First NYC visit
November 2, 2006 3:07 PM   Subscribe

Help us in our first NYC tour this weekend (Sat-to-Mon). What's the best vantage point/time to see the marathon? Apart from MoMa any other must see museum? Good middle eastern (Iranian/Persian/Afghani even Greek - falafel, khobedu et al) places to eat. A good jazz/R&B show and some more misc. questions

We are touring NYC first time, at a short notice. (actually I was in NYC for a few hours while in transit months back, so it doesn't count). Looking to do some popular touristy things and sadly not much time left to research. Any help appreciated. Will be landing Fri night (10pm) and returning Mon afternoon(12noon) from JFK. Staying at Club Quarters Downtown with just one suitcase. Both of us dig walking and public transportation.

Places outlined: Empire State building, Statue of liberty, Central Park, MoMa.

Please help me out with the foll:

1) Most economical way to get between airport < -->hotel.

2) Recommendations for a good jazz/R&B show. Preferably something upbeat, a la Van Morrison (or Aaron Nevillish). Someplace where they play trumpets and horns and lots of pompomp music. We are both big fans of that kind of music.

3) Recommendations for any Broadway show. Preferably heavy drama/tragedy or comedy (but not toilet/vulgar like some ComedyCentral's standups I've seen on TV).
We've never attended (2) or (3) so have no idea if tickets around $50-75 per head possible for them?

4) Apart from MoMa any other museum to see? NYC museum's list is too long and sadly I don't have the time to research what I should see. I am pretty confident there should be atleast one more museum we are missing, that we will enjoy. Pls recommend anything you think is great except for highbrow/abstract art museums. Not too much into it.

5) Central Park is too big for us. As a visitor I am sure even a day won't be sufficient. So suggest us some high on the trail.

6) I've heard a lot about Union Square/Rockerfeller center. What exactly do people do there? Is it just people hanging out, and street musicians and entertainers holding an audience..because we dig those kind of things and miss those things from India here in the gentrified USofA. Any other squares I am missing? Apart from the holy TimesSquare where I know we should stand for atleast 15 mins, take all the neonsigns in and claim that we saw a citizen from every single country of planet earth :)

7) Good place/time to watch/photograph the marathon, which coincidentally happens to be this Sunday :D

8) Which is that bridge, which if I recollect properly, people suggest walking to get the entire Manhattan Island view. I'd like to take some pics from that point.

9) Suggestions for Irani/Afghani/Persian restaurants not too heavy on the purse. Falafel, khobedu, spicy Indian fast foods et al.

10) Generally other city spots and beautiful sights/landmark buildings to walk by.

Any other NY specific things I may have read and stored in my latent memory and missing in this query, or events specific to this weekend, please recommend them as well.

I hope Ask MeFi helps The Husband pull a surprise visit over The Wifey. Ask me questions and I can give more details if required. I am watching this thread while simultaneously tubing through the other internets for this trip.

posted by forwebsites to Travel & Transportation around New York, NY (16 answers total) 4 users marked this as a favorite
Unfortunately, nobody has ever asked for advice on visiting New York before on Metafilter. So if you were to search for New York City on this site, you probably wouldn't find anything remotely relevant.
posted by billtron at 4:19 PM on November 2, 2006

1) that $5 transfer to the $2 subway
9) anything in your target cuisine which is on this list which i recommend over and over again because everywhere i've eaten on the list is fan-fucking-tastic and even better cheap. I haven't eaten in those cuisines so much though.
posted by whatzit at 4:55 PM on November 2, 2006

For jazz try The Cornelia St. Cafe. I don't know if their stuff this weekend is anything near your taste, but check out the website and see if you can find a sample online of whoever's playing.

The Metropolitan Museum of Art is one of the two best art museums in the world. The MOMA has more abstract stuff, the Met has stuff from the whole history of world art. Glass objects, Egyptian stuff, medieval samurai armor, sculptures, paintings, on and on and on. You should at least look at their website and see what special exhibits they will have while you're in town.

The Museum of Natural History is supposed to be great but I've never been there.

You may want to take a guided bus tour to see some of the sights. The thing I'm constantly reminded of when I go to New York is that it is geographically a big place. It takes a lot of energy to get around to all the tourist spots; if you don't walk a LOT in your daily life you will be really tired by the end of day 1. Bring comfortable walking shoes!
Be aware
posted by LobsterMitten at 5:49 PM on November 2, 2006

Here's three of your interests rolled into one excursion (although it involves a significant amount of walking): Walk from Manhattan over the Brooklyn Bridge into Brooklyn. (I'm not sure this is the bridge you have in mind, but trust me, it will do the trick.) Then walk from the base of the bridge on the Brooklyn side to the Brooklyn Academy of Music, which is, apparently, a good place to photograph marathoners. After that, walk down Atlantic Avenue, where you can find good Middle Eastern foods at reasonable prices.

A lot of walking, but a good trip.
posted by dshargel at 6:38 PM on November 2, 2006

LobsterMitten: The Metropolitan Museum of Art is one of the two best art museums in the world. The MOMA has more abstract stuff, the Met has stuff from the whole history of world art.

I'm seconding this, big time. I haven't gone to see MoMA, but I don't much like modern art. Why go see abstract paint squiggles when you can sit and look at a Van Dyke or Reynolds? (Personal tastes vary, of course. :) You might want to also visit the Frick Collection. It's a lovely house on the Museum Mile which is filled with the art that belonged to the people who originally lived there. It's on the small side, but it's interesting to see fine art in a setting that feels more like a home than a museum. The Museum of the City of New York is nice. (But may be of no interest to you if you're not a NYC fan)

For South Asian fair you might want to try the Murray Hill district. Afghani restaurant - St. Mark's Place - Khyber Pass. You'll want to visit St. Mark's anyway. It's in the East Village, and is full of life no matter what time of day or night you go.

Cheapest way to go from airport to hotel is the subway. Do you know which airport you're landing in?
posted by Meep! Eek! at 7:30 PM on November 2, 2006

Second the Frick Collection for the reasons already stated above. It's a lovely way to spend an hour.

The Guggenheim is also a good pick first for the architecture and second for the art if your taste runs to modern.
posted by phoenixc at 8:25 PM on November 2, 2006

1. Subway is cheap. There's also a $10 bus, but it stops in Midtown, so I'd take the subway if I were you, since that'll be better for your hotel.

2. Jazz at the Blue Note.

3. Word of mouth seems to recommend The Producers, Jersey Boys and Wicked. I don't know about the prices, however.

4. The Museum of Natural History.

5. I like Bethesda Terrace.

6. Union Square is mostly skaters and students hanging out, plus the occasional protest. Now that it's cold, most entertainers will be in the subway. Not many performers in Rock Center; in fact it's entirely tourists shopping, with the occasional sax player.

7. No idea.

8. No idea.

9. 6th Street between 1st and 2nd, and spilling around the corner onto 2nd is a "curry row" of Indian restaurants.
posted by xo at 8:46 PM on November 2, 2006

If you're not picky about what you see, stop by the TKTS ( booth in Times Square. They offer discounted tickets to shows on to the day of the event.
posted by nalyd at 9:06 PM on November 2, 2006

For $5, the AirTrain takes you from any terminal at JFK to either the A or E trains into lower Manhattan, either of which will get you within a few blocks of your hotel. It takes about an hour, which is not much longer than a cab.
posted by nicwolff at 10:00 PM on November 2, 2006 [1 favorite]

The Met, absolutely. It has the added benefit of being right on Central Park, near Cleopatra's Needle, which is awe-filling even if you're not history/archeology buffs. I find a lot of Central Park uninteresting, but the area around the Turtle Pond and the Ramble is varied, lovely in winter, and fun to tromp around in.
posted by hippugeek at 10:15 PM on November 2, 2006 [1 favorite]

Thanks everyone. I waited and waited for answers and had to leave. Returning only now, so sorry for not replying earlier. All the answers were helpful, except for, you know, the one which wasn't. So I'll just mark xo as best since it attempts the most answers and dshargel who gave an all-in-one response. But really thanks all!

After reading all the answers I think I might actually give MoMa a miss. Thanks for all the recommendations especially the ones for jazz/broadway..since it will be our first experience on both of these.

Love and Peace!
posted by forwebsites at 11:13 PM on November 2, 2006

Good middle eastern... places to eat.

The Hummus Place.

Let me say that again.

The Hummus Place.

You will thank me.
posted by poweredbybeard at 11:34 PM on November 2, 2006

Talk to your hotel's concierge, too, since they may be able to point you to good places in the neighborhood, let you know what Broadway shows are on now that fit your taste, etc. There are lots of guided walking tours of NYC (for example Central Park has several) you might enjoy.

That first answer (billtron's) was just pointing out that there are a lot of things elsewhere on the site that could be useful to you. Not every answerer checks here all the time, so checking old answers helps you get a broader range. For example, if you click on the "NewYork" tag in the upper right of your post, you will see a list of all the former posts with that tag. These include a lot that could be useful to you:
- What is the Blue Note jazz club like, and what are some other good jazz clubs in NYC?
- We are visiting NYC for the weekend; what should we do?
- I'm visiting NYC for the weekend, what should I do?
- We are visiting NYC for the first time, where should we go?
- What are some of NY's great neighborhoods to visit walking?
- Where should I take my friends on a walking tour of NYC?
- What's a great NYC experience for a couple?
- Best place for a cheap breakfast in NYC?
- Great Indian food in NYC?
- Inexpensive good restaurants in NYC?
posted by LobsterMitten at 12:27 AM on November 3, 2006

Maybe billtron's trying to prepare you for nyc snark and condescension. Just remember it's nothing personal.

An Afghani restaurant I love is Khyber Pass.

If you're also into middle eastern art, I recommend the beautiful Pomegranate Gallery in Soho. (And close to that is Hoomos Asli, a nice cozy restaurant/deli.)
posted by allterrainbrain at 2:09 AM on November 3, 2006

8) It's the Brooklyn Bridge. Walk it... and if you're in the mood, come back through the Manhattan bridge, which is not far on the Brooklyn side. You'll get great views of the Brooklyn Bridge with downtown Manhattan in the background, and you'll end up in the middle of chinatown.
posted by sd at 5:50 AM on November 3, 2006

LobsterMitten, thanks for that great linkrama. I do know and tried searching thru using "nyc", "newyork" and frankly it was too much info a bit overwhelming as to what to read and what not. As I clearly stated earlier, shortage of time to research through these is why I popped a general trip question. Also, I think billtron's response was a snark aimed to show that since so many ppl have already asked similar questions (I know godawful no. of ppl travel to NYC), my question here was totally redundant. But I don't think so. (also: you can see from my record I am not really a AskMeFi hogger).

There are quite a few things unique only to this trip. Like the marathon tips. Like the weather, events specific to this weekend etc. Also chances are that when respondents know that someone is just interested in compressing the max no. of touristy highpoints in a short trip, the responses and recommendations to individual quesries can be slightly different than when someone is asking a question specific to some topic.

eg: my query here rolls jazz/broadway recommendations along with other queries. Which means you know I have limited choice and opportunities. If some NY native were to ask question specifically abt NY Jazz scene, the answers in that thread might be great but ultimately either not useful to me, or even if there is some answer hiddden somewhere, chances are less that I may be unable to get to it. And that is why I believe ppl ask questions. Atleast I try to not to get railed up on the redundancy factor.

Maybe billtron was preparing me for the NY snark (or maybe he had good intentions, in which case I apologise to billtron for my slant at him) but having lived in Bombay for years (LA+NY of India), I am quite used to it and I do know NY ppl are not really rude, rather just too busy minding their own business. So I am not really bothered abt it at the moment and actually pleasantly surprised that 2 users have favorited it :D Anyways, enough of this meta-explanation.

Thanks again everyone for your answers. Maybe I'll update this thread on returning from my trip.
posted by forwebsites at 8:20 AM on November 3, 2006

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