Help my offbeat teenage nieces feel like grownups in NYC
March 19, 2017 10:19 AM   Subscribe

My 13 and 16 year old nieces will be spending the last week in June with me in NYC (I live in Queens). The older niece spent a week here three years ago, and we had a blast. So I'm trying to figure out how to top that!

My nieces are super awesome kids and really mature for their ages - they're smart, sharp, politically aware, and very open minded. They also live in a small, boring, and kind of Republican town, so they love getting the chance to spread their wings here. So I'm hoping to do things that will give them the thrill of getting to do mature stuff they don't get to do at home (as well as keep it relatively inexpensive).

Here are some of the things I did with Older Niece:
-went to a comedy club that allowed under 18-year-olds (I don't remember the name but it was in the East Village)
-ate grasshoppers in Jackson Heights
-sat in dog parks to pet dogs
-went to my best friend's birthday party in a gay bar (it was only the restaurant section but she LOVED getting dressed up and hanging with the grownups)
-saw Avenue Q
-rode the Ikea ferry to Red Hook to eat meatballs and look at furniture
-took the bus to Chinatown in Flushing to eat dumplings in a food court basement

I've also taken them in the past to see Rock of Ages and The Awesome 80's Prom and we had a super fun time

Some ideas I have for this visit already:
-go see some theater - I have a TDF membership and figure it would be fun even to do a $9 off-off-bway show
-go to the Pride March (LGBTQ stuff in general very welcome)
-find a political rally to yell anti-Trump sentiments for a half hour or so
-go to a midnight showing of Rocky Horror
-see a bad movie hosted by Hedda Lettuce
-find a karaoke place that will allow kids (any suggestions for places welcome)

Some things I would do with them if they were old enough/it were happening that week:
-go to a screening of Showgirls
-go to a taping of Samantha Bee, Stephen Colbert, or Maury

We have a car this time around so we can do stuff outside of the city proper as well.

Thanks for any suggestions!
posted by Neely O'Hara to Travel & Transportation around New York, NY (21 answers total) 11 users marked this as a favorite
Best answer: You could take them to an all-ages venue for a punk or indie show. Silent Barn is probably my favorite for this (and they often have queercore shows there.)
posted by dysh at 10:24 AM on March 19, 2017 [2 favorites]

Best answer: Oh, I forgot to mention that Silent Barn occasionally has Punk Rock Karaoke. If punk is something your nieces might be into, keep an eye out for that in June.
posted by dysh at 10:26 AM on March 19, 2017

Best answer: Perhaps an immersive theater experience? I loved sleep no more but I think that's 18+ or maybe even 21+, but I know there are others.

If they like Chinese, Dim Sum in Chinatown, or can do more Chinese in Flushing (if they eat grasshoppers they sound pretty down!) -- there's definitely more than dumplings (though I know the food court you're talking about and it is great)

If they're into art, the museums are great. I really love storm king, and if you have a car it's pretty easy to get to. To me the grassy hill wave "piece" alone is worth it. It's also just a lovely place to be.

Also: you sound like the coolest aunt/uncle ever.
posted by wooh at 10:31 AM on March 19, 2017

posted by rhizome at 10:55 AM on March 19, 2017 [4 favorites]

Best answer: Duet 35 is a great karaoke place that allows minors until 8 pm.
posted by starlybri at 11:02 AM on March 19, 2017 [1 favorite]

Best answer: Ideas:

Head out to Brooklyn (be sure to take the N or the Q so you go over Manhattan Bridge and can see a view of the city) and go to the Fort Greene or Williamsburg Flea with them (if they have any pocket money to burn there's always lots of cool stuff for sale, and lots of Brooklyn "types" who will seem very adult and cool to them).

Ride the Roosevelt Island Tram.

That time of year there are probably some cool street festivals going on.
posted by dis_integration at 11:10 AM on March 19, 2017 [1 favorite]

Will they be there for the Coney Island Mermaid Parade on June 17th?
posted by jbenben at 11:15 AM on March 19, 2017

Just to piggyback off of some other comments: Coney Island often has a bunch of cool stuff going on: aside from the Mermaid Parade, in the summer they have a daily Sideshow that is all ages; they also have weird old movies and other events: you should check out their summer calendar when they put it up.

Another idea would be taking them to some gallery openings in Chelsea or otherwise, somewhat of a different experience than going to a museum.
posted by dysh at 11:36 AM on March 19, 2017 [1 favorite]

Best answer: There are sure to be protests and actions going on during that time, with who knows what disastrous future escapades forthcoming, and assuming we are all still here. The calendar of choice for all things anti-Trump in NYC (not all of which are overtly anti-Trump) is here:

So far there have been lots of young people at the protests I've gone to, but also lots of elders, always a diverse crowd, never any major conflict, usually a good vibe. Of course this assumes their parental units would be down with such a thing, or you might not want to do something overtly political. Especially if one lives in a small republican town and has unfulfilled cosmopolitan sensibilities, it's good to hang with a large crowd of similar folks and realize you're not alone.

Of course to give them the ultimate grownup experience in NYC, just do the ordinary things New Yorkers do with them. The city is its own experience. Walk a lot. Shop. Take mass transit, maybe even try it at rush hour as an adventure.
posted by spitbull at 11:44 AM on March 19, 2017

Are they athletic at all? The NYRR Pride Run is a really great 5 mile race. Lots of people do run/walk.
posted by roomthreeseventeen at 2:03 PM on March 19, 2017

Best answer: Would they like Spa Castle in Queens? Come in from the snow, run around the hot baths and get snacks etc. It's a bit of a cultural experience (no nudity) and definitely "fun". There's also a lot of Korean bakeries between there and the subway stop ftw.

They may also like visiting a maker space/craft co-op and taking a one-off class in something they've never done before. I did a one-day in glass blowing and I was terrible at it, but it was awesome fun and now my dad has lots of paperweights! Pottery? Circuit boards?
posted by jrobin276 at 2:09 PM on March 19, 2017 [1 favorite]

There will be all kinds of free/cheap movies outdoors at night in the middle of the summer, but of course those schedules aren't available yet.

If they enjoy SF/F, a trip to Forbidden Planet would be a treat.
posted by praemunire at 4:42 PM on March 19, 2017

Best answer: Combining TDF and LGBT, check out Ragtag Theater. It was a great show.
posted by pyro979 at 7:51 PM on March 19, 2017

Best answer: I love all the things people have suggested and that you've already done - just wanted to add the very obvious suggestion to check out Beacon's Closet with them for clothes and perhaps go to Yoga for the People. Small's Jazz club lets in under 18's and might be a little different from their usual musical exposure. Go get cheap dosas at the Hindu Temple Canteen in Queens. French bakeries, Italian bakeries, farmers markets and park picnics - lots of little bites. Manicures/pedicures tend to be cheaper here than elsewhere and might be a nice treat for the right kids. A psychic/tarot reading might be a fun break along the way. Go to a very fancy place for an afternoon tea just to soak in the atmosphere.
posted by decathexis at 7:59 PM on March 19, 2017

Depending on the kids too they might have fun going around the fashion district to places like M&J trimming and Mood Fabrics.
posted by decathexis at 8:02 PM on March 19, 2017

Also, poetry readings! Keep an eye on venues like Housing Works Bookstore, Berl's, and other bookstores.
posted by decathexis at 8:16 PM on March 19, 2017 [1 favorite]

go to a midnight showing of Rocky Horror

The New York Rocky Horror shadowcast plays every Friday and Saturday at midnight but they're 18+ only and they're very, very strict about checking IDs, so you'll probably need to wait for a future trip for this one, unfortunately.
posted by Itaxpica at 10:09 PM on March 19, 2017

When I was 16 in NYC my cousin made me feel like an adult by smuggling drinks to me in a bar. Not sure if I can recommend it as an option though.
posted by craven_morhead at 11:02 AM on March 20, 2017

Was that pre-Giuliani? :)
posted by rhizome at 11:55 AM on March 20, 2017

Momix at the Joyce.
posted by fings at 7:35 PM on March 20, 2017

Best answer: Take them to an improv show! UCB or the PIT or the Magnet all have great shows basically every night and are almost always all-ages. If they're here on a Tuesday, I heartily recommend the Magnet's musical night — it's all musical improv, and it's really impressive. Memail me (please! do!) if you want more specific show recommendations.
posted by Charity Garfein at 8:48 PM on March 21, 2017

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