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.
In the past couple of years there's been a new scene of teen rock bands playing gigs at bars and clubs—often on weekend afternoons. If that appeals, also check out the Willie Mae Rock Camp for Girls.
Also look at some of the neighborhoods in the outer boroughs. This past weekend we took my stepson out to Brighton Beach and he was amazed to see all the signs in Cyrillic and to listen to all the native Russian speakers. He had a ball, and bought a T-Shirt that claimed it was "made in Russia."
Pella, Iowa: What is the cheapest route of transportation from the New Jersey airport to downtown Manhattan? Thanks for your response.
Fairfax, Va.: I am heading to New York City for 2 nights in a few weeks. What restaurant would you recommend that I absolutely eat at without breaking the bank? I love food. Thanks.
Amy Langfield: Food lover, let me introduce you to the absurd world of online food pornographers specializing in New York City. You probably know about the stand-by food guides like Zagat, Gayot and Michelin, as well as the reviews in the major print pubs such as the New York Times and New York magazine. But to dive in head first, check out the food blogs and chat boards. Some of my favorites are Eater.com, Slice.com, Grub Street, Chowhound—and the very efficient Midtown Lunch.
Fort McMurray, Alberta, Canada: I am going to visit NYC in September this year with friends. I have been there before but it's been a long time. We'd like to stay in a neighborhood with restaurants and shops in walking distance...a neighborhood with NYers living in it. Which area do you suggest?
Amy Langfield: Hi, Susan. You might want to immerse yourself in the rapidly changing Lower East Side by staying at the Blue Moon Hotel, which was an immigrant tenement building until not too long ago. The neighborhood is steeped in history, shopping, restaurants and bars. The new and old chafes hard here.
Waco, Tex.: I will be traveling in NYC 5/8-5/11 before departing on a cruise. I am traveling with a total of 6 people—from my 15-month-old son to my elderly grandfather who tires out easily. This is my first trip to NYC. We are flying into LGA. What's the best way to get from the airport to a hotel near Times Square? Any good advice for where to stay to be close to the regular tourist sites without breaking the bank completely? I found a tour company—The LimoTour—that will take us on a 4-hour tour of the city on Friday morning for $320 including tips, tolls, taxes, etc. That seems like a good price, but how can I make sure I'm dealing with a reputable place? I can't find any reviews for them. Thanks!
Amy Langfield: Hi, Waco. Another tough one. Normally I'd say to count on a lot of cab rides to make it easier on your granddad, but you can't cram 6 (or even 5 and a half) info a cab, and hailing two at once isn't always easy.
Since I don't know anything about the Limo Tour, I'd be more inclined to stick with the double-decker bus-type tours. Since this sounds like a special family trip, you may want to book a Photo Trek tour, in which a professional photographer is your guide—and photographer.
As for other things you can do that won't tire your grandfather, the Yankees have a homestand against Cleveland while you're here, including one afternoon game. You could do one of the harbor cruises—Circle Line's Zephyr is particularly nice—or even the free Staten Island Ferry.
Central Park might be a good option, including the zoo, as there are places to sit while a youngin' can roam. And maybe even the revolving restaurant atop the Marriott Marquis Times Square. You'll get a 360 in just an hour.
Annandale, Va.: Where did "Big Apple" come from?
Amy Langfield: There is no shortage of definitive, incorrect answers to that one. The book Naming New York by Sanna Feirstein says it could be a jazz term—or from a New Orleans horse track. Take your pick.