(F)All in: NY

Here we are again, time for a seasonal travel post, this time for Autumn, 2017.  I am re-posting this one I did for New York previously, largely because it is still my top choice for autumn travel, being my home town, but also because I have a new Autumn post in progress on North Carolina, another place I love for the Fall, and it is still developing, just posted on September 30.  I will be adding some restaurant recommendations to it over the coming weeks.

A note on my four seasonal travel posts. Some people realize they are “sticky” and always appear on my main page, while my current posts appear on the right, in a column. I put up new posts every two weeks and some of you have found your way to them. Thank you! But others seem not to realize that these seasonal posts are permanent fixtures and miss my newer ones.  I appreciate anyone stopping, reading and commenting, but if you want to know what I am thinking and doing lately, please look to the right and I hope I won’t disappoint or offend anyone. 

OK, so for now, here is my beloved City, which comes to life and sparkles in autumn

      *     *     *     *     *    *     *     *     *     *      *     *     *     *     *

If there was ever a time to visit New York City, this is it.

CENTRAL_PARK__Autumn_Landscape_-_Manhattan_New_York_City_-_113010

Not only is Fall the prettiest time of the year in NY but there is a Mayoral race going on, so the city will be on its toes and putting all the bells and whistles out for the spotlight that this race will enjoy. If you can, visit NY right now. Bloomberg will get everything shipshape for this key election.

There are other reasons.  Having lived there for 25 years, this is the best season, in my opinion. First of all, it is usually sunny, dry and cool, not yet cold.  There is less precipitation in the Fall and the winds are not unusually brisk, though they can be just active enough to put a sparkle of energy in the air.

KONICA MINOLTA DIGITAL CAMERA

At some point, depending on the temperatures, the leaves will be turning.  Many people do not realize how many parks and how much landscaping the city has.  Everyone knows about Central Park, but there are so many others, like Battery Park, Union Square, Gramercy Park, just to name the most obvious ones.  If you do a little Googling, you will get a full list of the hidden pocket parks.  If you will be there for more than a few days, you may also want to head over to Brooklyn, which has gentrified considerably and rivals Manhattan in almost every significant way. It’s most famous green space is the second largest in the five boroughs: Prospect Park, as magnificent as Central Park in Manhattan. Another fabulous thing to do is take the Henry Hudson Parkway up along the river and go to Tarrytown and Hastings-on-Hudson, among many old Yankee villages and Washington Irving’s stomping grounds; all points north along the river are pure magic at this time of the year.

5182381381_12fe3c7af5 Henry Hudson Parkway

The most important decision you will make when coming to NYC is where to stay. My recommendation would be two hotels.  The first is my favorite and a secret that almost no one knows about.  This is the Hotel Wales at Madison and 92nd Street.  One of the prettiest, most convenient and safest, quietest neighborhoods in Manhattan is Carnegie Hill – the 90’s from Central Park to Lexington Avenue.  The Wales is right in the middle of it.  Built at the turn of the last century, when I stayed there it had elegant lobbies and rooms, good restaurant and room service and not only was immaculate but enjoyed exceptional European-style service, including tea served on the roof terrace with a view of the park. Best of all, it is probably one of the most affordable hotels you will ever stay in (priced below some motels in the vicinity) and considering it is in Manhattan, in the best residential neighborhood, overlooking Central Park, the price is unbelievable.

Hotel Wales

My other recommendation, if you have a bit more in your budget would be the Waldorf Astoria. I have stayed in almost all the top, established luxury hotels in NY (the Plaza, Pierre, Carlyle). My favorite is the Plaza but I have to say, for visitors, the location and beauty as well as history of the Waldorf would be my top recommendation.  All of these hotels are expensive, but you can get a deal at the Waldorf and stay in the hotel choice of kings and queens. It is gorgeous, elegant and the service cannot be topped anywhere on this planet.  In the East 50’s you can walk in every direction to many of the best attractions in midtown.

Waldorf Astoria

If you are flying in to the NY area, use Newark International Airport instead of JFK or La Guardia.  Newark is the newest of the three, it is actually closer to Manhattan than JFK, far safer, and much less hectic.  You will get to the city in less time than if you choose JFK.  In every way, Newark is a pleasure.  In fact, I like it so much and consider it to be so much safer than most airports that even when I am heading to Boston or Philadelphia, I fly into Newark and then take the train or rent a car and drive to those two cities. (Boston’s Logan Airport is a pure nightmare – avoid it at all costs: unsafe, bird strikes, terrible facilities, short runways – it is notorious for its inferiority as far as airports go, just take my word for it).

Newark_airport_Term_C

I do not need to give you all kinds of tourist destinations as there are thousands of places you can find these things.  Let me instead recommend a strategy for ‘tackling’ NYC.

When I was in college, I had a boyfriend who worked in South America.  He would invite me down to visit and see the sights and so I made some friends amongst the very educated, sophisticated people I met there.  When a few of them came to visit in the City, I was excited to take them around.  They had been all over the world, in many European cities like London, Paris, Rome, Barcelona, Zurich, etc.  These were wealthy world travelers.  But!  When they got to Manhattan they were totally overwhelmed. The longstanding joke thereafter was that I could not get them to go above 34th Street (Macys).

NY has a palpable energy that makes some people thrive and others collapse.  I have always said it is far easier to live (if you can afford it these days with one bedroom apartments starting at $800K) and work there than to visit.  So how you approach the visit can be critical.

Rockefeller_Center_New_York_City

Knowing what I know now, I would not start people off downtown as I had done with my Latin American friends.  If you are staying at the Wales, start with the upper east side of the Central Park district and work your way down, day by day until you hit Rockefeller Center.  If you are staying at the Waldorf in mid town on the east side, start there, go to Rockefeller Plaza and work your way up Fifth Avenue your first day or days. In this area are also Radio City Music Hall on 6th Avenue and a lot of UN-frequented exotic ethnic restaurants, many of them with excellent costumed performances and shows during dinner, at no extra cost (a way to be entertained without high priced theater tickets).

The upper and middle parts of Manhattan, on the East Side are the easiest to absorb and get acclimated.  They are beautiful, loaded with attractions including museums and St. Patrick’s Cathedral, the best shopping and restaurants, etc. And of course they are incredibly safe, as is all Manhattan now, thanks to the last two Mayors (Bloomberg and Giuliani).

Toward the second half of the trip or at least after you are used to being in Manhattan, head to the 42nd Street area, stopping in at the New York Public Library, the Empire State Building, the Upper West Side (don’t forget to go to the Museum of Natural History), Lincoln Center, Columbus Circle, down to Battery Park and the 9/11 Memorial, South Street Seaport and if you can, take the Brooklyn Bridge by car, cab or train to Brooklyn and eat at the River Cafe, especially at sunset, for the most spectacular view of Manhattan anyone could want and fabulous food.

1rivercafe

After that hit the Village (west side, Greenwich Village.  If you are adventuresome and like ethic food, go the the East Village or better yet, Queens, but the latter may be for the end of a trip, not the beginning!), Washington Square, Soho and Tribeca.  All of these areas are safe, loaded with personality and fabulous food and shops.  Usually though, they are not first on people’s lists.  I would avoid Chinatown and Little Italy unless you like Chinese food and getting down and basic.  You are likely to find better Italian food in other parts of the city, especially Brooklyn.  Think Moonstruck.  If you are looking for inexpensive theater tickets check to see what is playing at the Barrow Street Theater. (Unfortunately, the Sullivan Street Playhouse that was home to The Fantasticks for 42 years, closed in 2012.)

If you have time left over, go to Bloomingdales on Lexington, Chelsea Pier over on the West side at 23rd, Gramercy Park on the East side around 18th Street, and up to the Bronx Zoo, which is in my opinion, the best one on the East Coast and rivals the famed San Diego Zoo for its quality and scientifically designed attractions.

circleline

If it isn’t too cold, take the Circle Line, but be prepared for part of it to be a bit boring – I have taken it when showing guests around the city and I fall asleep as it heads up to West Point.  It is a three-hour trip, so take snacks because the last time I was there, the food on the boat was expensive junk.  If you do take the Circle Line, you will pass the big luxury liners, Chelsea Pier, Battery Park, a spectacular view of Wall Street, South Street Seaport and the Statue of Liberty, the UN, as well as the bridges on the East River abutting Queens.  You will see a lot that will help you determine whether or not you need to go to those individual attractions separately.

New-York-Greenwich-Village-Washington-Arch

Do this and you will get a real flavor for the city. If you can, give yourself a week.  You can do much of what I listed in three full days (with travel days on either side). Take it from a native, even in two weeks, you won’t see it all but if you go now, I promise you, you will have a spectacular experience.

Images: holidayforce.com,theweblicist.com,flickriver.com,virtualtourist.com,panoramio.com,commons.wikimedia.org,virtualtourist.com,restaurantsinyc.com,viator.com,fodors.com

 

69 Comments on “(F)All in: NY

    • That is a pretty time of year too, if you don’t mind the possibility of it being cold. Nowadays, it might be 80F in December, so who knows. The fact that you felt at home is a good sign that you could live there. People either love it or hate it when they visit. I think most people who live there, love it. I did. I love how festive everything looks at Christmas and that is another good time to go because the hotels are not as full. Great reminder, thanks.

      Liked by 1 person

  1. Now I want to go back to NYC. I agree- Fall is the best time to go (although the last time I was there in October we were hit with late season hurricane rains- put a literal damper on the walking around, which is my favourite thing to do while visiting).
    Lovely post! And I think I will have to check out the Hotel Wales…

    Liked by 2 people

    • Bummer! Yes, that is a possibility – but then if you go any other time of the year, other inclemencies can occur. So, October and April are usually the safest times, I think. I just happen to like autumn better than spring, but April could be wonderful too. This year what is unique is the election in November so I am urging people to go while Bloomberg is on his toes. 🙂 And yes, the Wales is a true treasure. It only has 92 rooms so always try to book early and ask for the discount if you take a room near the elevators. I always got those and was perfectly happy with them.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. I have never been to NYC but after being a huge Sex And The City Fan. I have always wanted to go to NYC. It just seems like my kind of place. One day I hope to go. Was great reading your blog and all the places you pointed out and hotels it makes a great checklist.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Lana, you would really feel so welcomed there. NYers are a people’s people – they would give you the shirt off their backs (even though sometimes they seem a bit grumpy, but that’s because they are serious folks). You would love the whole place, but you know, if I went back, I would move to Queens because it is the kind of place where you can be yourself and not worry about any judgment. It really is the crossroads of humanity there. I hope you get to go and see for yourself and I am glad if this post was useful. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

      • It’s so funny – I did NOT find New Yorkers to be rude or grumpy at all. Maybe not obnoxiously friendly (like San Francisco, OMG people were so friendly there) but definitely not rude. I met loads of people everywhere I went. Now Chicago – what a beautiful city but lordy they were an unsmiling, unwelcoming bunch. Still had a great time, but look someone in the eye there and say ‘hi’ and it was as if you’d just talked to a brick wall.

        Liked by 2 people

        • Well, that is gratifying to hear. I remember when I returned to NY the first time after moving to California that people there seemed so serious, compared with the rather upbeat Californians, so it is good to hear your experience. I know very little about Chicago having only passed through, really. I don’t remember the people. It is a bit conservative for me, I am guessing by Chicagoans I know here in LA. I agree it is a beautiful city and I think I might like their weather, but who knows.

          Liked by 1 person

          • I think it’s a Midwesterner thing. They are not rude just definitely not warm or welcoming. Very reserved, I guess – and my Texas attitude of smiling and saying hi to everyone in my path was certainly an oddity there.

            Liked by 1 person

            • That just reminds me of the first time I went back to NY after moving out here where everyone says ‘gal’ and ‘howdy’ and is very openly friendly to strangers, and I stupidly slipped and said ‘howdy’ to a waitress, who immediately wheeled around and said in a mocking country accent, loud so everyone in the place heard her, ‘Well! How – DEE country gal’. Nice.

              Liked by 1 person

        • I guess it depends on the folks you run into during the time you are there. In my 20 years in Manhattan, I found New Yorkers to be among the friendliest to strangers – and some of the most open-minded. During a week in SF I ran into snob after snob – very judgmental – soured me on the city. The folks I met in Chicago and surrounds were wonderful (a couple of summers in residence as an actor and a winter visit), but the wind and the weather – and the traffic in a driving city – oh no, not me.

          I’ll take Manhattan – if I win the lottery, of course!
          xx,
          mgh
          (Madelyn Griffith-Haynie – ADDandSoMuchMore dot com)
          – ADD Coach Training Field founder; ADD Coaching co-founder –
          “It takes a village to educate a world!”

          Liked by 2 people

  3. A great write-up Beth! I’ve only been to New York in winter and in summer. Now I’ll just have to make my next visit during Autumn! And thanks for the hotel tips. Hotels have always seemed so expensive in New York so I’ve probably roughed it by comparison, although I’d be able to afford better nowadays. Cheers!

    Liked by 3 people

    • Conrad, I do hope you will try the autumn or spring next time. I just checked pricing again at the Wales Hotel and you can get a double room for a little over US$200, which, for NY or any big US city is bargain. In fact, the price has stayed pretty stable since the last time I stayed there which was about 10 years ago, so I think they have some sort of plan. Small, boutique hotel in the most beautiful and convenient spot in Manhattan. Glad to be helpful :-).

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Reblogged this on Beth Byrnes and commented:

    Well, as I have said before, this is the time to visit my home town, New York City. Here is my post from last autumn. What is amazing is that, while the Mayoral race is over and my guy won (yay!), there is another reason to hurry to the City right this minute: Il Papa! Yep, he is coming to town on September 25 and you had better believe our Catholic Mayor is pulling out all the stops for His Holiness. So … everything I said here is still true. Hope you like it! 😀

    Liked by 2 people

  5. There are state tourist boards waiting to hire you, Beth! What a great write-up and enticing pictires. One day, maybe. And I would surely follow your advice as I could imagine being overwhelmed without such a sensible plan. Your heart is obviously still NY. 🙂

    Liked by 4 people

    • Yes, my heart is still there. I am a true Yankee, through and through. It is hard to give people travel advice unless we know a place really well. There are a half dozen cities I feel I know really well, so I will put up a couple more eventually.

      Thank you Anne-Marie! You might enjoy NY, who knows :-).

      Liked by 2 people

  6. Let me first say this: I ♡ NY!!
    Upper NY and Catskill Mountains, the foliage is lovely, vool, crisp mornings and fires in fireplaces.
    I like Broadway, the subway, FAO Schwartz toy stores, Tiffany’s, diverse eating choices and the Empire State Building, along with art studios and galleries. The Statue of Liberty meant a lot to my maternal grandparents. Both were immigrants (she from Germany, he from Sweden).
    My Grandma Haller Mattson’s favorite line was, “I served Kings, Queens, show business folks and the Rockefeller family while waiting tables at the Waldorf Astoria Hotel. We would eat a meal there every time we went to NYC. Only saw three Broadway shows in NY. Your post has plenty of other wonderful suggestions, Beth. I hope to go, explore more and will have to stay in touch or copy your ideas into my bucket list. 🙂

    Liked by 3 people

    • I hope we will always be in touch! In fact, your post notifications to my email stopped again for two weeks. That keeps happening. I thought you were away.

      Anyway, I appreciate you loving NY too. So many people came through NY before going elsewhere, and so we all have connections, don’t we?

      Meanwhile, I went to school in Upstate NY and no place is more beautiful — or more affordable even now. My dream would be to go back and buy a farm near Rochester. Keep your fingers crossed!

      xo

      Liked by 2 people

      • I will keep my fingers crossed. Maybe a cottage yo escape yo simplicity and a natural setting, Beth. One to give you and Geoffrey a respite and sense of renewal. Can you imagine all the photographs and stories that would be inspired there, Beth?
        I liked the first photo with the park, was that a castle or just special, old double towers? The 3 fall foliage photos have brilliant colors and fine clarity, too.

        Liked by 3 people

        • Apartment complex — probably now co-ops. There is one that does look exactly like a castle, inside and out. That might be it. It is at 79th and Central Park West. We cannot afford Manhattan now. We will have to be content with a place on the California coast that I think we could manage. 😀

          Liked by 2 people

          • Beth, had busy weeks since end of August. Auto parts and repairs still causing 46 to 48 hours weekly. I managed to go to the fair a few times, lovely cooler weeks. Thanks for calling my tractor photos “spectacular!!” Have a wonderful week, Beth. ♡

            Liked by 2 people

            • How I wish I could say we are having cooler days, but, sadly, it has been around 100F all of September. You are a busy person, Robin, thank you so much for commenting! I do love tractors, especially that beauty on your post!! :-))

              Liked by 1 person

  7. I enjoyed the short virtual tour, thanks Beth! I truly hope to do it live one of these days. I’ve been to NYC once, in 1991 for a long weekend. Walked a lot and looked up a lot – such beautiful detail on the buildings! Crossed the Brooklyn Bridge and drank in the amazing skyline at night – including the Twin Towers. Breathtaking! Thanks for the memories revived with your post.

    Liked by 3 people

    • It is a unique place. I grew up there so to me it is just another home-like environment. And I rarely went to the tourist attractions except with visitors. I really miss those towers. I used to go up to the observation deck and sit looking out over Manhattan, the water and NJ often. But, now there is the Freedom Tower so I guess it has its own charm.

      Thank you Vera! 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

    • I stayed up till the bitter end and heading into my warehouse job where probably 194 people voted for Trump and am so down and depressed. Well,thank God for “checks and balances!!” I don’t think I will ever call him President!
      Hugs to you and Geoffrey, dear Beth. xo ~Robin

      Liked by 1 person

      • Geoffrey took it even harder than I did. I am still sorting through all the reasons it happened. Hugs to you Robin. We will stick together, supporting each other in love throughout this difficult time. And, this too shall pass. ❤ xoxo

        Like

  8. Man! You’be brought NY alive here with these photos and words. I love the first photo! And the second. And especially the River Cafe at night…what a view.
    I was born on Long Island, but have spent very little time in NYC. These photos make me want to visit. In Fall.

    Liked by 3 people

    • That River Cafe is my number one dining destination every time I go back to the City. It isn’t even exorbitant by NY standards either and they even have a white grand piano and free jazz players/singers. Low key, sophisticated and cool place.

      Wow, born there and not much time in Manhattan. Gotta go BF! Now you have a plan. 😀

      And thank you!!

      Liked by 2 people

          • I looked up that Hotel Wales thinking that might be a cool place to stay. I don’t like the price tag on the room, though, knowing what they cost in Bali!!! But I guess that’s part of the NYC experience. I really want to eat at that restaurant with the view of the bridge. I grew up in Maryland, so I know about hot and HUMID summers on the East Coast.

            Liked by 2 people

            • I hear you on the prices. Believe me when I tell you the Wales is one of the cheapest of the decent hotels in Manhattan. You would have a hard time finding a clean, safe place to stay there for less. But you could stay in Brooklyn or Queens instead. Oh yes, hot and humid. Like DC in August. Ugh!

              Liked by 2 people

    • I adore NYC and so it is easy to give some guidelines for a visit, but it made me sooooo nostalgic. Thank you kindly, Mark for all your lovely comments and support! 😀

      Like

  9. Hello Beth it seems a l ong time ago we chatted online.. I’ve never been to to New York but your advice is so inspiring… So I’ll have to bookmark this post… I’ll backtrack a little and check out how you’ve been over the summer… I’ve been busy preparing to launch my first book… So getting excited as I nearly have it in my hands… Hugs and kisses, barbara x

    Liked by 2 people

    • It does seem awhile, doesn’t it? First book, wow! You are amazing. I do hope you get to NY. I wrote this last year but it still applies. A great place to visit in autumn. Now I am going to run around and see your other comments. Hugs to you! Keep me posted. 😀

      Liked by 1 person

  10. You missed your calling, Beth. You would be the best tour guide EVER. (Of course, you’d have to own the company and train/employ others to expect to make enough money at it to be able to live in NY – or LA). Your descriptions always make everything you describe sound so inviting – and you don’t feature the tourist attractions that most of the touring companies like to send people to.

    This article made me homesick – having lived in Manhattan for 20 years (before Brooklyn was cool). New Years Eve is always one of my heartbreaks, recalling all the wonderful things I was able to do every year (*never* Times Square, btw, which I don’t recommend). I miss New York City like a lover, but cannot currently afford to move back, given how far rents have risen since NYC has gotten safer. I agree with your comment that, as long as you can afford the rent, it is actually cheaper to live there than to visit – you learn where the “cheap seats” are.

    Thanks for the tour! BTW- I have pinned this article to my I’ll Take Manhattan Board – with a brief comment that I hope will encourage folks to click thru and give it a look-see.
    xx,
    mgh
    (Madelyn Griffith-Haynie – ADDandSoMuchMore dot com)
    – ADD Coach Training Field founder; ADD Coaching co-founder –
    “It takes a village to educate a world!”

    Liked by 2 people

    • Madelyn, your comments are always so heart felt and thoughtful. Thank you for this.

      I cannot afford Manhattan now either. We were so lucky to buy our co-op when we did and we sold it for four times what we paid just a few years later. But today, it is over 2.5 million dollars — can you imagine? We got in when it was formed and how I wish we could have afforded to keep it. Mostly, so we could visit without worrying about staying with family or in a hotel.

      Ah well, who knew the future?

      At least we can still visit and enjoy the things there — so many things — that are free or almost free. I could spend a week taking people around for just a subway fare and a delicious ethnic cheap lunch.

      Thank you for reminding me again that we share Manhattan! ❤

      Liked by 1 person

  11. Pingback: I Cease to See « theshivasponder

    • It is absolutely THE time of year to visit NYC. Of course, I love New York all the time, but the winters and the summers can be brutal. Spring is nice, but Autumn there is magical. I hope you visit often.

      Thank you for visiting me here, and for your lovely input. 🙂

      Like

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