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Dropping to canvass the Hive for pointers.  🙂 

I read Towers Falling to my kids, and it made me want to take them to the 9/11 Memorial next year.  On top of that, we're Orthodox and the St. Nicholas National Shrine is set to open next year, too.
However, I've never planned a trip that far away (we're in Georgia), and I know nothing about getting around via public transportation.  
So...
1) How insane is trying for a Sept. 2021 NYC trip?  Namely in regards to crowds and prices.  Would waiting a month be sensible?  Longer?
2) Drive or fly?  It's really going to cost about the same, I think.  Are economy plane tickets worth the savings?  Or is the seating miserable?  I haven't been on a plane in this millennium.
3) IF we drive, the fastest route takes us straight through D.C., Baltimore, and Philly.  Should I find a different route?  Would you stop in D.C. to sightsee if you were driving through?
4) I hope to have 3 full days there; apart from the memorial and church, what top 3 things would you recommend/wish to see/do?
5) Ditto for food?  I prefer hole-in-the-wall places.  
6) Would you stay in the city and use public transit, or stay in one of the suburbs?
7) For getting around while we're there...subway? bus? taxi?  

From a clueless semi-rural suburbanite.  Thanks.  😄 
 

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Just to make things more complicated, you could consider a mixed transportation solution, such as driving to DC and taking Amtrak from there. 🙂 It's less than 4 hours and may decrease your stress.

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Are we presuming the pandemic will be over by then?

57 minutes ago, EMS83 said:

Dropping to canvass the Hive for pointers.  🙂 

I read Towers Falling to my kids, and it made me want to take them to the 9/11 Memorial next year.  On top of that, we're Orthodox and the St. Nicholas National Shrine is set to open next year, too.
However, I've never planned a trip that far away (we're in Georgia), and I know nothing about getting around via public transportation.  
So...
1) How insane is trying for a Sept. 2021 NYC trip?  Namely in regards to crowds and prices.  Would waiting a month be sensible?  Longer?

 

NYC is always expensive.  I don’t have any reason to think it would be hugely less so a month later. But you probably have a better sense at least of Orthodox crowds part than I would. 

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2) Drive or fly? 

 

Fly.  Driving and parking in NYC is pretty miserable 

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It's really going to cost about the same, I think.  Are economy plane tickets worth the savings? 

 

Yes. ? Ymmv.  It should not be that long a flight.  So unless someone in family is huge should be okay? 

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Or is the seating miserable?  I haven't been on a plane in this millennium.

 


3) IF we drive, the fastest route takes us straight through D.C., Baltimore, and Philly.  Should I find a different route?  Would you stop in D.C. to sightsee if you were driving through?

 

Yes. If pandemic over etc , I’d make stops along way if driving

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4) I hope to have 3 full days there; apart from the memorial and church, what top 3 things would you recommend/wish to see/do?

 

Depends what  you like to do.  Museums? Statue of Liberty, Ellis Island?, Symphony?, Broadway play?  , Central Park?  

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5) Ditto for food?  I prefer hole-in-the-wall places.  
6) Would you stay in the city and use public transit, or stay in one of the suburbs?

 

In city

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7) For getting around while we're there...subway? bus? taxi?  

 

Any of them depending on time and destination 

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From a clueless semi-rural suburbanite.  Thanks.  😄 
 

 

If you can manage the Atlanta airport you can probably manage NYC too.  😉

Edited by Pen
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48 minutes ago, EMS83 said:

Dropping to canvass the Hive for pointers.  🙂 

I read Towers Falling to my kids, and it made me want to take them to the 9/11 Memorial next year.  On top of that, we're Orthodox and the St. Nicholas National Shrine is set to open next year, too.
However, I've never planned a trip that far away (we're in Georgia), and I know nothing about getting around via public transportation.  
So...
1) How insane is trying for a Sept. 2021 NYC trip?  Namely in regards to crowds and prices.  Would waiting a month be sensible?  Longer?
2) Drive or fly?  It's really going to cost about the same, I think.  Are economy plane tickets worth the savings?  Or is the seating miserable?  I haven't been on a plane in this millennium.
3) IF we drive, the fastest route takes us straight through D.C., Baltimore, and Philly.  Should I find a different route?  Would you stop in D.C. to sightsee if you were driving through?
4) I hope to have 3 full days there; apart from the memorial and church, what top 3 things would you recommend/wish to see/do?
5) Ditto for food?  I prefer hole-in-the-wall places.  
6) Would you stay in the city and use public transit, or stay in one of the suburbs?
7) For getting around while we're there...subway? bus? taxi?  

From a clueless semi-rural suburbanite.  Thanks.  😄 
 

I don't think it's easy to answer any of your questions right now. Too many things up in the air. 

Ordinarily I'd rather fly than drive. Before COVID, the plane would be crowded but it's not a long flight so you can make do. 

Stay in the City and use public transportation. Please don't be one of those tourists who is too scared to take the subways. 

It's hard to say what you should see because there are so many choices. Most tourists do the standard things and stay in Midtown. I think that's pretty boring. Do you like history, art? 

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They want to see the zoo and aquarium.  I want to see the wildlife refuge (or at least a tiny part of it).  Natural History Museum.  Youngest wants to climb the Statue of Liberty but middle doesn't.  lol.  I didn't know if there was anything MUST SEE that I was missing.  We'll need built-in down time, too.  We're not a go-go-go family. 

Is staying in the city worth the higher hotel rates?  Versus cheaper hotel rate in the suburbs and taking a train in?

 

Yes, I'm assuming the pandemic will be over.

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1 hour ago, EMS83 said:

They want to see the zoo and aquarium.  I want to see the wildlife refuge (or at least a tiny part of it).  Natural History Museum.  Youngest wants to climb the Statue of Liberty but middle doesn't.  lol.  I didn't know if there was anything MUST SEE that I was missing.  We'll need built-in down time, too.  We're not a go-go-go family. 

Is staying in the city worth the higher hotel rates?  Versus cheaper hotel rate in the suburbs and taking a train in?

 

Yes, I'm assuming the pandemic will be over.

 

In 3 days? I feel exhausted just contemplating that.  

Climb Statue of Liberty plus Aquarium at Coney Island Brooklyn plus, which zoo? Bronx?  And Natural History Museum in Manhattan.

Plus St Nicholas shrine opening and 9/11 memorial.   

For a non go go family?  Sounds a lot even if you all were go go. 

Maybe you should stay in a suburb for a week and a half or so and go into the City every other day and rest in between.

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Statue of Liberty climb (plus perhaps Ellis Island): 1 day

Aquarium (& Coney Island? And getting there and back from wherever you are staying )      1 day

Bronx Zoo (maybe also Botanic garden and or the Cloisters museum ? Or something else in northern direction):1 day

Natural History museum plus ? Maybe Something else  ? : 1 day

9/11 Memorial plus St Nicholas Shrine or  : 1 day  

 

Personally that’s stretching it already imo.  I would not for example normally try to do anything other than go to a zoo (and eat and other basics) as an event for a single day.  

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1 hour ago, EMS83 said:

They want to see the zoo and aquarium.  I want to see the wildlife refuge (or at least a tiny part of it).  Natural History Museum.  Youngest wants to climb the Statue of Liberty but middle doesn't.  lol.  I didn't know if there was anything MUST SEE that I was missing.  We'll need built-in down time, too.  We're not a go-go-go family. 

Is staying in the city worth the higher hotel rates?  Versus cheaper hotel rate in the suburbs and taking a train in?

 

Yes, I'm assuming the pandemic will be over.

 

NYC has multiple zoos, none of which are conveniently located by the aquarium, the AMNH, or the Statue of Liberty - and each one of those adds up to a full-day trip. You're not going to ALL be able to do ALL these things in three days, though if you split up the kids and adults you could each do some of them.

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It's just me and them.  Could I fly into a suburb and take a train into the city and the subway around the city?  If I could do that, then I can have 5 days.  A week and a half would be amazing, but right now, I'm not sure that would be possible.  Things may change, though.
How expensive is food up there?  Is $10/person for lunch and $20 for dinner realistic?  Too low?  I wish it were too high, but I have a feeling it's not.

I figured we'd do the memorial and shrine together since they're in the same area.
It's the Bronx zoo; that's the only one I've run across so far.  I'll google for others.  
The Wildlife refuge is negotiable, and the Statue of Liberty is up in the air.  That's one of those where we all have to climb or none of us do.  Maybe they'll magically come to a consensus in the next year or so.  I can dream.  😄 
 

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8 minutes ago, EMS83 said:

It's just me and them.  Could I fly into a suburb and take a train into the city and the subway around the city?  If I could do that, then I can have 5 days.  A week and a half would be amazing, but right now, I'm not sure that would be possible.  Things may change, though.
How expensive is food up there?  Is $10/person for lunch and $20 for dinner realistic?  Too low?  I wish it were too high, but I have a feeling it's not.

I figured we'd do the memorial and shrine together since they're in the same area.
It's the Bronx zoo; that's the only one I've run across so far.  I'll google for others.  
The Wildlife refuge is negotiable, and the Statue of Liberty is up in the air.  That's one of those where we all have to climb or none of us do.  Maybe they'll magically come to a consensus in the next year or so.  I can dream.  😄 
 

 

If  you have a child who would give up part way along during climb and want to be carried, Don’t do it!

An up to date guide book might be a help.  For prices and so forth. 

I would particularly go for things unique to NYC though, so if a zoo is possible for you to do elsewhere, I would not put that high on a things to do in NYC list.  

Yes. You could take train in and then take subway.  

 

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2 hours ago, EMS83 said:

It's just me and them.  Could I fly into a suburb and take a train into the city and the subway around the city?  If I could do that, then I can have 5 days.  A week and a half would be amazing, but right now, I'm not sure that would be possible.  Things may change, though.
How expensive is food up there?  Is $10/person for lunch and $20 for dinner realistic?  Too low?  I wish it were too high, but I have a feeling it's not.

I figured we'd do the memorial and shrine together since they're in the same area.
It's the Bronx zoo; that's the only one I've run across so far.  I'll google for others.  
The Wildlife refuge is negotiable, and the Statue of Liberty is up in the air.  That's one of those where we all have to climb or none of us do.  Maybe they'll magically come to a consensus in the next year or so.  I can dream.  😄 
 

 

Not totally sure about the prices. I would plan to have breakfasts and packed lunches from groceries I purchase rather than eating out.

You can totally take the train in to New York and then navigate public transportation within the city. It will be much cheaper to stay in a suburb.

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If I drive, on about half of my trips I have stayed in New Jersey, and caught the train in. Lots of hotels in NJ run a shuttle service to get you to the closest station. I have also traveled directly to the city easily via Amtrak or by city-to-city bus trip.  I have never flown to NYC to visit it, due to cost. If I am going short-term, for a specific event like a concert or museum exhibit, I prefer to find the best deal I can on a hotel in the city that is within a reasonable walking distance of the event. If I want to do another activity or two, I limit myself to picking something in that general area, either by walking or within a few stops on the subway. I try to savor a particular neighborhood, rather than try to criss-cross the city on any given day. . If I drive in, I park and leave my vehicle in one place until I am leaving the city, but try to take advantage of having the car to stop at one place further afield, such as the Cloisters or the Botanical Gardens. On my most recent trip, we stopped at the New York Public Library after checking out of our hotel, signed up for a library tour, and then had a lovely picnic lunch at Bryant Park out behind the library.

If I was coming from the south rather than the north, I would definitely visit DC. Actually the last time I went to DC, we went via NYC. I took the train with my child. We stayed in VA, and took the subway in and out. If I was driving from Atlanta, I would totally consider driving to DC, and then doing a DC-NYC train trip. But, if my time was limited, and I had not visited NYC, I would probably fly directly from ATL to NYC and then stay in NJ to maximize the time I could visit NYC. 

 

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I like staying out in New Jersey and taking the train to Penn Station. Personally, I would probably drive and find accommodations outside the city BUT I'm not dealing with young children. I'm not clear on the ages and number of yours. I stay in the Princeton area, but Newark is closer via train and has many hotels.

Two things that do get me a little stressed in NYC are finding restrooms and keeping cell phone charged adequately :-) However, if you do some research ahead of time about where to find restrooms for the kids, and bring an external charger, you will be golden. One big advantage, though, of having a room in the city, would be having a place to rest. They may be very small rooms though, so, again, not sure what size group you are talking about.

Get on TripAdvisor and start reading. Great information in the posts on the forum there, and you have lots of time to plan.

Walking around NYC is my favorite thing in the world, though my experiences bringing my kids along are mixed, lol. The 9/11 Memorial/Museum is amazing. I don't actually think it is a full day event like some are saying, but it depends on your touring style.

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I don’t have much advice on the in-city logistics, but the flights from ATL to Philly and Newark (the only ones I’ve used) are only 2 hours. It’s a million times better than driving, imo, even if I had to be inside my luggage!
I don’t know about flying directly into NY, but almost all of my flights in the past few years have had to go through Charlotte, which I *might* consider a deal breaker with the family, but I still prefer the layover to driving for myself. It does tend to be a quick switch, so I’ve always had to hustle from one end of the airport to the other with just enough time for the bathroom.

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When the pandemic ends.. flights out of Atlanta to New York are frequent and (relatively) cheap. I would not drive to NYC. The hotels charge an outrageous parking fee on top of everything else. 

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My sig contains my kids' birth years.  They'll be 14, 12, and 10 at the time of this trip (if I can pull it off, anyway).  So 4 people, all of them at least half-grown.  No one will want to be carried halfway up the Statue of Liberty, lol.  They might stage a sit-in protest, however.  Like I said, that one's definitely still up in the air.

Someone mentioned sticking with NYC-specific sites... so Times Square, Central Park.  What else?  
Technically natural history and art museums are in every big city, like zoos and aquariums.  I was thinking those specific ones would be bigger and better.  

I'll look into some of these travel combinations...the D.C. idea, and staying in NJ.  Staying in the city would be super convenient, but I'm always considering cost.  I'm the "I'd rather camp on the beach than not go at all" lady.  Sometimes all you can afford is something less than convenient.  I do want clean and safe, though.

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Unless everyone wants to climb the Statue of Liberty, I suggest you visit the Ellis Island museum instead and see the statue from the ferry.  

FWIW, if I were traveling alone with 3 kids, I'd probably spend more time in Washington and less in NYC.  Our dc loved D.C.  The museums there are top notch.  

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We stayed in the city so we could walk to everything.  Yes it was expensive (so we all shared a small room), but parking and traffic are such a problem there.  We did drive there but kept the car parked in the hotel garage.

We didn't go to the memorials.  We were there for a happy trip (my kid's 11th birthday).

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I would fly.  Subway is easily navigable. Study the NYC subway site: MTA.  It made me confident in my travels that I knew well the maps before we visited.  Also read a number of blog posts focused on tips for the subway.  We loved the subway.

Considering you like hole-in-the-wall places, I think your budget is reasonable.  Especially if you like pizza! One slice is the same cost as a subway ticket.  Seriously good pizza.  Although we splurged a fair amount, we ate cheaper than in other cities overall.  https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pizza_Principle  It is NYC: there are bagel shops everywhere, too.

We stayed in Brooklyn most of our trip, Brooklyn Heights area, and, although it was a 10 minute walk to the subway each morning, Brooklyn was as charming as can be.  We also stayed in Midtown a few days for fun.  Hands down, our strolls though Brooklyn were the best, as was stopping at little Jewish delis for amazing (and cheap) takeout.  Unbelievable bakery and lunch items.   Although we stayed at Airbnbs (illegal in Manhattan, I believe, not clear on that), that was the most expensive part of the trip.  I thought it was a rather reasonable vacation, other than the accommodations, due to the availability of reasonable food and the WOW entertainment of just being there.

But, I did not travel with youngsters. I think that the ideas given by @klmama and @Ordinary Shoes to take the ferry to the Ellis Island Museum, as well as visit the Tenement Museum and the Cloisters are right up your alley, from what you have shared.  Those were three places we did not even get to in our 6 day trip!  Being in NYC was just such a treat in and of itself.  When we were walking to things, I felt like we were already somewhere...hard to describe, but really enjoyable.  Taking the time to go to Top of the Rock or One World Trade Center make being in the Big Apple extra memorable.  But, the museum costs do make the trip cost add up.

17 hours ago, EMS83 said:

  😄 
 

Edited by Familia
ETA: not sure what went wrong with font or the quote!
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Check to see if any reasonable cost museum in your area has any reciprocity with any museums in NYC you might want to go to.

Consider at least seeing Lincoln Center and looking at the buildings, murals etc from outside; same for main branch of public library, Empire State Building, Grand Central Station, Central Park...   and yes Statue of Liberty even if you don’t climb it.    Iconic NYC locations...

Consider a boat around Manhattan tour, or a bus tour to see a lot of at least exteriors quickly without exhaustion 

 

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I would drive but park somewhere else and take the bus or train in. I live in DC so we always just take the Megabus. Back in the day, we used to take the Chinatown bus.

I'm not sure about best parking options... but there's long term parking at some of the commuter lots near the trains around DC that's not crazy expensive if you wanted to drive to DC, sightsee here for a day or two, then take the train.

I have no idea about your timing, but I think fall of 21 things will likely be more or less opened up everywhere so as a loose plan it seems good to me. Though who the heck knows.

 

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1) How insane is trying for a Sept. 2021 NYC trip?  Namely in regards to crowds and prices.  Would waiting a month be sensible?  Longer?  September should be fine (supposing the virus thing is under control). 
2) Drive or fly?  It's really going to cost about the same, I think.  Are economy plane tickets worth the savings?  Or is the seating miserable?  I haven't been on a plane in this millennium. I'd prefer to fly. I don't mind driving in the city but parking is crazy unless you know where and are lucky enough to find a free spot (which often are available on one side of the street some days and not others and signs are near impossible to understand while driving...anyway, I hate parking in the city). I don't mind economy tickets just watch extra costs for carry ons and luggage...read the fine print.
3) IF we drive, the fastest route takes us straight through D.C., Baltimore, and Philly.  Should I find a different route?  Would you stop in D.C. to sightsee if you were driving through? I drive from NC through DC, etc...to get to NYC and if you time it right, it's fine. I usually try to leave NC so I'll hit DC around noon-1pm to miss the worst of traffic. I love the Smithsonian museums (which are free) in DC.
4) I hope to have 3 full days there; apart from the memorial and church, what top 3 things would you recommend/wish to see/do? I love the MET and walking through Central Park.
5) Ditto for food?  I prefer hole-in-the-wall places. We are vegan so probably have different restaurant choices.
6) Would you stay in the city and use public transit, or stay in one of the suburbs? I would stay in the city. Check AirBnB for a place in the East Village or booking.com for a decent priced hotel. If you book ahead, you can get a place for not too bad. Recently, well we only got to stay there one night because of the pandemic, we found a place for $89/night very close to Times Square but rooms are often very, very small. We live AirBnB because we'll have a kitchen and can eat breakfasts and have snacks without eating out.
7) For getting around while we're there...subway? bus? taxi?  Subway and/or Uber depending on distance and whether or not we are lugging bags.

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10 hours ago, EMS83 said:

My sig contains my kids' birth years.  They'll be 14, 12, and 10 at the time of this trip (if I can pull it off, anyway).  So 4 people, all of them at least half-grown.  No one will want to be carried halfway up the Statue of Liberty, lol.  They might stage a sit-in protest, however.  Like I said, that one's definitely still up in the air.

 

I’m on a cellphone—signatures don’t show. 

At the age of your kids, assuming good weather,  personally I would take a picnic to Statue of Liberty and let whoever wants to climb climb and stay with whoever doesn’t want to, admiring the view of the statue from below. 

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Someone mentioned sticking with NYC-specific sites... so Times Square, Central Park.  What else?  

 

I think both are worth seeing, watch out for pick pockets. 

Natural History Museum is right by Central Parkso make sense together

I think Grand Central Station’s rotunda is worth seeing. 

The Metropolitan Museum of Art. 

 

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Technically natural history and art museums are in every big city, like zoos and aquariums.  I was thinking those specific ones would be bigger and better.  

 

If your family would  like a Natural History museum, the one in NYC is worthwhile.  Even more so the Metropolitan Museum of Art really qualifies as iconic NY imo.  The aquarium, IDK, it’s historical and Coney Island is iconic — i’d probably give it a miss with only a few days, (hmmm I managed to give it a miss for all the years I lived in nyc so maybe it’s truly spectacular and I don’t know what I missed!)  —look at pictures, read about it and decide.  It is a ways out in Brooklyn. 

I have not been to any zoo for ages, but iirc the best N.Y. zoo is the Bronx zoo, but idk that it is amazingly better than San Diego zoo, Los Angeles zoo, Philadelphia zoo, National zoo...  It is in the Bronx, so not near the other sites, (though you might look at yanked stadium and if fall color leaves are happening the Bronx  botanical gardens are lovely) and zoos tend to be tiring.  Again look at information and decide.  It probably has much more than you probably have in Georgia.  But if you are driving especially, maybe a zoo day in DC or Philly area makes more sense to break up drive with a big walking day at a zoo. 

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I'll look into some of these travel combinations...the D.C. idea, and staying in NJ.  Staying in the city would be super convenient, but I'm always considering cost.  I'm the "I'd rather camp on the beach than not go at all" lady.  Sometimes all you can afford is something less than convenient.  I do want clean and safe, though.

 

Early September may still have free plays, concerts in Central Park which in my memory is a lot of fun — if you can do that, being able to stay in Manhattan on such a night would be easier than having to get back to New Jersey or some such

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Ya'll have given me a lot of good ideas and things to look into and consider.   I want to say thanks!!  But please do keep it coming, if anything strikes anyone. 

I didn't think of AirBnB, but I'd love a kitchen.  That would help cut food costs for sure.

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Posted (edited)
25 minutes ago, Pen said:

I’m on a cellphone—signatures don’t show. 

Oh I see!  I'm always on a computer; I didn't know sigs don't show on phones!

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Just fyi... AirBnB is  pretty restricted in NYC. You can definitely find them... but they're not legal unless they're in someone's home, which is different from other places where you're often renting out an entire apartment or house. So just keep that in mind. It means that you'll see more that are illegal or that are a room in someone's home. If you really plan ahead and are willing to stay somewhere outside Manhattan, like in Brooklyn, then you're more likely to find the equivalent of a sort of studio apartment in someone's home - those are legal and would have a kitchen. Of course, you can also risk doing an illegal one. People do it.

Edited by Farrar
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On 4/20/2020 at 10:05 AM, EMS83 said:

My sig contains my kids' birth years.  They'll be 14, 12, and 10 at the time of this trip (if I can pull it off, anyway). 

Holy cow, y'all.  I can't do math.  Make that 15, 13, and 11.  Good grief.  :blink:

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