to see on a regular touristy jaunt. I think New York Magazine is one of the best guides to the city although Time Out is supposed to be quite good as well.
[OP]
Deal Addict
Jun 9, 2003
1680 posts
13 upvotes
WHAT TO EAT
NYC is probably one of the greatest cities to eat in! There's so much variety and so many options it can be a bit overwhelming. The two areas that come to mind for tourists I think are Chiantown and Little Italy. Chinatown food I find is very very different than what you would find in Vancouver or Toronto for example. Canadian cities have very modern Chinese food because of the influx of fairly recent immigrants. New York's Chinatown has evolved over many many years and has been described by a friend of mine as authentic Chinese food that has been Americanized. That's not a bad thing neccessarily... It's just different that what you would have up in Toronto for example.

I find Little Italy to be way overrated for food. I wouldn't eat around there. For not that much more you can find much better italian eats in other neighborhoods.

SoHo is another area of town where tourists will most likely find a bite to eat. There are a LOT of restos there but a lot of them are also overrated and overpriced. I'll post some suggestions once I see some replies and do my own reserach on places I eaten at before.

Here's some quick hit reviews of the places I ate at recently that I thought deserved a mention
Becco (Sept 1/07)
http://www.becconyc.com/index2.htm
Dinner for two came out to roughly $80 including a bottle of wine from their $25 prix fixe wine menu.
A great place in Restaurant Row that was very reasonably priced for the quality of food and service. Typical of high-end "home-y" style eateries the service was very professional but at the same time really relaxed and friendly. I would highly highly highly recommend this place.

Jacques (Sept 2/07)
http://nymag.com/listings/restaurant/Jacques/
Very solid French/Morrocan restaurant. Service here was friendly but they were pretty forgetful and a bit on the slow side. I like to linger over coffee and wine as much as the next guy but this as a bit tedious. Food was good though. Not GREAT but very solid and tasted great for the price. We had a Morrocan style spring roll that was awesome and trout amadine and moules marinaires. All very tasty!

Bouchon (Sept 3/07)
http://nymag.com/restaurants/reviews/underground/16621/
Read here for a good review of the place
Fantastic Chocolat Chaud, Coffee and pastries. Stunning view of Central Park south. Excellent Pat
[OP]
Deal Addict
Jun 9, 2003
1680 posts
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WHERE TO SHOP
When I'm in NYC I love shopping in SoHo mostly for the urban fashion places like Stussy, Supreme, and Union. There's so much shopping in NYC that it's just ridiculous! While deals can be had at places like Century 21 (awesome) or Daffy's (ghetto), what you're REALLY shopping for in NYC are trendy clothes that can't be had anywhere else. Sneakers are a category unto themselves in NYC, as are trendy urban T-Shirts.

I won't do a comprehensive listing of trendy shops in NYC here because another website does it far far better. Check www.superfuture.com for THE DEFINITIVE guide to trendy shopping and eating and where to drink.

Hoepfully this is a good start to the thread!

The bargain destination for most tourists will be Century 21 (at least within the Manhattan city limits). This place is absolutely massive with prices ranging anywhere between $5 and $5000. There really is a little something for everyone in here. What you will encounter though are crazy crowds on the weekends and clothing all over the place. It's a bit crazy in Century 21 but well worth checking out I believe.
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Jan 30, 2007
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hey, 3 friends and I are planning for a trip to New York this Saturday or w/e this week after Friday. What is the cheapest way to get there , combo of 4. I seen Greyhound for 167 per person to get there and back. Any cheaper? Im interested in the train idea u mentioned, but don't know much about it. Toronto via Newyork. And hotel for 4-5 days , whats the best price? THX for the info .
[OP]
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Jun 9, 2003
1680 posts
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I thinkyour best bet might be for the 4 of you to drive. It's about a 9 hour haul and with 4 people the gas bill shouldn't be too bad as long as you drive a fuel economical vehicle.

I would also recommend you get a hotel in New Jersey just across the river. You can find really cheap deals compared to staying in Manhattan itself. Getting last minute hotel deals in Manhattan can be really tough!
Member
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Jan 30, 2007
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none of us has our g, just g2. So driving is not a option. So its either bus or train. Which one is cheaper? Any links to cheap new jersey hotels? just need room that sleeps 4. thx
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Nov 12, 2003
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chinatown in NYC has the worst food imo..
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Mar 22, 2007
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Hamilton
Sh00t3mUp wrote:
Aug 20th, 2007 11:09 am
hey, 3 friends and I are planning for a trip to New York this Saturday or w/e this week after Friday. What is the cheapest way to get there , combo of 4. I seen Greyhound for 167 per person to get there and back. Any cheaper? Im interested in the train idea u mentioned, but don't know much about it. Toronto via Newyork. And hotel for 4-5 days , whats the best price? THX for the info .
$167/person that's expensive

I dont know if you wanna go tours with Tai Pan (Shopping Tours)

Its only cost $130/person @ Tai Pan (Include hotel)

But the only thing is you gotta follow them for touring.
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Jan 30, 2007
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ya my dad told me aboutt he tai pan tours. I might do that but i don't wanna follow the tour. Has anyone been on thses tours? Can u just leave and return back when they are about the hop on the bus ? thx
Newbie
Jul 8, 2006
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Has anyone used the SPC card to save on Greyhound buses?

It seems that you can get 25%..I'm not sure if its only within Canadian destinations or the states as well..
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Mar 22, 2007
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Hamilton
Sh00t3mUp wrote:
Aug 20th, 2007 12:35 pm
ya my dad told me aboutt he tai pan tours. I might do that but i don't wanna follow the tour. Has anyone been on thses tours? Can u just leave and return back when they are about the hop on the bus ? thx
For TaiPan Tours yes, we're going on sat-mon


But for JaccoTours you dont have to follow them that's what they told us
they didn't have any bus seats(sat-mon) thats why we had to go taipan =/
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May 23, 2003
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GTA
You can probably get a flight for around $300 a person based on what I was able to get 2 weeks ago. I would suggest flying. IF you spend all that time in a bus you will have wasted a whole 24 hours of travel time. Even if you do a night bus you will probably get a crappy sleep and not enjoy the day that you arrive and be dead on the day you get home.

As for cheap places to stay, it might be worth while to stay at a hostel. Roughly around $35 a person.

As for places to eat, I really liked the Chelsea area... so many neat spots around NYC.. Hard to go wrong for food choices
[OP]
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Jun 9, 2003
1680 posts
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Flights are indeed a good idea if you can't drive and are only going for the weekend. I initially recommended a car as it's the cheapest way to get there while still having enough time to actually do something on the weekend.

If you HAVE to go by train try to leave on thursday night on a sleeper car and leave sunday night on a sleeper car (if you don't have school or work on monday).

Sorry don't have time at this moment to look deeper into discounted train tix.
[OP]
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Jun 9, 2003
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YLSF wrote:
Aug 20th, 2007 1:06 pm
As for places to eat, I really liked the Chelsea area... so many neat spots around NYC.. Hard to go wrong for food choices
I'll amend the food section later but I was just listing areas that a tourist would most likely stumble upon for food. I'll try and make t hat clearer and try to make "off-the-beaten-path" recommendations as well.

If you can try and go to a fancy restaurant for LUNCH. Most places have a fairly cheap menu for lunch compared to their very extravagant dinner prices. New York is home to many many Michelin star restaurants... some better than others.

But you don't have to eat at a Michelin starred resto to eat well either!

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