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valtis
August 18th, 2005, 07:13 AM
Hi there!

This is my first post here, so hello everyone!

Im writting from Spain, so sorry if my english is not always understable :-D. I live in Madrid, the main city (capital?) of Spain. We are a family of three... me (30), my wife(31) and my son (20 months old). We are planning a trip to NYC for March 2006... maybe 7 days or so.

So, Ive found this forum and I would like to ask some questions, maybe you could answer them... here I go:

- Subway: My baby uses a stroller. Here in Madrid I can push the stroller with no problem. But I have read in the ny subway site that the stroller should be folded to go in elevators, stairs... so I think it is a bit difficult (maybe if the mother goes alone) to hold a baby with one hand and the stroller with the other... Is this true or have you ever seen this there? Here in Madrid we use the stroller opened in the automaic stairs as well...

- Smoking: We dont smoke, and hate people smoking in front of us... I know it is forbidden in most closed places, but do smokers respect this? I can tell you that here in madrid , smoking is forbidden in subway too, but a lot of people smoke anyway...

- Eating: We love fast food, but I would like to go to places different taht a burger king or macdonalds or pizza hut... could you recommend us a good place to eat a great superburguer or a "out of this world" pizza?

- Language: We are a bit afraid of language, because my wife only speaks spanish, and I speak english, but in a medium-low level, and maybe I understand more the english accent than the american one... is it difficult to comunicate? Are NYorkers kind with tourists or are they running with no time to stop to help you?

- Transport: I would like to use the subway more than bus, taxi,... do you recommend it? I think it is easier to know when you are arriving at your desired stop, and buses seem a bit strange for us, I dont know anything about the lines (public, privates...) where to stop, where to get, are they comfortable,... if you think subway is the best option to know the city then no more words :-D

- Shopping: I know you have millions of shops there, but I am interested in toys, baby clothing, and big malls :-D. Which of these do you like? Here in Madrid we have big malls too and a lot of shops called "El Corte Ingles" with a lot of different departments. Im looking for something like this but there in NYC... I love shopping!

- Safe: I think NYC is safer that media told us, because the same happens with Madrid in Spain. But, which neighborhood should be avoided for sure? Here in Madrid I could tell you a pair of these but not more, and of course, I dont think going there means to be dead. I suppose it depends of the hour (day, night...)...

- Weather: I would like to go at the end of march... is it too cold there yet? I would like to go in summer, but I think it is too hot there, isnt it? (Im not afraid of this because here right now Madrid is 35-40 degrees hot, but not too much humidity). Which is for you the best time to go there? Please, think that Im going with a little child...

- Water: Can you drink water directly from a fountain, or it is better to buy bottled water?


Oh sorry, Ive seen the post and is getting too long :-D... here I end then.

If you could help me, I will appreciate it a lot.

Thanks in advance,
Valtis from MAdrid (Spain)

ablarc
August 18th, 2005, 01:28 PM
Greetings, Valtis!


Here in Madrid we use the stroller opened in the automatic stairs as well...
Ha! Youll find quite a shortage of such frills in New Yorks subway, which is old and short on amenities compared with Madrids. Youll be climbing a lot of stairs.

Smoking: Most New Yorkers observe smoking laws. Theres no smoking in the subway, and youre unlikely to find anyone breaking the law. You wont be bothered by smoking.


Language: We are a bit afraid of language, because my wife only speaks spanish, and I speak english, but in a medium-low level, and maybe I understand more the english accent than the american one... is it difficult to comunicate? Are NYorkers kind with tourists or are they running with no time to stop to help you?
New Yorkers were once known for their rudeness. That has pretty substantially changed, and though youre bound to encounter some rudeness, youll find most New Yorkers are helpful and some are even courteous.

Your English seems pretty good to me. Youll be amazed at how many New Yorkers speak Spanish. Now, the Spanish youll probably find hard to understand!


Transport: I would like to use the subway more than bus, taxi,... do you recommend it? I think it is easier to know when you are arriving at your desired stop, and buses seem a bit strange for us, I dont know anything about the lines (public, privates...) where to stop, where to get, are they comfortable? :D
Subway is a good way to get around quickly, though you'll probably find it worn and a bit dirty. Its easier to get lost or take the wrong train than in Madrid, because express and local trains often leave from the same platform, and sometimes diverge to different destinations, and the signage isnt as good as youre used to. Consult your map often and carefully (available at ticket booths), and ask someone if youre unsure (in Spanish if necessary).

Dont restrict yourself to the subway, however; in the evenings taxis can be faster. And the buses are more scenic, though slow. 104 and 5 are long and scenic bus routes. Highly recommended. Get bus maps at subway ticket booths. To cross Central Park you need to take the bus.

Very highly recommended: the expensive but thrilling double-decker, open-topped Gray Line bus tours. You can hop on and off all day, or buy a two-day ticket. You can plan your itinerary for one or two days around this companys routes. Look up Gray Line on the Internet.

Also: consider buying a day pass on New York Water Taxi (Internet): a great way to see New York from the water, and effective enough to be thought of as transportation.


Shopping: I know you have millions of shops there, but I am interested in toys, baby clothing, and big malls :-D. Which of these do you like? Here in Madrid we have big malls too and a lot of shops called "El Corte Ingles" with a lot of different departments. Im looking for something like this but there in NYC... I love shopping!
Malls: Not New Yorks long suit, but youll find slick malls at the Time Warner Center, Trump Tower and South Street Seaport. Best shopping is on the avenues and in SoHo. Also Greenwich Village for quirky items.


Safe: I think NYC is safer that media told us, because the same happens with Madrid in Spain. But, which neighborhood should be avoided for sure? Here in Madrid I could tell you a pair of these but not more, and of course, I dont think going there means to be dead. I suppose it depends of the hour (day, night...)
Youre right; New York is now much safer than its old reputation. In fact its one of Americas safest cities. That said, stay off deserted side streets late at night, and maybe avoid Harlem at night, as well as Spanish Harlem. Also I'd stay out of Central Park late at night.


Weather: I would like to go at the end of march... is it too cold there yet? I would like to go in summer, but I think it is too hot there, isnt it?
It can be pretty cold in March, and windy. Late April through June is best. May is perfect.


Water: Can you drink water directly from a fountain, or it is better to buy bottled water?
New York has superb-tasting and safe tap water, but I wouldnt drink from a fountain, except a drinking fountain. You can get bottled water anywhere, including from street vendors.

Hope you have a great time. New York is truly a fabulous city!

Schadenfrau
August 18th, 2005, 03:56 PM
There are basically no water fountains in New York City. I doubt that you'll be dying of thirst in March, though.

ryan
August 18th, 2005, 04:25 PM
I'm almost positive, that in New York City, there are more people who are fluent in a foreign language than people who can only speak English.

Perhaps, but you'd definitely find more native spanish-speakers than in most other US places.

Soho is an outdoor mall, though it probably wouldn't be very stroller-friendly.

valtis
August 19th, 2005, 01:58 AM
Thanks a lot for writing me all these long posts! :-D Youve been very helpful!

I hope to go in April, if I can, Ill choose May, but I think its a bit difficult to choose your holidays when you depend of my work, her work,... but I will try.

I supposed NY Subway could be old, so I am ready to climb and climb and climb the stairs with my stroller (thats why I bought a quinny zapp stroller ;-) ).

The thing I will like most in NYC will be for sure, when entering in a restaurant and dont need to say: 3 persons, no smoking please. Here in Spain, things are changing about this fact, because I cant understand who is the silly one who thoughts that different smoking and non smoking zones in a restaurant really works... the smoke, because of its nature, "fly" through the air and dont know anything about restricted places. Thats why now in 2006 in restaurant bigger than 100 square meters, if they choose to permit smokers, they have to build a spearate place, closed, with its own conditioned air, for smokers.

I will look also for double decker, I didnt know about it and I think it will pretty useful, indeed I think maybe its like "Madrid Vision" (15 dollars a day I think...).

Its great to hear that my english is correct :-D, unless the writting one (im starting to eat chewing gum at the same time than speaking because in spain we always think that a lot of americans speak like chewing gum, and this is the best way to get your accent lol, and Im not joking, did you ever listen about this?). In fact, you could hear my speaking english in some of my songs. Thats the only way you can know if I speak or not english correctly: http://www.soundclick.com/bands/pagemusic.cfm?bandID=294740

dont laugh at me too loud if the lyrics sound a bit weird, you know that most of listeners of these songs are spanish ones and they dont notice the accent, the gramatical errors, ... if someone listens to this, please let me know if they understand more that the 75% :-D...

Maybe Ill need to ask more, although I try to find the correct answer in older posts before asking for information, but I think its better to get the information from new yorkers or recent visitors than just looking travel guides...

Bye!

ryan
August 19th, 2005, 12:36 PM
Its great to hear that my english is correct :-D, unless the writting one (im starting to eat chewing gum at the same time than speaking because in spain we always think that a lot of americans speak like chewing gum, and this is the best way to get your accent lol, and Im not joking, did you ever listen about this?).

My French teacher always told the same story about making French students talk with pencils in their mouths so they would learn how to hold their mouths open to sound more American.

valtis
September 5th, 2005, 07:56 AM
Hi,

I dont know wxactly where Im staying, but I hope to be next to Town Square...