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#935377 by 747star
20 May 2017, 08:20
Hi there

We are travelling to NYC in early November this year for OH's significant birthday, out UC and back Delta one (keen to try Delta as never flown with them before). First time ever in New York. We are there for 5 nights including one full weekend.
I have read that everything there is crazy busy over the weekend (even worse than 'normal' New York crazy!) and I was wondering if anyone had any suggestions of sights/walks/experiences that we could choose to do on the weekend that would be slightly quieter?
I have read previous forum threads on NYC hotels and must do's and hoped that your collective experience could help with better choices for weekends v's weekdays.

Many thanks in advance!
Last edited by 747star on 20 May 2017, 14:47, edited 1 time in total.
#935378 by SlimpyJones
20 May 2017, 09:09
I'm not sure if it will be quiet as such, but when I went last year with a group, we opted to go up the Rockefeller tower instead of the Empire State building, it was cheaper, less crowded, and offered much better views.

You could try a boat tour, they're only as busy as the boats can hold and it feels nice to get out onto the water rather than on the busy streets. :)

Not sure if that's the sort of thing you're after though!
#935379 by etk
20 May 2017, 09:11
Sure you'll get loads of good advice on here but my tip would be to do the top of the rock rather than the Empire State Building. Much better views and a really spacious place to walk round as opposed to a cramped cage. The queues are significantly better too.
#935381 by mitchja
20 May 2017, 12:26
I'm off the New York again next week. I've booked a few site-seeing activities and I'll yet you know how they go.

The Freedom Tower Observatory Last time I was in New York, the Freedom Tower was open, however, the observatory wasn't yet.

I'm also visiting the 9/11 museum as again last time I was there, whilst the 9/11 Memorial was open, the museum wasn't yet. Whilst it's not for everybody, the 9/11 Memorial is certainly a very moving & emotional experience.

I've also booked a Statue of Liberty Crown Tour. Again, whilst I've visited the Status of Liberty before, the Crown section wasn't open last time I was in New York.

If you do the Status of Liberty or the Ellis Island tours, do be prepared for airport type security checks before your board the ferries and arrive at the dock in plenty of time.

I've done both the Empire State building observation deck and the Top of the Rock (Rockafeller Observation deck) before. I concur with others that the Top of the Rock is much better.
#935382 by 747star
20 May 2017, 13:20
Thanks for your replies!

Definitely makes sense to do a cruise at the weekend since the boat can never be busier than 'full'! Logical! Any recommendations for the best/most comprehensive cruise?

I've read a few posts advising to do TOTR rather than Empire State Building and so that was the plan-will it not really matter if we did this on a week day or weekend? Busy all the time? I suppose it would be better to pick the best day weather wise to give the best views and not pick on specific days of the week. Presumably the same applies to One World Observatory, although I had thought (wrongly?) that it may be a bit quieter at weekends given it's location?

We really want to see the 9/11 museum and memorial. Thinking of it makes me so sad but I feel we can't visit NY without experiencing it and paying our respects.

Are the parks generally busier at the weekends? Wanted to walk Central Park, Highline, Washington Square Park and Battery Park -would these be better done on week days?

Very excited for this trip already and really appreciate your advice! :blush:
#935383 by mitchja
20 May 2017, 13:35
Central Park is amazing. It's like being is a completely different world away from the hustle and bustle of New York streets.

There's always lots going on, buskers, stalls and performers etc in various places (the performers are usually really good as well). You just stop and join the crowd. There's often crowd participation as well!!

Every time I've been in Central Park, it's never been massively busy and there are always plenty of benches to just sit down, relax, take a breath and take it all in.

Some of the cafes can get a little busy at peak times though.
#935384 by SlimpyJones
20 May 2017, 14:13
As far as boat tours go, when I went (admittedly about five years ago) I used Circle Line Tours, they are at the end of 42nd St near the Intrepid, they do a three hour tour that goes all the way around the island. I know it sounds long but it offers some really great views, particularly of the Statue of Liberty (instead of going up to the statue itself where you can only look up from the feet!) and you go under the Brooklyn Bridge and all sorts!
I assume they still do the three hour tour at least!

#935388 by gumshoe
20 May 2017, 17:22
The High Line is fantastic and shouldn't be missed but it gets VERY busy at weekends, oppressively so, so best to do it on a weekday.

Central Park is so vast you'll always find peace and quiet somewhere - as a rule the further north you go, the quieter it gets.

Personally I wouldn't go out of my way to walk round Battery Park or Washington Square Park - they're nothing special. But I would go out of my way to walk across the Brooklyn Bridge (towards Manhattan) and ride the Staten Island Ferry - both free, both offer amazing views of the skyline.

And yes, another vote for Top of the Rock over the Empire State. And for Ellis Island, which is fascinating if you're at all interested in New York's social history.
#935390 by tontybear
20 May 2017, 18:15
New York can be incredibly busy. But one of the least busy weekends I've had there was over the 4th July weekend!

Even so some attractions are always busier than others.

Central Park can be very busy on weekends. You should check if there are any special events on that may restrict which parts of the park are open or have restricted access - there always seems to be a marathon or a fund raising walk going on there at the weekend. The NYC maraton n is 5th November for example.

The High Line is now IMHO too popular on a weekend for it's own good - very little of the promised peace and tranquility - but go earlier or later and you'll miss most of the crowds - even in November it's open until 10pm.

Activly check any attractions website you want to visit for closures - a couple of weeks ago the Met was closed on a Monday because they were preparing for a fund raising gala, the Guggenheim is always closed on Thursdays and the Witney on a Tuesday. Some of the main museuns have late night openings on Thuerdays / Fridays / Saturdays and that helps to spread the crowds - except if it one of the free entry sessions.

If you want to visit some of the big museums like the Met look at the website to see what exhibitions are showing and the various permamant collections and focus on a few. When I was in NY earlier this month I just concentrated on 1/2 dozen of the various special exhibiions (some large some just a couple of paintings) and ignored most of the permanant collections (but I've been there several times so know what I want to see). You cannot hope to see everything so see what you want to see not what you feel you have to see.

There are a number of apps for self guided walking tours.

Even though you are there for 5 days buy a 7 day metro pass it will save you time buying individual day passes or having to fumble about for change. It will be $33 when you get there. I use the 'citymapper' app for directions.

My advice re the 9/11 museum is to carefully consider if you want to do it or not. It is incredibly well laid out and not as mawkish as I thought it would be but can still be upsetting. The memorial pools are moving but the rest of the area is basically now treated by most people as an ordinary park.

I've give Brooklyn a try. The Museum is excellent and the botanical gardens next door will still be a nice walk around even in November. Though walkign the Bridge could be a bit cold if the wind whips up.

My general advice? Plan on what you want to see - not in a '10am Met Museun, 12 noon the Guggenheim 2 pm lunch 4pm the Frick' way but what things you want to see then group them together in terms of location and then what hours / days they are open and do a rough itinneray. And then prepared to be flexible
#935391 by chriski
20 May 2017, 18:22
The first weekend in November has the New York City Marathon (First Sunday)
Central park zoo is a good place to visit
Try the revolving bar at the top of the marmot Marquis Hotel ( 45th and Broadway)

Last year we took a trip up the Hudson on a superb boat to Cold Spring, that was very nice and you get to see NY in a totally different way. You get 2-3 hours to explore and have lunch.

I would also recommend the Rock rather than the Empire State
#935392 by pjh
20 May 2017, 18:59
To add to the recommendations of posters so far, I'd recommend a few things outside of central Manhattan.

1. We've done a couple of food based walking tours, one of Greenwich Village (paid upfront) and one of the lower East Side (pay what you think it's worth).

2. A visit to the Tenement Museum, where they bought a couple of tenements and use them to tell the story of the immigrant experience over the years

3. For a water based view, ferry to Staten Island and back. Free and great views.

4. Head to the Brooklyn side for the view of Manhattan. We found Williamsburg to be more interesting than Brooklyn, though the latter does have a hidden gem in. The Kings County Distillery.

Back in Manhattan, I'd also suggest putting Grand Central Station on the list.

Given that you probably want to take in the iconic sights on your first visit, these may be for the next time. :)
#935401 by Eggtastico
21 May 2017, 09:49
The new york pass can be worth getting if you plan on doing tons of things.
As said top of the rock is better than ESB.
Try to find how to upgrade ticket to queue jump.
ESB was rammed with people with selfie sticks.

The Freedom Tower Observation deck is really good.

Again, a boat tour that takes all around Manhattan helps you get your bearings & decide what other things to go see.
Unless you get crown tickets, I am not sure if its worth getting off the boat for Statue of Liberty.
We was on the first boat out & stayed on the boat - we had a good 30mins at Ellis Island on our own. Ideal to take pics of the big halls before the hoards arrive!

Also went on Intrepid Air & Space museum. There is a space shuttle there to be seen - so if you plan on seeing that, make sure you upgrade your ticket on entry for the Shuttle.

All these & tons more was covered with the New York Pass (except for the extras) except for the Freedom Tower. You can book that online.
If you plan on shopping.. the Century21 is bargainfest!
#935406 by 747star
21 May 2017, 12:38
Thank you so much for all the replies. We'll definitely try to organise our days by neighbourhood.
Yes it turns out we will be there when the marathon is on, I had no idea! Does that normally mean the rest of the sights will be quieter as everyone is along the marathon route, or does it not make any difference?
Due to the time difference we usually like to be up really early and so can do some popular parks and observation decks fairly sharp when they open.
#935477 by honey lamb
24 May 2017, 21:05
I can't really add much to what the others have said.

I loved the High Line and Central Park

On my last trip we stayed opposite the Freedom Tower and on our last day went to the 9/11 Memorial. A lot will depend on how old you were when the events happened. So much was familiar but it also brought back memories of footage seen on TV some of which isn't there, like a woman filming the cloud of dust and stone rolling towards her being dragged into a shop at the last minute and realising they had saved her life. However, be prepared to go into overload at the images and the videos and when you get to that point, leave. Once you visit New York you will want to go back and that is a place you will want to revisit. Another point to remember, there is a blue mosaic wall with an inscription from the Roman poet Virgil. You will want to capture it and it will be hard to get it all in. Go past the inscription and on the floor there is a tile from which you will capture it in its entirety. The staff will show it to you.

No-one has mentioned shopping! Go to Macy's or Bloomingdale's and get a visitors card which will give you a discount in their stores. Better still, get the bus to the Jersey Gardens Discount Mall and shop till you drop. Go early before it gets busy and it will be grand.

Most of all enjoy New York! It's great!
#935741 by mrsw
04 Jun 2017, 21:55
I had followed what pjh's previous advice and paid a visit to the Tenement museum and really enjoyed it. Would likely recommend!

Also very much loved the Statue of liberty crown tour -- but make sure you book very early.

Have a great time :cool:
#935767 by pjh
05 Jun 2017, 21:57
mrsw wrote:I had followed what pjh's previous advice and paid a visit to the Tenement museum and really enjoyed it. Would likely recommend!

Glad you enjoyed it. We've done two of the tours, and one both there were people in the group who remembered the area from visiting grandparents who'd lived there. They make great use of the space.
#935809 by Eggtastico
06 Jun 2017, 20:19
mrsw wrote:I had followed what pjh's previous advice and paid a visit to the Tenement museum and really enjoyed it. Would likely recommend!

Also very much loved the Statue of liberty crown tour -- but make sure you book very early.

Have a great time :cool:

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