Things to do in Manhattan with a tiny baby
March 10, 2014 8:32 PM   Subscribe

I'm on maternity leave and my baby is just over two months old. It's been such a cold winter that I haven't taken him out as much as I'd like, but now that we're heading into spring and I only have a few weeks left, I'd like to try to do one short fun thing a day. Please give me your suggestions for easy one-shot explorations in Manhattan.

I usually like to pick a neighborhood to wander around, but having a specific destination would be great - sometimes it's nice to just Specifically See A Thing.

Baby spends most of time in carrier sleeping, so this is really more for me. I'd like to check out small museums or shmancy food courts or other "you should check it out" places. I go to the heavy hitters - Met, Museum of Natural History, MoMA, Whitney - fairly frequently and would like to skip them for now. We are also right by Central Park so we've got that covered.

- Visit should take about an hour or two so that my trip, including round trip transit from Hell's Kitchen, could be done in three hours
- Public transit only - don't want to drag my car seat and deal with cabs.
- Would like to avoid crowds, especially crowds of other small children, so timing tips would be nice - I'm happy to visit / eat during non peak hours
- Quiet nooks where I could feed baby if needed would be nice.
- Not looking for sit down restaurants since it's kind of hard to eat nicely with a baby strapped to one's front, but good ethnic handheld food like banh mi would be great.

We went to the Cloisters last week which was great. I plan to check out the Morgan library, for example. I would go to the Frick but am told they expressly don't allow children. Maybe Eataly during non-lunch hour. Stuff like that.

Thanks for your suggestions.
posted by sestaaak to Travel & Transportation around New York, NY (10 answers total) 4 users marked this as a favorite

Museum of natural history

Cooper Hewitt museum

Subway museum
posted by zia at 9:29 PM on March 10, 2014

Do you like ice cream? I'd suggest a trip to the Big Gay Ice Cream shop in the West Village. It's on Grove and 7th Ave and they have unicorn murals and other fun visuals so if the baby is awake he will have lots of things to look at. I can just wander around the village for hours looking at shops and people and stuff, so that might be a good option. It's a short walk to Washington Square Park in one direction or the High Line in the other so you could spend some time wandering around and still be near the A/C/E.
posted by bedhead at 9:29 PM on March 10, 2014 [1 favorite]

Maybe Food Gallery 32? There's a lot to see on that block, actually, and it's very convenient to the subway. Just avoid the lunch rush and you'll be fine.

If you're at all interested in specialized/fancy stationary goods and unique crafting supplies, you might enjoy the basement floor of Kinokuniya -- bonus, there's a small and very casual cafe on the top floor so you can get a snack. Bryant Park is always nice for sitting and people-watching, too, and it's right across the street.
posted by Narrative Priorities at 10:20 PM on March 10, 2014

Grand Central Station food court?
posted by chesty_a_arthur at 4:11 AM on March 11, 2014

From midtown you could get to the The Museum of the Moving Image in Queens very easily. Socrates Sculpture Park is nearby.
posted by valeries at 4:37 AM on March 11, 2014

I'd go for a nice walk in the park and end up at Sarabeth's for a lovely late morning breakfast. It won't be crowded on a weekday and you can read the paper, sip a nice cup of a warm beverage and enjoy one of the best English Muffins I've ever had!

Another fun expedition would be to go to Canal Street. It's a bit of a hussle and bussle, but I rather like that. Big Wong for soup dumplings. Then go to Little Italy for canolli before returning home.

How about riding the Staten Island Ferry? Just back and forth.

Window shopping on Fifth Avenue.

Have fun!
posted by Ruthless Bunny at 5:28 AM on March 11, 2014

The New York Historical Society museum is small but jam-packed with things to look at, and very kid-friendly.

The New York Public Library on 42nd street usually has small but interesting exhibits as well (as does the Performing Arts library at Lincoln Center).

Right now the Jewish Museum has an Art Spiegelman exhibit that looks pretty cool

The Cooper Hewitt is still closed for renovations (sigh), but the Museum of Arts and Design at Columbus Circle is a nice alternative.

For a neighborhood walkaround, the Promenade at Riverside Park from 72nd-90th is lovely when the weather's good, and good for peoplewatching (and you can swing by Pomander Walk on 94th on your way back to the subway - if you're lucky sometimes a resident will let you in to take a better look).

Also, if you haven't been on the High Line yet, it's a really nice park that's also very manageable, plus it's close to all the galleries.
posted by Mchelly at 6:44 AM on March 11, 2014

Book Babies at the Epiphany Library ( 228 E 23 St. betw 2nd and 3rd Aves) happens on Thursdays at 11am for those 12 months and younger. The librarians read stories. They have a beautiful bright space for kids and best of all, they are totally tolerant of little babies. When your little one gets a little older, they also have a tiny tots program.

On Mondays at 10:30am, the NYPL Children's Center at 42nd Street has Baby Laptime for Pre-Walkers.. I've never been. Website says: "Babies from birth to 12 months old (pre-walkers) and their parents/caregivers can enjoy great books, lively songs, and rhymes, and meet other babies in the neighborhood. Space is limited. Tickets are given out on a first come, first served basis."

Other NYPL locations may have similar programs.

Indoor public spaces like the Ford Foundation Atrium ( 320 East 43rd Street: entrances on both 42nd and 43rd Streets west of First Avenue / Open to the public Monday-Friday 8am-4pm) are pretty cool to wander around with a baby. So is the 60 Wall Street Atrium, also listed at that link. (60 Wall Street between William and Pearl Streets / Open daily 7am-10pm)
posted by zarq at 7:58 AM on March 11, 2014 [1 favorite]

Gotham West Market.

Chelsea Market (outside lunch hour).

The High Line (via the elevator entrances).
posted by essexjan at 8:51 AM on March 11, 2014

Yes, the major museums that don't allow children are the Frick and Neue Galerie (and of course Museum of Sex).

Consider the Museum of Folk Art (right on the UWS), the ICP (closest big museum to Hell's Kitchen), and the Roosevelt Island Tram.
posted by kalapierson at 12:44 PM on March 11, 2014

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