NYC Visit
January 10, 2005 9:26 AM   Subscribe

Considering the huge number of members in the NYC area, can anyone suggest touristy things to do on a weekend (Feb 12-14) in Manhattan? [<--]

It's the three of us, me (tv graphic designer), my (magazine editing) wife, and my 12-year-old daughter. We're staying at the Millennium Broadway hotel, so Time Square and Central park is covered.

We wanted to take a ship into the harbor to see the SoL and stuff, any suggestions? Should we go to MOMA? Any tv show taping we should see (and how to get tickets)?

Thanks in advance for your suggestions.
posted by jpburns to Travel & Transportation around New York, NY (32 answers total)
Definitely go to the newly reopened MoMA. Also, The Gates in Central Park will be opened on the 12th. It's a huge art installation done by Christo and Jeanne-Claude and it will be spectacular to watch them unfurl on that Saturday. Avenue Q is a fantastic and funny Broadway show that features puppets but might not be appropriate for a 12 year old, depending on her maturity level (and yours!).
posted by fionab at 9:34 AM on January 10, 2005

The MTA Transit Museum is pretty cool, if that's up your alley.
posted by Jack Karaoke at 9:53 AM on January 10, 2005

Whatever you do, go to Katz's Deli and get a sandwich. No New York trip is complete without it.
posted by jonmc at 10:08 AM on January 10, 2005

You simply must see a show! I recommend The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee. It's a new off-Broadway musical by my favorite composer, William Finn. From what I've heard of it (various songs at cabarets), it's going to be hysterically funny, and you will all love it. It's about kids (played by adults) at a spelling bee- "Spellbound" set to music.
posted by ThePinkSuperhero at 10:11 AM on January 10, 2005 [1 favorite]

If you like to shop stroll down Broadway from Houston south to Canal.
posted by orange clock at 10:19 AM on January 10, 2005

if you want to see broadway shows and don't want to pay full price, i would recommend getting them at the TKTS booth, it's right in the middle of Times Square and sells only "same day" tickets but they are half-priced. the only downside is that there's often a long line and since you're only there for two days, you may not want to waste the time.

If you're into museums and haven't seen them, i would highly recommend The Met and the Frick Collection. Both are quite magnificent.

Central Park has a very nice zoo and a pond where you can row assuming it's not really cold.

you can go skating in Rockefeller Center if you guys like to skate. this is generally the best during christmas time since that's where the tree is but it might be fun if it's not freezing cold.

Neighborhoods-wise I would recommend SoHo for a nice walk, little coffee shops and many many small shops. It also has my favorite used-bookstore in the city, Housingworks Used Book store on Crosby between Houston and Spring (link)

I would also recommend visiting Brooklyn(which part depends on your specific taste. Park Slope, Brooklyn Heights are more like the city and Williamsburg is more run-down though totally hip now). Even though Staten island isn't really interesting in my opinion, some people like taking the Staten Island ferry which is free. You can take it from all the way south of the island, around Wall Street.
posted by karen at 10:22 AM on January 10, 2005

The Transit Museum is awesome (all those old trains, especially the swinging sixties submarine one!), though it is not in Manhattan. If you aren't averse to adventure, I would suggest getting out of Manhattan for a bit--it's not all that New York is, and if you are near Times Square, you have excellent subway access. If you do go to the Transit Museum, you may want to see what is at the Brooklyn Academy of Music (BAM) Cinamatek--they show classic films (though they seem to be on hiatus till Feb.) If you decide to take the Brooklyn adventure, feel free to email, as I can reccoment restos near there.)

If you aren't interested in actually getting off the boat at Liberty Island and Ellis Island--and I would go to the museum at Ellis Island if you or your daghter is a history dork--then just take the Staten Island Ferry, as it is free and you can see the statue.

For ice skating, Central Park is better than Rockefeller Center. I would go to the Met over MoMA, and the Museum of Natural History is great.

Also, some general things: wear the comfiest shoes possible as you will walk miles every day; unless you take more than six subway rides a day, the cash card is actually cheaper on a per ride basis than the daily; do not stop in the middle of the sidewalk or the top of the stairs to gawk or look at your map--move out of the way or many of us will mow you down and curse you; New Yorkers love giving subway directions.

On preview: If you shop in SoHo, get off Broadway into the little streets to the west. Broadway is like any mall anywhere.
posted by dame at 10:27 AM on January 10, 2005

One more thing--I would shop in Williamsburg over SoHo, hands down. Or if you are more on the yuppie tip, Park Slope.
posted by dame at 10:29 AM on January 10, 2005

A trip to the Strand for book shopping is a must, too, as is a dog at Gray's Papaya (blows Nathan's away). And if you are a music fan, a pilgrimage here is in order.
posted by jonmc at 10:45 AM on January 10, 2005

Re: Katz's Deli, I personally prefer the smaller Eisenbergs sandwich shop, on 5th Ave. (address) Not as famous I suppose, but historic and excellent.

If you do go to the transit museum, stop by the Donut House (map) and have a dutch crumb, whole wheat glazed/unglazed, mmmnnyrghmmngh..
posted by Jack Karaoke at 10:45 AM on January 10, 2005

Well, if you must have a donut, this is the place.
posted by jonmc at 10:57 AM on January 10, 2005

Ok, I think they'l be fattened up enough, jon. ;)
posted by adampsyche at 10:59 AM on January 10, 2005

ok, then. To wash down all that grub, beers at my favorite bars (in manhattan, anyway), or an egg cream at this fantastically grungy anachronistic Ray's Candy Shop on Avenue A between 7th & St. Marks.
posted by jonmc at 11:09 AM on January 10, 2005

If you want something besides a sandwich, try the dim sum and Jing Fong's. If you haven't been surrounded by 900 Chinese eating small food from carts, this is the place to try.
posted by orange clock at 11:19 AM on January 10, 2005

Nothing beats a walk in the Village. Design your walks East-West, not North-South, because, as dame mentions, the avenues are just like very congested strip malls, with no parking. Don't try and eat there, though. Head to the Lower East Side for food -- there's a place that sells nothing but different varieties of Grilled Cheese Sandwiches, for example. Or Katz's. Another place just sells Fries. The best fries in New York.

And I'll second jonmc's recommendation of The Strand, and if you're into sci-fi, Forbidden Planet's not too shabby.
posted by Civil_Disobedient at 11:29 AM on January 10, 2005

Pommes Frites sells the fries..

If you want a cheesesteak, you're in the wrong city, my friend.
posted by seinfeld at 11:32 AM on January 10, 2005

For a 12 year old, I would say the American Museum of Natural History is a must, although of course I don't know what your daughter is into. Still, it was definitely one of my favorite spots growing up in this city.

If you go to soho, I second skipping broadway. It is just a mall. There are cute little places in the neighborhood, but a lot of it is pretty generically yuppified. Still, the whole downtown area is nice walking territory if you're in the mood to wander - west village, washington sq, east village, lower east side, soho...

donut plant is good but way out of the way and they usually sell out by like 2pm.
posted by mdn at 11:36 AM on January 10, 2005

We wanted to take a ship into the harbor to see the SoL and stuff, any suggestions?

The Circle Line tour is great. Definately take the full three hour tour, which goes in a circle around Manhattan, rather than the shorter tour, which just goes to the Statue of Liberty and back.
posted by skwm at 11:37 AM on January 10, 2005

C_D, the LES is a great area for food, but that Grilled Cheese place was a disappointment. They don't butter the bread, which is sacreligious. A few other food recommendations: Pomme Frites on Second Avenue (the Belgian Fry joint C_D mentioned), Paul's (the city's best burger) right next door, and M&G Diner uptown for soul food (another delightful anachronism, time stopped in this place around 1968, right down to the Aretha & Etta James on the jukebox).

If you want a cheesesteak, you're in the wrong city, my friend.

Think again. Although it is owned by people from Philly.
posted by jonmc at 11:39 AM on January 10, 2005

What about the planetarium at the Museum of Natural History? It's awesome. The museum itself is pretty cool for a 12 year old, I'd say. And afterwards you can cross the street to the park to see the new Christo installation, mentioned above.

I'll also second the Staten Island Ferry as a lot of fun. It's free and you can ride as many times as you want and your get a great view of the Verrazano, The Statue of Liberty, Ellis Island, Battery Park and the whole bay PLUS you can get beers on the boat. You might need a few.

There is also a zoo in Central Park that is pretty good for a small zoo.
posted by spicynuts at 11:42 AM on January 10, 2005

M&G Diner is good, but the best soul food in Manhattan can be found at Charles' Southern-Style Kitchen (Frederick Douglass Blvd at 151st St.)

P.S. For NYC restaurant tips, Chowhound's Manhattan and Outer Boroughs message boards are excellent resources.

If you decide to go uptown, might as well take the A train all the way up to 190th St and visit The Cloisters - very cool museum full of medieval art - and take a stroll through Fort Tryon Park.

On preview: I second the Hayden Planetarium - one of the coolest places in the city if you're a little science-geekly.
posted by enrevanche at 11:54 AM on January 10, 2005

that Grilled Cheese place was a disappointment. They don't butter the bread, which is sacreligious

It's catering to the more sophisticated grilled-cheese palate. (I agree with you, but their variety and sheer ballsiness is pretty cool). Oh, and there are two great fish and chips places in the city.

The first is Chipshop, which has a great website, by the way.

The second (which I prefer not only because it's on the big island) is A Salt and Battery on Greenwich Ave.
posted by Civil_Disobedient at 12:39 PM on January 10, 2005

Chipshop is in Park Slope, Brucklynn, by the way.
posted by Civil_Disobedient at 12:40 PM on January 10, 2005

A Salt & Battery is where me and the boys got this infamous snack. The chip shop does have great fish, too, though.
posted by jonmc at 12:43 PM on January 10, 2005

I also third (fourth, whatever) the recommendation for The Strand. It's my favorite place in NYC and the first place I go when I get there. : )
posted by SisterHavana at 1:35 PM on January 10, 2005

Visiting for 9 days from 11FEB.
How about beers ??
posted by johnny7 at 3:24 PM on January 10, 2005

Thanks for the donut tip jonmc - will try, though the previously mentioned crumb-cake is a killer coffee doughnut.

Might make that egg cream a "black and white" if you get it, Ray knows how. Syrup on the bottom, slightly stirred.
posted by Jack Karaoke at 3:54 PM on January 10, 2005

I think the Central Park Zoo is really good for people who like zoos, but only for like 20 minutes

Perfect..considering that's about as long as the attention span of the average 12 year old!
posted by spicynuts at 5:28 PM on January 10, 2005

Isn't MOMA charging $20/person these days?
posted by redfoxtail at 7:02 PM on January 10, 2005

Response by poster: Thanks for all the great suggestions. The last time I set foot in Manhattan was... uh, 1981, so I really appreciate the inside info.

Wasn't NYC turned into a maximum security prison in 1997?
posted by jpburns at 5:13 AM on January 11, 2005

Buddy, ev-ry-one's com-ing to New York!
posted by Smart Dalek at 11:48 AM on January 11, 2005

books, in NYC? Well, this particular labyrinth is in my 'hood and it's great.
Ah, and Cafe Lalo!
And, for some fun-fine greek seafood, Rafina is interesting.
posted by carmina at 7:33 PM on January 11, 2005

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