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Too Packed? (Itinerary Review, Please)

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Too Packed? (Itinerary Review, Please)

Long time lurker, first time poster! This will be our first time in NYC. I've been trolling this forum, have plotted out the sights on a map, etc. I realize I'm probably being way too optimistic & have packed too much into our schedule, but who knows when we'll be back next. Plus, I'd rather have a plan & have to scratch things off the list then squander our time trying to figure out what's up next. Would appreciate your input on our current itinerary. We'll be in NYC for 3 full days at the end of May.

Day 1 (travel day)

-Arrive NYC late afternoon

-Mets evening game

Day 2 (Midtown)

-Rockefeller Center: Top of the Rock first thing at 8am, snap pictures of Radio City Music Hall & St. Patrick's Cathedral nearby

-Quick stop at LOVE sculpture (yes, I'm touristy & like to take lots of pictures & want to capture all of the iconic NYC images/tourist spots)

-Walk down Fifth Avenue: quick stops at Tiffany's, Bergdorf Goodman, Apple Store, FAO Schwarz ("Big" piano)

-New York Public Library: lion sculptures at gates, Astor Hall, Rose Main Reading Room, McGraw Rotunda

-Grand Central Terminal (lunch)

-Yankee Stadium Tour around 1pm (we want to do this on a non-game day)

-Circle Line Sightseeing Cruise: semi-circle cruise at 4pm (not sure if this is really worth it; if we need to cut something from the itinerary, thinking this will be up first on the chopping block)

-Dinner near ESB

-Empire State Building (ideally, we'd like to do both TOTR & ESB)

-Quick stop at Macy's

-Times Square

-Possibly make a quick stop at the Lincoln Center (heard it was magical at night)

Day 3 (Battery Park/Financial District/Brooklyn)

-Statue of Liberty (pedestal) & Ellis Island at 9am (8am already sold out, unfortunately)

-Quick late lunch

-9/11 Memorial & Museum (hoping to do this by 3pm)

-Quick stops at Wall Street & the Bull Statue

-Walk across the Brooklyn Bridge

-Snap some pictures from DUMBO & Brooklyn Heights Promenade

-Dinner at Grimaldi's & dessert from Brooklyn Ice Cream Factory

-Walk back across the Brooklyn Bridge

-If we're still going at this point, Staten Island Ferry (SOL view at night)

-Late night snack at Katz's Deli

Day 4 (parks)

-Hoping to start off the morning early with cronuts

-Washington Square Park (WS Arch)

-Union Square Park (US Greenmarket)

-Quick picture of the Flatiron Building

-Shake Shack at Madison Square Garden for lunch

-Central Park: quick stops by Gapstow Bridge (get a picture of the Plaza Hotel from this viewpoint), Inscope Arch, The Mall & Literary Walk, Bethesda Terrace/Fountain, rent a rowboat if we have time, Bow Bridge, Belvedere Castle, Great Lawn, Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis Reservoir

-Quick pictures in front of the Metropolitan Museum of Art & Guggenheim Museum

-Grab a late afternoon snack at either Barney Greengrass or Zabar's (hoping to pop into one of these while exploring Central Park)

-Yankees evening game

Day 5 (travel day)

-Fly out in the morning

There's four of us on this trip. Based on my research, it looks like sharing a JFK-AirTrain 10-Trip MetroCard and each of us getting a 7-Day Unlimited Pass makes the most sense.

Thanks in advance!

Edited: 1:57 pm, April 30, 2014
Center Moriches...
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1. Re: Too Packed? (Itinerary Review, Please)

Yes, it is packed. Won't tell you what to cut, because I don't know your priorities. General advice is to start each day early at the most important site to you, then work through the list until you run out of time, stamina, or money. Would be helpful to know where you're staying.

Syracuse, New York
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2. Re: Too Packed? (Itinerary Review, Please)

What I would do is to start each day with your top must sees in a given area & then leave the rest for "if I get around to it." For example, I'm headed for Philly & my must sees are the Museum of Art & the Barnes Collection, a walking tour of the city & a loop around the city on a tourist bus with a guide. The only other must see is a musical an acquaintance co-wrote that is being staged north of the city (I will have my car.) All of the other things are up to how much I can fit in. I know I want to go to Independence Hall & the Liberty Bell but need to get my tickets when I'm there as I underestimated how much ahead of time to book a ticket but they have tickets available in the AM. And I'm staying in what is called the Old City so I plan on doing a fair amount of wandering. Don't over plan or you'll either miss something you were thinking you'd like to do or tire yourself out so much that you won't enjoy anything.

Dallas, Texas...
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3. Re: Too Packed? (Itinerary Review, Please)

Great job on the first draft of your itinerary. You're right to suspect that there is too much. You should consider eliminating some things in advance so that you can prioritize keeping the most important activities. Or at least designating them as "maybe".

Day 1:

I don't it's possible to do all your morning activities and be at Yankee Stadium at 1pm. Have you checked the timing of tours? Try to do one later.

Consider doing a later cruise (maybe even sunset) instead of one at 4pm.

Move ESB to the end of the day. They are open late (2am) and hopefully lines will be shorter. Plus you can skip it if need be.

Day 2: The 911 museum is selling timed tickets. I don't know whether you can expect to get in without a reserved ticket, especially so close to its opening. The memorial fountains will be open access though.

I'm not sure what day of the week this is, but Katz's is open only until 11pm except for Fri and Sat. I would reconsider doing the Staten Island Ferry.

Day 4: I think you mean Shake Shack at Madison Square Park, not Madison Square Garden. There's a difference. Expect lines.

Barney Greengrass and Zabars are on the west side of the park. The museums are on the east side. Just know that you'll be crossing the park to get there.

Are all four members of the group equally interested in prioritizing the tourist snapshot "treasure hunt"? It's fine if you are, but if you aren't all of the same mind, this itinerary means you miss lots of interesting stuff in favor of running in all directions for photographs. For my personal travel style, I'd be pretty unhappy if my travel partners wanted to do that.

Monterrey, Mexico
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4. Re: Too Packed? (Itinerary Review, Please)

Wow, you did plan too much for 3 days. If you don't mind just passing by things to take a picture instead of actually enjoying the attractions then maybe you can do 80% of your plan.

ESB do it at night around midnight, shorter lines and better views at night from there.

Skip Staten Island.

Skip Ellis Island.

If you're going to a Yankees game, do you really need to do the stadium tour? Making 2 trips up there seems too much time consuming. Also I think that watching a game there is more important than visiting the field and the locker rooms.

Central Park is huge and most sights you mention there are not that close from each other. Look at a map and chose your favorite area.

Just visit the 9/11 memorial, skip the museum.

The cruise is nice but leave it at night, you'd get to see the SOL there.

If you're not entering the Met or Guggenheim I don't see the point of going just to take a pic of the buildings. The same for the flatiron building.

Any visitors plan demands lots of walking but don't underestimate foot traffic. So just going from one place to the next will consume time no matter how close it is.

You did a good job doing your wishing list. Now is time to be realistic and start priorizing things. Mark your musts, your miss, and your if we have time

Boston, MA
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5. Re: Too Packed? (Itinerary Review, Please)

When is this trip? St Patrick's is surrounded by construction scaffolding.

You are trying to "see" a lot but you won't "experience" very much.

New York City, New...
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6. Re: Too Packed? (Itinerary Review, Please)

It's not quite as bad as it looks. You've done a good job grouping the sites together. I think with Day 2 you could save some walking by taking a bus down 5th Ave from 59th Street to the Library at 42nd Street. Any 5th Ave bus will work and you can use your metrocard. I think you can probably cut one of your boat tours. I LOVE seeing the city from the water, but three times is overkill IMO. I would either cut out the Circle Line tour or the SI Ferry. Otherwise, it is very packed but if you have your routes planned out and are mostly just stopping for photo ops, it can be done.




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7. Re: Too Packed? (Itinerary Review, Please)

We’re staying at the Affinia Dumont the week after Memorial Day weekend. Hopefully we’ll get the opportunity to visit NYC a second time (would love to visit during Christmastime and enjoy the museums, Broadway shows & other indoor activities then) at a more leisurely pace. We’ll actually be in town for the 2 baseball games (huge Yankees fans trying to hit up all the baseball stadiums in the country), and we all agreed that we wanted to see as much of New York as possible while we were in town, hence all the quick photo stops. Thanks for all of the helpful feedback so far! Everything looks close & doable on paper :-) Will work on prioritizing the activities. Have already eliminated or rearranged some activities based on your suggestions.

Center Moriches...
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8. Re: Too Packed? (Itinerary Review, Please)

You have a good plan and the right attitude. Enjoy.

New York City, New...
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9. Re: Too Packed? (Itinerary Review, Please)

Quick photos of the Met and Guggenheim make it sound as though they are right next to one another; Fifth Avenue runs one way - downtown, either take the bus all the way up to the Met (you really do not want to go inside this amazing place, even for one hour or so?) - and then walk down to the Guggenheim. These two photos are real outliers for that day (based on location) and if not going inside, I too would give these a pass given where you are earlier in the day.

In reading your first day at first I thought was the entire itinerary for your whole trip. Not surprisingly, like most first timers, you are seriously underestimating distances (downtown/uptown/crosstown) and timings involved - As a rule 20 regular blocks (not Avenue blocks) is equal to one mile - just to give you an idea. Avenue blocks are longer than the regular blocks (i.e., the walk between Second and Third Avenue is longer than the walk between 42nd Street and 43rd Street though both are just one "block.")

I agree - ditch at least one of the boat rides. I wouldn't go into all those stores if you want to make it through much of that first day.

What you have described to do and see in Central Park is going to take quite a few hours, nothing as quick as I think you believe it will take - the park is huge - it is over 2 miles long: http://www.centralparknyc.org/about/

Bottom line is just to pick out your absolute priority places so you don't miss them - and, if you are able to add in some of a second tier of places you want to see, great, then you can.

I too hope all are on board with this plan because I would balk and just go off on my own with this kind of race through the city but I do think when you get here and get a feel for the sheer size of the city, how long the first bits take you from one place to another, I would guess you will be re-planning fairly soon - you will have to.

Melbourne, Australia
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10. Re: Too Packed? (Itinerary Review, Please)

I am with others here who say 'too much'......especially day 2.....all that in the morning before a 1pm tour at Yankee Stadium? Where is your travel time allocation to get there? And also back to the Circle Line for 4pm? You'll need to line up at the latter at least 45 minutes beforehand.

I also agree 3 trips on the water is at least one too many for such a short trip.