New York
Signature City New York: The Big Apple Experience
Get an insider’s perspective on New York as you explore Ellis Island, the Met, Rockefeller Plaza and learn about the city’s transition from a Dutch outpost to an American icon.
Rating (4.89)
Program No. 8861RJ
6 days
Starts at
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6 days
5 nights
11 meals
5 B 2 L 4 D
Getting There
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Registration, Orientation, Empire State Building
New York
New Yorker Hotel

Activity note: Hotel check-in 3:00PM

Afternoon: Program Registration: 4:00 p.m. Come to the meeting room to register with the program staff and get your welcome packet containing your name-tag, up-to-date schedule that reflects any changes, and other important information. The meeting room location will be posted in lobby, on an LED board across from the Security Desk. If you arrive late, please ask for your envelope when you check in.

Dinner: 5:00 p.m. In the Tick Tock Diner just off the lobby of our historic hotel, we’ll have our first meal together and order from a select menu. This 24-hour diner features American cooking and “comfort food.” Dinner in the diner is included even if you arrive late. You may eat later but please attend Orientation first. Or, get “take out” and bring your plate to the meeting room.

Evening: Orientation: 6:15-7:30 p.m. In a hotel meeting room, the Group Leader will greet everyone and lead introductions. We will review the program theme, the up-to-date daily schedule, discuss roles and responsibilities, logistics, safety guidelines, emergency procedures, and answer questions. Dinners are early in order to have plenty of time available for engaging in evening activities as a group and individually. We will be walking a lot and using the New York City subway system that involves going up and down flights of stairs, long corridors, and often crowded conditions. It’s what New Yorkers do every day! Periods in the daily schedule designated as “Free time” and “At leisure” offer opportunities to do what you like and make your experience even more meaningful and memorable according to your personal preferences. The Group Leader will be happy to offer suggestions. Program activities, schedules, personnel, and indicated distances or times may change due to local circumstances/conditions. In the event of changes, we will alert you as quickly as possible. Thank you for your understanding. After orientation, we will walk over to the Empire State Building. From the 86th floor observation deck, we’ll have a bird’s eye view of the Manhattan street grid and all five boroughs with New Jersey in the distance (weather permitting). It’s a great way to orient yourself to New York’s geography and get your first “big picture” look at the city. The Empire State Building is just three blocks away. Our group leader will escort you there but you will return when you please, on your own. You can enjoy the views until 2AM.

History of NYC, Rockefeller Center, Radio City, St Patrick's
New York
New Yorker Hotel

Activity note: Taking the New York City subway; going up/down flights of stairs; crowded conditions. Walking approximately 5 miles; city streets and sidewalks.

Breakfast: In the hotel meeting room, we’ll have bagels, muffins, bananas, hard-boiled eggs, cold cereals, cream cheese, jelly, butter, plus milk (regular/low-fat), orange juice, coffee/decaf, tea, water. During breakfast, we will register with the MTA for a senior citizen MetroCard (if you are 65 or over). A representative from the MTA will take your picture and a copy of your driver’s license to process your permanent MetroCard application. They will give you a temporary card to use for the week, enabling you to ride for half price. A few weeks after you return home you will receive a permanent card in the mail — your official invitation to come back to New York and ride around for half price. If you have a permanent NYC senior citizen MetroCard, please bring it with you.

Morning: We’ll be joined by a local expert for a lecture on the history and architecture of New York City. We’ll begin to gain an understanding of all the five boroughs it comprises — the Bronx, Brooklyn, Manhattan, Queens, and Staten Island — each with its own history, personality, and appeal.

Lunch: Voucher at Rock Center

Afternoon: Our first stop is Radio City Music Hall, an Art Deco masterpiece, where we will have an expert-led exploration that takes us behind the scenes of its famous music productions. We’ll marvel at the art, architecture, engineering, and see hydraulic lifts from the early 20th century that still move the many stages. We’ll then stroll to Rockefeller Center with our expert. This remarkable complex is the legacy of John D. Rockefeller, Jr. It opened in 1933 in the depths of the Great Depression as both a business venture and a manifestation of the belief that public art is an act of good citizenship. The art deco motifs and sculptures were intended to signify human development in spirit, science, industry, and more. We’ll also stop at St. Patrick’s Cathedral. Completed in 1879, the cathedral is a symbol of the success of New York’s immigrant Irish Catholic population.

Dinner: At a neighborhood Chinese restaurant, we’ll have a family-style meal with choices of soup, appetizers, and entrées; coffee, tea, water included, other beverages available for purchase.

Evening: Setting the stage for our field trip in the morning, we’ll be joined by a former Ellis Island National Park ranger for a presentation on the Statue of Liberty National Monument that includes Liberty Island, the Statue of Liberty, and Ellis Island. We’ll learn about historic preservation and restoration at both.

Statue of Liberty &Ellis Island
New York
New Yorker Hotel

Activity note: Taking the subway to the ferry for traveling to/from the islands. Walking approximately 5 miles; city streets and sidewalks.

Breakfast: In the Tick Tock Diner, we’ll order from a select menu.

Morning: We’ll head straight out this morning to take best advantage of our time on Liberty and Ellis Islands where you may explore both iconic islands at your own pace to see and do what interests you most. We’ll begin by boarding the ferry to Liberty Island. The Statue of Liberty — officially “Liberty Enlightening the World” — was a gift to the people of America from the people of France, our oldest ally. It was the biggest event in the country on the Fourth of July 1884. Years later, these words of poet Emma Lazarus were added: “Give me your tired, your poor, Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free, The wretched refuse of your teeming shore. Send these, the homeless, tempest-tost to me, I lift my lamp beside the golden door!” IMPORTANT: Our tickets provide access to the pedestal and the museum inside where audio guides tell the statue’s incredible story. If you wish to climb to the crown, tickets must be purchased by YOU in advance. Only four tickets will be allowed per household (or credit card holder). Names on the tickets are non-transferrable at any time. The credit card holder must be present to pick up tickets. There are 162 narrow and tight steps from the top of the pedestal to the crown. There is no elevator access. We’ll then take the ferry to Ellis Island.

Lunch: This meal has been excluded from the program cost and is on your own to enjoy what you like. Both Liberty and Ellis Islands have cafeterias, with larger facilities and selections available on Liberty Island.

Afternoon: Next, we’ll explore the Ellis Island National Museum of Immigration. From 1892 when the immigration station opened until it closed in 1954, more than 12 million people coming to America passed through Ellis Island. This was their “golden door” to new lives. Today, the descendants of these immigrants make up almost half of all Americans. The museum tells the story of where people came from and what their experience was like. Museum exhibits chronicle Ellis Island’s role in the context of centuries of immigration to America. We’ll re-group on Ellis Island to take the ferry back to Manhattan.

Dinner: A characteristic local restaurant.

Evening: Elective: We’ll walk over to what may be New York's most acclaimed new park, the High Line. Written about in Smithsonian, National Geographic, and AARP Magazines, the High Line Park is built on an historic freight rail line elevated above the streets — a favorite destination for locals and visitors alike. We’ll stroll above the traffic below with an expert leading the way.

Theater District, Times Square, Free Time
New York
New Yorker Hotel

Activity note: Taking the subway; walking approximately 2-3 miles.

Breakfast: In the meeting room.

Morning: Our group leader will consult with the group about some of the lesser known areas of New York that you will be able to explore during your free afternoon. We’ll then set out on an expert-let exploration of the Theater District and Times Square. There are 40 theaters in and around the area known worldwide as Broadway. There is also a TKTS discount ticket booth in Times Square, operated by the Theatre Development Fund, a not-for-profit organization supporting theatre and dance productions that enables diverse audiences to attend live performances. Most of us know Times Square from televised events on New Year’s Eve. The name comes from the old location of the New York Times. The Times Tower, built in 1905, was then the second-tallest building in the city. The first New Year’s Eve event was staged to celebrate its opening. Like the newspaper, times changed and Times Square went through ups and downs. Today, the not-for-profit Times Square Alliance works to cultivate the creativity and energy that have made this iconic public space a symbol of New York.

Lunch: Enjoy a picnic lunch in Bryant Park, just like a native (weather permitting), before heading out on your own for the afternoon.

Afternoon: Free time. Take this opportunity for personal independent exploration to see and do what interests you most. Please refer to the list of Free Time Opportunities. The Group Leader will be happy to offer suggestions and give directions. Elective: Our expert will lead an excursion up to Harlem. The number three destination for foreign tourists, Harlem's history and 19th century architecture may surprise you.

Dinner: This meal has been excluded from the program cost and is on your own to enjoy what you like. The Group Leader will be happy to offer suggestions and give directions.

Evening: At leisure. Take in a show, explore on your own, or enjoy some R&R at the hotel.

The Metropolitan Museum of Art
New York
New Yorker Hotel

Activity note: Taking the subway; walking approximately 3-5 miles.

Breakfast: In the Tick Tock Diner.

Morning: An art historian will provide an overview of the Metropolitan Museum of Art. We’ll get tips on navigating its galleries. On the way, we’ll traverse Central Park as our expert talks about its history and points out areas of interest. Some 42 million people visit Central Park each year. Its 843 acres are managed by the private, not-for-profit Central Park Conservancy, formed in 1980 to improve and restore the park to prime condition after a period of decline. Central Park today is America’s greatest and grandest public green space, providing respite and inspiration for residents and visitors alike.

Lunch: On your own to enjoy what you like. At the Metropolitan, there are choices from the cafeteria to the elegant Petrie Court Café. There are also numerous restaurants and other eateries in the vicinity of the museum. Your badge allows re-entry.

Afternoon: A variety of docent-led explorations are available to take you through the collections of your choosing. The Met, founded in 1870, is one of the world’s greatest museums with a collection spanning more than 5,000 years of creativity. Its artistic treasury from every corner of the world includes paintings, arms and armor, costume, decorative arts, musical instruments, photography, works on paper, and much more. There are 26,000 objects from ancient Egypt, the largest collection outside Cairo; 2,500 European paintings, one of the most extensive collections anywhere; and the most comprehensive collection of American decorative arts, paintings, and sculpture in the American Wing. The Beaux-Arts façade and Great Hall of the iconic flagship building — designed by architect and founding museum trustee Richard Morris Hunt — opened in 1902. Today, tens of thousands of objects are on view at any given time.

Dinner: We’ll enjoy a plated farewell dinner with coffee, tea, water included; other beverages available for purchase. Share favorite experiences with new Road Scholar friends during our farewell dinner.

Evening: Take an excursion to the Oculus, our new transit hub designed by Santiago Calatrava and 911 Memorial. As its website states, the Memorial is “a tribute of remembrance and honor to the nearly 3,000 people killed in the terror attacks of September 11, 2001 at the World Trade Center site, near Shanksville, Pa., and at the Pentagon, as well as the six people killed in the World Trade Center bombing in February 1993.” Twin reflecting pools — each nearly an acre in size — sit where the Twin Towers once stood. Returning to the hotel, prepare for check-out and departure after our closing session in the morning.

What’s Happening Around the City, Program Concludes
New York

Activity note: Hotel check-out by 12:00 Noon.

Breakfast: In the meeting room.

Morning: As a final highlight, we’ll be joined by a New Yorker who’s in touch with what’s happening around the city for a closing discussion. The session will end by approximately 10:30 a.m. This concludes our program. We hope you enjoy Road Scholar learning adventures and look forward to having you on rewarding programs in the future. Please join our Facebook page and share photos of your program. Visit us at www.facebook.com/rsadventures. Best wishes for all your journeys!

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