How to Spend My Mid-Spring Staycation
April 25, 2011 5:37 AM   Subscribe

You live in New York City. (Brooklyn, to be exact.) You have two weeks of unemployment before you start a new job, during which you can do WHATEVER YOU WANT. You don't have a car, so staying within the realm of public transportation is important. Where do you go? What do you do?

Flushing for Chinese food. Exploring Red Hook. Perhaps a jaunt up to the Bronx. Museums. I'm overwhelming myself! Looking for some more specific ideas, and just curious to see how others would spend their NYC staycation. (I'm a native New Yorker, so I'm not looking to visit highly touristy spots. Suggestions for food daytrips win bonus points.)

Thank you!
posted by blackcatcuriouser to Travel & Transportation around New York, NY (26 answers total) 37 users marked this as a favorite
There are actually many hiking opportunities accessible by regional trains.
posted by jeffburdges at 5:42 AM on April 25, 2011

Cold Springs!
posted by pakoothefakoo at 5:55 AM on April 25, 2011

Two weeks will give you enough time to really see NYC.

Go to the Statue of Liberty one day.
Spend a day in Coney Island.
Get to know Central Park really well.
Go to the Bronx Zoo and the Brooklyn Botanical Gardens.

There is so much to do.
2 weeks of free time in NYC. I wouldnt leave NYC.

( I am jealous at the thought of having two weeks to explore the Big Apple)
posted by Flood at 5:57 AM on April 25, 2011

I highly, highly recommend visiting the Transit Museum. One of the best NY days I've ever had included a visit to that museum after lunch at Mile's End nearby.
posted by troika at 6:02 AM on April 25, 2011

If you're up for a jaunt to the BX, I'll recommend going to Wave Hill. Lovely gardens attached to two old estates where you can pretend not to be in the city, look at the Hudson and the Palisades and wander in the gardens. You get there by taking the 1 to 242nd St and then getting the free shuttle from in front of the Burger King (I think it is a Burger King, it might be a McDonalds). If you're into carrot cake, a few blocks north of 242nd St at 6087 broadway is Lloyd's Carrot Cake, which offers carrot cake with or without raisins and nuts.

NB: I am associated with Wave Hill, so I might be biased.

When I was unemployed in NYC, I took to taking long walks. Try walking a different section of Broadway in Manhattan until you've done the whole thing.

The Highline is really lovely early in the morning when there are fewer people around.
posted by sciencegeek at 6:03 AM on April 25, 2011 [2 favorites]

This might be boring to a native but one spring afternoon I walked down 5th from Marcus Garvey Park to Washington Square Park. And it's one of the better memories of my NY residency. But I also like walking.
posted by elsietheeel at 6:03 AM on April 25, 2011

Go to Manhatta, visit the box office of one of the theaters that has a general rush policy and for as little as $30 you can see a Broadway show. We saw "How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying" with Daniel Radciffe and John Larroquette this way 2 weeks ago. $30 each on the aisle by the wall, 5th and 6th row. They were stamped partial view, but we missed really none of the action. People sitting a few seats from us paid at least 4-5 times as much.
posted by inturnaround at 6:04 AM on April 25, 2011

Best answer: Food Staycations are the best:

Hornado Ecuatoriano in Jackson Heights - get the suckling pig, the ceviche, the steak with all the creamy seafood slathered on top.
Bronx Botanical Garden and a trip to Arthur Avenue for Italian food and get some specialty groceries to take home. Who needs overpriced Eataly?
Pacificana for dim sum in Sunset Park.
Mombar for Egyptian in Astoria.
Southern Spice and Dosa Hutt in Flushing.
Sirpraphai for Thai in Woodside.
2nd Ave Deli for a tongue sandwich and the waitress who'll call you "booboo" with the utmost sincerity.

You could try to walk the entire length of Broadway (this is a whole-day endeavor) with stops along the way for snacks and drinks - see the neighborhood change every ten minutes! By the time you get to the end, find a patacon vendor and marvel at the glory of New York.
posted by sestaaak at 6:11 AM on April 25, 2011 [3 favorites]

Walk from Brighton Beach to Coney Island
Wednesday Broadway matinee
posted by roomthreeseventeen at 6:17 AM on April 25, 2011

* I'm originally from New England, and I can attest that City Island in the Bronx feels just like if someone went to Cape Cod, scooped an entire little beachfront town up, and then airlifted it to New York's harbor and left it there for a couple months to let it acclimate itself a little. It's a bit more thickly-settled, and there are a TINY bit more Italian restaurants, but that's it. Head all the way to the far end for fried clams from a classic clam shack type of establishment just like you can find in Wareham and Hyannis.

* Seconding walking the entire length of Broadway. I did that once when I was in your exact same shoes, and it was fascinating. I also did the same "walk-it-end-to-end" with Grand Street in Manhattan, and am toying with doing it with Flatbush Avenue in Brooklyn sometime.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 6:28 AM on April 25, 2011 [2 favorites]

I vote for Difara's for lunch on a Tuesday afternoon, right when he opens and it's not overly-crowded.
posted by buriedpaul at 6:47 AM on April 25, 2011

Best answer: I once took a guided tour of the Morris Jumel Mansion in Washington Heights, and it was just fascinating - a little hidden part of New York history that I hadn't really known of.
posted by Neely O'Hara at 6:48 AM on April 25, 2011

Go to Brighton Beach, fill up on delicious eastern european food from M&I International.
posted by litnerd at 6:53 AM on April 25, 2011

Have you been up to the Cloisters? It's a schlep, particularly from Brooklyn, but it's criminally undervisited, especially by natives. And it is gorgeous and will be stunning this time of year!

Also seconding the Transit Museum. Super fun.
posted by hansbrough at 7:29 AM on April 25, 2011 [1 favorite]

Both Wave Hill and The Cloisters are amazing, and I am not affiliated with either.
posted by Threeway Handshake at 7:39 AM on April 25, 2011

Re: Arthur avenue, go to Robertos, it's a restaurant just off the avenue, with better food than the restaurants on the ave.
posted by miscbuff at 7:40 AM on April 25, 2011

Spend an afternoon wandering Green-Wood Cemetery in your borough. Really fun to stumble upon the graves of the great and the unknown, and great views from Manhattan out to the Narrows.
posted by Danf at 7:46 AM on April 25, 2011

I'd look at or TONY and go to some free/cheap concerts, dance lessons, lectures, screenings etc. And just wander around some different neighborhoods.

Might possibly also use the time for a short project - learning to make a perfect souffle, painting the apartment, studying the U.N., etc.
posted by bunderful at 8:04 AM on April 25, 2011

Another thing I did while unemployed was to spend some time on the NYPL website finding all the books I'd wanted to read. And, instead of having the books delivered to my local library branch, I wrote down all the call numbers and locations of the libraries and went all around the city seeing lots of new library branches and picking up lots of new books. Then I sat on the subway and read all the way home.

This requires a good backpack or other book toting device. And, with good weather, instead of hitting the subway immediately afterwards, you can just make sure you end your library quest with a library that is near a good park.
posted by sciencegeek at 8:37 AM on April 25, 2011

Go visit Snug Harbor and the Chinese Scholar's Garden on Staten Island. Yes, it's harder to get around on Staten Island, but we have several restaurants you might enjoy.
posted by Soliloquy at 8:41 AM on April 25, 2011

I'm assuming you'll be working somewhere in north/central Brooklyn or in Manhattan, so two restaurants I would hit while you have the time are:

- Africa Kiné in Harlem: best Senegalese food I've ever had (and I spent two months in Senegal)
- Tanoreen in Bay Ridge: Middle Eastern

And some other general favorites of mine are in the East Village:

- Cacio e Pepe: Italian (duh)
- Sigiri: Sri Lankan
- Esperanto: Brazilian
posted by msk1985 at 9:11 AM on April 25, 2011

Best answer: You mention chinese food in Flushing - the NY Times had an article/map/graphic devoted entirely to this, complete with little "coupons" you can use to assist in ordering (this could be very handy if you don't know some rudimentary chinese). Pulled noodles, soup dumplings... all good.

Map of Chinese food in Flushing
Corresponding article
posted by hot soup at 9:54 AM on April 25, 2011 [2 favorites]

Best answer: You go to Spa Castle! You can get there by taking the 7 to the end of the line and then taking the shuttle they provide. Go on a weekday and avoid the weekend crowds. Put aside the whole day to go- the last time or two I've gone, I've had somewhere to be later in the evening, and I always feel rushed, mainly because I've been napping in saunas all day and I feel comfortably lazy.
posted by ThePinkSuperhero at 10:10 AM on April 25, 2011 [3 favorites]

Best answer: I would spend at least one or two days at the beach. Specifically, I'd take the A train to the Rockaways (the ride itself is an adventure). I'd get off around Beach 44 Street or Beach 36 Street. (You need to make sure the train you take says 'Far Rockaway' rather than 'Lefferts Blvd'.) Coming down the stairs from the elevated subway platform, the ocean is just across a field. You have the luxury of going on a weekday when it'll be almost entirely empty. I know it's still chilly, but just seeing the waves and the emptiness and being able read and think is something.
posted by Paquda at 10:20 AM on April 25, 2011 [1 favorite]

Boston on Megabus.
posted by mdonley at 4:14 PM on April 25, 2011

1) Buy a bike
2) Love your bike

I'm unemployed and probably will be for the rest of my life, but with my bike, every day is new and interesting. You experience New York on a completely different scale than you do with walking or taking public transportation. I like maps to begin with, so having a reason to know which direction the traffic on streets runs is fun for me.
posted by oreofuchi at 9:55 AM on April 27, 2011

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