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Autumn in New York

Here are my plans for my little jaunt to NYC:

1. Eat! (but I also want to keep to a budget, so this will be difficult) – please give me your suggestions for places I must try (preferably under $25 a person. Triple points if it’s under $15 a person).

2. Night Tour to Statue of Liberty: $29 – according to officials, this is a “once in a lifetime” opportunity. So I guess I’m seizing my chance to see the Statue of Liberty at night.

3. Tango: I already have a couple of classes and milongas scoped out, thanks to the wealth of information provided by newyorktango.com.

4. Office visit & informationals with a startup I’ve been doing on a freelance project for. Very excited to put a face with a name and meet some new people.

5. Campus visit to Columbia University. When I was in middle school, Columbia was my top choice for college. I once went to sleep with a copy of the brochure tucked under my pillow. Since I’m in New York City, I figured it’d be a good opportunity to check out some MBA classes and see if the school is a good fit for me when I go back to graduate school down the road.

6. Lots of walking around during the day time, just taking in the sights and sounds of the city. A little bit of window shopping thrown in, but probably no actual shopping for the sake of my wallet. 

7. Brunch, lunch, dinner, cocktails with friends. Again, did I mention that I think about food 24/7? If in doubt, please refer to 1.

8. Broadway show. I hope to get one of those cheap tickets at a kiosk 4 hours before the show starts. I really would love to see Mary Poppins, Wicked, or Chicago. Does anyone have suggestions on where / what kiosks to look for and what’s the er, strategy I should employ?

9. Shop for a little something for my landlady. What should I buy her? I don’t want to get her a cheap touristy trinket that she’ll just throw away after a few weeks (mini Statue of Liberty, I <3 New York snow globes, etc.)

10. Get souvenirs for CB, Mom, and friends. Again, ideas appreciated.

11. Catch up on Chinese homework. Because I have 3 classes the week I get back… But to make myself feel better about it, I guess I’ll budget $10 here and there to do so in a cool NYC coffee shop. 😉

After New York City, my destinations (w/in the continental US) are Austin and D.C. I don’t have any close friends in Austin though, so I might have to budget for hotels. But Austin seems like such a cool city that I really want to visit!

  • anna n - You really should try pearl oyster bar (http://www.pearloysterbar.com/)! I don’t remember if we came in under 25 dollars/person, but it was great value for our money and my favourite diningexcperience from my new york-visit.ReplyCancel

  • Jessica Dietz - You should look into trying The Spice Market for dinner. I went with some friends last year, and it was really fun! Their website is http://www.spicemarketnewyork.com/. It’s in the meat packing district so you could also go out for drinks afterward.

    Oh and if you like tea, there is a great tea shop called The T Salon in Chelsea Market (also in the meatpacking district). You can find info here: http://chelseamarket.com/tsalon/ and here: http://www.tsalon.com/. The owner makes all of her teas in house and she is really quirky but loves talking about the tea! I still wish I had bought tea from her while I was there.ReplyCancel

  • Little Miss Moneybags - Mary Poppins has a $30 student rush and SRO, Wicked has a $26.50 lottery rush (which I’ve won three times when I had guests in town, so I’ve never gotten to see!), and Chicago has a $31.50 general rush and $26.50 SRO. See more here. You can also go to the TKTS booths, but I recommend the one downtown or in Brooklyn instead of in Times Square–the lines aren’t nearly as long. I don’t usually bother with rushes anymore, and instead do some hardcore googling for coupon codes to use online or at the box office. I’ve had pretty good luck with those, but I usually stay in the mezzanine seats.

    As for souvenirs, you could get your landlady, mom and girlfriends pashminas from street vendors–if you live in a cold weather climate, these things work great as scarves and usually cost $5-10 (don’t pay more than that, you’re getting ripped off!). Boyfriends like food, right? Custom M&Ms from the M&M store or a giant kiss from the Hershey store or anything from Dylan’s Candy Bar are fun ideas. There’s also an NBA store and an NHL store in midtown.

    As for food, I recommend looking around on Yelp. There are just too many places to recommend!ReplyCancel

  • Jenn - I’m from NYC and I love it here, so if I may impart some of my NYC knowledge…

    Eating: Check out menupages.com, if you haven’t already. You can find restaurants by area and then sort them by type and price. It also provides reviews, so that you can see what others think and of course, it wouldn’t be called menupages without providing you with their complete menu too! It’s a great resource.

    Places I like to go (that are not too expensive): New York Burger Co. (14th St. and 6th Avenue), 7A (7th St. & Avenue A), El Cantinero (University Place between 11th & 12th St.), Wo Hops (Mott St. between Mosco St. & Chatham Square), Home on 8th (8th Avenue between 29th & 30th Streets), Yum Yum Bangkok (9th Avenue between 45th and 46th Streets), and the Chelsea Market (9th Avenue between 15th & 16th Streets). Also Junior’s has good food and great cheesecake; since you are unlikely to venture into Brooklyn though, there is one in Times Square.

    Broadway Shows: The ticket kiosk (known as TKTS) you refer to can be found in Times Square, not far from MTV. There is another location at the South Street seaport, but I’ve never been to that one and don’t know how it works. The key to TKTS is getting there early. If you are planning to go to a matinee (on s Wednesday or a Sunday afternoon), the hours for tickets are 10am-2pm. If I were you I would get there around 8:30am for this, and while you probably won’t be first in line, you won’t be terribly far back either. If you are going to an evening show, it opens at 3pm for that (and you can’t get any evening tickets during the matinee time) and I would try to get there around 1pm.

    The other thing about TKTS booths is that what they offer, theoretically, changes by day, as they are set up to sell unsold tickets to some shows. However, if a show is very popular and pretty confident that they can sell whatever leftovers they may have on their own, it likely won’t be there. I haven’t been to a show in awhile, but I’m fairly certain Wicked will not be an option at TKTS. Mary Poppins and Chicago (especially Chicago as it is an older show), likely will be.

    Ideas for souvenirs: I suspect you will know what to get people when you see it, but if I were in your shoes, I would try to get people something they would typically enjoy from someplace that is specific to New York. For example, for someone who likes to read get them a book (or a tote, or something like that) from the Strand (Broadway between 12th and 13th Streets). If someone likes to cook, get them a piece of cook wear or a specialty item (like some fancy olive oil, chocolate, or tea) from the Chelsea market. Buy someone who likes fashion or shopping a pair of gloves (or whatever they have that doesn’t break your budget) from the original Bloomingdale’s or the original Macy’s. Because even though in this day and age you can get these sort of things anywhere, it is kind of special to have something from a place that is well-known. And this way they are getting something they will enjoy and use, and not some touristy junk.

    Anyway, I think that’s all I have for now. Sorry for the length of this comment; hope it helps!ReplyCancel

  • J. Money - Sexy! You better holler when you’re in DC and I’ll gather the group down here together to meet ya 😉 We’ll host a happy hour in your honor.

    In the meantime, enjoy NYC! Living there in Autumn was one of my favorite places to be – you’re gonna love it.ReplyCancel

  • Eric - I was just in NYC a few weeks ago and had a blast! The best places to eat are the little $2 pizza shops that line the streets of the city.

    For tickets, you should check out the TKTS booths around town (as Moneybags points out). The one in Times Square sucks and gets super busy, so you might find another. There are a few of them (tdf.org/tkts) and they all offer discounted tickets for most shows.

    If you want to practice Chinese, go haggle with the little shops in Chinatown. That will give your language skills a workout.

    Have fun!ReplyCancel

  • Rachelle - I just started reading your site recently and I love it! Very very fabulous. I’m actually a native New Yorker and I agree with both comments above. Definitely go to Chinatown and practice that chinese.

    Also when you’re looking out to eat, just turn into a street. Don’t go to all the big places, its usually the smaller ones that will give you the best experience. For example, instead of Union Square, get off at Astor place and walk around. There are so many great and quirky shops, you’ll get a great foodie experience in NY.

    As for gifts, I’m infamous for my horrible gift giving skills, but I did like the pashmina idea. As for something for the boy, they usually like functional things. So if he has a phone, a case off of a street vendor will do. Or anything along that stream of thought. Anyways, I will definitely be subscribing to your blog and coming back!ReplyCancel

  • Money Maus - Agree with the TKTS booth, though I’ve always used the Times Square location and the lines have never been that long, plus most of the tourists are gone this time of year! I’ve tried the Wicked lottery but never won.

    Food: Tiffin Wallah ($, Indian, samosa chaat/chole bathura/mango lassis – my favorite restaurant in NYC!), Public ($$$, American), Hagi ($$, Japanese), Ippudo ($$, Japanese – specifically, ramen), Pio Pio ($, Peruvian, buy the $10 whole chicken & share since it’s enough for 4 people), Calle Ocho ($$, Latin American), Rice to Riches ($, rice pudding – YUM!), any crepe place, Fatty Crab ($$$, Malaysian/Asian fusion – very different but awesome!), SushiSamba ($$$, sushi/Asian fusion, just go for the SambaJuice drinks/decor/location!),Village Mingala ($, Burmese), Porchetta ($$, sandwiches are DELICIOUS)… also, ANY street vendors in Midtown like Hallo Berlin for German, gyros, or the Dosa Man in Washington Square Park near NYU are all REALLY cheap and delicious. Brunch places are everywhere, it is a way of life here. (Umm… can you tell I’m a LITTLE obsessed with the food here?!)

    Other: I love taking the hop-on/hop-off tour bus. Sounds lame, but it’s the EASIEST way to see the entire city and so much fun! The night tours are spectacular. I take friends on this all the time even though I’ve been to NYC a lot and lived there for a summer. Central Park is beautiful (so is Prospect Park in Brooklyn if you make it off the island), just walking through SoHo and Greenwich Village is a blast – especially all the window-shopping at a million boutiques. And, of course, the people-watching is ridiculous all over the city! HAVE A BLAST!! :)ReplyCancel

  • MoneyMateKate - Restaurants on 9th Avenue from ~45th-58th Streets are a great combination of quality cuisine and affordable prices. Best Thai in the city (according to Thai people) is Wandee Siam, which has 3 or 4 locations in that 13-block strip I listed above. My very critical sisters (former waitresses in Aspen) as well as the rest of my family LOVE Eatery on 53rd & 9th. Another 1-2 blocks down from that is VYNL with great food, great decor, and the most entertaining bathrooms EVER. Anyway, that stretch of 9th Avenue is a lot of fun for the 20s-early 30s crowd and at the same time reasonably priced.ReplyCancel

  • Susie - Re: Broadway – I would check Broadwaybox.com, they don’t have deep discounts like rush or lotto, but you can find some decent discounts. If you’re open to considering other shows, I’d say look into In The Heights (lottery) or Next to Normal (rush, but it’s intense, people line up at like 4am!). Next to Normal also has rear mezz seats always at $36, and the Booth is small so it’s still a great view.

    If you want to lotto a show, I’d do that and then check out the TKTS booth. The TKTS booth in Times Square isn’t bad if you wait until 4 or 5. Don’t line up and wait… there’s no reason. Theaters often release more tickets closer to show time anyway.

    Ditto about the bus tours. I’ve never done it, but I’ve had friends take their family and they loved it! I’ll have to do it sometime when I have visitors…

    Forgive the shameless plug, but this explains the basics of lotto and rush, which can be confusing: http://www.filife.com/stories/how-to-get-cheap-broadway-ticketsReplyCancel

  • Dominique - Was just in NYC a few weeks ago and got some recommendations from friends and co-workers that work in NYC; great ideas so I am passing along.

    Two must-eats:
    Dim Sum at Joe’s Shanghai in Chinatown http://www.yelp.com/biz/joes-shanghai-new-york-2 We loved, loved, loved the dumplings. So good.

    The Frying Pan on Pier 63. If you get a nice night you must check this out for dinner/drinks. It’s a pier and a formerly sunken barge and you can sit anywhere. Such a cool find. Would have never even heard of it had it not been recommended.

    For drinks – McSorelys. Interesting history. http://www.mcsorleysnewyork.com/home.html

    Also, in our top 5 things to do were:
    Walk around West Village and dream of living in the brownstones.
    Central Park
    30 Rock NBC studios tour (really cool)
    Top of the Rock (waaaayyyy better than Empire State)
    Harbor Lights Cruise at sunset, we actually saw the Statue at sunset, it was beautiful. http://www.circleline42.com/site/browse.aspx?group=1

    Have fun!ReplyCancel

  • Laura - I’d advise staying away from TKTS and doing rush instead. Usually TKTS doesn’t have great shows, whereas rush is available for even the best shows.ReplyCancel

  • CentsInTheCity - Definitely make sure you have some pizza. I’ve had a lot of great pizza in NYC, but my favorite is Grimaldi’s in Brooklyn. It’s close to the bridge, which is a fun walk (as long as it’s nice outside.) You also get some great views of the city, so it is worth the walk. If you don’t feel like walking you can take a short subway ride. If you are not in the mood for Brooklyn, Lombardi’s in Soho is also very famous. If you’re buying slices I would recommend Pomodoro’s which is right across the street.

    I would also recommend going to Joe’s Shanghai in Chinatown and getting soup dumplings. There’s soup inside the dumplings. You get 8 for about $5 and I think they can only found in NYC and China. It’s pretty neat, just make sure you put a small hole in the dumpling to let the soup cool off before eating.ReplyCancel

  • sfordinarygirl - I’d disagree with Cents about Joe’s Shanghai – very overrated and pricey for dumplings.

    Hit up Prosperity Dumpling in NY’s Chinatown. Also take the 7 train to Flushings – another Chinatown for hand-pulled noodles. The mega shopping plazas in Flushings have delicious to-go Chinese food from sesame bread, tarts and green onion pancake. the little carts in flushings also make great thinly sliced pork stuffed in pancakes, more dumplings (hot off the stove) and other dim sum goodies.

    there’s also lots of falafel cars near central park – any one of them will hit the spot. i second mcsorley’s – a fun place to people watch. for potato knishes and other jewish deli goods try katz in the lower east side.ReplyCancel

  • Carrie...On The Cheap - I already tweeted this to you, but I’ve always wanted to do the Sex & The City tour if I ever visit NYC.ReplyCancel

  • Amy - Here are some food rec’s for ya:

    The Smith does $14 burger and a beer (comes with fries) on Sundays. And their burgers are super-tasty and made from quality beef. YUM! They are on 10th street & 3rd Ave. Here is the site: http://www.ctrnyc.com/THESMITH/index.html

    Cafe Duke – 41st and Broadway. Great for all meals, very very casual – a buffet-style market kind of place where you can get pretty much anything you want. They have a huge selection! I’ve never paid more than $20, and that’s with a heaping buffet box, drink, and dessert!

    Simply Pasta – also 41st and Broadway. Food is awesome, the staff treats you like a VIP, great ambiance. I might suggest a reservation if you’re there over the weekend, but otherwise you can walk in and they usually have a table. http://www.simplypastanyc.com

    Langan’s – 47th and 7th; http://www.langans.com – as their website says, “cost-saving comfort food;” swanky but not pricey. They have a great bar area too. Make a reservation, though! Popular with the pre-theater crowd.

    Swanky rooftop bar of awesome: 230 Fifth (also it’s address, at Fifth and 27th street). NOT cheap, but very well worth the $15 martini for the view, crowd, and ambiance. The view is amazing, you’re close to the Empire State Building. Note that there is a dress code – look polished, no flip flops or messy looks no matter how much your ripped denim cost, etc. (I’m sure you always look fab, though!) I’ve gone here for a drink or two and then on to a cheaper pub. Makes one feel very NYC-fabulous!

    Also, I would do the rush tickets – I’ve done it several times with great success. If you do opt for TKTS, it is much better if you hit it on a weekday, not a weekend. And keep in mind that the shows are closed on Mondays!ReplyCancel

  • chasingparadise - I saw Wicked last year when I was in NYC. If you can see it, please do! It is amazing! I’d love to go again.

    And I wish I had some restaurant suggestions for you, but I went with this super picky eater who practically ruined that part of the trip for me. :(ReplyCancel

  • sfordinarygirl - also I like Serendipity 3 ala the movie “serendipity.” their frozen hot chocolate is best on a cool autumn day, not summers or winters, doesn’t have the same feel!

    nearby is Dylan’s Candy Store, a fun place for gifts everyone will like. =)ReplyCancel

  • Anna - There’s a great sandwich place in east midtown called Lamazou that you must checked out. For gifts/souvirs, try the MOMA gift shop. Have fun :-)ReplyCancel

  • Evelyn - http://www.seathainyc.com/sea/brooklyn/index.html

    Sea is def the place to go for good cheap food. The Brooklyn location is prettier but if you don’t want to leave the city there is also an East Village location.

    Can’t wait to here about your trip! Enjoy!ReplyCancel

  • Marisol - Hope you are having a blast!ReplyCancel

  • Roxie Casamento - Amazing blog post. My relatives went throught pretty much the same when they looked for Wicked Tickets. I mentioned to them to Buy Wicked Tickets from BuyWickedTickets . net ReplyCancel

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