Not For Tourists Guide to New York City - Not For Tourists (2016)
General Information • Landmarks
Beyond the obvious crowd-pleasers, New York City landmarks are super-subjective. One person’s favorite cobblestoned alley is some developer’s idea of prime real estate. Bits of old New York disappear to differing amounts of fanfare and make room for whatever it is we’ll be romanticizing in the future. Ain’t that the circle of life? The landmarks discussed are highly idiosyncratic choices, and this list is by no means complete or even logical, but we’ve included an array of places, from world famous to little known, all worth visiting.
Most visitors to New York go to the top of the Empire State Building (Map 9), but it’s far more familiar to New Yorkers from afar—as a directional guide, or as a tip-off to obscure holidays (orange & white means it’s time to celebrate ASPCA Day again!). If it’s class you’re looking for, the Chrysler Building (Map 13) has it in spades. Unfortunately, this means that only the “classiest” are admitted to the top floors. Other midtown highlights include the Citicorp Center (Map 13), a building that breaks out of the boxy tower form, and the GE Building (Map 12), one of the steepest-looking skyscrapers in the city. More neck-craning excitement can be found in the financial district, including the Woolworth Building (Map 3), the American International Building (Map 1) at 70 Pine Street (with private spire rooms accessible only to the connected), 40 Wall Street (Map 1), the Bankers Trust Company Building (Map 1), and 20 Exchange Place (Map 1). For a fine example of blending old, new, and eco-friendly architecture styles, check out the stunning Hearst Tower (Map 12).
The Brooklyn Bridge (Map 3) is undoubtedly the best bridge in New York—aesthetically, historically, and practically; you can walk or bike across on a wooden sidewalk high above the traffic. It’s also worth walking across the George Washington Bridge (Map 23), though it takes more time than you’d expect (trust us). The Henry Hudson Bridge (Map 25) expresses the tranquility of that part of the island—view it from Inwood Hill Park to see its graceful span over to Spuyten Duyvil.
The Beaux Arts interior of Grand Central Terminal (Map 13) is full of soaring arches and skylights. Head to SoHo to see the Little Singer Building (Map 6) and other gorgeous cast-iron structures. You can find intricately carved faces and creatures on the tenement facades of the Lower East Side. The Flatiron (Map 9), once among the tallest buildings in the city, remains one of the most distinctive. The Lever House (Map 13) and the Seagram Building (Map 13) redefined corporate architecture and are great examples of Modernism. Take the Ferry to Ellis Island (Map 1), devoted solely to the immigrant experience, features domed ceilings and Guastavino tiled arches. The Guggenheim (Map 17) is one of New York’s most unique and distinctive buildings (apparently there’s some art inside, too). The Cathedral of St. John the Divine (Map 18) has a very medieval vibe and is the world’s largest unfinished cathedral—a much cooler destination than the eternally crowded St. Patrick’s Cathedral (Map 12).
Great Public Buildings
Once upon a time, the city felt that public buildings should inspire civic pride through great architecture. Head downtown to view City Hall (Map 3) (1812), Tweed Courthouse (Map 3) (1881), Jefferson Market Courthouse (Map 5) (1877—now a library), the Municipal Building (Map 3) (1914), and a host of other courthouses built in the early 20th century. The Old Police Headquarters (Map 3), now a posh condo, would be a more celebrated building if it wasn’t located on a little-trafficked block of Centre Street in Little Italy/Chinatown. And what are the chances a firehouse built today would have the same charm as the Great Jones Firehouse (Map 6)? If the guys are around outside, they’re happy to let you in to look around.
Central Park obviously. Madison Square Park (Map 9) is not as well known as many other central city parks, but it is home to the Shake Shack, where you can grab a burger, a shake, and a bit of peace and quiet on the grass. Newly renovated Washington Square Park (Map 6) has re-opened its gates to the NYU students, street performers, tourists, and pot dealers that love to gather there. There’s all kinds of interesting folk around Tompkins Square Park (Map 7), which makes it ideal for people watching. In addition to Union Square (Map 9) housing a bunch of great statues (Gandhi, Washington, Lincoln), it also hosts an amazing farmers market (Mon, Wed, Fri, and Sat) and is close to great shopping. You can dream all you want about having a picnic at Gramercy Park (Map 10), but until you score a coveted key (or become friends with Julia Roberts), you’ll have to admire the greenery from the sidewalk like the rest of us. Bryant Park (Map 12) attracts a chi-chi lunch crowd (it’s a Wi-Fi hotspot) and hosts movies in the summer. Next door, people lounge on the New York Public Library (Map 12) steps and reminisce about their favorite scene from Ghostbusters, no doubt. Rockefeller Center (Map 12) tends to get overrun by tourists, but it’s still deserving of a visit, especially to view the Art Deco styling. The Cloisters (Map 24) and Inwood Hill Park (Map 25) are great uptown escapes. Thanks to Stuyvesant Street’s diagonal path, St. Mark’s-in-the-Bowery (Map 6) gets a nice little corner of land in front for a park, which gives a hint of its rural past. Mountainous Marcus Garvey Park (Map 19) in Harlem is a good destination on Sundays when the famous drum circle is in full effect.
The Chinatown Ice Cream Factory (Map 3) is worth a slog through Chinatown crowds on a hot day. Just around the corner is Doyers Street (Map 3), which retains the slight air of danger from its gang war past. CBGB’s (Map 6) is gone, but punk spirit survives (somewhat) on the nearby street corner known as Joey Ramone Place (Map 6). If you’re in to old-time debauchery, there are tons of classic and historic New York bars including the Bridge Café (Map 1), McSorley’s (Map 6), Pete’s Tavern (Map 10), the White Horse Tavern (Map 5), Chumley’s (Map 5), the Ear Inn (Map 5), and Old Town Bar (Map 9).
Even the most cynical New Yorker would have to admit that Times Square (Map 12) is a unique place, but the truth is that it’s no fun to compete in the same scrum as visitors in search of grub at the Bump Wump Shrimp Garden, or whatever it’s called. South Street Seaport (Map 1) is a marvelous setting in search of an identity. And note the lawyerly language behind Madison Square Garden’s (Map 9) bold “world’s most famous arena” claim—as many a dictator has known firsthand, fame doesn’t always equal greatness; aside from a few shining moments, the teams there usually stink, and the architecture is mostly banal. The worst part is that the gorgeous old Penn Station was torn down to make room for it. You can see pictures of the old station when you walk through the new Penn Station (Map 9), which is famous not for its totally drab and depressing environs, but because of the sheer volume of traffic it handles. The Cross-Bronx Expressway (Map 23) deserves a mention here just because it’s probably the worst highway, like, ever.
Many of these get overlooked because they are uptown. Grant’s Tomb (Map 18) was once one of New York’s most famous attractions, but these days it’s mostly a destination for history buffs. The City College (Map 21) campus is quite beautiful, even though a few newer buildings muck things up. Farther north, Sylvan Terrace (Map 23) and the Morris-Jumel Mansion (Map 23), a unique block of small row houses and a revolutionary war era house, offer a truer glimpse of old New York than the Seaport or Fraunces Tavern. Memorialized in a beloved children’s book, a visit to The Little Red Lighthouse (Map 23) will make you feel like you’re on the coast of Maine and not actually standing under the George Washington Bridge.
General Information • Media
1 NY1 (Time Warner Cable 24-Hour News) www.ny1.com
1 FiOS1 (Verizon FiOS 24-Hour News) www.fios1news.com
2 WCBS (CBS) newyork.cbslocal.com
4 WNBC (NBC) www.nbcnewyork.com
5 WNYW (FOX) www.myfoxny.com
7 WABC (ABC) abclocal.go.com/wabc
9 WWOR (My9) www.my9nj.com
11 WPIX (PIX11/CW) pix11.com
12 News12 (Cablevision 24-Hour News) www.news12.com
13 WNET (PBS) www.thirteen.org
21 WLIW (PBS–Long Island) www.wliw.org
25 WNYE (NYCTV/NYC Media) www.nyc.gov/media
31 WPXN (Ion) iontelevision.com
41 WXTV (Univision) nuevayork.univision.com
47 WNJU (Telemundo) www.telemundo47.com
48 WRNN (RNN) www.rnntv.com
49 WEDW (PBS–Connecticut) www.cpbn.org
55 WLNY (CBS Affiliate) newyork.cbslocal.com/station/wlny
63 WMBC (Ethnic/Religious) www.wmbctv.com
570 WMCA Religious
620 WSNR Russian
660 WFAN Sports Talk and Giants/Devils/Nets/Yankees
710 WOR Talk/New York Mets
770 WABC Conservative Talk
820 WNYC Public Radio; NPR Affiliate
880 WCBS News
930 WPAT Multi-Cultural (NJ)
970 WNYM Salem Radio Network; Conservative Talk and College Sports
1010 WINS News
1050 WEPN ESPN Deportes; Spanish Language Sports Talk and Jets/Mets
1100 WHLI Easy Listening/Standards
1130 WBBR Bloomberg Radio
1160 WVNJ Talk and Brokered Programming
1190 WLIB Gospel
1230 WFAS News/Talk/Iona Basketball
1240 WGBB Mandarin Chinese Language
1280 WADO Spanish Language Talk/Sports/Sports Broadcasts
1330 WWRV Spanish Language Christian
1380 WKDM Chinese and Spanish Language Brokered Programming
1430 WNSW Spanish Language Christian
1460 WVOX Variety; Westchester Focus
1480 WZRC Cantonese Chinese Language
1520 WTHE Gospel
1530 WJDM Spanish Language Christian
1560 WQEW Radio Disney
1600 WWRL Spanish Language
1660 WWRU Korean Language
88.1 WCWP College (LIU-Post)
88.3 WBGO Jazz (NJ)
88.7 WRHU College (Hofstra University)
88.9 WSIA College (College of Staten Island)
89.1 WFDU College (Fairleigh Dickinson University)
89.1 WNYU College (NYU)
89.5 WSOU College/Rock (Seton Hall University)
89.9 WKCR College/Jazz (Columbia University)
90.3 WKRB College (Kingsborough Community College)
90.3 WHCR College (City College of New York)
90.3 WHPC College (Nassau Community College)
90.7 WFUV Adult Alternative (Fordham University)
91.1 WFMU Free-form! (NJ)
91.5 WNYE NYC Radio
92.3 WNOW Top 40
92.7 WQBU Spanish Language
93.1 WPAT Spanish Language
93.5 WVIP Caribbean
93.9 WNYC Public Radio; NPR Affiliate
94.7 WNSH Country
95.5 WPLJ Hot Adult Contemporary
96.3 WXNY Spanish Language
96.7 WKLV Contemporary Christian
97.1 WQHT Hot 97; Mainstream Urban
97.9 WSKQ La Mega; Spanish Language
98.3 WKJY Adult Contemporary
98.7 WEPN ESPN New York; Sports Talk and New York Jets
99.5 WBAI Listener Supported Variety
100.3 WHTZ (Z-100) Top 40 Contemporary Hit Radio
100.7 WHUD Adult Contemporary
101.1 WCBS Oldies
101.9 WFAN Sports Talk and Giants/Devils/Nets/Yankees
102.7 WWFS Hot Adult Contemporary
103.5 WKTU Rhythmic Contemporary
103.9 WFAS Adult Contemporary
104.3 WAXQ Classic Rock
105.1 WWPR Power 105.1; Urban Contemporary
105.5 WDHA Rock (NJ)
105.9 WQXR Classical
106.7 WLTW Adult Contemporary
107.1 WXPK Adult Alternative
107.5 WBLS Urban Adult Contemporary
AM New York (240 W 35th St, 9th Floor, 646-293-9499, www.amny.com): Free daily; pick it up at the subway but please dispose of properly so as to prevent track fires.
Brooklyn Paper (1 Metrotech Ctr, Ste 1001, 718-260-2500, brooklynpaper.com): Brooklyn’s hometown weekly with in-depth brunch and kickball coverage.
Daily News (4 New York Plaza, 212-210-2100, www.nydailynews.com): Daily tabloid; rival of the Post. Good sports.
El Diario (1 Metrotech Ctr, 18th Floor, Brooklyn, 212-807-4600, www.eldiariony.com): Daily; America’s oldest Spanish-language newspaper.
The L Magazine (1 Metrotech Ctr, 18th Floor, Ste B, Brooklyn, 718-596-3462, www.thelmagazine.com): Free bi-weekly with arts and events focus.
Metro New York (120 Broadway, 6th Flr, 212-457-7790, www.metro.us/newyork): Free daily; pick it up at the subway but please dispose of properly so as to prevent track fires.
Newsday (235 Pinelawn Rd, Melville, 800-639-7329, www.newsday.com): Daily based in Long Island.
New York Magazine (75 Varick St, 212-508-0700, nymag.com): New York City-focused news, arts, culture bi-weekly with emphasis on cloying trend pieces.
New York Review of Books (435 Hudson St, 3rd Floor, 212-757-8070, www.nybooks.com): Bi-weekly intellectual lit review.
New York Observer (321 W 44th St, 6th Floor, 212-755-2400, observer.com): Weekly that seeks influence by focusing on rich people problems.
New York Post (1211 Avenue of the Americas, 212-930-8000, nypost.com): Daily tabloid with infuriating and irresistible coverage and iconic headlines.
The New York Times (620 Eighth Ave, 212-556-1234, nytimes.com): Daily; former “Grey Lady,” now with Clairol treatments.
The New Yorker (4 Times Square, 212-286-5400, www.newyorker.com): Weekly with intellectualish analysis; often subscribed, seldom finished.
Staten Island Advance (950 Fingerboard Rd, Staten Island, 718-981-1234, www.silive.com/advance): Richmond County’s hometown daily; pronounce it “ADD-vance” to sound in-the-know.
Time Out New York (475 Tenth Ave, 12th Fl, 646-432-3000, www.timeout.com/newyork): Comprehensive weekly guide to goings-on in the city with crazy-making “Top 5, 10, 15, 20” lists.
The Village Voice (80 Maiden Ln, Ste 2105, 212-475-3333, www.villagevoice.com): Ur alternative weekly trying to rehab from skanky ad addiction.
Wall Street Journal (1211 Avenue of the Americas, 212-416-2000, www.wsj.com): Financial news with expanded local coverage.
General Information • Calendar of Events
Winter Antiques Show: Park Ave Armory at 67th St; Selections from all over the country.
Three Kings Day Parade: El Museo del Barrio; Features a cast of hundreds from all over the city dressed as kings or animals—camels, sheep, and donkeys (early Jan).
New York Boat Show: Jacob Javits Convention Center; Don’t go expecting a test drive (early Jan).
Lunar New Year: Chinatown; Features dragons, performers, and parades.
NYC Winter Jazzfest: Greenwich Village; A full weekend of jazz at multiple Village venues.
Empire State Building Run-Up: Empire State Building; Run until the 86th floor (0.2 miles) or heart seizure.
Westminster Dog Show: Madison Square Garden; Fancy canines who know more about grooming than most of you deadbeats.
Fashion Week: Lincoln Center; Twice yearly week-long celeb-studded event.
The Art Show: Park Ave Armory at 67th St; Art fair organized by Art Dealers Association of America to benefit charity.
St Patrick’s Day Parade: Fifth Avenue; Hoochless LIRR holiday, gays need not apply (March 17).
Orchid Show: New York Botanical Garden; Yearly festival with changing themes.
Whitney Biennial: Whitney Museum; Whitney’s most important American art, every other year (March–June).
Greek Independence Day Parade: Fifth Avenue; Floats and bands representing area Greek Orthodox churches and Greek federations and organizations (Late March).
The Armory Show: West Side Piers; Brilliant best-of-galleries show.
New Directors/New Films: MoMA/Lincoln Center; Film festival featuring new films by emerging directors.
Pier Antique Show: Pier 94; Look at old things you can’t afford.
Macy’s Flower Show: Broadway and 34th St; Flowers and leather-clad vixens. Okay, just flowers really.
Easter Parade: Fifth Avenue; Starts at 11 am, get there early with your Easter bonnet (Easter Sunday).
New York Antiquarian Book Fair: Park Ave Armory at 67th St; Dealers exhibiting rare books, maps, manuscripts, illuminated manuscripts, and various ephemera.
New York International Auto Show: Jacob Javits Convention Center; Traffic jam.
Tribeca Film Festival: Various Lower Manhattan locations; Festival includes film screenings, panels, lectures, discussion groups, and concerts.
Affordable Art Fair: Midtown; Prices from $100 to no more than $10,000; worth a look if you’re buying.
New York City Ballet Spring Season: Lincoln Center; Features new and classical ballet (April–June).
Outsider Art Fair: Chelsea; Art in many forms of media from an international set.
The Great Five Boro Bike Tour: The single worst day of the year to use the BQE (first Sunday in May).
Ninth Avenue International Food Festival: Ninth Ave from 42nd to 57th Sts.
Fleet Week: USS Intrepid; Around Memorial Day weekend—Hello, Sailor!
New York AIDS Walk: Central Park; 10K walk whose proceeds go toward finding a cure.
Lower East Side Festival of the Arts: Theater for the New City, 155 First Ave; Celebrating Beatniks and Pop Art (last weekend in May).
Cherry Blossom Festival: Brooklyn Botanic Garden; Flowering trees and Japanese cultural events (late April–early May).
Martin Luther King, Jr/369th Regiment Parade: Fifth Avenue; Celebration of equal rights (third Sunday in May).
Puerto Rican Day Parade: Fifth Avenue; Puerto Rican pride (second Sunday in June).
Metropolitan Opera Summer Recital Series: Various locations throughout five boroughs; Free performances through June and July.
Museum Mile Festival: Fifth Avenue; Free admission and block party from 82nd–105th Sts.
NYC Pride: March from Midtown to Christopher St; Commemorates the 1969 Stonewall riots (last Sunday in June).
Blue Note Jazz Festival: Various locations; All kinds of jazz.
Mermaid Parade: Coney Island; Showcase of sea-creatures and freaks/celebration of Coney Island.
Feast of St Anthony of Padua: Little Italy; Patron saint of expectant mothers, Portugal, seekers of lost articles, shipwrecks, Tigua Indians, and travel hostesses, among other things (Saturday before summer solstice).
Central Park SummerStage: Central Park; Free concerts, but get there very, VERY early. (June–August).
Bryant Park Summer Film Festival: Sixth Ave at 42nd St; Free films Monday evenings (June–August).
Midsummer Night Swing: Lincoln Center; Live performances with free dance lessons (June–July).
Big Apple Barbecue Block Party: Madison Sq Park; Endless smoked meats from country’s top smokers.
American Crafts Festival: Lincoln Center; Celebrating quilts and such.
Village Voice 4Knots Music Festival: South Street Seaport; Free outdoor show featuring renowned and emerging indie artists.
Howl Festival: Tompkins Square Park; Spirit of Alan Ginsberg lives on in multi-day East Village festival.
Macy’s Fireworks Display: East River; Independence Day’s literal highlight (July 4).
Washington Square Music Festival: W 4th St at LaGuardia Pl; Open-air concert Tuesdays in July.
New York Philharmonic Concerts in the Parks: Various locations throughout five boroughs; Varied programs.
Summergarden: MoMA; Free classical concerts July Sundays in sculpture garden.
Celebrate Brooklyn!: Prospect Park Bandshell; Nine weeks of free outdoor film, music, dance, and theater events (July–August).
Mostly Mozart: Lincoln Center; The name says it all (July–August).
Shakespeare in the Park: Delacorte Theater in Central Park; Every summer two free outsized outside plays with boldface names bring long lunch hour lines for evening shows.
PS1 Warm Up: MoMA PS1, Long Island City; Sweaty DJ-dance-installations every Saturday afternoon (late June–Labor Day).
Harlem Week: Harlem; Music and community events last all month long.
Hong Kong Dragon Boat Festival: Flushing-Meadows Park Lake, Queens; Wimpy canoes need not apply.
New York International Fringe Festival: Various locations; 200 companies, 16 days, more than 20 venues, 1,200 performances—and your friends expect you to show up to all of them.
US Open: USTA National Tennis Center, Flushing; Final Grand Slam event of the year (August–September).
Lincoln Center Out of Doors: Lincoln Center; Free outdoor performances throughout the month.
Brooklyn Book Festival: Two of Brooklyn’s favorite things--books and Brooklyn.
West Indian American Day Carnival: Eastern Parkway from Utica to Grand Army Plaza, Brooklyn; Children’s parade on Saturday, adult’s parade on Labor Day (Labor Day Weekend).
Richmond County Fair: Historic Richmondtown, Staten Island; Best agricultural competitions (Labor Day).
Fashion Week: Lincoln Center; Twice yearly week-long celeb-studded event.
Feast of San Gennaro: Little Italy; Plenty of greasy street food.
Atlantic Antic: Brooklyn Heights; Multicultural street fair.
DUMBO Art Festival: DUMBO, Brooklyn; Hundreds of artists exhibiting in front of stunning bridge-skyline backdrop.
New York Film Festival: Lincoln Center; Features film premieres (early October).
Autumn Crafts Festival: Lincoln Center; Celebrating quilts and such.
Columbus Day Parade: Fifth Avenue; Celebrating the second person to discover America (Columbus Day).
Halloween Parade: West Village; Brings a new meaning to costumed event (October 31).
Halloween Dog Parade: East Village; Cute dogs, terrible puns.
Blessing of the Animals: St John the Divine, Morningside Heights; Where to take your gecko.
Big Apple Circus: Lincoln Center; Step right up (October–January)!
Hispanic Day Parade: Fifth Ave b/w 44th and 86th Sts; A celebration of Latin America’s rich heritage (mid-October).
Open House NY: Various locations, all boroughs; Insider access to architecture and design landmarks (early October).
NY Comic Con: Jacob Javits Center; Comic enthusiasts convene at the nerd mecca.
New York City Marathon: Verrazano Bridge to Central Park; 26 miles of NYC air (first Sunday of November). Veteran’s Day Parade: Fifth Ave from 26th St to 56th St; Opening service at Eternal Light Memorial in Madison Square Park.
Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade: Central Park West at 77th St to Macy’s in Herald Square; Giant balloons with Santa bringing up the rear.
The Nutcracker Suite: Lincoln Center; Balanchine’s ballet is a Christmas tradition (November–December).
Christmas Spectacular: Radio City Music Hall; Rockettes’ mesmerizing legs steal show from Santa and little people (November–January).
Origami Christmas Tree: Museum of Natural History; Hopefully not decorated with candles (Nov–Jan).
Pier Antique Show: Pier 94; Look at old things you can’t afford.
Christmas Tree Lighting Ceremony: Rockefeller Center; Most enchanting spot in the city, if you don’t mind sharing it with about a million others.
Menorah Lighting: Fifth Avenue & 59th St; Just the world’s biggest menorah, that’s what.
John Lennon Anniversary Vigil: Strawberry Fields, Central Park; Every December 8 crowds gather to remember the singer/songwriter on the anniversary of his death.
Holiday Window Displays: Saks Fifth Avenue, Macy’s, Lord & Taylor, etc.; A New York tradition.
Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater: New York City Center; Winter season lasts all month long.
Messiah Sing-In: Lincoln Center; For once—just this once—it’s OK to sing along. Don’t blow it.
New Year’s Eve Ball Drop: Times Square; Welcome the new year with a freezing mob (December 31).
New Year’s Eve Fireworks: Central Park; Hot cider and food available (December 31).
New Year’s Eve Midnight Run: Central Park; Never too soon to start with the resolutions (four miles).
General Information • Practical Info
Useful Phone Numbers
General City Information: 311
MTA Hotline 511
City Board of Elections: vote.nyc.ny.us or 212-487-5400
Con Edison: 800-752-6633
Time Warner Cable: 212-358-0900 (Manhattan); 718-358-0900 (Queens/Brooklyn); 718-816-8686 (Staten Island)
When nature calls, New York can make your life excruciatingly difficult. The city-sponsored public bathroom offerings, including dodgy subway restrooms and the sporadic experimentation with self-cleaning super porta-potties, leave a lot to be desired. Your best bet, especially in an emergency, remains bathrooms in stores and other buildings that are open to the public.
The three most popular bathroom choices for needy New Yorkers (and visitors) are Barnes & Noble, Starbucks, and any kind of fast food chain. Barnes & Noble bathrooms are essentially open to everyone (as long as you’re willing to walk past countless shelves of books during your navigation to the restrooms). They’re usually clean enough, but sometimes you’ll find yourself waiting in line during the evening and weekends. Although Starbucks bathrooms are more prevalent, they tend to be more closely guarded (in some places you have to ask for a key) and not as clean as you’d like. Fast food restrooms are similarly unhygienic, but easy to use inconspicuously without needing to purchase anything.
For a nice interactive map of bathrooms in NYC (including hours and even ratings), try the Bathroom Diaries at www.thebathroomdiaries.com or—if you have a smart phone—any of a number of apps designed to help you avoid a ticket for peeing in the street. If you’re busting to go and there’s no Barnes & Noble, Starbucks, or fast food joint in sight, consider the following options:
Public buildings: Libraries, train stations (Grand Central, Penn Station) and shopping areas (e.g., South Street Seaport, World Financial Center, Manhattan Mall, The Shops at Columbus Circle).
Department stores: Macy’s, Bloomingdale’s, Saks, etc.
Other stores: Old Navy, Bed Bath & Beyond, FAO Schwarz, The Strand, etc.
Supermarkets: Whole Foods is a sure bet; with garden-variety Pathmark, Food Emporium, D’Agostino, Gristedes, Key Food, etc. you’ll probably have to ask, because those are usually way in the back among the employee lockers.
Diners: In every neighborhood, and usually busy enough so that if you simply stride in and head towards the back (since that’s where the bathroom is most of the time anyway) WITHOUT stopping, they probably won’t notice. Works for us, usually.
Bars: Good option at night when most other places are closed; head straight back; can get raunchy toward closing time.
Parks: Nothing beats a stainless steel “mirror” and a transient bathing in the sink. That said, things aren’t always what they used to be—newly renovated parks sometimes have very nice facilities and the public-private Bryant Park bathroom is among the nicest in Midtown (and stocked with fresh flowers, to boot).
Hotels: Midtown hotels are basically public buildings, for all intents and purposes; lobbies are also good for a quick rest.
Times Square Visitors Center: 1560 Broadway.
Subways: At ends of lines, in major transit hubs and some stops between; raunchy, not for the timid.
theboweryboys.blogspot.com or @BoweryBoys: NYC history.
ny.curbed.com or @CurbedNY: For those who obssess over building permits.
www.eatingintranslation.com or @EIT: One guy eats his away through NYC.
ny.eater.com or @EaterNY: Restaurant gossip galore.
www.forgotten-ny.com or @ForgottenNY: Fascinating look at the relics of New York’s past.
www.gothamgazette.com or @GothamGazette: NYC policy and politics website.
www.gothamist.com or @Gothamist: Blog detailing various daily news and goings-on in the city.
newyork.craigslist.org: Classified site that single-handedly put print media out of business.
www.notfortourists.com or @notfortourists: The ultimate NYC website.
www.nyc.gov or @nyc311: New York City government resources.
www.nyc-grid.com or @paulsahner: Photo blog of NYC, block by block.
www.nycgo.com or @nycgo: The official NYC tourism site.
www.overheardinnewyork.com: Repository of great overheard snippets.
www.scoutingny.com or @nycscout: The city from point of view of a film scout.
www.theskint.com or @theskint: Free and cheap worthwhile events listed daily.
www.vanishingnewyork.blogspot.com or @jeremoss: Chronicling lost or nearly lost old-timey time spots.
New York Timeline — a timeline of significant events in New York history (by no means complete)
1524: Giovanni de Verrazano enters the New York harbor.
1609: Henry Hudson explores what is now called the Hudson River.
1626: The Dutch purchase Manhattan and New Amsterdam is founded.
1647: Peter Stuyvesant becomes Director General of New Amsterdam.
1664: The British capture the colony and rename it “New York.”
1754: King’s College/Columbia founded.
1776: British drive colonial army from New York and hold it for the duration of the war.
1776: Fire destroys a third of the city.
1789: Washington takes the Oath of Office as the first President of the United States.
1801: Alexander Hamilton founds the New-York Evening Post, still published today as the New York Post.
1811: The Commissioners Plan dictates a grid plan for the streets of New York.
1812: City Hall completed.
1825: Completion of the Erie Canal connects New York City commerce to the Great Lakes.
1835: New York Herald publishes its first edition.
1835: Great Fire destroys 600 buildings and kills 30 New Yorkers.
1854: First Tammany Hall-supported mayor Fernando Woods elected.
1859: Central Park opens.
1863: The Draft Riots terrorize New York for three days.
1868: Prospect Park opens.
1871: Thomas Nast cartoons and New York Times exposes lead to the end of the Tweed Ring.
1880: The population of Manhattan reaches over 1 million.
1883: Brooklyn Bridge opens.
1886: The Statue of Liberty is dedicated, inspires first ticker tape parade.
1888: The Blizzard of ‘88 incapacitates the city for two weeks.
1892: Ellis Island opens; 16 million immigrants will pass through in the next 32 years.
1897: Steeplechase Park opens, first large amusement park in Coney Island.
1898: The City of Greater New York is founded when the five boroughs are merged.
1904: General Slocum disaster kills 1,021.
1904: The subway opens.
1906: First New Year’s celebration in Times Square.
1911: Triangle Shirtwaist Fire kills 146, impels work safety movement.
1920: A TNT-packed horse cart explodes on Wall Street, killing 30; the crime goes unsolved.
1923: The Yankees win their first World Championship.
1929: Stock market crashes, signaling the beginning of the Great Depression.
1929: The Chrysler Building is completed.
1930: The Empire State Building is built, then tallest in the world.
1927: The Holland Tunnel opens, making it the world’s longest underwater tunnel.
1931: The George Washington Bridge is completed.
1933: Fiorello LaGuardia elected mayor.
1934: Robert Moses becomes Parks Commissioner.
1939: The city’s first airport, LaGuardia, opens.
1950: United Nations opens.
1955: Dodgers win the World Series; they move to LA two years later.
1963: Pennsylvania Station is demolished to the dismay of many; preservation efforts gain steam.
1964: The Verrazano-Narrows Bridge is built, at the time the world’s longest suspension bridge.
1965: Malcolm X assassinated in the Audubon Ballroom.
1965: Blackout strands hundreds of thousands during rush hour.
1969: The Stonewall Rebellion marks beginning of the gay rights movement.
1969: The Miracle Mets win the World Series.
1970: Knicks win their first championship.
1970: First New York City Marathon takes place.
1971: World Trade Center opens.
1975: Ford to City: Drop Dead.
1977: Thousands arrested for various mischief during a city-wide blackout.
1981: First NYC AIDS death begins a decade of tragedy.
1977: Ed Koch elected mayor to the first of three terms.
1987: Black Monday—stock market plunges.
1993: Giuliani elected mayor.
1993: A bomb explodes in the parking garage of the World Trade Center, killing 5.
1994: Rangers win the Stanley Cup after a 40-year drought.
2000: NFT publishes its first edition.
2001: The World Trade Center is destroyed in a terrorist attack; New Yorkers vow to rebuild.
2003: Blackout becomes best party in NYC history.
2003: Tokens are no longer accepted in subway turnstiles.
2006: Ground is broken on the WTC memorial.
2007: Construction begins (again) on the Second Avenue subway line.
2009: Bloomberg purchases a third term.
2012: 1 WTC is once again tallest in NYC.
2012: Superstorm Sandy ravages Zone A, altering New Yorkers’ relationship with the waterfront.
2014: NYC hosts Super Bowl XLVIII, first outdoor cold-weather city game in history.
Essential New York Songs
“Sidewalks of New York”—Various, written by James Blake and Charles Lawlor, 1894
“Give My Regards to Broadway”—Various, written by George Cohan, 1904
“I’ll Take Manhattan”—Various, written by Rodgers and Hart, 1925
“Puttin’ on the Ritz”—Various, written by Irving Berlin, 1929
“42nd Street”—Various, written by Al Dubin and Harry Warren, 1932
“Take the A Train”—Duke Ellington, 1940
“Autumn in New York”—Frank Sinatra, 1947
“Spanish Harlem”—Ben E. King, 1961
“Car 54 Where Are You?”—Nat Hiken and John Strauss, 1961
“On Broadway”—Various, written by Weil/Mann/Leiber/Stoller, 1962
“Talkin’ New York”—Bob Dylan, 1962
“Up on the Roof”—The Drifters, 1963
“59th Street Bridge Song”—Simon and Garfunkel, 1966
“I’m Waiting for My Man”—Velvet Underground, 1967
“Brooklyn Roads”—Neil Diamond, 1968
“Crosstown Traffic”—Jimi Hendrix, 1969
“Personality Crisis”— The New York Dolls, 1973
“New York State of Mind”—Billy Joel, 1976
“53rd and 3rd”—The Ramones, 1977
“Shattered”—Rolling Stones, 1978
“New York, New York”—Frank Sinatra, 1979
“Life During Wartime”—Talking Heads, 1979
“New York New York”—Grandmaster Flash and the Furious 5, 1984
“No Sleep Til Brooklyn”—Beastie Boys, 1987
“Christmas in Hollis”—Run-D.M.C., 1987
“New York”—U2, 2000
“I’ve Got New York”—The 6ths, 2000
“New York, New York”—Ryan Adams, 2001
“The Empty Page”—Sonic Youth, 2002
“New York”—Ja Rule f. Fat Joe, Jadakiss, 2004
“Empire State of Mind”—Jay-Z, 2009
“Welcome to New York”—Taylor Swift, 2014
Essential New York Movies
The Crowd (1928)
42nd Street (1933)
King Kong (1933)
Pride of the Yankees (1942)
Arsenic and Old Lace (1944)
Miracle on 34th Street (1947)
On the Town (1949)
On the Waterfront (1954)
The Blackboard Jungle (1955)
An Affair to Remember (1957)
The Apartment (1960)
Breakfast at Tiffany’s (1961)
West Side Story (1961)
Barefoot in the Park (1967)
John & Mary (1969)
Midnight Cowboy (1969)
French Connection (1970)
The Out of Towners (1970)
Mean Streets (1973)
Godfather II (1974)
The Taking of Pelham One Two Three (1974)
Dog Day Afternoon (1975)
Taxi Driver (1976)
Saturday Night Fever (1977)
The Warriors (1979)
Escape From New York (1981)
The Muppets Take Manhattan (1984)
After Hours (1985)
Crocodile Dundee (1986)
Wall Street (1987)
Bright Lights, Big City (1988)
Working Girl (1988)
Do the Right Thing (1989)
Last Exit to Brooklyn (1989)
When Harry Met Sally (1989)
A Bronx Tale (1993)
Men in Black (1997)
Bringing Out the Dead (1999)
The Royal Tenenbaums (2001)
Gangs of New York (2002)
25th Hour (2003)
The Interpreter (2005)
Inside Man (2006)
The Devil Wears Prada (2006)
American Gangster (2007)
Sex and the City (2008)
New York I Love You (2009)
Whatever Works (2009)
The Wolf of Wall Street (2013)
Essential New York Books
A Tree Grows in Brooklyn by Betty Smith; coming-of-age story set in the slums of Brooklyn.
The Alienist by Caleb Carr; great portrait of late-19th century New York complete with serial killer, detective, and Teddy Roosevelt.
The Bonfire of the Vanities by Tom Wolfe; money, class, and politics undo a wealthy bond trader.
Bright Lights, Big City by Jay McInerney; 1980s yuppie and the temptations of the city.
Catcher in the Rye by J. D. Salinger; classic portrayal of teenage angst.
The Death and Life of Great American Cities by Jane Jacobs; influential exposition on what matters in making cities work.
The Encyclopedia of New York City by Kenneth T. Jackson, ed.; huge and definitive reference work.
Gotham: A History of New York City to 1898 by Edwin G. Burrows and Mike Wallace; authoritative history of New York.
The Epic of New York City by Edward Robb Ellis; super-readable chapter-by-chapter compendium of hits and highlights of NYC history.
The Fuck-Up by Arthur Nersesian; scraping by in the East Village of the ‘80s.
Here is New York by E. B. White; reflections on the city.
House of Mirth by Edith Wharton; climbing the social ladder in upper crust, late 19th-century NY.
Knickerbocker’s History of New York by Washington Irving; very early (1809) whimsical “history” of NY.
Manchild in the Promised Land by Claude Brown; autobiographical tale of growing up in Harlem.
The Power Broker by Robert Caro; lengthy biography of 20th century municipal titan Robert Moses, you’ll never look at the city the same way after reading it.
The Recognitions by William Gaddis; ever thought New Yorkers were phony? They are.
Washington Square by Henry James; love and marriage in upper-middle-class 1880s NY.
The Cricket in Times Square by George Selden; classic children’s book.
This Is New York by Miroslav Sasek; charming children’s book from 1960; great gift idea.
General Information • For the Kids
The Best of the Best
With all the culture the city has to offer, finding activities to amuse children is easy enough. From fencing classes to the funnest parks, our guide will provide you with great ideas for entertaining your little ones.
Neatest Time-Honored Tradition
There are carousels in all five boroughs; the Central Park Carousel (www.centralparknyc.org) is a vintage carousel featuring Coney Island-style hand-carved horses dating to 1908. Jane’s Carousel on the DUMBO waterfront in Brooklyn Bridge Park (www.brooklynbridgepark.org) dates from 1922 and is housed in a striking all-glass pavilion.
Coolest Rainy Day Activity
The Children’s Museum of the Arts (103 Charlton St, 212-274-0986 or cmany.org) offers activities for wee ones as young as 10 months, because its never too early to find out whether your child might be the next Picasso. Budding painters can use the open art studio; dramatic ones stage productions in the performing arts gallery; those who must touch everything delight in the creative play stations.
Sweetest Place to Get a Cavity
Jacques Torres (350 Hudson St, 212-414-2462 or www.mrchocolate.com) where kids can watch cocoa beans turn into chocolate bars in the glass-encased factory emporium. As if you needed another reason: Torres makes chocolate-covered Cheerios, and a host of other fun concoctions.
Best Spots for Sledding
Central Park’s Pilgrim Hill and Cedar Hill (centralparknyc.org). Kids pray for a snow day for the chance to try out this slick slope. BYO sled or toboggan.
Pier 51 Play Area (Hudson River Park, Pier 51 at Gansevoort St, www.hudsonriverpark.org) With a beautiful view of the Hudson River, the park features several sprinklers, a winding “”canal,”” and a boat-themed area complete with prow, mast, and captain’s wheel.
No Tears Hair Cuts
Jennifer Bilek’s Get Coiffed (917-548-3643 or www.getcoiffed.com) offers professional in-home services, eliminating the fear of the unknown. She also offers “”glamour parties”” for girls ages 5–12.
Best Halloween Costume Shopping
Halloween Adventure (104 Fourth Ave, 212-673-4546 or www.newyorkcostumes.com) is the city’s costume emporium that has every disguise you can possibly imagine, along with wigs, make-up supplies, and magic tricks to complete any child’s dress-up fantasy. Open year-round.
Best Place for Sunday Brunch
There a billion places to take the kids to get pancakes and eggs on Sunday mornings, so why not try something totally different—dim sum in Chinatown! The kids will be entertained as carts of dumplings, pork buns, and unidentified foods constantly roll on by for non-stop eating fun.
Rainy Day Activities
American Museum of Natural History
(Central Park West at 79th St, 212-769-5100 or www.amnh.org) Fantastic for kids of all ages, with something to suit every child’s interest. From the larger-than-life dinosaur fossils and the realistic animal dioramas to the out-of-this-world Hayden Planetarium, all attention will be rapt. The hands-on exhibits of the Discovery Room and the IMAX theater are also worth a visit.
(Chelsea Piers, and Midtown, www.bowlmor.com) Great bowling alley with a retro decor that kids will love. Bumpers are available to cut down on those pesky gutter balls. Children are welcome every day before 5 pm and all day Sunday—a popular birthday spot.
Brooklyn Children’s Museum
(145 Brooklyn Ave, 718-735-4400 or www.brooklynkids.org) The world’s first museum for children (opened in 1899) engages kids in educational hands-on activities and exhibits.
Staten Island Children’s Museum
(1000 Richmond Ter, 718-273-2060 or sichildrensmuseum.org) Offers plenty of hands-on opportunities for kids to explore everything from pirate ships to the rainforest. There’s also an outdoor play space (weather permitting).
Children’s Museum of Manhattan
(212 W 83rd St, 212-721-1223 or cmom.org) As soon as you arrive at the museum, sign up for some of the day’s activities. While you’re waiting, check out the exhibits, which are fun for all ages.
Intrepid Sea, Air & Space Museum
(Pier 86, 46th St & 12th Ave, 212-245-0072 or www.intrepidmuseum.org) Tour the Growler, a real submarine that was once a top-secret missile command center, or take a virtual trip on one of the simulator rides. After you’ve taken a look at the authentic aircraft on deck—including space shuttle Enterprise—visit the museum of the Intrepid to see an extensive model airplane collection and a Cockpit Challenge flight video game for those aspiring pilots.
Little Shop of Crafts
(711 Amsterdam Ave, 212-531-2723 or littleshopny.com) Great space to bead/paint. Stay for hours.
Lower East Side Tenement Museum
(103 Orchard St, 212-982-8420 or www.tenement.org) The museum offers insight into immigrant life in the late 19th and early 20th centuries by taking groups on tours of an historic tenement building on the Lower East Side. One tour called “”Visit the Confino Family”” is led by “”Victoria Confino,”” a young girl dressed in authentic costume who teaches children about the lives of immigrants in the early 1900s. A great place to take your kids if they haven’t already been there on a school field trip.
The Metropolitan Museum of Art
(1000 Fifth Ave, 212-535-7710 or www.metmuseum.org) A great museum to explore with audio guides designed specifically for children. From the armor exhibits to the Egyptian Wing, the museum offers art exhibits from all historical periods.
The Noguchi Museum
(9-01 33rd Rd at Vernon Blvd, Long Island City, 718-204-7088 or www.noguchi.org) This museum showcasing the works of Japanese-American artist Isamu Noguchi offers interesting tours and hands-on workshops for toddlers to teens. The fees are nominal, but you must register beforehand.
The Museum of Modern Art
(11 W 53rd St, 212-708-9400 or www.moma.org) Besides the kid-friendly audio guides that help make this renowned museum enjoyable for tykes, MoMA has a lot of exciting weekend family programs that get kids talking about art and film. Lots of fun hands-on programs too. Registration is a must—these programs book up fast.
Outdoor and Educational
Central Park Zoo
(64th St and Fifth Ave, 212-439-6500 or www.centralparkzoo.com) Houses more than 1,400 animals, including some endangered species. Exhibits run the gamut, from the Arctic habitat of penguins to the steamy tropical Rain Forest Pavilion. The Tisch Children’s Zoo nearby is more suited for the younger crowd with its smaller, cuddlier animals.
Fort Washington Park
(W 155 St to Dyckman St along the Hudson River, 212-304-2365 or www.nycgovparks.org) The Urban Park Rangers periodically open Jeffrey’s Hook Lighthouse to tours. The lighthouse, popularized in the book The Little Red Lighthouse, is located at the base of the George Washington Bridge. The lighthouse affords some spectacular views—better than anything they’d see from atop Dad’s shoulders.
Historic Richmond Town
(441 Clarke Ave, Staten Island, 718-351-1611 or www.historicrichmondtown.org) A 100-acre complex with over 40 points of interest and a museum that covers over three centuries of the history of Staten Island. People dressed in authentic period garb lead demonstrations and tours.
New York Botanical Garden
(Bronx River Parkway at Fordham Road, Bronx, 718-817-8700 or www.nybg.org) 250 acres and 50 different indoor and outdoor gardens and plant exhibits to explore. The Children’s Adventure Garden changes each season, and kids can get down and dirty in the Family Garden. Keen young botanists can join the Children’s Gardening Program and get their own plot to care for.
With all of their after-school classes and camps, the children of New York City are some of the most well-rounded (and programmed) in the country. Help them beef up their college applications with some fancy extracurriculars. It’s never too early.
92nd Street Y
(1395 Lexington Ave, 212-415-5500 or www.92y.org) The center provides children of all ages with tons of activities, ranging from music lessons and chess to flamenco and yoga. 92nd St is known as “”the Y to beat all Ys.””
Abrons Arts Center
(466 Grand St, 212-598-0400 or www.abronsartscenter.org) A program of the Henry Street Settlement, the Arts Center offers classes and workshops for children of all ages in music, dance, theater, and visual arts.
(472 16th St, Brooklyn, 718-768-6123 or www.archikids.org) Programs that inspire kids about architecture.
The Art Farm
(419 E 91st St, 212-410-3117 or www.theartfarms.org) Ecological and animal programs by way of the Hamptons for all ages.
(555 E 90th St, 212-369-8890 or www.asphaltgreen.org) Swimming and diving lessons, gymnastics, team sports, and art classes. They’ve got it all for kids one and up.
(155 Bank St, 212-255-1685 or perryschool.com) Enrichment programs for kids ages 4 months to 13 years.
Church Street School for Music and Art
(74 Warren St, 212-571-7290 or www.churchstreetschool.org) This community arts center offers a variety of classes in music and art involving several different media, along with private lessons and courses for parents and children.
(315 W 36th St, 212-226-0573 or dieudonne.org) Workshops in hand papermaking offered for children ages seven and up.
Greenwich House Music School
(46 Barrow St, 212-242-4770 or www.greenwichhouse.org) Group classes and private lessons in music and ballet for children of all ages.
Hamilton Fish Recreation Center
(128 Pitt St, 212-387-7687 or www.nycgovparks.org) The center offers free swimming lessons in two outdoor pools along with free after-school programs with classes like astronomy and photography.
(227 W 29th St, Studio 4R, 212-209-1552 or www.hiartkids.com) For children ages 2–12, the classes focus on the exploration of art in museums and galleries in the city and giving kids the freedom to develop what they’ve seen into new concepts in a spacious studio setting.
Institute of Culinary Education
(50 W 23rd St, 800-522-4610 or recreational.ice.edu) Hands-on cooking classes.
Irish Arts Center
(553 W 51st St, 212-757-3318 or www.irishartscenter.org) Introductory Irish step dancing classes for children five and up.
The Jewish Community Center in Manhattan
(334 Amsterdam Ave, 646-505-4444 or www.jccmanhattan.org) The center offers swimming lessons, team sports, courses in arts and cooking, and summer programs. There’s even a rooftop playground.
Kids at Art
(1412 Second Ave, 212-410-9780 or www.kidsatartnyc.com) Art program that focuses on the basics in a non-competitive environment for kids ages 2–11.
Marshall Chess Club
(23 W 10th St, 212-477-3716 or www.marshallchessclub.org) Membership to the club offers access to weekend chess classes, summer camp, and tournaments for children ages five and up.
(45 W 34th St, Ste 608, 212-929-4500 or www.tannens.com) Ask about private and group lessons. Their week-long summer sleep-away camp (www.tannensmagiccamp.com) is also very popular.
The Techno Team
(160 Columbus Ave, 212-501-1425 or thetechnoteam.com) Computer technology classes for children ages 3–12.
(Locations in Lower Manhattan and Long Island City 212-242-8769 or newyork.trapezeschool.com) Kids ages six and up can learn how to fly through the air with the greatest of ease.
The Babysitters’ Guild
60 E 42nd St, Ste 912; 212-682-0227 or babysittersguild.com
Barnard Babysitting Agency
(49 Claremont Ave; 212-854-2035 or barnardbabysitting.com)
Pinch Sitters (212-260-6005 or www.nypinchsitters.com)
mommypoppins.com or @mommypoppins
New York Magazine Family Guide
nymag.com/urban/guides/family (dated but a lot still applies)
General Information • Police
Important Phone Numbers
All Emergencies: 911
NYPD Switchboard: 646-610-5000
Terrorism Hot Line: 888-NYC-SAFE
Sex Crimes Report Line: 212-267-RAPE
Crime Stoppers: 800-577-TIPS
Crime Stoppers (Spanish): 888-57-PISTA
Crime Victims Hotline: 212-577-7777
Cop Shot: 800-COP-SHOT
Missing Persons Case Status: 212-694-7781
Operation Gun Stop: 866-GUN-STOP
Organized Crime Control Bureau: 888-374-DRUG
Civilian Complaint Review Board: 311 or www.nyc.gov/ccrb
General Information • Post Offices / ZIP Codes
General Information • Hospitals
If you have to get to a hospital (especially in an emergency), it’s best to go to the closest one. However, as a quick reference, the following is a list of the largest hospitals by neighborhood, complete with the name of its corresponding map. But no matter which hospital you drag yourself into, for heaven’s sake make sure you have your insurance card.
Lower Manhattan: NYU Downtown Hospital • William & Beekman Sts, just south of the Brooklyn Bridge • [Map 3]
East Village: Beth Israel Medical Center • 14th St & Broadway/Union Square • [Map 10]
Murray Hill: Bellevue Hospital Center • First Ave & 27th St [Map 10] ; NYU College of Dentistry • First Ave & 24th St [Map 10]
Hell’s Kitchen/Upper West Side: St Luke’s Roosevelt Hospital • 10th Ave & 58th St [Map 11]
East Side: NewYork-Presbyterian • York Ave & 68th St [Map 15]; Lenox Hill Hospital • Lexington Ave & 77th St [Map 15]; Mt Sinai Medical Center • Madison Ave & 101st St [Map 17]
Columbia/Morningside Heights: St Luke’s Hospital Center • Amsterdam Ave & 114th St [Map 18]
Farther Uptown: Columbia Presbyterian Medical Center • 168th St & Broadway [Map 23]
If you have a condition that isn’t immediately threatening, certain hospitals in New York specialize and excel in specific areas of medicine:
Cancer: Memorial Sloan-Kettering
Birthing Center/Labor & Delivery: St Luke’s Roosevelt
Digestive Disorders: Mt Sinai
Dentistry: NYU College of Dentistry
Ear, Nose, and Throat: Mt Sinai
Eyes: New York Eye and Ear Infirmary
Geriatrics: Mt Sinai, NewYork-Presbyterian
Hormonal Disorders: NewYork-Presbyterian
Kidney Disease: NewYork-Presbyterian
Mental Health: Bellevue
Neurology: NewYork-Presbyterian, NYU Medical Center
Orthopedics: Hospital for Special Surgery, NewYork-Presbyterian
Pediatrics: Children’s Hospital of NewYork-Presbyterian
Psychiatry: NewYork-Presbyterian, NYU Medical Center
Rheumatology: Hospital for Special Surgery, Hospital for Joint Diseases Orthopedic Institute, NYU Medical Center
General Information • Libraries
Beginner’s mistake: Walk into the “main branch” of the New York Public Library at Bryant Park, and ask how to check out books. Trust us; it’s happened. Recognizable for its reclining stone lions, Patience and Fortitude, the famous building is a research library with non-circulating materials that you can peruse only in the iconic reading room. In 2008, the Children’s Center, a circulating children’s library, moved to this location and now you can check out kids books here, too. If you want to read War and Peace or 50 Shades of Da Vinci Pray Love, it’s best to go to your local branch (there are 80 of them spread out through Manhattan, The Bronx and Staten Island). Note: Holds take a very long time to fill, at least a week to a week and a half. If the book you need is only a 20-minute subway ride away, and you need the book now, invest the time and the subway fare.
The main branch of the New York Public Library (Map 12) (renamed the Schwarzman Building in 2008, for billionaire donor Stephen A. Schwarzman) is one of Manhattan’s architectural treasures. Designed by Carrère and Hastings and opened to the public in 1911, the building was one of the Beaux-Arts firm’s most famous commissions. The main branch has several special collections and services, such as the Humanities and Social Sciences Library, the Map Division, Exhibition galleries, and divisions dedicated to various ethnic groups. The main branch contains 88 miles of shelves and has more than 10,000 current periodicals from almost 150 countries. Research libraries require an ACCESS card, which you can apply for at the library and which allows you to request materials in any of the reading rooms. Card sign-up can be slow, so be patient, and it never hurts to bring along multiple kinds of ID, or a piece of mail if you’re a new NYC resident.
If it’s reference material you’re after, there are specialized research libraries to help: The Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture (Map 22) is the nation’s foremost source on African-American history. The Library for the Performing Arts (Map 14) contains the Theatre on Film and Tape Archive, featuring taped performances of many Broadway shows. There’s also the Andrew Heiskell Braille and Talking Book Library (Map 9), designed to be barrier-free. The library contains large collections of special format materials and audio equipment for listening to recorded books and magazines. You can check out the full system online at www.nypl.org.
General Information • LGBT
Very few places, anywhere, rival New York when it comes to quality gay living. Gay men can get almost anything they want, any time of day, with many businesses catering specifically to gay clientele. Bars remain the backbone of the social scene: some, like Industry (Map 11), focus on a chic atmosphere, while places like The Phoenix (Map 7) and 9th Avenue Saloon (Map 11) are friendly dive bars. You can sing your face off on karaoke nights at Pieces (Map 5) or XES Lounge (Map 9), get into trouble at The Cock (Map 6), and dance with the locals at The Ritz (Map 11) or with bridge-and-tunnel types at XL (Map 11).
There are more lesbian bars and parties than ever in New York City, so all you have to do is decide what night, which neighborhood and how you’ll snag a girl! Although you’ll find quality drinks, music, and women at Henrietta Hudson (Map 5), the notorious and intolerable bathroom line might discourage those lesbians who actually have a bladder. Lovergirl (www.lovergirlnyc.com) puts on Saturday night dance parties while Cubbyhole (Map 5) promises a homey atmosphere and friendly crowd. In Brooklyn, chill on the patio at Ginger’s (Map 33).
newyork.gaycities.com: New York section of comprehensive LGBT-focused travel site.
www.gayellowpages.com: Gayellow Pages for gay/lesbian-owned and gay/lesbian-friendly businesses in the US and Canada.
Gay City News: Bi-weekly newspaper for lesbian and gay New Yorkers including current local and national news items. (www.gaycitynews.com or @GayCityNews).
Get Out!: Weekly with emphasis on goings on about town (getoutmag.com or @GetOutMag).
Next Magazine: Weekly magazine that includes frisky nightlife listings, film reviews, feature articles, and more. (www.nextmagazine.com or @NextMagazineNY).
Bluestockings: Lesbian/radical bookstore and activist center with regular readings and a fair-trade café. (172 Allen St, 212-777-6028, www.bluestockings.com or @bluestockings).
Health Centers and Support Organizations
Callen-Lorde Community Health Center: Health care and services for the LGBT community (356 W 18th St, 212-271-7200, www.callen-lorde.org or @CallenLorde).
GMHC: Founded in 1981, Gay Men’s Health Crisis is dedicated to AIDS awareness and support for those living with HIV (446 W 33rd St, 212-367-1000, www.gmhc.org or @GMHC).
The Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual & Transgender Community Center: The largest LGBT multi-service organization on the East Coast. (208 W 13th, 212-620-7310, www.gaycenter.org).
GLBT National Help Center: Switchboard for referrals, advice, and counseling (888-843-4564, www.glnh.org or @glbtNatlHelpCtr).
Identity House: Offers LGBTQ peer counseling services, short-term therapy and/or referrals, groups, and workshops (208 W 13th St, 212-243-8181, www.identityhouse.org).
Lambda Legal: Legal foundation securing civil rights for the entire LGBT population (120 Wall St, 19th Flr, 212 809-8585, www.lambdalegal.org, @LambdaLegal).
National Gay & Lesbian Task Force: National organization building LGBT political power and de-marginalizing LGBT issues. (80 Maiden Ln, Ste 1504, 212-604-9830, www.thetaskforce.org or @TheTaskForce).
New York City Anti-Violence Project: 24-hour crisis support line for violence against LGTBH communities (212-714-1141, www.avp.org or @antiviolence).
PFLAG: Parents, Families, and Friends of Lesbians and Gays working together to raise awareness of LGBT youth and adults (130 E 25th St, Ste M1, 646-240-4288, www.pflagnyc.org or @pflagnyc).
Immigration Equality: Advocates for changing US policy on immigration of permanent partners (40 Exchange Pl, Ste 1300, 212-714-2904, immigrationequality.org or @IEquality).
GLAAD (Gay and Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation): The are the folks who go to bat for you in the media. (104 W 29th St, 4th Flr, 212-629-3322, www.glaad.org or @glaad).
OUTdancing @ Stepping Out Studios: The first LGBT partner dance program in the US. (37 W 26th St, 9th Flr, 646-742-9400, www.steppingoutstudios.com).
LGBT Connections Night at Leo Bar: Each third Friday of the month, Asia Society partners with various LGBT professional organizations; free exhibition tours included (725 Park Ave, 212-327-9352, www.asiasociety.org).
Positive Alliance: Organizes weekly Friday social mixer and party for HIV+ gay men, their friends and supporters at The Ritz (369 W 46th St, 2nd Flr); also provides regular email newsletter with links to resources and news updates (@PozAlliance).
Pride Week: Usually the last full week in June (212-807-7433, www.nycpride.org or @NYCPride).
NewFest: NY’s Premier LGBT Film Festival: Showcase of international gay and lesbian films, July (646-290-8136, newfest.org or @NewFestNYC).
General Information • Dog Runs
It’s good to be a dog in New York. NYC’s pooches are among the world’s most pampered: they celebrate birthdays, don expensive sweaters, and prance down Fifth Avenue in weather-appropriate gear. Even for those of us who can’t afford to dress our pups in Burberry raincoats, there are ways to spoil our canine companions. NYC is full of dog runs—both formal and informal—scattered throughout the city’s parks and neighborhood community spaces. Good thing too, as the fine for having a dog off-leash can run upward of $100, and park officials are vigilant. While the city takes no active role in the management of the dog runs, it provides space to the community groups who do. These community groups are always eager for help (volunteer time or financial contributions) and many post volunteer information on park bulletin boards. It can take many years and several thousand dollars to build a dog run in New York. NYC boasts dozens of dog runs, but that doesn’t seem like very many when you consider that there are more than a million pooches in the five boroughs. Each dog run is different. It’s good to know, for example, that Riverside Park at 87th Street has a fountain and hose to keep dogs cool in the summer. Formal runs are probably the safest bet for pets, as most are enclosed and maintained. For safety reasons, choke or pronged collars are forbidden, and identification and rabies tags should remain on the flat collar. Most runs prohibit dogs in heat, aggressive dogs, and dogs without up-to-date shots. For more information about dog runs in city parks, see www.nycgovparks.org/facilities/dogareas
There are no dog runs in Central Park, but before 9 am the park is full of people walking their dogs off-leash. While this is a strict no-no the rest of the day (and punishable by hefty fines), park officials tolerate the practice as long as dogs maintain a low profile, and are leashed immediately at 9 am. Check out www.centralparknyc.org for more info and check in with Central Park Paws, an initiative of the Central Park Conservancy to connect with dog owners about responsible ways to enjoy the park.
While there are too many dog runs to create a complete list, these are some of the best-established ones.
P.S. 234 (300 Greenwich St at Chambers St, Map 2): Private run/membership required.
Fish Bridge Park (Dover and Pearl Sts, Map 3): Concrete-surfaced run; features water hose, wading pool, and lock box with newspapers.
Coleman Oval Park (Pike & Monroe Sts, Map 4): Under the Manhattan Bridge.
West Village D.O.G. Run (Little W 12th St between Washington St and 10th Ave, www.wvdog.org, Map 5): Features benches, water hose, and drink bowl; membership required.
Washington Square Park (MacDougal St at W 4th St, Map 6): Located in the southwest corner of the park, this is a large, gravel-surfaced run with many spectators; popular and gets very crowded, but is well-maintained nonetheless.
Mercer-Houston Dog Run (Mercer St at Houston St, mercerhoustondogrun.org, Map 6): Private run with a membership; benefits include running water and a plastic wading pool for your dog to splash in.
Union Square (Broadway at 15th St, Map 6): Crushed stone surface.
Tompkins Square Park (Avenue B at 10th St, www.tompkinssquaredogrun.com, Map 7): NYC’s first dog run opened in 1990; this community-centered run offers lots of shade, benches, and running water—but be aware: toys, frisbees, balls, and dogs in heat are prohibited.
Thomas Smith Triangle (11th Ave at 23rd St, Map 8): Concrete-surfaced run.
Chelsea Waterside Park (11th Ave at 22nd St, Map 8)
Madison Square Park (Madison Ave at 25th St, Map 10): Medium-sized run with gravel surface and plenty of trees.
DeWitt Clinton Park (11th Ave at 52nd & 54th Sts, Map 11): Two small concrete-surfaced runs.
Astro’s Hell’s Kitchen Neighborhood Dog Run (W 39th St at 10th Ave, astrosdogrun.org, Map 11): A private dog run featuring chairs, umbrellas, fenced garden, and woodchip surface.
East River Esplanade (East River at 63rd St, Map 13): Concrete dog run by the river.
Peter Detmold Park (Beekman Pl at 51st St, Map 13): Large well-maintained run with cement and dirt surfaces and many trees.
Robert Moses Park (First Ave and 42nd St, Map 13): Concrete surface.
Theodore Roosevelt Park (Central Park W at W 81st St, Map 14): Gravel surface.
Riverside Park (Riverside Dr at 72nd St, Map 14)
Carl Schurz Park (East End Ave at 85th-86th Sts, Map 15, 17): Medium-sized enclosed run with pebbled surface and separate space for small dogs; this run has benches and shady trees, and running water is available in the bathrooms.
Riverside Park (Riverside Dr at 87th St, Map 16): Medium-sized run with gravel surface.
Riverside Park (Riverside Dr at 105th-106th Sts, Map 16): Medium-sized run with gravel surface.
Morningside Park (Morningside Ave b/w 114th & 119th Sts, Map 18).
Thomas Jefferson Park (E 112th St at First Ave, Map 20): Wood chip surface.
J. Hood Wright Park (Haven Ave at W 173rd St, Map 23): An enclosed dirt-surfaced run.
Fort Tryon Park/Sir William’s Dog Run (Margaret Corbin Dr, Washington Heights, Map 24).
Inwood Hill Dog Run (Dyckman St and Payson Ave, Map 25): Gravel surface.
Kowsky Plaza Dog Run (Gateway Plaza, Battery Park City): Located near the marina, this area has small hills for your dog to run on, as well as a small fountain and bathing pool.
Battery Park City (Along River Ter between Park Pl W and Murray St): Concrete-surfaced run with a view of the river.
General Information • Hotels
If you’re reading this you’re probably not a tourist, and if you’re not a tourist you probably don’t need a hotel. However, chances are good that at some point your obnoxious friend or relative from out of state will suddenly come a-knockin’, bearing news of their long-awaited arrival to the big city. “So I thought I’d stay at your place,” they will suggest casually, displaying their complete ignorance of the number of square feet in an average New York apartment—and simultaneously realizing your greatest fear of playing host to someone you greatly dislike. Or there’s the possibility that your place is infested with mice, bed bugs, or pigeons and you need to escape, pronto. Or maybe you’re just looking for a romantic (or slightly less than romantic) getaway without leaving the city. Whatever the case, be assured that there is a seemingly endless array of possibilities to suit all your overnight desires and needs.
Obviously, your options run from dirt cheap (well, by New York standards) to disgustingly, offensively expensive. For those with tons of extra cash, either call us or check out some of the elite luxury chains—The Ritz Carlton (cheaper to stay at the one in Battery Park than Central Park (Map 12)), The Four Seasons (Map 12) at E 57th St, The W at Union Square (Map 10), Times Square (Map 12), E 39th St (Map 10), and Lexington Ave at 49th St (Map 13), Le Parker Meridien (Map 12), The Peninsula (Map 12), The St. Regis(Map 12), and The Mandarin-Oriental (Map 11).
Those hotels that are more unique to Manhattan include: The Lowell (Map 15), a fortress of pretentiousness nestled beside Central Park, which successfully captures the feel of a snobby, high-class gentleman’s club. For a similar feeling, only with a heavy dose of Renaissance Italy and a design dating back to 1882, check into The New York Palace (Map 12). If you prefer more modern surroundings, the swank-tastic Bryant Park Hotel (Map 12) (once the landmark Radiator building before it was transformed) is a favorite amongst entertainment and fashion industry folks. Similarly, The Regency (Map 15), nicknamed “Hollywood East” in the 1960s, is a must for all celeb-stalkers hangers-on alike. Meanwhile, The Algonquin (Map 12) offers complimentary delivery of the New Yorker, as if to suggest that they cater to a more literary crowd (maybe in the 1920s, but whether or not that’s the case today is up for debate). If you’re feeling fabulous, there’s The Muse Hotel (Map 12), located in the heart of Times Square, mere steps away from the bright lights of Broadway. If you’re more comfortable with the old-money folks (or if you’re a nostalgic member of the nouveau-riche), check out the apartment-size rooms at The Carlyle (Map 15). Be a bit easier on your wallet and get a room at The Excelsior Hotel (Map 14)—it may be a tad less indulgent, but get over it, you’re still right on Central Park. Yet more affordable and not an ounce less attractive is The Hudson (Map 11), a chic boutique hotel from Ian Schrager. Then there’s The Shoreham (Map 12), which offers complimentary champagne at the front desk (so it’s definitely worth a shot to pose as a guest) in addition to a fantastically retro bar, that looks like it’s straight out of A Clockwork Orange. If you are gay or have a gay relative or friend coming to visit, consider The Out NYC (Map 11), a sleek resort hotel catering to a LGBT clientele that bills itself as New York’s first “straight-friendly” hotel. Last but certainly not least, one can always stay at the world-famous Waldorf Astoria (Map 13), where unrivaled service and a lavish renovation more than justify the cost of staying (at least for the 1% and those who edging close to that elite coterie).
There are additional high-end options downtown, perfect for nights of drunken bar-hopping or cool European friends with deep but chic pockets. The sexier of these hotels include: The Hotel Gansevoort (Map 5), a sleek tower of luxury, located steps away from the Meatpacking District—New York’s very own version of Miami Beach! Nearby, you’ll find The Maritime Hotel (Map 8), which does a great impression of a cruise ship, replete with porthole-shaped windows and La Bottega, an Italian restaurant with a massive outdoor patio that feels like the deck of a Carnival liner. In trendy SoHo, you’ll find The Mercer Hotel (Map 6), 60 Thompson (Map 6), and The SoHo Grand (Map 2) (there’s also its sister, The Tribeca Grand (Map 2), farther south)—which vary ever-so-slightly in degrees of coolness, depending on your demands. A little ways north, next to Gramercy Park, you’ll find The Inn at Irving Place (Map 10)—things are a tad less modern at this upscale bed and breakfast (it consists of two restored 19th-century townhouses), but the Cibar Lounge, the rock and fashion royalty, and the lack of any visible signage outside are sure to validate your inner yearning to hip. Speaking of which, there are a few new boutique hotels on the Bowery to make all your rock star dreams come true. The Bowery Hotel (Map 6) was the first to make its mark on this former stretch of skid row. The Lobby Bar is worth checking out even if you can’t afford a room. Up the street the semi-sleek Cooper Square Hotel (Map 6) is competing for models and I-Bankers expense accounts. Check out how they squeezed the fancy hotel in between two existing tenement buildings. And not too far away is the super fancy Crosby Street Hotel (Map 6), another of those cool hotels we’ll never be able to afford. One thing we can afford is a stroll down the High Line to crane our necks at the exhibitionists who often can be spotted cavorting in the floor-to-ceiling windows of The Standard (Map 5) which, er, straddles the airborne park. Guests are reminded by staff that their rooms will be highly visible and they should be careful, which of course prompts many to be careful to show off as much as they can for onlookers.
But speaking of money and thrills we can’t afford, let’s get real—most of us can’t begin to afford such luxuries as those outlined above. We live in a city where pay is kinda flat (or at least flatter than expenses), there’s a rent affordability crisis unlike anything in NYC history, and the only reason you really need a hotel is because as much as you might love Aunt Edna from Des Moines and want to spend time with her during her fortnight in the city, you don’t want to step on her as she sleeps on the floor of your studio apartment when you stumble home after last call. For these real-world occasions, rest assured there are a few hotels in the city where real people can actually afford to stay. Some of these include The Gershwin Hotel (Map 9), Herald Square Hotel (Map 9), The Hotel at Times Square (Map 12), Red Roof Inn (Map 9), Second Home on Second Avenue (Map 6), and The Chelsea Savoy (Map 9)—all solid, safe choices.
More mid-range options include: Hotel Thirty Thirty (Map 9), The Abingdon Guest House (Map 5), The Roger Williams Hotel (Map 9), Portland Square Hotel (Map 12), Comfort Inn(Map 9), Clarion Hotel (Map 10), and The New Yorker Hotel (Map 8). Whatever you do, never book your family, friends, or self into a hotel that you don’t know or haven’t scouted, no matter how appealing the cost—if it seems too good to be true, it may well be. Some of the lowest-priced “hotels” in town appear on some leading hotel booking sites, and they can be really scary. Some are in unsavory neighborhoods, or are in old buildings and barely qualify as hotels. You may arrive and find that someone’s suitcases are already in your room, or that there’s no heat or hot water, or that the room feels more like a homeless shelter than a hotel. (Yup, this actually happens. Even to seasoned New Yorkers like us, when we get too enamored of a would-be bargain.) And let’s not mention the bedbug threat. Suffice it to say, always always always go with a brand you trust, or check it out beforehand in person or online. That’s the only way to be sure you or your out-of-town visitors won’t end up with the most unwelcome kind of New York story.
No matter what range of hotel you are looking to book, and for whatever reason, note that rates are generally highest during the holiday season and the summer, and lowest during the off season. Other specific events, like Fashion Week or the UN General Assembly, can cause the price of hotel rooms to increase markedly. Regardless of time of year, sometimes you’ll get a better deal if you book well in advance, and sometimes you can score an awesome find by booking at the very last minute on a site like Hotwire.com. And sometimes you’re just out of luck—rates are ballpark and they are subject to change up until you have the reservation. If you find yourself in a bind and you need to get a room for yourself or someone else, also try some of the other aggregator sites: Hotels.com, Priceline, Hotwire, Travelocity, Kayak, Expedia, or even individual company websites. You can also call a hotel directly to ask if they have any specials. Be aware that not all hotels have a star rating and sometimes those that do aren’t accurate. The quoted rates will give you an idea of the quality being offered. The bottom line is, like most things in New York, while you have plenty of options, few of them are cheap—but with serendipity and creativity, you may be the lucky one who gets the bargain.