New Yorkers, can you help me get my friends an awesome wedding gift?
March 7, 2013 2:55 AM   Subscribe

Two of my closest friends are marrying in two months and leaving for New York City for (at least) two years this fall. For their wedding gift I'd like to give them "small papery things" - subway tickets, restauraunt coupons, tickets to museums, etc. - that they could take easily with them and give them a headstart in exploring the city. Now I'm looking for recommendations in general but also helping hands to get these things to Austria.

As recommendations on what to do/see in New York City can fill books, here's some information about my friends: they are both in their mid-twenties, love sweet stuff and fast food alike while one of them being on a strictly vegetarian diet (so vegetarian places are preferable over steakhouses), and prefer amusement parks and cinemas over art exhibitions and the theater. They will be living close to the central park if you know interesting places nearby. (Doesn't necessarily have to be close though.)
Essentially everything resembling a ticket or coupon for some place or activity that doesn't come with an (immediate) expiration date would be great.

Now as to get these things to Austria I was hoping for kind-hearted people with a bit of time on their hands who could pick up (some) of these things and mail it to me as I figure most of those places probably won't offer transatlantic shippment of their tickets/coupons.
Needless to say I'd pay in full for everything and I'm already thinking of ways to establishing the trust in me if there should be someone willing to help. (I'd also meet you for coffee or treat you to dinner, when I'm in NY myself to visit my friends next year.)

If not, "just" the recommendations are of big use to me as well to get this idea of its feet. And I'm thankful for each and everyone of them already.
posted by bigendian to Travel & Transportation (16 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
In terms of getting people to ship things, you should make a post on the jobs subsection of Metafilter.

Subway tickets are indeed not available for purchase online, so that's one thing you'll be asking someone to get for you.

Another note: living close to Central Park is not specific enough - would they be on the east or west side and approximately what street. The park goes from 59th St to 110th St to give you a sense of scale.
posted by sciencegeek at 3:28 AM on March 7, 2013

Mod note: OP, it's fine to get recommendations for paper things, but this isn't the right place for asking for people to do things like pick up, mail, etc. As sciencegeek mentions, you can make a Jobs listing for that. Everyone else, please carry on with recommendations for tickets, coupons, etc. Thanks.
posted by taz (staff) at 3:35 AM on March 7, 2013

Response by poster: Sorry sciencegeek and taz, I wasn't aware of Metafilter Jobs. (And thanks for the heads up.)

So yes, please let's restrict this to recommendations only.

As for a more approximate location, I'll try to tickle it out of them without tipping them off. Admittedly I had no idea how huge central park really is. :)
posted by bigendian at 3:52 AM on March 7, 2013

Subway cards indeed are a good idea. Memberships to museums come with cards, as do season tickets to something like the Clare Tow Theater at Lincoln Center, or a gift certificate to a restaurant like the Spotted Pig.

As a side note--if metafilter jobs doesnt work out for you, you should consider posting this as a job on The website taskrabbit. You'd have to pay for someone's time, but probably not that much.
posted by Potomac Avenue at 4:12 AM on March 7, 2013

There are also lots of ways to do this online-- some museum memberships are printable online, as are many restaurant gift certificates. Two sweet tooth options might be Momofuku and Serendipity. If you did this, you could also make a back-up file of the PDFs for them, in case the small paper originals got lost in the move.
posted by jetlagaddict at 4:29 AM on March 7, 2013

Subway tickets are called Metrocards here in NYC. I can help you get a Metrocard for them if you need and mail them to you. Just mail me.

Are they museum people? You can get them a membership to the museums here. There are many!

American Express gift cards work everywhere and I think you can buy them anywhere in the world. You can get restaurant group giftcards, but there are so many places to sample that it is probably safer just to give them a card that can be used for everything.
posted by Yellow at 5:26 AM on March 7, 2013

Angelica Kitchen is one of the most popular vegetarian/vegan restaurants in the city.

If they like independent films, The IFC Center offers memberships at a few different price points. If they like more mainstream movies, I would recommend getting more details about where they'll be living and buying a gift certificate to their neighborhood theatre (around Manhattan they're mostly AMC or Regal theatres).

Shake Shack is all over Manhattan now and good for fast food lovers and vegetarians alike.
posted by telegraph at 5:27 AM on March 7, 2013

You can get 10 packs of discount coupons to Amc, regal and clearview theaters if you're a member of Aaa.
posted by brujita at 5:35 AM on March 7, 2013

If they are on the Upper West Side near the park, they will be close to the American Museum of Natural History and Planetarium, and the new Museum of Art & Design, as well as Bouchon bakery, Levain bakery, Epicurie Boulud (which has baked goods), and a branch of Momofuku Milk Bar as well as a branch of Magnolia Bakery.

If they are on the Upper East Side, they'll be by Museum Mile. The Metropolitan Museum of Art, The Whitney, the Guggenheim, and more. For sweets nearby, look into Maison Kayser, Laduree, Two Little Red Hens, Payard.

If they are near the southern end of Central Park, they will be fairly close to the Museum of Modern Art, as well as Rockefeller Center, which has a Jacques Torres, Magnolia Bakery, wichcraft, and La Maison du Chocolat. There is also a Momofuku Milk Bar near there.

Overall, I think a MoMA membership would work well because they also have a great gift shop, a great home furnishing shop, and members get discounts on the films they show at the MoMA theaters.

If you do buy a Metrocard, get a "pay per ride" for $50. You'll get a 5% bonus that works out to exactly 1 extra ride and both people can use it.

For a restaurant gift card, something from Union Square Hospitality Group is the most flexible. They run Shake Shack, North End Grill, The Modern, Union Square Cafe, Gramercy Tavern, Maialino, Blue Smoke... One card can be used at all of their restaurants.
posted by kathryn at 5:36 AM on March 7, 2013 [2 favorites]

I think a City Pass for New York is a great way to do this.

You get entry into 6 of the top New York attractions:

Empire State Building Observatory

American Museum of Natural History

The Metropolitan Museum of Art

MoMA (The Museum of Modern Art)

Top of the Rock or Guggenheim Museum

Statue of Liberty & Ellis Island or Circle Line Cruises

I've been to them all, and they are AWESOME. The price is pretty great too! $106 per person.

Once you purchase, you can print a voucher or you can have them ship the booklet.
posted by Ruthless Bunny at 6:36 AM on March 7, 2013

NB: Liberty and Ellis Islands are temporarily closed pending completion of repairs in connection with Hurricane Sandy.

Also: CityPASS booklets are valid for nine consecutive days beginning with the first day of use. So they'd have to fit all of these attractions in within a 9 day period. I imagine that right when they arrive they'll be running around (moving, unpacking, running errands, etc) and won't be able to use it immediately.
posted by kathryn at 7:26 AM on March 7, 2013

If they're not particularly familiar with the city, I'd toss in a copy of the Not For Tourists guide to NYC. It's an inexpensive little black book with tons of information on basic life in the city (post offices, banks, grocery stores, coffee shops, transportation), as well as the more touristy things (museums, parks, shopping). I've used them for a handful of cities (and recommended them here a bunch of times); they're fantastic.
posted by rebekah at 7:33 AM on March 7, 2013 [2 favorites]

Response by poster: Oh wow, thanks for the plenitude of answers. This will take me a while to click through but thank each and every one of you!

Here's a bit more insight about those two:
I know now that they will be residing at upper east side manhattan, where exactly they don't know yet.
They are not museum people but the planetarium sounds like a good idea. They are more into mainstream movies than indies but tickets to the cinema are something worth keeping an eye on.

Thanks for all the recommendations so far. Also, thanks for the tips on the Metrocard.
posted by bigendian at 8:01 AM on March 7, 2013

I bought a Diner's Deck for my husband's stocking this year for Denver. They have two for NYC, one for Manhattan, and one for Brooklyn/Downtown. I think you would want the Manhattan one. Basically, it's 52 cards that offer $10 off at a restaurant. It's been a really good way for us to explore our new city.
posted by fyrebelley at 8:20 AM on March 7, 2013

I eat meat, but one of my favorite restaurants in NYC is vegetarian: Dirt Candy in the East Village. They have gift certificates you can buy online.
posted by neroli at 8:20 AM on March 7, 2013 [1 favorite]

Maybe a Groupon gift card? There's always a TON of groupon deals in the city (everything from meals to experiences to shows to spa services) and it can be a fun way to try new things. That gives them flexibility and choices while still being an 'experience NYC' gift as opposed to cash.
posted by Salamandrous at 8:52 AM on March 8, 2013

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