Bite The Big Apple, Don't Mind Deux Magots
August 24, 2010 7:07 PM   Subscribe

Going to NYC for 1 week in early September with 2 kids, 10 and 13; what's fun for them to do?

Yes, this topic covered the subject for a 10 year old girl, but it was closed 5 years ago. Let's update it. (Yes, I've seen the many topics about Manhattan and four year olds. Not much help.) I can bring two suggestions of my own:

-- Heckscher Playground in Central Park apparently has WATER TUNNELS kids can run through.

-- NPR had a story about a new Imagination Playground
posted by msalt to Travel & Transportation around New York, NY (28 answers total) 4 users marked this as a favorite
Lots of info here:
posted by dfriedman at 7:10 PM on August 24, 2010 [1 favorite]

Response by poster: Also: on an earlier trip, my daughters say that, while on a ferry that went close to the Statue of Liberty but didn't stop there, they saw a cool amusement park that looked really fun. Any ideas what it might have been? Couldn't be Coney Island, which is down to 3 rides and on the other side of Manhattan, right? Luna Park?
posted by msalt at 7:11 PM on August 24, 2010

Luna Park is in Coney Island, and it's great. Bring a kid, go to Nathan's, barf up frog legs while riding a ride. Coney Island is one of those places where it's sort of amazing that it exists. Also be sure to check out the boardwalk and the aquarium.

Museum of Natural History is an absolute must as well.

Metropolitan Museum of Art is also super duper famous for a reason.

If you like riding bikes, go ride a bike around Governor's Island. Governor's Island is bizarre and terrific. It feels like an ideal setting to go to in the event of a zombie apocalypse.

I haven't been there yet, but I hear the Museum of the Moving Image is great.
posted by Sticherbeast at 7:24 PM on August 24, 2010

Did your daughters mean Chelsea Piers?
posted by dzaz at 7:25 PM on August 24, 2010

Serendipity or Dylan's Candy Bar should be big hits for that age range.

Not sure what your particular teen and tween are into, but my 13-year-old loves to shop for clothes and we live in a state without an H&M, so I would take her to the one on Fifth Avenue, where her relatively meager spending allotment could go far and she could come home with a ton of "cool New York" clothes and jewelry.
posted by pineapple at 7:32 PM on August 24, 2010

I second Dylan's and Chelsea Piers. Nix Serendipity, it is overpriced and less well marketed hyperglycemia...

Boats in Central Park always looked awesome to me, though I've never actually gone on one. The carriage rides (pick up along Central Park South) could be fun, too.

Museum of Natural History is pretty nifty if it's a rainy day. The planetarium show is not superb to an adult viewer, but may impress the younger ones.
posted by keasby at 7:36 PM on August 24, 2010

If you're in Times Square, go to Midtown Comics. My kids spend hours there.

Also, check for street fairs; fun, free, good people watching.

I'd grab a Time Out and see what's going on.
posted by dzaz at 7:41 PM on August 24, 2010

Can't think of what the amusement park might have been. Maybe something in Staten Island or New Jersey, in which case it's probably not worth the trouble of figuring out unless they are obsessed.

Seconding H&M - one of the big midtown flagships has a children's section as well, for the younger one. Maybe the one in Herald Square?

Chelsea Piers might be fun if they're sporty. There's an ice rink, rock climbing, batting cages, driving range, maybe tennis facilities?, etc. There's also a place nearby on another pier (at around Houston Street) that has trapeze lessons.

There is apparently a small "amusement park" in Central Park now, in the space Wollman Rink occupies in the winter. I haven't seen it and only know about it from the ads in the subway. But Central Park is a must visit, anyway. While you're there, pose for photos at the huge Alice in Wonderland sculpture. There's also a small zoo, a carousel, and some other fun things for kids.

There's also the Bronx Zoo if they are super into animal stuff - kind of a hike, but I've heard consistently good things.
posted by Sara C. at 7:49 PM on August 24, 2010

Screw Midtown Comics and take them to Forbidden Planet instead. Or both? One plus - it's around the corner from Forever 21 and lots of other teenybopper shopping. It's also not far from the Astor Place cube, which has a secret: with a strong push, it rotates! Then you can take them for crazy Japanese food on St. Mark's Place.
posted by Sara C. at 7:52 PM on August 24, 2010 [1 favorite]

Response by poster: So Chelsea Piers looks like a big sports center, right? I see volleyball, ice skating, rock climbing, running (?), etc. but no sign of amusement park rides. Am I missing something?
posted by msalt at 7:54 PM on August 24, 2010

Chelsea Piers is a sports complex, yes. Typically pricey but a lot of fun. Batting cages, a driving range, rock climbings, etc.
posted by dfriedman at 8:02 PM on August 24, 2010

No amusement park rides at Chelsea Piers.
posted by dfriedman at 8:03 PM on August 24, 2010

How about the new Lego Store in Rockefeller Center? Make sure you look at all of the cityscape vignettes behind glass at kid-eye-level: there's the UN, Brooklyn Bridge, a Big Apple, Times Square, a pastrami sandwich, even the Apple Store. There's also details from Rockefeller Center itself recreated using Lego bricks. (Make sure you look up at the ceiling for the dragon that wraps around the store.)

The Nintendo Store is also nearby.
posted by kathryn at 8:28 PM on August 24, 2010

If you're here on a Friday morning, go to Rockefeller Plaza at the crack of dawn and see a free Today Show concert. You'll need passes. Get them here. Miranda Cosgrove is playing 9/8. Y'all will get on TV.

GMA does them too, but I believe they end for the season next Friday.

Events Calendars:

Time Out New York Kids

New York Events Calendar

New York Magazine's Agenda Page
posted by zarq at 8:37 PM on August 24, 2010

Best answer: The amusement park might have been the Nellie Bly Amusement Park (apparently now called "Adventurers Family Entertainment Center"). It's an awesome place that I loved to hang out at when I was a kid and teen. It's on Shore Parkway in Brooklyn -- easily accessible if you have a car, or a few blocks away from the D train, or the B6 stops right in front of the gate. It has a ton of rides, mini golf, and fifteen years ago it had the best damn french fries I'd ever eaten (although I haven't been there since then).

Oh, hey, website.
posted by shamash at 8:38 PM on August 24, 2010

Take them to a Yankee or Met game.
posted by JohnnyGunn at 9:04 PM on August 24, 2010

Check this Ask Me from this year, with two younger kids (7&5) but still has some good suggestions.
posted by fings at 9:08 PM on August 24, 2010

There's the Brooklyn Superhero Store.
posted by novalis_dt at 10:20 PM on August 24, 2010

Sara C. has it: take them to Forbidden Planet instead. And then maybe take them to BAMN! on St. Marks Place for fried macaroni and cheese krokets, Automat-style. You put your quarters in and get your lunch; kids love it.
posted by dzaz at 6:06 AM on August 25, 2010

Bamn is closed.
posted by Sticherbeast at 6:07 AM on August 25, 2010

Best answer: There's already a pile of great suggestions here, but to move the conversation forward -

* what are their genders?
* what are they interested in / like to do?
* are they up for doing a lot of walking?

One thought:

Start at the Met Museum - the Egyptian section & the armor were both awesome when I was a kid. Walk down 5th ave to the Central Park Zoo. From there, you can wander through the park a bit more, empty out on 59th & 5th and head to FAO Schwartz.

Other thought -

Walk over the Brooklyn Bridge, head down to the new Brooklyn Bridge Park, stop at the Brooklyn Ice Cream Factory for ice cream. Wander around DUMBO and Brooklyn Heights, eventually go to Noodle Pudding for awesome Italian food in a family-friendly environment. Note - skip Grimaldi's pizza, it's not worth the wait. Plenty of better pizza in NYC these days.
posted by swngnmonk at 7:44 AM on August 25, 2010

Ooooo... I forgot about this one. Totally pricey, but they might *LOVE* this one:

Trapeze School - New York
posted by swngnmonk at 7:46 AM on August 25, 2010

While it's not in Manhattan, Luna Park at Coney Island is a fairly enjoyable amusement park.

There's also the Jekyll & Hyde Club in Greenwich village and Midtown. Lots of campy, animatronic, horror fun that kids that age may like.
posted by upplepop at 7:57 AM on August 25, 2010

I don't know if this is still cool to kids, but if it was around when I was 10 or 13, I would have walked over hot coals and broken glass to get to the American Girl Store.
posted by WeekendJen at 8:18 AM on August 25, 2010


posted by dzaz at 10:47 AM on August 25, 2010

Response by poster: Are there any automats still around? Maybe that's my generation more.

* what are their genders?
* what are they interested in / like to do?
* are they up for doing a lot of walking?

Both girls, 10 & 13, huge readers but also athletic and in good shape. (90 degrees + humidity would change how up they are for lots of walking though.) They love candy. Younger one likes morbid stuff (mummies, etc.) Ice skating is a plus. They like computer games (Frontierville, WOW, whatever latest Facebook games) but that doesn't seem relevant.
posted by msalt at 1:29 PM on August 25, 2010

Response by poster: Also, they like art and crafts a lot.
posted by msalt at 1:29 PM on August 25, 2010

The original automats are long, long gone. I believe BAMN was an attempt to bring back the automat in a kitchy/self-aware format.

Re weather and walking - we just went from 90 and humid/sunny to 65 and grey/rainy this week. For early September it could go either way. Though the weather has usually relaxed a bit by then.
posted by Sara C. at 2:58 PM on August 25, 2010

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