How to kill an hour or two in NYC

In a week, I’m going to visit my brother and SIL who moved to New York this year. I know all the major attractions, but I plan on spending a lot of my time on muy own just milling around. Sometimes with my camera. So if you were in Brooklyn or Manhattan and had an hour or two to kill, where would you go? Retro theater, odd shop, little snack, great photo op? I don’t like lines or crowds.

The Brooklyn Museum is the redheaded stepchild of NYC art museums. Great collections of antiquities and stuff.

If you like trains and such, the MTA Transit Museum is also in downtown Brooklyn, located in an unused subway station! They have old rolling stock complete with advertisements and posters from the era when they were in use which you can explore.

Prospect Park is 500+ acres and has lovely walking and bicycle paths and is easily accessible from many subway stops in Brooklyn.

Rough Trade is a fantastic old-skool record shop in Williamsburg. Amazing selection in CDs and vinyl. (Note: this place is the only good thing about Williamsburg. (OK, there’s a froyo place also.))

The Brooklyn Botanic Garden is much better (and more compact) than the big one in The Bronx.

If you have nice weather, Central Park. I have killed many hours there.

Heard this in my head in Danny DeVito’s voice (as Frank Reynolds) and it took on a whole different meaning. :stuck_out_tongue:

The High Line is worth an hour or two.

Take a hike, buddy. Across the Brooklyn Bridge and to the Brooklyn Heights Promenade, before they shut it down for years of construction.

Look for a parking space?

9-11 Memorial & Freedom Tower observation deck.

Hint: Turn around & face away from the elevator doors on both up & down trips for a cool show. Yeah, others in the elevator may think you’re a bit weird, that is until they turn around & see it too.

I’d go down to Russ & Daughters for a meal or maybe just takeout.

Choose the Mensch or the Shtetl? That’s a tough decision.

Seconded on the High Line.

Eat a Corned Beef sandwich.

NY Public Library tour, in Manhattan, on 5th Ave & W 42nd St. Excellent. And free. I love the Map Room.

+1. It’s also a fairly easy walk - not that any part of Manhattan is especially hilly (except for bits at the far north end - and there’s a gradual uphill slope when you’re leaving the South Street Seaport ), but it’s quite level. It’s a bit of a climb from street level if you don’t get on where there’s an elevator or ramp - I think 2-3 stories-worth of stairs.

There’s the Chelsea Marketplace near the southern end of it. The northen end is right at the Javits Center - which isn’t terribly interesting unless you’re attending an event there, but a few weeks back we were in town, and walked from our hotel (w. 37th) to the High Line, and there was ComiCon or something there so we got to see thousands of people in costume milling around the streets.

The Whitney Museum is at the southern end of the High Line. You might want to allow more than an hour there. If you’re there on the first weekend of the month and have a Bank of America credit card, I think you’ll get in free (I did; it’s not explicitly listed on their website though - but many other NYC museums are).

Greenwich Village is fun - interesting restaurants. Not too far from the southern end of the High Line. The Big Gay Ice Cream Shop is worth a stop.

South Street Seaport looks interesting - quite a few ships moored there. We’ve never spent much time there; we were at the TKTS booth there on the recent trip and could see the ships, but we’d just walked the High Line and our feetsies were complaining, so we didn’t linger.

The Museum of Sex (5th and 27th, I think) was a fun way to spend an hour or so - won’t take more than that, really. The cabbie recognized the address, LOL. Nearby is a Museum of Mathematics that I’d like to see some time.

Google “hidden parks NYC” for ideas on places to get away from the buildings if only briefly.

I’m most familiar with midtown - lived near the UN for a couple of years, and our visits tend to be centered around the Times Square / Chelsea areas, but the rest of the island has a massively different feel to it as I was reminded when I took the train through NYC last month.

If you don’t like crowds, avoid Times Square. We were walking from our hotel at 37th between 8th and 9th avenues, to a theater at 45th between 7th and 8th - i.e. 8 uptown blocks, one cross - and allowed a half hour - and barely made it.

If you do want to see a show and get inexpensive tickets, go to the TKTS booth at the seaport, NOT the one in Times Square, which will have a very long line (plus, at the other, you can get next-day tickets).


Thanks! High line and Chelsea market are definite. Brother works at 200 block of Liberty St. so 9/11 memorial is something i plan on doing while he’s stuck in his office. Big Gay Ice cream shop? Yes, please. My SIL is determined that we go to Mood. Ok, fine, but then i hit Discount Fabrics!
Parking place? You don’t think I’m nutty enough to rent a car, so you? Cooper Hewitt is on the list. I like the library and transit museums idea. And googling hidden parks.

As for stairs, the relatives have moved into the third and fourth floors of an old house…

Back! Went to Coney Island, the Cooper Hewitt, Hiline, Times Square, Chelsea Market, Chinatown, Drunk Shakespeare, and the Tenement Museum. And a flea market on Sunday. Had a blast, but got bit by a closing subway door on Sunday afternoon which resulted in bruised ribs. Trying to get home with the bomb scare was less than fun. Landed in Austin 90 minutes late with fire alarms blaring due to a flooded gangway. And Aquageddon. Austin has been on a boil water alert since Monday. If that sounds like fun, I’m not telling it right.

Had a lot of fun, and I’m hitting the stairmaster as soon as my ribs heal for the spring visit.

Cool. What tour did you do at the Tenement Museum? We did Hard Times.

If you’re gonna do that head back in early March, or June for a stair race.

We also did Hard Times. Ruth was our guide. I can only imagine six people in those rooms. Especially before the windows were added.