Dating in New York City, places to go, things to see and do
May 17, 2015 3:41 PM   Subscribe

Sometimes people invite me on a first or second date and then insist that I suggest a place to go or a thing to do. What are some fun/interesting/free/inexpensive things to do in Brooklyn and Manhattan south of ...say the 70s east or west side? Budget conscious is important because the concept of "who invited" gets murky in this situation, and I make sure to always be prepared to pay for anything I have suggested. So pizza suggestions are good. Steaks are not.

I'm also interested in great places to get coffee/tea, and sad that Tea Lounge is closed. Coffee Lab in Bay Ridge is good for me but kind of out of the way for a lot of people. It's also not super comfortable.

I work in Bed-Stuy Monday through Thursday 9-6 and then a half day on Friday. I live further south in Brooklyn convenient to the N/R line and don't disclose my neighborhood to guys I'm going on first or second dates with.

For more information that might be helpful, I'm female, mid 30s, omnivore who has dates with vegetarians, omnivores, and vegans. The well considered messages I get on dating sites tend to be from Lawyers and Accountants types, but not so much from Artists. I'm areligious and sometimes my dates have a religion.

I'm especially interested in weekday evenings in Brooklyn and anytime in Manhattan. Extra bonus points for things to do in Jersey City or Hoboken, though that comes up so rarely and I have not yet been expected to know anything about those cities.
posted by tulip-socks to Human Relations (11 answers total) 14 users marked this as a favorite
Roosevelt Island Tram: no cost if you already have a monthly MetroCard. It's like a publicly funded Disneyland ride. Roosevelt Island can be a nice walk. Check out the weird Soviet-style mainstreet to the north or the abandoned smallpox hospital and Roosevelt memorial to the south.

Burger Joint: "Hidden" behind a curtain in the very swanky lobby of Le Parker Meridien. Feels like you're doing something much fancier than you really are. Not vegan friendly, though they do have a good grilled cheese sandwich.

Mud: A cozy coffee shop that also has beer and wine and snacks. Good for getting a drink with Going To A Bar.
posted by the jam at 4:32 PM on May 17, 2015 [1 favorite]

I can think of nothing lovelier than a few bouchon from Bouchon Bakery and a stroll through Central Park until the fireflies come out.
posted by mochapickle at 4:43 PM on May 17, 2015 [1 favorite]

Wander around west Chelsea (~20-26th St between 10th and 11th Ave) on a Thursday evening and check out the art gallery openings. I think the peak season has passed but you can google for listings. Even if you're only kinda interested in art, sometimes you'll see really amazing stuff, and if it sucks, you can (quietly) make fun of it and move on to the next gallery. Also, free wine!
posted by yeahlikethat at 5:33 PM on May 17, 2015 [1 favorite]

-Meet near High St, walk over the Brooklyn Bridge, walk to dim sum in Chinatown (or the reverse and get pastries at Almondine)
-Walk through Chelsea Market to source ingredients (baguette, cheese, cured meats, fruits, etc), then picnic on the pier or the High Line
-MoMA free admission fridays (or if there's a museum you like, consider getting an annual membership, which usually comes with free guest passes)
-Pie at Four and Twenty Blackbirds, followed by a show or drinks at the Bell House (they have music shows, but also host a lot of NPR live podcasts)
-Fish and chips at A Salt and Battery, followed by drinks/games at Fat Cat (avoid weekends after 9pm)
posted by melissasaurus at 4:27 AM on May 18, 2015

Upright Citizens Brigade! $5 gets you a comedy show any night of the week except Saturdays ($10 then). One in Chelsea and one in the East Village.

It's also hard to beat a takeout picnic in Sunset Park. Go to Matamoros on 5th Ave and get some tacos and eat them on the lawn of the park while watching the sunset.
posted by goingonit at 5:20 AM on May 18, 2015

Audience Extras is the best NYC date night "secret"! Any day of the week, you choose from a dozen or so options for various shows (theater, dance, music, etc), all for $3 per ticket. Sometimes you even get the bigger broadway or music venues.

The Rubin Museum is quiet, walkable in a half hour, with a great uncrowded tea lounge where you can get to know your date in peace. $65 membership buys free admission.
posted by rada at 6:03 AM on May 18, 2015

Slice of pie at Pies'n'Thighs? The Williamsburg location is right by a bunch of parks.
posted by Juliet Banana at 7:43 AM on May 18, 2015

Oh yes, free museum hours: a lot of museums have extended hours on a weekly or monthly basis, and sometimes have events that are meant to attract 20-30somethings. Some ones off the top of my head:
Rubin - Open til 10 on Fridays, free after 6
Brooklyn Museum - Open til 10 on Thursdays, always 'suggested donation'
Met - Open til 9 Fridays and Saturdays
MOMA does free Friday evenings, but it is always a shitshow, especially if there's a popular exhibition going on, I would not recommend it (although after waiting in line together for an hour, you'll know pretty well whether you really like your date or not).

I subscribe to a couple mailing lists that send regular not-too obnoxious emails with cheap things to do in the city. Nonsense NYC might be a little hippydippy for your target audience but The Skint has been very fruitful.
posted by yeahlikethat at 8:13 AM on May 18, 2015 [1 favorite]

Re: Jersey City. If the weather is nice, the waterfront adjacent to the Exchange Place PATH station is a nice place to hang out, with a good view of the NYC skyline. There are places to grab some food nearby.
posted by Shmuel510 at 8:42 AM on May 18, 2015

Good listings in The Skint and Nerd York City
posted by Sophont at 9:17 AM on May 18, 2015 [1 favorite]

Slice of pie at Pies'n'Thighs? The Williamsburg location is right by a bunch of parks.

IMO, the parks nearest to Pies n Thighs aren't really date Parks. If you walk over to Grand Ferry Park (~15 minute walk), that'd fit the bill.
posted by benbenson at 12:59 PM on May 18, 2015

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