The New York Pass: any experiences / cautions / advice?
June 19, 2007 3:08 AM   Subscribe

Have you used the New York Pass? Any advice, especially any scheduling or usage strategies that worked or didn't work for you? Any aspect of the experience that wasn't as advertised? Anything you wish you'd done differently?

I'm a NYC resident and sometime soon I'll be doing the seven-day New York Pass. Can't afford a vacation elsewhere so I'm just taking a week to run around being a tourist, which I never get to do. I have a tentative plan for the week (it's below, but feel free to ignore it if you just have a general comment to make about the pass).

My plan is dense but workable for somebody who has no other tourist-ambitions for the week, knows the subway by heart, and will pack her lunches. I can always scale back if I feel like it (backstage tours would be the first to go in that case).

You can repeat things once a day, so I'll do one of the four different Circle Line rides every morning or evening because I love those. I'll skip the things that deserve long visits and are cheap anyway, like the zoos & gardens. And I'll avoid the museums' free days.

[weekday] -- circle line 2 -- tv/radio museum 3 -- guggenheim & whitney 5+
[weekday] -- circle line 3 -- natural history museum 4+ -- two backstage tours 3
[weekday] -- circle line 4 -- intrepid museum 2 -- two backstage tours 4
[weekday] -- circle line 2 -- empire state & skyride 3 -- three backstage tours
[weekday] -- circle line 3 -- liberty & ellis islands 4 -- empire state & skyride 2
[weekend day] -- circle line 3 -- museum of the moving image [queens] 4 -- science center [queens] 3
[weekend day] -- circle line 3 -- ny aquarium [at coney island] 3 -- brooklyn museum 4+
posted by sparrows to Travel & Transportation around New York, NY (13 answers total) 6 users marked this as a favorite
(Correction: on the last day, Aquarium should be 4+ and Museum should be 3.)
posted by sparrows at 3:14 AM on June 19, 2007

Am I correct in seeing the schedule you posted as including 5 hours at the Empire State Building? That seems a little much - as a non-New Yorker, I enjoyed my visit but only hung out at the top for, say, half an hour taking photos.

One of my favorite places in the city was The Cloisters; it was really quiet the random rainy Tuesday morning I went a few years back, and I think you'd be remiss to skip it. Keep in mind that you can visit the Met and the Cloisters on the same day with the same ticket, and that the $20 fee is a "suggestion," so if you can endure the glare of a museum employee for a few seconds, you could pay less.
posted by mdonley at 3:36 AM on June 19, 2007

Is the Intrepid museum open in the ship's absence?

You know that, like the Met, you can get into the Natural History Museum anytime at whatever "suggested donation" you want.

I would suggest trying the Museum of TV and Radio if you haven't been. Further, Wave Hill in the Bronx is supposed to be incredible, and I'm a sucker for the NY Botanical Gardens. You could combine them with the Cloisters to get some Upper Manhattan/Bronx experiences.

I've heard the aquarium at Coney Island is "really sad", but I've never been.

I see a bunch of things with the word "helicopter" in their name on the NY Pass page. Is that for real? I would totally take a helicopter ride or 10.
posted by These Premises Are Alarmed at 4:25 AM on June 19, 2007

Oh, I see you did list the TV and Radio museum. Not sure how I missed it.
posted by These Premises Are Alarmed at 5:34 AM on June 19, 2007

I would think that the Intrepid museum would be closed; the ship itself is drydocked in NJ, and the Concorde that was on display is currently out in Brooklyn. I've heard they're also doing work on the pier where Intrepid was docked while it's out, so I don't know if there'd be much worth seeing there.
posted by Godbert at 5:54 AM on June 19, 2007

Both Wave Hill and the Cloisters are great places to feel like you've actually left the city, but Wave Hill is a pain in the ass to get to if you're using the subway. The Cloisters/Botanical Gardens idea is a good one, albeit a full day you'd have to replace. And I agree that the Intrepid museum is probably not really worth the time without the carrier there.

I'd make some more suggestions but for some reason I can't get the New York Pass page to load at the moment.
posted by JaredSeth at 5:57 AM on June 19, 2007

By the way, the Museum of TV and Radio is now the The Paley Center for Media. And there's not really many exhibits there per se, mostly the ability to drop in and watch any specific old TV program. They've started adding some exhibits now that they've changed their name, but my understanding is that it's not a traditional museum the way that we think of them. I've been there a few times before and it really looked like an office building with some TV studio spaces.

Additionally, I see that the UN tour is on the list -- it's not actually all that interesting of a tour. I find the buildings themselves to be kind of ugly, and the most exciting part is getting a peek in the (also ugly) assembly rooms.
posted by kathryn at 8:45 AM on June 19, 2007

skip the museum of tv and radio. its really just an excuse to go watch old TV shows. while this is great fun and I had a membership there for a few years, it really doesn't seem like the kind of thing that would fit in with what you're planning.

also, i'm not sure exactly what it is you're going for at some of these places, but with the amount of time you intend to spend at some of the larger museums (nat. history being the most glaring) you will not even come close to getting to check it all out so i don't know if you're fully considering just how large some of these places are in your planning.
posted by teishu at 9:43 AM on June 19, 2007

Thanks folks!

I'm very into parks in my natural life, so they're not for this week -- with the pass I'm trying to get the best value on a week of things I otherwise wouldn't do because of their admission costs.

Good point about the Intrepid Museum. I was including it because it's practically next to the Circle Line dock, but I agree, not worth it without the boat!

Good point about the Natural History museum being pay-what-you-wish -- now I see it falls in my category of "things that deserve long visits and don't cost a lot anyway."

Sadly the helicopter rides are only discounted, rather than included for free, with the pass. Deceptively (I think), that page includes a lot of things that are not free. You have to click on each one to find out.

Has anybody actually used the pass?
posted by sparrows at 11:14 AM on June 19, 2007

Also, re. the Empire State Building: if anything I'm probably underestimating the hours I want there. I'm the kind of city geek who is actually going to love standing there with my little bincoulars and looking at everything I know from a different perspective, and taking photos, for hours...
posted by sparrows at 11:21 AM on June 19, 2007

Never used the pass. If it were me I'd swap the Nat History museum with the MOMA, because you can't bat your eyes and pay less at the MOMA. Have a good vacation!
posted by These Premises Are Alarmed at 12:47 PM on June 19, 2007

Woah! These Premises, that's the most exciting answer so far because when I made this list (just a few months ago) MoMA was definitely not part of the pass.

So the lesson is that I should go through everything again immediately before I start my week, to catch changes like that.
posted by sparrows at 12:52 PM on June 19, 2007

Report: the pass worked great, with the exception of being sent to and waiting through the wrong line at the Empire State Building (so watch out there and make sure you follow the printed instructions in your pass book, not instructions from a human guard).

The only significant change was that I ended up only doing one Circle Line ride because I couldn't stand the constant lame tour guide narration (too loud to be blocked even with my good headphones). So much for relaxing rides every day. But they added not only MoMA but also the Bodies exhibit, which I went to twice for whole mornings (AMAZING).

Overall: I can't speak to the value of the pass for a tourist who won't be doing pass stuff solidly all week (a tourist might be able to assemble individual tickets more cheaply, depending on their interests/schedule), but for a New Yorker it rocks as a cheap vacation.
posted by sparrows at 11:24 AM on November 12, 2007

« Older How can I explain to my boyfriend that his request...   |   What can friends do after a car accident? Newer »
This thread is closed to new comments.