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Things to do alone in NYC...but on a Fri/Sat night. Asking too much?
May 21, 2014 3:05 PM   Subscribe

Things to do alone in NYC...but on a Fri/Sat night. Asking too much? Last month my hang-out buddy of 3 years left to move back to the midwest. I was happy for her since she was exited to go there and "actually be able to afford to buy a place"., but I've been sitting home alone every weekend since she left. I realize that NYC is very solo friendly and I lean towards being an introvert by nature so on weeknights I have no problem going to the movies, the theater, restaurants, bars (although at the bar there always seems to be a guy who could be my father or grandfather trying to hit on me. I still haven't gotten used to the bar scene.) But I'm not confident doing these things alone on the weekends.

Even at my local bar on the weekends there never seems to be anyone there alone. And taking my laptop or tablet to the bar would probably be considered rude and anti-social.... not to mention sad on a Friday. Which means I'd just be alone there staring at the bottles of wine and rum because on a weekend the bartender would be way too busy to converse with me much. I tried a sat night meetup.com thing and when I arrived it seemed everyone brought a +1 with them which made me feel suuuuper uncomfortable. Maybe this is a silly question that just doesn't have an answer, but since this is a city where people come and move away very frequently (and I love it here too much to leave) I thought maybe I should have a set plan of what to do when I find myself alone on a Friday night and would rather not stay in. Is there no way for someone in their early 30's to do this without standing out too much from the crowd?
posted by manderin to Sports, Hobbies, & Recreation (23 answers total) 27 users marked this as a favorite
 
And taking my laptop or tablet to the bar would probably be considered rude and anti-social.... not to mention sad on a Friday

First of all, I do this all the time and I am not sad nor do I think it's sad. Reading at bars is baller and is basically my favorite activity.

But if you're really focused on socialization, find activities that encourage that. Bars are not actually very good places for socializing at all. They are good places to get blotto, which is great and all, but not if you are really looking to meet friends and talk to people.

Is there a cool place you can volunteer? The upshot is you often get into stuff for free (ushering a theatre piece, checking people in to a fundraiser, behind the scenes at a Museum or animal shelter, etc) and you get to meet other people without seeming like a weirdo because you are sort of forced into a social situation with other interesting people.
posted by Lutoslawski at 3:15 PM on May 21 [6 favorites]


Sign up for the Nonsense NYC email newsletter. It comes out once a week on Friday afternoon and lists all the weird and fun things that don't make it into to Timeout New York.
posted by the jam at 3:18 PM on May 21 [3 favorites]


Sleep No More? That's pretty much made to do alone.
posted by SisterHavana at 3:20 PM on May 21 [6 favorites]


Museums! Weekend nights at some of the major ones are free.

I also hate Friday nights out in the city so I often make that a gym or running night.

Also, wine shops have tastings what seem like every night of the week and are happy to chat with someone who is solo.

Are you trying to find ways to meet people on these nights or just trying to find ways to entertain yourself alone?
posted by greta simone at 3:20 PM on May 21 [2 favorites]


Also, go to a Metafilter Meetup! Make new friends!
posted by DarlingBri at 3:20 PM on May 21 [5 favorites]


Swing dancing? Or take a class.
posted by nicwolff at 3:22 PM on May 21


Have you ever been to the Rubin museum on 17th Street? On Friday nights, it has this movie program at 9:30 which is really fun, either solo or in a group. You show up whenever and get free admission to the museum (I think normally it's 15 bucks) and you can wander around and see all the exhibits. Then you can grab a bite to eat and/or drink in the cafe and listen to the live music. Then at 9:30 they show a movie downstairs (you need to show that you spent $12 at the bar/cafe). The movie is usually some cult classic type thing. I've seen Holy Mountain, Natural Born Killers, Invasion of the Body Snatchers, maybe one or two more.

Everyone I've brought there has thought it was a really cool little event, and it would totally not be weird to go by yourself. And people are generally friendly and artsy there, so you can always strike up a conversation.
posted by silverstatue at 3:29 PM on May 21 [3 favorites]


Drag Queen Bingo!

I'd also hang out for the ticket lottery at Book of Mormon.

Some of these cooking classes are on the weekend.

Pool halls are cool (at least to me) if you really want to freak folks out, buy your own cue stick.
posted by Ruthless Bunny at 3:52 PM on May 21


You probably stand out much less than you think, so my answer is that you can do pretty much anything you would like to.

For me, the more I started doing things alone, the less I cared about whether anybody else found it sad. It also becomes clearer that other people are wrapped up in their own business and most likely don't even notice what you're up to.

When you do stuff alone, you're the boss of everything! You eat where you want, travel how you want, see the movie you want, and so on.

I don't really go to bars, but I absolutely whip out books at restaurants, and I'd do the same with a tablet or laptop if I carried one around with me.
posted by ktkt at 3:57 PM on May 21 [1 favorite]


This really depends on your interests. What are you into?

Me? I'd go to a comedy show or a musical/artistic/dance performance. Go listen to some jazz at Lincoln Center. Go to an evening event at the MET. Go to a movie. Go to a used book store. Go to a restaurant I've been wanting to try. Go to a rooftop bar and people watch.

I've done a lot of things in NYC by myself and have often enjoyed these solo escapades even more than dates and hang-sessions with buddies. Basically, think of something you would LOVE to do and just do it.

It also helps if you dress up a bit and feel great about how you look.
posted by Gray Skies at 4:04 PM on May 21 [1 favorite]


Also -- stop worrying about standing out from the crowd. You're in your thirties now. Own your space.
posted by Gray Skies at 4:06 PM on May 21 [3 favorites]


Nthing that clarification is needed as to whether you want to do things alone or would rather meet ppl. If it is the latter, but you are self-conscious at things like meet-ups- I think you should persevere. It is awkward to be the solo person when no-one else is but at the same time, I have realised that making it clear to ppl that you need a friend or would like one is sort of a very helpful part of making friends. If you always look too cool/busy to make friends, ppl are less likely to approach you.

So push on! You have a good explanation for now- your BFF left town and you want to branch out. I would think it cool if someone offered that explanation for arriving solo to a meet up or class or whatever.

Also nthing- bars are not your friend unless you want to stay solo or meet a guy. I think bars are a lot of levels up in terms of the self-confidence required to go alone, too. Take the suggestions above and make it a bit easier on yourself.
posted by jojobobo at 4:24 PM on May 21 [1 favorite]


I hear you. This is an ongoing issue for me.

I like going to concerts and plays alone. Carnegie Hall, Lincoln Center, and BAM are some of my favorite venues. Carnegie Hall has a program where you can get $20 tickets if you're under 35.

Walking around in nice weather can be a lot of fun. There are also many coffee shops open late if you want to be out but not at a bar. I could suggest specific ones if you want; let me know.

We have some Saturday meetups like ocherdraco's board game one if you ever want company.
posted by mlle valentine at 5:00 PM on May 21 [3 favorites]


Also MoMA is free Fridays 4-8.
posted by mlle valentine at 5:02 PM on May 21 [2 favorites]


The path to success in NYC is to specialize, and avoid generalized events and places.

Find the most niche of interest groups you like, and join that one (ex: 70s movie night & discussion group). There are many such ones here. You will find a smaller more intimate gathering where getting to know each of the participants enriches everyone.

Art galleries - offer an excellent place for solo guests to meet and chat. There are many constantly exhibiting and new ones opening. You will enjoy the people and good conversation.

Bars - visit only the ones that have genuine character. They attract solo types. Be discriminating. Check out select hotel bars that are not the latest hot spot. They attract people/travelers from all over the world.

Go counter to your ethnic/racial background - if you're Swedish, attend an Argentinian cultural event organized by the local Argentine community. You will have interesting people wanting to chat with you, and a chance to expand your mind as an additional benefit. MeMail me if you have questions .
posted by Kruger5 at 5:07 PM on May 21


You're in luck! Summer is kicking in, and with it come the METRIC ASS-LOAD of free concerts and movies all over the damn city. In fact, here is a list of every free movie that's playing in the city from now until mid-September. There's practically one every day. And here is the Summerstage schedule, and here is the celebrate Brooklyn schedule.

Coney Island also has cheap indie films on Saturday nights - that schedule is here, and is a trip. They also have free films on Mondays, if you're interested in more conventional fare.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 5:19 PM on May 21 [3 favorites]


If you like showtunes, go to Marie's Crisis. Awesome piano bar.
posted by shivohum at 5:21 PM on May 21 [1 favorite]


Hey, roughly what neighborhoods do you work/live in? I could probably give you more specific locations to visit, if I knew.

Anyway, here are some things I might do:
- Bring a crossword to a well-lit wine bar and eat a cheese plate for dinner
- Some yoga places have a "happy hour" class Fridays
- SLEEP! Find some more casual acquaintances to hang out with during the day (flea market? brunch?) and just enjoy the night
- Go thrifting
- Take a long walk
- Become a regular at a flower shop and make yourself a weekly arrangement
- Befriend your coworkers if you have them
- Take a class at Brooklyn Brainery (everyone is exceedingly friendly at these things)
- Pick up a side hustle and use that time to make some dough
- Go to Brooklyn Museum First Saturdays or other museum late-night openings
- Go to gallery openings and drink some free 2 buck chuck
- Take up an obscure board game and go to a game store for open play
posted by thirdletter at 5:35 PM on May 21 [5 favorites]




So many great recommendations! Thank you guys so much. I'll get to try some of these out over the next few weeks.
posted by manderin at 11:15 PM on May 21


I've just now learned that Governor's Island is open 7 days a week this summer; that's more of a daytime thing, but it is a fantastic place to explore. (I would totally live there if they ever zoned it for residency.)
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 7:06 AM on May 22 [1 favorite]


You should go to a dance club and dance like an idiot with wild abandon because you don't know anyone there, won't see them again, and aren't preoccupied with trying to scream conversation over music. Probably not an ongoing activity, but it is exhilarating to do every now and then. Teh anonyminity of it is better social lubricant than booze, even.
posted by WeekendJen at 11:21 AM on May 22


You should look into zog sports which has all kinds of co-ed sports with organized weekend games followed by organized happy hours. You don't have to have a bit of athletic skill, the teams I played on were pretty awful actually, but everyone is friendly and a lot of people come to it as a solo person so no worries there.
posted by kmr at 1:23 PM on May 22


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