NYC Dopers: Advice on a week of kulcher

I’m burnt out, not having a vacation from work since having an unplanned two week “vacation” last September :frowning:

I told the boss “I need a break, and I need it soon.” She was understanding and allowed it.

Now, I have a week without work ahead of me, not much money, and a city full of possibilities. Having no social life, I’ll be flying solo on this mission, and as such, will dictate the schedule. My plan is to visit some of the best cheap places New York City has to offer. My goal is a few days’ worth of entertainment with little money spent, and as much as I find just walking the streets to be entertaining (a fact that any New Yorker who has wandered the streets of Manhattan would acknowledge), I’m on a mission, and merely wandering won’t do.

I have been to the Museum of Natural History a few times, and every time it was incredible. I have been to the Metropolitan Museum of Art as well, but it has been far too long since I last visited. I have never visited the Museum of Modern Art or the Bronx Zoo (okay, not necessarily “culture”, but certainly an entertaining and informative experience, from what I hear).

I would love to be able to visit all four places if I have the time.

I’m seeking opinions concerning what to check out at these places. I know the Museum of Natural History has a baseball exhibit that I would enjoy, and the gorilla habitat at the Bronx Zoo sounds pretty cool, but it has been many years since I have been to the Met and I have no idea what to look for at MOMA.

I also wouldn’t mind a good looking, intelligent and single woman to act as a tourguide, so please submit your resumes :wink:

As far as MOMA is concerned, they are renovating the Manhattan building; they’ve relocated to Queens for a few years. If you do decide to go out there, and if they are showing it, I recommend “Three Musicians” by Picasso. Also, if I’m not wrong, Van Gogh’s “Starry Night” is in MOMA’s collection.

Have you been to the Central Park zoo? I love the otters!

I was there on opening weekend for the sole reason to check out my favorite painting, Starry Night. Van Gogh’s The Olive Trees is there aswell.

Good times.

A few other recommendations:

The Cloisters, perched up in Fort Tryon Park opposite the New Jersey palisades, is a jewel. (And contains many, too.) Incredible collection of medieval art. Accessible from the C line.

The Frick Collection is one of my favorite places in New York. Incredibly civilized setting, with some of the most amazing artwork (e.g. three Vermeers, including my favorite, Mistress and Maid) in the world.

The Brooklyn Museum manages to get itself overlooked, undeservedly. Vast collection, particularly good in Egypt and Asia. It has its own subway stop on the 1/2 line. Behind it, you’ll find the glorious Brooklyn Botanic Garden, which although much smaller than the New York Botanic Garden in the Bronx, is more rewarding in many respects.

Cooper-Hewitt, National Design Museum. On Museum Mile and housed in the former Carnegie mansion, this branch of the Smithsonian hosts a rotating selection of exhibits on industrial and domestic design, including architecture, furniture, textiles – all sorts of cool stuff. I especially recommend their current exhibit on housewares designer Russel Wright - fascinating and unexpectedly moving. Note that this is the only branch of the Smithsonian to charge admission (I think it’s for the maintenance of its home) - but at $8.00, it’s still a bargain.

National Museum of the American Indian, the other Smithsonian branch in New York, is not only the world’s leading center for the study of Native American art and culture, but among the best examples of adaptive reuse of a building, the great Old Customs House on Bowling Green. Although occasionally it veers into neoromantic politcal correctness, it’s still vastly superior to the aging (60+ y.o.), depressing galleries of Indian art at the American Museum of Natural History. Admission: free

A couple of places I haven’t been and would want to go to with a spare week:

The Isamu Noguchi Garden Museum, temporarily relocated from Long Island City to Sunnyside. The authoritative collection from this brilliant sculptor.

The Morgan Library, incredible collection of manuscripts, rare books, drawings and prints. Always on my list of things-I-must-see.

I don’t have much to add, other than that I love the Met to death. And that when I visited the MoMA, about 6 months ago (before it moved to Queens), it did not impress me at all. The permanant collection was relegated to a few small-ish rooms, while the visiting exhibit had four or five huge galleries spread over two floors. I hope it’s better in the Queens incarnation.

P.S. I read the “kulcher” in the title of this post as having a hard ch, like German/Yiddish, and assumed it was some Jewish thing. :slight_smile:

My advice: Do a search on this message board on Stuyguy. He is the unidisputed king of reporting on interesting NY cultural things.

Culturally sanctioned culture is ok, but if you want a real taste of NYC itself, not just world culture exhibited in NYC, hit a Poetry Slam at Nuyorican’s Poet Cafe. Poetry Slams are exhilirating as hell and not at all pretentious. Here is the site for info.

I second the poetry slam idea - brilliant stuff, some of it. I’ve never performed, but perhaps one of these days I’ll see if I can give it a go.

I’ve been meaning to get to the Metropolitan Museum of Art again myself - my friends either aren’t interested or are unavailable, the bastids. :wink:

If you’re interested in some sort of nightlife, I know a few cool bars - good music, awesome bartenders.

Are you into literature at all? I’m pretty sure there are cheap tours of the past residences of various literary lights. And I believe Shakespeare in the Park is free, perhaps you can catch a performance. has info on various stuff to do; some of it is low-dough.

And if you’d actually like to spend a day with a Doper companion, e-mail me - I’m free every day this week except Wednesday. :slight_smile:

If you’re there this week, you can try the Shakespeare in the Park as Cosmopolitan suggested. It’s a free performance in the Delacorte Theater in Central Park. (I think their last performance is Sunday August 11.) They’re doing Twelfth Night this year, with Julia Stiles as Viola. I haven’t seen it myself, but the review I saw in the New York Times wasn’t that good. Even so, it’s supposed to be a great experience.

You have to go earlier in the day and stand in line for the tickets, which I think are handed out at 1 pm. Their website isn’t working right now for some reason, or I’d be more specific about times and locations.