Things to do in NYC with a bad knee?
February 7, 2008 11:10 AM   Subscribe

Bad Knee, Big City, or: How do I entertain my mother while she's here in New York this weekend?

Usually we're good with museums and just wandering around, but she just had knee surgery last week, and while she's mobile enough to get around anything that requires lots of standing will probably just be too taxing.

More specifics:
She had knee surgery because her knee troubles have been keeping her from running half-marathons, so it's not like she's generally incapacitated, and I want to try to avoid making her more frustrated than she already is with her temporary lack of mobility—thus while we could probably get a wheelchair and I could push us around MoMA, I think this would be more exasperating than fun.

They arrive Friday afternoon and are leaving Monday morning. They'll have a car, but unless we leave the city I doubt we'll use it.

I think we'll probably go see a play in the afternoon on Sunday, but that's still up in the air. We also have dinner reservations every night that they're here, at the kinds of places where dinner can pretty much take the whole evening, so the evenings are pretty well covered.

I've thought about movies, but while she enjoys them she's not exactly a cinephile, so the fact that we're seeing something that's rarely shown is not likely to outweigh the fact that we're sitting in the dark and not really spending time together.

She and her husband (who will also be here, but who has no mobility problems and is hence not at the forefront of my considerations at this moment) are both really into food and wine—are "foodies," if you will. (Hence the dinner reservations, which were probably made before they even booked a hotel room.)

They're staying near Wall Street, right off of the 2/3.

Touristy stuff is fine; they're not snobs (except about food), and though I kind of am I can probably swallow it down for a weekend.

Thanks in advance for your brilliant ideas, fellow New Yorkers.
posted by felix grundy to Travel & Transportation around New York, NY (8 answers total) 4 users marked this as a favorite
Circleline? Hockey game? Bus tour of Harlem?
posted by shothotbot at 11:20 AM on February 7, 2008

Friday: Their neighborhood, Battery Park and Brooklyn Bridge. Driving might help here.
Saturday: Tour Bus in the morning for the Manhattan high points in a short amount of time, MoMA with wheelchair in the afternoon (just do it). Carnegie for lunch while you're in midtown.
Sunday: Guggenheim, Met, Central Park. Or the play. UWS means Gray's Papaya at 72nd/Bway.

There's no shame in a wheelchair, especially with obvious surgical bandaging.
posted by rhizome at 11:26 AM on February 7, 2008

My dad can't walk very well (and doesn't normally run half marathons). When he came to town the most successful thing we did was the Circle Line boat tour. 3 hours, you can listen to the tour guide or ignore him, you can grab a window seat or wander around the desk.

Beyond that I just dr ove him around Manhattan a bit, but his interests are basically NASCAR and complaining, so it worked for him.
posted by These Premises Are Alarmed at 11:31 AM on February 7, 2008

Tour of Yankee Stadium. Drive up there, park in the player's lot and there is not a lot of walking. Last season in the old ballpark.

Of course, if they don't care about baseball or history, this could suck.
posted by JohnnyGunn at 11:34 AM on February 7, 2008

It sounds like your mom has been to Manhattan several times before and is mostly coming to see you? If so, you could spend Sunday morning or afternoon just sitting together in a comfortable coffee shop, reading the Times and maybe doing the crossword. I've used the Tea Lounge in Brooklyn for this but I'm sure there's something closer to you that would work.

Another option: swimming is great for the knees. How about getting day passes to a fancy swim club in the city? Or you could visit a spa together. Not New York-specific, perhaps, but still a darn good time.
posted by Mender at 12:34 PM on February 7, 2008

This Friday night you can go to You can go to the Zebulon Cafe and see the jazz musicians playing there. It's a wonderful place. My cousin will be playing drums, and if you tell him between sets that I sent you there, he will probably join you and your mother for a drink and give you all types of recommendations on how to spend your time. His name is Adam Coopersmith and he loves meeting new people.

Zebulon is located on 258 Wythe ave..... between N. 3rd and Metropolitan. His set starts at 8pm.

I hope you go. Forget the touristy stuff. Check out some culture instead.

Hope this was helpful.
posted by lukeklein at 1:24 PM on February 7, 2008

If they're planning on taking public transportation, I find that the subways in NYC are murder on my knees. The buses are a lot better.
posted by Jeanne at 4:41 PM on February 7, 2008

Response by poster: Sorry to have let all these seemingly go into a vacuum—I got preoccupied with the actual visit. She ended up being a lot more mobile than we had expected, but still not museum ready (and, for clarification, the problem with the wheelchair idea is not that she'd be in any way ashamed to be in one but that our relationship dynamic would blow up in about five minutes or less if I were pushing her around in one); we went on the Circleline thing, which went pretty well, though between the tour guide's unending monotone and the motion of the boat we all almost went to sleep on the way back down the west side of Manhattan. We also ended up in Chinatown in the middle of the parade on Sunday, which was sort of a mistake—we just wanted dim sum—but ended up being pretty exciting anyway.

And though for various reasons they didn't work for us on this visit, all other suggestions were much appreciated!
posted by felix grundy at 6:04 PM on February 11, 2008 [1 favorite]

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