Sober in the big city
August 19, 2015 10:34 AM   Subscribe

I live in New York City and I have a friend coming into town in a few weeks who is going through alcohol recovery. I'm looking for things to do in the city with them that lessen the presence of alcohol in the environment.

I know that drinking culture in NY is pervasive across most social/nightlife activities, so it's inevitable that alcohol will be around. I'd just like to lessen the impact so my friend doesn't feel like they're in a bar constantly. Unfortunately, most of my personal experience and knowledge involves places that have very high alcohol visibility.

Currently my idea list is a little generic, with The Moth, small comedy/theater, lecture/film series, restaurants, and art openings/museums. Are there any big opportunities I'm missing, or any specific shows/venues that you could recommend that background the bar feel?
posted by anonymous to Human Relations (14 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
How about an archery lesson in Brooklyn?
posted by dcjd at 10:36 AM on August 19, 2015 [1 favorite]

posted by rockindata at 10:48 AM on August 19, 2015 [2 favorites]

Rock climbing at Brooklyn Boulders! I think they're open till midnight or so.
Or how about Coney Island/Brighton Beach? Swim, ride the Wonder Wheel, bring a picnic.
posted by the_blizz at 10:57 AM on August 19, 2015

Be extra careful with restaurants. On more than one occasion, I have taken recovering friends and family to restaurants in NYC only to have them wonder why I was taking them to a bar... if the restaurant has a bar in the front, it may become an issue.
posted by maggiemaggie at 11:01 AM on August 19, 2015

Zagat: Alcohol Free Restaurants, NYC. Lots of coffee, cafe and dessert places, but also a few restaurants.

The Washington Square Outdoor Art Exhibit is Sunday, August 30 - Monday, September 7 in Washington Square Park in the Village.

If you're willing to travel and they will be in town through September 20th, there's the Brooklyn Book Festival. They have "Bookend" events from the 14th - 21st. Participating authors.
posted by zarq at 11:23 AM on August 19, 2015 [1 favorite]

Smorgasburg is delightful. Great food, outdoors, and no booze.
posted by TryTheTilapia at 11:37 AM on August 19, 2015 [2 favorites]

Tram to Roosevelt Island and a walk around the island (preferably at sunset).
posted by carrienation at 12:17 PM on August 19, 2015

Gelato and ice cream shops make great late afternoon/after dinner time fillers. Fresco, Big Gay Ice Cream, Van Leeuwen Artisan Ice Cream, Ample Hills, Amorino.
posted by incolorinred at 12:45 PM on August 19, 2015

Don't forget the ultra touristy. Broadway shows, the Empire State Building or Top of the Rock, a nighttime boat tour, walking across the Brooklyn Bridge at sunset, Yankees or Mets game (no idea if tickets for such things are available or impossible), Art After Dark at the Guggenheim (there will be booze, but no more than in any restaurant). Maybe a dessert only place (or cheesecake somewhere). Maybe a tea or olive oil shop with tasting?
posted by cnc at 1:12 PM on August 19, 2015

Super touristy: Sit on the bleachers in Times Square and peoplewatch.
posted by SisterHavana at 1:59 PM on August 19, 2015 [1 favorite]

Someone said Empire State, and Top of the Rock, both are open late, and good. Coney Island board walk, Brooklyn Cyclones is another option. Daytime, try the Cloisters and the park around there.
posted by kellyblah at 2:49 PM on August 19, 2015

Head up to the cloisters.
posted by allkindsoftime at 3:43 PM on August 19, 2015

Have you asked your friend how they feel being around alcohol? I've never felt uncomfortable in the presence of alcohol/drinking, even very early in my recovery. Depending on the circumstances and presentation I might have found that patronizing. Your friend may have said something or indicated as much, I don't know, but if they haven't said anything do ask them.
posted by good lorneing at 8:06 PM on August 19, 2015

Sleep No More
posted by doctordrey at 3:39 PM on August 21, 2015

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