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New York hidden gems

(53 Posts)
squashyhat Sat 11-Nov-17 08:56:33

I'm thinking of doing a solo trip to New York next spring. I love the city and have been several times before, so done the main tourist sights (Empire State, Ellis Island, Top of the Rock - which I will probably do again as the view is so great - bike ride in Central Park, walked the High Line etc) The 9/11 memorial wasn't open when I last went so I will do that, and see a show on Broadway, but are there any other less obvious sights/visits I shouldn't miss?

OP’s posts: |
MissConductUS Sat 11-Nov-17 09:41:20

New Yorker here. There was a recent thread on this but it has fallen off my threads list and I can never seem to find them when that happens,

The 9/11 museum is really a must and needs about 3 hours to do properly. I love the Museum of Natural History and the Hayden Planetarium (they are adjacent and you can buy one ticket that gets you both). For the art museums, I favor the Metropolitan, but it depends on your taste in art. If you want more modern art, go to MOMA.

One hidden gem is the Central Park Zoo:

It's not huge but it's extremely well done. Lunch or dinner here is a treat you'll always remember:

If you tell me a bit about your interests I can be more specific.

We can't wait to see you again. smile

Noofly Sun 12-Nov-17 21:22:20

I loved the vertical tour of St John the Divine. We got to go right up on the flying buttresses, into the roof space and then onto the roof itself. Plus there’s a great Hungarian pastry shop just across the street. grin

MissConductUS Sun 12-Nov-17 23:59:23

I loved the vertical tour of St John the Divine.

It's so great that you made the trip! SJD is the largest cathedral in north America, and the seat of the Episcopal Bishop for the diocese of NY. As you probably know, the Episcopal Church is part of the Anglican Church and the direct historical descendant of the C of E in the US. I have been there many times for meetings but I've never taken the vertical tour, so thanks for the tip! smile

Titsywoo Mon 13-Nov-17 00:05:35

The Museum of Sex? It's certainly interesting and not very busy!

We are going next month. I am thinking about hiring bikes to ride around central park. It's so big and I'd like to see more of it. Also checking out other neighbourhoods so we are going to get a water taxi to Brooklyn and mooch around there then walk back over the bridge as the sun is setting smile

Titsywoo Mon 13-Nov-17 00:07:52

MissConductUS if you have any tips of things to do at Xmas time I'd appreciate it. Dh and I are bringing the kids (13 and 10) from 21st to 27th Dec. We're staying in the Meatpacking District.

BikeRunSki Mon 13-Nov-17 00:11:55

Not sure how “hidden” it is, but Ellen’s Stardust Diner. All the waiters/waitresses are Broadway wannabes and sing songs from the shows as they work.

MrsFezziwig Mon 13-Nov-17 00:31:53

Grand Central Station (get the audio guide, only $9). New York Public Library - free guided tour. Both really interesting buildings and enjoyed these as much as the more well known (and considerably more expensive) attractions.

mayhew Mon 13-Nov-17 00:49:55

The Tenement Museum in Little Italy was the best thing we did. It's booked small group tours only and is a fascinating history of immigration. You must book online in advance.

MissConductUS Mon 13-Nov-17 00:54:04

MissConductUS if you have any tips of things to do at Xmas time I'd appreciate it. Dh and I are bringing the kids (13 and 10) from 21st to 27th Dec.

Lovely! You simply must take them to this:

Radio City Christmas Spectacular

The show is terrific for all ages, and there's a backstage tour available separately that's well worth it too.

Radio City is part of Rockefeller Center so you can walk over and see the huge Xmas tree they do every year (scroll down a bit)

RC Events

Fabulous shopping in Rock Center (including a Nintendo store and a Lego store for the kids) and right on 5th Avenue to see the department store Xmas windows.

This has some great ideas, particularly the Intrepid Sea, Air and Space Museum, the Hall of Science and Natural History Museum:

NYC for Kids

My kids loved the Intrepid! Take a look at all of these and let me know what suits you or if you need more. I hope this helps Titsywoo and please, call me Miss C. smile

Jermajesty Mon 13-Nov-17 00:57:26

Second The Tenemant Museum. Absolutely fascinating.

BubblesBuddy Mon 13-Nov-17 22:18:46

I think the SoHo area is interesting to walk around with external fire escapes and a local neighbourhood feel to it because of the narrower streets. Easy to get to if you go to the 9/11 memorial too or in the Lower East side. Lots of great little restaurants there too - far less touristy than Ellen’s.

The Met is a wonderful museum but not cheap! Great for American art and crafts and you can do a highlights tour to familiarise yourself with what’s there and then go back for more detail.

ihatethecold Mon 13-Nov-17 22:27:43

I did a thread on here recently and got some great ideas for my teens.
I’ll post them tomorrow.

MissConductUS Tue 14-Nov-17 00:01:34

The Met is a wonderful museum but not cheap!

The posted price for a ticket is merely a recommendation. You can pay what you deem appropriate, and the same is true for the Museum of Natural History:

Seeking Clarity on fees at the Metropolitan Museum

During the 18th century there were many private museums in NYC run simply for a profit. They competed to display the most sensational, grotesque items from around the world. Fake artifacts were the rule. So when NYC started chartering real, non-profit museums they required entrance fees to be voluntary.

TBH, when I visit I usually pay the suggested amount because I want to support what they do. But if you want to offer them $10 per ticket to get in for the day I think that's perfectly fine too.

MissConductUS Tue 14-Nov-17 00:10:39

Here's another, more recent article on the same topic:

Met Challenges Voluntary Entrance Fees

The Met is trying to get the law changed to allow mandatory minimum entrance fees, at least for non NYC residents. Since the city owns the building and provides millions of dollars per year in support, it's not bloody likely in my humble opinion.

So if you come to NYC, please do not let a $25 ticket price deter you from visiting these cultural gems.

1805 Tue 14-Nov-17 00:13:07

going to NY in mid feb 2018. I'm wondering what kind of clothes/footware I'll need?

Shylo Tue 14-Nov-17 00:15:36

Absolutely second grand central station - its one of my favourite buildings and the sound is amazing ...... I can't really explain why I love it so much! There is a nice - but pricey - bar at the top of the main hall where you can sip a cocktail and watch the world go by.

If you're doing the rock again maybe consider going at a different time of day - I went up straight after we landed late one evening at about 9pm and it was virtually empty and the twinkling view was stunning

Bue Tue 14-Nov-17 00:24:28

If you like galleries, the Frick is marvellous. Worth it for the building alone.

MissConductUS Tue 14-Nov-17 00:28:47

1805 You'll need a good winter coat, gloves and a warm hat. You might need boots but you can buy them here if necessary.

Shylo I love GCT as well! It is an amazing building. The very high ceilings were a primitive form of air conditioning, allowing the hottest air to rise and leave things a bit cooler by the floor. The resulting acoustics are amazing. I passed through GCT twice a day for many years.

ihatethecold Tue 14-Nov-17 07:23:31


I went in feb 16 years ago. It was very cold and it snowed.
The wind was biting walking across Brooklyn Bridge.

ihatethecold Tue 14-Nov-17 10:28:23

This food tour was recommended to me.

We are planning on doing the Greenwich village tour.

LadyFlangeWidget Tue 14-Nov-17 11:28:18

Great Thread ladies. Am coming to NYC next May with my 2 DC. 7 and 8 years. MissConductUS any age appropriate suggestions, also of where to stay that is kid friendly ? thanks

MissConductUS Tue 14-Nov-17 11:49:00

The wind was biting walking across Brooklyn Bridge

What was the wind biting and why earth did it have to walk across the bridge? grin

Lady See the "NYC for Kids* link I posted above. Each entry lists the suggested ages. Just off the top of my head I'd say the Intrepid (among other things, you get a guided tour of a 1950's submarine and a retired space shuttle is on display), the Hayden Planetarium and Museum of Natural History are musts for those ages - dinosaurs, a life sized blue whale model, etc. and the Planetarium show is spectacular and highly educational. I'd probably skip the 9/11 museum.

I'm still getting the kids sorted for school, so I'll give it some thought and post more later.

ihatethecold Tue 14-Nov-17 13:28:01

Very funny missconductUs grin

MissConductUS Tue 14-Nov-17 15:03:46

LadyFlangeWidget See this for kid friendly places to stay:

Family Friendly Hotels in NYC

and select according to your budget. The first on the list is probably the best value but the neighborhood is a bit out of the way.

For things to see with them, add the Central Park Zoo. It's quite close to the Museum of Natural History/Hayden Planetarium and they'll get to see Central Park all in one go.

Central Park Zoo

See what's playing at Radio City - they always have kid friendly shows happening and Rockefeller Center is fabulous to walk around. Nintendo World and the Lego store are both there, along with lots of good choices for place to eat on the lower level.

Radio CIty

and as mentioned previously, the backstage tour is great fun - you get to see the backstage mechanics, costume rooms, memorabilia, etc. They tour small groups and it's very interactive.

If they need to let off a bit of steam try

Chelsea Piers

You can go bowling, rock climbing, gymnastics, etc. on a a drop in basis. It's on the water and in a nice neighborhood as well.

Can you tell me a bit about your kids interests?

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