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Long story short, my mother is retiring soon and last week lamented the fact her reduced income will not afford her to see or do things she otherwise would pre-retirement. One of them being NYC, which she has never visited.

I'm taking her to NYC for the weekend to do a few of the usual tourist things. Staying in Manhattan close-ish to Times Square. Also looking for a restaurant between the 9/11 memorial and Times Square for lunch/dinner. I have not been to Little Italy/Chinatown before - is it worth a visit?

What dinner places are around the Natural History museum? Maybe Italian. Assuming reservations remain the norm for any in demand place? Also, what are the cultural protocols right now with the pandemic? People wearing masks walking outside in populated blocks?

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So, we have a bit of a rainfest going on this AM. What are some things we can do given the rain? We’re midtown and have to be at the Natural History Museum at 3. we had planned the boat ride this

Long story short, my mother is retiring soon and last week lamented the fact her reduced income will not afford her to see or do things she otherwise would pre-retirement. One of them being NYC, which

Another vote for Eataly, awesome place and very good food!  It's been a long time and I remember Carmines to be good and lots and lots of portions.  Other good places from a few years ago...Steaks: Qu

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Good on you. Im sure that your mother will never forge this. 

I can recommend anything but working in Manhattan I can answer the protocol questions; 

Most people are wearing masks on the streets, but no one is yelling at people for not. Also, would totally make reservations for anything dining related, to avoid any hassles. 

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If you/her are into italian food and if the weather happens to not be great you should check Eataly in the flatiron district. It's indoors but massive and multiple floors. All types of italian foods, bars, food stands, etc. It's like a giant market with food/drinks galore. This is in between your hotel and 9/11 memorial so you can hit it on way down or back.

I don't know the Upper West Side (UWS) very well when it comes to restaurants. When I had family come in from colorado and go to the museum, we did the original Carmine's right near there. it's a tourist trap, but great for family style food. If it's just you and your Mom it might be too much food. 

If you are into steakhouses, NYC has many that are amazing. I can certainly give you a few suggestions but you mentioned Italian food. Looping in @Elmo too since he's a food guy and knows NYC well.

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8 minutes ago, Biz-R-OWorld said:

If you/her are into italian food and if the weather happens to not be great you should check Eataly in the flatiron district. It's indoors but massive and multiple floors. All types of italian foods, bars, food stands, etc. It's like a giant market with food/drinks galore. This is in between your hotel and 9/11 memorial so you can hit it on way down or back.

I don't know the Upper West Side (UWS) very well when it comes to restaurants. When I had family come in from colorado and go to the museum, we did the original Carmine's right near there. it's a tourist trap, but great for family style food. If it's just you and your Mom it might be too much food. 

If you are into steakhouses, NYC has many that are amazing. I can certainly give you a few suggestions but you mentioned Italian food. Looping in @Elmo too since he's a food guy and knows NYC well.

Thanks. Open to steaks too, but looking to avoid dress code issues - we're packing light.

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I don't want to throw out restaurant recommendations as that will limit you, unless you really want a destination place. It's hard to make a bad move regarding restaurants, as long as you stay away from the chains or Time's Square in general. The local places would love the business. Eataly is a good idea.

NYC is a walking city, so prep your mother for that. If you have the time, it's best to taxi to an area: Village, Chinatown, Union Square; and just start walking. You'll find a restaurant that will appeal to you. 

If you have the time, I would grab a drink at the King Cole Bar at the St Regis. Nothing like a fancy NY hotel cocktail with your mom. (You may want to throw on a jacket for this.) From there, you can walk to Grand Central Terminal, which is worth seeing. 

Mask wearing is nearly at 100% on the streets. 

P.S. There is no Original Ray's.

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27 minutes ago, phade said:

Thanks. Open to steaks too, but looking to avoid dress code issues - we're packing light.

 

24 minutes ago, ny hunter said:

Delfresco 52 & 6th for steaks

You can certainly eat at Del Frisco's or Wolfgang's Steakhouse (my favorite, 4 Park Ave.) wearing Jeans. Maybe wear a button shirt or polo as opposed to t shirt, but again jeans is fine. BTW, Wolfgang's is not Puck. It's Wolfgang Zwiener. Amazing IMO.

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Another vote for Eataly, awesome place and very good food!  It's been a long time and I remember Carmines to be good and lots and lots of portions.  Other good places from a few years ago...Steaks: Quality Meats 58th and 6th, Le Relais de Venice 52/Lex (price fix steak and frittes) Uncle Jacks and/or Keenes Steaks near Madison Square Garden.  and for a real classic NY Steak experience try Smith and Wollensky 3rd and 49th st..   Italian: Carmines, Cassa Nonna (wood fired pizza) 38th between 8/9.  Too many other great Italian restaurants to list.....

When we did this for my brother we rented limos for the day.  It really was not too costly overall and we always had a car at our disposal and it really amped up the specialness of the trip for him.  Might be worth looking into even if for only one day of the weekend.  If it is just you and your Mom, a black car would suffice.  

IMO I would skip Chinatown and Little Italy.  If you want a better Italian experience, go to Brooklyn.

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I would look at this another way: it's your mother on her first and possibly only trip to NYC. Put on a nice jacket and tie, and take her out for a fancy dinner. Save the jeans for a slice in the village. 

Not sure if the Empire State or Rockefeller Center are open, but well worth a trip up. Staten Island Ferry for a view of the Statue of Liberty. (Do not get off on Staten Island.) Central Park, of course. 

Any other sites you need info for?

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31 minutes ago, left field said:

I would look at this another way: it's your mother on her first and possibly only trip to NYC. Put on a nice jacket and tie, and take her out for a fancy dinner. Save the jeans for a slice in the village. 

Not sure if the Empire State or Rockefeller Center are open, but well worth a trip up. Staten Island Ferry for a view of the Statue of Liberty. (Do not get off on Staten Island.) Central Park, of course. 

Any other sites you need info for?

We've decided to go w/backpacks only (IE like my Sitka Fanatic or Toolbag pack) so what we bring will be pretty limited for a Sat-Mon trip. If we can swing room for a decent outfit, we will, but it's not a firm plan. I can more easily manage a dual purpose polo and jeans and some quasi dress casual shoes than slacks/sportcoat/dress shoes but if it fits it fits. I get what you are saying about the experience though. Thankfully my mother is familiar with traveling light - we've done several European countries that way when we were both younger. Heck we lived out of two small suitcases in Scotland for 3 months, ha.

We'll likely try for Top of the Rock since it'll be amongst a few areas we'll be checking out. Walking vs. the subway/Uber is always where I get tripped up in the city. I've been there 4 times but not frequent enough to quickly make decisions on getting from A to B or planning A to B to C. I'm going to spend some time "studying" the neighborhoods and downloading one of the city apps that help with that kind of detail.

The one thing that remains is some sort of water tour - Our Sunday Morning is open and kind of hoping we could use that for one, or maybe do one of the sunset cruises instead of a dinner.

Otherwise, Saturday will be arrival to JFK at 9:30AM - plan for they day is 9/11 memorial visit, food on way back to Times Square / Bryant Park / Rock areas, then maybe head over and up to do some shopping and find a dinner place. Sunday AM is open, then lunch, head up to Central Park/Natural History Museum, and dinner place. Monday we have most all of the day as our flight back is not until 8:30PM. I know we're missing alot of the key neighborhoods but I don't know what stands out above key first time things like Times Sq./Empire State/9/11/WTC, etc.

I appreciate all of the feedback.

 

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I just assumed you were driving, so a larger suitcase would be easier.

A water trip is cool. There are a few that go around the horn from the Hudson to the East River. But the SI ferry would also suffice and it is free. 

It's hard to get lost as it is a numbered grid. For reference - 20 street blocks is a mile. A map helps. Subways are mostly empty and clean. Taxis and Ubers easy. 

Times Square is cool for about 15 minutes, then it's just a pain in the ass. Pretty at night though. 

Bryant park is nice (and where Eataly is) and the walk down to Union Square is also worth doing. 

All the landmarks are interesting, but to me NYC is a city of neighbourhoods and that's where the magic is. I still love just walking around and popping into a local bar for a beer and burger. 

Probably key to get your mother's dream list and follow that. 

 

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First let me preface one thing.  There is always the "avoid tourist traps" warning.  But some times you have no choice.  Like The Eifel Tower is a tourist trap but if you go to Paris, how do you not go up the Eifel Tower?

 

Recommendations:

1.  After 9/11 Memorial, walk west to Broadway and then turn left and head north to City Hall.  Stay on the right side of City Hall to get a nice view of the Brooklyn Bridge.  You can walk halfway through the bridge and then turn back around.  It is a nice walk with good views but if time is an issue, it can be skipped.

2. The east side of City Hall is Centre Street.  Walk north on it till you get to Worth Street and then make a right.  Make a left on Mott Street.  On Bayard Street near between Mott and Elizabeth, there is the Chinatown Ice Cream Factory.  Try some of their unique flavors.  My favorite is Pandan.

3. Head back west towards Mulberry Street.  After you pass Canal, you've entered Little Italy.   Keep heading north on Mulberry till you get to Grand Street where you have Ferrara's  Bakery.  Tons of Italy dessert you take on the go.

4. Continue north till you reach Houston Street (it's pronouced House-Ton if you ask locals for direction) and then make a right and head east till you get to the corner of Houston and Ludlow Street.  Go into Katz Deli and grab a pastrami sandwich.  Moan like Meg Ryan did in "When Harry Met Sally".  Also, you've just walked through most of the Five Points if you want to get historical.

5. From there, grab a cab.  The surrounding neighborhoods there are more artsy and hipster.  I'm going to take a wild guess and assume your mother is not interested in seeing men with nose rings and stuff.  Excuse me if I'm wrong.  Cab it to 23rd and 5th Avenue.  There you have Madison Square Park and the Flatiron Building as well as the original Eataly (they opened a new one by the 9/11 Memorial which I haven't been to yet).

6. Walk north on 5th Avenue till 34th street where you have the Empire State Building, Macy's Heard Square (34th between 6th and 7th Avenue) and Keen's Steakhouse on 6th Avenue and 36th Street.  In my opinion, best steakhouse in the city.  Get the Porterhouse for 2.  Really great whiskey selection as well.  While I don't know their actual cut off in regards to dress code but I've gone there in jeans and sneakers on several occasions without any issues.

7.  End the night at Times Square.  It's not worth seeing during the day so best to come at night when all the lights are on full blast.

8. Carmine's in the UWS and Tony's on the UES are good.  Tons of food.  Just keep in mind that they're New York Italian food and not really true Italian food.

 

After Central Park and Museum of Natural History, what you're missing is Statue of Libery/Ellis Island tour which can be coupled with you "boat" tour even though that ferry doesn't really go around the city.  Musuem of Art (I think she'll really enjoy it.  They have an entire Egyptian Temple inside).

A tier below you also have the UN Headquarters and the Intrepid Sea Air and Space Museum.  The Circle Line cruise is right next to the Intrepid so you can couple the two together.  If you want to stick in that area, walk north along the Hudson River.  They've complete rebuilt that pathway and it's very nice.  Especially north of 59th street but beware, the department of Sanitation is at 59th street so it get a little smelly right around there but once you pass it, it's a nice walk.  I also recommend The High Line.  Best to enter at 12th street and Washington Street and walk north till you get to end at 30th street.  This drops you off right at The Vessel.  I'm not sure if they've opened The Vessel again after several people committed suicide from jumping off of it but it's still nice to see from the bottom too.

The other note worthy stuff to see in the city are out of the way and with a limited time probably not worth committing such a long travel just for one site.  Cloisters (an extension of the Museum of Art devoted to Christian Renaissance art), Bronx Zoo (there is a Central Park Zoo but not as good as the Bronx Zoo), New York Botanical Gardens, Brooklyn Bridge Park to name a few.

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That's a good itinerary. 

If you're not up for sitting at Katz then you can grab a nosh to go at Russ and Daughters.

Little Italy is very touristy these days. But if you like Italian food, stop at Di Palos - 100-year-old institution. 

High Line is great and moves you uptown surprisingly quickly.

The Met is fantastic, though it will eat up an afternoon. I find some of the smaller museums more doable. 

Is traditional NY pizza on the list? There are a couple of old-school places in Manhattan (Lombardis, Patsy's) but you have the travel to the boroughs for the real good stuff.  

If you go to Grand Central (and you should) look up into the NW corner of the ceiling and you will see a small black rectangle. That was what the entire ceiling looked like from all the years of smoke until they cleaned and revealed it in the '90s. 

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OK gotta agree with Carmine's and Eataly but id argue about a Peter Luger's Steak, but you didnt mention wanting to go to brooklyn, fuggedaboudit. 

Katz all the way!! below is a pic of 2 pastrami ruebens, a single order of fries and an order of pickles. you better be real hungry if you wanna eat one rueben by yourself!

 

KATZ.jpg

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Some of you guys almost make it sound like going to the City would almost be less than painful lol!! I have managed a facility in Brooklyn and another in Long Island City, along with 30 others across the east of the country, for the past 15 plus years and I've been to the city less times than I can count on my fingers lol. I can't stand going there lol. After about two hours I want to beat every taxi driver to death with their own horns!! 

In all my great experience do not forget to grab a dang slice of NYC Pizza and real friggin bagels. Two of the only reasons to go to that city! 

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