Springsteen on Broadway, now what?
December 21, 2017 7:29 AM   Subscribe

I can't believe it, but I scored 2 tickets to Springsteen on Broadway in June 2018.

I've never been to NYC before. What should I know about...everything?

We're in Minneapolis, and thinking of driving to NY (physical handicaps of +1 make flying a drag).

Where should we stay? I'd consider hotels under $500ish 'reasonable', but I don't know if that's NYC reasonable. I do have a preference for fancy-ier hotels over hostels/Motel 6 type places. Plus I'm old. I want comfort. :) Eating? Getting around town? We'll likely only be there a couple of days before proceeding on the rest of a road trip.

My initial elation at getting the tickets has faded to ecstatic-panic.

I apologize for the generalness of this question, but I don't even know what I don't know.
posted by Bourbonesque to Travel & Transportation around New York, NY (12 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
 
My alma mater is playing in a bowl game in NYC later this month. A guy at a blog who went is an alum and later lived in NYC for ten years wrote up a piece on how to handle travel and doing things in the City. It doesn't answer your question, but you may find it helpful as a general guide.
posted by Fukiyama at 7:40 AM on December 21, 2017 [1 favorite]


Eating: We have plenty of food from a variety of different cuisines. Yelp is your friend here. I would just sort of look around the area you end up staying in.

Getting Around Town: The subway doesn't actually have great disability access. This is a link to information on accessible stations from the MTA for folks who have a hard time with stairs. http://web.mta.info/accessibility/stations.htm and one on general public transit diability access. All buses are accessible so I would focus on those routes. For most people driving is more inconvenient than other methods of transportation because parking is difficult/expensive. You may want to look for hotels that can park your car or include parking as part of your package in some way f you are planning to drive.

Where to Stay: You can definitely find decent hotel for under $500 a night in Manhattan. Anything over $500 is going to be something like the Park Lane Hotel or something super duper fancy.

Groupon usually has good touristy type deals out and Time Out has good info on events going on around town.

Without knowing more of your specific interests its hard to make specific do not miss recommends .
posted by edbles at 7:41 AM on December 21, 2017


For a first time visit of just a couple days you want to stay in Manhattan. You'll be totally fine with under $500/night.

I'll throw the Union Square Hyatt out there. I think Union Square is a good central neighborhood to stay in - convenient to public transportation and tons of restaurants, nightlife, etc. I haven't stayed at the Hyatt (because I live here), but it's newish, has good reviews, car valet, and accessible rooms.

Do not drive here; it will be frustrating and you will waste tons of time and money. Use public transit, yellow cabs, and/or Lyft/Uber which are very robust here. If the hotel valet parking is $$$ outrageous, you can use SpotHero (like Airbnb for parking) to prebook parking garage space.

There is a lot to do here! Can you give us an idea of things you've enjoyed on other trips? Museums, types of food, history, architecture, landmarks? Another angle to come at this from is thinking about what you can't do or get in Minneapolis. Szechuan cooking? Great jazz? (I know nothing about Minneapolis.)

I'm sure I'll be back in here with more thoughts, but here's a recent NYC AskMe I responded to - obviously a different situation but lots of good ideas in there.
posted by lalex at 7:56 AM on December 21, 2017 [1 favorite]


There are many many hotels well under that price range in NYC, generally, though June is high season for some. I'm assuming close-as-possible may win out over best-price-possible given any mobility concerns, but I had a good stay last year at the Kimpton Muse, it has an entertaining aesthetic and offers complimentary tea and wine, and the staff were nice. There's a nice restaurant/bar in-house which is a good option if you arrive exhausted and hungry. You can often find special rates and get other perks if you join the Kimpton chain's loyalty program. I am not sure if they have parking. Parking is hellaciously expensive and driving in the city is literally the worst.

For eating, you're almost spoiled for choice, though you'll want to avoid tourist-traps, probably? Hell's Kitchen is great. There's a little old Broadway institution not far from you: The Hourglass Tavern, so named because the tables have hourglasses mounted on the walls to allow diners to spend precisely an hour on their meal then hurry to their shows. (Accessibility may be an issue here for bathrooms, though). I've also had a fairly nice meal at Bea.

For things to do, you're really close to MOMA, if that's of interest. A long shot, but free, and worth a try if you're into it: you can put yourselves into the lottery for tickets to The Late Show with Stephen Colbert, because you'll be quite close to the Ed Sullivan Theatre.
posted by halation at 8:01 AM on December 21, 2017


(Oh also: Eater's maps and essential restaurant lists might help you narrow down some dining choices.)
posted by halation at 8:06 AM on December 21, 2017


If I were you, given your mobility constraints but the fact that you might have a car, I would try to stay on the Upper West Side. This neighborhood is very close to the theater, but it'll be somewhat easier to drive and park in. I would under no circumstances attempt to drive and park in "midtown" (as the neighborhood where the theater is called) on your first trip. Besides that, the UWS is a residential neighborhood so you'll have wonderful food options and it won't feel nearly as touristy as staying around the theater or around Times Square.

Hotels to look at:
- The Lucerne
- Hotel Newton
- Nylo Hotel

If I were you, I'd chuck the car in a parking garage for the few days and get around via cab. Any of the above hotels and likely others will be able to help with parking. You will likely find that cabs are less expensive in New York than they are other places. Assuming you're just looking to go to the show and maybe go to one or two other nearby sites, this should be relatively inexpensive compared to the hassle of parking.

If you decide to go this route, feel free to memail me and I'd be happy to make specific food and other recommendations!
posted by superfluousm at 8:11 AM on December 21, 2017 [1 favorite]


+1 on the Lucerne. Very nice place, well located, good restaurant for breakfast, well within your budget. Call ahead to check on access details, though - I recall steps in the lobby and a small elevator.
posted by Miko at 9:13 AM on December 21, 2017


I've never been to NYC before. What should I know about...everything?

We're in Minneapolis, and thinking of driving to NY (physical handicaps of +1 make flying a drag).

Where should we stay? I'd consider hotels under $500ish 'reasonable', but I don't know if that's NYC reasonable. I do have a preference for fancy-ier hotels over hostels/Motel 6 type places. Plus I'm old. I want comfort. :) Eating? Getting around town? We'll likely only be there a couple of days before proceeding on the rest of a road trip.


Okay, let's tackle this in chunks.

DRIVING:

You say you're going to drive. Others are trying to dissuade you; I would also be doing so as well, except for the fact that you're trying to make a whole road trip out of it. So instead, I'm going to link you to the advice on the "Road Trip USA" web site, which is specifically geared to people on road trips (hence the name). Their focus is on guiding people along various two-lane back-road highways, but it also gives you practical advice for detours to major cities if you want to try it. Here's what they say about New York City - they recommend finding a parking garage or lot and just leaving your car there for a couple days and using the transit system. Ultimately that would indeed be the best bet, I believe - that way you wouldn't have to worry about the byzantine parking regulations we have here.

LODGING:

I'm on Hotels.com right now and I'm actually seeing prices in the $200-300 per night range for places like the Grand Hyatt and the Marriott Marquis. I just picked a random weekend in June as a test case. If you're looking for something more upscale, finding a good price may be more a matter of committing to the hotel now than it would be about searching in a given neighborhood. There are several hotels near the Broadway/Times Square area, so you may want to just plug in the address of the Walter Kerr theater into Hotels.com and do a search for something near there and see what comes up, and then pounce on something right away. There are two promising-looking options right on the same block as the theater - around the corner from it, but still on the same block, which would make it easy to get to the theater on time.

GETTING AROUND TOWN:

Okay - we've got your car sorted, we've got your lodging sorted, we can get you around the corner from the theater if you're lucky. that leaves getting around town for the rest of your stay.

We grumble about the transit system, but it's actually not bad (the people who have it worst are the ones who are way out in the outer boroughs, but the city center is in decent enough shape). If you want to use public transit, you can get an unlimited Metrocard for either three or five days - this gives you unlimited access to all of the subways AND buses. And, the Broadway/Times Square area is a sort of central hub for about 9 different subway lines.

If you'd rather use a taxi to get around, I'd ask the concierge at the hotel to help you hail one at the hotel; everywhere else, you just stand on the sidewalk and stick your hand in the air to get the taxi's attention. But be sure that the taxi you're trying to get is actually available - the way you can tell that, is that they will have a lighted sign on top of the car with their four-digit ID number lit up. If that light isn't on, they've alraedy got a passenger. Also - if they have that four-digit ID light on AND two other lights beside it, that means that they are off duty and heading back to their garage.

EATING:

There are all kinds of restaurants, at all kinds of price points, everywehre in the city. If you've never been and you're only going to be here for a short trip, I'd maybe think of one or two "classic" restaurants that youv'e always heard about and want to try, and then make a pilgrimage. (It may be a good idea to ask locals if they're worth the hype, though.)

WHAT ELSE TO DO WHILE YOU'RE HERE:

I'd narrow plans down BIG time. Like - instead of trying to do everything, which would just leave you exhausted, maybe think of two things and just do that. This is what I did for a similarly short trip to Budapest recently; instead of trying to Do It All, I concentrated on just two aspects of Budapest I'd heard about - their spas and their ruin pubs - and that's all I did. It was a good taste and I didn't make myself crazy.

So, similarly, maybe think of one or two things about New York you've always been curious about, and make that your focus. Is it the food and Broadway? You've got Broadway covered, the rest of your trip can be about food for two days. Is it "art and shopping"? Make one day "museum day", where you visit one or two museums, and one day "shopping day" where you hit up shops. Or maybe it's "the big sights" like the Empire State Building and the STatue of Liberty or whatever; get on one of those hop-on, hop-off bus tours and ride it. Yeah, the "hop-on" buses are a little touristy, but if you've only got a couple days, they can pack things in.

Let us know if you've got more specific questions after reading the onslaught of info you're bound to get.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 9:25 AM on December 21, 2017 [1 favorite]


We travel to New York a couple times a year and usually stay in midtown (we've had good luck with the Hilton, Parker Meridien, and the now-shuttered Waldorf; the Shoreham is well-located but pink around the gills; my mom stayed at the New Yorker in October and was pleased). In August I stayed at the Doubletree in Times Square, and I will never, ever, ever stay in a Times Square/theater district hotel again. All of midtown is crowded, all the time, but Times Square is fucking bananas and will keep your stress level elevated. I'm stressed just writing about it. I would think a person with physical handicaps might find it especially difficult to maneuver the crowds. Even a few blocks of breathing room (above 50th, below Bryant Park or over towards Park Ave) will make for a more pleasant stay IMO. Hope it's a great trip! Green with envy.
posted by Sweetie Darling at 1:35 PM on December 21, 2017


A clarification after Sweetie Darling's comment above:

I was suggesting hotels in the Broadway location near the theater so as to get you walking distance to the theater, in case that would be better. But what Sweetie Darling says is a very good point - it will indeed be really crowded, and there will be a lot of foot traffic. And I should have pointed that out and clarified my motivation more.

So - if you'd like to get as close to the theater as possible, and are okay with the heavy pedestrian traffic, then a hotel near the theater is your best bet. But if the crowds would just be in the way, then yeah, a hotel in another neighborhood would be better. Depending on how you'd think you'd then be getting to the theater (subway? cab? Either would work as an option), people can suggest another neighborhood to look in.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 1:42 PM on December 21, 2017


The sidewalks and streets around the theater will be very crowded - all the time, but especially in the hour or so before shows start. If you're in a cab, you'll be sitting in traffic. Walking will give you a much better chance of getting to the theater on time without being completely stressed about missing the show, but be ready for crowds. The theater will probably open about half an hour before curtain, but people will start lining up about 15 minutes before that. They'll do a very perfunctory bag check (shining a flashlight in the biggest pocket), but it slows down the line quite a bit, so get in line early if you think you'll want to use the bathroom (which will likely have its own line). I don't know if there's any accommodation for disabilities; if standing in line for half an hour is an issue, you should find that out in advance. The Jujamcyn people are good about answering email questions. They may not have late seating, so if you're not on time, you risk watching the whole thing on lobby monitors.
posted by still_wears_a_hat at 3:04 PM on December 21, 2017


If you decided to stay nearish to Times Square, let me recommend the Ameritania Hotel where my mom stayed last year - it's around $250/night on Hotels.com right now (their booking page on their website seems to be down?). It was very decent and conveniently located at 53rd street and Broadway, close to the theatre but far enough away from the center of Times Square that getting around isn't as bad as it is south of 49th.
posted by matcha action at 10:46 AM on December 22, 2017


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