Now that you’ve gotten to New York and you’re about to hunker down for the Fall semester, don’t forget to make time for all the amazing activities the city has to offer! From parks and museums to entertainment and food, some current TC students and staff members have compiled some of their favorites below. Be sure to make some time for yourself this semester and check a few of these out!
The High Line is one of my favorite places to go in the city when the weather is nice. It used to be train tracks that were renovated to be a park. Start at 34th Street and finish at Gansevoort Street, then take a walk over to Chelsea Market to grab a bite to eat.
One of my favorite venues for concerts and comedy shows is Union Hall in Park Slope, Brooklyn. It’s also a bar, but the interior looks like a classy bookstore as a fun twist, and they tend to get really amazing performers for great prices. Phoebe Robinson and Sasheer Zamata are both pretty frequent guests!
There’s no shortage of art museums and galleries in NYC, but my favorite is the Museum of the City of New York. Located on the upper east edge of Central Park (104th and Fifth Avenue), its exhibitions on NYC history, architecture, activism, and culture are all must-see! I especially recommend checking out New York at Its Core to learn more about the city’s past and imagine its future.
Near campus, walking around St. John the Divine is always a lovely break from reality. Regardless of your religious beliefs, the space is incredibly peaceful and beautiful.
If you’re looking for some good old fashioned fun, I highly recommend joining a NYC Social League. This organization offers leagues ranging from legitimate sports (soccer, basketball, volleyball) to quirkier, more eccentric teams (Kickball! Cornhole! Skeeball!) I signed up for a Skeeball league two years ago just because I thought it sounded hilarious, and I can happily say that I’ve met dozens of amazing people through this ridiculous league. (After all, if someone is open to playing on a Skeeball league with people they’ve never met, you know they must be fun!) All skill levels are welcome– but most people are intermediate to just plain bad, which makes it even better.
You haven’t lived until you’ve had the garlic fries at Yankee Stadium…they have good baseball there too, if you’re into that sort of thing.
Upright Citizen’s Brigade (UCB), founded by comedy greats Matt Besser, Amy Poehler, Ian Roberts, and Matt Walsh, offers great improv comedy shows, seven nights a week, at their different locations around the city.
I like to be active and find running races throughout the year both motivational and fun. The New York Road Runners (NYRR) host countless races in the area, many of which are for excellent causes and have interesting themes. Grab some friends or family and run or walk your way around NYC!
Trivia AD is a great trivia company that hosts a variety of thematic pub trivia nights around the city at various locations (Slattery’s Midtown Pub, Poco, etc.).
If you enjoy listening to great music from up-and-coming artists (potentially right on the brink of being “discovered”), Rockwood Music Hall is definitely worth a visit. With long line-ups each night of the week, you might walk away with some favorite new bands to jam along with on your commute!
A super fun little escape from “city life” is renting a boat for an hour at Loeb Boathouse in Central Park. You will have 22 acres of the Central Park Lake to explore with room for up to three other friends in your boat. If you would rather not expend all of that energy rowing, you can book a classic Venetian Gondola tour instead!
If you are a cookie lover, visiting Levain Bakery is a must! They have locations all over the city, but pro tip: go to the location on Frederick Douglass Boulevard to avoid the lines at the other locations.
Are you pretty brave? Then drag an unsuspecting friend to the most haunted house in New York– the Merchant’s House Museum. They offer a spooky 50 minute tour by candle light year-round, and you’ll learn all sorts of creepy tales about the dark past and haunted present of this NYC mansion.
The Strand Book Store is an obvious one, but even if you’re generally opposed to touristy activities, The Strand really is worth a visit… or several! I am a book-lover at heart and never leave disappointed. They also frequently have events with interesting authors, activists, and arts-affiliated celebrities.
I love going down to South Street Seaport during the end of summer and early Fall. They have fun outdoor bars, food trucks, and an iPic movie theater if you need to escape the heat. Lots of shops and nice restaurants too! After you eat, you can also walk down by the water. They have seasonal spots available as well. For example, last winter their website had a vague description about a man named “Mr. Cannon.” Long story short, my friend and I realized it was a hidden speakeasy bar. We went through Cannon’s Walk knocking on doors and looking like fools only to find a hidden, black painted door that led to this fancy cocktail bar. You had to knock three times for them to let you in! The best part was they deleted all the Google reviews so that people had to find them.
I love theater. I happen to also be a broke graduate school student, which is why I turn to Broadway rush ticket opportunities and lotteries.
One of the best activities I have discovered in NYC is the Staten Island Ferry. Why pay to ride the Circle Line when you can take this lovely boat ride for free? You pass by landmarks like the Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island. Bring a picnic lunch and eat it on the Staten Island side with a view of the NYC skyline.
Ellington in the Park is located right in nearby Riverside Park and offers two levels of casual outdoor bar and restaurant fair. Grab a sangria and a burger and watch the sunset over the beach volleyball court!
The West Village is such a cool neighborhood to walk around! There’s the NYU campus, Washington Square Park, and so many cool restaurants and bars. I recommend grabbing a pastry from Pasticceria Rocco and taking a stroll through Washington Square Park to people watch.