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Tips for first NYC trip?

lukeworsham
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Tips for first NYC trip?#1
Posted: 2/4/20 at 8:50pm

As a longtime musical theater super-nerd, I am pumped to be taking my first ever trip to NYC in the second week of March! Already have tickets for Wicked (the first ever musical I saw at age 10!), PTO (never seen the Hal Prince production, only the crap Laurence Connor put on tour), and Company (I may faint in the presence of the true Santa Evita, Mrs. Lupone).

I was wondering if there are any non-obvious landmarks, shops, or anything else that I should check out, or any other general tips you all have. Hoping I get lucky and LMM's recreation of the Drama Book Shop is open by the time I go.

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dmwnc1959
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Tips for first NYC trip?#2
Posted: 2/4/20 at 9:12pm

I have truly enjoyed the simple thrill of walking up and down all the streets taking pictures of the theater marquees. Some of them (i.e. the Lyric Theater) are simply amazing. 

https://www.thebroadwaymap.com/

 HAVE A GREAT TRIP!!!

Updated On: 2/4/20 at 09:12 PM
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Tips for first NYC trip?#3
Posted: 2/4/20 at 9:19pm

These are the 3 tips I always give first-timers:

1. Do Top of the Rock, not the Empire State Building. Identical views (it makes no difference that high up) but you can photograph the ESB when you're on 30 Rock. You can't photograph the ESB if you're on it!

2. Use your MetroCard and take the Staten Island Ferry over and back for great views of the Statue of Liberty for free (well, for one swipe...or free if your card is unlimited).

3. The Hop-Oh/Hop-Off tours are an easy way to see the city, understand how far it is from Point A to Point B, and have "free" transportation from those points because you can...hop on and off whenever you want! They're like $45 pp, but if you aren't a subway-goer, that's 4 or fewer cab rides around the city. You will, however, be at the mercy of the bus route's schedule.

Your request for any and all recs is so broad that it's hard to suggest other things! lol

Get lost in Central Park
Go to Brooklyn Bridge Park
Ride the tram (MetroCard swipe) to Roosevelt Island and take a stroll
If it's raining, every tourist is going to be in every museum (so don't go to a museum on a rainy day if you don't want insane crowds)
Broadway Up Close walking tour (I haven't done it.)
There's an historical Hamilton [guided] walking tour that originates at the Staten Island Ferry terminal that, per my sister, is AMAZING. I don't know the provider but you can probably Google it with that detail and find it. It's an older man who does it.
Food carts are fine and cheap. Get the $2 hot dog at the park if you're hungry.

Umm...that's all I got for now!

(omg why is bullet formatting bold font here??? yikes)

Updated On: 2/4/20 at 09:19 PM
sweaterbox
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Tips for first NYC trip?#4
Posted: 2/4/20 at 10:18pm
Walk through Lincoln Center plaza at night, or ideally see a show if you have the time. There’s also a free Hal Prince exhibit up through the end of March at the NY library branch at Lincoln Center if the behind the scenes stuff interests you. http://www.playbill.com/article/8-highlights-from-the-new-hal-prince-exhibition-at-the-new-york-public-library-for-the-performing-arts

The restaurant Sardi’s (overpriced) has all the stars signed caricatures on the walls, and the restaurant Joe Allen has posters of Broadway flops lining its walls.

Leave extra time to get to your shows or other destinations during your trip so you can enjoy the city en route and not be stressed about delays or traffic jams of the people, car or public transportation variety.
lukeworsham
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Tips for first NYC trip?#5
Posted: 2/4/20 at 10:28pm

sweaterbox said: "Walk through Lincoln Center plaza at night, or ideally see a show if you have the time. There’s also a free Hal Prince exhibit up through the end of March at the NY library branch at Lincoln Center if the behind the scenes stuff interests you. http://www.playbill.com/article/8-highlights-from-the-new-hal-prince-exhibition-at-the-new-york-public-library-for-the-performing-arts

Wow, I had no idea about the Hal Prince exhibit! I’ll definitely be checking that out. Thanks for the recommendation.

lukeworsham
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Tips for first NYC trip?#6
Posted: 2/4/20 at 10:30pm

dmwnc1959 said: "I have truly enjoyed the simple thrill of walking up and down all the streets taking pictures of the theater marquees. Some of them (i.e. the Lyric Theater)are simply amazing.

https://www.thebroadwaymap.com/

HAVE A GREAT TRIP!!!
"

Thank you! 

 

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Tips for first NYC trip?#7
Posted: 2/5/20 at 12:41am
Welcome theatre nerd! I make one or 2 trips to NY each year. I'll be there next March 9-15. Sounds like the same week you are there.

Sidewalk line ups to gain entry into shows are fun. I get a quick sense if I can gab with the guests in front or behind me while on line. You can also skip waiting on line, and just enter 5 or 10 minutes ahead of curtain time. Just be sure to be near your theatre at least 30 minutes ahead of each performance. You don't want to be late! Check start times carefully- some shows may not start at a traditional time.

The sidewalks are VERY busy in Times Square. Be patient with the crowds. Many visitors like to sit on the red steps atop the TKTS booth to soak up the scene.

As others have said, the Hal Prince exhibit at Lincoln Center is great. I only spent an hour in the exhibit last October but will carve out 3 hours this March trip to read the many notes and letters.

Even if I am not staying a full week, I still buy a weekly Metro pass. It's a great value, about $35 for a full week.

Get lots of sleep each night. Sometimes the first night is rough if staying in a noisy area. But your body won't care about the noise on night 2. You'll get use to it.

Theatres do not allow leftovers from dinner. Most are ok if you have a small quiet water bottle, if needed.

See other NY sites as time allows. I love morning hikes through Flushing Meadows, a visit to Coney Island, bagels made with NY water, people watching on the subway or the 42 crosstown bus, visiting church, dim sum in Flushing, Grand Central Station terminal, and dressing like a local.
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Tips for first NYC trip?#8
Posted: 2/5/20 at 12:41am

A post so nice, you saw it twice.

Updated On: 2/5/20 at 12:41 AM
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Tips for first NYC trip?#9
Posted: 2/5/20 at 12:42am
All good recommendations although if I’m not mistaken, the Staten Island Ferry is free. No Metrocard needed.

Just know that you won’t have enough time to do everything. You’ll run out of time. It’s okay to leave some things for your subsequent trips.

Only other thing I can think of off the top of my head is maybe going to a museum if you have time. MoMA has free entry starting at 530 on Fridays.
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Tips for first NYC trip?#10
Posted: 2/5/20 at 1:42am

Mrs. Lupone

She’s Miss Patti LuPone as an actress. 

As a married woman, she’s Mrs. Matt Johnston. 

bear88
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Tips for first NYC trip?#11
Posted: 2/5/20 at 3:10am

Yeah, you're not going to have enough time for everything you want to see, so focus on what you're most interested in this time. New York City is endlessly fascinating, with history in small eateries far from the main tourist attractions. I agree with the MetroPass advice. The bus tour is good for a first-timer. I was glad to take it through the Upper West Side, Harlem, then the East Side on my first trip in decades a few years ago. We stopped where we were interested. Unless the weather is awful, wander around in Central Park and visit a museum that interests you.

But also, give yourself enough time to eat a nice meal so that you're not racing to the show you're seeing.

mailhandler777
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Tips for first NYC trip?#12
Posted: 2/5/20 at 9:15am

Miles2Go2 said: "All good recommendations although if I’m not mistaken, the Staten Island Ferry is free. No Metrocard needed.

Just know that you won’t have enough time to do everything. You’ll run out of time. It’s okay to leave some things for your subsequent trips.

Only other thing I can think of off the top of my head is maybe going to a museum if you have time. MoMA has free entry starting at 530 on Fridays.
"

You need a metro card if you have to take the subway to get to the Staten Island ferry. But yes it's free.

Hi, I'm Val. Formerly DefyGravity777(I believe)
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Tips for first NYC trip?#13
Posted: 2/5/20 at 9:36am
There are a bunch of diners in & around Times Square that get really busy, at X-mas they had huge lineups, but the food at diners in other areas is just as good without the lines, & sometimes even a few blocks away prices are cheaper.
I find google maps to be really helpful when looking for somewhere good to eat close to wherever your location is at the moment.
If you are travelling solo, eat at the bar, & don't worry about reservations.
...
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Tips for first NYC trip?#14
Posted: 2/5/20 at 9:53am

The Hal Prince exhibit is really lovely.  You probably need to plan only an hour for it?   Maybe a bit more, esp if it's crowded.  I went just as they opened, so it was only about 8 of us starting out.

If we're not having fun, then why are we doing it? These are DISCUSSION boards, not mutual admiration boards. Discussion only occurs when we are willing to hear what others are thinking, regardless of whether it is alignment to our own thoughts.
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Tips for first NYC trip?#15
Posted: 2/5/20 at 10:54am

Go to Harlem and eat at Sylvia's.

Seriously the best soul food I've ever had.

When I go I'm there for Broadway shows, so it's a quick trip and not much time for sight seeing.

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Tips for first NYC trip?#16
Posted: 2/5/20 at 11:00am

Walk the High Line

Bike through Central Park (lots of rentals nearby)

Riverside Park & the Hudson River also a nice walk, bike ride

See something at St Ann’s Warehouse

See something at Park Ave Armory
 

Visit The Whitney

Walk wherever you can

Updated On: 2/5/20 at 11:00 AM
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Tips for first NYC trip?#17
Posted: 2/5/20 at 11:45am

lukeworsham said: "As a longtime musical theater super-nerd, I am pumped to be taking my first ever trip to NYC in the second week of March! Already have tickets for Wicked (the first ever musical I saw at age 10!), PTO (never seen the Hal Prince production, only the crap Laurence Connor put on tour), and Company (I may faint in the presence of the true Santa Evita, Mrs. Lupone).

I was wondering if there are any non-obvious landmarks, shops, or anything else that I should check out, or any other general tips you all have. Hoping I get lucky and LMM's recreation of the Drama Book Shop is open by the time I go.
"

I agree with others you won't have time to see everything but if I were you, make sure to do the following:

1) Take a photo outside the theater at Wicked and POTO. One of the things one of my friends do when he visits me in NYC is always take a photo outside the POTO marquee. He visits every 2-3 years but it's always interesting to compare photos of yourself in the same exact location in different years. I have a feeling Wicked and POTO will be there for a long time so in your subsequent trips the likelihood of them still being there is quite high.

2) Buying cocktails/wine in a broadway theater is EXPENSIVE. I think a single white wine is around $19 and a double is $30? Soda is around $8-$9 and no free refills. lol. Just an FYI. On top of that, bartenders still expect a tip. I prefer not to drink inside the theater since I have a tendency to go to the bathroom after 30 mins or so and would rather stay in my seat. 

3) Since it's your first time in NYC, try to do stage door. Wicked and POTO stage door is not that obvious so definitely ask security when you exit where it is exactly. I believe the POTO and COMPANY stage door is the same location.

4) Get to the theater at least 20-30 mins early. Savor the moment. Enjoy and explore each theater. At Wicked (Gershwin), check out the statue of Noel Coward and other theater memorabilia once inside the theater.

5) As a musical theatre nerd, check out a piano bar if you're over 21 years old. I feel it's rare to see piano bars outside of NYC that cater to Broadway songs. The quintessential broadway piano bar (IMHO) is Marie's Crisis in West Village. Cash only. Lots of fun. If you're under 21, fun places to go to eat are Ellen's Stardust diner or Gayle's Broadway Rose (both places have singing waiters.) 

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Tips for first NYC trip?#18
Posted: 2/5/20 at 4:27pm

Wick3 said: "lukeworsham said: "As a longtime musical theater super-nerd, I am pumped to be taking my first ever trip to NYC in the second week of March! Already have tickets for Wicked (the first ever musical I saw at age 10!), PTO (never seen the Hal Prince production, only the crap Laurence Connor put on tour), and Company (I may faint in the presence of the true Santa Evita, Mrs. Lupone).

I was wondering if there are any non-obvious landmarks, shops, or anything else that I should check out, or any other general tips you all have. Hoping I get lucky and LMM's recreation of the Drama Book Shop is open by the time I go.
"

I agree with others you won't have time to see everything but if I were you, make sure to do the following:

1) Take a photo outside the theater at Wicked and POTO. One of the things one of my friends do when he visits me in NYC is always take a photo outside the POTO marquee. He visits every 2-3 years but it's always interesting to compare photos of yourself in the same exact location in different years. I have a feeling Wicked and POTO will be there for a long time so in your subsequent trips the likelihood of them still being there is quite high.

2) Buying cocktails/wine in a broadway theater is EXPENSIVE. I think a single white wine is around $19 and a double is $30? Soda is around $8-$9 and no free refills. lol. Just an FYI. On top of that, bartenders still expect a tip. I prefer not to drink inside the theater since I have a tendency to go to the bathroom after 30 mins or so and would rather stay in my seat.

3) Since it's your first time in NYC, try to do stage door. Wicked and POTO stage door is not that obvious so definitely ask security when you exit where it is exactly. I believe the POTO and COMPANY stage door is the same location.

4) Get to the theater at least 20-30 mins early. Savor the moment. Enjoy and explore each theater. At Wicked (Gershwin), check out the statue of Noel Coward and other theater memorabilia once inside the theater.

5) As a musicaltheatre nerd, check out a piano bar if you're over 21 years old. I feel it's rare to see piano bars outside of NYC that cater to Broadway songs. The quintessential broadway piano bar (IMHO) is Marie's Crisis in West Village. Cash only. Lots of fun. If you're under 21, fun places to go to eat are Ellen's Stardust diner or Gayle's Broadway Rose (both places have singing waiters.)
"

I found Ellen's to be a bit overpriced.  As regular diners go I'm fond of Westway but it is over on 9th. Ave.   

I always recommend the NYPLibrary tours ( free) one-hour tours of the Stephen A. Schwarzman Building begin at 11 AM and 2 PM on Monday through Saturdays and at 2pm on Sundays.  Tours meet at the reception desk in Astor Hall.  and the Radio City Music Hall tour  ($31)  a very interesting view of an incredible art deco building  plus ( unless something is in rehearsal)  they take u on to the stage for the view and u get to be where most of the Tony performances happened! ( and u meet a Rockette)

Definitely schedule a little bit of "down" time. One time I was so exhausted from all the running around I was doing, I sat there staring at the TV screen. The TV was not on at the time.

 

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Tips for first NYC trip?#19
Posted: 2/5/20 at 5:10pm

One word: SCHMACKARY’S

Best cookies in the world in a tiny shop on West 45th two blocks away from Moulin Rouge, Ain’t Too Proud, Dear Evan Hansen, Come From Away...

Many Broadway actors buy their coffee here so you never know who you’ll run into! Not to be missed.

P.S. Get the Funfetti. Trust me! Tips for first NYC trip?

~E
Updated On: 2/5/20 at 05:10 PM
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Tips for first NYC trip?#20
Posted: 2/5/20 at 5:48pm

So many great suggestions on here.  I also really like the Tenement Museum.  An easy and interesting thing to do if you have a few hours - I tend to go late Sunday morning if I have a 3pm matinee ticket.  Have the best time!!  There is great theater put on all over the country, but there really is nothing like the magic of Broadway!

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Tips for first NYC trip?#21
Posted: 2/5/20 at 9:38pm

Who suggested Ellen's? The food is mediocre and very overpriced. Plus, there's always a line out the door because people don't know this. (Or don't care?) I'd avoid that at all costs.

Seconding Westside Diner on 9th; I go there several times a year. There are a lot of great places on 9th.

Empanada Mama is one of my favorites!

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Tips for first NYC trip?#22
Posted: 2/6/20 at 1:03am

I also like walking around Broadway and taking pictures of all the Marquees.  A neat thing to do with them is to have a yearly wall calendar made with the pics to remember your trip the year after.

Central Park is a must. Walk down the Mall to Bethesda Terrace.

Lincoln Center Plaza at night is also a must with the fountain and the stairs lit. Always give me goosebumps walking up to the Met at night.

Do the Broadway Theater tour if you have the chance also.

I agree with doing Top of the Rock. The elevator ride up is really cool and you can do Rockefeller Center while there.

Just give the world Love.
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Tips for first NYC trip?#23
Posted: 2/7/20 at 9:00pm
Check out The Vessel @ Hudson Yards. And if you can squeeze in another show:. HADESTOWN is a must see