New York! New York! It's a Wonderful Town! Help me plan a special trip?
August 29, 2017 2:38 PM   Subscribe

Will you help me with a whirlwind itinerary in NYC to show one of my best friends the town on her first visit here? How is our time best spent, given our limitations? Sparkly snowflakes below the fold.

I am flying to the outskirts of Peoria to visit a BFF and her family on 9/8. She is returning to NYC with me on Monday, 9/11, arriving at my place in Midtown East around 6 PM. Then she has an early AM flight home on Friday, 9/15.

We don't have a lot of time in NYC, I want to give her the flavor of the town without overwhelming her.

Also, we have health issues that might slow us down. Me: F, 64, disabled (MS and triple bypass, not so great recovery). Friend: F, mid 50's, back and neck surgeries, some pulmonary issues. We don't do (lots of ) stairs.

In addition, I have huge seafood allergies, like Epi-pen is in my hand at the table. Doesn't stop me, I just have to speak to wait staff, most of whom are amazing when it comes to this stuff. But it does limit some cuisines.

Despite the above, we are "game on" to enjoy NYC and each other's company and good luck to you if we end up in the same place/same time because we have been known to bring down the house with raucous laughter. We can also behave ourselves if you have suggestions that require that. :-)

I plan for us to get around via Juno/Uber. Would like to stay in Manhattan but Brooklyn is maybe do-able.

She has one "want" – to stand on the plaza while the Today Show is on and maybe have her kids back home see her in the crowd on TV (groan). For a really great friend, I will do this. So do we get there early with signs, and just stand in the Plaza?

She does not wish to visit the 9/11 memorial. Doesn't think she can take it, especially … that week. Not sure I can either, this is always a bad week for me.

We have tickets to Hamilton Wednesday at 7 PM. Did I hear screams? Yeah, don't ask how, a friend got them for me. We need to make time to take this friend to lunch as a huge thank you.

So in terms of time we have:

Monday night
Tuesday AM (maybe Rock Plaza/Today Show; maybe Top of the Rock for photos if weather is good?)
Tuesday afternoon and evening
All day Wednesday till 7 PM Hamilton, then after the show
All day Thursday (maybe lunch with ticket-getting friend? UWS)
Friday … she is gone!

Both of us like small meals, she likes soup (yes, soup!) we like to GRAZE rather than sit down to a 5 course meal.

I'd like to end up on a rooftop at sunset even though I don't drink, but … I'll purchase something and sip it.

I like the Highline, South Street Seaport. I like ferries.

We have a lot of catching up to do, a lot of talking, a lot of planning for changes in our respective lives. This is sightseeing plus "what comes next" time. So cafés, bistros, cool little nooks to sit and talk are on the agenda.

And I'll tell you straight up that I haven't been out much in the last two years since surgery so … I fear that I will fail as a NYC tourist guide which is why I am asking for help.

I do not want this trip to be a waste, KWIM?

How is our time best spent?

Will you help?

Thanks, mefites!
posted by alwayson_slightlyoff to Travel & Transportation around New York, NY (6 answers total) 4 users marked this as a favorite
It appears you can let the Today Show people know you're coming and get on a list. I would absolutely do Top of the Rock - any of the tall buildings are worth it, but you're going to be there already (and you probably don't want to deal with the trade center crowds that week anyway).

For sunset, the Met has a rooftop bar that's nice.
posted by Ragged Richard at 2:55 PM on August 29, 2017 [1 favorite]

The Circle Line cruise and the rotating View lounge at the Times Square Marriott Marquis hotel offer great skyline views and a chance to catch up with your friend for a couple of hours without a lot of stairs or walking. Both were hits with my mom, who was about your age and in a wheelchair when she visited.
posted by apparently at 4:37 PM on August 29, 2017

K, hear me out: Hop On, Hop Off bus. (I know, but hear me out!)

You sound like you already have a sophisticated idea of "your New York," and I approve of your choices!

However, by taking a car everywhere in quick succession from place-to-place-to-place-to-place-to place, she might actually miss a lot of the best part of New York -- which IMHO Is exploring the damn city and all of the fun of finding your *own* random, weird places. Those that you just *happen* upon. And you'll remember forever, for better or worse!

Fortunately, mobility issues don't have to get in the way of that "random wtf fun."

That's where buying a ticket to a Hop On, Hop Off comes in. It's yours for the whole time, and you can hop off wherever strikes your fancy. And you can hop back on whenever you're in the mood for another neighborhood. Bonus points is that they learn you fun facts along the way, which Lyft/Uber doesn't.

This is what I did with my young-but-with-mobility-challenges mom and it was fantastic. We had a margarita at a rando place in the West Village, got back on the bus and toured over to the East Village where we got off. It promptly started pouring rain, so we stole some of those hilarious tourist ponchos and hid out in a laundromat until it passed. Then we hopped back on and got tacos in midtown.

It's, to this day, one of my favorite NYC memories -- and I've had a ton.

Just a thought!
posted by functionequalsform at 5:06 PM on August 29, 2017

I think functionequalsform has a great idea. I'm a New Yorker so I've never done it here, but I did the hop on hop off bus in Paris and thought it was a fabulous time and a great way to get the lay of the land. Sitting on the top level is super fun. And I absolutely love seeing the buses while I'm going about my day and waving hi at the tourists.

And this isn't entirely kosher, but if you both love dogs, sitting on a bench in the Union Square dog park is enormously fun and not physically challenging. You're technically not supposed to go in if you don't have a dog with you, but I found the dog owners were great about it as long as you let the dogs come to you. My nieces from out of town thought it was the best NYC experience they ever had.
posted by Neely O'Hara at 6:33 PM on August 29, 2017 [1 favorite]

For a nice graze, you might consider The Ribbon. I'm not sure I'd go out of my way for it to the UWS if I weren't already reasonably in the vicinity, but they sell all kinds of smaller nibbly cheeses and meats and deviled eggs and such alongside the entrees. Or, if you are in the West Village, you can go to their affiliated Downing St. Bar, which serves similar small bites. It's tiny, so, depending on the time, you may or may not be able to get seated, but it's also open fairly late. I've always been very fond of it.

The SI Ferry is free and classic and good for having a conversation.
posted by praemunire at 8:06 PM on August 29, 2017

Excellent ideas, all!

Yes, Hop On, Hop Off was reviewed as the best tour bus company at so we're going on their downtown tour.

We are going to ride the Staten Island Ferry and get a glimpse of Lady Liberty.

Thanks for the links and ideas. We are going to have a great time. :)
posted by alwayson_slightlyoff at 8:19 PM on September 5, 2017

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