NYC Tourist Itinerary Question
July 9, 2018 10:25 AM   Subscribe

I'm going to NYC for a week and need some help with my itinerary. Geographical advice and can't-miss ideas welcome! Draft plans inside.

I'm going to NYC for a week with my boyfriend and staying in Williamsburg. We will be there Friday August 3 - Friday August 10. We have both been before and have similar interests (parks, books, good food, interesting experiences) but I'm getting worried we haven't planned enough for a whole week. I'm also worried some of our plans are geographically impossible! Below is what we have planned.

FRIDAY
museum of food and drink?
milk bar
beacon's closet
barcade? brooklyn bowl??


SATURDAY
nothing yet planned

SUNDAY
Smorgasburg
Sleep No More (4pm)
top of the standard for drinks

MONDAY
prospect park/brooklyn botanic gardens (AM)
chelsea galleries/walk along thehighline
sel rrose for dinner

TUESDAY
governor's island
Wild Air for dinner


WEDNESDAY
mets game (noon)
Contra for dinner

THURSDAY
Central Park (wandering, zoo)
The Met
Cooper Hewitt?
grafitti hall of fame?


Does this make sense in terms of getting from place to place? We will each get weekly metro passes. Are we missing anything obvious?

We are also interested in going to MoMA, the Tenement Museum (any recommended tours of the many offered?), a Very Nice Dinner (no dietary restrictions), and any and all great food carts in the city.
posted by hepta to Travel & Transportation around New York, NY (25 answers total) 5 users marked this as a favorite
 
Quick note that the Brooklyn Botanic Gardens (and possibly many galleries) will be closed on Monday! Maybe you can swap your Monday and Tuesday daytime activities?
posted by moonmilk at 10:28 AM on July 9, 2018 [1 favorite]


All of the Tenement Museum tours are excellent; last year I went on the Irish and Jewish ones, since that's my ancestry. The guides were very knowledgeable and went into great detail about the reasons why people came here (the Irish Famine and the Pale of Settlement), asking thoughtful questions like "can you imagine, first dealing with (the famine or anti-semitism), and then arriving here only to live in conditions like this...?" etc. Highly recommended.
posted by Melismata at 10:33 AM on July 9, 2018 [1 favorite]


Don’t go to Barcade on a Friday or Saturday night if you actually want to play video games.
posted by griphus at 10:33 AM on July 9, 2018 [1 favorite]


If you make it to MoMA (check out the Bodys Isek Kingelez show!) you can get lunch or dinner at the nearby branch of Xi'an Famous Foods, a local chain that has all the atmosphere of a factory lunchroom, but the noodles are amazing. The spicy lamb cumin noodles are my favorite. (There's more Xi'an locations elsewhere.)
posted by moonmilk at 10:33 AM on July 9, 2018 [5 favorites]


As of very recently, Governors Island is open until I think 10pm on Fridays and Saturdays (as opposed to closing at like 6pm). I would recommend rearranging your schedule to go there on Saturday afternoon and stay late, and then do something else on Tuesday. Watch the sunset from the new artificial hill.
posted by showbiz_liz at 10:41 AM on July 9, 2018 [1 favorite]


You could potentially shift Governor's Island to Friday, when the island is open late and you can ride the ferry back in the dark, or else move it to Saturday/Sunday so you can take the ferry there from Brooklyn.
posted by xo at 10:41 AM on July 9, 2018


I would suggest not doing Prospect Park, Brooklyn Botanical Gardens and the Highline on the same day.
posted by Julnyes at 10:41 AM on July 9, 2018 [8 favorites]


Also: I would allocate a solid day to the Met. It is absolutely massive.
posted by showbiz_liz at 10:43 AM on July 9, 2018 [2 favorites]


The graffiti hall of fame is not worth the detour from Cooper Hewitt. You can see much more interesting and vital street art by wandering around Williamsburg, Greenpoint or Bushwick.

Have a plan in mind for the Met rather than just walking around as it can be overwhelming.
posted by plastic_animals at 10:46 AM on July 9, 2018


Back only a week from my NYC trip:

The Met is immense so budget time accordingly, and much of it blocks cell signals so maybe pre-arrange timed rendezvous if splitting up.

Enjoyed the Museum of Natural History, as friend is completely bonkers for the dinosaur fossil displays.

On a hot pre-rush hour afternoon, take a picnic and ride the Staten Island Ferry. Free, cooling, nice views, interesting people watching.

Friend stayed longer than I could and completely recommends the Tenement Museum.
posted by conscious matter at 10:52 AM on July 9, 2018


*pulls up chair and sits down*

I think you did great with ideas - not necessarily because everything is going to be super-jam-packed; on the contrary, you have inadvertently allowed yourself a lot of time for wandering and exploring. And that's actually PERFECT.

Day-by-day thoughts:
FRIDAY
museum of food and drink?
milk bar
beacon's closet
barcade? brooklyn bowl??
The bit about Beacon's Closet is the only side-eye: I think they moved out of Williamsburg, so that's a little further afield than you maybe thought. Also - the Museum of Food and Drink is pretty small; it's got some cool stuff, but it's not like a "lose yourself for five hours" kind of place. (Unles they're doing a thing where you can get a lecture with food, like the dumpling thing they had going on the one time I was there.) But this day is keeping you in the busiest and hippest part of Williamsburg, so there will be TOOOOOOOOONS of things to do and see and still have time to get to the various landmarks you want to hit. Lots of shops, lots of vintage stores, lots of bars lots of restaurants....save Beacon's closet for another day and allow wandering time and you'll be grand.
SATURDAY
nothing yet planned

SUNDAY
Smorgasburg
Sleep No More (4pm)
top of the standard for drinks

MONDAY
prospect park/brooklyn botanic gardens (AM)
chelsea galleries/walk along thehighline
sel rrose for dinner
Smorgasburg is actually in Prospect Park on Sunday, so maybe make an early-ish day of it there, finishing up with lunch at Smorgasburg. Then you can jet up to Sleep No More (which is awesome, by the way).

As for Saturday...maybe move the Botanic Garden visit there, and also stop at the Brooklyn Museum on the same day. They are literally right next to each other, and they have a package deal where you can get a two-in-one ticket for both institutions for a bit of a discount so long as you go to both on the same day. They're both small enough that you can realistically hit them both up on the same day without overwhelming yourself, too. (Also, fair warning - some parts of the botanic garden are closed, including the Japanese Hill and Pond Garden. However, there's still a good deal of stuff to see.)

Also seconding the suggestion to do Governors' Island on Saturday, even if you hit up the Botanic Garden and the Museum. The garden and museum really are small enough that you could hit them up in the morning and be done in like 3-4 hours, and then that leaves plenty of time to hit up governors' Island in the afternoon and stay late.

This leaves Monday: check whether the galleries would be open (people are correct that a lot of the big museums close on Mondays, but the galleries may have different schedules). If not - you can still pick a neighborhood in manhattan and just wander. Or, make Monday morning the day you hit up the cheeseball touristy things so you can satisfy your grandma who's going to ask "you went all the way to New York city and you didn't go to the Empire State Building?" or something. :-) The High Line after that is fine.
TUESDAY
governor's island
Wild Air for dinner

WEDNESDAY
mets game (noon)
Contra for dinner

THURSDAY
Central Park (wandering, zoo)
The Met
Cooper Hewitt?
grafitti hall of fame?
It's been suggested that you move Governors' Island to Saturday; that leaves Tuesday free, and I would actually move Central Park to Tuesday. You'd be in Manhattan to be able to hit up Wild Air without a long subway trip. If it rains, then go to the Museum of Natural History, maybe. Or leave that day loosey-goosey in case you realize "hey, I kinda wanted to check out [blah] now that I heard about it yesterday...."

And agreed that you should definitely allow a whole day for the Met. It's enormous.

As for other ideas - what kinds of things are you interested in? I could tell you about everything from shipyard museums to artisinal whiskey distilleries to bars on boats.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 10:54 AM on July 9, 2018 [4 favorites]


Defintiely thirding the Governors Island late fridays plan - one note: we havent gone this season but did have a very serious ferry security guard search my bag and take a couple cans of wine when we went last summer. . . so if youre inclined to bring a bottle to enjoy may i recommend hiding it in a reusable water bottle or patronizing one of the bars/restaurants on the island.

Xiian famous foods is well worth recommending, the hand pulled noodles and pork/lamb "burgers" are excellent, and the company is a serious feel good story (started by a father son team they got a massive boost from Anthony Bourdain- and recently donated a days sales after his death to mental health/suicide prevention causes).

You dont say where in williamsburg youre staying but im curious why you have Smorgasburg scheduled for sunday - on sundays its in prospect park whereas saturdays its on the Wburg waterfront. Even though both Williamsburg and Prospect park are "in brooklyn" the nature of local transit makes getting between north brooklyn (the neghborhoods along the L train) and south brooklyn (those served by all other lines) especially on a weekend can be quite fraught. Others noted that the Brooklyn Botanic Garden isnt open mondays.

As far as barcade/brooklyn bowl theyre both pretty corporate/sterile. For funky bowling in williamsburg i much prefer the Gutter which feels like it was plucked straight out of the midwest (because it was).

Roberta's backyard/tiki tent for a drink and some really good pizza (and even better/as-good non-pizza options) is a pretty quintessential Brooklyn experience, worth the stop imo.
posted by Exceptional_Hubris at 10:56 AM on July 9, 2018


Are you planning to go to the Beacon's Closet in Greenpoint? If so, I would hang in Greenpoint for a bit.

There is a lot of great graffiti near there, near Wythe and Norman, basically all around that little light industrial area.

The Thing on Manhattan Avenue is a crazy place full of lost treasures.

Also, you could then get dinner at Karczma, a great Polish restaurant in Greenpoint. Or if you're in Greenpoint earlier in the day, you could grab a donut and and egg and cheese at Peter Pan Donut & Pastry Shop, also in Greenpoint.

For drinks, you could go to Brouwerij Lane (Greenpoint again (4 LYFE)) for beers too. It's basically a beer store, but there's a little back yard where you can drink from one of their many rotating taps or just pick a beer out of the cooler and drink that for a minimal "corking" fee.
posted by degoao at 10:56 AM on July 9, 2018


The Costume Institute at the Met is always at treat, but the current Heavenly Bodies dual exhibit at the the Met and the Cloisters is extraordinary, once-in-a-lifetime stuff.
posted by DarlingBri at 11:01 AM on July 9, 2018


Hello you are all wonderful people and I am very grateful!

A few notes:

I thought smorgasburg was only on Sunday but now I have slotted it in for Saturday in Williamsburg :) The reason I didn't schedule a full day for the Met is because I was in NYC in February (With a sober vegan friend - we had very different priorities than this trip!) and was there then as well so I don't think I need to do a full recap. I also went to the Brooklyn Museum (but not the Botanic Gardens) in February.

Here is the revised itinerary based on the helpful suggestions in this thread:

FRIDAY
Wander around Williamsburg
The Gutter
Roberta's backyard/tiki tent
delicious coffee (suggestions welcome)


SATURDAY
Smorgasburg
Governor's Island

SUNDAY
Tenement Museum
Sleep No More (4pm)
top of the standard for drinks

MONDAY
MoMA (website indicates it is open on Mondays, whoo)
Xi'an famous foods
sel rrose for dinner

TUESDAY
prospect park/brooklyn botanic gardens (AM)
chelsea/highline
Wild Air for dinner


WEDNESDAY
mets game (noon)
Contra for dinner

THURSDAY
Central Park (wandering, zoo)
The Met (super excited for the Heavenly Bodies exhibit)

EmpressCallipygos - I am interested in great cocktails and great books and also interesting only-in-NYC clothing and "stuff" stores (is there an NYC equivalent to Muji? I'd be interested). Your suggestions are lovely and I am so grateful.
posted by hepta at 11:14 AM on July 9, 2018


Williamsburg is going to have a TOOOONN of clothing stores. You actually could just skip Beacon's Closet altogether for the vintage stuff you will find in Williamsburg (I think there's one place alled "Buffalo Exchange" that has a few storefronts scatttered through the city I've had luck at). And there are some interesting crafty pop-up shops on Governors' Island as well - think like the "put a bird on it" people in PORTLANDIA.

We have Muji here...

That Saturday itinerary is actually going to work GENIUS for you for this reason: you can take the East River Ferry to get from Smorgasburg to Governors' Island. It'll be a nice way to get there, and it's about the same price as a subway - only $2.75 per person each way. The Smorgasburg place in Williamsburg is right by the dock for the North Williamsburg ferry stop; wander around Smorgasburg all you like, then go get your ticket, and get on the next boat for Governors' Island. It makes a couple stops on the way, but the total ferry trip only takes a half hour from the Smorgasburg-adjacent stop. (Important note: the East River Ferry ONLY goes to Governors' Island on the weekends.) The only way to get to Governors' Island is by boat - there are no subways that go there - so you'd have to find SOME ferry to get there; Smorgasburg being right by one of the stops would be ideal.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 11:30 AM on July 9, 2018 [2 favorites]


For stuff: If you like Muji, you might like a good stationery store. Goods for the Study is like my New Favorite Thing. And takes off a little of the sting of my favorite art supply store closing forever, but never mind that. It's downtown, near Washington Square Park.

And just to throw you a curveball (since it's not especially convenient to anything you've planned so far) one of my favorite NYC summer adventures is going to Brighton Beach and picking up Russian(-adjacent) food for a beach picnic. Plus you can walk over to Coney Island and ride the Wonder Wheel or the Cyclone. The Coney Island Museum is kinda fun and quick, too.
posted by the_blizz at 12:01 PM on July 9, 2018 [2 favorites]


Sleep No More is in the same area as the Chelsea galleries and the High Line; swap the latter with the Tenement Museum (Wild Air is also closer to the Tenement Museum than Chelsea).
posted by airmail at 12:25 PM on July 9, 2018


I was at the tenement museum during the heat wave the weekend before July 4th, and will note that the German Lager / Jewish immigrant talk is air conditioned.
posted by batter_my_heart at 12:28 PM on July 9, 2018


... and I just realized you're doing Sleep No More on a Sunday, so many of the Chelsea galleries are closed that day. If you can, move Sleep No More to another day, but if you can't, it's not such a big deal to go between Chelsea and the LES, just mildly annoying because there's no direct train between the two
posted by airmail at 12:30 PM on July 9, 2018


You are going to stop at The Strand, right? That's one of my must-dos whenever I am in NYC. : )
posted by SisterHavana at 5:35 PM on July 9, 2018


I was at the tenement museum during the heat wave the weekend before July 4th, and will note that the German Lager / Jewish immigrant talk is air conditioned.

I can confirm the Under One Roof tour is also air conditioned. (And very good. However, it deals with the period after the Second World War, so probably isn't what most people are wanting from their visit.)
posted by hoyland at 6:05 AM on July 10, 2018


As a heads up, Met tickets are valid for three consecutive days, if you want to do both parts of Heavenly Bodies. It takes about an hour to get between the Met on 5th Avenue to the Cloisters*, so it's a bit much for one day (unless you go on a day when the Met's open late--the 5.30 closing is killer). Nothing on your list really combines with the Cloisters--Chelsea and the High Line is probably the most natural combination, as they're both on the A train. (Depending on the precise start time of the Mets game, you might be able to do it that morning, but it'd be tight.) Fort Tryon Park (which you walk through to get to the Cloisters from the subway) is beautiful and is, in my opinion, nicer and more interesting than the Cloisters itself, but that seems to be a minority opinion.

tl;dr If you think you'll be into the Heavenly Bodies exhibit, it might be worth bringing the Met forward a day or two to leave the Cloisters as an option. If you love the exhibit, go, otherwise skip it as too far out of your way.

*I live up there and made it to the Neue Galerie (which is virtually opposite the Met) in about 45 minutes this past weekend. However, that was with virtually perfect timing and I didn't have to find my way from the subway to the Cloisters.
posted by hoyland at 6:23 AM on July 10, 2018


If you’d enjoy poking around in a large warehouse full of a wild miscellany of ‘things’ (art/crockery/furniture/vintage bits and pieces/old photos and postcards/odd curiosities etc) then ‘Mother of Junk’ on Driggs (Williamsburg) is the most wonderful way to spend time. Prices are very reasonable and there are treasures to be found amongst the junk. Was there a couple of weeks ago - and once again was simultaneously grateful and disappointed that airline luggage allowances coupled with restrictive customs legislation in my own country limited the number, variety and size of items I could purchase!
posted by The Patron Saint of Spices at 3:53 AM on July 12, 2018 [1 favorite]


I haven't seen anyone comment on "top of the Standard for drinks". Not sure whether you mean the top floor (the Boom Boom Room) or the roof (Le Bain). I haven't been to either one in about three years but at that time both were very hard to get into, even on a Sunday. I doubt this has changed. I used to have luck going to Le Bain on a Sunday afternoon (not evening!) - line up at the side of the building but the line will be short on a Sunday afternoon. For the Boom Boom Room, I'm guessing you need a reservation at any time of day or night. While you're at it, it couldn't hurt to ask about reservations for Le Bain in case they are taking those. I'd have a backup plan in case both of these are a no-go though.
posted by sunflower16 at 4:28 AM on July 13, 2018


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