What to do in NYC?
August 9, 2007 10:25 AM   Subscribe

What should I do with 3 days to kill in New York City?

I have spent a lot of time in NYC in the past but haven't been there since 1999.
My wife has to be there for training August 13th though 16th and I am going along. We will be staying in Midtown. I will have plenty of time to kill during the day and evenings to go out with my wife.

I will, of course, check out my old hangouts in Midtown, the guitar stores, etc. but I don't know what is currently fun to do. I've been to most of the usual tourist spots

We are interested in seeing local live music in a club setting. Pretty much any kind of music except Jazz (I love it but she doesn't). Also, places for inexpensive, good food, evening entertainment, etc.?
posted by Slacktastic to Travel & Transportation around New York, NY (29 answers total) 13 users marked this as a favorite
Go to Peanut Butter and Company in Greenwich Village. Best goddamn sandwiches on the planet.
posted by schroedinger at 10:50 AM on August 9, 2007 [1 favorite]

Have you checked out the NYC tag? Lots of good previous posts. Also pick up a couple "alternative" weekly papers when you arrive - show listings and the like found within.
posted by mdonley at 10:59 AM on August 9, 2007

Don't forget to revisit the best pizza-by-the-slice in the world. I'll leave it to the local folks to recommend a place, but I don't think you can go wrong anyplace.
posted by jquinby at 11:00 AM on August 9, 2007

Go see a show or a movie at McCarren Pool (there's a show on Wednesday, but I don't know your interests or music taste) in Williamsburg. Some events at this 'now closed down and used as a performance space' Pool are free or really cheap.

Grab a swimsuit and/or a volleyball and check out the free, floating barge pool and beach in Red Hook. But be prepared to wait up to an hour to swim or hit the sand, lines are long. Walk around Red Hook afters, see all the change going on, so many gardens and landscaping places, grab a drink if you are so inclined.

If you like modern art and haven't been, check out PS1 in Long Island City, an easy quick ride on the 7-train from Midtown. It's a really neat, slightly off the beaten path, primarily installation and photog museum.

For lunch, grab a burger etc. at Shake Shack in Madison Square Park on 23rd Street and people watch. Be prepared for a line but good eats....

Go to a Mets game, tickets are often available really cheap.

(Not a self-link) FreeNYC.net is a great source of free or cheap fun.
posted by bunnycup at 11:02 AM on August 9, 2007

1999, you say?

Step 1: Get Thee a copy of the Not-for-Tourists Guide to New York City. The subway routes have changed quite a bit since your last stay, and the guide offers a thumbable overview of locales categorized by subject (ie., bars, restaurants, ATMs, movie theaters).

Step 2: Subway? MetroCard. You'll find them near the turnstiles. The only place that still carries tokens is the MTA Museum at Grand Central.

Step 3: If you're going near St. Mark's, prepare for a shock. Only a handful of the old haunts remain (Kim's, Trash & Vaudeville, Khyber Pass, Sounds) while the rest of the place has gentrified. On the plus side, there's a fair number of places there which now serve sushi, and at reasonable rates.

Step 4: If you want punk rock nostalgia, skip Irving Plaza, which is now known as the Fillmore. The gigs there aren't quite as hot as they used to be...unless you're into the U.S. Air Guitar Finals on the 16th. I'd suggest grabbing a drink at Manitoba's, where you could shake hands with Handsome Dick himself, and quite possibly jonmc and pips as well.

Step 5: If you have enough time, you could check out B.B. King's Blues Club on the 16th; the Fabulous Thunderbirds will perform there at 8pm.
posted by Smart Dalek at 11:04 AM on August 9, 2007

Check out Ground Zero. It's bigger than it looks on television.
posted by four panels at 11:04 AM on August 9, 2007

P.S. here are links for info on McCarren Park Pool, the (actual pool) barge pool in Red Hook, and PS1.
posted by bunnycup at 11:07 AM on August 9, 2007

Here are several outstanding and inexpensive restaurants, selected at random off the top of my head. The real list would run into the hundreds, so if you give me some more parameters, I can guide you with much greater specificity...:

Gennarro (92 & Amsterdam)(Italian-the menu at the link is missing some of their best food, such as the fresh spaghetti--quite possibly my favorite dish of pasta in NYC)

Kasadela (11th and Ave C) (Japanese Izakaya with, among other things, the greatest chicken wings in the universe.)

Wu Liang Ye (48th bet 5&6) (Best accessible Szechuan in town.)

Barney Greengrass (86 & Amsterdam)(Classic! Latkes on the weekends.)

Rai Rai Ken The gold standard of NYC ramen. Cheap and awesome.

Momofuku Noodle Bar (9th & 1st)(Steamed buns, noodles, grits and overall deliciousness.)

Hummus Place (Several locations.)(Best fresh-made, warm Hummus I've had outside the Middle East and Dearborn, MI, and dirt cheap.)

Burger Joint at Le Parker Meridien (Totally incongruous and cheap fantastic burger, fries and a beer in one of the nicest hotels anywhere.)

Shake Shack Worth the wait.
posted by kosem at 11:13 AM on August 9, 2007 [3 favorites]

Response by poster: Great ideas so far. Thanks!

I've been kind of dreading the lack of the WTC on the skyline. I've been telling myself that I won't go to Ground Zero but I probably will.
posted by Slacktastic at 11:14 AM on August 9, 2007

2nd-ing the Shake Shack. Mmmmm.....
posted by spilon at 11:17 AM on August 9, 2007

Oh, and if you go to Williamsburg, as bunnycup suggests, there are a bunch of really good places to eat. Two of my favorites, about a fifteen to twenty minute walk to McCarren Park are Marlow and Sons and Diner, right next door to one another.
posted by kosem at 11:18 AM on August 9, 2007

Anyone know what happened to the Dojo Restaurant at 2nd and St. Marks? I hear it's closed now? :(

Is their other place as good?
posted by mad_little_monkey at 11:23 AM on August 9, 2007

Find an internet cafe and spend some time looking at the endless variations of this question that have already been posted.
posted by mkultra at 11:23 AM on August 9, 2007

The Upright Citizens Brigade Theatre has tons of improv ranging from $0-$10. The free and five dollar shows are kind of hit-or-miss, but the $8 shows are excellent. I especially recommend "The Stepfathers" and "Reuben Williams".

I also suggest S'Mac if you like macaroni and cheese.
posted by quixotic at 11:29 AM on August 9, 2007

Anyone know what happened to the Dojo Restaurant at 2nd and St. Marks? I hear it's closed now? :(

I seem to recall that it was closed by the health department.
posted by ThePinkSuperhero at 11:33 AM on August 9, 2007 [1 favorite]

Koronet! PizzaSlicesTheSizeOfAYieldSignFilter. 109th & Broadway.
posted by Mikey-San at 11:35 AM on August 9, 2007

I seem to recall that it was closed by the health department.

In that case, I guess the better question would have been whether the other Dojo is as bad. (No, not as bad, as I recall from eating there about 3 times a day as an NYU student). There are now SO many better options for vegetarian food...
posted by bunnycup at 11:36 AM on August 9, 2007

I'd suggest walking over the Brooklyn Bridge and gettng ice cream at the little place on the Brooklyn side. Weather will be a factor, of course.
posted by HeroZero at 11:37 AM on August 9, 2007

Free Stuff:
Casablanca is being shown in Bryant Park on the 13th at 8pm. Get there early for a good piece of grass.

Times Square Kiss in For Peace to celebrate the anniversary of VJ Day on the 14th at 1pm

Naumburg Orchestra - Jean-Marie Zeitouni, conductor at The Naumburg Bandshell is located mid-Central Park just south of the 72nd Street cross-drive. August 15th at 7:30

Lincoln Center Out of Doors
August 14: Tricia Brown Dance Company
August 15: Worldbeats tap and jazz festival
posted by kimdog at 11:41 AM on August 9, 2007

The Dojo was closed by the Health Dept? Damn, I ate there many a time (had a friend who worked there).
posted by Mister_A at 11:48 AM on August 9, 2007

Oh, I eat at the Dojo on Mercer and W 4th two or three times a month. No complaints at all... it's the best cheap eats around.
posted by kimdog at 11:55 AM on August 9, 2007

Spend an afternoon or evening strolling around City Island. It's really a nice view of Manhattan, and is one neighborhood even many lifelong New Yawkers never visit. You can take the BX29 bus to get there.
posted by paulsc at 12:04 PM on August 9, 2007

Coney Island. If you only get to New York every eight years, this is your last chance.
posted by gum at 12:17 PM on August 9, 2007

Sorry if this is all ignorant, but why is it the last chance to go to Coney Island? I thought I've heard rumors of it shutting down but I wasn't sure.
posted by slyboots421 at 12:45 PM on August 9, 2007

Thor Equities is turning Coney Island into a mall, although I thought I heard their deal just got nixed? I could be wrong....Gowanus Lounge has good ongoing coverage.
posted by bunnycup at 1:48 PM on August 9, 2007

Gothamist on Dojo closing- they said it was "temporary", but they never came back.
posted by ThePinkSuperhero at 2:45 PM on August 9, 2007 [1 favorite]

I've written a good bit about how to visit NYC, including a list of must-sees as well as what you can skip.

I'd put Rockefeller Center's Top of the Rock firmly in the must-see category, and it's new since your last visit. I'd put ground zero firmly in the don't-go-there category: It's a combination of a construction site, mass grave, and ticky-tack tourist trap full of people gawking without comprehending.
posted by anildash at 9:17 PM on August 9, 2007

And if you do go to Coney Island, don't forget to Shoot The Freak.
posted by jason's_planet at 9:15 AM on August 10, 2007

Response by poster: Thanks for the answers!

I have more than enough to do now.
posted by Slacktastic at 10:39 AM on August 10, 2007

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