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Old 09-26-2020, 09:29 PM   #1
brp
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Default In advance of a trip...New York City

Hi folks,

This is somewhat the opposite of a trip report. Trying to get info from the local folks in advance of a trip to NYC.

Some basic questions:
  • What is eating out like? Are reservations needed most everywhere due to limited (outdoor) seating?
  • What's the bathroom situation out and about? Our usual is to use them at Starbucks (may not be open) and to wander into hotels and use lobby bathrooms (likely to work in Manhattan where hotels are plentiful, but less likely in the Boroughs

Any other relevant info welcome.

We are going during Open House New York (OHNY), which is virtual this year. We will have a 36-hour, 5-borough scavenger hunt, so eating and bathrooms will be key. We're also going to the Met, and they will have bathrooms.

Thanks for any info.

Cheers.
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Old 09-26-2020, 09:48 PM   #2
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NYC is a pretty great place to be right now, save for a few areas in Brooklyn with higher-than-NYC-average positive rates. Mask compliance, especially in Manhattan, is very high. And nearly every place indoors (grocery etc) enforces it strictly. Eating out is really fun now with all of the outdoor dining taking over sidewalks and parking spaces on some streets. Some restaurants won't take reservations at all because they don't want to hold open empty tables, but some will take a limited amount. I've found that even the busiest of places in the village if you go on the earlier side (aka around 5:30 to get seated for dinner) it's normally no problem - same with brunch if you're there around the 9/10am mark before the later risers make it out of their apartments. Restaurants you dine at will allow you to go inside for the restroom if you're masked and go right in and out. Most restrooms at starbucks are unavailable since it's a take-out only situation right now. Many hotels are closed still and those that aren't are for guests only. If you were to purchase a drink or something at some restaurants they'll let you use the bathroom. It's definitely tighter than it used to be.
Supposedly NYC will open up limited indoor dining on Sept 30 but many restaurants (at least near us in Manhattan) will not be offering this right away. There is a lot of wariness among NYCers to take the risk to eat indoors when outdoor dining is available and the weather is still good, so restaurants don't want to add staffing if there isn't the demand. Outdoor dining will now be available year-round too and venues will be able to supplement with heaters, etc.
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Old 09-26-2020, 09:52 PM   #3
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Thanks for the perspective. Basically, if I get a beer, I can get rid odd the last one while there

When I was recently in Florida for my niece's 16th birthday, indoor dining was already allowed (for some reason in Florida). I'm still wary of it and requested of my family that we eat at the outdoor tables. They love me (for some reason), so they complied. Even if NYC does allow it, we're not yet confortable.

Cheers.
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Old 09-27-2020, 08:46 AM   #4
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Definitely can't answer on current conditions, but curious about the hotel situation. I've had bad luck with hotels and restrooms - so often they aren't in the lobby any more and, in some areas, have doorman who are more restroom bouncers than doormen.

I would assume the restrooms are open in the various parks, so it might be worth checking the parks website to see where they are and the current situation. In the past, we've targeted certain locations as "rest stops" like Bryant Park (nicest park restroom in NYC), Public Library there (Men's room way up on 3rd floor, I believe), and the park in Brooklyn at the base of the Brooklyn Bridge. Otherwise, we are usually going between restaurants, museums, and exhibitions and can usually time our breaks.

The scavanger hunt will definitely be an issue. Sounds like fun, though, and be sure to post a report!

Also, check Trip Advisor forums for restroom advice in Manhattan and Boroughs now. Maybe even email the scavenger hunt people.

Dirk
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Old 09-27-2020, 11:52 AM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by brp View Post
Thanks for the perspective. Basically, if I get a beer, I can get rid odd the last one while there


Cheers.
Not sure you will only be able to order a beer. Early on the passed a rule that you had to have food with any drink order because too many people were just ordering drinks and hanging out like it was a bar. That may have changed though Iím not sure.
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Old 09-27-2020, 04:46 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by runner1219 View Post
Not sure you will only be able to order a beer. Early on the passed a rule that you had to have food with any drink order because too many people were just ordering drinks and hanging out like it was a bar. That may have changed though Iím not sure.
I'll get a bowl of pretzels

Actually, I prefer to get food with drink most time anyway, even if just a snack. The rules are the same here in California.

Cheers.
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Old 09-28-2020, 10:46 AM   #7
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Just returned from NYC/NJ. Masks are required indoors, but you will see folks outdoors without one - mostly exercising. We dined in at one restaurant. We did so because it was for a special occasion and I didn't want to be caught with bad weather. We did ask to switch outside, but outdoor dining is very popular. It turned out great as indoors it was just us and another family. Waiters all wear masks, some gloves. Outdoors is great, although some of those bump put dining spots on the road would scare me! Almost all outdoor dining uses scan codes for menus. We dined out in total 5 times and felt safe.

The hotel we stayed in was nice - waterfront - but they cited due to Covid there wasn't any service. You could go to the front desk to replenish towels, but no on entered our room - which was good in a way.

You will be fine. Wear your mask, sanitize frequently and social distance - which was a bit hard on crowded NYC streets!
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Old 09-28-2020, 10:47 AM   #8
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And, do not worry about quarantining. We requested an exemption (drove) and was granted it. But with this trip and another in which I flew, no one questions you.
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Old 09-28-2020, 10:49 AM   #9
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Originally Posted by lovindisney View Post
And, do not worry about quarantining. We requested an exemption (drove) and was granted it. But with this trip and another in which I flew, no one questions you.
California is no longer on the quarantine list. If it were, we would not go. We have no interest in bypassing the posted guidelines, whether anyone questions us or not.

Cheers.
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Old 09-28-2020, 10:50 AM   #10
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I would suggest advance reservations or at least calling ahead due to the popularity of outdoor dining, especially if the weather is nice.
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