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Old 10-20-2008, 07:29 AM   #1
ris768
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Default NY Attractions and more

I'm so excited I paid for my flights to the USA and a few internal flights as well.

I leave Australia on the 7th March and head for New York. I'm a bit anxious traveling there on my own, I have a few bus tours organised but I don't really know what to do and see there. Any ideas? I am there for 4 nights. I'm so looking forward to flying out of La Guardia and seeing if the airport really looks like the episode Play it Again, Seymour.

Then I fly to South Dakota and I will be driving for 10 days heading south to Missouri via Minnesota, Wisconsin, Iowa and possibly Kansas. I will be visiting the sites of my other favourite TV show/books - Little House on Prairie. Are there any attractions that I shouldn't miss in the general area?

I fly into LA on the 21 March and can't wait to spend time with all you leapers, especially Bexter. Leave LA on 1st April to Sacramento to visit family and then fly home on the 11th April.

Any help on what to do in NY and SD, MN etc would be greatly appreciated as I have never been to those locations and I will be on my own.

Marissa.
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Old 10-20-2008, 04:33 PM   #2
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Wow, that's quite an itinerary! I can't really help you with places like South Dakota as I've never been there. (Boy, you have a lot of driving ahead of you.)
For New York, what kinds of things do you like? The city is loaded with museums of all kinds, shows, and shopping of every description. You can get food from any part of the world. There are ferry rides, parks and wildlife preserves if you venture out of town a little, touristy stuff like the Statue of Liberty, and so on.

Get a street map. Once you figure it out, the subway system is pretty easy to use. And... if you're alone, be careful where you go, especially after dark.
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Old 10-20-2008, 05:21 PM   #3
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Like Snish said, it really depends what you're looking for.
In New York I went to

the
American Museum of Natural History

which was pretty cool, can take all day.

National Museum of the American Indian
was interesting too, but was partially being renovated when I was there. It's close to the statue of liberty and ellis island. = more things to see.

Central Park is awsome, it's huge, really. We walked across it, it took us about two hours. Lots of squirrels all over.

And there'll probably be plenty of shows to watch.

You can probably still get on top of the empire state building.

And plenty more. How's that for starters?

(I also loved Little house on the prairie! )

LA :

Hollywood!

The LA Disneyland is pretty cool.

And of course the Convention !

... wanna go...
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Old 10-25-2008, 12:31 AM   #4
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NYC - my hometown! I'll assume you're staying in Manhattan. Mass transit's excellent for the most part, so you can get around via subway or bus.

Political Comment: KOCH FOR MAYORAL RE-ELECTION IN 2009! If Bloomberg can bypass the citizen's wishes for term limits, then former Mayor Edward Koch should take advantage of the situation. He knows financial crisis and has a decent sense of humor, unlike GLOOMberg.

Anyway, back on topic: Check out Chinatown in downtown Manhattan. 17 Mott Street is my favorite - Wo Hop Restaurant - but use the BASEMENT restaurant. The kitchen's better. Try the BBQ spare ribs - they're heavenly. $$$ are reasonable. Little Italy's just a few blocks north - pick up some cannoli's and have a capuchino. If you want italian food, there are some good restaurants left. Check out Froders for suggestions; I haven't eaten there in years.

You'll want to see City Hall and the Woolworth Building in downtown. The former site of the World Trade Center is just a few blocks west of there. If you want to shop for Electronics, you can't go wrong with J&R Music World on Park Row across from City Hall. Wall Street is a few blocks south. If you head southeast, you can get to the South Street Seaport which has a small mall on the East River. They usually have street performers and the bars are hopping at night.

Head for SoHo (South of Houston Street) -- there are tons of trendy restaurants. BTW, "Houston" is pronounced "HOW-stun" not "HEWs-ton" like the city in Texas. There are Clubs here and there throughout the area up into the numbered streets.

Don't miss Greenwich Village - it's eye-popping, esp. at night. Their annual Village Halloween Parade is coming up this month and it's a blast to see/watch. Like Mardi Gras with drag queens and political statements, but all set to music and lots of fun. Everyone should see this at least once in their life.

There used to be a small chain restaurant called "America" in the 20's near the Washington Square Arch. They serve all sorts of american food, including Fluffernutters. (Peanut butter and marshmallow spread sandwich; traditional US junk food. As popular to Americans as vegemite is to Aussies.)

Midtown - On the East side of 34th street (the avenue numbers go from east to west), you'll find the NY Daily News building. That was used for the Superman movies. Walk west on 34th street and you'll find the Empire State Building at Fifth Avenue.

From the Empire State Building, the famous Macy's Herald Square store is due east on Broadway and 6th Avenue. (AKA: Avenue of the Americas. AOTA Don't ask why 6th avenue has two names. People will know you're a tourist. NY'ers dont' know and don't really care, lol.)

Before you head uptown, please take my advice. Do not (repeat: DO NOT) play "three card monty" with anyone. Even if you win, their shill will mug you once you turn a corner. Also, all the stuff you see for sale is FAKE - no one sells Gucci and Prada on the street. It's like some strange bazaar. You can bargain for some things, esp. towards the end of a day.

As for the food carts, I've heard the Taco trucks are okay, but stay away from the Souvlaki ones. Hot dogs are hot dogs - look for a Sabrett umbrella/sticker and you'll be okay. The pretzels are good if they're fresh, awful if they're stale and dried out.

If you head up Avenue of the Americas, you'll reach Bryant Park at 42nd Street. They have a free ice skating park in the winter, but it'll be packed up for Fashion Week before you arrive in March. Admire the Grace Building's very cool curves as you walk east to 5th avenue alongside the park. (There are chess players, but I think they charge $5/$10 to play a game against you.) Around the corner, you'll see the famous NY Public Library building - set of many movies, including one of my favs: Ghost Busters! The lions have names. If you have time, take a tour - the library's HUGE and has a lot of history. (I dare you to ask where the slimed card catalogs are from GhostBusters, lol. I think that was a set, but I'll bet the tour guides get asked it regularly.)

Further north, you'll find really interesting office buildings for major corporations. Most have some kind of art gallery in the lobby, to justify their existence. They also have "greenspaces" or small sitting parks required by law because they blitzed every bit of green in midtown to build those buildings.

When you get to 50th Street, Radio City Music Hall will be on your right. Their backstage tours are great, as is the NBC Studio Tour in the NBC building behind it. Walk to the east and you'll find the most famous ice rink in the world - Rockefeller Center, where the giant Christmas Tree is lit each year. (I would NEVER go to that again. Not an inch of personal space and you can see better on TV)

EDIT: NBC's "Today" show often uses Rockefeller Center as their outdoor set, and crowds are always welcome. They have skating exhibitions or special guests on their outdoor stage. I think they have a weekly concert too. Same deal with the ABC's "Good Morning America" broadcast - they broadcast crowds and concerts from Times Square. Check out their website if you're an early riser. (Get there before 6:30am) Get a chunk of poster board, make a fuss about your pilgrimage and give us a shoutout if you get on camera!

When you arrive, the rink will probably be undergoing the annual transformation for the NY Flower Show. If there's ice skating, the cafe downstairs has a pricey watch-and-eat location. On street level, there are all sorts of high-end designer stores and jewelry shops. Don't buy jewelry there - go to the Diamond District on 47th Street between 5th & 6th. If you don't know what you're buying, caveat emptor. BTW, don't buy jewelry from sidewalk stands and the super-cheap videos are often poor quality bootlegs. My ex-SIL once gave my daughter a Cinderella tape that had the end of a porn flick at the end after Cinderella was over.

Enter through one of the buildings on 6th avenue and follow the signs for the underground Concourse. It's an underground passageway that leads to subways and tons of restaurants and shops. It runs from 47th street to 52nd street, all underground. Great place to go if it's raining.

Turn west on 54th Street and you'll find the Ziegfield Theater, which used to be a vaudeville showcase venue. Lots of movies have their premieres here; sometimes if you ask nicely you can find out in advance or see early showings before the movie's released. It's beautiful inside, with art deco architecture/decorations.


On 7th avenue near 56th street, you'll find Carnegie Hall without even practicing! Cross over and order a Pastrami or Corned Beef sandwich at the Carnegie Deli - it's incredible! (Get a cream soda with it, please. Don't ask for Mayonnaise-they keep kosher; just use mustard.) A little pricey, but if you get the 5" high sandwich "to go" and split it with someone, it's perfect for lunch. Oh, and the rule is, if one person in a group eats a garlic pickle, EVERYONE has to eat a garlic pickle...just sayin' lol.

Walk uptown (which means "north") and you'll reach Central Park. They have hansom carriage rides with horses, which is nice. The park itself is very big - get a map. There's a large outdoor skating rink (winter=ice, summer=roller) and the bridge from the snowball fight in "Elf" is nearby.

The east and west sides of the park's perimeter streets are lined with apartment buildings and some nice private homes.

John Lennon/Yoko Ono lived on the West Side in the Dakota building, which is where he was shot. Strawberry Fields is the memorial garden inside the park dedicated to his memory - it's not far from his building.

The Museum of Natural History is waaay uptown at 79th street, so I would take a cab if you're interested. Things have changed since I was young, but many of the things from the "Night at the Museum" movie are still around. There are 23 buildings in the museum and the movie never revealed the Space part of the museum with the famous meteorites, moon rocks and "what you weigh on (planet/moon/sun/etc.)" scales. (Sounds like a sequel, doesn't it?) Great place, allow at least an entire day to see it all and prepare to be exhausted.

On the East side of Central Park, the giant balloons for the Macy's Thanksgiving Parade (Novembers) are inflated the NIGHT BEFORE the holiday. It's a fun event, very family-oriented. Sorry you wont' be able to see that during your visit.

Heading down fifth Avenue to 59th Street, you'll find Madeline's Plaza Hotel, which is now mostly condos but they still have the tea salon on the ground floor. Keep going and you'll find all the famous Fifth Avenue stores, including Tiffany's, Saks, and Lord & Taylor. The American Girl and Disney stores are pretty cool, and you can get lost in the Apple store for certain, lol.
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Old 10-25-2008, 12:34 AM   #5
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Separate post for Broadway Theater notes.

You can get same-day discounted tickets if you go to the TKTS store - just search for it on the internet. Also, some theaters have Standing Room Only and Student Rush (need ID) tickets at a discount - check out the box office of the theater.

Broadway and 42nd Street is a far cry from the 1980s, when it was sleazy and filled with smut shops. Mayor Guiliani did a great job of clearing out and turning the theater district into a safe place to visit.

Allow at least an hour before curtain time if you're traveling to a theater. The traffic and congestion is legendary and Wednesday matinees usually surprise everyone.

If you get a chance, look around and imagine that small triangle crossroads filled with wall-to-wall people waiting for the ball to drop. (An event I NEVER want to attend, lol) When you imagine it, say a prayer for Dick Clark, please. I hope he's well enough to help out with the New Year's Eve broadcasts this year again.
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Old 10-25-2008, 12:46 AM   #6
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If you like water, take a trip down to Battery Park and ride the Staten Island Ferry - best bargain in NY! YOu can see Ellis Island and the Statue of Liberty as well as the Verrazano Narrows Bridge and Bayonne NJ. (Home of Frank Sinatra and Baseball, to hear them tell it.)

Battery Park itself is smallish, but nicely landscaped. There is a memorial to the September 11th victims there - a globe that used to grace the front of the Towers was damaged when the buildings came down. It was salvaged and put in place in this park to give people a place to remember the victims.

The Circle Line boat tours to the Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island can be purchased here. Those are all-day things and require lots of walking once you reach the islands.
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Old 10-25-2008, 02:24 AM   #7
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Oh wow, NYC. Thanks so much for all that. I don't think I have enough time booked in NY now. Are you free to be a tour guide???

I'm staying at the Holiday Inn on West 57th Street, I was told it is a nice hotel and fairly central to things of interest. I have booked a TV and Movie Tour (I hope it takes me to the Ghostbuster set) and I am booked on the red tourist bus that I can hop on and off. Now with all the information you have given me I know when to get off. Is early March considered winter? Will there still be snow and ice or will it just be really cold? What temperature range can I expect?

Thanks again for taking the time to write about the things I can do in NY.

Marissa.
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Old 10-25-2008, 02:45 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Snish
Wow, that's quite an itinerary! I can't really help you with places like South Dakota as I've never been there. (Boy, you have a lot of driving ahead of you.)
I love driving. Living in Australia you have plenty of opportunities to go for long drives. A few years back I drove from Sydney to Darwin in 2 weeks. Averaged 1000 kilometres a day. I am hoping driving from South Dakota to Missouri isn't as long mainly because I'm not sharing the driving and also you drive on the wrong side of the road!
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Old 10-25-2008, 02:48 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jassian
LA :

Hollywood!

The LA Disneyland is pretty cool.

And of course the Convention !

... wanna go...
I have been to LA 5 times but I can never get enough of it. I especially love theme parks (Knotts Berry Farm is my favourite). And as for the convention - yeah I might try to squeeze that in too.
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Old 10-25-2008, 04:32 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by NYCSciFiFan
Walk uptown (which means "north") and you'll reach Central Park. They have hansom carriage rides with horses, which is nice. The park itself is very big - get a map. There's a large outdoor skating rink (winter=ice, summer=roller) and the bridge from the snowball fight in "Elf" is nearby.
I have never seen Elf and I have decided to watch all the movies you mentioned so I can see the places you wrote about.

Would you believe Elf is showing on TV tonight!!! How freaky is that!
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Old 10-25-2008, 06:10 AM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ris768
I have been to LA 5 times but I can never get enough of it. I especially love theme parks (Knotts Berry Farm is my favourite). And as for the convention - yeah I might try to squeeze that in too.
In that case, if I ever need sightseeing tips there I'll ask you *G*

That's an amazing list NYC. Wow! I'll keep a copy for the next time I'll hopefully make it back there, so thanks from me too.
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Old 10-25-2008, 02:47 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ris768
Is early March considered winter? Will there still be snow and ice or will it just be really cold? What temperature range can I expect?
New York in March, brrrrrrrr. It's winter. There probably won't be snow (once I went to NY within a week after a major snowstorm and there wasn't a single speck of snow in midtown), but it will be cold and windy. The tall buildings create canyons that make the breezes stronger. Hubby and I saw Spamalot a few years ago, and I seriously thought I was going to get frostbite standing outside waiting for the theater to open.

Quote:
Originally Posted by ris768
I am hoping driving from South Dakota to Missouri isn't as long mainly because I'm not sharing the driving and also you drive on the wrong side of the road!?
No, you do!
If you've driven across Australia, I bow to you. I don't think SoDak to Missouri will give you any trouble!

P.S. That was a great list of things to do, NYC! I thought we had to have a native around here somewhere.
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Old 10-28-2008, 11:09 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Snish
New York in March, brrrrrrrr. It's winter. There probably won't be snow (once I went to NY within a week after a major snowstorm and there wasn't a single speck of snow in midtown), but it will be cold and windy. The tall buildings create canyons that make the breezes stronger. Hubby and I saw Spamalot a few years ago, and I seriously thought I was going to get frostbite standing outside waiting for the theater to open.
Everything you said is right on the mark! We have had some freak snowstorms in March. I remember my BFF had planned a surprise 60th birthday party for her father back in 1996. Night before, a blizzard hit. 20" of snow and street parking only. We had to take a sled to pick up the cake because the bakery was only opening for a few hours for order pickup and the streets hadn't been plowed yet.

I would pack hat and a pair of gloves, just in case. Or buy a cheap pair off a street vendor.

LOVED Spamalot. Oh yeah, you might also be interested in a midnight screening of the "Rocky Horror Picture Show." Just do a search to see where it's playing when you're in town. (They sometimes have to move it - the theaters get tired of cleaning up toilet paper and rice.)

Quote:
P.S. That was a great list of things to do, NYC! I thought we had to have a native around here somewhere.
Thanks - I'm a third generation native! Just ask anyone I cut off on the highway in Delaware last week. "Get out my lane!" lol I live out of state now, but go back all the time on business or to visit family/friends. I was just there last week.
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Old 10-28-2008, 11:17 PM   #14
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Quote:
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I have never seen Elf and I have decided to watch all the movies you mentioned so I can see the places you wrote about.

Would you believe Elf is showing on TV tonight!!! How freaky is that!
Really freaky - it's OCTOBER! Beetlejuice should be playing!

We took friends of ours to Central Park once and my husband made a big deal about the bridge from Elf, pretending to be a tour guide. I recorded the whole spiel, mainly because my husband is really very funny. My friend's husband just didn't get the humor and spent his time whining about why weren't we seeing any celebrities and complaining that he wanted to see Times Square.

We just wanted to give all five kids a place to run around - there are GIANT rocks there to climb and a little playground nearby, so it was a good rest stop.

I recorded the whiny husband as part of the whole routine and sent a copy via DVD. He's much better behaved now, snicker.
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Old 10-29-2008, 02:56 PM   #15
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NYSci- fi fan I am very impressed with your knowledge of travel in NY.
I have lived here for a long time and I wish I knew all that you do.
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Old 10-30-2008, 10:32 AM   #16
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Awww, thanks!

I think going to college in Manhattan helped out most - meeting visitors from other places make you see your hometown differently than you do normally. Plus, that's how I met my husband and found out about Wo Hop Restaurant in Chinatown! lol

I will say that Chinatown is sadly very quiet during the week now; it used to be a busy place all the time. 9/11 and Gloomberg took away much of parking, so the area has lost a lot of visitors.
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Old 10-30-2008, 11:09 AM   #17
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I live on the other side of the country, so I wouldn't know this.

Has reconstruction started on the World Trade Center, or is it still just a leveled clearing?
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Old 10-30-2008, 11:37 PM   #18
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Some of the lower buildings in the WTC complex have been rebuilt or restored and are occupied.

Ground Zero has been cleared and some construction work has begun, mostly to ensure that the "bathtub" enclosure stays intact and to get ready for the transit hub development underground.

I think the main problem now is the SAFE deconstruction of the former Deutsche Bank Building. That building was gutted like a fish by the tower collapse debris and it's not safe. They found remains from 9/11, there are hazmat issues, and there was a terrible fire on the site. Until that behemoth has been removed, very little will be done on the WTC.

Not that the PTB can agree on WHAT to develop. Just as well.

I went to college in Manhattan while the towers were being constructed. I get that "deja vu" feeling everytime I go downtown - the construction workers whistling and yelling, the machinery banging away, and the closed subway stations are right back where they were in the late 1970's/early 1980's.

I never liked the Towers anyway; I had clients in that building and meetings there made me seasick with the swaying and the groaning.
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