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Last minute NYC planning
June 3, 2014 8:33 AM   Subscribe

I'm going to NYC for a few days. My plan was to sit in the park and read and then see plays. I am going with someone who wants to Do Things. Assuming I am free during the days only (and tomorrow night before the late Welcome to Night Vale show), what things that aren't the Big Name Attractions should I go for?
posted by jeather to Travel & Transportation around New York, NY (22 answers total) 22 users marked this as a favorite
Sorry, I'm a little confused: do you want recommendations on where to sit in the park and read, or do you want recommendations on fun things to do during the day?
posted by So You're Saying These Are Pants? at 8:37 AM on June 3

I don't have a direct tip, but I've been to two Night Vale shows in NYC and I just wanted to tell you that unless you have assigned seats, get there early. Like an hour early: both times the line was out the door and around the block.
posted by griphus at 8:37 AM on June 3

Sorry: things to do during the day (that aren't, like, the Met).

I do have assigned seats, so I hope I can get there just normal early.
posted by jeather at 8:41 AM on June 3

My stock answer for "off the beaten path things to do in NYC" questions: Take a tour of the Grand Lodge of Masons in midtown.
posted by usonian at 8:42 AM on June 3

Are you looking for off-the-beaten-path attractions in NYC? If so, here are some to consider:
The Cloisters
Coney Island
The Frick
Brooklyn Promenade and Brooklyn Heights
Brooklyn Museum of Art
Brooklyn Botanical Gardens
posted by Flood at 8:46 AM on June 3 [1 favorite]

I would sit on the High Line and eat ice cream sammiches all day if I could.
posted by elizardbits at 8:46 AM on June 3 [11 favorites]

There's a cool new park that just opened on Governor's Island. Take a $2 ferry over, enjoy spectacular views of the Statue of Liberty, and spend some time reading on a hammock.

Go visit The Cloisters, it's amazing in nice weather. (on preview...technically, this is the Met, hah)

Watch the NYPhil Rehearsals at 10am

Try the Le Bernadin City Harvest lunch for $45

I'll try to think of some more...
posted by So You're Saying These Are Pants? at 8:46 AM on June 3 [5 favorites]

Take some time at the Russian Turkish Baths.
posted by ThePinkSuperhero at 8:52 AM on June 3

What kind of Things does your someone like? Art, history, fancy shopping, exotic eating, music? That's going to determine what you do.

Also, do you have to go too or can you turn them loose while you sit in the park and read? Maybe they'd have more fun exploring alone (and you'd have more fun not doing so). Meet up for a great dinner/drinks, then go to your shows.
posted by emjaybee at 8:53 AM on June 3

There's a cool new park that just opened on Governor's Island. Take a $2 ferry over, enjoy spectacular views of the Statue of Liberty, and spend some time reading on a hammock.

Yes yes yes! This is perfect because with the ferry and the statue views (and the expensive beer), it is very New Yorky while still being a lovely little park.

It's also just across the water from Brooklyn Heights, which is a great historic neighborhood to stroll through. Beautiful buildings, views of lower Manhattan, good food, not touristy. And! While you are there, if you need to fit in some museum-ing, you can pop over to the NYC transit museum.
posted by showbiz_liz at 9:09 AM on June 3

Go to Chelsea Market and have lunch, then walk it off on the High Line. After that, head down to the west Village to the Big Gay Ice Cream shop and have a treat. What else are you and the person who wants to Do Things into? There are a ton of things to do here, but it's easier to narrow it down if we know what you like.

Also, this Night Vale show is in Town Hall, which has assigned seating, so you should be fine getting there just a little early. I went to the Thrilling Adventure Hour show there a few weeks back and it was like a normal Broadway theater situation - even though the line was long, we got there 30 minutes before showtime and were in our seats with plenty of time to spare.
posted by bedhead at 9:10 AM on June 3 [1 favorite]

We might or might not split up, but for various reasons I am getting all the ideas of things we could do.

I'd prefer not to give particular ideas of things to do because often doing things that aren't on the list of things I particularly enjoy end up being the most fun.
posted by jeather at 9:15 AM on June 3

Brooklyn Botanic Garden, which Flood suggested upthread, is free Saturday mornings and is super nice. I go there to read all the time. The garden in the Bronx (NY Botanical Garden) is much larger and farther afield and also pretty great.

If your plan is to read, can't hurt to go to the Strand and pick up more books!
posted by mlle valentine at 9:21 AM on June 3

Go have lunch on Stone Street in the Financial District, and maybe go have a beer at Fraunces Tavern.

Then, honestly, just walk up Broadway for as long as you can stand it. You'll see and do SO MUCH just by strolling up and across the island. You'll see the Wall St Bull statue, Trinity Church, some of Chinatown, SoHo, Union Square, "Ladies Mile" and its shopping, all the weird bead and trim stores in the 30s, Times Square, etc etc.

It's really fun to just watch the neighborhoods change.
posted by functionequalsform at 9:23 AM on June 3 [1 favorite]

I just wanted to say that when I next get to New York, I too will head down to the west Villiage to the Big Gay Ice Cream shop for a treat.

What does your companion want to do? Is there anything specific, or are they up for whatever as long as its something?

Personally, I want to hit up Mood. If that person wants to shop, it's perfectly okay to say, "Great, you shop, I'll sit in the park and read."

I will say, that one thing that's a big name attraction that I'm glad I did, was Ellis Island. It's very interesting, it's a nice trip on a nice day (I did it in January--BRRRRR).
posted by Ruthless Bunny at 9:24 AM on June 3 [1 favorite]

You will not need to get to the Night Vale show at Town Hall early - the only line will be for people picking up tickets at the box office as opposed to the people who have their tickets in hand already, but the doors open for both groups at the same time.
posted by oh yeah! at 9:43 AM on June 3

Seconding Governor's Island. You can go find a quiet place to sit and read and watch boats (my favorite spot faces Brooklyn, behind the brick houses) while your friend explores.

Really wonderful place.
posted by mochapickle at 10:20 AM on June 3

Cloisters and the Museum of the Moving Image in Queens.
posted by mitschlag at 11:02 AM on June 3

Cloisters for sure
posted by crocomancer at 12:26 PM on June 3

I string my NYC visits around food things:
Doughnut Plant
La Maison du Macaron
Bouchon Bakery, one is off the corner of the park
Sullivan Street Bakery
Kee's Chocolates
Ippudo for ramen
The Breslin (this is going to sound ridiculous but they have an amazing Caesar salad)

The High Line during bad weather or not weekends is lovely.
posted by tangaroo at 2:06 PM on June 3 [2 favorites]

I think the High Line is more impressive to people who live in NYC or other large cities. Out-of-town friends from the South tend to react to it like "ok, so it's a skinny little park but high up. Nice?" Not saying it isn't a cool achievement of urban renewal, but I don't think it's a great tourist destination, necessarily.
posted by showbiz_liz at 3:18 PM on June 3

Tenament Museum. I was incredibly underwelmed by the High Line.
posted by kjs4 at 9:59 PM on June 3

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