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Advice on itinerary - Solo vegan traveler

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Haifa, Israel
posts: 48
reviews: 5
Advice on itinerary - Solo vegan traveler

I'll be visiting NYC for the first time during the last week of June. Solo traveler, for a mix of business and pleasure. I've been following the valuable advice and tips on this forum for a while now, read all the FAQs, and even watched some clips on YouTube (helped me to better understand "The Idiot’s Guide to the Subway", for example). Based on all my research, I came up with the following itinerary, and would love to hear your thoughts and suggestions. I'm vegan, so food required some extra planning.

Day 1 – Saturday

My (12 hour long) flight lands in JFK at 05:15am. Planning to take a taxi to my hotel (Yotel, 42nd st & 10th av). Guessing I'll arrive around 8-9am. What's the traffic situation on Saturday mornings?

Too early for check in, but I'll be able to store my luggage (FYI, this hotel offers a special deal on their Facebook page).

Planning to visit Bryant park, the public library, Grand Central Station, circle Rockefeller center to look at the various art pieces around it, then go up to TOTR. I'm hoping to save a little standing-in-line time by purchasing a Go Select pass. I realize I will have to exchange the pass for an actual ticket, but the line for that should be shorter than the general tickets line, right? Finally, I'll do a quick tour of Times Square.

Is it reasonable to cover all that (by foot) in about 8 hours? I want to check in at the hotel around 5pm.

If the weather is nice and I feel up to it, I'll go on a night tour by bus. Otherwise, I'll just call it a night.

As for food, planning to grab something on route. I read that there are some delis offering vegan options around Times Square. After I settle in my hotel, will probably do some basic shopping at the Food Emporium around the block.

Day 2 – Sunday

Buy a weekly metro card and try out the subway for the first time…

Planning to look at the Guggenheim building (from outside), visit the Met (actually going inside), Central Park, and then walk back to my hotel through 5th avenue, with short stops at FAO Schwartz, Trump building etc. Is it reasonable to cover all that in about 8 hours?

Need to be back at the hotel around 17:00 for freshening up, as I have a ticket for Avenue Q at 19:30.

Day 3 – Monday

First part of the day – MOMA.

Then the business part of my trip begins - near Union Square Park. I'll probably be done around 19:00 or 20:00, so plan to explore the park area, and then visit Whole Foods to buy some yummy vegan treats.

Day 4 – Tuesday

Working until 18:00 or 19:00, again near Union Square Park. Afterwards, planning a walk to see the Flatiron Building and Madison Square Park (for the view of the Empire State Building), then dinner at "Terri" (vegan place on 23rd st).

Day 5 – Wednesday

Full day of work, and then a tour with colleagues in Queens. I'll be back at the Union Square Park area around midnight. Anything special I need to know about taking the subway to Times Square at this hour?

Day 6 – Thursday

Working until 18:00 or 19:00, again near Union Square Park. Afterwards, planning dinner at "Peacefood Cafe" (vegan place on 11th st), then visiting Strand bookstore.

Day 7 – Friday

Done with work, yay!

I'm planning to sign up to the "All in one walking tour downtown" with free tours by foot, covering the Financial District, Greenwich Village, Washington Square Park, SoHo, Little Italy, Chinatown, Chelsea Market and the High Line. I read on previous posts that a typical tip for this tour is 20$, but that was for a 2 hour tour, while this one is a 6 hour tour. Can anyone please advise what's a respectable tip?

I think the tour ends somewhere on the Highline, so planning to walk all the way up, then grab takeout from "Loving Hut" (vegan place on 7th av., between 29th and 30th st) and back to my hotel via 5th avenue. I have a ticket for "Wicked" at 20:00.

Here's my big question – I want to ride the Staten Island Ferry, and obviously this is the best day to do it as I'm already downtown. The walking tour starts at 10am near the Federal Building, so I thought about taking the ferry at 8am (to be back in Manhattan at 9am). However, this is rush hour, and I'm afraid something will go wrong and I'll be late for the tour. Is it possible to do both or too risky?

Last day – Saturday

Visit Hell's Kitchen flea market, conveniently located near my hotel. Check out from hotel at 11:00 and store luggage. I might go on The RIDE, not sure yet. Afterwards, a nice lunch at V-note (vegan restaurant on the upper east side), then a quick visit to Conservatory Garden. Back to the hotel to pick up my luggage, take a taxi to JFK. My flight leaves at 23:30, so when should I take the taxi – is 19:30 a good time? Does the fixed price of 52$+toll+tip applies both ways, or only when taking a taxi from JFK to Manhattan?

I would love to hear your tips and suggestions, especially regarding the time I allowed for the various activities.

Thank you so much in advance, you truly are the best!

Melbourne, Australia
posts: 6,402
reviews: 120
1. Re: Advice on itinerary - Solo vegan traveler

you could try this for a real NY experience - it's a vegan food truck with fabulous food -

it is also certified Kosher.. called the Cinnamon Snail. you can check their website or Facebook page for their location each day...


Edited: 8:39 pm, May 27, 2013
Haifa, Israel
posts: 48
reviews: 5
2. Re: Advice on itinerary - Solo vegan traveler

Thanks for the tip!

I added their twitter to my favorites, and hopefully will be able to catch them one day.

Haifa, Israel
posts: 48
reviews: 5
3. Re: Advice on itinerary - Solo vegan traveler

Any more advice about the itinerary? Doesn't have to address the vegan food part.


Brooklyn, New York
posts: 298
reviews: 2
4. Re: Advice on itinerary - Solo vegan traveler

"Anything special I need to know about taking the subway to Times Square at this hour?" No. subway runs 24/7. no issues.

Maybe tip $45 for the 6 hour tour??

You have plenty of time on the ferry -- if you leave on the 8am you will be back at 8.50 - it runs on a very tight schedule.

New York City, New...
Destination Expert
for New York City
posts: 3,980
reviews: 43
5. Re: Advice on itinerary - Solo vegan traveler

I highly recommend that you have a meal at Pure Food & Wine, which is upscale raw vegan in a lovely space. It's on Irving Place between 17th & 18th Streets, just a couple of blocks off of Union Square.

FYI - Terri is not a restaurant so much as a small takeout spot. It has a few stools along a counter, seating for maybe 8 people, that's it.

New York City, New...
Destination Expert
for New York City
posts: 3,980
reviews: 43
6. Re: Advice on itinerary - Solo vegan traveler

Also, check out the vegan Blossom Cafes, located in Chelsea, the West Village, the Upper West Side, and the Upper East Side:


Edited: 12:16 pm, May 28, 2013
New York City, New...
Destination Expert
for New York City
posts: 3,980
reviews: 43
7. Re: Advice on itinerary - Solo vegan traveler

Sorry for the multiple posts - I meant to give you a link to Pure Food and Wine as well:


Haifa, Israel
posts: 48
reviews: 5
8. Re: Advice on itinerary - Solo vegan traveler

Thanks DB_NYC for the reassurance.

Thanks frangipani7 for all the suggestions. As for Blossom, I was very excited to see that they have a takeout place near my hotel, but then I checked their grade on the health department's website, and it's a C. Several other locations got a B. I might try one of the A locations if I'm close by.

New York City, New...
Destination Expert
for New York City
posts: 84,091
reviews: 2
9. Re: Advice on itinerary - Solo vegan traveler

Overall I think you're exhausting yourself. Plan to have some down time inbetween your daytime activities and your evening activities. Allow for rest, shower and change.

Day 1 Sat.

Traffic early Sat. morning should be very light. You'll fly into town. Make sure to only use an official yellow NYC taxi and don't acept a ride from anyone who approaches you.

You should ask the front desk at the hotel if they would put your bag in your room when it's ready. If they won't, I strongly suggest going back to the hotel before 5 to check in. Ask them what time your room will be ready. I think you're overplanning for day 1. Don't know what you mean by a "quick tour of Times Square."

I don't see the purpose of a night bus tour. The best lights are in Times Square. You don't need a bus tour for that.

Day 2 Sun

Taking the subway is rather clumsy between your hotel and the Guggenheim/Met. A bus will work much better (esp. early on a Sunday morning without much traffic) and you'll be able to see more. The Metrocard works for buses as well as subway.


Your other option is to take a subway uptown and walk across the park.


I think walking all the way back to the hotel after the walking and standing you'll do in the museum is excessive and may exhaust you for the evening. Be kind to yourself. Maybe take the Fifth ave. bus part of the way. I would frankly allow some down time for a rest before the hteater so you aren't falling asleep.

Day 7 Fri.

The best way to see the Statue of Liberty is not the Staten Island ferry. The view is only from a distance. Both NYWaterway and Circle Line do cruises that leave from right near your hotel on 39th st. & the Hudson River. I'd do one of those instead of the SI ferry. I also think doing a 6 hr. walking tour on the same day as you're going to Wicked at night is unnecessarily overextending yourself. I think you should either consider doing this walking tour on a different day or do a shorter tour.

As a side note, I don't get how you plan on walking back to your hotel via Fifth ave. It's miles out of the way. The High Line is on 10th ave., the hotel is on 10th ave. Why Fifth ave.?


Candle Cafe/Candle 79 (owned by the same people, one is more casual) are some of the best if not the best vegan restaurants in the city. They would be near many of the museums (the Met, the Frick).

posts: 3,943
reviews: 29
10. Re: Advice on itinerary - Solo vegan traveler

You may want to pop into the Guggenheim lobby. The look "up" is free and quite breathtaking.