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NY is not like Paris, you will be able to eat at good restaurants for cheap. Another thing that is very cheap is taxis. Don't try to walk everywhere, you will exhaust yourself. One thing you should bare in mind is that it's summer here now so the city is full of tourists, Top of Rock may be too long a wait if you only have 4 days (sometimes the line to enter goes down a few blocks). Otherwise, Times square and central park is free and accessible.

New York isn't the ideal place for the REAL US bargains (90% off, etc). But find filene's basement and Macy's discount store. There is a huge discount shop very close to World Trade Site...can't remember the name but I am sure Google can help. And then get out of the tourist hub asap, and head towards SoHo and China Town...I discovered China town too late for me, but if you love shopping for bargains it can be paradise (note that there is a lot of crap too, but that's part of the fun..)

You will be fine in flipflops and whatever you choose to wear. I would take a pair of takkies (sneakers) and rather walk in them. The sidewalks are dirty and lots of people and open toes could lead to some "issues". I would pack one nice outfit for maybe one nice dinner somewhere.

You should definitely see the Empire State Building, Times Square (millions of people), Statue of Liberty, Central Park. Be prepared for pricey entrance fees :(. Walk down 5th Avenue - you will be amazed at what you recognize from movies. You will be able to pick up some cheesy t-shirts and other memorabilia from little stores along there which make nice gifts for the people back home. Usually their prices aren't too bad. About electronics I'm not too sure. Don't think you will really see a huge price difference between what you pay in SA and here.

Try to walk as much as you can where ever you go. I have not been on the trains there, but believe they are easy to navigate and should give you lots of blog fodder. (all kinds of people)!

Have fun and welcome to America!

p.s. Luggage handling in SA is very lax - if they let you get on the plane with a kilo or more over the weight limit without charging you, don't expect the same on this side. You can each bring two bags, if you don't intend packing so much clothes, just bring an empty suitcase and put your shopping in there. Paying for anything over the allotted 50lbs is going to cost you an arm and a leg!


Having just returned from a long weekend in NYC, I would echo the flip flop comment. Yes, you can wear them, but it is hot now, and your feet will be *filthy* when you return home at night. In our three days, we only planned for 1 show, visit to the MOMA, and one nice dinner out. The rest we played by ear, wandering and exploring. Spent a lot of time in Central Park, popped down to Battery Park to see the Statue of Liberty from afar, etc. Have a great time!

Take a look at CityPass http://www.citypass.com/new-york It is a discount combo ticket to the standard tourist stuff.

My personal favorites in NYC are the Museum of Natural History and the MOMA.

I'm not a shopper, though.

If you're going in September, you will probably want to bring something slightly warmer in addition to shorts, t-shirts and flip flops. It's almost autumn and sometimes there are cold breezes especially at night. You might look into "the big onion" walking tours. This would give you a flavor of life outside the tourist zone. PS: NY is very different from the rest of the US, so don't expect to come away with much understanding of what America is like. You will have to come back for another visit-- how about the West Coast, which has a more similar lifestyle/ climate to SA.

Things to see:

* Empire State Building

* Central Park (can have a picnic lunch there)

* Times Square (at night)

* FAO Schwartz to get toys for the kids (their basement has TONS of toys for sale-I got some great stuff there; this store is right across the street from Central Park)

* be sure to eat authentic New York pizza at some point! ;)

Oh my, where to start! Well, make sure you do see Times Square at night - trust me, even to a jaded New Yorker, it makes a difference! You can wear shorts and a t-shirt almost everywhere in NYC - shopping, museums, bars, etc, as long as you are not looking for a 5 start dinner. You may want just one outfit that is a little nicer (slacks or capris or a skirt/skort and a casual top) if you wind up meeting people at a hotel bar or restaurant - sometimes they may have a slightly better dress code. Tons of deli's to get a sandwich to carry out, and tons of parks for a picnic - Bryant Park right in midtown is the easiest to find (and centrally located) - and is right near the iconic New York library with the big lions out front. There is a lovely little chain (franchise) type deli place called Pret a Manger that makes lovely sandwiches for a takeaway picnic - one right across from Bryant Park.

Take a walk on the High Line if you can http://www.thehighline.org/ - lovely views of the city. Just beautiful. Whoever said the subways are easy to navigate hasn't been to NYC (judging from their comment, they have not) - not easy. Buses are a bit better, but you in some areas, must have correct change, and some bus drivers are more friendly and helpful than others. The PATH train is good for getting from downtown to midtown, and as someone says, save some $$ for cabs instead - easier, you don't need to how to get where you are going, just where you want to go. Fair warning - when it rains in NYC, cabs become much, MUCH harder to find and flag down. Tip - if you are near a hotel, often they have doormen who flags down cabs - I used to do it all the time, they may have a short queue of people waiting, but they'll flag it down for you even if you are not staying there. Just remember to slip him a dollar or two after he does!

Your iPhone/smart phone will be your best friend while you are in the city. Tons of apps for everything from shopping to eating to parks to finding the closest Starbucks! One good walking day (and I love my flip flops more than life itself, but if you are really going to spend one whole day walking, I agree with commenters - at least a sturdier sandal or a sneaker is the way to go) is to start in Midtown at Times Square, walk up 5th Ave, you will see and can go in all the swanky shops (everything from Tiffany's to Chanel to Dolce Gabana to Lucky Jeans, to Burberry, Brooks Brothers, Hermes, etc.), you will end up at the south end of Central Park (and FAO Schwartz, and the Apple Store), walk east over to Broadway, go to Whole Foods or a deli and grab some lunch and eat in the park, then walk back down to Times Square on Broadway - you will pass Lincoln Center, Saint Patricks Cathedral, Rockefeller Center (where the big Christmas tree is in the winter, and the famous skating rink) - you can go to the Top of the Rock there.

Those hop on/off bus tours are great - I've taken many a out of town visitor on them, and they cover a lot of ground quickly. Definitely love the Empire State Building - if you can go just before dusk/sunset, and watch the city light up - awesome.

Cheap electronics - be wary in NYC. Many things that appear to be a good deal in the small shops are knock offs or refurbished deals - not much to be had in the "good deal" department when it comes to electronics in NYC. Well, I don't know what it's like in SA, but compared to the 'burbs in Jersey, no, not known for good electronic deals. Again, depending on how prices are in SA, some of the big chain stores like Best Buy, etc. may be good for you. You will find deals on some clothing, tons of toys and tourist type gifts for the kids, etc.

September can go either way weatherwise in NYC, can be very warm, or a bit cool - and also, we love to freeze everyone with our air conditioning, so be prepared with a light sweater or jacket.

I know you were a bit nervous about being here for the 9/11 anniversary, and there may be more security than usual, but I also think you will see us (and New York) at our very best. One aftermath of that tragedy was that, for a little while, we, as both Americans and esp. New Yorkers, were kinder, more patient, more forgiving - too bad we can't always be like that, instead of obnoxious and loud like we usually are! ;-) Enjoy your trip - sure to be memorable!

Crap, I said walk east to Broadway - I meant walk west. Am trying to give up caffeine - it's not going well. Sorry!

The best shopping can be had at Century 21 in lower Manhattan, adjacent to the World Trade Center site. It features name brands for discounted prices. It is a ZOO, but worth it for the bargains you can score.

I have posted below my NY summary I send to everyone travelling to NYC

Good places to look for reduced hotel rates:
www.tripadvisor.com - also good for restaurant reviews
www.quikbook.com - no prepayment for most rooms, so you can cancel if you get a better deal elsewhere last minute

www.opentable.com - good source of restaurant ratings and you can book and change restaurants online

www.ticketmaster.com - all shows / spotring events tickets.

Shopping - 34th street probably has everything you need: Macy's, American eagle, Gap, Victoria Secret, Steve Madden and heaps others.

Sights - I have grouped these into neighbourhoods so you can hit up one region at a time without racing all over the city wasting time.

Upper East Side
Gugenheim and other museums
Central Park

Midtown Area
Empire State Building - you can buy tickets online to use anytime https://tickets.esbnyc.com/
the fastpass lets you bypass all lines for elevators up and down (gold, in my opinion)
Grand Central Station - just go look inside
Flatiron building - you will recognise from TV
Times square
Trump Tower - You can go inside
St Patricks Cathedral

Statue of Liberty - http://www.statuecruises.com/ferry-service/welcome.aspx
You MUST book your tickets in advance online if you want to walk up the Statue of Liberty. If you dont you will only be able to wonder around the base. These advance tix also serve as a fastpass so save lots of time lining up for the ferry. You book them online and pick up at the ticket window at Battery Park (where you will depart from)
If you dont want to get off and see the statue, rather jst catch the free Staten Island ferry which will take to past it for some nice photo ops and then straight back to Manhattan.
Brooklyn Bridge - nice to take a stroll across and enjoy views of Manhattan
NY Stock exchange - you can't go in, just see from outside
Site of World Trade Centre
Century 21 - mad discount department store (this is the one another commentor mentioned)

Tertia, I spent a year in downtown Manhattan! Century 21 next to the World Trade Center is a bargain... while you're down there, you can check out the World Trade Center, Wall Street, South Street Seaport, Battery Park, the Native American Museum...

I'm surprised no one has mentioned the Staten Island Ferry; it's free, it runs every 30 minutes, and sails right past the Statue of Liberty.

Remember, downtown Manhattan is tiny, totally walkable, fascinating AND there's a free bus that goes around the tip of the island!

There are plenty of sandwiches in NYC; Katz Deli, Carnegie Deli.... that's the real "local cuisine."

I'm not sure about electronics; if I were you I wouldn't waste my time. BUT if you're downtown, you might as well stop into J&R Electronics.

Remember, when you're in New York, the four cardinal directions are called "uptown, downtown, east, and west." I greatly preferred taking the subway and walking to taking cabs; the subway can be tough to figure out, and announcements are garbled, and you may feel shy about asking for help. One thing you should know, though, New Yorkers may act like they're not thrilled to talk to you, but they're actually VERY proud of knowing their way around, and secretly LOVE giving very precise directions and a number of options. In fact, sometimes you'll have to ask them to stop giving you so many options so you can concentrate on just one.

Hella fun: Lower East Side, Chinatown, Meat Packing District, East Broadway (basically like being in China)... You could spend the whole time below 14th Street and never be bored.

Oh one last thing: "Houston St." is pronounced HOW-stin. Or HOUSE-stin.

You could go into most places in a chicken suit and tutu.

UrbanSpoon app is your best friend for delicious, cost-efficient food. It's got a geo-locator and you can sort by cost, cuisine, etc. And it's free. I lived in Manhattan for years (and am still there frequently) and still find this app very useful.

I second both the High Line and Century 21. But it's true, Century 21 is a total zoo. Wear your shin guards.

We walk everywhere in NY. The whole island is only about 13 miles long and maybe 3 across. You'd be surprised where you can walk.

Yes to something along with flip flops. I wear them all the time but if you're really going to cover some distance you want something else.

If you have even rudimentary map reading skills the subway is a snap. And if you're lost know that the cliche of mean New Yorkers is totally wrong. Mostly people mind their own business, but nearly anyone you ask will be happy to give you directions and/or suggestions.

Might be fun to get a pedicab (bicycle rickshaw) tour of Central Park. You can find them on Columbus Circle (southwest corner of Central Park).

Grab a copy of Time Out New York magazine at the airport when you arrive. It's got pretty comprehensive event listings.

www.roadfood.com and www.chow.com - their bulletin boards are GREAT resources for cheap, unique local cuisine. You will at VERY least have to get a Real Slice of Pizza and a Real Bagel whilst there.

In addition to Century 21, Daffy's is great for cheapo high-end clothing.

While flip-flops won't be a problem fashion-wise, your feet will be killing you in short order. Perhaps some nice Tevas or Keens as a compromise?

Do not neglect to get a real New York bagel in a non-chain deli. They are everywhere and for some reason it really is impossible to create a real NYC bagel outside of NYC. I think it must be Manhattan Magic of some sort.

You can wear flip flops any where in NY, on the other hand I don't let my daughter because of escalators biting, tripping hazard etc (though I am a hypocrite and wear them myself. Interestingly, I have a broken toe and she does not). The most important thing is shoes you can walk in, because the most fun thing to do in NY is to just walk. I second J & R for electronics. If you are particularly interested in cameras try B & H Photo (however it is owned by Orthodox Jews and will be closed from sun down Friday till Sunday). Also, if you go down to J & R walking across the Brooklyn Bridge is truly spectacular, and the Brooklyn Promenade view of Manhattan is one of the best views in the world. Nothing is faster and easier than the NY subways, and there is no reason at all to avoid them. It is the best way to cover ground fast. If you want to do one museum MOMA is expensive but has a lovely bar attached.

You can wear flip flops but your feet will be black by the end of the day.
If you like bargains Strand is the biggest used bookstore in the city (maybe state or country too).
B&H is a great electronics store, though not used.
And Times Square is super crowded and touristy and most locals hate it (though I guess it's worth seeing once). There are tons of cheap places to eat, especially lunch specials at Japanese or Thai places.

Actually, there is a used section at B&H (West 34th &...9th Ave? I always forget). Definitely hit them up, 'cause it's an amazing experience. Pick up a Not for Tourists guide book at a bookstore. I disagree about the subways being hard to navigate--what they are are hot and kind of dirty in summer. But you will want to stop walking at some point, and flip flops don't really have enough support. Taxis aren't THAT cheap. Definitely plan some downtime into your day--NYC can be emotionally exhausting quickly, just due to the number of people in your planned visit areas. The Highline is a great place to recharge.

While there are bunch of places to eat in midtown, you can get tastier, cheaper stuff on 9th Ave. I live here, and some of my favorite places are Ft. Tryon Park, waaaay uptown, the Strand, the Highline, and the New York Public Library on 5th Avenue (right by Bryant Park). Try to hit the Brooklyn Bridge by moonlight--there will be ice cream on the Brooklyn side.

I second the recommendations of J&R and B&H for electronics. J&R is within walking distance of Century 21 if you are a walker. We New YOrkers walk everywhere! B&H is owned by Orthodox Jews and is closed Saturdays and may close early on Fridays (certainly in the winter when sunset is early, not sure about in September).

For sandwiches, a real NY deli is a must - the Carnegie deli is near Central Park; Katz's is on the Lower East Side, where you can also hit the Tenement Museum; and my personal favorite is the 2nd Avenue Deli now relocated to 3rd Ave (and 33rd St.), unfortunately close to nothing else of interest.

I mentioned this before but it's worth repeating. I would definitely go to:

the Met
walk across the Brooklyn Bridge and get ice cream at the Bklyn Ice Cream factory
Ellis Island

If you have time, hit the Lower East Side and the Tenement Museum and from there walk around Chinatown (these days they are nearly one and the same). Take a free ride on the Staten Island ferry. Nothing to see on the other side though, so just turn right around and come back.

Weather here in September can be anywhere from chilly and rainy in the 50s (Fahrenheit) to the 90s. Bring layers. Most indoor places are quite air-conditioned so bring a sweater with you everywhere.

I think the subway is quite easy, particularly if you are staying in Manhattan. As others have said, New Yorkers really are very friendly - just because we are walking quickly does not mean we are not friendly. Cabs are a fortune and not worth it. Buses are great to go crosstown (east-west), esp. between 59th and 110thSts (where Central Park is, making the crosstown trip very fast) but are extremely slow going uptown and down. New York is a grid and easy to navigate above 14th Street. Below that, you will definitely need a good map and be willing to ask for help.

Have fun!

Just a factor to consider: The sales tax in NY is higher than if you caught a train or a bus out to the 'burbs... it's a fun ride and you see en route to the big malls.

Lots of people have had good ideas for NYC for you. I think it's more of a town for experiences than bargains. Things are very expensive in NYC. You should really go to the Met and see the art there. Times Square at night you have to see. If you want the best sandwich ever, you need to go to a Jewish deli called Ben's. You have to go to Greenwich Village too and people watch. Have a great time!

I echo the recommendations to visit the High Line park as well as to shop at J&R and FAO Schwartz. You can dress however you like in NYC, but personally, I love to walk and walk and walk when I'm there, and your feet may get tired - might want to invest in a comfy pair of shoes (you can probably find cheapish Danskos or Crocs :-) )

And you can eat cheaply AND deliciously there. There's a big food truck fad in the USA right now, and Manhattan has lots of tasty ones. Search on twitter and you'll find apps that tell you which trucks are where at any given hour.

One of my favorite restaurants is called Vaselka (spelling?) - it's down on 2nd ave and east 9th in the East Village and it's a Ukranian deli - good noshing, and at least when we were there last, there was an adorable toy store next door.

Have fun!!!

[Thanks, saving the other posters' great suggestions.]
Maybe H&M for clothes? http://www.hm.com/us/

Tertia, if you want to buy electronics, check out B&H Photo and Video (http://www.bhphotovideo.com/) Their superstore is huge from what I heard. Geek porn FTW! Directions are on their website. I've bought online from them before. Very reputable!!

Also, stores like BestBuy are also a good bet for tech. Look at ordering online and having items shipped to your hotel so by the time you get there, your tech will be waiting for you.

NB NB NB ! If you plan to use your phone for data in the States, PLEASE, just PLEASE get a prepaid SIM when you arrive in NYC. My friend got a bill of R11,000 from MTN when he roamed using 58mb of data while travelling. You don't want to make that mistake!

I was in NYC back in 1998 and have fond memories and very envious of you and Marko going ...

Oh, and who knows? Maybe Apple might spring the iPhone 5 on us by the time you go so you can pick one up while you're there.

You should see the Empire State Building, Central Park, and FAO Shwartz. You may also want to try doing a Circle Line cruise, which is a boat ride around Manhattan.

You can eat at great restaurants in NYC without spending an arm and a leg. Many have fixed price menus. You should have real NY pizza at least once. Also, food off the vending carts often tastes great and can be a bargain. (It's probably terrible for you, but you're on holiday.)

One word of caution: A good restroom is hard to find, go when you find one. Most restaurants lock theirs and will only give the key to paying customers, and even then they are often filthy. Big department stores are your best bet for emergency potty breaks, but you may need to navigate to the far reaches of the store.

Oh Elizabeth, I pink puffy heart love you! How did I forget potties? Big "yes" to department store bathrooms, Starbucks almost always have ones in there too.

I went to the Netherlands a few years ago, and was both thrilled and horrified that many places (malls, etc.) charged to go into their bathrooms. Thrilled that they were relatively clean and well located, horrified that I had to drop a coin into a bucket to use them. Decided at the end of the day the convenience was worth it!

American museum of natural history, for the dinosaurs and it's right on/in a park/Central Park. The Cloisters- up in Fort Tyron park, it's the mediaeval wing of the Metropolitan Art museum, MUCH less crowded and can get there on the subway + a walk. A break from the crowds.
Subways/buses are by far the cheapest way to get around. A weekly pass will get you onto either one, as many times as you want.

The thing about shopping is that most places in the US offer pretty much the same set of stores. Clothing, home goods, jewelry you name it, we've got a chain store for it. The chains are dependable selling roughly the same stuff in their various locations. The perponderance of chains makes the small individual stores extra special. Since this is your first time in the US both could be of interest you.

The upside is that travel can then focus on the experiences, food, people or sites unique to the place and skip the shopping aside from souvineers or gifts. NYC is all about experience. I've had the best time just people watching while strolling through the town. I adore The Metripolitan Museum of Art, but after 6 hours, I had only seen 2/3 of the displays and was not lingering nor using the audio tour.

You can find pretty much any type of food in NYC, but for authentically NYC try deli food (buffet or sandwiches) and pizza. Their Delis and pizza are like no where else. I only wish we had NYC delis here in California.

I'm so excited for you guys and soooo jealous too!!!!

Don't forget the voltage difference. You will need an adaptor for any goodies you buy there. USA is 120V and SA 230V

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