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.
For couples, there's a great semi-secret thing to do down in Grand Central. Find the Oyster Bar and then stand under the wide archway. You and your boyfriend should then walk to diagonal corners and each get your nose deep into your respective corners. Then start in with the sweet nothings—but just in a whisper. The design of the archway "telegraphs" your voice across the wide arch so that only your significant other can hear you.
Ice skating in Central Park or at Rock Center is always fun, and if you want to splurge, you can take a private before or after-hours tours of the Museum of Modern Art.
Chicago, Ill.: We're meeting our 18-year-old college student in NYC over President's Day Weekend. Problem: she's a true vegetarian. Other than old standby Anjelica's Kitchen, are there any other legitimate vegetarian restaurants in the city? Doesn't need to be vegan. Thanks! —Lisa
Amy Langfield: There are tons of options. We just had a fantastic meal at Red Bamboo in Fort Greene, Brooklyn. Have a look at the Super Vegan guide for NYC. I'm also a big fan of OpenTable.com, which lets you make restaurant reservations online, for free. Just plug in your dates, number in your party, preferred time and select vegetarian (or Italian, Chinese, German, etc.) and it lets you know which restaurants have availability at those times.
Australia: Hi, my husband and myself—both seniors—are planning to travel from Boston to New York on June 8. We are considering train? What station does the train arrive at? We have 3 nights prior to our flight from JFK airport at 18:00 on the 11th of June. Where could we visit in our 3 days? Also how do we find information on Broadway shows and costs? Accommodation is expensive, booking now in the city. What would be a good area to stay in both central and out of town to save on costs? Or maybe we could wait and book a last-minute hotel? Any web sites would be helpful. I have been told there are volunteer hosts who are available to show visitors around—is that so? Any other information would be welcome.
Amy Langfield: Hi, Australia! Hopefully I've already provided you enough hotel and NY basics above to get you going, but let me tackle a few of your other ones. Amtrak will bring you into NYC's Penn Station. If you're booking the tickets through Amtrak.com, be sure to check their hot deals page for two-for-one tickets and other promotions. Another good option from Boston is the LimoLiner luxury bus.
As for Broadway shows, Playbill.com has a full list of all the current Broadway and Off-Broadway shows along with a summary of plots, cast and location. The easiest way to get cheap tickets is to head to the TKTS booth just off Times Square and check the list of tickets available at discount, many half-price. See TKTS online to see what's been available lately.
The free volunteer guide service you're thinking of is Big Apple Greeter which you should request in advance. But there are a number of other free walking tours every week, including ones offered by the Central Parks Conservancy, the NYC Urban Rangers, and a number of the business improvement districts such as around Ground Central, Wall Street and Union Square.
Cleveland, Ohio: We have taken our kids to NYC before and hit all the tourist attractions. What are some little known destinations for kids outside of Dillon's Candy Store and the Children's Museum that you don't read about in the guides and the magazines?
Amy Langfield: Cleveland, rock 'n' roll. Not knowing what your kids are into, let me take a shot at a wide range of things that might appeal. The Natural History Museum (mentioned above) and its Rose Center for Earth and Space always have rotating exhibitions and programs, so it's not really the kind of place you can see once and cross off your list for life. (The same goes for the Met Museum, the Bronx Zoo and most of the other museums and galleries.)
Since you mention Dylan's Candy Shop, I should point you to two newer ones, directly across the street from each other on the north end of Times Square: Hershey's and the M&M superstores. The new Papabubble candy shop has also been getting lots of good buzz.