Rainy afternoon in NYC
March 12, 2010 9:13 AM   Subscribe

How should an adult family of four spend tomorrow afternoon in NYC in the pouring rain?

My mom, stepdad, stepsister, and I have just one day -- tomorrow -- to spend together in NYC. Two of us are in our 20s; the other two are in their 50s. Our only goal is to spend time together and briefly enjoy the city.

My question is really about what to do after lunch and before dinner -- about 1:30 pm to 7:30 pm. (I'm going to arrive tomorrow for lunch, and we already have a place picked out for that. We'll have no problem finding somewhere to eat dinner, and we have a specific jazz show picked out to see after dinner in the West Village.)

I know there's always something to do in NYC, but we're sort of at a loss.

We'd like to stay in lower Manhattan (14th St. and down). We'll be staying in SoHo, and we'd like to stay close to the hotel considering the weather. Our starting point after lunch will be the corner of Spring St. + Lafayette St. We basically want to do as little traveling as possible. (The geographic limitation is at my family's request. It's theoretically possible to do something in Brooklyn, but that would be less than ideal and would involve us taking a cab.)

The usual advice of just "walking around and exploring the city" isn't too appealing given that we expect it to be pouring rain. Weather.com has a "flood watch" and a 100% chance of precipitation. I really wish we could change the day of our trip, but we can't.

We're not mainly interested in spending the day shopping.

Museums would be an obvious choice, though most of us have been to MOMA and the Met.

We're not particularly interested in standard tourist attractions. We're just looking for something to do.

I'm not interested in anything sports-related.

I'm sure we could spend hours walking around the Strand, but that seems a little reclusive.

We're all very familiar with NYC, so we don't need any general tips on how to walk or take the subway or anything like that. (One of us lives there.)

So, with all those disclaimers out of the way, is there anything interesting/cool/novel that we should do? Please let me know if I've left out any important details or specifications. Thanks in advance.
posted by Jaltcoh to Travel & Transportation around New York, NY (26 answers total) 9 users marked this as a favorite
It is in Brooklyn but near a subway station and, in my opinion, one of the best museums in NY. The Transit Museum. It's in an old subway station and has all the subway cars that have been used in the past that you can go in and explore. It's also five dollars to get in. Absolutely worth it.
posted by josher71 at 9:28 AM on March 12, 2010 [1 favorite]

You could catch a movie at the Angelika on Houston, which also has a nice little cafe inside it with tables that would be an excellent place to kill a little time and chat. (I'd recommend buying tickets ahead of time, particularly for a rainy Saturday.) They're also screening the animated and live actions shorts that were nominated for the Academy Awards over at the IFC Center, which is very close the subway and would be a quick walk to any one of a variety of little diners and coffee shops.
posted by Narrative Priorities at 9:28 AM on March 12, 2010

Response by poster: You could catch a movie

Thanks, but I think we'd rather avoid things like movies where we're just looking at a screen and can't interact with each other, considering we have less than 24 hours of family time.
posted by Jaltcoh at 9:31 AM on March 12, 2010

American Museum of Natural History? Love it.
posted by kestrel251 at 9:34 AM on March 12, 2010

Response by poster: American Museum of Natural History?

Sorry, that's above 14th St.
posted by Jaltcoh at 9:37 AM on March 12, 2010

Response by poster: It is a great place (I've been there). But my family wants to stay in lower Manhattan.
posted by Jaltcoh at 9:39 AM on March 12, 2010

The New Museum is downtown and awesome.
posted by Pineapplicious at 9:40 AM on March 12, 2010

Tenement Museum?
posted by wondermouse at 9:41 AM on March 12, 2010 [1 favorite]

The Tenement Museum on the lower east side? Fairly close to your home base. I'm not sure if it's open on Saturdays...
posted by Pickman's Next Top Model at 9:41 AM on March 12, 2010 [1 favorite]

posted by Pickman's Next Top Model at 9:41 AM on March 12, 2010

Best answer: Buy a little pocket guide to SOHO or Time Out New York and look for galleries that are located in just one or two buildings on Broadway or West Broadway. It's been a few years, but I remember going to an art opening in a large cast iron building on Broadway in Soho that had a dozen or so other galleries in one building. We just went from floor to floor looking at some amazing large-scale art.
posted by Elsie at 9:43 AM on March 12, 2010

My standard off-the-beaten-path recommendation in NYC is the Grand Lodge of Masons near 23rd and 6th -- I know you're looking to keep it below 14th, but it's not too far out of range, and it's right near a subway stop.

Tours are free and open to the public, and according to their web site run from 10:30-2:30. If you don't know anything about the Freemasons, your tour guide will be happy to tell you all about the fraternity & answer questions while showing you around some pretty remarkable lodge rooms. I think the tour my friend and I took lasted about an hour, maybe a bit longer.
posted by usonian at 9:49 AM on March 12, 2010

Take a $10 yoga class at StralaYoga Its very close to you, the instructors are awesome, and you will be very rejuvenated for whatever you do next!
posted by LZel at 9:49 AM on March 12, 2010

Honestly, the Tenement Museum is a must-see. I've even been there in the pouring rain with most of my family.
posted by activitystory at 9:56 AM on March 12, 2010

The New Museum is just a few blocks away. The Tenement Museum is also wonderful, and nearby. However, you should make reservations for the Tenement Museum online, today.
posted by R. Mutt at 9:59 AM on March 12, 2010

There are definitely some good museums downtown. The New Museum and Tenement Museum are both wonderful. There are also more under-the-radar museums like the Museum of Chinese in America, National Museum of the American Indian (which I believe has free admission) and the New York City Police Museum.

There are a couple of nice bowling alleys and billiards places around 14th street if you're interested in that, and there's also the whole crazy Chelsea Piers complex if you want to go skating or do something sporty. Not sure if the rain will make it more or less crowded.

And on preview, yes, if you've never been to the Grand Lodge of the Masons, that's a very interesting experience. Watch out, though, my tour lasted almost 3 hours. You may need to encourage them to move a little faster.
posted by Mender at 10:04 AM on March 12, 2010

Yeah, I'm seconding Elsie.

1. Start with a list of Soho galleries.
2. Check websites (Meisel, for example, is showing Chuck Close), see if they have exhibits of interest.
3. Plot them on a map and build a walking tour. Yes, you'll have to dash in the rain from one place to another but you'll have destinations.
4. Much of the fun is finding some of these places, stumbling into nearby places, or just deciding to stop in a cafe and chat and drink tea.
posted by vacapinta at 10:04 AM on March 12, 2010

Go see the Unicorn tapestries at The Cloisters.
posted by workerant at 10:15 AM on March 12, 2010

The Cloisters is not downtown.

A fun activity for the rain is the oddly named Amsterdam Billiards on 4th ave and 11th (across the street from webser hall.)

It's not a sleazy or seedy place at all.

(The pool hall is named for an older one that closed some time in the 90s and which had been located on Amsterdam Ave in the 70s.)
posted by dfriedman at 10:29 AM on March 12, 2010

Bring them to Mamoun's for falafel with Metafilter! (Or meet us at St. Dymphna's after for Guinness.)
posted by nicwolff at 10:53 AM on March 12, 2010

nthing the Tenement Museum. They are indeed open on the weekends. Make sure you book a guided tour in advance. They last hours but do not feel that way.
posted by spec80 at 11:48 AM on March 12, 2010

The Aristocrats!
posted by I-baLL at 12:56 PM on March 12, 2010

The Fraunces Tavern museum is a neat and obscure little downtown attraction. (though if you haven't been to the tenement museum, go do that!)
posted by jrb223 at 1:49 PM on March 12, 2010

You could do private-room karaoke on St Marks.
Blue Man Group in Astor Place does a show on Saturdays at 4; Stomp has a Saturday at 3 show.
posted by xo at 4:49 PM on March 12, 2010

Go watch the arraignments in Criminal Court at 100 Centre Street. Imagine you're in Law & Order.


No cameras and if your phone has a camera, leave it in the hotel, otherwise you have to check it with the guards. HOURS of amusement.
posted by micawber at 7:51 PM on March 12, 2010 [1 favorite]

Are the courts open on Sundays? I just checked the website and it says the times but not days.

nth the New Museum and the Tenement Museum and fitting in one other mini-meal at a cafe.
posted by DMelanogaster at 9:49 AM on March 13, 2010

« Older How do I get considered for a local candidate only...   |   I would hide/unfollow us if I didn't work here. Newer »
This thread is closed to new comments.