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Posted (edited)

Hi all,

 

Excitingly I'm off to New York in May, and needless to say will be taking out a second mortgage on my legs to see NYCB perform while I'm in town. Only problem is, I want to see three performances. While I'm sorting out the whole not-having-won-the-National-Lottery-yet issue with Camelot I can't really plump for top seats for all three, so does anyone have any suggestions for a decent balance of good seats at the David H. Koch Theater that don't cost the earth? 

 

I'd also welcome tips for fun things to do while in NYC!

 

Oh, and if we have any members on the forum in NY who fancy meeting up and saying hello, I'll be flying solo and am always up for meeting fellow balletomane forumites. :)

 

Thanks!

Edited by BristolBillyBob
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If it's your first trip there, I highly recommend this boat tour.  It goes around the whole island so you get an excellent idea of the lie of the land, plus you get an out of work actor who is the on board guide and always hilarious.  It is 2.5 hours long, but well worth a morning.  Book it in advance.  Everyone who I have recommended this to and who have done it have loved it and said it gave them real insight into the city and its history.  I did it again a few years ago with my husband and daughter and they both loved it.  You can also see my old school from it so very wistful for me!!  

 

https://www.circleline.com/sightseeing-cruises/best-of-nyc

 

How long will you be there?

 

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Posted (edited)
2 minutes ago, Sim said:

If it's your first trip there, I highly recommend this boat tour.  It goes around the whole island so you get an excellent idea of the lie of the land, plus you get an out of work actor who is the on board guide and always hilarious.  It is 2.5 hours long, but well worth a morning.  Book it in advance.  Everyone who I have recommended this to and who have done have loved it and said it gave them real insight into the city and its history.  I did it again a few years ago with my husband and daughter and they both loved it.  You can also see my old school from it so very wistful for me!!  

 

https://www.circleline.com/sightseeing-cruises/best-of-nyc

 

How long will you be there?

 

 

Thanks! I'll investigate that (and @bangorballetboy's suggestion too)!

 

I'm in NYC for about six days, and yep, this'll be my first time there. :D

Edited by BristolBillyBob
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On my only trip to NYC, I did the tour Sim recommends and it was excellent.

 

The other piece of generic tourist-advice I was given was that if you want a viewing gallery from a skyscraper, go to Top of the Rock rather than the Empire State Building - because it's less busy, and I think cheaper, and you obviously then get a view that includes the Empire State Building...

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Just now, RuthE said:

On my only trip to NYC, I did the tour Sim recommends and it was excellent.

 

The other piece of generic tourist-advice I was given was that if you want a viewing gallery from a skyscraper, go to Top of the Rock rather than the Empire State Building - because it's less busy, and I think cheaper, and you obviously then get a view that includes the Empire State Building...

 

Heh, I remember getting some similar advice when I went to Chicago and it was spot on then, too! Thanks! :)

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And NYC also now has the observation platform at the top of One World (where the WTC was).  A tip if you want to do that one is to buy the VIP ticket which offers a significantly shorter queue and allows you to by-pass the exhibition if you wish to do so.

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Can't help re tickets for NYCB though. I did go to see them, but I turned up on the day for a sold-out performance, and took the first return they could offer me.  It was an excellent seat, but certainly not a cheap one.

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For additional, day-of-performance theater, go to the TKTS booth in Times Square (lines can be long, but they will move incredibly fast, so don't be put off; be sure that you know what you want to see by the time you reach the window).  Do not, however, eat at restaurants in Times Square, as they will be $$$$$. The last time I was at the Koch I wound up eating dinner at P. J. Clarke's nearby.  

 

Spend some time at the Metropolitan Museum of Art and/or MOMA.  Or, for a very different view of things, the Tenement Museum, which covers immigration history.  If you don't mind trekking out to Washington Heights, there's also the Cloisters.  

 

In May, the weather should have improved enough to take a stroll through Central Park.

 

If you like buying books, go to the Strand, near Union Square.  I often nip over to Max Brenner (all things chocolate) afterwards.  

 

 

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9 minutes ago, Mimi said:

Spend some time at the Metropolitan Museum of Art and/or MOMA.  

 

Ooh! File MOMA under 'Things I'd completely forgotten were in NYC and am now even more excited about'! 🤩

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I'd go to Ellis Island. The immigrant story is so central to what it is to be an American and it's absolutely fascinating. There are also some interesting walking tours in this sort of vein around the Lower East Side but I don't remember what.

 

You have to have a New York deli food experiece. Again, it's been a while but they are everywhere! I think Katz's is the 'famous' one but not been there myself.

 

In terms of NYCB, I remember finding a site which gives reviews of seats in theatres but you can't get this sort of info on the Lincoln Center website. Having said that, the theatre itself is much less of a horseshoe shape and much more of a gentle curve so most offer good sightlines.  Go for the best position within your price range. Best way is to sort seats by price - orchestra stalls, first and second ring have some options at $35 so you might be pleasantly surprised! You can reject any seats which have a restricted view once they are in your basket.

 

 

 

 

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Posted (edited)

If the Fourth Ring is open in the Koch Theater .... it does provide an excellent view.  (Sadly they don't always open the Fourth Ring now.  Unthinkable in Balanchine's time.) Take field glasses if you want to have some close ups.  That said with Balanchine and Peck you will always have a throng of community to sweep you along.  

 

Don't forget to go to the Jerome Robbins Collection on the third floor of the New York Public Library in Lincoln Center.  (Immediately to the right of the Met and next to the Mitzi Newhouse Theater.)  You will have a field day seeing media gems (both current and historic) from that catalogue.  You watch them in comfortable units in the collection site - and ALL is free.  Also they often have special events - again free - in the library.  Check to see if there are any on while you are there.  Ref: https://www.nypl.org/events/calendar?location=55

 

 

 

Edited by Bruce Wall
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21 minutes ago, Bruce Wall said:

Don't forget to go to the Jerome Robbins Collection on the third floor of the New York Public Library in Lincoln Center.  (Immediately to the right of the Met and next to the Mitzi Newhouse Theater.)  You will have a field day seeing media gems (both current and historic) from that catalogue.  You watch them in comfortable units in the collection site - and ALL is free.  Also they often have special events - again free - in the library.  Check to see if there are any on while you are there.  Ref: https://www.nypl.org/events/calendar?location=55

 

 

 

I second this. You do have to get a temporary visitor library card (good for three days I think), free at the front desk of the library

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1 hour ago, Mimi said:

For additional, day-of-performance theater, go to the TKTS booth in Times Square (lines can be long, but they will move incredibly fast, so don't be put off; be sure that you know what you want to see by the time you reach the window).  Do not, however, eat at restaurants in Times Square, as they will be $$$$$. The last time I was at the Koch I wound up eating dinner at P. J. Clarke's nearby.  

 

 

There is now also a tkts booth at Lincoln Center, Located in the David Rubenstein Atrium at 61 West 62nd Street, just across the street from the Koch Theater. For some shows they release tix the day before.

https://www.tdf.org/nyc/81/TKTS-Live?loc=linc

For affordable but good food I recommend Bonmi on 62nd St (south side of Lincoln Center campus, near Amsterdam Av)

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Firstly, if this is your first time in NYC - enjoy!!

 

If you're looking for suggestions, don't overbook yourself in advance. Leave lots of time to wander around and have the opportunity to act on impulse. If the third mortgage will stretch to it there are loads of opportunities to shop - but don't forget to add on the sales tax to the advertised prices (unlike VAT they are not included). Also, remember to tip and if in doubt about how much tip very high - as a rough guide in restaurants at least as much as the tax - if in doubt, go higher as I've never met a New Yorker insulted by the offer of a tip!! In shops, at least, you don't tip - but just about everywhere else! 

If you're able to walk (reasonable distances on sidewalks at highish temperatures), do so as it's a great way to experience the city at least as far as Manhattan is concerned). Where to go or what to see depends very much on what you are interested in. Sim's idea, above, of the boat trip round Manhattan is great as are the helicopter flights over Manhattan (pricy but unforgettable). For museums, as Well as MOMA and the Metropolitan, don't forget the Museum of Natural History and the Planetarium  (West 77th and CPW) and The Cloisters if you are into Medieval History - though that involves a longish trip well into The Bronx which can cut into your time.

Night life is great so if you like cabaret or jazz there are lots of night spots not only with late opening but with late starts. So your evenings don't have to end with curtain down on a show, you can then go for a meal and then on to a club for a further performance.I used to love the late (11.30 or midnight) shows at the Cafe Carlyle.

As far as Broadway shows are concerned, prices have gone stratospheric in the last few years so recourse to tkts is just about essential. They sometimes have tickets the day before (especially matinees).

In State Theater (I don't like its present official name), most seats give a good view. I tend to avoid the Fourth Ring as I find the view very distant. Depending on the ticket sales this level is sometimes closed off. Normally i opt for tickets in the Second Ring at the sides - the Third Ring is OK but beginning to get a bit distant - but that might just be me. The First Ring can be a trifle expensive for a frequent attender bu the sides marked row AA is pretty reasonable and relatively affordable. Unlike the side seats in the amphi the seats at State are fixed facing the stage so you don't have to twist your body. AA is much better than BB.

There are some really attractive programmes on at City Ballet in May. Have a great time.

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My favourite non-ballet, non-jazz, activity in NY is the(free) boat trip to Staten Island. The view of Manhattan is absolutely wonderful. The last time I went my daughter wanted to do an open bus tour so we got off at Battery Park, which is a pleasant spot, and later went back to Times Square on the bus ( and were treated to a mini tornado as the weather changed drastically, scary wind, with chairs flying through the air, then torrential rain).

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Yes, you should definitely try Katz's.  If you are a vegetarian, forget it.  If not, have a look at the video and challenge yourself to one of the 'beef encounter' sandwiches, or any variation of pastrami or salt beef (has to be on rye!).  This is the place where the famous "I'll have what she's having" scene in When Harry Met Sally was filmed.

 

https://www.katzsdelicatessen.com/

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Mention of Battery Park tempts me to say that you must remember that, according to Bernstein, "The people live in a hole in the ground."  I went for a ride with some of them one evening many, many years ago for the Staten Island ferry trip - you'll have a good time, I'm sure.

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The NYCB theatre is ok but very expensive - I think ABT are cheaper...anyway I think I probably sat in 3rd tier it was ok.  

Can you get to see ABT in Whipped Cream by Ratmanksy - I'd love to see that it's on 24-29 May?  

 

Top of The Rock is better than EBS as you can see the ESB and the lift is an amazing experience. 

If you are there when the Costume Institute annual exhibition is on at The Met that is usually worth a look if you like fashion (opens 9 May)  I think they had done away with pay what you like entry now as well at the Met.

Museum of the City of New York is a nice small museum, worth seeing what they have on and also the Natural History Museum has good collections - the butterflies are good on til end of May and I would have said the hall of gems but that's closed for renovation, think they have a planetarium too.  

 

Food wise - decent medium priced food is hard to find, best I found was the Italian restaurant Cafe Fiorello opposite the Lincoln centre is really nice and not too dear - I sat in Pavarotti's booth.  Pizza by the slice from the shops in town are generally ok.  And for the quirky there's a cup cake ATM on Lexington Avenue!! 

You can get a multi day travel card for transport unless you buy one of those tourist cards that includes museums as well - I love the buses as you can see a lot of the city that way unlike the subway which is underground.  Also if I remember correctly if you are on a bus late at night after 10pm to you can request the driver to stop anywhere on the bus route not just at official stops.  The road system is fairly straightforward with Avenues being mostly one way and streets also mostly one way so your return bus might be on a different avenue/street.

Watch out for tipping drives me nuts!

 

Above all ENJOY!!!

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A night time open top bus tour will give you great views of the Manhattan skyline from Brooklyn. Also try Telecharge.com for show tickets - we managed to get some reasonably priced show tickets in advance of our travel. Enjoy!!

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re tipping: I know this will come as a shock to the British, but 20% of the bill now seems to be standard for tipping in restaurants. I don't know if this has changed since NY"s minimum wage went up to $15 an hour a few months ago.

In Canada 15% is standard.

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Posted (edited)

For cheaper seats at the former New York State Theater,  my advice would be that, if you can, you should go for 3rd Ring rather than 4th--well, depending on what your budget is of course. If you want at least one of your performances to be close up and don't mind angled views, then downstairs in the Orchestra, seats that are more towards the side are quite a bit cheaper than center seats. (Still not super cheap but....) The "center-most" of those side seats--if that makes sense--really are not a bad view at all for my taste though the more to the side you go -- especially close up -- the more the view can be a touch peculiar. 

 

If you do decide to try a cheaper side-downstairs seat, then banking of seats doesn't start for a few rows--I'm not sure exactly where it starts to be honest, but I think I wouldn't want to be closer than K or L--but even when banking gets better it's not fantastic. I'm quite short so very aware of this problem when I buy seats; it may not be the same issue for you at all. Row R on the sides is missing a row in front of it so for shorter people that's a good option and though a few of those seats are still in the expensive section, once you go a bit more to the sides it's cheaper and, additionally, that far back (Row R that is) the angle is not that bad.  In the first couple of rows downstairs I personally am unable to see feet whatever the angle.  Upstairs banking in the central sections is outstanding--there is typically no problem being behind someone.  I'm not as crazy about the seats down the side of the rings (the AA/BB) as some who have posted above, but it is a way to get closer to the stage even though upstairs.

 

For visiting the City, especially if you find yourself weary of 'active' touristing and want something low-key but still very New York, Central Park is wonderful and at once fun and relaxing. (You can also visit it in the part of the park nearest Lincoln Center.)

 

Don Q fan mentioned ABT at the Met during the week of your visit. In my experience the Met is more expensive than the State Theater for seats that seem considerably farther away--thought it sounds like Don Q fan has had better luck than I.  I'm afraid I share the view I once read another fan express that at the Met  "every seat is a compromise." And that is even when money is no object. I love the Met anyway and I love ABT and I most especially love Ratmansky's sublimely silly Whipped Cream--and of course they are performing other repertory in May too--so by all means catch a performance if you can! The best/cheapest option would I'm afraid be standing room and/or quite far away unless you found half-price tickets on sale -- which does happen with ABT and probably more often than with NYCB. And....uh....bring a good pair of opera glasses.

 

Hope you have a wonderful trip and see some great ballet.

Edited by DrewCo
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you also might want to check out this exhibition

http://isaw.nyu.edu/exhibitions/ballets-russes?fbclid=IwAR3Uqhcpehn30YlG9fSN4bcD5JLdx4lA9A5iOEZSBdXJIVjdhLo0VICMiAE

Hymn to Apollo

 
 

The Ancient World and the Ballets Russes

March 6 – June 2, 2019

image of a watercolor and graphite sketch showing a blue costume design on a female figureWhat can we know about ancient dance? Why did European avant-garde artists look to antiquity at the beginning of the twentieth century? With an array of ancient representations of dance, Hymn to Apollo: The Ancient World and the Ballet Russes explores both the role of dance in ancient culture and the influence of antiquity on the modernist reinventions of the Ballets Russes, the ground-breaking dance company founded in Paris by Sergei Diaghilev.

photo of a terracotta skyphos with a dancing maenad decorationWith about 100 works, including outstanding examples of ancient pottery, sculpture, and metalwork, as well as watercolors, sketchbooks, photographs, costumes, and other archival material from the Ballets Russes, this exhibition—the first on the topic—reveals a rich, multifaceted dialogue between the ancient and the modern. More than a simple story of the reception of antiquity by artists in the twentieth century, Hymn to Apollo shows how artists returned to antiquity not as benighted traditionalists but as radical revolutionaries, intent on creating something new.

 

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Posted (edited)

Thank you all so, so much for such amazing suggestions and tips! 😃

 

The tips for the Lincoln Center are really useful. They've got photos on the website of the views from certain seats, but it's hard to get a feel for what it'll actually be like when you're there watching a show, so your advice is hugely appreciated. I think it looks like the best balance for me is going to be the centre-most of the side seats in the middle rings - and yes, @DrewCo, that made sense! 😄 It looks as though you only sacrifice the smallest sliver of stage view for a significant $ saving, so that seems like the right balance. 

 

And in terms of tips for what to do while I'm in town, I couldn't be more excited now after all of your suggestions! The boat trip is I think a given, but your suggestions of delis, the high line, the library, Battery Park (I'll be staying close to there), Ellis Island, MOMA, NYU, and all the other tips, are all such great ideas I'll be referring back to them regularly during my trip! I doubt I'll have time to do them all, but I can always come back! Oh, and @Douglas Allen, thanks for the jazz club suggestions - I do love a jazz club but have been unable to find anything in Europe to match the great ones I stumbled upon in Chicago, so that's definitely on my aftershow list!

 

Sadly I can't make the ABT dates as I have exciting plans either side of that - I'm taking a brief sabbatical this spring/summer and the lovely people at Ballet Austin have offered me some career development shadowing for the preceding week which I'm biblically thrilled about - but I'll definitely try and catch them at some point in the future. 

 

If I haven't thanked you individually, or mentioned your suggestion, that's only because there were so many! They're all massively appreciated, and I'll be sure to report back on how I got on! 

Edited by BristolBillyBob
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Posted (edited)

If you opt for Empire State Building, I recommend the fast lane ticket and a visit for sunset...but of course weather can change rapidly so it might be cloudy when you arrive on top. It is a building worth a visit not only for the view (and you can go outside for a circle on the platform, which is not possible on the One World tower, it felt nauseating standing behind the long windows for me ). Also, I recommend a look inside Grand Central Station...it's actually a town in the city, fantastic food court, shops and just a beautiful renovated old interior. 

Edited by Sabine0308
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Posted (edited)

Genevieve Oswald, the founder of the NYCPL Dance Collection, has died.  We ALL owe this lady much - She was key to a movement towards much of the world's striving towards dance preservation today.  RIP.  

 

https://www.nytimes.com/2019/03/29/obituaries/genevieve-oswald-dead.html

 

I'm sure you'll have a keen appreciation of her life's work when you visit, BristolBillyBob.  

 

But a small slice from her NYT obituary:  
 

She even sent raw film stock to dance companies in India, China and Japan, asking them to record their work and send it back for safekeeping.Sometimes those records became a vital link to a tradition in peril. As the dance historian Lynn Matluck Brooks described in a 2011 essay for Dance Chronicle about Ms. Oswald, recordings made of the Classical Khmer Ballet of Cambodia at the Brooklyn Academy of Music in 1971 later became teaching tools for Cambodian dance teachers who had survived the massacres of the Khmer Rouge. The regime had attempted to obliterate all traces of Khmer culture, including dance.

 

 

 

Edited by Bruce Wall
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I hope all this work is backed up somewhere separately: after that museum fire in Brazil, I think people have become a lot more aware of how vulnerable such collections can be.

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If it is your first time, you will be surprised by how dirty the NY underground is ... comparing to tube in London.

lol

 

And they don't allow smoking or publicly consuming alcohol in general, on the street.... Very different from what happens in Covent Garden.

 

Among all the musuems in NYC, I enjoyed Moma most. A very organized collection.

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