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New York

post #1 of 36
Thread Starter 
We're planning our first US trip from Australia (family 2Adults and kids 10, 14). Current plan is for Denver and Summit County, but maybe start with a trip to New York for 5 nights from 6 January. Any hints on good quality but not too expensive accomm. Have tried VRBO but not much there? Any thoughts/contacts would be much appreciated (vacation rentals or apartment/hotels?).
PS - had a great week at Thredbo in Australia's Snowy Mts - about 700m vertical - good conditons very much luck of the draw, but when its on Thredbo is well worth a trip for any of you travelling barking bears!
post #2 of 36
NYC or upstate?
post #3 of 36
Skip NY, hotels are a ripoff. No skiing either. Go right to CO and have fun!
post #4 of 36
Originally Posted by xdog1
Skip NY, hotels are a ripoff. No skiing either. Go right to CO and have fun!
Huge agreement there. You can pay $200 a night for something you are afraid to sleep in. I worked in NYC for four years and never looked back when they transferred me out of there. In fact, I didn't even ask what the new job was going to be for two weeks after they asked me if I would take it.
post #5 of 36
Thread Starter 
Yeah we're talking Manhatten, maybe soho or greenwich village???
Doesn't sound like there's lots of good news to be had
post #6 of 36
Unless you don't have homeless guys sleeping in doorways in Australia, and you want to see some, there is no reason to spend 5 nights of a ski vacation--in winter---in NYC.

Go for the arts that are available, maybe broadway or museums.

Maybe loud, large and racous is your thing, then go for it.

Plenty of reasons to visit---

Plenty to not---

This discussion was done rather thouroughly last September---I'll see if I can find the thread, although I believe it was in the lounge---and you would not be able to read it.

I'll check back shortly

Sorry that particular thread was in the lounge.
post #7 of 36
Personally I've never like traveling to another country and going to a big city. Big cities around the world aren't that much different from each other and the people who live there deal with the same crap, so they aren't that much different either. Now, unlike many cities, New York does have some culture and some uniqueness. However, it would be hard to justify a trip there.

I would suggest flying into LA (or San Francisco if possible!) and renting a car. Go see Disney Land or something, then drive to Vegas. Leave Vegas and head to Sante Fe, New Mexico. Drive from Sante Fe to Summit County, possibly stopping at Taos to ski. Now, the US is big, so plan on a half-day to drive to Vegas, a full day from Vegas to Santa Fe, and 6 hours from Sante Fe to Summit Co. Fly out of Denver. Along the way you'll get to see the Grand Canyon and Meteor Crater.

Those cities will give you an interesting insight into the US, I'm just not sure your kids will sit in a car.
post #8 of 36

A classy alternate to NYC


You might consider San Francisco as an alternative to NYC. The beauty of the “City by the Bay” is in a class of its own. San Fran also provides an abundance of cultural attractions and the weather can be spring-like compared to other large US cities at that time of year.

You will also save time and money by avoiding the long flights to the east coast.

Happy travels,

post #9 of 36

NYC requires $$$

I grew up outside NYC and just was back for a visit.

NYC has some cultural stuff that can't be beat. Problem is you need $$$ to have any comfort at all. Expect $300US for a room. If you do have the $$$ to stay, there's plenty to do some of which will cost lots losts more $$$ (broadway, opera, symphony, shopping, fancy restaturants).

In winter, you have the problem that it really isn't fun to bum around outside where you don't pay to do stuff. Central Park won't be fun to wander.

If you don't want to drop a bundle, you could see some really neat stuff in museums but it still would cost some. The American Museum of Natural History and the Metropolitan Museum of Art are two of the best in the world. Will cost to get in but won't break the back.
post #10 of 36
Thread Starter 
Lot of great stuff from you guys. Sadly I'm a complete holiday research addict and your comments feed the habit nicely thank you very much!

(originally was a ski trip - but now a health problem is making us decrease the time skiing).

Partner and I did visit New York Xmas 88 (pre kids) and found it unforgettable for some of the reasons you've suggested (iceskating, Xmas decos, Alvin Ailey, Staten Island ferry are memorable), but we had a friend to stay with (and maybe rose coloured glasses a bit). Guess I've really enjoyed watching the kids wandering around in world cities like New York (museums, Empire State, Statue of Lib etc) - we took them to Europe about 4 years ago and it was delightful, even little things, like shopping etc. But you've got me having second thoughts.

On airfares, marginal cost increase to just lax-Denver return suggests value on the airfares (tot about $US450 lax-nyc-den-las-lax).

Real interested in the other "drive" alternatives - we even explored the drive from las to grand canyon to moab to Breckenridge (which I might ask more questions about later!). But its so long in the car that we thought flight to NYC maybe made more sense.

On SanFran : is that drive up the coast from los angeles good value? Any other interesting stuff after LA but not too far too drive?

Any positives on New York accom still appreciated.

post #11 of 36
I suspect a lot of negative NYC talk is due to more to misperceptions garnered from TV watching than actual experience. You've been and seem rightly intrigued by the great American city. NYC during Christmas time is really unforgettable, if you go make sure you spend some time in Central Park, which is one of the greatest urban parks in the world.

Unfortunately I can't recommend lodging, since I have always stayed with friends when visiting. If you wanted to try other great cities in the USA, Chicago and Washington, DC would be on my list.
post #12 of 36
what ever you do in NY City do not stay in a hotel in Times Square or its vicinity.
post #13 of 36

Here is a link that will keep you busy for a while:

I have worked and lived in Manhattan for over 15 years....any specific questions I will do my best to answer....

Also, you could hit some decent skiing within 2.5 hr drive. Windham/Hunter Mountain...(plenty of buses go there if you dont want to rent a car).....Southern Vermont in 4hrs...Places such as Bromley, MT Snow, Stratton, Okemo....etc..
post #14 of 36
When I lived in Park Slope, we used to send people to a really cute B&B in Brooklyn Heights for $100 a night. Everyone raved about it. There must be others.
post #15 of 36
Originally Posted by kelly001
what ever you do in NY City do not stay in a hotel in Times Square or its vicinity.
Same for restaurants and shopping, especially during the winter holiday (tourist) season. I work in midtown and it's like watching sheep to the slaughter. Many interesting places to eat and things to do or see outside of midtown / Times Square, where you won't be ripped off for mediocre food. In addition to Zagat's, try the Village Voice "cheap eats" recommendations, also and .

For an alternative to hotels, you might try this site: . It's hit or miss but I've had good luck and know others who've had good luck with rentals from this board.

Bottom line though is unless you're really hooked on NYC (and there are some unique institutions here -- eg Metropolitan Museum), the San Francisco option involves much less inconvenience and travel time. Doubt there's money to be saved going SF and not NY, same general range for hotels and food; just travel time.
post #16 of 36
I have to take a different position here. I have taken a bunch of relatives and clients to Manhattan for the first time and all have loved and been amazed at it. NYC is the city to go to. I am not a city person but I worked there for 6 years. I have traveled extensively and there is no other city like it. You have to go there, even if it's for a few days to really appreciuate its size and scope. There is so much to do and see. Rockafeller center, to see the tree and Central park are musts. There are several world class museums and an incredible planatarium that should be seen. Don't forget the Empire State building. If you are into plays, you have to do broadway, go see a show on Wednesday (Cheaper) If weather permits you need to go to the Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island. You can also visit Wall Street and take a tour of the Financial center of the world. Don't forget a very moving visit to Ground Zero. Food: some of the absolute best food is found in Manhattan. From a slice of pizza at the many "rays" (its a NYC joke), getting coffee and a bagel from the street vendors to fine dining at the countless restaurants. Times Square has been completely over-hauled and it is a huge neon sign with lots of tourist trap shops but it is still something to be seen. It's where the ball drops at New Years and has so much history attached to it. It is a city you will never forget and should see at least once. Go for 3 days and head to the mountains.
post #17 of 36
I love NYC, but if you've been there and you like "great cities of the world" you should really give San Francisco a try. It has great food, 2 good art museums and good music and the ACT (American Conservatory Theater) is wonderful adn San Fran Ballet rivals NYC. The technology museums are fabulous and your kids would love them. Also, the weather will make it easier to wander and walk through China Town, etc. Go over the Golden Gate to Marin County and check out wine country too. Beautiful, breathtaking views. It will be just as memorable as NYC I promise. You can get all the cute decorations and snow scenes when you go to Lake Tahoe or Colorado for skiing. Really, truly - check it out!!! (This from someone who lived in NYC and goes back regularly, so I'm not putting it down, just thinking of time spent on airplanes, time differences, etc. etc. not worth it when you have a great city on the other coast.)
post #18 of 36
Thread Starter 
Great comments ... one other thing ... who uses those tripadvisor/expedia sites to chose hotels and stuff? Do you reckon they're reliable? The different comments suggest a few tall tales maybe being told?
post #19 of 36
Originally Posted by fooltotry
Great comments ... one other thing ... who uses those tripadvisor/expedia sites to chose hotels and stuff? Do you reckon they're reliable? The different comments suggest a few tall tales maybe being told?
I've used Expedia and Travelocity repeatedly, in addition to directly booking with the airlines, for several years, to book airlines only. I've never wanted to stay in most of the hotels they have listed as I am the bed and breakfast type. Also, if I stay in a chain, I do the AARP discount thing.
post #20 of 36
Sibhusky is right, the bed and breakfast option is great. You stay in luxury rooms at about the same cost as a hotel, and have personal hosts that will be responsive to your need for privacy or help to guide you to the local attractions. Kind of like having a local show you a great ski mountain. Its not billed as discount lodging, but considering the included meals and superior accomodations, its definitely worth a look.

You could visit San Franciso, ski the Sierras and continue on to the Colorado resorts easily if you choose. I do not recommend an extended car trip in the Western US in winter. We have unpredictable road closures, chain controls and severe weather. If you rent a vehicle with the intent of going into the mountains, get a 4X4.
post #21 of 36
Well, I live in Denver now, spend as much time as I can in the mountains, lived in both Seattle and Boston for years, but as a former New Yorker, I still love visiting the city. Yes, San Francisco is great, but like all great cities, they each have a unique character. There are endless things to do there, the food is great, holiday time is beautiful. It is certainly expensive (as is SF). I have the advantage of a brother in law with a luxury apartment on Central Park West, but I can make a couple of hotel recommendations- if not specifics, some generalities.

I highly agree with avoiding hotels in midtown. Look for smaller hotels on the East side, West side. There is a place on the upper west side (sorry, can't remember the name, but will try and find it for you) that rents small apartments, great for families. There is also a Comfort Inn just off of CPW on (I think)71st that has very small rooms, but is reasonable and in a great location (5 minutes to the Museum of Natural History, just across the park from the Metorpolitan, 5 minute walk to Lincoln Center, a couple of minutes to both the A and 1 subways). You may be able to find good deals since your dates are after New Years and the peak season. We got a great deal there a couple of years ago when my brother in law had other visitors, and we were able to get 2 rooms, one for us and one for the kids, at a reasonable (for NY) rate in mid-winter. I have had good luck with both expedia and tripadvisor, but you have to be lucky- sometimes their deals are no deals at all, and dealing directly with the places may be better. Also look at the Hidden guides- they have been good for California in my experience, and I expect their other ones are good, too, for advice about out of the way places to stay that you might not ordinarily find.

Have fun and good luck! And don't forget to stop at H&H on Broadway and 80th for the world's best bagels.
post #22 of 36
Thread Starter 
Generous sharing of thoughts much appreciated guys.

By the way Thredbo just had 300mm dump (thats a foot!) overnight. Try this link if you're interested:

We're from northern beaches Sydney very insular part of the world (more ways than one, but also beautiful) and NYC just seems to have it over San Fran from our own SW Pacific view.

dp indeed we're looking at upper west side so any names woudl be appreciated from you or others.

Cirque, any tips on tapping into the B&B sector - thinking it might be a bit pricey with 4 of us. Probably expecting to spend about $US250 min.

Also any thoughts on whether its wise to wait til say the last minute to make the booking at that time (eg book Wednesday from LA for Fri night stay)?
post #23 of 36
Originally Posted by fooltotry
Real interested in the other "drive" alternatives - we even explored the drive from las to grand canyon to moab to Breckenridge (which I might ask more questions about later!). But its so long in the car that we thought flight to NYC maybe made more sense.
I've done lots of variations on that drive. Basically southern Utah sucks in January and there's not a lot of reason to go near there. Driving I-15 to I-70 from Las Vegas to Breck is the fastest route between those cities and you can do it in about 12 hours. Along the way you can stop and see.. um.. desert. Zion National Park is on the way though. I'd skip Moab - it's great in April, May, September, and October, but not January.

There is a southern route you can take via I-40 out of Vegas you may have alluded to. I wouldn't go up through Moab from there. If you want to go that way, I'd turn at the 4 corners region to Cortez, CO, go through Durango, up through Silverton, to Montrose, east to Salida up to Buena Vista and on to Breck. That's a neat drive and much better than Moab, but a lot slower. That's why I originally suggested Santa Fe. Santa Fe is pretty unique - it's a fairly small town, has a lot of culture, and is a lot different than almost anything else you'll see in the US. It's also a relatively easy drive with only 2 mountain passes (and Poncha Pass is a joke).

I didn't ask.. why Breckenridge? Another option would be to drive from LA to San Francisco and then over to the Tahoe resorts near Reno. A little more driving gets you to Salt Lake and the Utah resorts.
post #24 of 36
Thread Starter 
Vinn, thanks for inside info on south Utah - yeah Moab, I phoned one of the adventure companies based there and they basically agreed with you.
Why Breck? In Oz our snow can be pretty wet when it comes, then icey etc. Guess we're thinking that Sierra and even Whistler might be a little similar. Woudl be much easier to just do Mammoth or Tahoe, but hoping Rockies might be dryer and something completely different(POWDER?? not really known in our mts). Utah woudl also be fine, but thinking that staying at Breck might be a nice atmosphere - hoping there's some ski-in-out this time of year. Stuff I've read suggests the towns at Mamoth and Tahoe not that great.
post #25 of 36
Originally Posted by fooltotry
Also any thoughts on whether its wise to wait til say the last minute to make the booking at that time (eg book Wednesday from LA for Fri night stay)?
Don't want to argue you off NYC; it is unique and a great destination, I love living and playing here, but its quite far from your western skiing, hence my suggestion above to consider San Fran as well. If you do make the trip I'd suggest you avoid last minute bookings. You might score a bargain, but you're just as likely, especially during midwinter tourist season, to get squeezed out, and end up staying somewhere way out in New Jersey or an airport motel in Queens. Things fall off a bit after New Year's, but it seems to me like the flow is pretty heavy until end of January. Plus, do you want to worry about a last minute booking in NYC, while you should be enjoying your travel elsewhere?
post #26 of 36
Originally Posted by ts01
midwinter tourist season
post #27 of 36
My impression -- from a daily walk through Rock Center to Grand Central, and occasional side trips in Times Square area -- is that from Thanksgiving to end of January when they take down the tree it is MOBBED with tourists ... by the busload / planeload / shipload. Takes forever to get through the crowded sidewalks and I'm always missing the train. Obviously XMas/New Years is the peak but I'm just guessing the hotels are jammed because the sidewalks certainly are. It thins out a little in January but doesn't really clear up if I remember right until end of the month. My only point was if it were my vacation I wouldn't want to gamble on last minute reservations.
post #28 of 36
Lived in NY meto area for 30 years and now moved to SF for 5 years. Pretty familiar with both cities. As far as hotel reservations in NYC concerned, if you can stay in the outskirt of NYC, instead of stay in midtown theater or "tourist" district, you will have a good chance to get hotel reservation cheaper, even at the last moment. The trouble is that you cannot "walk" to the center of actions quickly. The best value will be accross the river either in Queens or New Jersey. You can reach the Midtown via Subways from those areas.

As far as San Francisco concerned, we have a hotel over built situation here. There are many hotels near the Union Square can be had for very reasonable price. They are not first class hotels, nevertheless. In the airport area, most of the small hotels are left empty or less than 50% occupancy. While the "Merriot" class of hotels can be had for around $100-150, the smaller hotels are offering $50-75/night rates.
post #29 of 36
Thread Starter 
Shen you're right that link has got me going
Thanks to all - great advice - thinking Beacon Hotel looks OK at UWS !!
Might ask later, if that's OK, on good accomm/lift deals in Breck.
post #30 of 36
Skip NY and fly into SLC. Rip it up at Alta and the Bird for a few days then hop a flight to Colorado for some additional fun. Unless of course its dumping and your skiing bottomless Utah Pow then skip Colorado and ski the best snow on earth.
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