In a New York State of Mind {and plea for advice}

It's time to let the cat out of the bag (MEOW):

Scott and I are taking a little jaunt next week to the city that never sleeps, the Big Apple, the place I've only seen on TV or in my favorite movies...the one, the only...New York City!! (!!!!!)

In case you can't tell, I'm a wee bit excited.

We've been looking through our guide book, looking websites up, talking in circles (mostly me), I've been stalking a few blogs of those that have been to NYC and I've been making lists and sub-lists of the things we want to do and see (basically everything) (which is so realistic and attainable, I know).

We'll be there almost 5 days (Thursday - Monday) and we want to pack in as much of The City as we can.

So once again I am turning to y'all, my wise bloggy friends for some help.

What are your absolute must-dos and must-sees (as in don't bother going home if you miss it) in NYC?

and more importantly...

Where should we eat?

Oh, and also? We were thinking of taking the Gray Line double decker bus tour on our first full day to get an overview of the city, but we (mostly me) are worried about waiting for buses and sitting in traffic eating up all of our time. Have any of y'all ridden them before? Whaddya think?

Thanks bunches my friends! Y'all are the BEST!


  1. I visited NYC for the first time ever last December and it was AMAZING. You can check out my blog for details - I have four posts - but I'll give you a little list here, too. We were there for less than 72 hours, and I did everything that was on my list ;) BUSY!!

    *Empire State Building - at NIGHT. I took the best picture I've EVER taken up there. And, no wait at all. We literally walked right up. It was unbelievable.
    *Carriage ride around Central Park
    *Cafe Lalo (part of You've Got Mail was filmed there!)
    *The Guggenheim
    *Birdland Jazz Club - seriously - do this!! Cheap and AMAZING!!!
    *Broadway show - we saw Memphis
    *subway to Ground Zero
    *walk across the Brooklyn Bridge - ohhh, the views!
    *dinner at Bond 45
    *Rockefeller Center

    I would not have changed a thing!! And you're there SO much longer, so you can do SO much more!!

    Have a great trip :)

    BTW, if you're interested, the posts start here:
    And the each post has the next day linked at the bottom. Enjoy!

  2. It's my favorite city in the whole world. Love it.

    You must:

    Eat at the Burger Joint in the Le Parker Meridian Hotel. It's a dive that's kind of hidden off the lobby and absolutely fabulous.

    Get a frozen hot chocolate at Serendipity. Nothing like it.

    Ellen's Stardust Diner in Times Square is very fun. The waiters walk around singing the whole time. Food is decent, too.

    Definitely hit Century 21. It's right across the street from Ground Zero (two birds with one stone). Fun shopping.

    Any of the Kate's Paperie stores around the city are so awesome.

    I could go on and on...have a blast!

    Oh! And Fishs Eddy is also another fun store. Lots of fabulous dishes and gifts.

  3. I've made a goal for myself to reconnect to the blogging world...I couldn't help but get excited this morning when I saw this post show up on my blog roll...! I lived in NYC for 10 years and live about one and a half hours from it still...we go into the city every so often to see a show or to a museum with the kids.

    As corny as it seems, I think the best way for first timers to get a great overview of NYC is with one of those double decker BIG APPLE Tour busses...You can get on and off as much as you want and they give you interesting facts about each place (including places where some of the celebrities live). I've been on these tours twice when my sisters came into the city to visit. There are a few of these kinds of companies...I'm pretty sure we went on the Big Apple Tours...

    It's great that you guys have several days there! Regarding Broadway shows...My favorite of all times is Wicked...but we just saw Memphis recently and it was really good! If you can't get tickets for either one of those shows, How To Succeed in Business is a super cute show...I saw it many years ago with Matthew Broderick and Sarah Jessica Parker...I'd have to say that is one of my favorites next to Wicked.
    The music is so catchy...

    One of my favorite Thai restaurants is on 48th St. between 8th and Broadway. It's called Pongsri Thai...There's also Rain, which is on the upper west side...
    (I'm obsessed with Thai food)

    Wear comfortable walking shoes...
    !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!One of the best things to do in the city is just to walk around and people watch.

    I love the Metropolotin Museum of Art...(it's on the upper east side where I used to live--so this is my old stomping ground). I'm not sure which exhibits are there right now, but that would be a fun day to go to the museum and then take a walk through central park (which is right behind it) Not far is the little boat pond and the Alice in Wonderland statue (you've probably seen these things in movies...) Sometimes theres a guy there that has a telescope set up to watch hawks or falcons (I don't remember which) that nest in the tops of the pre-war buildings on 5th ave...

    Don't forget to eat a hotdog with the works from one of the street vendors!

    China town is fun...you can stock up on knock off purses and watches...and the food is yummy...

    Ellis Island is a MUST...often times, people would rather just go to the Statue of Liberty...but make sure you take time for Ellis Island as well....There is a 20 minute free movie that they play there called Sea of Tears (or something like that) that is excellent! It really gives you a feel for what these people went through to get to this country)...
    The displays are very interesting as well....I love Ellis Island!!

    Hope this helps...Maybe pick up a Zagat guide for restaurant ideas...there are so many food options...I once heard that you could go to 3 restaurants a day for a year and never make it to every one that NYC has.

    Have fun Holly! Let me know if you have any more questions...

  4. I've only been there once, but I definitely plan to get back there some day. You will have a blast!
    Yes! Do one of the double-decker busses. I think we did the grayline. It was an easy way to get an overview of the city and get ideas for places that you will want to spend more time. We spent time in Chinatown, went to the Guggenheim, spent time strolling through Central Park, and saw an off-broadway play in a small theatre (very cool!). We were there for the US Open, so that took up a lot of our long weekend. We stayed busy every second and only got to do a fraction of things I would like to have done.
    Can't wait to hear about your adventures! Have a great time!

  5. Oh Holly! Last year for my 40th (actually, the 1 yr anniversary of our family trip there is coming up St Patrick's Day...) we went to NYC. I long to go back there....all the time!

    We had a 7 year old with us, so it changed our plans a little, but we did a lot of fun things. We saw Mary Poppins and Rhett and I both were crying at the end, it was so sweet and an incredible show in a gorgeous theatre. We went to the "Top of the Rock" instead of the Empire State Bldg. Go to FAO Schwartz by the park/across from the Plaza for something fun for Miss A. Walk, walk, walk and ride the subway too! We got pretty good at that! Went in Grand Central and had pizza downstairs. Went to Bloomingdale's....fun. OH! One of our favorite things we did was go to Union Station in Grenwich Village. In that area is Bleaker (or is it Bleeker?) St Pizza. We met our Pastor and his wife there b/c he was running the half marathon that day and he had heard it was incredible. IT WAS! Then we went to a gelato place in that area called "Grom". YOU MUST GO THERE. I wish you could fly over TN and throw a cup of it out to me!
    Don't fret if you don't get everything crossed off your list....part of the fun is in the surprises! I've been twice, once for a weekend (working the NFL draft, so that took most of our time) and last year for 4 days. We have only scratched the surface......
    can't wait to hear about your adventure!

  6. I know some people like the buses, but when we went several years ago, we didn't like them at all. if you can sit on top and stay on the bus the whole time, it might be better, but we opted for the a/c so it was a limited viewing angle. also, if you get off at some of the stops it can sometimes take forever to get back on a bus because of all the tourists waiting in line. Maybe it will be better in Feb rather than June when we went. I loved just walking around and want to go back so much. I recommend asking the concierge at the hotel for restaurants because they can give you places that are not in all of the guide books and are just as good, if not better.

  7. Balthazar Restaurant (80 Spring Street) in SOHO is FANTASTIC. The area itself is wonderful. I love NYC just to walk in. (There's a Kate's Paperie in the area - lovely.)

    Broadway show is a must - even an off Broadway show.

    Empire State Building.

    Central Park. Walk down Park Avenue or 5th Avenue or even Madison. Gorgeous.

    Radio City Music Hall - if only to take in the lobby!

    The Guggenheim

    Sacks, Bloomingdales, Macy's

    Four Seasons Restaurant - to gape!

    My most favourite place in the world :) Have a wonderful time! Charge the camera and get extra memory cards.

  8. I have zero advice! I have never been there...but I wanted to send you a WOOO HOOO!!!! and Have a Blast!

  9. i"m with Lacie (I was 8 or so when I was there) but have fun and don't let "the list" make you miss something wonderful you might stumble upon while there! can't wait to hear all about it. there is so much to see and do that I know you won't be disappointed w/ what you do get to do. and if you don't get it all done, well, I guess you'll just have to plan to go back!

    I hope you can get a ride in the "Cash Cab" too!!

  10. I love love love NYC!! Ready for another trip!!

    When I saw your post seeking advice I was going to mention the double decker bus tour! then you asked about it.. so i had to comment and give you my "two cents!"

    YES! Take the tour. It was a GREAT way to see it all and we used it like a taxi. We would jump on and off the bus and enjoy all the sites and didn't have to worry about figuring out how to get there.. We also did the bus tour at night and it was FABULOUS!!! Beautiful sites and lights!! I really recommend it!!!

  11. Holly!!! Okay, I realize this trip is about you and Scott, but if you want a lunch date, I'd love to see you (meet you!). Anyway, I am full of advice and should you find yourself in a bind or just need a friend in the city, you can definitely call me (if you'd like). Email me and I'll send you my number.

    As for the tour, I would do the City Sights one (I think that's what it's called). I think the route is a little better. If you do it in the middle of the day, you won't waste your day and it's a great way to see the city. Or you could do a Circle Line Cruise which is a set amount of time and goes all around the island.

    I'm full of restaurant advice (my blog has lots of them listed), and other advice if you have specific questions!!!

    P.S. Don't feel obligated to meet me...I know it's a vacation and meeting some random blogger might be a little more than you were planning on. But know that I would love to meet you! (And hopefully that doesn't make me sound weird...)

  12. I've been to NYC a bunch. I'm a fan of the double decker busses too. It's an easy way to get an overview of the city. You get to people watch and sight see all at the same time - nothing wrong with that!

    Eat at Katz' Deli on Houston Street. The famous scene from When Harry Met Sally (you know the one... with Meg Ryan...) was filmed there. It's hands down the BEST deli in the city. My NYC family swears by this deli (though don't expect to eat as a vegetarian - there's nothing except HUGE sandwiches filled with meat - yum......

    My favorite thing to do is to find a happening little bar, preferably with outdoor seating, and watch the world go by.

    Washington Square Park is fun people watching too.

    Ask a local cabbie/shop owner for good ideas where to eat, if you're in a neighborhood and don't have a plan. The locals are usually very friendly, despite their reputation.

    As someone else said, sometimes the best NYC experiences happen unexpectedly. Have your camera ready at all times.

    Don't worry about not getting to everything. Like I told my kids when we visited over Thanksgiving, it just gives us another reason to return!

    Have a great time!!!!

    (oh, and take the subways. They are safe and always entertaining.)

  13. NYC is so fun! My girlfriends and I go once a year.

    **Ride bikes in Central Park. You can ride all the way to the other end (Harlem) and get a better idea of what the entire park looks like. Most people only walk in a little way near 5th Ave.
    **Lady M's Bakery-order the crepe cake and a few other desserts to share. (This is ALWAYS on my MUST DO!!!) Don't bother coming home if you haven't been here. :)
    **Bouchon-in Time Warner Building near C.P.
    **Century 21-fun shopping
    **Walk the Brooklyn Bridge-Eat at Grimaldi's on other side in Brooklyn.
    **See a Broadway show or two.
    **The Met, or the Guggenheim.
    **Buddakahn-Asian Fusion, nice restaurant, make reservations.
    **Gigino-Italian- in Battery Park. Fantastic view of Ellis Island and St. of L.
    **I've never been, but heard fabulous things about Eataly. It's on my new to-do list.

    I'm not a fan of the buses. While it is a great way to get an overview of the city you waste LOTS of time waiting for the next bus if you get off.

    My advice is to divide the city into sections and try to plan each day around a certain section or area...restaurants included. The subways are really fast and convenient!

    The thing about NY is that no matter what you decide to do there is always something that you didn't do. Another reason to return.

  14. I know you've seen my latest post and I here are my must-sees:

    Addams Family is SO worth it. You have to go. We just got our tickets there in NY the day before and had great seats.

    Christie's right. Serendipity is divine.

    The Met. Done it twice and would do it every time I go.

    The bus was ok, but you have to get a good guide so I am wishy-washy on that one. Our first guide was horrid. The second rocked.

    Ellis Island. We didn't get off at Liberty Island. Took too long. But we circled the Statue and got up close and personal. Amazing.

    Ground Zero museum. MUST DO THIS!!

  15. Hi Holly!
    I am so so happy for you!!! I LOVE NY!!
    I took Shannons advice & the last time we went we got tickets on the big apple bus tour- it was great & totally worth it.
    I love love the MET & they have the best ever cafeteria food- crazy good. It's really fun to get tickets to Letterman. You can get standby tickets on a day by day basis by calling the stand by ticket phone #- google it before you go & the first 15-30 people to call every morning are almost sure to get in. They don't tape on Friday but do tape twice on thursday (this may have changed?)
    Do whatever you have to to get tickets to Wicked. It is absolutely worth it.
    Brett & I have seen several shows standing room only. The tickets are sold at the actual box office for $20!!! Watch for empty seats & just as intermission starts snatch them quick. We saw jersey boys, le mis & hair spray this way- $20!? unbelievable.
    always wear good shoes!
    and yes go into Kate's paperie!! I love that store.
    Also there are standby tickets to The view & Regis & Kelly-- but you have to be there at the crack of dawn to get in- bummer.


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