Back in the New York groove.
March 5, 2019 11:15 AM   Subscribe

Yet another request for New York City ideas, sorry.

Six days in NYC for my SO's birthday. She knows we're going but the day to day stuff is all surprises. We've each been once before, separately, each for 3 days. We've done about half the tourist things and will tick off the other half this time. I could use an idea or two outside of that.


- we both love New York, movies about New York, books about New York, Jewish delis, we're pretty educated for not even being American let alone New Yorkers.
- we like most everything, cheap stuff, fancy stuff, tacky stuff, classy stuff, we're easy to please
- my favourite NYC thing ever was Sleep No More, hers was the ballet.
- currently have tickets for a pizza walk, a couple comedy shows and a walking tour of subway art.
- we're staying in Queens.

What we're looking for:

1. We like to dance, we go out dancing (mostly EDM/Techno/Trance at least a couple times a month and love everything else too) but we're old, is there such a thing a a fun, easy dancy venue where two 40 year olds won't look weird?

2. Different, quirky restaurant experiences, as in dinner theatre, supper club, etc.

3. The Moth, spoken word, outsider art, late late late night, etc.
posted by Cosine to Travel & Transportation around New York, NY (16 answers total) 15 users marked this as a favorite
If you liked Sleep No More, check out Then She Fell - I liked it even more. Along the same lines is Queen of the Night which I've heard falls into your quirky dinner experience bucket (caveat: I've never been to that one myself).
posted by sunflower16 at 11:22 AM on March 5, 2019 [3 favorites]

Club Cumming (Alan Cumming, it's not a straight up sex club) is supposed to have a pretty welcoming vibe on its dance nights (and queer-friendly of course), but I haven't been personally.

I would look at the nonsense nyc list for weird little one-off events. That crowd will skew younger but I think that's less important for non-dance events.
posted by praemunire at 11:24 AM on March 5, 2019

You say you like Jewish delis and you like quirky. Have you been to Katz's?
posted by slkinsey at 11:37 AM on March 5, 2019 [1 favorite]

If you like sushi this is a cool experience:

Sushi by Bou Suite 1001

It's $250 for 2 and in a hotel room. It sounds a little crazy but it's totally fun. You can make reservations here.

The Tenement Museum is awesome and has several different types of tours.

I have also been looking at Airbnb experiences lately and there are some really cool ones. This one is a food tour of Queens
posted by elvissa at 11:48 AM on March 5, 2019

What time of year? I love the MOMA PS1 concerts/parties (in Queens too), especially in the summer. Definitely quirky and welcoming but can skew young as some of their events are all ages.

House of Yes is supposed to be good (Brooklyn, creative/circus, themed dance parties).

I would also check out The Skint newsletter for fun, often random, events.
posted by icy_latte at 11:52 AM on March 5, 2019 [1 favorite]

Walk around South Williamsburg on a Sunday, get Chocolate Babka from Oneg Bakery.
posted by sandmanwv at 12:45 PM on March 5, 2019

For dancing in the summer, the Mr. Sunday dance party outdoors in the afternoon in Brooklyn is nice. The crowd's mostly fairly young, but the few times I've gone I didn't feel conspicuous or absurd being in my mid-forties.
posted by LizardBreath at 12:46 PM on March 5, 2019

City Island

Johnny's Reef
posted by Freedomboy at 12:56 PM on March 5, 2019 [1 favorite]

Seconding Then She Fell if you liked Sleep No More. If you liked Sleep No More, but wished there was more one-on-one interaction with the actors, and less rampaging crowds thundering around the place and talking when they shouldn't, it's super.

We went a year ago, and I'm still thinking about some of the stuff that I saw.
posted by joyceanmachine at 12:58 PM on March 5, 2019 [1 favorite]

Seconding the Skint as a newsletter to find good timely stuff. Definitely your vibes-kind-of-stuff.

House of Yes & Mr.Sundays are both very welcoming + very all-ages for dancing.

Museum of the Moving Image (in Queens!!) is FANTASTIC and has a great Jim Henson Collection.

If you are not overwhelmed with waking tours already, the excellent NYC History podcast The Bowery Boys have started taking people on walks. (great choice with Scott's Pizza Tours BTW)

Take the Staten Island Ferry (Free!) and drink the cheapest beers in Manhattan ($4.50 for a tall boy!) while enjoying fabulous views of the statue of liberty and the city. you can hang out in staten island or speed walk through the terminal and come straight back.
posted by wowenthusiast at 3:06 PM on March 5, 2019 [2 favorites]

Sticking to Queens, the American Folk Art Museum's Self-Taught Genius Gallery, on the border between Sunnyside and LIC in Queens sounds like it's exactly up your alley.

Another great Queens museum is the Noguchi, though it's slightly more fun when it's not freezing and you can enjoy the sculpture gardens.

The Louis Armstrong House in Corona is an underrated treasure.
posted by MeadowlarkMaude at 6:41 PM on March 5, 2019

you can hang out in staten island

If you've got six days and you've both been to NYC before this is actually not a bad idea! Two possible itineraries:

-Get Sri Lankan food near the corner of Victory Blvd. and Cebra Ave. (there are a few places literally on that corner but I don't remember the names), walk back to the ferry and stop at Flagship Brewing for a beer on the way.

-Go to Snug Harbor Cultural Center. I've always enjoyed the Chinese Scholars Garden and they usually have some art exhibits, too. You can also stop at Liedy's Shore Inn for a drink on the way back to the ferry.

Both of these destinations are about a 30-minute walk from the ferry, albeit in different directions. You could do all of it if you wanted to, but just one or the other would only take a few hours or so. There are buses but it's been so long since I've taken the bus on Staten Island that you'd probably want to consult the MTA website for that.
posted by breakin' the law at 6:48 PM on March 5, 2019 [3 favorites]

If you're curious about a daytime medieval scene, The Cloisters in North Manhattan.
posted by ovvl at 7:45 PM on March 5, 2019 [2 favorites]

I have not yet been to RetroClub, but I want to go and it's exactly the right spot for 40yos —see this review.

I love Sleep No More, and while Then She Fell is the logical next choice, I didn't like it as much. The approach is quite different: Whereas at SNM, you get to truly do your own thing for several hours, TSF is heavily guided, and you get moved from room to room by the performers fairly frequently. Obviously several people in this thread liked it a lot, though, so give it a shot.

For delis, if you haven't been to Second Ave. Deli, you gotta go. There are two locations, one on 33rd between 2nd & 3rd, and one on 75th and 1st. I highly recommend the latter because, on the second floor, there is now an entirely separate and surprisingly excellent cocktail bar that serves deli-inspired modern bar bites, like pastrami sliders. The vibe there is definitely millennial and it can be a bit loud, but I don't feel out of place there (I'm the same age group as you).

For an excellent restaurant/bar experience that is definitely very different, check out Banzarbar. It's a tiny little alcove above Freeman's Restaurant. They do a totally wild seafood and cocktail pairing, with drinks you definitely haven't ever had anywhere else. They also offer a dish that's a whole octopus they call "the Kraken." Definitely spendy, definitely worth it. And if you don't want to eat there, the drinks, again, are worth the trip, plus the space is very cool and sexy.

Oh, and seconding the good call on Scott's.
posted by Conrad Cornelius o'Donald o'Dell at 9:03 PM on March 5, 2019


- Most things these days are happening in Brooklyn

- Check Resident Advisor for parties that seem up your alley. Techno isn't my scene but it's very hot rn and NY is rich with it.

- Nowadays in Bushwick does ravey/techno stuff every Saturday. It's a nice spot, good sound, much fog.

- as icy_latte says above, House of Yes is a good spot. Burner vibes, they may make you put on a costume (they can provide) to get in. They know what they're doing, tho it can get crowded and young and gawky there, too.

- You may well feel old going out, though 1. if you stick to parties with covers that will be mitigated to some degree and 2. nobody really cares here, and you are likely to see folks of all ages out on any given night. Caveat: I'm 37 and go out a lot and DGAF. I definitely see my age, but never feel put off by it.

- If you let me know more about when you'll be here, where you're staying etc. I can probably come up with some spots that are worth dropping in on. Hell, if you're here at the end of March you can come to the party I'm throwing :P. DMs are open if you are interested.
posted by wemayfreeze at 10:34 AM on March 6, 2019 [2 favorites]

Response by poster: Thank you all so much! I will be following up with a few of you for more deets, yay!
posted by Cosine at 9:13 AM on March 7, 2019 [1 favorite]

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