signol
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New York - Non-obvious Sights To See / Do

Tue Mar 29, 2011 6:43 pm

Hi all,

I'm going to New York next week, for a week, and wondered if anyone can recommend things to see and do.
We know we'll see the obvious touristy things, like Times Sq, Empire State, Staten Island Ferry, and some less so (the building from Friends, the aircraft carrier museum, etc). What else is recommended, and what should we not waste our time on?

We will be staying in Brooklyn (near Bedford-Nostrand Ave subway) and will be my wife, myself and our (nearly) 2 year old boy.

Thanks for the suggestions!

signol
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aloges
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RE: New York - Non-obvious Sights To See / Do

Tue Mar 29, 2011 9:13 pm

I made a subway trip to Broad Channel when I was there four years ago. After a brief visit to this island full of small family homes and cats, I continued to Rockaway Park, had some pizza at a small joint right next to the beach and watched the aircraft approaching JFK. All in all, it was a great day.
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Gemuser
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RE: New York - Non-obvious Sights To See / Do

Tue Mar 29, 2011 10:06 pm

The NYC Transit Museum in Brooklyn is very worthwhile if you are at all interested in such things. It's in a disused subway station so the atmosphere is very authentic.

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DocLightning
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RE: New York - Non-obvious Sights To See / Do

Tue Mar 29, 2011 10:27 pm

First of all, knock the SI ferry off the list. It's a waste of a few hours. If you want to see Lady Liberty then go to Liberty Island.

Second, take the Roosevelt Island tram over to...well... Roosevelt Island. The trip on the tram takes about 3 minutes, but the views down the avenues are amazing and the view of Manhattan from the island are really great. Not much to do on the island itself, so don't plan on spending too much time there.

The observation deck at Rockefeller center is also quite nice. For one thing, you can see the Empire State Building, which is awfully tough to do when you are actually standing on top of the Empire State Building. Oh, and do the ESB at night. If you do it during the day, you will spend two hours in line to look at a grey, hazy mess. At night, it's lights and twinkles and magic.

The BEST Indian Food is at 28th (maybe 26th?) and Lexington Ave at a place called HAANDI. I know you're from England and so Indian is your national cuisine, but this is *really* good. There's a great Afghani place at 28 and 3rd where I recommend you order the Fesenjan.

You should also take a wander down St. Mark's Pl., which is the NYC version of Camden Town.

And you MUST have a slice of New York-Style pizza, which is available on most street corners. Remember, it's not authentic unless served to you rudely in a NYC accent. The garlic knots are also amazing at those places, but you should be careful to stay well upwind of anyone else after eating one of those.

If anything else comes to mind, I'll let you know.
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ANITIX87
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RE: New York - Non-obvious Sights To See / Do

Tue Mar 29, 2011 10:28 pm

Quoting gemuser (Reply 2):
The NYC Transit Museum in Brooklyn is very worthwhile if you are at all interested in such things. It's in a disused subway station so the atmosphere is very authentic

Went a few weeks ago. Great, great, great place, especially the lower level.

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RE: New York - Non-obvious Sights To See / Do

Wed Mar 30, 2011 1:29 am

I am a person who has worked in NY City for over 30 years. Among the things I would includes:

Visiting the neighborhoods like Chinatown, Tribeca and SoHo in Manhattan, Brooklyn Heights (in Brooklyn, of Course) with its lovely brownstone houses.
If you get a chance, look into the lobbies of major office buildings like the Empire State Building, the Woolworth Building with their interesting styles.
The museums of Art including the Metropolitan, Modern, Guggenheim, as well as the Natural History Museum and even the kid will be entertained.
 
mbmbos
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RE: New York - Non-obvious Sights To See / Do

Wed Mar 30, 2011 1:29 am

If you're a book lover check out The Strand in lower Manhattan. If you also happen to be a furniture lover check out the whole neighborhood when you visit The Strand. There are tons of very interesting and creative furniture and furnishings shops, including the gargantuan ABC Carpet, which consists of ten, eleven floors of furniture from around the world. They have a boulangerie inside that serves a great lunch or mid afternoon nosh. It's a wildly exotic place. There's great Italian food in the area too. Also, if you're an electronics maven, J&R Electronics is located near Wall Street, which isn't very far from the other things I mentioned.

Eighth Avenue (Midtown area) is a bit sleazy but there are some wonderful kosher delis still in the area. A little further up - The Upper West Side is very urbane. Lots of cool shops, eateries and other diversions. It's also the home of the Lincoln Center and the Natural History Museum and the Dakota, where John Lennon and Yoko Ono once lived are nearby.

I'm a big believer in getting the touristy stuff behind you and just finding a neighborhood and absorbing yourself in it. It's much more rewarding than following a guide book. The two areas I mentioned are great for taking in the local color.
 
jetblue777
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RE: New York - Non-obvious Sights To See / Do

Wed Mar 30, 2011 2:21 am

I particularly like Uptown Manhattan. Try to visit the Guggenheim and perhaps the National Museum of Natural History. You could also walk across the Brooklyn Bridge, go to the Brooklyn Promenade at sunset which provides an awesome view of Downtown Manhattan.

Brooklyn Bridge Park is a great place to relax and see Manhattan, take some pictures and etc.

http://www.shawnhoke.com/wp-content/uploads/2010/05/BBParkManhattan-copy.jpg

Quoting signol (Thread starter):
the aircraft carrier

Intrepid Museum, great place, the Concorde (G-BOAC) IIRC was a great experience.
It's a cultural thing.
 
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RE: New York - Non-obvious Sights To See / Do

Wed Mar 30, 2011 2:22 am

Quoting DocLightning (Reply 3):
The observation deck at Rockefeller center is also quite nice. For one thing, you can see the Empire State Building, which is awfully tough to do when you are actually standing on top of the Empire State Building. Oh, and do the ESB at night. If you do it during the day, you will spend two hours in line to look at a grey, hazy mess. At night, it's lights and twinkles and magic.

        

COUDLNT'T AGREE MORE!
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RE: New York - Non-obvious Sights To See / Do

Wed Mar 30, 2011 2:33 am

We went to B&H Photo Video and it's a really neat store if you're into photography.
 
AirCanada787
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RE: New York - Non-obvious Sights To See / Do

Wed Mar 30, 2011 2:50 am

Quoting DocLightning (Reply 3):
The observation deck at Rockefeller center is also quite nice. For one thing, you can see the Empire State Building, which is awfully tough to do when you are actually standing on top of the Empire State Building. Oh, and do the ESB at night. If you do it during the day, you will spend two hours in line to look at a grey, hazy mess. At night, it's lights and twinkles and magic.

I also agree with this, this past summer we did the observation deck at Rockefeller center at night and it was a great view. Its great to actually see the Empire State Building which of course you can't do if you go up onto it.
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planeguy727
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RE: New York - Non-obvious Sights To See / Do

Wed Mar 30, 2011 2:53 am

The highline park, cloisters museum, grants tomb, st. john the divine, Railroad park (along the Hudson), the little red lighthouse (base of the GW bridge), invisible man sculpture, trinity cemetery, brooklyn botanical garden, brooklyn library

there are so many great little places in this town
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Mir
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RE: New York - Non-obvious Sights To See / Do

Wed Mar 30, 2011 2:56 am

Quoting DocLightning (Reply 3):
And you MUST have a slice of New York-Style pizza, which is available on most street corners.

It's available on most street corners, but for the real deal (at least in Manhattan), go here: http://www.salandcarmine.com/

Also, beware of cobras.  

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RE: New York - Non-obvious Sights To See / Do

Wed Mar 30, 2011 3:05 am

You should go to Coney Island, its a nice outing and plus you have an advantage as to staying in Brooklyn. A few other things to do would take a trip to LGA, a nice airport and not to far on the subway same with JFK. There is a cable car in Manhatten by the Queensboro Bridge which takes you to Rooselvelt Island. You can use your Metro Card to pay to get on it (same card for using the subway with). Good luck in NYC, went there for the New Year for the first time and LOVED it!
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MD-90
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RE: New York - Non-obvious Sights To See / Do

Wed Mar 30, 2011 4:18 am

Hey, we ate at Sal & Carmine's. Good yet cheap NY-style pizza.
 
bohica
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RE: New York - Non-obvious Sights To See / Do

Wed Mar 30, 2011 5:01 am

Stay away from the New York Aquarium. The place is in desperate need of rehabilitation. The facility is outdated, not a large selection of tanks, dirty water, and very few amenities. Don't waste your time or money there.

Quoting DocLightning (Reply 3):
take the Roosevelt Island tram over to...well... Roosevelt Island. The trip on the tram takes about 3 minutes, but the views down the avenues are amazing and the view of Manhattan from the island are really great. Not much to do on the island itself, so don't plan on spending too much time there.
Quoting gemuser (Reply 2):
The NYC Transit Museum in Brooklyn is very worthwhile if you are at all interested in such things. It's in a disused subway station so the atmosphere is very authentic.

I have been to NYC quite a few times and I still haven't made it to these two places. Maybe next time.   Another thing I have yet to do is walk across the Brooklyn Bridge into Manhattan.
 
signol
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RE: New York - Non-obvious Sights To See / Do

Wed Mar 30, 2011 6:10 pm

Thanks for all the suggestions! As our boy likes animals and trains, I'm sure we'll be on lots of subway rides, but might steer clear of the reptile house at the Bronx Zoo for the time being!

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RE: New York - Non-obvious Sights To See / Do

Wed Mar 30, 2011 6:58 pm

Quoting mbmbos (Reply 6):
I'm a big believer in getting the touristy stuff behind you and just finding a neighborhood and absorbing yourself in it

Go to Chinatown. You'll love it !!!

http://newyork.seriouseats.com/2008/...ns-chinatown-chinese-food-nyc.html

For the best NYC pizza you must go to the ORIGINAL RAYS PIZZA

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RE: New York - Non-obvious Sights To See / Do

Wed Mar 30, 2011 7:43 pm

Quoting signol (Thread starter):
What else is recommended

If you're interested in history, have a meal or a drink at Fraunces Tavern (even though it's owned by the Irish now!):

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fraunces_Tavern

George Washington ate there after kicking the British troops out of New York.

Quoting signol (Reply 16):
our boy likes animals and trains

Perhaps the free Friday tour of Grand Central Station?

http://gonyc.about.com/od/toursbr/a/ferate_tour.htm
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RE: New York - Non-obvious Sights To See / Do

Wed Mar 30, 2011 7:53 pm

Quoting alberchico (Reply 17):

Go to Chinatown. You'll love it !!!

Strongly disagree. Chinatown is all gentrified. There's barely any decent food there anymore. If you want a good Chinatown, go to San Francisco.

But NYC does have a decent Koreatown. I forget where it is, though, but there's excellent food to be had.

Quoting AeroWesty (Reply 18):

Perhaps the free Friday tour of Grand Central Station?

Excellent suggestion. GCT (TERMINAL, not station) is a true landmark.

Quoting signol (Reply 16):
I'm sure we'll be on lots of subway rides, but might steer clear of the reptile house at the Bronx Zoo for the time being!

On the contrary, the reptile house is probably the safest place to be. We know he's not there!     
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BrusselsSouth
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RE: New York - Non-obvious Sights To See / Do

Wed Mar 30, 2011 7:55 pm

Quoting DocLightning (Reply 3):
take the Roosevelt Island tram over to...well... Roosevelt Island. The trip on the tram takes about 3 minutes, but the views down the avenues are amazing and the view of Manhattan from the island are really great. Not much to do on the island itself, so don't plan on spending too much time there.

Did that and very much enjoyed it.

Walking across the Brooklyn bridge is something I liked too.

I did the Staten Island ferry. No chance to get a decent pic of the Lady because of the crowd. Nice views on the southern tip of Manhattan though.

It probably doesn't fit the 'non-obvious' category, but I also enjoyed a walk in the financial district, including an emotional visit to ground zero.

Last, walking through Alphabet City (around Tompkins Square Park) and the Community gardens can be cool if you're into that kind of atmosphere.

Regards
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texan
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RE: New York - Non-obvious Sights To See / Do

Thu Mar 31, 2011 1:21 am

I am a big fan of Brooklyn. Go to Prospect Park and Grand Armee Plaza if you can. On Saturdays they have (or had) a nice Farmer's Market. The Brooklyn Museum, The Brooklyn Public Library, and The Brooklyn Zoo are all there. Although you can't see any traces of it anymore, Ebbets Field, where the Brooklyn Dodgers played, is only a couple blocks off the east side of the park at Sullivan Place and McKeever Place. It is a housing project now with the Jackie Robinson School across the street, but I loved the feeling (I'm a huge baseball fan and have always loved Dem Bums, the Brooklyn Trolley Dodgers). There are open spaces, playgrounds, and a relaxed feeling. You can get there on the B, F, G, Q, S, 2, 3, or 4 trains. The Brooklyn Botanic Gardens are also close to there.

After that, you can wander on over to 5th Avenue and grab a bite or a drink at any number of good restaurants, usually without the Manhattan price tag. And you might want to stop by The Chocolate Room on 5th as well. Best chocolate stuff I've ever had, and I've had a lot.

The original Junior's Cheesecake is on Flatbush and DeKalb, on the B, D, N, Q, R, 2, 3, 4, and 5 lines.

I also like Brooklyn Bridge Park and the South Street Seaport.

And in Queens I like Jackson Heights. Good food there.

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planeguy727
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RE: New York - Non-obvious Sights To See / Do

Thu Mar 31, 2011 2:03 am

Quoting DocLightning (Reply 19):
But NYC does have a decent Koreatown. I forget where it is, though, but there's excellent food to be had.

Koreatown is in the 30's east of 6th Ave. I always think of 33rd street. Some fun karoke places there!
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planeguy727
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RE: New York - Non-obvious Sights To See / Do

Thu Mar 31, 2011 11:26 am

http://atlasobscura.com/search?form%5Bquery%5D=new+york+city&commit= A great site to learn about less obvious options all over the world
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Mir
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RE: New York - Non-obvious Sights To See / Do

Thu Mar 31, 2011 3:30 pm

Quoting DocLightning (Reply 19):
Chinatown is all gentrified. There's barely any decent food there anymore. If you want a good Chinatown, go to San Francisco.


Sure, there's some mediocre stuff in Chinatown, but to say that there's nothing good there...surely you can't be serious.

-Mir
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seb146
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RE: New York - Non-obvious Sights To See / Do

Fri Apr 01, 2011 4:56 am

I have never been any farther east than St. Louis, so I have to ask: What about Harlem? I have stumbled upon some great places in seemingly rough neighborhoods. I would love going to Harlem if I knew there was anything worth doing.
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andrej
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RE: New York - Non-obvious Sights To See / Do

Fri Apr 01, 2011 5:57 am

Quoting seb146 (Reply 25):
I would love going to Harlem if I knew there was anything worth doing

There is always the 125th Street, I would say is somewhat center (or at least hub) of Harlem. There is the historic Apollo Theater, and if I remember correctly Bill Clinton used to have an office there.That part of Harlem offers interesting architecture (around 125th), and may be nice to see it (once). Besides the 125th, there is not much to do (in my opinion).

You could also go to Washington Hights (207st / Broadway) and drive it (Broadway) all the way to downtown. You will see many different neighborhoods as you cruise through Manhattan. Manhattan has a lot of to offer, you just have to know what you are looking for.

Quoting signol (Thread starter):
What else is recommended

If the weather is nice, I personally like the Pier 17 and Fulton Street Market (in the summer evenings there is always some band playing). Also love the Washington Square Park area. If you don't mind walking, take a stroll from 5ht Ave to Columbus Circle (you can always visit the Central Park) and can even go down to the Time Square. I also recommend the Metropolitan Museum (if weather sucks). Go see the Canal Street and walk on the Brooklyn Promenade.

I sincerely hope that you enjoy NYC (I love that place).  

Andreje

Besides already mentioned pizza, I highly recommend Peter Louger Steak House (best steak house in NYC IMHO).

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