I'm not a Yankee, please help
October 25, 2008 8:36 PM   Subscribe

Traveling to NYC during Thanksgiving...

I am a chaperon for my students marching in the Macy's Great American Marching Band that performs for the Macy's Parade on Thanksgiving Day. While the majority of the week will be devoted to rehearsal and group sight-seeing, I do have some personal free time.

My question is what is the easiest and/or an inexpensive way to get to NYC from Hilton Woodcliff Lake-200 Tice Blvd, Woodcliff Lake, New Jersey 07675

Other questions include what is there to do nearby, things not to miss, etc...
posted by bach to Travel & Transportation around New York, NY (6 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
The Woodcliff Lake Transit Center is about three miles from your hotel-- you might want to ask the hotel people about a shuttle. From there you can take the NJ Transit Pascack Valley Line to Secaucus and transfer for a New York Penn Station-bound train. Shouldn't take more than an hour. You can check train schedules here.
posted by idest at 2:39 AM on October 26, 2008

Woodcliff Lake's NJT station generally doesn't have service on weekends and holidays, and thanksgiving counts as a holiday, so keep that in mind. The Pascack Valley line kind of sucks too. That said, you're probably closer to Park Ridge, but a better option would be getting a lift (taxi, shuttle or whatever) to stations on the Main/Bergen Line. Ramsey, Allendale, or even Ridgewood. There is connecting bus service, but if you're not a local it's probably best to just shell out the dollars for a taxi ride or hotel shuttle. Ridgewood always has taxis hanging out on the east side of the station near North Broad Street.

The easiest way is to rent a car and drive into some place with a PATH train and a parking lot -- Hoboken, Newport, etc. This is somewhat less expensive than renting a car and driving in and parking in the city.
posted by Geckwoistmeinauto at 6:42 AM on October 26, 2008

New Jersey Transit is fairly extensive, but others are weighing in on that.

As for what to do: are you just going to be here for just the day, or the weekend? Is your free time during the day, or at night? I have ideas, just trying to figure out which way to steer you.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 8:51 AM on October 26, 2008

I'm not sure what free time I'll have during the week, it's pretty much booked.
I'm arriving in the morning on Friday, Nov. 21 and will not have any "official" duties until sometime Saturday. I've added a day after Thanksgiving that is all mine...my flight leaves to return to Tennessee on Saturday.

Thanks for all of the posts!
posted by bach at 9:02 AM on October 26, 2008

I'm arriving in the morning on Friday, Nov. 21 and will not have any "official" duties until sometime Saturday. I've added a day after Thanksgiving that is all mine...my flight leaves to return to Tennessee on Saturday.

Ah! Okay, that opens you up for a lot...let me get this straight -- you're staying at a hotel in New Jersey, and you're looking for things to do in the area during that whole week here and there.

Fortunately, the New Jersey transit system is pretty big -- there are ways you could get from where you are to some New Jersey transit center. It's true that service will be cut back on Thankgiving day, but presumably you'll be spending all day with the kids and I'm assuming they've arranged some kind of shuttle bus for you all. I'm pretty sure that they won't also consider Friday the 28th as a holiday, so that can give you more access to the city.

If it were earlier in the month, I'd suggest a stroll through Central Park -- not that I still don't, it's just that much of the leaves will probably have fallen by then. Central Park is still neat, it just isn't quite the weather for a stroll for its own sake. But -- you can check out the carousel in Central Park, still, and they may have the ice skating up there by then.

They DEFINITELY should have the rink open at Rockefeller Center. Rockefeller Center is a great site in its own right -- there's a lot of shopping and peoplewatching appeal, but I personally like strolling around and looking at the Art Deco architecture and detailing.

Personally, I think Times Square is just an overblown shopping mall by now, but I'm a grumpy local so your mileage may vary.

There are all the museums along 5th Avenue, starting at 70th Street and stretching up to 105th. A couple of them are very affordable -- the Cooper Design museum is part of the Smithsonian, I believe, and thus may actually be free. The Metropolitan Museum of Art (at 5th Avenue and 80th) will have big signs at the entrance with a "Suggested Dontation" of about ten dollars, but that really is only a suggestion, and you could also just pay a couple bucks. The Museum of the City of New York may have more of a definite price, but it's got lots of fun NYC artifacts (two of their permanent exhibits include a display on the history of Broadway and a display of toys; the toy display includes a number of dollhouses based on famous New York city houses).

Speaking of Broadway -- some of the really popular shows have steep prices and may already be sold out. If you've got a show in mind, you may want to reserve tickets now (or at least try, depending on your budget). Broadway.com can help you look into that. But if you're on a tighter budget and don't quite care what show you see, you could get up early and come in if you have a full day to yourself, and try the TKTS booth. This is a kiosk selling same-day tickets for various shows at a steep discount, sometimes half price. Usually, the shows available at the TKTS counter are shows that have been open a while, and whose audiences at the full-price rate are starting to fade, so you may not get tickets to the hottest thing of the season; and you really should show up pretty early because there is usually a long line. But if you just want to see something, this is a good bet. The TKTS booth is on 47th, I think, right near Times Square where 7th Avenue and Broadway cross. (You won't miss it -- it's on a little tiny traffic island between 7th and Broadway, and it's in a big red shed-looking thing and you'll see a huge line of people.)

I would encourage you that, for food, seek out some little out-of-the-way place -- we have Applebee's and the Olive Garden here, but we also have a ton of little restaurants that fit every cuisine and every budget, where you can get something unique. I'd even suggest venturing down to one neighborhood -- Greenwich Village is good for this -- and just walking around, looking at menus to see what they've got, and picking something. Greenwich Village is good for a walk anyway. So is Chinatown, actually -- which may also yield good food options. (I will issue the caveat that Chinatown is really crowded, and I tend to get a bit claustrophobic there after a while.)

That's a start, anyway...
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 10:54 AM on October 26, 2008 [2 favorites]

The rink at Rock Center opened early in October, they post full daily operating hours. There are also rinks in Bryant Park and Central Park.
posted by TravellingCari at 2:32 PM on October 27, 2008

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