Jump to content
JWTalk - Jehovah's Witnesses Online Community

Advice needed for a trip to New York (from Europe) - summer 2023


Recommended Posts

Hi all,

 

Together with my family (my wife + me + our two daughters - aged 5 & 9) we plan to have a summer vacation in the US during July/August 2023. This is going to be our first time in the US. We would like to spend about a month there and it'll be New York City, probably Brooklyn.

 

Our goals are:

  • live in another country for about a month
  • visit Warwick, Patterson, Walkill (if possible to visit all three)
  • go sightseeing in Manhattan/Brooklyn area
  • improve our English
  • get to know friends in another country

 

If you can, please share any advice for us. Specifically we would like to get info about:

  • accommodation:
    • what boroughs/neighborhoods are safe for tourists, are good communication hubs
    • is $4000 budget for a month stay reasonable? (we would like to rent an apartment, not a hotel or hostel)
    • what is a good place to find it: booking.com, airbnb, something else?
  • transport:
    • what means of transport is preferable in NYC: subway, buses, something else?
    • how easy is it to rent a car?
    • are there any family/tourist passes?
  • Bethel:
    • if Bethel reopen for tours (we do hope so), what is better: to book it by ourselves or use some service?
    • what's the easiest way to go from NYC to Walkill/Patterson/Warwick? (Greyhound, renting a car?)

 

We'd really like to thank you in advance for any input you may give :D

Love ❤️

Michał & Tatiana

202858916_IMG_0345(1).thumb.jpeg.f34837943f137e0f8eb82c2bae825360.jpeg

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Brother Michal, I went to New York in September (also from Europe) and I can send you a PM with some recommendations and hints tomorrow (because it´s already quite late now). But 1 thing I can already tell you now: $4000 for a month in NY (with family) will sadly not be enough. I spent a bit more than that for 2 weeks, and I was traveling alone.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I last visited New York (and Warwick and Walkill Bethels) on February 2019. One thing is sure: You are going to love that trip! :)

 

Staying in New York City is quite expensive. On the other hand, one month is a lot of time to visit one city. Maybe it would be a good idea to spend a part of that time upstate, at some rural area, which is immensely cheaper.

 

Subway is definitely the best way to move around in the city. You will be shocked at how dirty the trains and stations are, but it's fast and prices are reasonable. You can buy a MetroCard with unlimited trips on bus and subway for one week or one month, if you just use it twice a day it's already worthwhile. To go anywhere outside the city, for example Bethel, renting a car is practically the only option (other than an organized tour). There is a train that goes from NYC to Warwick, and then you need to take a taxi a few kilometers from the station to the branch. But as far as I know there is no way to get to Patterson or Walkill by public transportation. Renting a car is very easy and there are lots of offices everywhere, but prices are the highest I have ever paid for a rental car. Also, be sure to rent the car only for the days you need it. A car in NYC is almost useless and very expensive to park. Some days parking on one side of the street is allowed, some days it's the other side. So you park your car there and the next day it's taken away by a tow truck.

 

NYC is huge. It can't be compared with Warsaw or any other European capital. Distances on the map are tricky because they are on a different scale. You see that a place is only a couple streets from you and you think it's just a five minute walk. It's not. Maybe it will take you half an hour to get there on foot. When you are there you have the feeling all the time that you are walking in a movie. In fact many places you will be familiar with from movies.

 

Every time I have been to New York I have stayed in the Upper West Side or Manhattan Valley areas. It's a nice area to stay. Quite safe, lots of restaurants and shops, reasonably close to Central Park and the 30-40 minute walk to downtown is quite enjoyable. There are several kingdom halls in the area and lots of congregations, so it will be easy to attend meetings and meet new friends. I never felt unsafe in any area in Manhattan.

 

Close to Warwick Bethel we stayed at the Super 8 by Wyndham hotel at Mahwah. It was a nice and reasonably priced place at just a 15 minute ride from the branch.

Close to Walkill Bethel we stayed at the Harvest Inn, whose owners, workers and most guests are brothers and sisters. The place looks a lot like Bethel. And you have a special price if you mention you're visiting the branch.

 

I very much recommend a visit to Niagara Falls, which is an only seven or eight hours ride from NYC, and stay there for at least one or two days. But be sure to visit the Canadian side of Niagara Falls, which is much more full of life than the its American counterpart.

 

As Polish citizens you don't need a visa to enter the US, which saves you a lot of paperwork. You just need to complete the ESTA form some weeks in advance and pay the $21 per person tax. They will reply in a couple days saying everything's ok, and that's it. The form is valid for two years, so if you decide to visit again the next year you don't have to pay again. Once there, you will have to wait in queue for two or three hours until you are allowed across immigration. That's shocking if you are used to traveling in Europe where borders are almost non-existent. In contrast, if you take my advice and visit the Canadian side of Niagara Falls you will find that access to Canada is much easier and quicker (and for free!).

Link to comment
Share on other sites

13 hours ago, Michał said:

accommodation:

  • what boroughs/neighborhoods are safe for tourists, are good communication hubs
  • is $4000 budget for a month stay reasonable? (we would like to rent an apartment, not a hotel or hostel)
  • what is a good place to find it: booking.com, airbnb, something else?

 

 

When we were planning a trip to NY, we got a list of accommodations from Bethel. It’s just recommendations, but the prices weren’t bad. Perhaps you can find brothers who run B&B’s or pensions. I heard of a few offering accommodations over the years.

 

Here is a website set up by brothers:

 

https://www.brobnb.com


Edited by Woanders
Link to comment
Share on other sites

I sent you a PM with a bunch of information, Michal! Don´t hesitate to ask me if you have further questions.

And if you´re interested in some impressions from my NY trip, you can find them here:

https://www.chrissy-on-tour.de/new-york-usa.html


Edited by coony77
Link to comment
Share on other sites

11 hours ago, carlos said:

I very much recommend a visit to Niagara Falls, which is an only seven or eight hours ride from NYC, and stay there for at least one or two days. But be sure to visit the Canadian side of Niagara Falls, which is much more full of life than the its American counterpart.

 

 

I can confirm that! (It took our bus 7 hours one way)

https://www.chrissy-on-tour.de/niagarafalls-usa.html

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 2 weeks later...

 

 

On 11/6/2022 at 1:03 AM, coony77 said:

Brother Michal, I went to New York in September (also from Europe) and I can send you a PM with some recommendations and hints tomorrow

 Thank you very much, I read it and Im going to reread again. I'm surely ask follow-up questions :)

On 11/6/2022 at 1:03 AM, coony77 said:

$4000 for a month in NY (with family) will sadly not be enough

 

Well, we want to have $4000 just for accommodation. For food, ammenities, transportation we have other means. Just plane tickets and accommodation is something we strat with :) Of course, $4k for hotel won't be enough but we prefer regular homes. We found some options on Air

bnb, of course quality for that price is… interesting. 😉

On 11/6/2022 at 2:03 AM, carlos said:

Staying in New York City is quite expensive. On the other hand, one month is a lot of time to visit one city. Maybe it would be a good idea to spend a part of that time upstate, at some rural area, which is immensely cheaper.

 

We're considering this option, however airbnb gives a big discount (sometimes even 40%) for stays for 30 days or longer.

 

On 11/6/2022 at 2:03 AM, carlos said:

NYC is huge. It can't be compared with Warsaw or any other European capital. Distances on the map are tricky because they are on a different scale.

That's good to know, Thanks!

 

On 11/6/2022 at 2:03 AM, carlos said:

Close to Warwick Bethel we stayed at the Super 8 by Wyndham hotel at Mahwah. It was a nice and reasonably priced place at just a 15 minute ride from the branch.

Close to Walkill Bethel we stayed at the Harvest Inn, whose owners, workers and most guests are brothers and sisters. The place looks a lot like Bethel. And you have a special price if you mention you're visiting the branch.

Maybe we'll stay 30 days in NYC and then take 3-4 days upstate to be closer to our facilities.

 

On 11/6/2022 at 9:38 AM, Woanders said:

Here is a website set up by brothers:

 

https://www.brobnb.com

 

Thank you so much, we're definitely going to investigate that!

 

On 11/6/2022 at 1:24 PM, coony77 said:

I can confirm that! (It took our bus 7 hours one way)

https://www.chrissy-on-tour.de/niagarafalls-usa.html

 

Very tempting but 8hrs drive is not something we're used to do. Anyway that option is still on the table :D

 

@carlos, @coony77, and @Woanders, thanks a lot for your valuable input! 🥰❤️🙏🏼

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Four of us sisters went to NY in October, 2018.  It was amazing.  I swear we had an angelic tour guide part of the time because if we got turned around in a subway someone would say "you look lost, may I help?" When we visited Central Park a nice lady volunteered to give us a tour and took pictures of the four of us.  She wouldn't even take a tip, saying she loved the park and this was her way of giving back.  

 

We stayed in Brooklyn through Booking.com 

Our Hotel was within walking distance to the Subway and we got a pass and used that to go everywhere in the city.

Our tours were arranged through Oasisbiblicaltours.com and we LOVED the Met tours and the Golden Triangle tour of Headquarters.

The tours to the headquarters had us meet at a restaurant and then board buses.  We took an Uber to get to the restaurant.  We had thought about renting a car but this way we didn't need to deal with traffic or parking and the bus was filled with brothers.  Sometimes we felt rushed but the tours are time limited so driving there wouldn't mean we could spend all day in one location.

We saw Central Park, The Empire State Building,we took a ferry to Staten Island, visited the old Bethel facilities in Brooklyn, The Ross Building? Coney Island where we ate Nathan's hot dogs on the beach, and we ate Junior's cheesecake!  We hit almost all things on our bucket list and got to know the city pretty well.  

 

If we'd had time we would have taken the tour to Washington DC that originates in NY and see the Smithsonian and the Holocaust museums.  Now the Museum of the Bible is open and that's included in that tour.

 

Saving money for a trip never works for me.  I have a rough budget, save on housing and flights,  but I use my credit card and enjoy! I pay it off when I get home. I love the idea of a BNB and staying a month.  Much more relaxed and time to attend some local meetings.

 

We're planning another trip to NY.  The Woman and Her Offspring soon has an online tour that will whet your appetite for the in-person tour I'm sure.

 

ENJOY! I'm excited for you.

 

 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Friends, NY is not what it was in 2018, 2019.  There is alot of crimes on the trains in New York as well.  Tourist stand out and have become a target not just the citizens of New York!

 

We hear the news everyday.  I live in Warwick, NY and you cannot pay me to get on a city train.  The best thing I would advise is look throughout the Warwick area for B&B.  Safer and closer to Wallkill, Paterson and Warwick HQs.

 

There are lots of B&B in the surrounding Warwick area and Warwick itself.  I do not recommend New York City.  Since the pandemic it has changed dramatically.  If you need phone numbers you can pm me and I might come up with brothers that will help.

 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Just to truly emphasize, New York is not the one you guys visit when you came in 2018 or 2019.  Since the pandemic it has become a war zone.  There are crimes on the subway unbelievably everyday. 

 

In my humble opinion stay away from NYC.  Again, as tourist these criminals can spot you a mile away.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

IF tours open up again by next summer and the pre-pandemic process is followed for booking on jw.org, that can be VERY tricky when you are scheduling.  It is possible to do two tours in one day. In June, 2019 my husband and I toured Warwick at 8:30 AM, essentially first thing in the morning and Wallkill at 2:30 PM, with enough time in the middle to get lunch. We did Patterson another morning.  We rented a car for our week-long trip and we were staying in a hotel in the area, so it was easy to make the tour appointments.  

 

The tricky part: When I decided to look at Bethel tour dates to plan for our trip (2018), they were booked so far out, we scheduled our trip around when we could schedule all the tours w/n one week.  That meant we had to wait much longer to take our trip than we wanted to. It was an anxiety-ridden few days, trying to coordinate air travel/Bethel tours/hotel/MET tour, etc. that we wanted to do. But, the Bethel tours were central to our trip--no Bethel tours, no trip!  It wasn't our first rodeo in New York, but Warwick wasn't even a 'thing' yet during previous trips.

 

Just some thoughts on Bethel tour scheduling. 😓

Link to comment
Share on other sites

1 hour ago, cme said:

We hear the news everyday.  I live in Warwick, NY and you cannot pay me to get on a city train.  The best thing I would advise is look throughout the Warwick area for B&B.  Safer and closer to Wallkill, Paterson and Warwick HQs.

 

Ahh. Explains why, when I was working in welcoming and helping the delegates at a hotel at the Berlin international conv.in 2019, that I was asked mostly from American delegates if it was safe to take the local underground trains. It is generally safe to travel the local and long-distance trains all over Germany, so I was taken aback a little. I just thought perhaps they lived in areas where they only travel by car. But it’s sad to hear it’s getting worse in the US. When we visited NY we literally walked everywhere but had no child at the time. Plus it was still safe to travel the subways when I was there with friends and then later with hubby. 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

On 11/17/2022 at 1:33 AM, cme said:

Friends, NY is not what it was in 2018, 2019.  There is alot of crimes on the trains in New York as well.  Tourist stand out and have become a target not just the citizens of New York!

 

We hear the news everyday.  I live in Warwick, NY and you cannot pay me to get on a city train.  The best thing I would advise is look throughout the Warwick area for B&B.  Safer and closer to Wallkill, Paterson and Warwick HQs.

 

There are lots of B&B in the surrounding Warwick area and Warwick itself.  I do not recommend New York City.  Since the pandemic it has changed dramatically.  If you need phone numbers you can pm me and I might come up with brothers that will help.

 

Thanks for that info.  We are hoping to be invited to apply for the special conventions in 2024.  Ideally we would like Europe but thought like 2019 despite choosing 1 Portugal 2 Greece 3 USA we got USA.  So we may end up with USA again.  We usually stay in Brooklyn in an Airbnb.  If we stay longer than 7 days I make an offer of a discounted price and if it is reasonable they accept my offer.  In 2019 we did 2 road trips.  1 before the convention and 1 after.  Driving is great but as has been mentioned no need for a car in NYC.  Personally 30 days in NY is too long.  Better to see upstate or other areas south.  

Link to comment
Share on other sites

23 hours ago, MullumMiss said:

Personally 30 days in NY is too long.  Better to see upstate or other areas south.  

Totally agree, I stayed in NY City for 6 days and got around to most things I wanted to see. 

Niagara Falls was incredible, and much better experience than NY. 

Despite homeless people in San Francisco, I have enjoyed that city more than NY. 

If I had 30 days in USA - I would do a trip San Francisco - Yosemite National Park - Las Vegas (due to access to Grand Canyon and other parks etc) - Niagara Falls (Canadian side) and from there eventually I would make trip to NY City - Boston etc. ..... The money spent for 30 days on accommodation in NY would be used to pay for this itinerary. 

 

I have done this apart (Las Vegas section) but included LA.

Michal, you can contact me to discuss details if you wish. 

But in short  30 days in NY is way too long, at least for me.

Did not experience crime in USA, but that was in 2019 - not sure what is happening there right now.

I have stayed on Times Square in Novotel, and felt safe at ant time of the day or night - police presence was strong. 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I haven't been to NYC in about 6 years but I used to go often and love it--it's an amazing place with so much to see, lots of museums and culture and food to explore. But I agree that, depending on what kind of travelers you are and your dispositions, 30 days in NYC with young kids can be both a bit much and spectacularly expensive--out of curiosity I just checked Airbnb rates for July 2023 and there are very few options at $4K.

 

I see you said you wanted to have the experience of living in another country and getting to know the friends--is that why you thought of renting a home and staying in the same  spot for a month? Do you specifically want to stay somewhere where you can use public transit and don't have to drive?

 

If you and your family are open to alternate ideas, with 30 days you could experience life in the US, get to know the friends AND have an amazing time exploring the whole Northeast, including NYC, possibly on the same budget you have for NYC. If you want to stay in a single home base, there are lovely cities in New England where you can stay in better quality accommodations for less $, but still close enough to take a few days' trip to NYC, Walkill, Warwick etc: Boston, MA; Providence, RI; Hartford, CT.

 

I live in Boston so I'm most familiar with it. It's a bit less expensive than NYC, smaller and more liveable, easier to get around, very kid-friendly, very walkable, has tons of museums and parks and great restaurants and a public transit system that is easy to use. If you want to rent a car, it's also much easier to drive and find parking in Boston or any of the other cities I mentioned than it is in NYC. It's a pleasant 3.5 hour train ride from Boston to NYC and there are lots of other places in the region you can get to by train.

 

It's also 1-3 hours away from gorgeous beaches in Maine, breathtaking mountains in New Hampshire, and quaint towns in Vermont. If you want to do a little more driving or a longer train ride--about 5 hours--you can also visit Philadelphia, which is also a great city.

 

Just some thoughts!

 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.
Note: Your post will require moderator approval before it will be visible.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

About JWTalk.net - Jehovah's Witnesses Online Community

Since 2006, JWTalk has proved to be a well-moderated online community for real Jehovah's Witnesses on the web. However, our community is not an official website of Jehovah's Witnesses. It is not endorsed, sponsored, or maintained by any legal entity used by Jehovah's Witnesses. We are a pro-JW community maintained by brothers and sisters around the world. We expect all community members to be active publishers in their congregations, therefore, please do not apply for membership if you are not currently one of Jehovah's Witnesses.

×
×
  • Create New...

Important Information

We have placed cookies on your device to help make this website better. You can adjust your cookie settings, otherwise we'll assume you're okay to continue.

JWTalk 22.12.4 (changelog)