I wanna go to New York City Cuz they tell me it's the place to be
December 5, 2012 6:22 PM   Subscribe

Something New-York-esque to do in early March?

I will be in NYC for a weekend in early March 2013 (the 1st through the 3rd, if it matters) with a companion and looking for what local mefites might recommend we do. Some Broadway show? Some restaurant we shouldn't miss?

Background: we are a couple of Gen-X Canadian city dwellers. She has been to New York only once, for several days earlier this year; I have been a half-dozen times when I was younger -- most recently about nine or ten years back, but usually lacking either time or money. The obvious touristy things (Empire State Building etc) have been dealt with, and now we are looking for something else. We are not really looking for $300 dinners or noisy live music, but are open to any suggestions. I have seen this previously, but some of it is very summer-specific.

We will be staying on the Upper West Side and are flying home early Sunday afternoon, so it is really Friday afternoon and evening and all day Saturday we have at our disposal. She is mostly a lurker on MeFi, so a meetup is not something I am trying to engineer but if on happens to be going on that weekend HINT HINT, I am sure we could swing by for a bit.
posted by ricochet biscuit to Travel & Transportation around New York, NY (8 answers total) 5 users marked this as a favorite
Don't plan any outdoor-specific activities, as early March is usually awful.
posted by computech_apolloniajames at 6:25 PM on December 5, 2012

Response by poster: Bah, we are hardy Canadians. I have been in Manhattan in March before, and it does not compare with Saskatoon in January. Picnics in Central Park are not in the scheme, but we can walk around when necessary.
posted by ricochet biscuit at 6:45 PM on December 5, 2012

Coney Island in the winter is fun and eerie. All the attractions and souvenir stores are closed, except for the seedy bars. The bar at the Coney Island Sideshow might be open on the weekend, where you can have beer or hot chocolate served by a snake handler or fire eater. If you could get there on Sunday morning you might see the polar bear club swimmers.

If the wind is blowing, it howls in the rigging of the Astro Tower.

Then walk up the beach to Brighton Beach for a Russian lunch.
posted by moonmilk at 7:53 AM on December 6, 2012 [1 favorite]

Best answer: Note that some cool events could pop up at the last minute or about a month in advance.

Are you absolutely sure you don't want to do any of the usual suspects? Here's a list of the most popular tourist attractions, off the top of my head.
- Times Square
- Rockefeller Center
- Top of the Rock
- Central Park
- The Metropolitan Museum of Art - you could spend days here though
- American Museum of Natural History
- Museum of Modern Art
- Grand Central - including the whispering gallery, looked for the dark spot, visited the oyster bar
- 9/11 Memorial - this only opened on Sept 11, 2011
- The High Line - this only opened in June 2009

Unfortunately the Statue of Liberty & Ellis Island are currently closed due to Sandy, hopefully they will open again very soon in 2013. Given that you went when you were younger, you probably weren't able to climb up into the crown, which they now allow (given the weather).

Given that you haven't been to NYC since you were young, I would definitely recommend checking out Top of the Rock, The High Line, and the 9/11 Memorial. The latter two are free, as well.

I think Top of the Rock is a huge improvement over the ESB observatory deck. Buy tickets online. Budget 1-2 hours for this. Way better view and experience than Empire State Building (shorter lines, view that actually includes the Empire State Building, facilities are newer, you're exposed to the elements as opposed to being in a big glass box, it's not crowded at all). Don't forget your camera. No tripods are allowed but you can stay up there as long as you want. I like to time my visits for just before sunset/dusk. Last elevator goes up at 11pm if you only want the night view. You can see the city in the daylight, in the sunset, and at night.

I also like to time my High Line visit to catch a bit of the park in the daylight, some at sunset, and some at night. Marvel in the fact that there are elevators with art as a part of the elevator. And public bathrooms. And it's very well kept and the vegetation on the High Line is all indigenous to the New York area. IMO it's incredibly gorgeous at night. On the south end, you'll be by Chelsea Market, an indoor shopping plaza that used to be a Nabisco factor, but if you keep walking south a bit, you're in the West Village and near dell'anima (run by an ex-Babbo sommelier), Spotted Pig, etc. A really fun neighborhood to walk around, shop, people watch, drink.

For the 9/11 Memorial, reserve your free tickets in advance, just in case. It's still a bit of a construction sight but it's beautiful and moving. It's all outdoors, the museum isn't open yet, and there's no restrooms, so plan ahead.

For Broadway and off-Broadway, go see Sleep No More (off-Broadway). It is a a MacBeth and Hitchcock/film noir inspired immersive/dance-based theatre show, with a choose your own adventure feel. Get there 15-30 minutes early as there's usually a line to get in. Wear sneakers. Open drawers, closets, books, and letters. Don't be afraid when a character reaches for your hand. And run after the man covered in blood, by all means. There's no talking and you can get pretty close to the actors.

I've gone multiple times, converted about a dozen friends, and currently have tickets to go again, since you see only a fraction of the show each time. It's not cheap but once you go inside, you'll see why. There's about 100 rooms that you can explore to your heart's content. Buy tickets soon if you are interested (they only release them in blocks of a few weeks at a time - I don't think March is on sale yet). Every show has basically been sold out. Nearby is Txikito (excellent Basque tapas) and Co. aka Company (pizza by Jim Lahey of no-knead bread fame, no reservations taken).

If you can afford multiple shows, I also thought Book of Mormon was great, as was War Horse.

Here's a list of New York-y things to do that I posted for a resident of the city who was moving away, earlier this year. I think a lot of stuff on the list could be fun for a visitor who hasn't been for a long time either.
- Ride the wooden escalators at Macy's in Herald Square
- Take the 6 train to City Hall and stay on as it turns around inside the old City Hall station (it might also be worth becoming an MTA museum member just to take the old City Hall station tour)
- Visit the MTA Transit Museum in Brooklyn
- Visit the Union Square Greenmarket (Mondays, Wednesday, Fridays, and Saturdays)
- Spend some time just people watching at Union Square
- Take a NYPL tour and make sure you see the original Winnie the Pooh stuffed animals
- Take a Central Park tour by the Big Onion
- Visit the LES Tenement Museum (buy tickets online in advance)
- Visit the Brooklyn Flea and/or Smorgasburg
- Walk the Brooklyn Promenade and visit the new Brooklyn Bridge Park
- Tour the cheese caves at Murray's Cheeses in the West Village
- Take an AIA NY skyline and bridge cruise
- Go on a "strange places and oddities" tour
- Eat your weight in "only in NY" type foods: bagels and smoked salmon, pastrami on rye, hot dogs & papaya juice, black and white cookies, cheesecake, egg creams, pickles, halal carts
- Take a noshing walk around the West Village and the High Line or the East Village/Lower East Side (NB: Guss's Pickles closed. Substitute The Pickle Guys, on Essex St. For Economy Candy: The correct address is 108 Rivington)
- If you don't go on a LES food crawl, at least split a pastrami sandwich at Katz's, and maybe sit at the famous table from When Harry Met Sally?
- Eat at the famous Halal Guys cart at 2am, 53rd and 6th (SW corner at night, SE during the day)
- Grab a lobster roll at Luke's Lobster or Pearl Oyster Bar
- Grab a pretzel at Sigmund Pretzelshop (they have a cart outside the Met I think)
- Stand in line at Shake Shack on a nice-ish day
- Have a gut-busting delicious brunch at Breslin, Locanda Verde, Shopsin's, Clinton St Baking Co., or Minetta Tavern. Especially Shopsin's.
- Bagel sandwiches with smoked salmon, capers, red onion, cream cheese at Russ & Daughters. Excellent smoked salmon, whitefish salad, sable, all the Jewish appetizing classics. Try a few smoked salmons before you settle on one. You can get a mini-sized bagel sandwich here, too, if you wish. Takeout only.
- A steak and/or a scotch at Keens (lots of history here, too). Say hi to Ms Keens in the bar. Look at the thousands of pipes hanging from the ceiling.
- Get a drink at the retro, classic NY restaurant Minetta Tavern. It's loud, crowded, bustling, and you might expect Frank Sinatra to pop in at any moment. It's awesome.
posted by kathryn at 8:04 AM on December 6, 2012 [5 favorites]

Response by poster: Kathryn: thanks so much -- this is incredibly comprehensive. I had indeed planned on hitting the High Line, unless it is bucketing down freezing rain or something that weekend, as it did not exist last time I was there. And the Top of the Rock would not have occurred to me, so my thanks for that as well; it is probably a better choice for winter anyway. The restaurant suggestions are greatly appreciated. I had no particular schemes for meals and the one restaurant I knew and asked MeFi about while planning for a visit three years ago (that did not come together) is now gone anyway. However, the same past GF who introduced me to the Thai place recommended PEEP in SoHo, of which I know nothing more.

(Incidentally, I was tickled by the speculation that I had not been "since [I was] young" -- I turned 35 in New York, and that was not my most recent visit.)
posted by ricochet biscuit at 5:33 AM on December 7, 2012

You need to visit Pok Pok Pad Thai, then! By the same guy who does Pok Pok in Portland and Brooklyn.

Peep is Americanized Thai, there have been a few places opening in NYC doing authentic or modern versions. I also like Zabb Elee, which is authentic Issan -- northern Thai. Less curries and noodles. More larbs, salads, etc. Kin Shop and Ngam both do modern Thai. Not to mention the great Sripraphai, Ayada, Chao, and more in Queens.
posted by kathryn at 6:52 AM on December 7, 2012

Response by poster: And where to go for a good egg cream?
posted by ricochet biscuit at 9:46 PM on December 7, 2012

Try Gem Spa, on the corner of 2nd & St. Marks Place, and/or Ray's, the hole-in-the-wall candy/soft serve/fries store on Avenue A, between 7th & St. Marks Place.
posted by kathryn at 7:02 AM on December 8, 2012

« Older Networking Advise   |   How to buy the rights to a crappy movie? Newer »
This thread is closed to new comments.