What to do with teens on one-day visit to Manhattan?
November 8, 2013 5:29 PM   Subscribe

I think I'll take my kids (18 yr. old daughter & her boyfriend; 16 yr. old son) down to NYC for just the day this Sunday. Kids have spent almost no time in NYC and not since they were little, so it's pretty much brand new to them. I only get to go about once every 5 years, so I'm not very familiar. Son is video game enthusiast, Minecraft, EDM, young for his age, geeky kid. Daughter likes everything and will be gung-ho no matter what we do. Neither of them is particularly into museums. I myself just like walking along the streets, taking in the sights, people-watching, window shopping. I'm thinking walking around in Central Park, maybe the zoo. Or maybe checking out the highline. But what else should we do with about 5 or 6 hours? Also, we're driving down, using a rental car. What's the best part of town to park in, and what kind of parking situation would be best?
posted by primate moon to Travel & Transportation (17 answers total) 6 users marked this as a favorite
Park away from the city and bus into the core ?? saves you a ton of time and means the pros take you back out of town to the park and ride.
posted by Freedomboy at 5:37 PM on November 8, 2013

There are a decent number of parking places near the High Line (10th Ave in the 20s); I'd pay to park in one and go from there.
posted by ThePinkSuperhero at 5:40 PM on November 8, 2013

About the parking, I meant to say that I'd like to park the car for the day somewhere central-ish, and we'll take the subway or cabs to wherever we decide to go during the day.
posted by primate moon at 5:42 PM on November 8, 2013

Freedomboy, where would be a good place to do what you suggest? We're coming from the north, the Boston area.
posted by primate moon at 5:44 PM on November 8, 2013

I had a similar situation last year, took a cab into Manhattan from relatives' home in Brooklyn. Rode the (free!) Staten Island Ferry out to Staten Island and then got right back on and rode it back -- a short and nice ride, with views of the Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island. Then walked around Wall Street (saw the bull), saw where the WTC memorial was being built. Hopped on the subway at some point -- that was an experience too! -- and got off in Times Square. Just emerging from the subway station to all that neon was quite a rush! Poked around in the M&M store, people-watched, etc., till time to board our Bolt bus back to Boston.
posted by wisekaren at 5:52 PM on November 8, 2013 [1 favorite]

Downtown attractions:

Ferry to Statue of Liberty or Ellis Island. Tenement Museum, which is not really a museum, but a living replica of NYC tenement. Bring warm coats for the ferries! Eat at Katz's Deli, Houston and Ludlow Streets. Go to Economy Candy. World Trade Center site if that appeals to you.
posted by DMelanogaster at 5:52 PM on November 8, 2013

I've had awesome luck using a parking app to find cheap all day parking. I'm sorry I can't link right to it, but the app I use most is a free app called "best parking". You choose the neighborhood and it gives you options for street parking or paid garage parking - often with A coupon!
posted by waterisfinite at 5:54 PM on November 8, 2013

Tenement museum is a great idea. It's less a museum and more a guided tour. It's one of the most interesting tourist attractions, and they're right at the age to get it.

Wandering around the Lower East Side and East Village is always great. People watching in Thompkins Square Park is brilliant, though be aware that there is a section of the park where all the junkies congregate -- not dangerous at all, but if your kids are really sheltered or you're worried about what the boyfriend will say to his parents, maybe best to steer clear.

Spin the Astor Place Cube: there'll definitely be enough of you.

There are a bunch of stores in the East Village and LES dedicated to geeky collectible type stuff. Kid Robot comes to mind, there's also Toy Tokyo.
posted by Sara C. at 6:00 PM on November 8, 2013

I think there is a massive car park/multi-level structure right next to the high line. I'm sure it costs a fortune but it's right there, do the highline, take them up to 34th street to Macy's etc (teenagers, afterall), then to Times Square (repeat, teenagers) then figure out somewhere fun to eat.

If you have energy, just walk up 5th ave from 42nd street all the way up to the entrance of the park. Lots of iconic places, structures and even the controversial horse carriages to see en route/once you get there. I love Korean food on 32nd street on the way, your kids might like it too.
posted by bquarters at 6:06 PM on November 8, 2013

Agreed, one day with (mostly) fresh new-comers really should just be running around and seeing whatever sights you can fit it. Highline's good, Times Square, Rockefeller ice skating, Top of the Rock, Fifth Ave stores, Central Park. You could get on one of those open top tour bus hop on/hop off things. You could also do the Staten Island Ferry or the East River Ferry to get the views. All that stuff, especially when the weather is cold/hot (the temps look good that day but it looks like it might be windy), is exhausting enough for one day, especially if you/they aren't used to that kind of pace.
posted by greta simone at 6:26 PM on November 8, 2013

If you can swing it while you're in the Village, I'd try and hit the Jacques Torres store on Hudson and get some hot chocolate. That man is a genius, and his hot chocolate should be experienced once by everyone.
posted by Diablevert at 6:49 PM on November 8, 2013 [1 favorite]

I've been faced with this conundrum too—my ex's 15 year old will be coming up to visit soon. Yay! He's also small and young for his age, into EDM and "scene," and is kind of half geek, half hipster.

A few things I've figured out, for the guy:

Forbidden Planet
Shut NYC skateboard shop
Other Music record store
Anything Instagrammable or Snapchattable (touristy stuff is a go!)

I know you don't have much time, so I'd just pick one—and find stuff to do in the neighborhood around it. I'd pick Forbidden Planet—it's fairly central downtown, between SoHo and Union Square.

(Additionally, the Brooklyn Electronic Music Festival is this weekend. All of the shows are late, and seem to be 21+, but maybe you can google around to see if there are auxiliary events of interest happening during the day.)
posted by ulfberht at 7:13 PM on November 8, 2013 [1 favorite]

I came to recommend Forbidden Planet. at the same age, my brother was obsessed with the place.
posted by Miko at 7:24 PM on November 8, 2013

Everybody mentions Times Square -- Bubba Gump's gives you a nice view while you eat. And speaking personally, I like their food.
posted by JimN2TAW at 9:06 PM on November 8, 2013

My family lives in PA so we caught the transit up to NYC for a day trip when I was a teenager. They said it would have been madness to try to drive, and they drive everywhere, even the three blocks to the grocery store. We went to see the UN - I remember being very impressed by the statue of a gun tied in a knot - and we saw the statue of liberty from a distance. We tried to go up the Empire State Building but it cost money and nobody really cared that much about paying to ride an elevator so we didn't.

In retrospect, I think the thing that would have *really* impressed me is Central Park. All that park in the middle of that giant city with those countless skyscrapers. That's what I would want to go see if I were a teen again in NYC. And maybe some soft pretzels from a street vendor. Food is one of my favorite ways to remember any place. Isn't NYC famous for pizza?

Also if it were me I would definitely go by Zuccotti Park.
posted by aniola at 10:40 PM on November 8, 2013

Earworm records, Beacon's Closet (and other thrift shop/vintage clothing stores), in Williamsburg and while in Williamsburg your kids can see what living off of you in NYC would be like :)
posted by wcfields at 2:28 PM on November 9, 2013

An amazing thing about NYC is how independent the transit lets you be. For some visitors, figuring out the transit and exploring is half the fun. If your group is up to it maybe aet aside two hours and each person (or pair) had to meet back together at Central Park (or the Battery, or whatever other cool spot) with a cool edible thing to share and the story of where it came from. That lets people get a bit of a breather from each other and explore with enough of a mission but not too much.
posted by Salamandrous at 1:28 PM on November 10, 2013

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