What would be dumb to miss for a person on business travel to NYC ?
October 17, 2013 2:02 PM   Subscribe

I have never been to NYC. I'm on business travel next week to NYC (Manhattan financial district to be precise). I won't have a lot of touristy time, but my evenings are free, Monday - Thursday. With that limited time, and a hotel in the financial district, what sort of things would it be dumb for someone to not checkout?

I'm coming from Chicago, so I don't need to see things that show up in any big city, but I don't want to miss something around the corner because it's easier to lay in my hotel and order room service. I'm also not against taking a taxi or train or citibike to check something out either.
posted by garlic to Travel & Transportation around New York, NY (22 answers total) 19 users marked this as a favorite
What kinds of things do you enjoy doing/seeing?
posted by greta simone at 2:10 PM on October 17, 2013 [1 favorite]

Best answer: FiDi tends to shut down in the evenings for the most part.

I predict you'll get some very good, specific responses from current NY'ers (and an assurance that the subway is super easy, which it is), but I gotta tell you I used to ride the Staten Island Ferry back and forth at night for fun. It's free and literally around the corner from you.
posted by mochapickle at 2:13 PM on October 17, 2013 [3 favorites]

Best answer: Off the top of my head:

A walk around the Village (Bleeker Street).

A pastrami sandwich at Katz's.

A slice of pizza at Bleeker Street Pizza.

A Staten Island Ferry ride (past the Statue of Liberty, great view of the city) - while it's still light out.

The Guggenheim Museum - if you have any interest in architecture.
posted by kdern at 2:14 PM on October 17, 2013 [1 favorite]

Seconding the Staten Island ferry. It's a great view of the Statue of Liberty and NYC skyline.
posted by feistycakes at 2:15 PM on October 17, 2013 [1 favorite]

Best answer: Definitely have a picnic and/or stroll on the High Line.
posted by payoto at 2:21 PM on October 17, 2013 [3 favorites]

Central Park. The leaves are just beginning to turn and it is absolutely beautiful.

Soup dumplings at Joe Shanghai.

Gourmet rice krispie treats at Treat House.

The Met.

If you can change hotels, I would not stay in FiDi if I didn't have to.
posted by roomthreeseventeen at 2:22 PM on October 17, 2013 [1 favorite]

I, personally, love dinner on Stone Street. It's in the Financial District, so you'll find it easily.
posted by ulfberht at 2:24 PM on October 17, 2013 [1 favorite]

Agreed about changing hotels if possible - there should be many other options upward that are in the same price range. Lower East Side is busy and fun, stay away from right-in-Times-Square, near Central Park is nice, Chelsea is cool. Getting to work is an easy subway ride from almost anywhere in Manhattan.
posted by amicamentis at 2:30 PM on October 17, 2013

Best answer: I work in FiDi. You'll get a lot of general NYC suggestions, but if you're staying in FiDi I insist that you go to Pier 15, just to hang out for a bit. It's essentially a little park on an old pier, but the view is amazing and SO New Yorky- you can see the Brooklyn and Manhattan Bridges, a heliport, a ferry terminal, and two old-timey sailing ships. It's wonderful. Just bring lunch or a book and chill there.
posted by showbiz_liz at 2:32 PM on October 17, 2013 [1 favorite]

Best answer: I think the 9/11 Memorial is worth a visit.
posted by ThePinkSuperhero at 2:32 PM on October 17, 2013 [2 favorites]

Best answer: Walk over the Brooklyn Bridge, have pizza at Juliana's or Grimaldi's, ice cream at the Brooklyn Ice Cream Factory, then walk back over the Brooklyn Bridge.
posted by plastic_animals at 3:44 PM on October 17, 2013 [1 favorite]

What about seeing a comedy show at the UCB? Bonus points for it being a very inexpensive thing to do. Granted you have the Second City but if you follow comedic tv/film/etc. you'll see that lots of people are now getting their starts through the UCB in New York and LA.
posted by mmascolino at 3:48 PM on October 17, 2013

Best answer: Walk over the Brooklyn Bridge, have pizza at Juliana's or Grimaldi's, ice cream at the Brooklyn Ice Cream Factory, then walk back over the Brooklyn Bridge.

Or, do all this but then take the East River Ferry back to FiDi, if you find yourself staring up at the bridge thinking "oh god I have to walk BACK over it."
posted by showbiz_liz at 3:51 PM on October 17, 2013

If you don't feel like wandering far, Adrienne's grandma-style pizza is some of the best I've ever had here. Their website appears to be hacked/squatted, so here's a NYMag review.
posted by unknowncommand at 3:55 PM on October 17, 2013 [2 favorites]

I'd second the stroll across the Brooklyn Bridge for pizza in Brooklyn. The view is great.
If you had days free, a trip to the Staten Island garbage dump would be a unique treat. Pretty amazing.
posted by girdyerloins at 4:08 PM on October 17, 2013 [1 favorite]

Views from the East RIver Ferry are AMAZING. Especially at sunset.

-Seconding High Line.
-Citi Bike is a decent option but the 20m increments can be annoying.
-Take an empty stomach to the Lower East Side /Chinatown / Little Italy and enjoy whatever tickles your taste buds
-Hudson River Parks from Battery Park City - W. 70s. Old piers, great views, people watching and the Intrepid
-the old Seaport (Wall, Water) is a new See/Change street festival each weekend
-Museum of American Finance, Trinity Church & Cemetery (for US HIstory), St. Paul's Chapel
-City Hall precinct has soem great architecture. Not sure how similar downtown Chicago's architecture is.
-Bowery, New Museum (weekends especially, view from the Skydeck)
posted by TravellingCari at 6:34 PM on October 17, 2013

the Met
central park
9.11 memorial
a play on broadway or off-broadway

it's nyc so you can always take the subway. have a blast!
posted by wildflower at 8:45 PM on October 17, 2013

The Staten Island Ferry during the day AND in the evening when the buildings are all lit up.
posted by Mister Bijou at 2:48 AM on October 18, 2013 [1 favorite]

Best answer: Definitely make a quick trip to the Elevated Acre while you're down there. One of the coolest, most underutilized public spaces in Manhattan.
posted by saladin at 4:28 AM on October 18, 2013 [1 favorite]

You don't necessarily have to order hotel room service if you find yourself at your hotel and exhausted. You can get delivery from local restaurants as well. Delivery.com and Seamless.com make this really easy. Maybe Alfanoose? I think Adrienne's delivers as well.

If you do want to wander out, if you like cocktails at all, head over to The Dead Rabbit. They just won World’s Best New Cocktail Bar, World’s Best Cocktail Menu, and International Bartender of the Year (Jack McGarry) at Tales of the Cocktail a few months ago. Also they offer unusual drinks from the 1600s-1800s, avoiding the usual pre-Prohibition/speakeasy stuff. Happy hour is from 5-7pm, Mon-Fri with $1 oysters and a selection of specially priced Pernod Absinthe Cocktails. (I believe that happy hour specials are prohibited in Chicago.) It's really a wonderful bar with a casual downstairs area and a more upscale/formal upstairs room (kind of Violet Hour-esque). Don't miss the Irish coffee or the punches!

We also walked through Landbrot's Oktoberfest "Fall Fest" last weekend and it looked really fun. "Authentic German cuisine including bratwurst, pretzels, apple strudels, leberkaese, plum cakes and more along, with a tented, heated beer garden."
posted by kathryn at 8:34 AM on October 18, 2013

I'm an out-of-towner who spent a few weeks in NYC earlier this year. If you're comfortable taking the subway (or are allowed to expense cab rides) you have most of Manhattan and much of Brooklyn easily available, since a lot of subway lines have stops in the Financial district (turn on Transit in Google Maps for an idea which stations are near your hotel).

- You can take the 1/2/3 line up to Times Square (I guess everyone should see this in its tacky neon/LED glory) and then walk a few blocks north to see Rockefeller Center and Radio City - I mean, I wouldn't spend a lot of time there or go to a restaurant there, but a walk-through seems like a must;
- or take the 6 train uptown to Grand Central Terminal (be sure to go into the main area of the terminal, huge and renovated a few years ago) - it's pretty cool;
- or get off the 6 train at 33rd St and walk a couple blocks west to the Empire State Building, line might be long to go up to the Observation deck, but it's also fun just to look at from street level;
- or get off the 6 at Canal St and walk a couple blocks south and east into Chinatown - aim for Mott and Bayard Sts., if you have a smart phone with maps (someone upthread mentioned Joe's Shanghai, which is indeed great but insanely hectic so be prepared for a wait to get in and total chaos and communication difficulties with servers once inside, but the noodles and soup dumplings actually are worth all that); Xian's Famous Foods is also good and a take on "Chinese" food that is unusual (food of western China which has a lot of cumin and onion in it, kind of a blend of Chinese and Middle Eastern food), or get buns (savory, various meat and other fillings, crazy good) at Simply Bakery on Bayard St.
- If you like Italian food, Little Italy is just north of Chinatown (sorry I don't have any specific recommendations for restaurants there, but it's a short walk north);
- also if it's before dark, you could take the A/C line uptown to the Upper West Side to 72nd St and take a stroll into Central Park, which is indeed beautiful (though I wouldn't wander in the park at night).

So, with a Metro Card (which you can buy or add credit to using a credit card from vending machines in most subway stations) you can go all over the city for $2.50 a ride. Caveat - pay attention to signs taped up in subway stations that might tell you about delays and trains out of service -- one downside of taking the subway is unexpected maintenance outages. Also a caveat that the subways will be very crowded and probably also very warm at rush hour so dress in layers and keep your wallet in a secure pocket. Still, much much cheaper than taking a taxi. (There are buses as well that go everywhere but I'm not the person to explain their intricacies, and they are much slower than the subway.)

However, if don't want to leave the Financial district (which I had to spend some time in for a few days last year as well):

- if it's before dark, walk south on Whitehall St to take the (free!) Staten Island Ferry across to Staten Island and back. A great view of Manhattan. Actually, it's fun after dark too, for the view of lower Manhattan and the Statue of Liberty.
- If you like nice French Bistro food and want to spend a little money, celeb chef Anthony Bourdain's Les Halles has a location probably walking distance from your hotel on John St.
- As someone else mentioned upthread there are a bunch of restaurants / bars on Stone St. and a smattering north of there on Pearl and Front St (Yelp can help sort the bad from the decent here), though it's a bit of a young poser scene I found (but then I'm middle aged) -- still, those are open when a lot of the Financial district closes after office hours.
- if you're free at lunch time I recommend lunch at Sophie's Cuban in New St (which is easy to miss, New St kind of looks like an alley as you're walking by on Beaver St. Sadly Sophies is not open for dinner.
- take a look at the iconic Charging Bull statue on Bowling Green (a little park off Broadway) and watch tourists rub its bronze balls (weird!)
- the Museum of the American Indian is in the cool Customs House building on the south end of Bowling Green; small but interesting museum in a cool old building, but probably not open in the evening if that's the only time you're free.
- Someone else mentioned the WTC site and memorial which is indeed in the vicinity on the west side of the Financial District, also prob an easy walk from wherever it is you're staying.

Have fun--
posted by aught at 10:14 AM on October 18, 2013

Response by poster: thanks for your help guys. I made it across the brooklyn bridge on foot for pizza, on the staten island ferry for the view at night, around much of the financial district on foot, including looking at the freedom tower and wtc area, and up to the end of the highline via bleecker street.
posted by garlic at 4:03 PM on October 28, 2013

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