New York for a week!

CherryCherry Registered User regular
Hey everyone!

I'm heading to New York for a week with my sister. We were able to score accommodations in Manhattan for free with a family member. So we are super psyched.

My question to you is what are the best things to do, see and eat. We have both been there a couple of times but for shorter lengths of time. We've done the big sights, like the Statue of Liberty, Empire state building etc. We don't want to see those.

I'm looking for stuff that is amazing and more off the beaten track. We both like history, art, animals, and into geeky stuff and general awesomeness. Stuff maybe the locals know and aren't well known by tourists.

For places to eat, there's no restrictions to type of food or venue (like cool food trucks or hole in the walls). Unfortunately my sister is a poor student so we would like to keep it on the cheaper side, but if there's an awesome upscale restaurant that we MUST try, please, suggest it!

We're both not into the drinking/club scene so you can skip those. Also we'll be hanging out with our little nephew who's 2 years old. Any fun places to take him would be great too! Also please don't restrict your suggestions to Manhattan. If there's something that you can think of that is in the other boroughs, please suggest it!

This week is all about experiencing as much as possible in this fabulous city!

Thanks in advance!


  • CelestialBadgerCelestialBadger Registered User regular
    For animals and toddler appeal, try the Natural History museum, conveniently next to Central Park.

    For cool food and a fun area to walk about, try St Marks in the East Village. A studenty area with lots of cheap cafes and food trucks. Near to Washington Square Park, which is a small park with lots of street performers and a kid's playground. Check out Spot Dessert Cafe, with slightly pricy but amazing desserts and ice-cream.

    Avoid Times Square. Cheesy, overpriced, and hated by the locals.

  • Chop LogicChop Logic Registered User regular
    If I were you I'd definitely hit up the Met if you haven't. Although its not off the beaten track, its one of the best art museums in the world. Other things (hit up their websites to see if any shows interest you) would be the Frick, The Guggenheim, Brooklyn museum, the Whitney, etc.

    I would definitely recommend the Rubin museum in Chelsea. It is a Himalayan art museum that is less well known but it is one of my favorites and the art there is world class and unlike anything you'll see anywhere else (primarily Tibetan, largest collection of Tibetan art in the western hemisphere). On Friday nights after 6 it's free, and the cafe turns into a bar/lounge that is pretty chill (ethical disclaimer: I work there... but thats not why I'm recommending it. It's my favorite museum).

    More off the beaten track, Thursday nights galleries open in Chelsea and they usually have free wine and cheese (and are free). I can recommend the Johnathan Levine gallery, but in the 20's (streets, i.e., 21st st - ~29th st around 9th ave) there are lots of galleries. The art is new artists, there are always gems and terrible stuff but its fun to cruise around and drink free alcohol. Google it up but I think they usually close shop around 8 or 8:30.

    Williamsburg, specifically off the Bedford stop, is a great place to walk around on a saturday afternoon. There is also Smourgasberg and cool flea markets and thrift markets, etc. Lots of cool bars, etc. Cool places to catch shows: Music hall of Williamsburg... that's all I can think of right now but there is many more.

    Food, I would reccomend Punjabi @ 114 E 1st St. It's my favorite place to eat... it is a hole in the wall (almost literally) indian place to get very cheap and delicious Indian food. It is a true hole in the wall spot that is slowly going the way of the buffalo so I'd check it out, unless you hate Indian food (don't tell me if you do). There are lots of cool spots to get food that may not be available in your hometown (Bahn Mi sandwiches at Num Pang and other places, lots of Ramen spots, notably Minca on 5th street between A and B, not especially cheap though, I'm vegetarian so I can't vouch for it but I hear its the best).

    Brooklyn style: lots of cool bars off the Bedford L, a few cool spots from there to the Morgan or Jefferson L. Off the Morgan stop there is a thrift store called Beacons Closet, a place called Robertas (really dope but again not especially cheap just so you know) and lots of bars. It's sort of a young person enclave at the edge of gentrification, which is cool, a hot spot set into an industrial wasteland. If you want a good picture of what Brooklyn is like in my opinion you could get out at the Morgan L stop and walk to the Bedford L stop (during the day), just my opinion though.

  • Chop LogicChop Logic Registered User regular
    edited July 2014
    Another good walk as per the poster above me is St. Marks -> to Washington Square park, then heading down on Tompkins (I think it's Tomkins, through the Arch, over the fountain, in that direction) down into the cool part of Soho, nice shady chill area with cool stores. Alphabet city and Tompkins Square Park are also cool, its a manifestation of Manhattan that is slowly disappearing, cheap eats and chill bars.

    The Brooklyn Childrens museum is great for kids, it's in Crown Heights, so depending where in Manhattan you are you could take the A / C there and back. There is a park around there too.

    Chop Logic on
  • CherryCherry Registered User regular
    What are your opinions of using the subway system at night? I was told not to use it after 7:30pm which I find ridiculous. We wanted to go to an amateur night at the Apollo during the week.

  • EntriechEntriech Registered User regular
    My one recommendation would be to ensure you stop at Veniero's to get a slice of cheesecake. We were steered that way when I asked a question similar to yours last year. You may find some of the suggestions in there useful as well.

    Getting onto a boat on the water at some point is something I'd definitely recommend. My wife and I were staying across the river in New Jersey, and elected to head over to Manhattan one day by the ferry, from Hoboken over to the Financial District pier, so along the west and south ends of the island, and really enjoyed the ride. Ferry was dead empty in the middle of the day, the ride wasn't expensive, and it was a beautiful day.

  • AkilaeAkilae Registered User regular
    edited July 2014
    Cherry wrote: »
    What are your opinions of using the subway system at night? I was told not to use it after 7:30pm which I find ridiculous. We wanted to go to an amateur night at the Apollo during the week.

    Absolutely. I tell all the tourists I meet the same thing.
    So you of the filthy bridge and tunnel crowd don't crowd into my rush hour commute and steal my valuable seating space.

    All kidding aside, there are times you don't want to use the subway. Usually it's quite obvious, like when you're the ONLY people waiting on the platform.

    I sense from Chop Logic's list that he is a coconut-water drinking Williamsburg hipster and should therefore be ignored. ;) There's really very little that's "off the beaten path" in NYC these days... however, here are a few recommendations:

    -Hall of Science out in Queens. Kids love it. You're bringing a kid. Ergo, it's a good visit. Plus, the Hall of Science is right by Flushing Meadows, and you can geek out MiB style at the World's Fair grounds.
    -If you want to see "Chinatown", the true Chinatown these days is along East Broadway, away from all the fake Guchi vendors. Still, if you have time, AND you want good, cheap food, you could do much worse than stop by Jing Fong in Chinatown proper for dim sum.
    -While you're there, Chinatown Ice Cream Factory for Sriracha flavored ice cream.
    -Noodle Pudding just wired me more money into my numbered Swiss Bank account, hence I am compelled to throw in their name as an Italian restaurant to go to. Prices are not exactly cheap, but the value for what you pay is superb. Again, as I recommended Entriech, inquire about their "Trust Me Menu" before you order anything.
    -El Quijote is another superb restaurant that you should hit before it disappears. Their paella alone will feed a family for a week!
    -St. Mark's is actually slowly being reinvented into something... different. Still, Kenka is a good place to go for cheap Japanese grilled eats.
    -Morgan Library Museum. Not swamped by crowds yet, and a good visit for any history and art buff.
    -Cloisters if you haven't seen it yet.
    -Museum of the City of New York.
    -Brooklyn Museum. It's like a mini The Met, except ignored by most tourists.
    -Right by the Brooklyn Museum, is Brooklyn Botanical Garden.

    Akilae on
  • hsuhsu Registered User regular
    I know your sister is poor, but Broadway musicals or even off Broadway musicals are just a ton of fun. There are 3 places to pick up half price tickets, but my preference is the South Street Seaport TKTS booth, as that's still in Manhattan, with only a 15 minute wait (the other locations are Times Square, with a 2 hour wait, or way out in Brooklyn). I highly recommend Kinky Boots or Avenue Q, if you're new to musicals.

    In terms of free stuff, walk the High Line. It's an elevated train track converted into a mile long park, 3-4 stories above the ground.

    For food, you have to try thin crust pizza, as in, the crust is thin as a wrap, like 1-2 mm. Vezzo and Ovest are great examples, if maybe a bit out of your sister's price range. NYC is the only city where I've found these thin crust pizzas.

    For snacks, you have to try Pie Face. They are small 24 hour corner shop chain that sells a variety of small, cupcake sized pies, everything from sweet desert pies to hot breakfast and lunch pies, I've yet to have a pie I didn't like.

    And don't worry about the subway. I've used the subway at all hours, including well past midnight, without a problem. Stick to Manhattan and you'll be safe.

  • JebusUDJebusUD Adventure! Candy IslandRegistered User regular
    I went to Les Halles downtown when I was there. It was very good. Steakhouse, good food, nice restaurant, but still had a fun atmosphere. Definitely heard some MJ hits of the 80's there.

    I also quite enjoyed the Bluebird Coffee Shop. Definitely hole in the wall. There are like... 10 seats in the whole place. The windows in front open out to the street though, so it isn't totally crammed in. Great coffee, very fun little shop. I'd recommend it.

    I'll try to think of more stuff we had done. I know you said not touristy, but I loved top of the rock art tour. It was one of the best tours i've ever been on. Very interesting, great art, and great tour guides. Plus Rockefeller plaza is very beautiful.

    I had no issues with the subway. We were down there in the middle of the night. 1Am-ish. It was never scary. Hot at a few stations, and sort of dirty. But not scary. Very convenient.

    And I won, so you lose,
    Guess it always comes down to.
  • CelestialBadgerCelestialBadger Registered User regular
    Cherry wrote: »
    What are your opinions of using the subway system at night? I was told not to use it after 7:30pm which I find ridiculous. We wanted to go to an amateur night at the Apollo during the week.

    Nonsense. At 7.30pm you still have the commuter crowd. After about midnight you can get situations where you are the only people on the platform apart from a muttering homeless guy with a festering sore. Timid tourists might want to splash on a taxi, which are not terribly expensive, and Manhattan swarms with them.

  • CauldCauld Registered User regular
    I don't ever feel unsafe on the subway, except when there's a homeless guy talking to himself and angry. But you can always just change cars if that happens. The biggest problem with late subways (after 10pm or so) is that the service changes and it is much less frequent. Despite all that it usually ends up almost as crowded as rush hour.

  • EntriechEntriech Registered User regular
    One thing I did discover, there's definitely some really bad times to try to catch a cab, even in mid-town. Shift-change combined with leaving a popular tourist destination that was closing resulted in a very long wait for us one day, so if you're someplace like a big museum and you've gotta get out of there on time, don't necessarily rely on a taxi being around to pick you up.

  • PacificstarPacificstar Registered User regular
    I highly recommend Sweet Revenge in Manhattan. It's a place that pairs cupcakes with beer or wine. They also have savory cupcakes. I had a jerk chicken cupcake with a beer that really truly did pair well with the cupcake.

  • Chop LogicChop Logic Registered User regular
    Cherry wrote: »
    What are your opinions of using the subway system at night? I was told not to use it after 7:30pm which I find ridiculous. We wanted to go to an amateur night at the Apollo during the week.

    you can absolutely use the Subway anytime. As long as you are using logic you will be perfectly safe. I wouldn't plan on leaving Harlem for a long walk at 2 in the morning, but I've never had any problems anywhere. For what it's worth the spots I mentioned off the L are perfectly safe. The only thing to be aware of is, for example, if you have a long walk from the Subway and it's past 2am or something, for example. But yes, it's fine, and my friends with smartphones have apps which I'm sure are free that tell you exactly when the subway is coming, if you're paranoid and don't want to be underground waiting for too long. Past midnight you might expect to wait a minute for some trains. The L is always solid, most of the mainline trains like A C E, 1 2 3, 4 5 6 are fine, past midnight I wouldn't bank on the G M J, etc. They will come eventually but late night you may end up waiting a while.

  • Pure DinPure Din Boston-areaRegistered User regular
    This is pretty touristy, but my fiancé and I went on the foods of NY Greenwich Village tour a few months ago and really enjoyed it. In general I really like food tours because they let you try the best thing at a bunch of different restaurants, for a price that's more like what you would pay for one fancy restaurant.

  • CherryCherry Registered User regular
    These suggestions are great! Thanks guys! I can't wait to try these different restaurants! And I knew that suggestion for the subway ridiculous. Pure Din, we are going on a food tour as well! But that one looks fun too!

  • AngelHedgieAngelHedgie Registered User regular
    This isn't in the boroughs, but is accessible by mass transit - you can take the Hudson Line up to the Dia:Beacon art installation in Beacon, NY. Be forewarned - it is a 1 1/2 - 2 hour trip each way. That said, the Hudson Line runs along the Hudson, so you would get to see the scenery along the river, and if you are traveling in autumn, you'll get to see the whole Valley ablaze in color as the leaves change.

    XBL: Nox Aeternum / PSN: NoxAeternum / NN:NoxAeternum / Steam: noxaeternum
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