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- NEW YORK, NEW YORK. Popular attractions in the Big Apple can get crowded, especially if you consider that not only tourists, but locals, flock to see them. Here are tips from seasoned New Yorkers on how to beat the crowds.

Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island: Weekdays are the least crowded days. Take the first boat that leaves at 9:30 a.m. from Battery Park to the Statue of Liberty. If you want to climb to the crown, do it right away before other ferries arrive. Once you've come back down you'll have time to look at exhibits in the statue's base. Then take the boat to Ellis Island and go to the information booth for a free ticket to see the half-hour movie about the island's history. Then look at the island's renovated buildings and exhibits. Figure on about four hours to see the statue and Ellis Island. Battery Park is at the southern tip of Manhattan. General information, 1-212-363-3260. Circle Line Ferry, 1-212-269-5755.Broadway shows: For schedules and to order tickets for Broadway and off-Broadway shows, call Broadway Show Line's recorded message at 1-212-563-2929. Another way to purchase tickets is to call Tele-Charge (1-800-432-7250) or TicketMaster (1-800-755-4000) and charge the tickets to your credit card. Save money by sending for free discount coupons redeemable through TicketMaster and Tele-Charge if you order tickets in advance or when you purchase tickets in person at Broadway theater box offices. The free discount coupons are available by sending a self-addressed, stamped envelope to: Hit Show Club, 630 Ninth Ave., New York, NY 10036, or you may pick them up in person at 630 Ninth Ave., Eighth Floor. Save 25 percent to 50 percent on Broadway tickets at the TKTS booth at 47th Street and Broadway in Times Square for tickets to performances that day. Cash and traveler's checks only. There is also a TKTS booth on the mezzanine level of Two World Trade Center where lines are shorter and you can wait indoors. Tickets for Wednesday, Saturday and Sunday matinees are sold at TKTS booths a day in advance. Or you can go to the theater box office at 10 a.m., where you may be able to purchase "house seats" that have been released by VIPs. Wherever you purchase tickets, ask about relatively inexpensive preview performances to new shows.

Tourist information: Stop by the New York Convention & Visitors Bureau at Two Columbus Circle, or call 1-212-297-8200.

BARBIE DOLLS AT WALT DISNEY WORLD RESORT. Thursday, Sept. 22, through Sunday, Sept. 25, are the dates for a Mattel-sponsored Barbie Doll collector's convention at Disney's Contemporary Resort. Enthusiasts will swap information, bargain for rare items and share their mania for Barbie and everything else associated with her. Barbie's creator, Ruth Handler, will be on hand. Check your attic before you go. An original, mint condition Barbie that sold for $3 in 1959, recently sold at an auction for $4,600.

TRAVELING PARENTS. According to a survey of parents who travel on business, the best way to keep in touch with children is by phone. Seventy-three percent call their children at least once a day. Some use faxes and teleconferencing, too. The survey was sponsored by Marriott's Residence Inns, AT&T and USA TODAY.

Other tips for easing the pain of separation while parents are traveling:

- Let your child help you pack. Use this time to discuss how long you'll be gone and what you'll be doing while you're away.

- Chart your trip on a calendar and a map.

- Ask your child for a special toy you can take with you. Parents are discovering this is as meaningful for them as it is for the child.

- On a camcorder or cassette recorder, prerecord yourself reading bedtime stories or book chapters. Have your children play a portion of the tape each night before they go to bed.

- Tuck children into bed by talking to them via a cordless phone in their room.

- Whenever possible, take your children with you.

These and other suggestions are available in a booklet called "Inn Touch: Parenting from the Road." The brochure includes a $10 AT&T long-distance certificate offer and a "buy two, get one free" offer from Residence Inn. The free "Inn Touch" brochure is available free by sending your name and address to Inn Touch: Residence Inn by Marriott, Marriott Dr., Dept. 851.84, Washington, DC, 20058 or by calling 1-301-380-6982. The brochures will be available at Residence Inns through September.

- AVIATION SAFETY. The Federal Department of Transportation released results of the Federal Aviation Administration's review of 30 foreign countries and whether they oversee their air carriers in a manner that meets international aviation standards. Nine do not.

They are: Belize, Dominican Republic, Gambia, Ghana, Honduras, Nicaragua, Paraguay, Uruguay and Zaire. Carriers from these countries are not allowed to fly into the United States.

Four of the 30 countries that were assessed have conditional acceptance ratings that allow them to fly into the United States under heightened FAA inspections. They are Bolivia, El Salvador, Guatemala and Netherlands-Antilles.

The 17 countries covered in this assessment that adhere to international standards are: Argentina, Bahamas, Bangladesh, Brazil, Bulgaria, Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica, Guyana, Marshall Islands, Mexico, Organization of Eastern Caribbean States (Antigua and Barbuda, St. Kitts and Nevis, St. Vincent and the Grenadines, Dominica, St. Lucia, Montserrat, Grenada and Anguilla), Oman, Panama, Peru, Ukraine and Venezuela.

These assessments are ongoing. The FAA hopes to assess all the countries with carriers flying into the United States by the end of 1996.

These assessments don't indicate whether a foreign carrier is safe or unsafe but whether the country has a civil aviation authority that makes sure the carrier's operations and safety procedures comply to standards set by the International Civil Aviation Authority.

- ALASKA'S INSIDE PASSAGE. One of the most useful tools for independent travelers is the Travel Planner. The 1995 edition is available free by sending your name and address to the Southeast Alaska Tourism Council, Dept. 902, P.O. Box 20710, Juneau, Alas., 99802, or by calling 1-800-423-0568. The 38-page booklet has color photos, sample itineraries, a service directory and other valuable planning information. This is almost essential if you're planning your own Inside Passage vacation.

HOME EXCHANGE. Intervac International, established in 1953, has grown into the world's largest exchange network. The company's 22 independently owned companies offer more than 9,000 home exchanges in 34 countries. They range from a beach apartment on the French Riviera, to a villa with a yacht in Mallorca, to a house in London, to an apartment on the Left Bank of Paris. And that's just a few. The company accepts listings for all 50 states and U.S. territories. If you subscribe, you get three books and one listing. To learn more or to receive a brochure and subscription form, contact Intervac U.S., P.O. Box 590504, San Francisco, CA 94159, or call 1-800-756-HOME.

- REMEMBERING THE LINCOLN HIGHWAY. The Utah Chapter of the Lincoln Highway Association will meet for a field tour Sun., Sept. 18. The tour will cover much of the original route from Kimball Ranch to Castle Rock, passing thorugh Wanship, Coalville and Echo Canyon along the way. Meet in the northwest corner of the K Mart parking lot near Kimball Junction.