Trip to New York

Discussion in 'Archived Threads 2001-2004' started by Zak Solo, Oct 14, 2002.

  1. Zak Solo

    Zak Solo Agent

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    Hi Guys

    As a Londoner this will be my first trip to the Big Apple. I have booked my trip over New Year. My girlfriend has been singing the Sinatra song already - might be travelling solo if she carries on!

    Just wanted to know what is worth or not worth seeing whilst out there. Also if anyone has any suggestions for New Year's Eve.

    Staying on Fifth Avenue - so a pretty central location.

    I would love to hear any views on what my first visit should encompass.

    Many thanks in anticipation.

    Zak.
     
  2. Michael Reuben

    Michael Reuben Studio Mogul

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    As a Londoner, you probably appreciate how broad a question that is (I could spend months in London and not see everything; ditto here). What are your interests -- landmarks? theater? museums? neighborhoods?

    As for New Year's Eve, I'm afraid I'll have to defer to someone else. I'm always in either my own home or a friend's. The obvious suggestion is to join the crowd in Times Square, but that's never held any appeal for me. And you have to get there early (before dinner) and be prepared to stand around for a long, long time. Security is now tighter than ever; don't even think about getting any alcohol past the checkpoints.

    M.
     
  3. Zak Solo

    Zak Solo Agent

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    I guess you are right.

    My concern I suppose was that things may close over New Year as they do here.

    I am really keen on seeing the 'real' New York. The kind I see in Seinfeld or Friends. I mean if I went to Greenwich Village where should I eat? I want to go to Atlantic City - is there a Bruce Springsteen museum or anything? Also - and I guess I didn't mention this I am planning to propose to my girlfriend whilst there - corny as it may be! Maybe on a horse and cart riding through Central Park.

    Times Square to me would be like going into Trafalgar Square and hanging around for hours. Just thought maybe someone could point me in the direction of a decent venue - which restaurants are doing a dinner/dance thing?

    So just ideas really.

    Thanks

    Zak
     
  4. Jay H

    Jay H Producer

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    Well, if you're a Sprinsteen fan, you probably want to go to place like Asbury Park, which is about an hour north or so from Atlantic City. You know "greetings from asbury park" you can check out the Stone Pony which is kind of the de facto Springsteen headquarters and stuff. There used to be a ferry from WTC/Battery park that goes to Atlantic Highlands but not sure if they're still running that or not. That'll put you in the vincinity of the area but you would still need transportation to get south to Asbury Park.

    Jay
     
  5. JoshF

    JoshF Supporting Actor

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    I would stay away from Times Square on New Years. More annoyances than fun.

    Things to see:

    1) Get to the top of the Empire State Building on a clear day. Wait for the clear day; it's worth it.
    2) Take a long walk in Central Park.
    3) Eat a hot dog at Gray's Papaya or Papaya King.
    4) Eat Indian food in "Little India" on 1st Ave. & 5th Street.
    5) See St. Mark's Place (8th Street / 3rd Ave.) and shop for CDs, comics, punk rock t-shirts, get a tattoo, etc.
    6) Wander into an Irish pub and play pool with the locals.
    7) Restaurant recommendations:
    a) Tabla
    b) Nobu (very expensive)
    c) Aquavit (also very expensive)
    d) Cosette (great inexpensive French bistro in Murray Hill)
    e) Yakiniku JuJu (fun Japanese / Korean barbecue)
    8) See Washington Square Park
    9) Eat at a NYC diner at 4am
    10) Get a drink at the Royalton Hotel
    11) Have tapas at 1492 (Lower East Side)

    Things to avoid:

    1) Times Square on New Years
    2) Restaurants in the West Village where the host is trying to drag you inside
    3) Bus tours. NYC is meant to be seen from the sidewalk.
    4) Mexican food. New York isn't known for it.
    5) Homeless people. They have some amazing stories to tell you about how they need $5 for a bar of soap, but don't give in.
     
  6. Scott L

    Scott L Producer

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    Well since you're going with your girl you already did one thing right (or maybe wrong [​IMG]) by staying on 5th. She'll shop till she drops. There are actually a few stores with great prices on 5th. Check out H&M and the Gap there.
    I do recommend waiting in line in Times Square for some tickets. A broadway show is a very memorable experience especially for a couple, since one of you can get hot chocolate at McDonald's while the other one waits. [​IMG] But really I remember my first play there (Les Miserables) and it was the best talent I've ever seen.
    There's a very romantic retaurant in Central Park called Tavern on the Green which is really dressed up for the holidays. You should wear more formal attire and make reservations too but they don't have to be well in advance.
    As out-of-country'ers I don't know whether I should recommend Chinatown or not. It's a great part of NYC I like to visit. It shows a different walk of life from the well to do on 5th and has great prices on Rolox watches and Prado handbags for women. [​IMG] I've always loved the food at the restaurants in C-town and the service is great also. It's a different experience but it's just really dirty, haha. Little Italy is right next to it, it's cleaner and has some pretty good restaurants if you like Italian.
    And don't forget to tip everyone!
     
  7. Michael Reuben

    Michael Reuben Studio Mogul

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  8. Zak Solo

    Zak Solo Agent

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    Thanks for all the suggestions. I am definitely going to check out a few of those places Josh - I like the idea of the diner at 4am. Thanks for the other suggestions Michael and Scott. The Taverna looks pretty cool - might have to check out how much a New Year dinner is going to cost there.
    I will check out a show as well. I can see this is going to be an expensive experience. Especially Fifth Avenue. Better start saving up.
    Any ideas of the kind of weather - I know it is going to be cold. Do I need Timberland Boots - and to dress like the Michelin Man?
    I can't wait. Anymore ideas let me know. Thanks. Do I tip everybody? Is there a standard rule that applies? Tipping is not big in the UK - that's why the tourist joints here love American visitors. [​IMG]
    Zak
    BTW - Albert Square exists in some form - in the East End. Have you seen Snatch? Hatton Garden is exactly like that.
     
  9. Michael Reuben

    Michael Reuben Studio Mogul

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    Re: the weather. Utterly unpredictable. We haven't had a white Christmas here in years, and usually we don't get snow until January at the earliest. OTOH, two years ago, we had a major blizzard with several feet of snow on December 30. The temperatures can be in the 50s (that's fahrenheit, mate! [​IMG] ), or they can be in the teens. The only thing you can do is monitor the weather trends up until the time you leave.
    M.
     
  10. Scott L

    Scott L Producer

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    You can wear just about anything you want with long underwear underneath. Sounds silly I know but you'll really stop shivering with a pair of long johns on, jeans aren't enough. I really recommend those if you plan on some window shopping/sidewalk touring in the winter.

    As for tipping it's standard to tip your cabbie, the bellhop who brings your bags to the room (if he does), servers at restaurants (they do this in London too correct?), and the bellhop who hails you a taxi and puts your bags in the trunk for you when you leave (if your hotel does that).

    If you forget to tip someone it may or may not be a big deal depending on the person. Last weekend when I went to see Conan O'Brien with some friends we didn't tip our taxi-hailing, luggage-in-the-trunk-packin bellhop. Well he just stared at us for what seemed like a minute and said, "Thanks a lot guys, I really appreciate that," in a traditonal deep New England accent. It made us feel like bad cheapskates, lol. Not the best feeling when you're with a girfriend.
     
  11. Zak Solo

    Zak Solo Agent

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    We do tip at the table between 10 & 15 %. But hardly anywhere else - maybe the cab home if it is a long journey.

    So a variable weather pattern - could be London. Are we talking wet or dry though? Can't stand it when it is wet AND cold unless it is snow of course.

    I want to avoid touristy areas. Don't mind travelling that bit further to get away from it all. I am sure we will be doing a lot of walking. I suppose what I really wanted to know was if I lived in NY what would I say would be a must see? Or the quimtiscential NY experience?

    If someone was over in London I would tell them to visit Covent Garden in Winter - it is amazing - the smell of roasting chesnuts - hot chocolate etc. Have tea at one of the old hotels or a place like Fortnum & Mason. Things that for me still hold a lot of appeal. But I would tell them to avoid places like Madame Tussauds or Rock Circus.

    Thanks once again

    J
     
  12. Zak Solo

    Zak Solo Agent

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    We do tip at the table between 10 & 15 %. But hardly anywhere else - maybe the cab home if it is a long journey.

    So a variable weather pattern - could be London. Are we talking wet or dry though? Can't stand it when it is wet AND cold unless it is snow of course.

    I want to avoid touristy areas. Don't mind travelling that bit further to get away from it all. I am sure we will be doing a lot of walking. I suppose what I really wanted to know was if I lived in NY what would I say would be a must see? Or the quimtiscential NY experience?

    If someone was over in London I would tell them to visit Covent Garden in Winter - it is amazing - the smell of roasting chesnuts - hot chocolate etc. Have tea at one of the old hotels or a place like Fortnum & Mason. Things that for me still hold a lot of appeal. But I would tell them to avoid places like Madame Tussauds or Rock Circus.

    Thanks once again

    J
     
  13. Paul_D

    Paul_D Cinematographer

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    Zak,
    Here are a few thoughts from a fellow Londoner. I first went to NY in 97. Since, I've been back 5 times. It really is an out-of-this-world experience. There's an energy and vitality in the air that I haven't experienced anywhere else.
    My 3rd/4th visit (can't remember which) was for Christmas. We left on the 28th, so i can't comment on New Year, but I can tell you that Xmas Day was easily the worst day of the holiday. There isn't much to do other than walk around, and it was my impression that one of the primary activities for New Yorkers was to go to the cinema. Nothing wrong with that. [​IMG] We had Christmas Lunch at the Plaza, but I don't think it was on Xmas Day. Still great though.
    The highlight of my very first trip was going to the top of the WTC. I still haven't been to the top of the ESB, but I imgine the view would be staggering. Central Park was great (before dark). Lincoln Center, Times Square, Washington Square Park.
    Also, a special mention to the Art museums. On my last trip I finally got to see the Gugenheim (sp?). All 3, the Metropolitan and the Museum of Modern Art are all fantastic. The National Gallery is one thing, but living in London, the novelty of being able to pop in and admire it wears off. But rounding a corner to be confronted by a painting you've admired and been fascinated by for your whole life is quite a bizarre experience, and it happens around almost every corner. Don't miss them. Be sure to visit at least one.
    Have a great time.
     
  14. Paul_D

    Paul_D Cinematographer

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  15. Scott L

    Scott L Producer

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    Well I wouldn't! Looks like London will be my next trip. [​IMG]
     
  16. Holadem

    Holadem Lead Actor

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  17. StephenK

    StephenK Stunt Coordinator

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    Zak,
    Lifelong New Yorker here,
    I second almost all of Josh's suggestions. The proposal during a Hansom cab ride does not sound too corny, and if you don't mind drawing a crowd, doing it at the top of the Empire State is another suggestion. Be prepared to be surrounded by lots of smiling, clapping tourists though. I've seen it done and it's always fun to watch. Couple of tips....
    1) Tipping - Standard is 15% at restaurants, up to 20% at the higher end places. Cabbies usually get close to a buck on smaller rides, more for higher, e.g. $4.10 on the meter, give $5.00, $8.50, give $10.00. Hotel doormen get a couple of bucks for getting you cabs, Hotel porters get a couple of bucks per bag. Tour guides, get ~5.00 (if you thought it was good).
    2) Weather - NY CAN get very cold. Just be prepared for the possibility of temp's down to -5 or 10 Cent.
    3) Food....ahhh now I can spend an hour here. If you're a dedicated foodie, let me know and I can give you 20 (or a hundred) great places for food.
    4) New Years Eve - I can't really recommend Times Square. It was great when I was 17, with 10 friends and pissed out of my mind, but....times change. Your enjoyment will almost exclusively depend on the weather and/or the preponderance of drunken idiots you may be pressed up against. Standing for 5 hours in sub-zero temps will kill any remnants of a good time, but that's just me. There are a number of clubs that do special New Years Eve parties, and can range from reasonably cheap ($10 cover) to nuts, (I spent $300 for the Herbie Hancock Quartet at the Blue Note one New Years). I'd say check the Village Voice or New York Free Press, but that would be hard in advance [​IMG] or maybe not, check their web sites for ads.
    Ok, lunch is over gotta work again.
    Have fun
     
  18. JoshF

    JoshF Supporting Actor

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    Ahh, yes, definitely see Chinatown. Go on the weekend and have dim-sum.

    Regarding tips, tip bartenders $1 a drink. Regarding cabbies, if he's a jerk, don't tip him. I've had some guys talk on their cellphone the entire time and not really listen to where I want to go and then yell at me for not being clear about it (if you weren't on the &*$# phone, you would have heard me!).

    If someone walks up to you and says, "Smoke, smoke," that means he's trying to sell you weed. Say no. Even if you wanted some, what he has to sell is not what you want.

    Regarding weather, it's been pretty cold on New Years the last couple years. The wind really picks up that time of year, too, making things super cold, especially if there's snow and / or ice on the ground.

    If you like loud music, see some bands at CBGB on Bowery & Bleecker. It's where NYC punk pretty much started.

    The ticket line in Times Square that was mentioned is called TKTS. You can get same-day tickets for Broadway and Off-Broadway shows at aroun 50% discounts.

    Be prepared for the New York attitude, especially that time of year. People walk fast and they'll get pissy if you get in their way. Stay to the right and if you have something you want to see, pull over, if you know what I mean. You'll avoid any verbal unpleasantries that way.
     
  19. Vickie_M

    Vickie_M Producer

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  20. Michael*K

    Michael*K Screenwriter

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    St. Patrick's Cathedral, though I'm sure churches like that come a dime a dozen on your side of the pond. [​IMG]
     

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