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NYC: uptown

Thursday, July 23, 2009
New York, New York. So good they named it twice! And it's so good we had to send two reporters to cover this amazing city. Catriona Rowntree and Jules Lund cover the five boroughs: Manhattan, Brooklyn, The Bronx, Queens and Staten Island over two Getaway episodes. They will show you where to shop and eat, the best sightseeing and everything to get the most out of a holiday in the Big Apple.

Manhattan is just 22km long and 4km wide, but what it offers is mind-blowing. Even more astounding is that in 1626, Dutch colonists reputedly purchased the wooded island of Manna-hata from the Algonquin Indians for just 60 guilders-worth of goods (calculated in the 19th century to be worth US$24). Its value today would be inestimable.

To get started on their journeys, Jules and Catriona visited the high-tech New York Information Center. It's set up so you can create your own itinerary using interactive map tables. You can navigate venues and attractions which can be printed, e-mailed or sent to mobile devices. There's a gigantic video wall showing a 3-D model of New York City on which you can map out personalised itineraries.

Upper Manhattan

Jules won Upper Manhattan and started out at Times Square. It starts at the junction of Broadway and Seventh Avenue, stretching between West 42nd and West 47th streets. Even if you've never been to Times Square before you would recognise it from countless films or watching the famous New Year's Eve crystal ball countdown.

Broadway is the place already-famous and aspiring entertainers love to be. There are dozens of shows to choose from both on Broadway and off-Broadway. Of course, you'd expect to pay top dollar for many of them, but if you're prepared to queue at one of the three Discount Broadway Ticket booths you could get a ticket for up to 50 percent off.

Some of the more popular shows offer 25 to 30 percent off and a board at the front of the booth will show you what's available. There are booths in Times Square, South Street Seaport and Brooklyn. To see what's on, get yourself a copy of the New York Times or visit

Central Park

Far from the maddening crowd but just a 20 minute walk from Times Square, Central Park is an oasis of lush lawns, cool forests, flowering gardens, lakes, ponds, walking tracks, bridle paths and wooded paths. There are two skating rinks, one of which is a swimming pool in July and August, children's playgrounds, a zoo and conservatory garden. While much of the 340 hectares looks natural, it is almost entirely and very cleverly created. Central Park covers 6 percent of Manhattan Island.

It has its own wildlife and is a haven for migrating birds in spring and autumn, so it is popular with birdwatchers. Visitors wander amongst its 26,000 trees and rest on one of the 9000 park benches. It's certainly the place to chill out.

Rowing across the lake gives a fantastic perspective of the park. The Central Park Boathouse has been upgraded and has a fleet of 100 new boats and 60 new bicycles if you prefer. They also offer gondola rides for up to six people in each vessel. It's open from 10am until dusk between April and November.

Museum Mile

Stretching along Fifth Avenue from 82nd to 105th Streets, Museum Mile is home to nine world-class museums.

One to not miss is the Guggenheim Museum. Completed in 1959, the Frank Lloyd-Wright designed museum is among the 20th century's most important architectural landscapes. It is the site of memorable exhibitions with smaller galleries devoted to the Guggenheim collection ranging from impressionism to contemporary art.


While the United States has the dubious title of fast food capital of the world, Manhattan's culinary tastes are a little more refined. Locals who love their food swarm to Zabar's. The giant-sized gourmet deli was opened in 1934 and serves around 35,000 customers a week.

It has to be experienced. The aromas of baking bread, roasting coffee, sampling cheeses from around the world, a huge range of kosher foods, magical gift baskets and crates, home wares. It's an Aladdin's cave of food. You're sure to want to buy goodies for a picnic in Central Park or even a party in your hotel room.

FAO Schwarz

FAO Schwarz toy store was founded in 1862 in Baltimore, followed by others in Philadelphia and Boston. The 5th Avenue store opened in 1870 and quickly became the flagship. Adults seems to enjoy it as much as children do. It is filled with fantasies and you're bound to find something special for a little person in your life.

Room Mate Grace Hotel

A little gem in Times Square, the Room Mate Grace Hotel is a modern, stylish hotel with pool, sauna and steam room. The 139 rooms have the latest in technology, including pillow-top mattresses on platform beds, Egyptian cotton bedding, flat-screen television and of course you are so close to so many places of interest: Rockefeller Center, Radio City, St Patrick's Cathedral, Carnegie Hall are just some.

Apollo Theater

It may not look much from the outside but from the 1930s to the '70s, the Apollo Theater in Harlem was the centre of black entertainment in New York City and north-eastern America. Almost all the greats of jazz and blues played there, along with singers, dancers and comedians.

Apollo's amateur night debuted in 1934 and was the launching pad for Ella Fitzgerald, Billie Holiday, the Jackson 5, Stevie Wonder, Marvin Gaye and James Brown.

It's still the quintessential talent competition and was a model for shows such as American Idol. Competitions are held on Wednesdays and for around $10 you could be there to see stars of the future. Jules even spotted an Aussie girl there having a go.

New York Pass

A must-have smart card, a New York Pass allows you completely cash-free entry to more than 50 tourist attractions. The more sights you see, the more you save. The cost includes a 140-page guidebook, maps and directions and there are line-skipping privileges. Add a Pass and Hop On-Hop Off bus package and you're on your way.

Don't be afraid to travel on the subway. There are 468 stations across New York delivering around 1.6 billion passengers a year. It's fast, reliable and very cheap.

Location New York's Upper Manhattan area.


New York's Upper Manhattan area.


The Central Park Boathouse boat rentals approximate costs are $25 cash deposit, $14 for the first 30 minutes and $4 for each additional 15 minutes . Boats carry four people and operate weather permitting. Bicycle rental starts at around $9 an hour. An ID and $200 deposit are required. Helmets are provided. Gondola tours are around $37 for 30 minutes. All rides are weather permitting.

Guggenheim Museum entry is around $23. Entry is free with a New York Pass. It is open from Saturday to Wednesday from 10am to 5.45pm, Friday 10am to 7.45pm and is closed on Thursdays.

Grace Hotel rooms start at around $300 for a Petite room to $415 for a Premium room, per person. Continental breakfast and Internet access are included.

New York Pass prices start at around $97 for adults and $71 for children a day.

Prices correct at July 23, 2009.

V Australia has return fares to Los Angeles with connections available to New York City.

Fares from:

  • Sydney $1041
  • Melbourne $1049
  • Brisbane $1052
  • Adelaide $1333
  • Perth $1650

The fares are available for a limited time only so log on to for further details.

For further information

V Australia

TKTS Ticket Booths
Times Square: Father Duffy Square
South Street Seaport: corner of Front and John streets
Brooklyn: corner of Jay Street and Myrtle Avenue

The Central Park Boathouse
East 72nd Street and Park Drive North
New York NY 10028
United States
Ph: +1 212 517 2233
Fax: +1 212 744 3929

Central Park
New York NY 10025
United States
Ph: +1 646 234 7275

Solomon R Guggenheim Museum
1071 Fifth Avenue at 89th Street
New York NY 10128-0173
United States
Ph: +1 212 423 3618

2245 Broadway
New York NY 10024-5899
United States
Ph: +1 212 787 2000

FAO Schwarz
767 5th Avenue @ 58th Street
New York NY 10153
United States
Ph: +1 212 644 9400

Room Mate Grace
125 West 45th Street
New York NY 10036
United States
Ph: +1 212 354 2323
Fax: +1 212 302 8585

Apollo Theater
253 W 125th Street
New York NY 10027
United States
Ph: +1 212 663 0499

Leisure Pass North America
36 West 44th Street, Suite 1407
New York NY 10036
United States
Ph: +1 877 714 1999

Big Apple Greeter

This is a wonderful way to get a feel for the city. Founder Lynn Brooks began it in 1992 to welcome visitors who may have thought New York was dangerous, overwhelming or expensive.

Today more than 300 volunteers take tourists to places they want to see. They are enthusiastic and knowledgeable and totally biased about their city. Office staff finds out your interests and desires and match you with the right volunteer. They will also show you how to get the most out of public transport, and guess what — it's all free.

You are able to fill in a request for a Big Apple Greeter before you leave home.

Ph: +1 212 669 8159

User comments
I was there last year with the family 2 weeks, absolute time of our lives. Did not miss anything and then we drove across to Canada and all the way to LA across route 66 - 2 months of travel, cannot begin to describe how wonderful it all was, we are planning to return in a couple of years to continue the journey. It was all safe and people were all friendly.
i loved all the info you gave... im starting to plan my trip over there as im only 19 im going in about 2 or 3 years so every piece of info is fab ... i can't why to go now Thanks
Can you please advise of a website where I can book a two bedroom apartment for 14 nights only around Grenwich Village. Thankyou
Thanks for the show on New York. Found it really helpful. Some friends & I are heading there next week & have booked the hop on hop off tour doing uptown, downtown, Liberty & Ellis Island as well as the night tour. We are then going to Chicago to ride Harleys back to LA Via the Grand Canyon. You should come along as it will be great fun.
Thank you for all that vital info we are travelling to New York in October and are finding it a bit scary.... would appreciate all the info we can get thanks again..Di
Firstly guys, Little Italy is in Downtown, not uptown. I been there and even with a shrinking population, the Italian spirit still remains strong in Little Italy. For 11 days in September, more than 1 million visitors flock to Mulberry street for the feast of San Gennaro. Night time is amazing with a great atmosphere and delicious food. It is exactly this kind of spirit that will keep Little Italy alive for ever and will always be the birth place of Italian culture in America. Martin Scorsese was also born there on Elizabeth Avenue. Hope this helps.
Can anyone please tell me how much t costs to make your own muppet? Can't wait to do it.
Bada Bing Bada Boom, where was John Gotti and the real life Sopranos ?
Of all the places i was most looking forward to seeing, you didn't show it. I would've loved to have seen Little Italy and the locations and restaurants where famous mafia hits took place would've been amazing. How could you leave Little Italy out ? Anyone who enjoys watching fictional dramatisation such as The Godfather, Goodfellas or The Sopranos would be dissapointed.

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