17 September 2010

Day Tripper: Times Square

One of the many perks of living in Philadelphia is its proximity to so many snazzy places. Philadelphians are within a two or three hour drive of the mountains, the ocean, and some of the coolest and most important cities in the world. With that in mind, the What is proud to present Day Tripper, our guide to the numerous fun trips you can take in and around the Philadelphia region.

The Destination
New York City is massive and it would be foolish for us to try and cram it all into one day trip. For that reason, in this edition of Day Tripper we will focus on the world's most famous intersection, Times Square. When people hear the phrase "bright lights, big city" Times Square is what they picture. So many of NYC's most famous attractions are just steps away from where the ball drops every New Year's Eve.

The Ride
Traveling from Philadelphia, one has several options for getting to New York. Bus companies like Bolt and Megabus will take you from 30th Street Station to Penn Station in Manhattan for a low price (and wi-fi!). Another option is to hop on Septa's Trenton Line that will allow you to transfer to a New Jersey Transit train up to Penn Station. If you're feeling a little adventurous, there is the always-exciting option of taking the Chinatown bus, followed by a short ride on the MTA's N line up to Times Square. If you take this option, be sure to leave yourself plenty of time to get home, or you could end up fighting for a seat on the last bus back.

The Grub
Chances are that you'll arrive in the city right around lunch time. Luckily for you, there's a fantastic little pizza place right around the corner. John's Pizzeria is at 260 W 44th St, between 7th and 8th Avenues. They don't do slices, but you can split a delicious pie with whomever you're traveling with and you'll be good to go. When you need a little snack to munch on while wandering through Central Park, stop by M&M World at 48th and Broadway and pick up a bag of the candy in your favorite color. If you're in the mood for a beer, swing by BXL Belgian Cafe at 43rd and 6th for a tasty beverage. After you've seen the sights in and around Times Square, be sure to head over to Ellen's Stardust Diner at 51st and Broadway. There you'll find your typical diner fare at a higher price than you're used to paying, but it is more than worth it. During your meal you'll be entertained by Ellen's famous singing wait staff, whose song catalog covers a range from Sinatra to Fergie to Wicked to the Beatles, and everything in between.

The Sights
Like the rest of NYC, there are a ton of places to check out during your visit to the Crossroads of the World. For fans of the shows 30 Rock and Saturday Night Live, at the heart of Times Square you're just a handful of blocks away from 30 Rockefeller Plaza, where both shows are taped. If you're there at the right time, you may be able to score some last-minute tickets to be a part of the audience for SNL or Late Night with Jimmy Fallon. A few blocks north from there you will find Central Park, which could be a day trip on its own. There is always plenty to see and do there, and you can check out their calendar ahead of time to see what's happening while you're in town. Finally, with Times Square being the center of the Theater District, you can try and rush (score last-minute tickets to) a Broadway show at any one of the many theaters nearby.

The Wrap-Up
A visit to New York City is always fun. There are many more things to do in Times Square than were listed here, and that's just one small part of one of the five boroughs. Do yourself a favor and take advantage of your proximity to NYC and visit as often as you can.

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