Trip Coach: February 5, 2008
Amy Langfield of NewYorkology.com, a blog about NYC activities and event-listings, answered your questions on New York City.
Amy Langfield: Hi, I'm Amy Langfield and I've signed on to answer some of your questions about NYC. In case you don't know, New York keeps shattering its record-tourism numbers—about 46 million people visited NYC in 2007—but there are still far too few hotel beds. So while crime is also at a record low, you're still likely to feel robbed when it comes to the hotel bill.
One key thing you need to know is that you're supposed to walk to the right, preferably a little faster than you're used to. And when you stop to gawk, which is perfectly acceptable, please just step to the side so the 45 million don't bump into you.
On to the Qs....
Lebanon, Ind.: My adult son and I are registered as contestants in the Crossword Puzzle Tournament to be held at the Brooklyn Bridge Marriott, February 29-March 2, 2008. We will fly into LaGuardia on the evening of February 28, and have reserved a room at that hotel. Since the tournament activities will not begin until 8:00 p.m. on the 29th, we will have most of that day free. Neither of us has experienced NYC. Can you outline a city tour that will include some of the "must see" sites? —Joe
Amy Langfield: Hi, Lebanon. The tournament sounds like great fun. The Brooklyn Bridge Marriott is conveniently close to the Brooklyn Borough Hall (and Jay Street) subway lines, which gives you plenty of easy options to get to Manhattan. However, you're also a short walk to the Brooklyn Bridge, which is an easy—and awesome—way to arrive in Manhattan. Just be sure to stay out of the bike lane while walking the bridge. On the Manhattan side, you come out near City Hall and if you like you can turn south and walk to Wall Street, Federal Hall, the New York Stock Exchange and Ground Zero. Conversely, at the base of the bridge you can take a subway to the Upper East Side and work your way back down. There's the Met Museum and Central Park, working back down Fifth Avenue you'll pass The Plaza hotel (still closed for renovations,) hit Rockefeller Center and St. Patrick's Cathedral, and down to the main branch of the NY Public Library for a walk through the main reading room. From there, swing over to Times Square and have a look around. You can take a subway directly back to Borough Hall from there—or hop on the S subway shuttle that goes directly to Grand Central Terminal. After having a look around there, take the 4 or 5 subway to Borough Hall.
During the tournament, if you have time to sneak out for food, you can walk down toward the base of the Brooklyn Bridge for pizza at Grimaldi's, or for snacks, hit up the nearby Brooklyn Ice Cream Factory or Jacques Torres chocolate shop. In addition to the knockout views of the bridges and Manhattan, you get a severe dose of history with the old warehouses and plaques detailing the waterfront's important role in the battle of Brooklyn. (Not a good day for Gen. George Washington.) In the nearby park between the Manhattan and Brooklyn bridges, there's actually a wee bit of East River sandy beach.
Also by the time you get here, Harlem's much-loved Amy Ruth's should have already opened its new location in the space formerly occupied by the historic Gage & Tollner restaurant which kindly left its gaslamps behind in the restaurant. It's just a short walk from your hotel, just across from the A/C/F trains at Jay Street/Borough Hall.
New York: Funky place to have brunch or lunch before heading to the MET? We are staying in midtown Manhattan.
Amy Langfield: Picnic! Head over to Whole Foods market at the Time Warner Center and grab an assortment of prepared foods to go. Take the escalators up to grab a few extra sweets from the counter at Thomas Keller's Bouchon Bakery. That done, walk across the street and you're in Central Park, where there's always space to be fund to picnic on the grass, on a bench or rock outcropping. From there, walk through the park to the Met.
Cape Elizabeth, Maine: What would you say is the best high quality hotel in NYC for the price?
Amy Langfield: I've been hearing consistently good reports on the Ritz-Carlton, Battery Park. It's on the water near the southern tip of Manhattan and has great views of the harbor, as well as a new spa. Check their specials and packages for better rates.
New York, N.Y.: What suggestions do you have for activities with 2 six-year-olds in NY from March 3-16? We have tickets to 2 Broadway plays for the evenings of March 13 and 14. Looking for day-time suggestions.