Eight ways to maximize your New York minutes

We spent 60 hours in Manhattan this week, and we loved every New York minute.

With three of our kids grown and out of the house, we consider it a special occasion whenever the entire family gets together.

Stick us all in somewhere new to explore, and we really go to town. With no time to spare, we caught a couple of matches at the U.S. Open (an experience so cool it deserves its own post. Go Marin Cilic!), took a walking tour of Harlem and watched a disappointing Packer game there, had brunch in Chelsea, strolled along the High Line, saw two Broadway musicals, jogged through Central Park, woofed down a delicious bagel, slurped up soup dumplings, enjoyed a cocktail in Rockefeller Plaza and, later, dinner above it.

We won’t pretend to be experts on visiting New York; we’re just a bunch of Appletonians who love the Big Apple, and we had Brooklyn-then-Chelsea-now-Harlem resident Charlie Biskupic to show us around. So it is with some humility that we offer the following tips on how to get the most from your New York experience.

1) If you plan to see more than one Broadway show, keep your receipt from the half price ticket booth in Times Square, and keep your ticket stubs as well. With both you can skip the ridiculously long line the next day, which is not only an incredible time saver, it also gives you a better shot at getting the tickets you want.

2) See Pippin’, especially if the incomparable Andrea Martin is still in the cast. The show is amazing, the message pure and the acrobatics will blow you away.

3) Don’t disdain public transportation, you’ll save yourself a lot of time and aggravation. Also, a little spin on a subway only costs a couple of bucks, a uniquely cost-effective, genuine New York experience.

4)  Take a walk on the High Line, a public park built on a historic freight rail line elevated above the streets on Manhattan’s West Side. It runs from Gansevoort Street in the Meatpacking District to West 34th Street, between 10th and 11th Avenues. It really is a beautiful little slice of American ingenuity.

5)  Likewise, take a stroll through Central Park. I think you could walk through that park every day for 100 years and still find something new to see.

6) Thank a New York police officer. I did, in the middle of a jog and just before I smacked right into a well-dressed businesswoman. In a story-of-my-life bit of awkward timing, we all –horrified lady, amused cops, and I — then had to stand together, avoiding eye contact and waiting for a light to change. I’m glad I thanked them, though. They keep that booming city impressively safe and relatively easy to navigate.

7) Be smart. Know where you’re going before you leave your room. The streets of Manhattan are laid out in a grid (streets run east/west, avenues run north/south), so it’s easy to figure out how to get where you’re going. Keep track of your purse, your pockets and your people.

8) Don’t forget your camera. I did (which may or may not have thrilled my family. Certainly, we move a lot faster when I’m not stopping to shoot pictures every few steps.) Here are a couple of shots from my poor, sweaty cellphone.

Relax I'm from Wisconsin
His favorite shirt says, “Relax, I’m from Wisconsin,” but our tour guide Charlie really knows his way around the five boroughs, too.
NY Fashion Model
We arrived in New York just in time for Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week, so we stumbled onto a photo shoot or two.
Katherine the photog.
…and we gamely participated in a few as well. This is Katherine helping out a couple of fellow tourists.
Donna and Charlie
Charlie and his Aunt Donna relax on the High Line after a steamy stroll.
They turned an old elevated train track into an extensive city park. It’s pretty cool.
Vince and Katherine
Katherine and her dad cool off.
Rockefeller Plaza
Split Rocker, a giant rocking horse/dinosaur topiary, currently overlooks Rockefeller Plaza, home of all sorts of interesting art.
Wisdom and knowledge
I love this quote from Isiah 33, in the doorway of the GE Building. It reads, “Wisdom and Knowledge shall be the stability of thy times.”
Awwww. We love New York.  We'll see you soon, Big Apple! Love, your friends from Appleton.
Awwww. We love you too, New York. We’ll see you soon, Big Apple! Love, your friends from Appleton.

Anyone else have any favorite things to do in New York? We’d love to hear them.

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