Fill My Bucket
March 3, 2010 12:57 PM   Subscribe

NYC Bucket List?

I am probably going to be moving away from NYC at the beginning of May after living here for 2+ years. I want to make and execute a "bucket list" of activities to do before I leave. I know you don't know what I've done, but if you were leaving NYC permanently in a couple months, what would you make sure to do?

I am pretty Manhattan-centric, so outer-borough activities are nice but not required. For instance, a couple things I already have thought about are the Bronx Zoo (went to CP Zoo but never Bronx), Governor's Island (if it's open / not too cold before May), DiFara's, and a meal at Masa (yeah right!)

I am keeping this anonymous as I would not like this info attached to some personal/identifiable questions/posts I have made!
posted by anonymous to Grab Bag (28 answers total) 54 users marked this as a favorite
I'd find a quiet spot in the Strand Bookstore and have a good cry.
posted by Joe Beese at 1:03 PM on March 3, 2010

Did you see this previous question?
posted by runningwithscissors at 1:06 PM on March 3, 2010

Wow. None of those would be on my bucket list because as a New Yorker, those are places and things that you do in the course of just living here (with the exception of Masa).

I would hardly rate Governor's Island as a bucket list item - you really could live without ever having been there. I feel the same way about the Bronx Zoo. I don't really see these as things I would feel horrible if I died without seeing. Maybe you don't mean 'bucket list'?
posted by micawber at 1:10 PM on March 3, 2010

Have a few beers at McSorley's
posted by GreenTentacle at 1:15 PM on March 3, 2010

The Cloisters. Highest possible recommendation.

The Staten Island Ferry is free, and provides some awesome views of the city. Great for your last night in the city, to get one last look at what you're (for some reason) leaving behind.

Also: Podunk. But don't tell too many people about it, OK?

Good luck.
posted by davidjmcgee at 1:16 PM on March 3, 2010

If it were me, I'd be reconsidering the move. But if you have to go, I'd consider:

A pastrami sandwich on rye at Katz's - there's nowhere in the world you can get a tasty sandwich like that.

An event/show/game at MSG - if you can actually get tickets. A comedy show perhaps?

NYC museums are some of the best in the world.

A stroll through/around Central Park.
posted by alrightokay at 1:24 PM on March 3, 2010 [1 favorite]

Have you done such "touristy" things as take the ferry to Ellis Island, walk across the Brooklyn Bridge, have Italian food on Arthur Avenue in the Bronx and Indian food at Jackson Heights in Queens? Seen a Yankees and/or Mets game? Gotten frozen hot chocolate at Serendipity?

And the MUSEUMS. The Met, the Cloisters. The Museum of the City of New York. The Brooklyn Botanical Gardens and Museum (I hear the Bronx Gardens are nice too).

There's a reason we live in a city overrun with tourists. Because some of these things are just that awesome. :)
posted by bookgirl18 at 1:30 PM on March 3, 2010

Even tho' its cheesy, a view from the top of the rock is pretty special. Make sure you dont go on a weekend or a holiday, and that it's relatively cloudless. Sniff!
posted by lalochezia at 1:30 PM on March 3, 2010 [1 favorite]

Lunch (or dinner, if you can afford it) at Jeans-Georges. The mothership dining room in the Trump Tower, not the bar area.

It will change your life.
posted by sid at 1:32 PM on March 3, 2010

Be in the background of the Today show or some like ilk.
posted by WeekendJen at 1:38 PM on March 3, 2010

NY Botanical Gardens in the Bronx
Bronx Zoo

These are really two jewels of NYC, you have to see them. Since they are close together you can see them in one day. Have lunch at Arthur Avenue (another NYC jewel). The Central Park Zoo does not count, as nice as it is. Having been to the Bronx Zoo and the Botanical Gardens, I feel that my life would be lesser if I had not. They make my "bucket list."

Metropolitan Museum
Guggenheim Museum
Heck, all the museums including the Brooklyn Museum, which is often overlooked. Again, these museums have enriched my life and made it better.

A picnic in Central Park during a concert.

A ramble through Lower East Side and Chinatown, ending with dinner in Chinatown and pastries at Farrara. I actually have dreams about this.

Walk through lower Manhattan on a Sunday, with a round trip ride to Staten Island (don't get off, just take the ride).

I am a USA and NYC history junkie, so much of what I would do would be to explore old NYC and see how things have changed. With that in mind, I would suggest Trinity Church, St. Paul's Chapel, Bowling Green, anything old.

NYC is more than Manhattan and more than a hipster hangout.
posted by fifilaru at 1:42 PM on March 3, 2010

I'm going to totally disagree with micawber about Governors Island. However, as a former resident of the island, I may be biased.
posted by blaneyphoto at 1:42 PM on March 3, 2010

I forgot, a PASTRAMI SANDWICH AT KATZ'S. This will enrich your life immeasurably. Wash it down with a Cel-ray soda.
posted by fifilaru at 1:45 PM on March 3, 2010

A meal at Shopsin's.
posted by Sticherbeast at 1:54 PM on March 3, 2010

And I'm going to disagree with micawber about the Bronx Zoo. Absolutely worth visiting.
posted by JaredSeth at 1:56 PM on March 3, 2010

Visit the cheese caves beneath Murray's Cheese Shop.
posted by HotPatatta at 2:14 PM on March 3, 2010

I've never been, but I've heard excellent things about the High Line.
posted by tellumo at 2:16 PM on March 3, 2010 [2 favorites]

If you want to go out with flowery pink style, the Brooklyn Botanical Gardens' Sakura Matsuri (cherry blossom festival) is the first weekend of May. You can sit under the trees as petals gently fall around you, watch any of a series of performances and presentations, drink some inexpensive sake while you people-watch, and wander among the nearby lilac bushes if the crowds get to be too much.

The festival has an admittedly high potential for cheese, but I've gone two or three times with friends and always had a great afternoon.
posted by Narrative Priorities at 2:16 PM on March 3, 2010 [2 favorites]

Also seconding the High Line -- visiting isn't quite as exciting as it used to be, but it's still a unique and enjoyable city park.
posted by Narrative Priorities at 2:18 PM on March 3, 2010

I tend toward the quirky, and the really far away/hard to get to. Stuff that most wouldn't attempt.

Such as:

*Go see the military installments at Fort Tilden in Far, Far Rockaway. They're really strange and interesting. What's also awesome, is that, at some point, the A train runs onto a track that is built up on the surface the water. Really surreal looking out over water on both sides, like a boat.

*Hit a Brooklyn Cyclones game in Coney Island. (That baseball team is so, so bad. Which makes the whole experience even that much more fun. Sorry to Cyclones fans.)

* Eat a gigantor crab dinner at the Crab Shanty on City Island.

*Rent the fastest thing you can muster and hop on the BQE toward the Verrazano. There are some amazing views, plus the excitement of going really, really fast in tiny lanes.

*Find the "whispering gallery" at Grand Central.

*Catch some of the Wordless Series. When I went, it was held in a small chapel and Sigur Ros made a surprise cameo. Knocked my socks off and made me cry.

*Pack a picnic and enjoy the futuristic sights of the Worlds Fair ruins in Flushing Meadows. (I haven't been yet, but this is on the list for 2010.)
posted by functionequalsform at 2:44 PM on March 3, 2010 [4 favorites]

Eat a burger at P.J. Clarke's.
posted by Fuzzy Monster at 3:34 PM on March 3, 2010

Ride the Cyclone!
posted by SisterHavana at 5:26 PM on March 3, 2010

Eat a pizza at Di Fara
posted by IndigoJones at 5:27 PM on March 3, 2010

(Sorry, please ignore. Didn't read the whole question. WOndered why no one had mentioned it.)
posted by IndigoJones at 5:28 PM on March 3, 2010

Tenement Museum.
posted by Prayless at 8:42 PM on March 3, 2010

Depends where you're moving to, but one thing I'd really miss about leaving NYC is the access to specialized, ethnic foods and drinks. To this end, the outer boroughs are really your friend:

* Do a seriously delicious Chinese / Taiwanese food tour of Flushing, Queens (follow these guides: 1, 2, 3).
* Also in Queens and considered by some to be the best Thai in NY: Sripraphai
* A food truck tour! 1, 2, 3, 4 (what other city is having a food truck renaissance like NY?)
* Park Slope, Brklyn for an Italian lunch at Al Di La, coffee at Gorilla, and imported rare Belgian brews at Bierkraft
* Also for beer: Houston st. Whole Foods + growlers, The Gingerman, Rattle 'n' Hum, Blind Tiger Ale House, McSorley's Old Ale House, Burp Castle. Outdoor beer gardens: Studio Square and the Bohemian Beer Garden in Astoria; Zum Schneider and Loreley's in Manhattan; Radegast Beer Hall in Williamsburg
* Burgers at Shake Shack, Union Square Cafe, Peter Luger's, Little Owl, Prune, Burger Joint, Minetta Tavern, Donovan's Pub.
* Neopolitan Pizza at Motorino and Keste and Co.; Roman pizza at Luzzo's and Ovest; classic NY pies and slices at Di Fara's. Also: Artichoke and Joe's Pizza
* If you need to restock rare spices before moving: Kalutsyans
* The BEST fresh seafood in the city: Sushi Yasuda, Aquagrill, Le Bernardin (if you can afford). Lobster rolls @ Lure Fishbar, Pearl Oyster Bar, Luke's Lobster.
* Korean fried chicken at UFC or Bonchon
* This might seem strange given all the food recs so far, but NY is a really great city for shopping. Thrifting, of course, but also sales and sample sales (1, 2). If you're a dude, The Choosy Beggar is your friend here.
* Lastly, my favorite of the "NY experiences": Wicked musical, Ellis Island, Statue of Liberty (the crown is open!), Governor's Island, Central Park picnics, the Met and Museum Mile. Maybe even take one of those double decker tour buses for a spin and try to see if you can get someone to give you the finger.

that's what I'd cover if I were leaving NY

(i really like food)
posted by chalbe at 8:15 AM on March 4, 2010 [5 favorites]

Not sure how I forgot this earlier but: see if you can make a Gotham Girls roller derby home game. Derby is a surprisingly easy sport to follow and fantastic to watch. Just make sure you get your tickets ahead of time, as they often sell out.
posted by Narrative Priorities at 11:51 AM on March 4, 2010

A pastrami sandwich on rye at Katz's - there's nowhere in the world you can get a tasty sandwich like that.

I don't live in nyc, but i've visited often. I've been to katz deli several times (taking people) and it never fails to disappoint. I can understand tourists wanting to visit, but I'm always surprised to see new yorkers recommend it.

Completely overrated (I always hear at one time it wasn't) and you can get a better sandwich almost anywhere in the world.
posted by Dennis Murphy at 12:13 PM on March 4, 2010

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