What should we do in NYC in June with a kiddo?
May 11, 2021 10:01 AM   Subscribe

We will be in NYC in June (23-25), while we are vaccinated kiddo (9) is not. Any Covid friendly activities anyone can suggest? Likely staying near Central Park and my wife is not excited to get on a subway. Thinking museums with really limited capacity, outdoor exhibits, etc. Kiddo has only been to NY once in the winter for a show and our usual past haunts are not kiddo friendly.
posted by UMDirector to Travel & Transportation around New York, NY (15 answers total) 4 users marked this as a favorite
Which side of Central Park? Is your wife open to taxi/Uber (ugh), or are you strictly limited to walking distance?
posted by praemunire at 10:09 AM on May 11, 2021

Bring fold-up scooters! That way you can zip around Central Park, explore Hudson River Park, and more.

Intrepid Air and Space Museum is largely indoors but is MASSIVE and I'd feel just fine exploring it. Ditto for The Met and Natural History Museum.

Rockefeller Center is currently a 9 year-old's dream, containing FAO Schwartz toy store, a LEGO store, and the Nintendo Store.

Governor's Island is a perfect outdoor day trip. There's a lot to do there.
posted by greenland at 10:13 AM on May 11, 2021 [1 favorite]

Governor's Island but would require a taxi/uber to the ferry. (you could do a taxi/bus to a midtown ferry and do a couple transfers too if you really like to be on a ferry alot)
posted by sandmanwv at 10:19 AM on May 11, 2021

NY is 'reopening' as of May 19, which means basically everything is allowed to be at full capacity. I know some business are choosing to remain limited capacity, but I would definitely check in with individual museums/indoor activities as you plan for them if you are concerned.

Greenland's recommendations are pretty good.

You could also look into going to Coney Island and riding some rides (though that would be a pretty expensive Uber probably).

Hop on one of the ferries to see the city from the East River (you can catch it at E 90th or E 34th).
posted by greta simone at 10:28 AM on May 11, 2021 [1 favorite]

If you find yourself downtown, the Staten Island Ferry is nice, free, and you can stay on the outer deck. Great views of the Statue of Liberty and Manhattan.
posted by BlahLaLa at 10:29 AM on May 11, 2021

I highly recommend this audio walking tour of Central Park. Lifelong NYC resident and I just did it a couple of weeks ago and it was fantastic. And while their site shows a price of $7, this version of their app only charged $3 for it.

Also, while the tour says it's about 3 hours, you can do a shorter version. And there will be plenty of places you might want to stop if you feel comfortable, such as the Central Park Zoo or the Boat Pond.
posted by Conrad Cornelius o'Donald o'Dell at 10:54 AM on May 11, 2021 [5 favorites]

Response by poster: Not sure where in Central Park we will be staying. Likely south end but not certain. Anyone know of museums that have continued policy of limited capacity?
posted by UMDirector at 12:06 PM on May 11, 2021

Response by poster: Oh and mainly walking distance. Although we can walk a decent distance - not sure about all the wall downtown from midtown but pretty close to it.
posted by UMDirector at 12:10 PM on May 11, 2021

It will be hard to determine in June what museums will be limited capacity (if any-- with all the ads for the Met and MoMa I've seen which never existed before I think museums are going to be ready for people), but here are two things that might be food for thought in terms of conflict: A) Indoor dining has been back for awhile but it seems like many places are still somewhat empty indoors, so there's still a hesitation to go back to normal. If tourists stay away this will reduce your museum numbers. B) I've been to most big NYC museums since reopening and while wayyy less busy than before, it's not that easy to social distance, if you're squeamish about those things (which sounds like your wife might be).

The demographic of people who go to these museums, however, is in the near 100% vaccinated group range if that makes you fee better.
posted by sandmanwv at 12:17 PM on May 11, 2021

As of now, both the Met and the Museum of Natural History still have limited capacity (both use a timed-ticketing system to control traffic). They are also both cavernous spaces and, as sandmanwv indicated, at least the Met is largely frequented by older folks. In NYC something like 80% of 65+s are vaccinated. They will probably be within your definition of walking distance.

The East River ferries are pleasant and allow you to remain outside the whole time. I don't know that they will be a convenient form of transit for you, especially if you're starting anywhere west of 5th Ave. and you don't want to take the bus over to the East River. But it's a fun little trip if it happens to be in your vicinity.

Still, unless your kid finds nature totally boring, I agree with those above suggesting quality time in Central Park. In addition to tours already mentioned, the Wild Bird Fund does walks a couple of times a month--don't know if they coincide with your dates.
posted by praemunire at 12:37 PM on May 11, 2021 [1 favorite]

I don't think museums will be limiting capacity in June because (as greta simone mentioned) they were given the go-ahead to lift capacity limits by mid-May and they've been hurting. But it will take a while for tourism to catch up to pre-Covid numbers, so I suspect it will be unlikely to actually hit full capacity crowds in June.

That said, the Central Park Zoo is small but still fun, and mostly outdoors, the Van Gogh exhibit says they're timing their tickets for distancing, and the Cooper Hewitt and New York Historical Society tend to be under-crowded in general as NYC museums go - and definitely worth the trip. You can also call the Tenement Museum and see how they're handling tours - they always do small groups, so it's possible that this can be done with a minimum of exposure to other people.

If you're willing to take a cab, the Kusama installation at the Botanical Garden looks fantastic, and the Bronx Zoo is always great.
posted by Mchelly at 12:38 PM on May 11, 2021 [1 favorite]

Although we can walk a decent distance - not sure about all the wall downtown from midtown but pretty close to it

I have no specifics to add, and hope you have a great time, but do not underestimate the heat, the hard sidewalks, the potholes, the having to dodge the crowds constantly, the stopping and starting at pedestrian crossings ... you might find that walking in NYC is much more draining (physically and psychologically) than hiking in the woods or strolling in suburbia, and 1 mile (20 blocks) is much longer than other places.
posted by Dotty at 12:42 PM on May 11, 2021 [2 favorites]

Maybe read up on some Revolutionary War history, Washington and Howe. If the fog hadn't rolled in, Washington could well have been captured. And later, Washington was going up the west side, while Howe was coming down the east side - if a British soldier had been taller, the Yanks, again, could've lost the war.
posted by at at 8:29 PM on May 11, 2021

The East River Ferry is great! Highly recommend!

Seriously though, if you are still squeamish about crowds, you're going to have trouble enjoying NYC. Central Park was mobbed a couple weekends ago. People are definitely masked, but I think that will start dwindling by summertime when the majority of the population here is vaccinated. There will be more crowds and tourists at the end of June. I caution you to come into this trip mentally prepared to be around more people than you have been around in a long time. NYC is coming back to life.
posted by DEiBnL13 at 9:17 PM on May 11, 2021 [2 favorites]

NY Botanical Garden is fantastic
posted by Text TK at 9:54 PM on May 11, 2021

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