New York in a weekend ... need advice! (Also New Jersey)

seanf

macrumors 6502
Original poster
Aug 8, 2006
310
0
UK
Hello,

Work are sending me on a training course to New Jersey for two weeks in October and I'll be taking the opportunity to spend a weekend in New York. I've never been to America before and would like some advice. The following is a list of things I'd like to do:

  • Sightseeing (Staten Island Ferry, Statue of Liberty, Empire State Building)
  • Shopping (I'd love to take advantage of the exchange rate and shop for clothes and of course I want to visit the Fifth Avenue Apple store)
  • I'd like to visit Strawberry Fields, the John Lennon Memorial, in Central Park
I would like to know if it's possible to do all of this in a weekend and would also love to have some recommendations on other things I might be missing out on. I'm also looking for hotel recommendations - I want somewhere right in the middle of the action.

Also, I am looking for suggestions for things to do of an evening in Paramus New Jersey, as this is where the training is taking place.

Thanks

Sean :)
 

swiftaw

macrumors 603
Jan 31, 2005
6,309
20
Omaha, NE, USA
Day 1: Statue of Liberty and Staten Island ferry as they are close to each other.

Day 2: Central Park, walk down 5th ave to look at the shops and end at the empire state building
 

balamw

Moderator
Staff member
Aug 16, 2005
19,095
963
New England
I was just there last month, for a week though, and with the kids in tow.

I recommend the Zephyr http://www.circlelinedowntown.com/ to see the Statue of Liberty. and get some nice views of the NY Skyline w/o wasting a whole day at it. (unless you really must set foot on Staten Island or Ellis Island as well).

IMHO skip the Emipre State building, unless you spring for express tickets. We spent the whole morning there on a very hazy day, I can only imagine a clear day.

The 5th Ave Apple Store and FAO Schwartz behind it are worth a visit.

B
 

vanmacguy

macrumors 6502a
Aug 13, 2007
587
0
Not where you live.
I was there in May for a long weekend.

Bus tours, uptown and downtown, but especially uptown.

Central Park IMO is a must. Not for too long, but go see Strawberry fields.

Apple Store? Ehhh. It's a store. Plain and Simple. I went and was disappointed that there was nothing special to buy. I was looking for simple stuff, mouse pads, t-shirts and the like. Nope, nada. It's just like the Apple online store.

Just soak up the experience. Time Square at night, bicycle taxi rides, Italian food in the meatpacking district.

I'd take in a baseball game too if you have the time and the budget. At Trump towers you can buy a $50 martini!

Chinatown too.

Enjoy your trip.
 

seanf

macrumors 6502
Original poster
Aug 8, 2006
310
0
UK
Thank you for the advice everyone. How about hotel recommendations?

Sean :)
 

iToaster

macrumors 68000
May 3, 2007
1,743
0
In front of my MacBook Pro
Ride the subway like a mad man? ...that's what I do in NY, gonna be a train operator. Anyway, you should see the good things like the Empire State Building, Statue of Liberty, etc. There's not much to do on Staten Island IMO, but you can do what you wish.
Hotels: The Millennium Broadway is a nice hotel, but kinda pricey, but there's more than one Millennium in NYC. If looking for something a little less pricey, check out The Roosevelt by Grand Central.
 

xsedrinam

macrumors 601
Oct 21, 2004
4,348
1
For just a weekend in October, I'd recommend:

•Use the Subways for transportation - cheaper, faster and will redeem time for you.
•Definitely take in Central Park. (you can walk over to the Apple Store, too)
•Times Square and a walk through the stores on 5th Ave.
•Statue of Liberty (as mentioned, there are ways to avoid stopping at Ellis Is.)
•Broadway Musical
•All kinds of eating experiences

I wouldn't recommend the Empire State Building. We were there in June. The lines are horrible, the cost is unforgivable, the view is unpredictable, the wait is not worth your time. Leave it for Kong.
 

psycoswimmer

macrumors 65816
Sep 27, 2006
1,309
1
USA
Thank you for the advice everyone. How about hotel recommendations?

Sean :)
I went to New York two years ago and stayed at the DoubleTree in Time Square. It was very nice; you were close to everything in Midtown Manhattan. And you get a really good chocolate chip cookie when you check in too! :D
 

adk

macrumors 68000
Nov 11, 2005
1,937
21
Stuck in the middle with you
I don't know if The Empire State Building is open to the public at night, but I went there at night once with a group and walked through literally miles of empty mouse mazes.
 

xsedrinam

macrumors 601
Oct 21, 2004
4,348
1
I don't know if The Empire State Building is open to the public at night, but I went there at night once with a group and walked through literally miles of empty mouse mazes.
Last June, we went at night, too. We went at around 20:00 and it took us a good 45 minutes to get to the express elevators. The souvenir stands on the 86th? floor were so backed up (I just wanted to buy a Coke), so I missed any time at the top by having to stand in line to buy a drink for nearly 15 minutes. My group was ready to come down by the time I got to them.

Maybe October will be different.
 

lag1090

macrumors 6502
Jan 28, 2007
280
0
NJ
I'm not sure about the highlights of NYC, but you might want to see a show or something. The Theatre District is pretty much the only part of NYC I don't mind. Not sure what your feelings about big cities are, but I can't say as if I'm a fan of them.

As for Paramus, good luck finding something to do there. Last time I was there, I kept constantly thinking I would've been better off staying at home. Granted, I don't go that far up too often, but I haven't discovered anything particularly interesting. Jersey City's not too far from there, and you might be able to find something cool there.

Too bad you're not towards Atlantic City/Ocean City. If you were there, the casinos and boardwalk would be more than enough to entertain you for a few days.

Oh, forgot the hotel part. I personally like Days Inn. They're cheap, but they're not the best place in the world. They're basically an entry-level hotel: clean rooms with basic amenities. I've had good experience with Hilton, Mariott, Fairfield, and a few other big names. Those are the more upscale chains, but your stay there will cost you. Holiday Inn is also very nice.
 

iMacZealot

macrumors 68020
Mar 11, 2005
2,246
3
Yeah, NYC in the summer is crazy busy with tourists. It's not so bad during the rest of the year.

As somebody mentioned above, the Circle Line tour is really fun! You get really nice views of the city and Greenwich Village.

I'd also recommend seeing a show, no matter who you are. The experience of it itself is something to see.

Central Park is worth a visit, but not much more than an afternoon.

Times Square is of interest. You could try and get into to Total Request Live, or at least watch it from the other side of Broadway.

Go to Little Italy some night. Most of those restaurants are amazing.

I'm not crazy about Long Island, but the Arboretum in Oyster Bay is cool.

Also, the art in Chelsea and SoHo is worth a visit. First Friday (when new exhibits open at the beginning of the month) is an experience.


As for hotels, Here are my recommendations:
>Westin New York Times Square
>Marriott Marquis Times Square
>Four Points Sheraton - Chelsea

(that's all I can think of for now)
 

bobscliff

macrumors regular
Jul 25, 2005
171
0
Princeton, NJ
No one's mentioned the Met! You should definitely see the metropolitan museum of art, it has some of the best impressionist pieces, as well as some modern art. also the Museum of Natural History is fun. The Whitney, Guggenheim all good as well.

Also the Magnolia bakery in the west village is delicious (but packed) The village is generally a very interesting place, esp. for its food, but it's a nice break from the loudness of up and midtown.
 

Hummer

macrumors 65816
Feb 3, 2006
1,014
0
Queens, New York NY-5
Buy a $7 fun pass (unlimited rides that last till 3 am the next day) , no matter where you're going. You have the freedom and the safety net of being able to go where ever you want without having to pay extra.

Oh yea and visit the South Street Seaport. You might want to check out SpiegelWorld.
 

seanf

macrumors 6502
Original poster
Aug 8, 2006
310
0
UK
Thank you for all the advice everyone (keep it coming!) - I'm really looking forward to my weekend and want to pack lots in. At the moment I am searching through hotels (especially the ones listed here) and checking vacancies - I'm still not entirely sure where would be the best area to stop for the things I want to do. Is it easy to get to the different areas of New York?

As for Paramus, good luck finding something to do there. Last time I was there, I kept constantly thinking I would've been better off staying at home.
I had a feeling it would be like that, as I'll have to spend most of my time there!

A couple of transport related questions please:

  • What is the cheapest/quickest way of getting into New York from Paramus?
  • Is it too far to travel to New York and back from Paramus in one night after a training day?

Sean :)
 

notjustjay

macrumors 603
Sep 19, 2003
6,041
111
Canada, eh?
I just came back from a 3-day long weekend bus tour of NYC. I don't know if I would particularly recommend these things -- it's kind of a whirlwind pace, and you're limited by the time allotted by the tour guide.

We visited the Rockefeller Tower ("30 Rock") instead of the Empire State Building. The tour guide explained that (a) the security lines were getting ridiculous at the Empire State Building, and (b) this way you get to see the same towering views AND include the Empire State Building in your photos of the New York skyline. Works for me. The security line was very minimal. We went in mid-afternoon and only had 30 minutes to go through the whole thing. I suggest you go at night. We also walked around Times Square in the evening.

We did a harbor cruise as well, from Pier 17 (forget the name of the company) that brought us out to see the Statue of Liberty and then to the Brooklyn Bridge. We also stopped briefly by Ground Zero, Wall Street, and the United Nations building which were all nearby.

The tour also brought us to the Metropolitan Museum of Art, but this place is so huge that it's almost not worth going into if you don't have at least 3-4 hours to spend. Beware, this place truly is a maze. The gift shop alone is bigger than some museums I've been to :)

When I did the tour, I did a cursory tour of the museum, resigned to the fact that I would never have time to enjoy it all, so I skipped out early, walked along 5th in Central Park, and visited the Apple Store (in retrospect I should have flagged a taxi from the museum to the Apple store, as it took a lot of time to walk the 25 blocks).

Best place to buy souvenirs (shirts etc) seems to be Chinatown. Shirts for $10, bargain down to $7 or 8 (perhaps you can do better!), those ubiquitous I (heart) NY shirts are 7 for $10.

It was craaaazy with people on the long weekend. But surprisingly pleasant. I wouldn't want to live there, but I'd go visit again.
 

xsedrinam

macrumors 601
Oct 21, 2004
4,348
1
A couple of transport related questions please:

  • What is the cheapest/quickest way of getting into New York from Paramus?
  • Is it too far to travel to New York and back from Paramus in one night after a training day?

Sean :)
Here's the Paramus Bus & Train Routes. We used the trains in to NYC but from another direction (Connecticut). I've read that a bus from Paramus/Hackensack in to NYC takes somewhere around an hour.
 

mariahlullaby

macrumors 6502a
Jan 19, 2005
852
1
NYC
I'd recommend going to Century 21 (huge department store, but lots of foreigners seem to love it! great deals) for shopping.

I'd also recommend going to see a show; if you want to save money, check out an Off Broadway show (Altar Boyz is great) or try getting standing room.

Max Brenner at Union Square is always fun (it is a CHOCOLATE RESTAURANT *dies) but it's kind of expensive.
 

rdowns

macrumors Penryn
Jul 11, 2003
27,619
12,409
I recommend the Zephyr http://www.circlelinedowntown.com/ to see the Statue of Liberty. and get some nice views of the NY Skyline w/o wasting a whole day at it. (unless you really must set foot on Staten Island or Ellis Island as well).
We visited the Rockefeller Tower ("30 Rock") instead of the Empire State Building. The tour guide explained that (a) the security lines were getting ridiculous at the Empire State Building, and (b) this way you get to see the same towering views AND include the Empire State Building in your photos of the New York skyline.
Two excellent recommendations.