Looking for offbeat date ideas in NYC
May 15, 2012 9:12 PM   Subscribe

Offbeat date ideas for young people in NYC this weekend?

I'm visiting a ladyfriend in NYC this Friday/Saturday, and am looking for some offbeat, inexpensive date ideas, primarily within Manhattan and accessible parts of Brooklyn, but possibly anywhere the MTA will go. I'll be with her both days, so suggestions from the full gamut of possibilities are encouraged.

Shows, happenings, and parties in the vein of Nonsense NYC are ideal.

We're already planning on going to a museum (I believe the Whitney), but if there are any relatively lesser known museums that are worth checking out, that would be helpful to have in mind as well.

And food! Suggestions for inexpensive places (max $20/plate for dinner) with some ambience and great food (vegetarian, preferable) would be very much appreciated.

Other ideas I've been thinking about: weird places that might impress a person who already lives in the city, places to people watch, beautiful parks, places outside of the city that we could go, etc...

Oh, and while she is over 21, I am not, so if a suggestion is 21+ age limited, mark it as such. Really, any ideas will help. I'm not trying to create a schedule, but I would like to have enough ideas and options in mind to keep things interesting at any point over the weekend.
posted by Bahro to Travel & Transportation around New York, NY (7 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
I posted some vegetarian food options, my favorite activities, and a link to my list of strange NYC places on this previous thread.

Off the top of my head, you'll probably enjoy walking the High Line, Smorgasburg or Madison Square Eats, staying in the 6 train as it turns around at City Hall, spinning the cube at Astor Place, people watching in Union Square or inside Grand Central, the Earth Room, the NYPL main branch on 42nd St, and getting lost (and just wandering the lesser known spaces) inside of the Metropolitan Museum of Art.
posted by kathryn at 9:39 PM on May 15, 2012 [2 favorites]

I second the High Line.
posted by wolfdreams01 at 10:22 PM on May 15, 2012

Some things that NYC'ers mean to do, or do more often, that they never do...

The Temple Dendur at The Met! Also, there is an interior of a Frank Lloyd Wright home in there that I love! The thing about the Met is that admission is "donation only" - so it is basically free. A dollar or two and you're in!

Once there, you are in Central Park. Google.

Walk over the Brooklyn Bridge. And then into Brooklyn. Couple this with the 6 train ride, mentioned above.

Top of the Empire State Building. Lived there my whole life. I've done the World Trade Center twice (no longer an option) and The Empire State Building (to the tippee top) exactly once. Ditto the Statue of Liberty, but I might skip that for a cheapo ride on the Staten Island Ferry. Walking from the Brooklyn Bridge or City Hall to the Staten Island Ferry does NOT suck, no matter your route.

Mexican Radio in Nolita (roughly at Lafayette and Spring, really Clevland and Kenmare, look at the map - off the 6 train!) has great vegetarian options because one of the owners is vegetarian. Also, go for the house margarita (I believe it was the "Short Wave") they're kinda pricey but delicious.

One night, when they finally were on the verge of a liquor license, every Mexican Radio regular, and all employees, brought their best to a contest - while my version did not win (tequila, grapefruit, grand marnier) their resulting recipes are tested and sound.

(radio. sound. yes, I just did that:)


That's all I did the last time I went home. I'm sure I've been to the Whitney. I can't remember it. The Met, even excluding it's inexpensive admission policy, is FAR superior to ANY museum we have here in LA. (I belong to Lacma, The Hammer, did belong to Moca, and do still belong to the Huntington. The Getty bores me, although the restaurant there is fine.)

If there is something you really really want to see at Moma - spring for it! Ditto the Guggenheim.

If you end up near Moma (you will if you get towards Central Park and The Met) stop in at Tiffany's. Not because you are ready for an engagement ring, but because it is a scene. Loveliest service, ever! Even if you are just browsing!

Speaking of which...

Oh. Never mind. The Japanese department store in NYC, Takashimaya, has apparently closed.

A stroll through Tiffany's is free, and a great way to catch the flavor of "old" NYC.

The Highline is after my time, but I knew it was coming. Jealous! Go there.
posted by jbenben at 10:41 PM on May 15, 2012

The MoMA is free on Fridays from 4-8pm.

I personally prefer Top of the Rock at Rockefeller Center for a view of the city from high up, simply because you can actually see the Empire State Building. Time your visit for a bit before sunset. Then you can see the city during the day, at dusk, and at night.
posted by kathryn at 5:38 AM on May 16, 2012

I believe the Guggenheim is pay what you wish on Saturday nights.

Food festivals are a bit mobbed but much fun--try my favorite, Dekalb Market, which is just outside of Manhattan on the Q and R lines, or Smorgasburg in Williamsburg, or Hester Street Fair on the Lower East Side.

If you go to Smorgasburg you can go to what I think is the most hidden gem park in NYC--Grand Ferry Park on the W'burg waterfront.
posted by mlle valentine at 6:21 AM on May 16, 2012

If you're up for some stuff that doesn't necessarily scream "DATE!" but is quirky, goofy, and free:

* There will be a lot of stuff going on in the parks this coming Saturday. Some of it will be volunteers-cleaning-up, but some "event-y" things are planned; one such event is free kayaking in New York Harbor. You have to stick to one cove in Brooklyn, but it's a sweet deal - show up, sign a waiver, and you can nab one of the kayaks and tool around for a half hour for totally free. They even give you a super quick kayak 101 if you've never done it before, the boats they use are very beginner-friendly and the spot where the event happens is pretty calm but still big enough that you don't feel like you're in the kiddie pool or something. (Full disclaimer: I'm one of their volunteers.)

* There's a nifty restaurant in Brooklyn right by one of the subway stops on the A/C line, serving Cuban/Latin American food. They're solar-powered, so they only open in late Spring/Summer; they just opened for the season and are celebrating with a "block party" on Saturday. And on Sunday nights they screen free movies on the solar panels; this Sunday night it's The Warriors.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 6:26 AM on May 16, 2012


Since it's Coney Island, it seemed appropriate to keep the capital letters. Also there's a real sideshow.
posted by moonmilk at 7:31 AM on May 16, 2012

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