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7 days in NYC? Or 5 days in NYC & 2 days in Boston

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1. Posted by thuramthugood (Budding Member 2 posts) 5y

7 days in NYC? Or 5 days in NYC and 2 nights (1.5 days) in Boston.

We are British, flying out of London in February 2012 for a 9-day trip (less two days written off for crossing the Atlantic). The flights are actually cheaper if we fly into NY and out of Boston.
If we did go to Boston we would not want to fly and would probably take the train (4-4.5 hrs - $49pp).

I’ve listed our interests and other details to help you advise. Any advice would be most appreciated.

We have travelled throughout Europe, Asia and South America but this is our first trip to an Anglophone country (outside of GB & Ireland), apart from three depressing days spent in Toronto in late December a few years ago.

We did not enjoy Toronto but it was tagged on to the end of a 3-week blitz of Chile, Argentina & Rio and we were tired, which might explain our apathy towards the city.

We will probably return to New York at some point in the future. I am sure that 5-7 days will barely scratch the service but was wondering whether 7 days might be a bit intense for one trip, particularly bearing in mind the weather.

Our holiday style is cramming as much into one trip as possible. The downside of this is that we don’t get to know places as well as we would like but we are limited by our annual holiday entitlement. Our holidays are never relaxing!

If there are any interesting side trips we could take from NYC other than Boston (which is obviously more than just a side trip), then I shall be grateful if you could suggest places based on our interests below.

Interests:

Food (from fine dining through to vendy food)
Drink (wine / microbreweries / cocktails)
Photography – both taking photos ourselves and exhibitions
Views (scenery and cityscapes)
Architecture
Urban planning and design
20th Century art
Hiking / trekking (although not in NE USA in Winter!)
Nightlife but not clubs (just bars/pubs or other nocturnal entertainment)
Sport (European sports but we are prepared to experiment)
Jaywalking
Wandering around different neighbourhoods in our thermals

Not interested in:

Clubs
Amusements / rides / fairgrounds
Museums (unless they are slightly offbeat or in a less touristy neighbourhood or art museums)
Children
Shopping
Ice-skating
Dancing
Coldplay (specifically Chris Martin)
Horse drawn carriages
Chinese New Year
The coast
Niagara Falls
Jamie Chuffing Oliver
Flying
Casinos
I Love NYC T-shirts
Anything fun or that could result in me having to raise a smile

We are a typical British reserved couple. Both 30 years old.

Favourite places we have visited: HK, Berlin, Siena, Buenos Aires, Patagonia.

Least favourite places visited: Toronto, Paris, Florence.

Any advice would be most appreciated. Sorry for the long message, I got carried away with the excitement.

Many thanks

Thuram

2. Posted by Daawgon (Travel Guru 1993 posts) 5y

I was just in New York last week. My trip was short and since I've been there many times before, I did not do the usual tourist stuff at all. This trip was more about NYC food. I was quite impressed with Brooklyn this trip. One of the highlights was walking across the Brooklyn Bridge to Ground Zero (you can also cycle). The Brooklyn Heights Promenade allows you to get a great view of both the bridge and lower Manhattan.

Best meal of the trip has to be the awesome Cheese Blintzes I had one morning at Cousin John's in Park Slope, Brooklyn - best I've ever had.

Yes, I would also go to Boston, and the train is a great way to get there.

One tip here - Transportation from JFK airport to Manhattan is best done on the Long Island Railroad direct to Penn Station at 34th Street, Manhattan. Take the Airtrain to LIRR from any JFK terminal.

3. Posted by thuramthugood (Budding Member 2 posts) 5y

Thanks for the advice. I'll check out Cousin John's

Post 4 was removed by a moderator
5. Posted by Daawgon (Travel Guru 1993 posts) 5y

The very cheapest thing you can do in NY is take the Staten Island Ferry - it's free! Brooklyn's Prospect Park (very close to Cousin John's) and Manhattan's Central Park are not to be missed - also free. Otherwise, Manhattan is one of the world's most expensive places! (that damn tipping thing that is more or less required this side of the pond)

This was my address while in NYC (Brooklyn) - I recommend it highly, very clean, convenient and friendly too!
(My host at this apartment makes his own beer - I see that you're interested in such things)

[ Edit: Edited on 01-Nov-2011, at 10:12 by Daawgon ]

6. Posted by kugali (Budding Member 63 posts) 5y

I lived in NYC for 10+ years - it's an incredible place as you can imagine, but if this is your first big trip to the states I'd say spreading it out across a couple of cities is a great idea. Another option is the Bolt Bus that runs between northeastern cities for cheap (plus it has wi-fi!).

Boston is close and has an interesting vibe and history of its own, good food and lots of breweries as well. But I'll save the details for a Bostonite and focus on NYC. (DC is kind of fun and close as well, but it's Much more touristy...)

Since I lived in NYC so long I have a sort of standard email I would send people before they came to visit to pick from for the trip. Here it is with a few notes, I hope this is useful to you:

THINGS TO SEE – some of these things may seem obvious but it’s worth mentioning
- Central Park – the entrance near the Plaza Hotel (5th Ave/59th St) is nice to look at because there’s a pond that's beautifully frozen over in the winter and Gapstow Bridge.
- Chinatown/Little Italy – this will be SOOO crowded at all times, you probably won't like this but there is some great food here, see below.
- SoHo is the neighborhood right above these, and it’s good for looking at trendy people and looking at some of the cool street vendors.
- Staten Island Ferry – it’s free and you get a FANTASTIC view of Statue of Liberty. You take it to SI, then get right back in line and take it back, which is fantastic if you don't plan to do a special trip to the statue.
- Statue of Liberty/Ellis Island – also worth seeing, but be sure to go first thing in the AM if you plan to climb her. The museum there is really interesting if you’re into history.
- Highline Park – it’s a concept park on the west side… it’s on a deserted old railroad track, with lots of interesting plant life (and high-end vendys)
- Ground Zero – if you're into that sort of thing, it's really just a construction site.
- Walk across the Brooklyn Bridge – depending on how cold it is, this walk takes about 20 minutes and is really beautiful and fun.
- Times Sq, don't eat here it will be hilariously expensive
- The Strand Bookstore – if you’re into used books, it has an AMAZING selection, it’s by Union Sq, which is also a nice area for walking around
- Rockafeller Center (“top of the rock”) is a great view, you have to buy tickets but people like it more than the Empire State Building view…

THINGS TO DO
- Museum of Modern Art – on Friday between 5-9pm it’s free, but people line up early. Otherwise it’s like $20 but SO worth it, really great museum for modern
- Tenement Museum – again, if you’re into history this place is SO interesting! I used to volunteer there, I love it.
- Met Museum – a must! And don’t be fooled, tickets are ALWAYS pay what you wish, so you can just go and give them a dollar and say “three tickets please”, or whatever you want. They don’t publicize this, but it is always this way!
- Play/musical – the TKTS booth in Times Sq will have discount tickets, you have to line up at like 3pm? Google it to get more details. TKTS will have ½ price tickets to lots of big shows.
- Atlantic Theater Company or St. Anne's Warehouse in DUMBO (1st stop in Brooklyn) - I prefer these smaller theaters - always have great shows going on. St. Anne's is much more on the avant-garde side.
- UCB theater – if you like sort of indie comedy, the tickets are SUPER cheap (like $5) and it’s really fun. On some Sundays people like Amy Poehler come and do improve, you have to reserve a spot ahead.
- Gallery Hopping in Chelsea - low 20s, 8th ave and west of there. My favorite gallery is Jim Kempner
- East Village is my favorite neighborhood to just walk around and grab coffee in Alphabet City, good people watching
- If you're into architecture, Google Paul Goldberger, he does a lot of architecture writing for the New Yorker magazine and will have some good insights.

PLACES TO EAT – Of course there's so many great options, here are a few popular ones I recommend. If it's crowded it'll be good most likely. Also, Menupages.com is a FANTASTIC resource!
- Little Italy – go to La Mela and ask for the “family style dinner” – they will just bring you delicious things, you don’t even have to order. http://www.lamelarestaurant.com/first.htm
- Russ & Daughters – if you’re into NYC style bagels and lox, they have TONS of variety of smoked fish for your bagel. My favorite is the "Super Heebster", it's incredible.
- Snack Greek Restaurant - 2 locations in/around SoHo, small and really delicious (the best Greek food you will find in Astoria, Queens)
- Golden Unicorn – you can get Dim Sum here.
- Grimaldi’s – famous pizza place – It’s a 'famous' brick oven place right by the BK Bridge, so if you do that walk, this could be a fun stop at the end! But like bagels, all the pizza in NYC is pretty solid. Ray’s is my favorite chain if you go that way.
- Frank's a Place to Eat - my favorite restaurant in the city, order the squid ink pasta if it's on special you won't regret it! I haven't had anything bad here. (2nd ave @ 5th St)
- Caracas - very small place with delicious fresh arepas and more. Order the A-10