Proposing in New York
December 13, 2007 8:00 PM   Subscribe

ProposalFilter: I'm proposing in New York City tomorrow, can a New Yorker or someone with good city knowledge make sure my plan will work alright?

Here is my plan:

Arrive in the city @ 9:45am.

Take the M60 to Harlem. Transfer to the 4-5-6 South.

Head down to Ground Zero/South St/Wall St and meander.

Get to Times Square to meander @ 12:15pm.

Asiate lunch in Times Square @ 1:45pm.

Eat. Walk up 5th Avenue to Central Park by 4:00pm.

Ice skate for 45 minutes or an hour.

Propose around 5:00pm.

Hope a carriage ride until 5:45pm.

Hope a cab, be @ LaGuardia by 7:00pm.

Think my time frame will work out? Am I cramming too much or not allowing enough time for one specific thing? I want to do a lot and enjoy our day together. This might be a ridiculous question to ask, I guess I'm just turning to AskMeFi to try and release my nerves. Thanks so much!
posted by jpcody to Travel & Transportation around New York, NY (28 answers total) 6 users marked this as a favorite
It is a lot for a day, but do-able, although I do think you'll be rushed and stressed out more than you should be considering you're going to propose!

Thing is, you'll probably be exhausted by the time you get to the ice skating part. I personally would skip the meandering around Ground Zero, unless it's something that's really REALLY important for you guys to see. Otherwise, I'd try to think of an activity that didn't require so much walking around, particularly outside, since it'll be cold. New Yorkers here can probably help you on that front with suggestions, since I've never lived in NYC, but I've done the short turnaround sight-seeing thing there more times than I can count, and the endless walking can be super brutal.

I personally would try to find something closer to Times Square and try to get to the carriage ride a little earlier, for safety's sake, since that's nice and romantic.

And good luck! Squee!
posted by pazazygeek at 8:08 PM on December 13, 2007

Why don't you propose on the carriage ride? That sounds pretty romantic and it'll just be the two of you and the driver. Good luck!
posted by 45moore45 at 8:11 PM on December 13, 2007

Am I cramming too much ... ?

In my experience... yes.


Plus don't eat in Times Square. Really, seriously.


Walk around the city. Let things evolve. One nice unplanned thing is better than a shopping list.


Good Luck.
posted by R. Mutt at 8:11 PM on December 13, 2007

The only part of your plan that I think may be cut short is the "meandering" downtown, if you want to get to Times Square at 12:15. On the other hand, there is absolutely NOTHING to do in Times Square- I can't kill 20 minutes in Times Square, I can't imagine what you'd do there for an hour and a half before lunch. What I think would be a better idea is to take the 456 to Union Square and walk around the holiday fair there. Then, go to Bryant Park (42nd and 5th) and look at the holiday fair there. Then, poof! You're at Times Square for lunch (Cafe Edison, 47th street, matzo ball soup).

And yea, what pazaygeek said about all the walking around and "Ground Zero". Go if you must, but there's not really anything to see.
posted by ThePinkSuperhero at 8:12 PM on December 13, 2007 [1 favorite]

Asiate isn't in Times Square - Its in the Mandarin Oriental which is at 59th and 8th. 17 blocks north of Times Square. It is also on the Southwest Corner of the Park. Fifth runs along the east side of the park.

Carriage ride at 545 then cab to LGA for 7 on a Friday afternoon during the holidays - Very very tough. Insane to me. If you can even find a cab in midtown at 615 - which will be difficult.

The rest of your times are very tight. I'd drop downtown, and then you'll have lots more time for everything. If you must do downtown take a cab from the airport straight there. The M60 is a pretty fast bus and the 4-5 from 125th is fast but I can't see you landing at 9:45 and being downtown before 11, and
posted by JPD at 8:13 PM on December 13, 2007

Your times look ok. Take the 4/5 (express) not the 6 (local). I'll leave it to someone who lives there now if 5:45 - 7pm is enough time to get to LGA during rush hour.

Personally I'd skip the carriage ride - once you propose you need to get out of rush mode and take it slow - you & she (or he, didn't read your profile) should take time to remember and enjoy the time. Be in the moment then - it will go by so fast.

It's not clear to me on when your proposee joins you. On the flight? Meeting somewhere? If it were me I might want to work north-south, do the skating, then a carriage ride, then a proposal, then a nice romantic late lunch / early dinner. That way you minimize the backtracking. I don't want to be a backseat proposer though.

And be calm. You'll be fine.
posted by true at 8:13 PM on December 13, 2007

Friday, two weeks before Christmas you are not allowing enough time to get to LGA. All midtown will be a frozen zone. Allow at least another hour. You might not need it, but you might.

You also may be dazed after proposing.

posted by shothotbot at 8:17 PM on December 13, 2007

BTW, the sculpture garden of The Museum of Modern Art ( 53rd btwn 5th & 6th ave. ) would also be a nice place to propose.
posted by R. Mutt at 8:21 PM on December 13, 2007 [1 favorite]

Thanks so much for all your answers. Here's the new plan, with the advice of all my MeFi friends.

Head down to the Washington Square park by 11:15am.

Have a quick look at Times Square and Macy's 12:00pm.

Walk up 5th Avenue for a 1:45pm lunch @ Asiate.

Ice skating @ 3:00pm.

Proposal @ 3:45pm.

Carriage ride until 4:45pm.

Taxi to LGA to be there by 7:00pm.

The sculpture garden looks like good inspiration for the honeymoon, though. Thanks for all your suggestions so far. I'm always open for more.
posted by jpcody at 8:28 PM on December 13, 2007

Then, go to Bryant Park (42nd and 5th) and look at the holiday fair there.

If the ice skating does not necessarily have to happen in Central Park, there is free ice skating in Bryant Park. I went by there on Tuesday, and there was no line, though there were a lot of people skating. Maybe a Friday would be more crowded, though. If it's too cold or yucky out, Grand Central Terminal has some holiday shopping and a light show.
posted by Airhen at 8:33 PM on December 13, 2007

Whatever you do, don't eat in or near Times Square. Actually, in my experience there is one good restaurant a short walk away, since McHale's closed ... There's a Belgian bar that has EXCELLENT bowls of mussels a few blocks out, I'm sure Yelp will tell you the name, I can't recall.

I think I'd skip Ground Zero too as there ain't nothing else down there you'll be remotely interested in.

I like your revised plan.

There's also a couple of very romantic, quiet bars in the general area - midtown north to the park - where you can always escape to if freezing:

a) the Campbell Apartment, built into the side of Grand Central but sort of apart from it - dress code here, very quiet in the afternoon.

b) Bemelman Bar

c) and of course the King Cole Bar in the St. Regis Hotel
posted by luriete at 8:36 PM on December 13, 2007

I'll agree with pazazygeek and say skip ground zero. On such an important day, you don't want to be a slave to a schedule like a robot either.

posted by dr_dank at 8:38 PM on December 13, 2007 [7 favorites]

As someone who was proposed to in NYC last year (in Bryant Park near the ice-skating rink), I heartily endorse your revised plan to move the proposal earlier. I cannot imagine enjoying that once-in-a-lifetime sensory overload of being newly engaged while trying to rush to the airport on a Friday night in December. Also, proposing earlier will let you enjoy the day more, since you won't be nervous all day long as you try to stick to that schedule, too.

And as someone who has lived in NYC, I say skip Ground Zero and the seaport and Times Square. The Union Square holiday market is fun, and the streets of the Village are much better for wandering than midtown.

Good luck!
posted by serialcomma at 8:43 PM on December 13, 2007

The new plan is far better.

Please make sure you are expecting big crowds; shoulder-to-shoulder crowds. This is the busiest tourist season, especially in Midtown. It is so easy to picture these quiet romantic moments, like in the movies, when somehow the hero and heroine have the entire Rockefeller Center tree area all to themselves and a few well-placed extras; it's more like a huge, all-ages county fair there at this time of year. So the new suggestions that have taken you to equally beautiful but slightly less-well-trafficked locations are excellent.

I completely agree that skating at Bryant park would be the better bet - probably not a long wait in line, and it's still very scenic, festive, and lovely. The holiday market is really nice.

And yes - breathe! Enjoy! Don't rush.
posted by Miko at 8:44 PM on December 13, 2007

Thanks so much still. What kind of a wait or we talking about for ice skating at Central Park? I'd rather do it there because I have lunch reservations at 1:45. Will we be in line forever, or would you imagine it rather short on a holiday Friday afternoon?
posted by jpcody at 8:55 PM on December 13, 2007

Aww, sweet! I love the idea of proposing during the carriage ride - it's exactly the sort of thing you'd see in a romantic comedy set in New York. Live your own movie!

Best wishes! New York in the holiday season can be pure magic - you're off to a great start.
posted by Quietgal at 8:58 PM on December 13, 2007

Washington Square Park? Eh, there really isn't anything to see there. It's nice and all, but much better in warmer weather.

Also, Macy's is on 34th Street, and Times Square is about 8 blocks up. And Asiate is many blocks up from there. You might want to squish the ice skating in the middle of all this walking and move it from Central Park to Bryant Park instead.
posted by cmgonzalez at 9:11 PM on December 13, 2007

Oh, nevermind if you're still going for the carriage ride.
posted by cmgonzalez at 9:14 PM on December 13, 2007

A few things strike me. Overall, I'd simplify, especially on a day you'll want to be relaxed and positive.

- Tomorrow will be icy and slushy; it's been sleeting / lightly snowing off and on all day here. That means walking may be tougher than usual and your plane may be delayed.

- I always take the M60 from LGA and it's always jam-packed with people and their big luggage. If you can afford a cab to LGA at the end of the day, then please consider a cab from there too.

- You're talking about covering a LOT of ground on foot, even before the ice skating.

- There's nowhere especially private or quiet around the skating rink in Central Park. Consider proposing beforehand?

Wear warm layers and have a great time!
posted by allterrainbrain at 9:23 PM on December 13, 2007

Head down to the Washington Square park by 11:15am.

Wait, why are you going to WSP? People recommended Union Square, which is in the same area, but not the same. Tomorrow, Washington Square Park will have only NYU undergrads heading to the library ready to kill themselves before their exams. Union Square Park will be full of people shopping at the Greenmarket and the cool holiday village thing. So you can wave to me, or you can buy hot chocolate and apples and hot cider and amazing molasses cookies and enjoy them all while looking at (and possibly purchasing) neat arts and crafts. Your choice!

I would allow about a half-hour to look around, but ideally more, especially if either of you are interested in buying neat arts and crafts. You can hop on the uptown N/Q to get you to Herald Square or Times Square in around 15 minutes.

Have a quick look at Times Square and Macy's 12:00pm.

The big Macy's is in Herald Square (34th); Times Square is 42nd to 47th. Are you planning to walk between them? Give yourself 15-20 minutes to stroll, chat, and maybe window-shop, but that doesn't include ogling whatever displays. And, honestly, Times Square gets old after five minutes of "Wow, honey, we're really in Times Square!" There just isn't that much to do unless you're doing something there. If she really wants to shop at Macy's, allow as much time there as you want (but isn't there a Macy's at the local mall?) -- but most of the Times Square time, I'd give to the Union Square holiday market instead.

Also, reconsider walking. Macy's (34th) to Asiate (59th) is certainly doable, but maybe not that enjoyable in conjunction with the ice skating. At the end of the day, do you really want to be worn out?

Ice skating @ 3:00pm. Proposal @ 3:45pm.

I feel like you're going to be on the ice for about five, ten minutes before you propose. I have never tried it at 3 PM on a Friday ten days before Christmas, but I doubt you walk on and off the ice. When I was younger, my family used to go on a Saturday afternoon in December, and it was absolute bedlam -- waiting in line to pay, waiting in line to rent skates, waiting in line to rent a storage spot, waiting for somewhere to sit to put your skates on, waiting for the ice to empty enough for them to let you on.

When you get on the ice, by the way, don't think you can pull her aside and, pausing directly in front of Prometheus, drop to one knee. Everyone is circulating, people have death grips on the railings, and the one rule is keep moving. But if you are both decent skaters and there isn't a class going on or anyone showing off, you could skate to the center of the rink and propose there.
posted by booksandlibretti at 9:46 PM on December 13, 2007

Seconding a cab from LGA. I know this sounds silly, but there's something luxurious about a cab ride. This is a special weekend for both of you and is probably worth the expense to comfortably ride with your sweetie. According to a book I have, car service is $30-40 + tolls. It takes the "specialness" up a notch. If you're going to fly in to NYC for one day to propose, you may as well do it right.

I also like the idea of proposing on the carriage ride. It has such romantic connotations. Plus you get to cuddle and make out afterward. FWIW, ice skating usually leaves me hot and in pain.

Also consider how predisposed she is to tiredness and adjust your schedule accordingly.

Congrats and good luck!
posted by ml98tu at 6:29 AM on December 14, 2007

If you do make it that far downtown, the Union Square market is absolutely delightful, and I agree, a hell of a lot more interesting than Washington Square. The market idea is nice because there's a lot of nifty, original art and quirky stuff there, and if you pick something up that you both like it'll always be that thing you got on that day you got engaged.

I started wondering why you wanted to see Macy's? It's very, very pretty at the holidays, there's Santaland and all, but if you're more after looking at windows, you can see a lot more windows (and usually, I think, more spectacular ones) by sticking closer to the park, which may be more efficient for you anyway. Here's a handy map -- by starting at Saks on 5th and 50th you're in easy reach of all the "B"s - Bergdorf, Barney's, Bloomingdales, and Henri Bendel.
posted by Miko at 6:42 AM on December 14, 2007

I proposed in NYC last year. I was going to do it at the skating rink as well, but it was too crowded, too cold, and I could not find the right moment. We strolled up to the Metropolitan Museum of Art and I proposed in the Frank Lloyd Wright room. No one was around, and it was perfect. I am just advising you that your hands might be too frozen to pull out a ring.....
posted by kaizen at 7:39 AM on December 14, 2007

Proposal @ 3:45pm.

ok, its 3:29 nyc time. 16 minutes to go....
posted by R. Mutt at 12:30 PM on December 14, 2007

4:10. Well?
posted by R. Mutt at 1:10 PM on December 14, 2007

I just wanted to say that all the couples that I saw today in New York reminded me of this thread. I hope it went well!
posted by suedehead at 9:22 PM on December 14, 2007

must know!
posted by loiseau at 1:32 AM on December 16, 2007

Haha, I'm so sorry to take so long! After the proposal, I got carried away planning a wedding and being excited. She said yes, and the day went perfectly. Thanks so much for all o your help!
posted by jpcody at 4:53 PM on February 5, 2008

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