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New York City - Brooklyn


momthecruisedirector

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Well, we've made our decision and will be booking the 9 day cruise out of New York for this July. We are going to be running ourselves ragged but that (for us) is what makes a vacation. Heck, we'll sleep when we get back to work - ha-ha.

 

Here is the game plan - the cruise leaves on a Sunday so we will fly out of Seattle Friday night after work (hopefully we won't be so wound up that we won't be able to sleep) and arrive Saturday morning. I was hoping to stay at the hotel Princess offers for pre and post but it is PRICY so now I am looking for your suggestions for a one night stay in Brooklyn. We'll probably do a cheesy tour on Saturday since we'll be pretty tired but will still want to see what we can.

 

Leave for cruise on Sunday - return the following Tuesday.

 

Stay in New York on Tuesday night. I am planning on staying around 51st and Lexington. We will be well rested from the cruise so will hit the streets of New York running.

 

Will take the train from Penn Station to Union Station in DC late Wednesday and return to New York on Saturday to fly home unless I can get good airfare flying back from DC - seems the multi city flights can be more expensive.

 

I know, believe me I KNOW, this sounds overwhelming but how often are we gonna get to the NE coast? And we're taking our 17 year old and want to make the most of family vacations before he's off to college and then a family of his own - boo-hoo.

 

So....any suggestions for a) hotels in Brooklyn

b) not to cheesy tours but I do want to see Ellis Island (where my great grandparents entered this country)

c)good New York pizza for the son

d) museums - I don't know.....

 

And if you have particular things to see in DC???? Let me have it!

 

Thanks, in advance, for all your guidance.

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Hop-on, hop-off bus idea is a good one. Another option is a boat tour around Manhattan (to see it from the water). Next time, I'll probably do one or both of these.

 

We decided to do our own tour via the $7 all-day transportation pass (purchased from a Hudson News stand). We stayed near Penn Station. First thing in the morning, we walked over to the Empire State Building to be there when it opened. We had prepurchased our tickets, so we went right up. After that, we headed back to catch a subway to Rockefeller Center, walked around, went to a craft museum, grabbed a quick lunch, then back on the Subway down to catch the FREE Staten Island ferry for good views of the Statue of Liberty. Came right back on the ferry then back to the hotel for a nap. Later that evening, hit a little grill near our hotel for dinner, then over to Times Square. We missed seeing a lot of New York, but we experienced the subway!

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You go in July?! - It's hot and humid then. You're running around may have you dragging around, be careful. There is much to do in NY. Unless it's really necessary, I would do DC in another trip. (All of the Smithsonian museums are nice.) NY has so much to offer - Broadway shows, concerts, sports/games/museums/Central Park/tours - NBC/Rockefller Center/Radio City Music Hall/Empire State Bldg - I always like the Blue Water Grill (restaurant in a converted old bank - the downstairs "safe" is converted into a jazz club).

I suggest you do some homework on NY. Remember distances times traffic equals more time and that times NY attitudes times the heat equals something you need to prepare for.

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Momthecruisedirector - We love spending time in NYC and the best way to see everything is to go to Borders and invest in a map. I will try to find the name of the map but it has all the points of interest for NYC. Here is what I recommend - don't go with a cheesy tour since it looks like you will be spending two days in NY one on Saturday and then one on Tuesday when you return - I would suggest doing the Ellis Island Tour/Statue of Liberty tour (since you will be tired from long flight I would wait to do downtown Manhattan until Tuesday) - you should go down to Battery Park which is where I believe you can catch the tour - there are also other areas down by the waterfront that you could go to, South Street Seaport for shopping and food - you are also relatively close to were the World Trade Center memorial should be. I would suggest trying to do everything by subway (you might need to ask for directions). When you come back on Tuesday here are some of the spots that we always like to hit in Manhattan ~we usually grab a taxi and start at one end and work our way down - We start around the Central Park area and go into FAO Shwartz, head down 5th Ave and you will hit Rockefeller Center, Tiffany's Diamonds, St Patricks Cathedral and then walk over to Broadway where all the theatres are located. There are plenty of websites on NYC and if you even invest in the map and or a book you will be able to see everything you want.

As for DC - I would again recommend a book or even going online - if you want to tour the White house you need to set this up in advance but make sure you hit the memorials, WWII, Lincoln Memorial, The reflecting pool, Washington Monument (is you want to go up in this I think you need to make prior arrangements for this as well), Vietnam Memorial, Korean Memorial (I have never been to this but I hear it is a real neat place to stop and see)..and then of course you have all the Smithsonian Museums. Just be prepared to do alot of walking in both DC and NYC but it is the best way to see things. I would also do a little research into both cities....Any more questions let me know!

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Thank you all so much. I know I will have to be very prepared for this trip so we aren't wasting time and I really do want to ENJOY our visit too. I have bought two books so far, the Unoffical Guide to New York City and Washington DC. I think a good street map is a great idea. I will have to have things pretty well mapped out (in my head and on paper) before we go or I will stress out. We'll have a back up plan and truth be told, even if we only get to see one or two things I'll be happy - never thought I'd ever get to New York so that in itself is enough for me. My husband really wants to do the DC part, see the Smithsonian so we will squeeze that in. He'll have to pick one or two which will be difficult for him. I'll be writing to our congressperson to get info packets (they have a sample letter in the book).

 

I am cutting and pasting all your suggestions. I think a ride and walk tour is a good idea - taking a tour bus where they let you get out for a while and then reboard to take you to the next destination will work well for us. The options are endless. We will be there the first and second weeks of July (with the cruise in the middle) so hopefully the heat won't have hit too hard yet. I appreciate the warning and the great ideas.

 

Thanks again!

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In NYC, I'd second the suggestion of the Statue of Liberty/Ellis Island tour. You can get a ferry from Battery Park; go to www.circlelinedowntown.com. If you're going to take public transportation around New York, check www.mta.info and www.nycvisit.com. DH and oldest son have stayed at the Brooklyn Marriott and found it very nice.

 

In DC, if I had to choose two Smithsonian museums to visit, I'd choose the National Air and Space Museum and the National Museum of American History. The former has exhibits from the start of aviation history to the space shuttle; the latter has a number of collections, including the first ladies' inauguration ball gowns. Now if you asked my eldest son, he'd substitute the National Museum of Natural History for the American History museum, which has a wonderful dinosaur exhibit, as well as much of interest to someone who likes science.

 

You fortunately have a lot of time to plan your trip. Enjoy!

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If you go to the Amtrak website you will find a link for a credit card offer that gives you free Amtrak tickets instead of airplane frequent flyer benefits. I have this card and use it a lot. If I'm not mistaken, you can get three one way tickets on Amtrak for soemthing like 7,500 "miles" earned at a rate of 1 miles per dollar charged.

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My suggestion for getting free Amtrak tickets was intended for the people who have stated that their plan is to take a train from New York to Washington DC on the Wednesday afternoon following their cruise. If you already use Amtrak, this credit card program gives free tickets at a relatively low point of entry.

 

Currently, I am trying to work my points balance on a Seamiles Mastercard up to the minimum for a free cruise (40,000 points) and I'll be able to determine whether that is a decent value.

 

Again, I wasn't trying to open debate on the merits of the generally superior rail system in Europe (I love the trip from London to Paris) to the sometimes hit and miss service of Amtrak. These folks already decided to use Amtrak from NY to DC and I was trying to help them save money.

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Although I am originally from Brooklyn and consider myself a true New Yorker, I recommend trying to find deals, such as through Priceline, AAA, or the Entertainment Card, maybe even Costco or Sam's Club, and stay in Manhattan. You'll be right in the center of the action, be able to walk to alot of attractions, and get a real "New York" flavor. Staying in Brooklyn is a solid 30 minute train ride to most activities in Manhattan.

 

Be sure to check out the Museum of Natural History, the Museum of Modern Art, the Empire State Building, and South Street Seaport.

 

You'll have a great time!

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As someone who has spent much time working in Manhattan, I'll throw in my two cents.

 

Get the Greyline 48 Hour All Loop Hop On Hop Off ticket. This is a wonderful way to get an overview of NYC and relax. I always take my newbie friends and family and it is always a highlight for them. Do not miss the night time Brooklyn tour.

 

I'm mixed about your desire to stay in Brooklyn. While it is my favorite borrough, if you are spending all your time seeing the Manhattan attractions, stay in Manhattan! Any money you save staying in Brooklyn will be offset by the inconvenience and cost of traveling back and forth. While the commute time is minimal, it will quickly turn into a pain when someone wants to run back to the hotel to drop off packages.

 

Whatever you do, walk the Brooklyn Bridge.

 

Take the free Staten Island Ferry for unsurpassed views of the Statue of Liberty. Dusk is the most fabulous time to see it, lower Manhattan, and the Brooklyn Bridge light up. Just stay on board for the return trip to Battery Park.

 

The Metropolitan Museum of Art is an encyclopedic museum and the largest in the Western Hemisphere. Its massive collections span 5,000 years and it is so extensive, the Metropolitan Museum of Art can only display a fraction of its treasures. Do not miss: Temple of Dendur (the Egyptian government GAVE the MMoA an entire dig for funding it). Also, there is a Frank Lloyd Wright house inside the Met reconstructed in its entirety.

 

While I've been to the various Smithsonian Museums through my life (the Hope diamond still gives me the willies), nothing compares with the MMoA.

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I go to NYC about 4 times per year, and I would not stay in Brooklyn. Best advice is to get a good guide book and determine your interests. I also would not go on the greyline buses, it is simple to get around the city on your own and I am always seeing lines of people waiting for the bus- again time is the thing here. IF you do your homework and map out the correct routing for your touring you can see and do more. Mentioned above is the unlimited ride Metro card, for clarification these can be purchased at any subway entrance. A great value if you are taking more than 3 subways/buses.

 

Be very careful with NYC priceline hotels, a big percentage are for one bed only, roll aways aren't common either. For a bargain I stay at the Days Inn on 8th or Super 8, both 1 long block to Times Square, easy subway access.

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Thanks to all.

 

Budgetqueen - you're information on our Alaska trip was wonderful, thanks for adding to this forum also.

 

We will stay in Brooklyn the first night only because we are sailing out of the new pier (Red Hook) in Brooklyn. When we get back from the cruise we are staying in Manhattan for two nights.

 

For the day we arrive in Brooklyn - how far is it to take the Statan Island Ferry? We are planning on walking over the bridge - is there somewhere to eat lunch on 'the other' side? Our hotel is 1 1/2 blocks from the bridge, in Brooklyn. Also, I read Coney Island is a pretty good distance from the bridge - is that true?

 

I need to buy a detailed city map so I can really visualize where we are and where we want to go.

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Thanks to all.

 

Budgetqueen - you're information on our Alaska trip was wonderful, thanks for adding to this forum also.

 

We will stay in Brooklyn the first night only because we are sailing out of the new pier (Red Hook) in Brooklyn. When we get back from the cruise we are staying in Manhattan for two nights.

 

For the day we arrive in Brooklyn - how far is it to take the Statan Island Ferry? We are planning on walking over the bridge - is there somewhere to eat lunch on 'the other' side? Our hotel is 1 1/2 blocks from the bridge, in Brooklyn. Also, I read Coney Island is a pretty good distance from the bridge - is that true?

 

I need to buy a detailed city map so I can really visualize where we are and where we want to go.

 

The Marriott in Brooklyn is a nice hotel. I haven't stayed there, but have attended functions there. From the Marriott it is about a 5 minute walk to the train and a 10 minute ride to various points in lower Manhattan.

The 1 1/2 blocks from the bridge is to the very base of the bridge - it is quite a walk, but lots of fun. Most of the places to eat on the Manhattan side of the bridge are expensive (dh & I had a "snacky" lunch one afternoon after walking over the bridge - cost us about $60 for one crab cake, one burger, two soft drinks - and this was in 2000). There are a number of "ethnic" restaurants about 10 minutes from the Marriott, not super cheap, but very reasonably priced. Most of them are on Montague Street - there is a Greek place there we go to often and a decent hamburger place. A few more blocks over on Atlantic Avenue are some Middle Eastern places - they are all great, but highish prices for smallish portions. There is also a French "country" place called LaBouillabase (sp?) that we love, but it is very small (maybe 8 tables), no reservations. Hmmm, we need to go out to eat soon. If you walk down Montague Street, you will come to the Promenade - a place we visit on any clear evening when we go "downtown" to eat. There is a great view of Manhattan from the Promenade.

Anyway, if you are interested in seeing Coney Island, and it is a beautiful day, you could hop on the subway and take the train to Coney Island (I'll check on what the specific train letter is if you want- they changed them relatively recently and I can't remember if it is the "F" that still goes to CI or not). It is probably about a 25 minute ride. CI is the last stop and when you get out you are right near the Wonderwheel and Cyclone. The boardwalk runs for miles to the left and right. A short walk (or earlier subway stop) will take you to the New York Aquarium. The aquarium sits right on the boardwalk and is fabulous if you like aquariums. If it is a sunny day and you are interested in any of the aquarium shows, wear sun protection. There is a local water section with hands-on exhibits that I love.

From there, you could take a train (while it is a mostly subway system, we usually call them trains) (actually two trains) to lower Manhattan and catch the Staten Island ferry (an absolutely wonderful ride with great views of the Statue of Liberty as someone else told you).

It is a long walk from the ferry terminal to the Brooklyn Bridge - too long if you then want to walk over the Brooklyn Bridge.

If any of this sounds like it's interesting to you, let me know and I'll get you specific details.

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Thanks to all.

 

Budgetqueen - you're information on our Alaska trip was wonderful, thanks for adding to this forum also.

 

We will stay in Brooklyn the first night only because we are sailing out of the new pier (Red Hook) in Brooklyn. When we get back from the cruise we are staying in Manhattan for two nights.

 

For the day we arrive in Brooklyn - how far is it to take the Statan Island Ferry? We are planning on walking over the bridge - is there somewhere to eat lunch on 'the other' side? Our hotel is 1 1/2 blocks from the bridge, in Brooklyn. Also, I read Coney Island is a pretty good distance from the bridge - is that true?

 

I need to buy a detailed city map so I can really visualize where we are and where we want to go.

 

there are two web sites I found,

http://www.mta and http://www.hopstop that have info on the subways. The MTA one has a phone number you can order free maps 718-33-3322, 9AM - 5PM (Eastern) Mondays-Fridays. If they won't mail them to you, post a note and I'll order them and mail them.

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For the day we arrive in Brooklyn - how far is it to take the Statan Island Ferry? We are planning on walking over the bridge - is there somewhere to eat lunch on 'the other' side? Our hotel is 1 1/2 blocks from the bridge, in Brooklyn. Also, I read Coney Island is a pretty good distance from the bridge - is that true?

 

CONEY ISLAND -- Take the N or R train from Court Street to the last stop. Figure a half an hour, much of which is above ground. If you are going there you may want to walk along the boardwalk to the neighborhood known as Brighton Beach. It is a real Russian neighborhood with fantastic Russian restaurants. Check guidebooks for recommended restaurants.

 

BROOKLYN BRIDGE/DINING - Many of the best restaurants in North America are walking distance from the Manhattan side of the Brooklyn Bridge. Nobu (Japanese food), Bouley (French), Danube (Austrian) all come to mind. Again, if you look in a guide book you'll see how highly rated these restaurants are. If you're only coming to NYC once spend $50 per person on a lunch that you'll never forget instead of spending $25 per person on a burger and fries.

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We will stay in Brooklyn the first night only because we are sailing out of the new pier (Red Hook) in Brooklyn. When we get back from the cruise we are staying in Manhattan for two nights.

 

For the day we arrive in Brooklyn - how far is it to take the Statan Island Ferry? We are planning on walking over the bridge - is there somewhere to eat lunch on 'the other' side? Our hotel is 1 1/2 blocks from the bridge, in Brooklyn. Also, I read Coney Island is a pretty good distance from the bridge - is that true?

 

I need to buy a detailed city map so I can really visualize where we are and where we want to go.

 

From the Marriott, it is about a 7 minute walk to the pedestrian entrance of the Brooklyn Bridge, a 20 minute walk over the bridge itself and another 20 minutes down Park Row and Broadway to the S.I. Ferry terminal. The ferry ride itself is 30 minutes each way (including embarking/disembarking time) and you must leave the boat at the opposite terminal. You should leave yourself a minimum of 90 minutes for the ferry trip itself, just in case you miss the return boat, as the boats are on a 30 minute headway on weekday afternoons and all weekend (except late night).

 

As an alternative to walking, there are two nearby subway stations where you can catch trains to the ferry terminal area:

  • Lawrence St - The Manhattan-bound R train will you take you to Whitehall St, across the street from the ferry terminal, in about six minutes (plus waiting time).
  • Borough Hall -The Manhattan-bound 4 train will you take you to Bowling Green, a 4 minute walk from the ferry terminal, in about 3.5 minutes (plus waiting time).

Please be aware that NYCTransit is doing massive amounts of work in the Lower Manhattan area, and, as a result, either or both of these services may be changed for an entire weekend at a time. Check http://www.mta.info/nyct/service/subsrvno.htm for any service changes.

 

Coney Island is, of course, in the opposite direction from the S.I. Ferry, and is not within walking distance. Again, starting from the Marriott, you have two choices:

  • Jay St - Take the Coney Island-bound F train to the last stop.
  • Lawrence St - Take the 95 St-bound R train two stops to Pacific St, walk directly across the platform and take either the N train or the D train to the last stop.

No matter which way you choose, it will take about 35 minutes to get to Coney Island.

 

If you have any other questions concerning travelling by subway, feel free to send an e-mail to: AlexL@si.rr.com Please put either CruiseCritic or MTA in the subject heading so it doesn't go straight to the trash

 

Alex L

Train operator for NYCTransit

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CONEY ISLAND -- Take the N or R train from Court Street to the last stop. Figure a half an hour, much of which is above ground. If you are going there you may want to walk along the boardwalk to the neighborhood known as Brighton Beach. It is a real Russian neighborhood with fantastic Russian restaurants. Check guidebooks for recommended restaurants.

 

:confused:Take the N or R train from Court Street to the last stop.:confused:

 

There is a big difference between the last stop of the N train (Coney Island - Stillwell & Surf Aves) and the last stop of the R train (Bay Ridge - 95th St and 4th Ave), not to mention that, unless you're travelling during the late night/really early morning hours, the N doesn't stop at Court St.

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Oh my gosh - whoever said New Yorkers weren't friendly! You are all so generous with your information, thank you. Does it sound too crazy to admit that I've taken large sheets of construction paper and posted them in the spareroom to write notes on????? I am a visual learner so have to have it all written out so I can see all my options - well, that and I am getting older and can't remember anything unless I write it down!! I wish we were spending more time in NY so we could see it without missing so much - but we'll hit a few highlights and perhaps come back again and just do a land vacation.

 

Again - thank you all so much. I LOVE cruisecritic!!!!

 

Pam

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