Graduation Trip to NYC


SBH Member
My wife and I are taking our two daughters to NYC for a week in June. We are staying near Times Square but but wanted restro recommendations from those of you who are experts.

One daughter is graduating high school and one is graduating from middle school to high school. We want it to be a special trip.


Senior Insider
For Sushi I recommend AOKI-234 West 48th St. between Broadway and 8th Ave 212 956 2356. Fresh. Clean. Gorgeous salt water fish tanks in the back walls. Ask to sit near them when you make your reservations.


Senior Insider
A place with great views of Rock Center or St. Patrick's Cathedral, depending on where you are seated, is SFA Cafe on the eighth floor of Saks Fifth Avenue. Make a reservation (212-940-4080)& ask for a table by a window. As you walk from the elevator to the Cafe, you'll go through the famous Saks Shoe Salon. It has its very own zip code---10022. Teenagers usually enjoy the people watching and the over-the-top shoes (price & styles!) It's a good reality check.

Another delightful place in June would be The Boathouse in Central Park (72nd Street). Make a reservation well in advance (212-940-4080) & watch the rowboats on the CP lake as you dine.

NYC in June is wonderful--perfect for strolling. Enjoy!


Senior Insider
Amy and Julia's suggestions are wonderful. AOKI-234 is amazing. Such fresh fish! I once sat beside Amy Poehler at SFA after meeting her at Baz Bar the week before, enjoying the Evan Goodrow Band - a funny moment for me to be recognized by a celebrity. (I look forward to sitting next to our resident celebrity Amy even more.) I would add, while touristy, the top floor revolving restaurant of the Marriott Marquis has amazing views of the entire city and had been enjoyed by young people we have taken there.


Senior Insider
I recommend The River Cafe in Brooklyn. Take the ferry across and prepare to be amazed by the stunning view of the NYC skyline. My oldest daughter enjoyed her graduation trip with a dinner there she still talks about today!


Senior Insider
Close to Times Square: A fun and inexpensive place for teens is decor and decent food (9th Ave and 51st.) John's Pizza is great, the original is on Bleeker St in the Village but the one near TS is in an old church, much larger and prettier.

For Jewish deli we love the 2nd Ave Deli (on 3rd and 33rd) but many prefer Katz in the Lower East Side. Known for the funny scene from When Harry Met Sally so mobbed with tourists on the weekends.

Many, many great Italian places....we have enjoyed Babbo, Maialano, and Locanda Verde recently.

A great resource for dining recommendations is Chowhound. They have forums like this totally dedicated to food by area. Check the Manhattan board.

If you are looking for recs on things to do with teens, I love the Tenement Museum, also in the LES. Great small tours of an actual tenement building restored to different time periods. Should probably book in advances and the group size is limited. On our last trip we visited the Frick for the first time. Great small art museum in an amazing setting (the actual Frick home.)

If you are there for a week I would definitely try to get to Brooklyn too. Williamsburg is the center of hipster cool and the Brooklyn Flea and Smorgasburg are great fun. The Transit Museum on the Brooklyn side of the Brooklyn Bridge is very interactive, and is easily combined with a walk across (and the River Cafe, if you are so inclined.)


New Member
While I can see sazasupp's point about saving money on accomodations b/c you only sleep in the hotel room, I would NOT reco the Milford as a place to stay for a college graduation trip, even on a tight budget.


Senior Insider
Yesterday I was at the Bryant Park Grill-just wonderful for brunch. I had challah French toast with berries-and real maple syrup too.

Have to say that the Library was looking good. It has been cleaned and is actually white again.


Senior Insider
Hi MM - Have you decided where you're going or are still doing planing? I have a teen son who is smack betwen the two of your daughters' ages and he is quite the NYC foodie. All depending on your budget and the things you like, I can give some recommendations that are highly regarded by my teen expert.


Senior Insider
I see you’re from TN. My family used to go to Gatlinburg for summer vacations. Go to the mountains to escape from the heat of the beach. Seems ironic now that I think about it. So I’ll direct you to places that you probably won’t find back home.

I will start with ramen. Not the instant kind that you might have had in cup-o-noodles. The real stuff which compares to instant in the same way that canned chef Boyardee is to good pasta. My preferred ramen place is Totto Ramen but its small and the atmosphere while more true to a Japanese ramenya isn’t the most exciting for teens. So you should go to Ippudo in the east village. Get the spicy pork buns and the modern ramen. Very filling and cheap for NYC. Fun atmosphere that I think your girls will like. Only problem is no reservations so you have to wait in line or go at off hours.

For Chinese, rather than sending you to Chinatown, I will tell you to go to Chinatown Brasserie which despite its name is not in Chinatown. It’s a fantasy vision of a Chinese dining palace. All dark polished wood, mirrors and huge paper lanterns. The dim sum and peking duck is very good. Make sure you get the soup dumplings.

For a quick lunch on the run Shake Shack is a favorite. Burgers and shakes are good. Not much of a fan of the fries. Not surprising given the name. You can compare this mini-chain to Five Guys which I’m guessing is in your area.

For NY style pizza, we like John’s and Co.

NY deli means corned beef and pastrami. Our two faves are Katz and Second Avenue.

If you want steak, try Keens for an old NY atmosphere or Strip House for something a bit more contemporary.

Gotham Bar is a classic NY place. Very polished with food to match.

At the tippy top, we love Eleven Madison Park. A bit of a budget buster so it may be easier to go for a lunch. Food and service are top notch. Reservations are a must have and the book opens at 9 am 28 days before the date. Usually fully booked within 15 minutes of opening reservations.

That’s off the top of my head. I’ve kept the list to Manhattan places and not sent you off to some other boroughs even though there’s great stuff out of the City. I’ve tried to put together a mix of places between cuisines and prices. If there is anything particular you prefer, let me know and I can see what else my feeble brain comes up with. Once you come up with a list of places, you should post on Chowhound under the Manhattan board for more suggestions/critiques.

Happy eating!